Monday, August 31, 2009

Reclaiming My Living Room

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.
Or maybe it was Sunday.
Or maybe it was Thursday.

Whenever the first day of the rest of my life was, it's here now.
So far, life without Velvet in the apartment is pretty good. Buzz Kill still calls a couple of times a day to check in which I don't quite understand, but he seems well intentioned.

Friday was a good first day of the rest of my life because my living room was filled with vibrant, creative, accomplished, positive people. One of the actresses is also a playwright with a show going up in the fall, Wonder Woman The Musical. Meryl, who wrote And Sophie Comes Too which we were celebrating that night, was also there. She writes a syndicated etiquette column called Ms. Behavior. And they were only two of the witty, talented collection of individuals drinking an excellent punch I made from lemonade, vodka, cointreau, Diet Sprite and tequila. The group was three quarters female, some were lesbians and some were hetero and brought their Significant Others, so there were three straight men there. And the two artistic directors of TOSOS II who produced the play were also there - both gay males.

All in all, it was a very different vibe from the slouchy, Old English 40 swilling teenage boys who have been dropping potato chip crumbs on my sofa.

Next weekend, Gigi is having a dinner party here for her 31st birthday and that will be all women. We may even have a sleep over. She told me the menu, but all I remember is tapas and prosecco.

My neighbor, the mousy accountant, is having to adapt to a different noise level since we play music, sing and dance. The boys played video games and watched Jon Stewart or dumb movies like Watchmen with the volume cranked up. As it happens, the actor who played the big, naked blue guy in that movie had a kid in Gigi's class last year. Jon Stewart did too, as a matter of fact. That's how it is when you're a preschool teacher in New York City. Years ago, Cyndi Lauper brought her kid to my art class at the Y.

I was listening to Cyndi Lauper the other night while I was getting ready and realized that the song She Bop is something of a feminist statement. When that song first came out, back in the olden days when MTV was new and I was an undergrad, nice girls barely even knew the word "masturbate." At least not in Texas. I believe that the girls at the boarding school the Rebbe Mohammed McCrory attended were very interested in each other's individual accomplishments in that area, but they were in Connecticut.

Here is Cyndi in Paris

After Gigi's party, I believe we can safely declare that the living room has been reclaimed for the grown ups and start planning the Gemini Party. It's been a while since I had a Gemini Party. This year it will be in October and I'm inviting all the Geminis even if they cordially detest each other. One of them has been threatening to toss the other off the terrace for hitting on her girl friend - but I expect that little contretemps has taken on a golden-rose tinge of nostalgia by now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Velvet Goes to College

Velvet has been safely deposited in his dormitory with a minimum of upset. We did have a collective family meltdown on Wednesday when Buzz Kill insisted on working on the computer and putting away Velvet's underwear before anyone could eat. Since we were all starving, things got tense. All in all, we seemed to have a developmentally appropriate separation experience. Velvet heartily wished we would get out of his hair until it was time to say goodbye yesterday afternoon when he started finding things for us to do that delayed our departure.

The most charming moment, for me anyway, occurred on Thursday morning when I was fixing to go to breakfast with Velvet while his father worked on the printer. Velvet was packing up his backpack for the day and included the metal Sponge Bob lunch box in which he stores his paraphernalia. I simply watched him do it and once we were sitting down to a nutritious breakfast from the Dunkin Doughnuts in the food court at the student building next to his dorm, I asked him why he thought it was a good idea to bring all his paraphernalia with him.

He was concerned that if he left the Sponge Bob lunch box in his room, the maid might find it. Apparently someone at the orientation session said housekeeping came in daily to clean the communal bathroom, and Velvet interpreted that to mean the maids would be in every day to make his bed, vacuum and dust.

I'm proud to say that I did not laugh. I merely explained that the police frown on Sponge Bob lunch boxes packed with weed residue, papers, pipes, screens and Bic lighters. Most likely, if he didn't get arrested on multiple charges, the police would confiscate his supplies and he'd have to buy all new pipes. Velvet acknowledged that made sense and left his lunch box in the car when I gave him and the female he befriended the previous night a ride over to their orientation seminar about a mile away.

Some police officers were directing traffic as we approached the main campus because it was also Freshman Orientation at The Big, Beautiful Private school next door that shares all its services with Tree Hugger U - dorms, dining halls, gymnasiums, student unions, inter murals, clubs, libraries -- all that stuff. It's a great system because the Tree Huggers get all these fancy accouterments and we pay state tuition. Hallelujah.

Anyway, I was explaining to Velvet that Window the Libertarian Pot Head - one of my best buddies back in Austin who was a pizza delivery man well into his forties since that's what happens to Major Pot Heads - always says that the law and police exist to serve us. We don't serve the Law or Police, but we should be polite. Sadly, about thirty seconds later, one of the traffic cops waved me through without answering my question and I accidental shouted "Asshole!" out the window. Then I had to explain that it's generally a bad idea to call police officers assholes when there's weed paraphernalia in the car even when you're a fifty year old white woman. Police rarely stop and search the cars of fifty year old white women, but I didn't mean to holler at the cops.

Velvet's new friend Genevieve found this whole scene highly entertaining, calling me "way hardcore." I was a bit flattered since I normally get called a dumb ass. Fortunately, when we arrived at the next entrance to campus there was a friendly clerk in the booth to give us directions to our destination, and the students were on time for their seminar.

I then went back to collect Buzz Kill from the food court so that we could go shopping for a printer stand with drawers where Velvet could safely store his Sponge Box lunch box away from the prying eyes of any random maids that might wander into his room. As it happens, the college administration and the police both told the students at a Health & Wellness orientation that it is illegal to smoke anything inside the dorms because they are public buildings. And it's illegal to smoke weed, as everyone knows. However, they are seriously concerned about student drinking on account of alcohol poisoning and general alcohol related stupidity that leads to injury and/or death. It's my understanding that Zero Tolerance applies to drinking and to getting arrested in a way that tarnishes the reputation of Tree Hugger U in the press. Kids can get busted for smoking weed in Florida, for example, and it's no big deal unless the words Tree Hugger University wind up in any paper anywhere. Tree Hugger U has Zero Tolerance for Bad Publicity. Works for me.

As it happens, this policy is exactly the one I instituted in our home some right before Velvet started his junior year of high school. Velvet had been hanging out with friends from the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp in Washington Square Park and came home with the news that his buddy Circle Seeker, aka Dime Bag, got him high. I told him then, and evidently Tree Hugger U just told him now: If you're as smart as you think you are, you can maintain your grades and smoke weed without getting caught.

The federal government needs to stop wasting money on a drug war and end this prohibition on weed. This prohibition all came about not because of legislating morality but because the cotton growers and other producers of major cash crops did not want any competition from Hemp. That's where we got the slogan, "It's rope not dope."

I don't know what to think about taxing weed, like they are suggesting to help with the budget in California. Many well informed, public spirited individuals at the Marijuana Policy Project can speak eloquently on that topic. I just don't want my kid to get arrested and lose his financial aid - which reminds me that I don't think Velvet ever registered for the Selective Service. Male children are required to register for the Selective Service in order to receive federal student financial aid. And there was a booth for the Air Force ROTC on the lovely campus of the Big, Beautiful Private School. Interestingly, the Military were not in evidence at Tree Hugger U.
For the record, I absolutely support the US Military in every variety - but I'm absolutely opposed to my kid getting shot at to protect American Corporate Interests. Life is filled with nuances like that.

We'll have a few nuances in the living room here at HQ tonight since the cast and crew of And Sophie Comes Too are coming over for cocktails. The production has been so successful that it was chosen as part of the Encore series in the New York International Fringe Festival.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In Which Buzz Kill Blows a Gasket

T minus sixteen hours and counting until Velvet and I head west with the sunrise. Tomorrow morning, baby goes to college.

It's a big deal.

Apparently, Buzz Kill isn't managing as well as I am - most likely because he's trapped in his own personal hell. The fighting started Sunday and seemed to be heading to new heights of hostility when I took a Valium. If I had to attribute Buzz Kill's obnoxious agitation to one source, I suspect it's like that old Robin Williams joke where a man's ex-wife pulls his balls off through his wallet.

From where I sit - in the nice apartment with child support and alimony - I can see why Buzz Kill might feel resentful. Nevertheless, in the years leading up to the divorce, I told him specifically and concretely what needed to happen if he wanted to stay married. Buzz Kill watches enough TV to know that in Divorceland the first wife gets the home, the kid and the money. He made his own choices. I don't know what he thought was going to happen, and it's not my fault that he's living with his mother indefinitely. I can see how the man might be seething with resentment, though, now that his only child is off to college and his ex-wife is parked securely in a nice apartment collecting alimony and child support for another three years.

Although things are on an even keel today, Sunday was problematic. Buzz Kill dropped in at noon and started bossing me and Velvet around. There is a distinct possibility that Buzz Kill informed Velvet that they would be packing for college on Sunday. Velvet can't quite recollect. In any case, I had no clue what was happening until Buzz Kill proceeded to do Velvet's laundry. When I pointed out that Buzz Kill had a responsibility to check with me before he made plans to do anything in my home, Buzz Kill told me to call the police if I didn't like it. The conversation deteriorated from there.

Fortunately the Valium kicked in rapidly so the neighbors were not subjected to our marital dysfunction for more than ten or fifteen minutes. The good news is that Velvet saw that I needed to stand up for myself, but it would have been better if I could have done it without causing a scene. I'm sorry to say that I tossed a pile of clothes off the bed, plopped down and refused to move when Buzz Kill told me to go to my room. Then I demanded an explanation from Velvet as to why his underwear were on the bookshelves. I was only mildly embarrassed when Velvet explained that they landed on the bookshelves when I threw them.

I may be theatrical and ridiculous, but at least I'm not a whiny bitch like his father. Buzz Kill was a supreme whiny bitch - threatening to sell the apartment out from under me so I'd be out on the street next month. By that time, I was fully sedated and didn't take the bait. The sad thing is that if Buzz Kill had the balls to actually fuck with me, we'd still be married. It brings us back to The Taming of the Shrew. Kate needs Petruccio, but I chose to marry Felix Unger.

Buzz Kill was over until midnight last night working on Velvet's new laptop. Velvet was out with friends the whole time, but Buzz Kill insisted he was most comfortable working over here instead of at his own place. We were able to have a quiet talk, and Buzz Kill admitted he was freaking out about a number of things and took it out on me. He genuinely regretted that he acted like a butt head, and I could let it go. That's really all anyone can do.

As long as a person takes responsibility for his/her role in a situation, I don't hold a grudge. When someone won't own his own bullshit, though, and blames me for everything, I have trouble letting bygones be bygones. I told Buzz Kill that as long as he would be respectful and not yell at me, I'd still give him a ride home from Syracuse. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Right now, the focus is back where it belongs: Getting Velvet settled comfortably at Tree Hugger University with a minimum of assaholic behavior from the grown-ups.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Small Blessings

In keeping with Menopausal Stoners mission to bring more alternative sex concepts into the mainstream, I lifted this clip from BlondeSense:

For many of us, vibrators and other sex toys are ancient history. When I was in Houston back in the spring, however, I was compelled to point out to my mother that Walgreens had cleverly discrete vibrators on the shelves. Mom is uptight about sex stuff - most likely as a result of having so many stepfathers. Not that there was anything "wrong" with any of the stepfathers, per se, but Mother sometimes found it annoying that Granny the Ho was frequently so sexually intoxicated that she neglected her children. At least that's the way Mother sees it - could be Granny was making sure there were groceries on the table. Career options were limited for women in those days, and Granny worked as a seamstress at a department store when she was between husbands.

After Granny headed West in the mid-sixties, to Laguna Beach, CA where the substance abusing side of the family had settled, she worked in a car wash.

We had a stroke of luck week. A thunderstorm with an unusual amount of wind passed through the neighborhood snapping trees in half and everything. Central Park is still a mess, but our parking lot is cleaned up now. Fortunately, my little Subaru, fondly known as the Bird Shit Mobile, suffered no damage. Given that one of the trees we lost from our parking lot happened to be right in front of my car, I consider it particularly lucky that flying branches missed the Bird Shit Mobile. Birds always perched in the branches of that tree and shit on my car. You would think that a thunderstorm with that much wind and rain would be strong enough to dislodge the baked-on bird shit from the hood of my car, but No. That's how much bird shit regularly dropped on my car from the tree that fell down. It's always a shame to lose trees, but if one had to go, that one was a blessing.

We celebrate small blessings here at Menopausal Stoner World Headquarters - the world outside is simply too depressing otherwise.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bull Shit Processing Units

Life, as presented in headlines, can be confusing sometimes. This morning on my home page I noticed a headline reading: Spector fears for his safety in prison, seeks transfer. I wondered if I had missed something from his town meeting the other day. When had Arlen Specter gone to prison, and for what? But it wasn't Arlen Specter at all. It was Phil Spector.

Some may believe Phil needed to be incarcerated for this Jewfro alone, and lest anyone takes issue with the term "Jewfro" please be advised that Urban Dictionary defines Jewfro:

An orgasm-inducing hairstyle worn by people of Jewish
descent. It consists of curly hair and is often large.

I can't say whether Mr. Spector's hair is his own in this photo. Apparently he is famous for wearing rugs. He's also famous for alarming guests at his mansion by waving guns. He is currently serving time for the murder of an actress named Lana, and he doesn't like it in prison where "they'll kill you for a 39-cent bag of soup." Since he is convicted of killing Lana for no reason at all, it's difficult to determine the nature of his complaint.
It's a bit disappointing, however, because I was hoping that something spectacular had occurred at a town meeting. Something like the Triumph of Reason - although looking at the matter now that I've had coffee, it seems unlikely that Arlen Specter would be jailed for insulting a dumb ass constituent.
The idea of detaining dumb asses, even briefly, for the foolishness that comes out of their mouths is appealing, however. Imagine a solemn bailiff in the corner of a Town Meeting, charged with the duty of removing any and all individuals who propagate "vile, contemptible nonsense," as Barney Frank said. There should probably be two categories for detainees - those who knowingly propagate Bull Shit for their own gain, such as lobbyists and media personalities, and those who hear the message spread by the aforementioned propagandists through miscellaneous venues and spit it out again. I call the second type Bull Shit Processing Units (BSPU) because they don't even realize that they are tools of Rich Assholes in the class war raging in America today. Bull Shit Processing Units hear an idea coming from some conservative fool on the TV or radio, and they must have seen it or heard it because it's highly unlikely that a BSPU has read a damn thing, then they turn it over in their heads a little while and regurgitate it as if they have informed opinions.
The very idea of Bull Shit Processing Units is so depressing that I may have to go back to bed, thanking my lucky stars that I live on the Upper West Side where the population has always been a little "red," by which I mean Communist not Republican. We even had Red Diaper Babies in this neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dolphin Finds the Sofa

One of the traditions at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp involves a camp fire ceremony wherein some of the boys are given a camp name by the group. They only practice this naming tradition at one of the five camps on the Hippy Dippy Quaker camp property which I'll call Camp Soaring Bird. Kids who attend Camp Soaring Bird, roughly 25 per summer, are at some distance from the main HDQ property - maybe a mile down the road and another mile up a hill deep in the woods. There's a pond at Soaring Bird where alumni, staff and campers go every Presidents' Day Weekend to cut ice to use in the ice house over the summer since there's no electricity at all whatsoever at Camp Soaring Bird. While no electricity is part of the primitive attraction of SB, health department regulations regarding refrigeration of food must be observed - hence the ice house.

I hiked up there myself once with Velvet and Buzz Kill and a full contingent of alumni, staff and campers, cutting through knee deep snow for over a mile. "Once" is the key point, here. Velvet and Buzz Kill enjoy the hell out of it, though, and they go every year:

Velvet took this picture of some folks cutting ice from the pond with a special saw just last February.

Velvet never got a Soaring Bird name because Velvet attended the more traditional camps at HDQ. Some people might argue that none of the camps at HDQ are traditional since the kids often run around naked. It's called The Fifth Freedom, and while some people might be shocked and horrified, I find the whole idea brilliant.

*Note* Nobody goes naked when parents are visiting except maybe in the sauna and even then they set time limits where after an hour, naked time is over.

The Fifth Freedom has always been very well managed. The camp is laid out so that the lake is at the bottom of the hill, then there are three sided cabins in the woods, then comes a dirt road. Across the dirt road, the woods are cleared for dining halls, meeting halls, farm buildings, barns and gardens. There's more woods at the very top of the hill, but for the most part, this land is cleared which means there's a clear view of most of the area from the road. Even Fed Ex uses that road, so nobody's allowed to be naked on the farm side of camp. You can only be naked on the lake side which includes in the woods by the cabins.

When Velvet was 15 and first at the High School camp, he challenged this limit occasionally by walking naked in the middle of the dang road. I'm pretty sure the staff didn't pay much attention to Velvet and just told him to stop being such an asshole.

Now, when the kids are younger (9 - 14 years old) they are in same sex camps. Soaring Bird is only for boys. There used to be a similar program for females, but the girls opted out. Maybe eating crickets got to the girls - I don't know the history. I have enough trouble with the outhouses because the walls only go half way up. This design is good when you consider how smelly it can get inside a fully enclosed outhouse - but it's a bit disconcerting when you're trying to pull up your pants because if you're not careful, you can moon the community. There are many outhouses on the property, and some have higher walls than others. Smart moms go to the nurses' office and use one of the few private, flush toilets on the property.

I will admit that the embedded Baptist voice inside me was originally scandalized about Fifth Freedom, but once I saw it in action (sort of, since nobody goes naked when parents are there) I immediately recognized its value as a method for passing along the notion that the human body and all it's functions are natural and unremarkable.

The camp is also very good at establishing the concept that everyone is in control of the space around his/her own personal body. With boys, this personal space is a big deal because they will run and tackle each other and roll around on the ground like a pack of puppies especially when chasing Frisbees and soccer balls in non-competitive sports. There will be no unauthorized tackling, smacking, hugging, what ever. Personal body space is absolutely respected.

Fifth Freedom becomes more intriguing when the boys and girls are naked together at the High School Camp. It might seem outlandishly provocative to toss naked boys and girls together as soon as the hormones have fully kicked in - but the same rules about personal space that the kids learn when they are younger in a same sex environment apply when they are older and in a mixed sex environment. The camp also recognizes that some kids' sexual orientation and gender expression can still be fluctuating, so the high school camp has a gender night dance where kids declare Male/Female/Other - that's later in the week after Relationship Night where they talk about sex stuff.

The girls often work topless in the organic gardens (which is technically on the Hill Side where you're supposed to wear clothes but since males work without shirts, females can too - except on parent visiting days when everyone wears shirts regardless of gender. It's only fair), and the boys have been watching summer after summer for years because kids frequently wander between the camps around the property. These boys don't have the typical American adolescent male fixation with tits. They like them and everything, but there's no race to see bare tits since the lake and the garden is full of them. Same with penises, as a matter of fact. And no touching anything without specific permission. I'm sorry to say that I believe that the Hippy Dippy Quaker camp may eventually abolish the Fifth Freedom in order to increase funding options. Some foundations frown on awarding grants for running around naked in the woods. Further, the camp is trying to be more culturally inclusive and Muslim parents often choke at the whole naked thing.

More camps should adopt Fifth Freedom, if you ask me. It's kind of backwards to keep kids together in a co-ed setting when they are little and don't care about sex, then segregate them after puberty because a Taboo is established and the race to lose your virginity kicks into high gear. That's how people get pregnant in High School - even though a single-sex environment may be best for academics.

I have never heard of kids getting pregnant at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. The policy is: We think you're too young to be having sex because sex complicates friendships and it takes away from the community when kids pair off privately - but we're not blind, and if you feel you absolutely must have sex, here are condoms. Think, Children, Think!

While I have never heard of a pregnancy, I have often heard about weed - which brings me to my living room.

Ever since Velvet got home from Fair up at HDQ, there's been a kid here whom I call Dolphin Finds the Sofa. He must have a real, birth name - like Eli Rabinowitz. No one knows it. He's Dolphin. Velvet has other friends with Soaring Bird names like Hearth Fox, Sage Otter Glows and Spring Rhythm, who is a magnificent pianist. Then there is Circle Seeker who sold weed until he graduated from High School and became an Orkin Man. Circle Seeker is the one who made it a mission to get Velvet high for the first time. We've called him Dime Bag ever since. Dime Bag is no longer an Orkin Man. He took a year off college to travel in South East Asia, Africa and Europe.

For the moment, my concern is Dolphin since he's been here three nights now. His parents, who live in the Bronx, told him to come home yesterday, but he got high and fell asleep on the couch. That's MY couch. He rode his bike from the Bronx up to Vermont. It took three days, and his parents gave him money for food and lodging along the way. He spent the money on weed and slept in a grave yard, among other places. I doubt his parents have a clue about the grave yard, but they know he's on my sofa. Personally, if my kid landed in somebody's house for three days, I'd want to talk to a responsible individual in that house. These parents wouldn't know me in a line up.

Dolphin is a nice boy, but enough is enough already. He's a bit younger than Velvet and follows him around like a minion. I had forgotten how much Velvet enjoys having minions until Dolphin found the sofa. When Velvet was one of the older boys at HDQ in the all-boys camp, he had an entire troop of minions to boss around.

The good news is that since all these kids have been trained in Leave No Trace wilderness skills, they know that all the carrot cake and pop corn that dribbles onto the ground attracts rodents - so they are quite neat about eating. The living room is not a mess until the other guys come over, but even those boys have been trained to take the Old English 40 bottles to the recycling when they leave the apartment.

Frankly, I'm thinking this is all part of G*d's plan to make separating from your child easier when s/he goes to college. I have been remarkably calm throughout Dolphin's visit except for yesterday when I woke up at 8:00pm with a tequila hangover. I don't normally get tequila hangovers from lunch - but it was that kind of day since I worked crew on an Off-Off Broadway matinee (And Sophie Comes Too) and went out afterwards with actors and playwrights to Cowgirl Hall of Fame which had amazing blood orange margaritas.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another One for the Soundtrack

When I was in the loony bin, this was my room mate's favorite song. It was never my favorite David Bowie song - I'll take Life on Mars any day - but when you're hanging out with a bunch of people who have made suicide attempts, it takes on a different significance than when you're in high school and hanging out in front of the Stop N Go, smoking cigarettes with your friends.

After I got out of the bin, I corresponded for a while with one of my best friends from High School. We were in our mid-thirties by then, but he still retained the skinny physique and full head of blond hair that gave him a Bowie-esque appearance when he was a kid - although he really looked more like Daryl Hall.

We still send this song back and forth sometimes just because it's nice to know that somebody out there knows your flaws and vulnerabilities but thinks you're wonderful all the same. That's my favorite kind of friend.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sex and Drugs: Menopausal Stoners Preliminary Policies and Positions

Back in the mid-1980's, I was briefly employed as a head hunter in Austin by a well-intentioned but clueless retired guy who was being hoodwinked in a small way by an unpleasant woman from New Jersey. I'm not sure if she was Jewish, and only mention it because on the Upper West Side of New York City, when you're introducing a character to the conversation somebody will generally ask if the character is Jewish. I never asked her, and couldn't tell by looking. She could easily have been Polish or Italian Catholic, although now that I think if it she may have been the first person I heard use the word treif but a smattering of Yiddish doesn't mean she was Jewish. Anyway, my job was to recruit IT Engineers for the Star Wars Defense project. That's when I learned about how the government sometimes likes to poke their nose in your business as a protective measure. I figure it's time to clarify a few points here at Menopausal Stoners since the military left a calling card.

Background: If the spooks have been keeping an eye on me, as my mother fears, then it most likely started long before I was working on the Star Wars Defense project while I was still going to school at UT. By junior year (which lasted two years in real time), friends had already started declining invitations because my parties jeopardized their security clearances.

The possibility that I might have a security clearance was undoubtedly nixed for all time when I applied to work at the CIA. As soon as you provided your name and address on the application, the CIA wanted to know what drugs you'd been doing and under what circumstances. It seemed sensible to start out telling the CIA the whole truth. In my effort to be candid and comprehensive, I attached a separate sheet and told them everything. I even said I only did Qualudes when boys gave them to me and Mexican 714's made me nauseous. I figured a history of drug use would come in handy with the CIA because if I got captured and somebody tried to get secrets out of me with drugs, I could say, "You'll have to do better than that, Tovarisch." The CIA returned my original application to me under the Federal Privacy Act, but I wouldn't be surprised if they kept a copy and put a red flag on my file. I spoke Russian in those days, too, and minored in philosophy. That's why my mother was worried.

Around that time, there was the incident in Dallas involving those drug dealing brothers who lived upstairs from my best friend and former room mate, Sue-Sue. Her father would have been spinning in his grave if he saw Sue-Sue with those fellows which explains why she was hanging out with them in the first place. One brother had a jheri curl and a gold toned playboy bunny logo ear cuff. These guys were siblings in addition the being black so they are bothers no matter how you look at it, and as far as I know they were not a bit Jewish. The one with the jheri curl used Sue-Sue's Nissan to transport contraband across state lines more than once.

If spooks truly were monitoring our phone calls, anything they heard confirmed that we had no idea what was going on when those brothers took the car. We were wondering if Sue-Sue's fear that she had wound up in some blue movie was reality based or a cocaine induced delusion. Things like that happen when you hang out with cocaine dealers. Here we are:

I smudged Sue-Sue's face to protect her privacy. She sure was cute, and you can tell I was precisely the sort of dumb ass who believed the CIA would be glad a stoner was on the doorstep.

Menopausal Stoner Policy: We here at HQ don't recommend hanging out with cocaine dealers for long. Weed is another story as are other botanically based mind altering substances. Regarding the matter of prescription medications, Menopausal Stoners acknowledges that taking other people's prescription medication for recreational purposes is bad behavior and that PSAs on TV say that it could be harmful to your health to take other people's prescribed medication for any purposes at all. However, it does not necessarily follow that it's a bad idea to take said medication. There can be benefits.

Menopausal Stoner Advisory to College Freshman: Exchange of Ritalin or other prescribed medications for capital gains is strictly prohibited. Exercise strong precautions to ensure meds are never shared with folks who may be a drag. Any and all extra medication will remain at HQ where we know just what to do with it. Failure to comply will invoke a severe reaction. This reaction does not have to be logical, but it should be theatrical and picturesque, whenever possible.

Now that I'm working crew for an off-off Broadway production, I'm getting a closer view at staged theatrics.

A Word about Hypocrisy: There is no shame in substance use unless you're a hypocrite like Rush Limbaugh. Substances are great as long as nobody is driving and nobody's getting hurt. However, it is hypocritical to use find alternative uses for your medication and suggest weed should be illegal.

Speaking of Rush, I wish you could lock somebody up for inciting a riot via media outlets. JadedJ has been discussing accountability in the criminal justice system these days and mentions anal penetration as part of jail time. He makes this point in connection with a some banker types and about Keith R. Griffin, a pedophile. I absolutely agree with JadedJ that anyone who involves children in anything remotely sexual should receive swift and severe retribution. It's just that s/he might like getting pounded in the ass by strangers.

Many people like to take it up the ass. Hard. A lot. Consequences for demonic behavior should not be pleasurable for the demon or else the behavior is reinforced. Even if an individual has never fantasied about anal play before going to prison, s/he might get to like anal sex once s/he gets there.

Anal sex is not just for the incarcerated. Lots of people regularly and joyfully practice anal sex. The world is a better place when people are not uptight about their sexuality. That's one of the points of this play I'm crewing for in the Fringe Festival, And Sophie Comes Too.

Menopausal Stoners Postition Statement: As a rule, sex is good.

Imagine a world where people got high and fucked a lot in what ever way they considered pleasurable at the moment. They don't have to get high, of course. Smoking weed is not for everyone. Nobody says you have to smoke it anymore than somebody says you have to watch porn.

Menopausal Stoner Position Statement: Pretty much every practice that uptight people call deviant should be regarded as fair play between consenting adults.

Part of the legacy of Bill Clinton should be loosening up American sexual attitudes. Willy Jeff got sloppy sometimes, but he left us with much to ponder about standard definitions of monogamy. The Republicans could take a lesson. The phrase Clinton Rules has entered the vernacular to define monogamy. Like Willy Jeff himself, those rules are a little slippery.

I refuse to speculate on whether or not Hillary ever got slippery for Bill. When you go out for drinks with theatre people, conversation often includes enthusiastic speculation on the sexuality of other people. Hillary and Bill's sex life is old news. We stand beside Willy Jeff and Hillary Clinton over here at HQ. Willy Jeff proves to the world that you can be from the South and not be a stupid red neck who is uptight about partying. So does Charlie Wilson - he may have been an opportunistic reprobate, but he was not a dumb red neck nor was he uptight about partying.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hope & Hell in a Hand Basket

Velvet is in a valley in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont, not far off the Long Trail. It's Fair Day at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. I wanted to go, but being impoverished and refusing to sleep on the ground at a state camp site with public toilets and showers that run for 3 minutes on quarters, I couldn't afford it - particularly since in less than two weeks, we must install Velvet at Tree Hugger Academy.

He's prepared in every way I could think of. He knows that some people make better friends than others, and he knows good weed when he smells it. He's been exposed to diverse environments such as the Nepalese Jungle and the Wind River Region of the Grand Tetons which has given him a broader perspective on the planet and its people. It was important to Buzz Kill and me that Velvet see the world.

In keeping with the meme that has developed into the Menopausal Stoners Soundtrack, here's another one from the vault:

My parents listened to these guys all the time back in the sixties when all things were possible. In that valley, at Fair today, those kids, the parents and Hippy Dippy Quaker staff, believe all things are possible. too. Theses guys also believed all things were possible:

We're old and tired now, but many still believe and trust in the next generation to accomplish more than we could. Maybe we didn't do so badly, and maybe we're not that old after all. But when you consider things like the national malaise that swept the Reagan administration into power which led to a country full of SUVs crowding parking lots at churches and malls and Costco and Christian Feeding Troughs with all you can eat buffets on Sundays - well, it's fucking depressing.

I feel like all I can manage is to make enough money to send my kid out into the world with the values and education to keep trying to make it a better place. If I'm lucky, I've got a few bucks to send to activist organizations where people have enough energy to aggitate for the progressive agenda.

As it happens, my chosen profession - my vocation, if you will - is teaching preschoolers. I fully believe that if you can show little kids how to act in a community then there may be hope for the future. I work at a place where the parents are already on board with this idea. My old school wasn't bad, but in September, I will be returning to an institution that was designed back in the 1930's with the mission of becoming a beacon of hope on a hill in New York City. The grandchildren of a robber baron provided the funding in an act of supreme karma cleansing. The foundation money supports the structure itself today, although like most everything those funds have been compromised by the economic clusterfuck.

In any case, I'm delighted to be in a place where every brick in the building was laid to spread progressive values. Back in the 1930's, progressive philosophy sprung up all over the place as a result of the stock market crash in 1929 and other miseries caused by rich assholes. I only know about progressive thinking through my studies in the foundations of modern education in America and some personal research into theology - but the principles are the same. It's an entirely different ethical orientation than that of the robber barons - who exist today running health insurance companies instead of rail roads and the slave trade. Same shit, different day. Brings you back to that fucking depressing point again.

The other day, JD at This Tumbleweed Life posted The Beatles' song, "Little Piggies." The piggies to whom George Harrison was referring back then are the same jerks in clean shirts playing in the dirt of the health care industry. Last night, I was listening to my favorite music, relaxing in the big, green leather barcalounger that Buzz Kill mandated remain in the living room via our divorce decree. As the music washed over my tired soul, it seemed like audio comfort food. Like surrounding yourself in mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, this favorite music from the formative years.

While a small percentage of the country shouts down Reason, sometimes with firearms at presidential appearances (Mr. Charlestown called it correctly in the comments to JadedJ's post when he said that guy was a whore just trying to get hisself on TV) - it looks like this country is going straight to hell in a hand basket again, led by a crew of Contemporary American Nonthinkers.

But the sun has come up on another morning, and I haven't killed myself yet in a fit of despair and the world hasn't collapsed into post-apocalyptic chaos like in Mad Max, which means we have to keep on keepin' on. Actually, Mad Max was keepin' on, too. It's a big drag that Mel Gibson is nut job from a family of nut jobs - but that's life. What are you going to do? Me? I'll listen to The Beatles:

Whole Lot of Stupid Going On

That meme I never did from Jaliya has had me thinking along the lines of a Menopausal Stoners' soundtrack.

Here's one from the formative years:

It would be nice if some of those folks at Town Meetings would spark up a fine, fat doobie and listen to this song again, paying special attention to the idea that Old Pirates in the health care industry, and those profiting mightily from the health care industry, are precisely the same fellows who commissioned and captained the vessels bearing slaves to this land. Slaves were emancipated by proclamation in 1863 - except in Texas, where nobody told the slaves they were free for another two and a half years on the first Juneteenth, June 19, 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation had little immediate impact on Texas.

Dick Cheney must be directly descended from a family who distributed the information that the war was over on a Need To Know basis designed to retain and generate wealth. We all know what a proud Texan George W. Bush is. I wouldn't be surprised to learn Rush Limbaugh's family profited from an agrarian economy built on slave labor. That's roughly 150 years ago, a mere blink of an eye in the history of Western Thought.

The British shipping companies who lost the slave trade business shifted their focus to India around the same time. I'm not exactly sure which white men pulled the gems out of marble carved palaces in Rajasthan. I'm sorry to say I'm not well versed in the history of the Indian Sub Continent. But even Sarah Palin must know about the East India Trading Company, the opium wars, and how the sun never set on the British Empire. It was on an SRA Card.

I'm not calling anyone a racist.

I'm saying that it hasn't been that long on the World History Time Line since some merchants - and the aristocrats whose wealth was enhanced by mercantile and political activities (when were money, politics and legislators ever separate?) made a shit load of money by invading other regions and ripping off the people. They felt no remorse because they truly believed God gave them dominion over lesser creatures. We see Europeans causing problems around the globe all in the name of building an Empire throughout history - like the Conquistadors. Our European ancestors were secure in their belief that they were superior to peasants of all varieties an indigenous heathens of every color. God planned it that way and gave them a social order based on the divine rights of rulers. You work; We keep the money. That's the way God planned it - and we can fuck your daughter or your wife while we're at it. That's the feudal system in a nutshell. There was an SRA card about that too.

The founding fathers were sick of their Bull Shit, but there were many loyalists at the time of the American Revolution. Those loyalists were rich guys, and among them were plenty of white families who benefited economically from slave labor and were fighting to preserve state's rights during the civil war - but plenty of Northerners made money from the slave business. The North industrialized sooner with immigrant laborers, who were treated very shabbily, as well as freed slaves.

Listening to the bull shit pouring from conservative media personalities then regurgitated with local flavor by Bull Shit Processing Units at town meetings - it sounds like some white folks have been influenced by business interests who don't give a flying fuck what happens to other human beings as long as their families make money. Race is actually irrelevant except that it automatically guarantees certain rights and privileges that other people can only imagine. To deny recent institutionalized racism would be illogical. I saw the Colored Water fountains myself.

Since middle class white folks are now among the economically oppressed in large numbers, you'd think they'd hush up about the socialist thing. They are very slow to grasp the idea that the same rich guys who fucked over everybody else are fucking over middle class white people now. When you think it's a good idea to drive a gas guzzler, then you have been manipulated by marketing and the profit motive that drives our country. Certain cars may be expensive and use up too much gas - but it's not nearly as personally uncomfortable as losing your job and not having adequate health care although you're covered. Or you were until you had to start paying for COBRA. Either way, though, you've been screwed by the profit motive.

Watching these meetings on TV, you have to wonder where these people came from and how they can be so stupid. I have no answer to that question, but I am reminded of Rhonda Gayle's neighbor. Cousin Rhonda Gayle, the Hillbilly Hustler, lived next door to a man who got struck by lightning in the driveway while he was carrying a TV antennae. Honest to G*d, he was fixing to go on the roof to install a TV antennae during a thunderstorm when he got killed grave yard dead. There were lots of kids in that family - and they're all watching Fox News now.

Then there is my mother's neighbor, Claudine, who sent a copperhead to school with her second grader for Show & Tell. It all started when Claudine's husband chopped the head off a big copperhead with a shovel and left that dang snake lying there in the driveway. Maybe they didn't know that would attract the friends and relatives of the snake. I wouldn't know that either, but I would be worried the dogs would grab the rest of the snake and run around the yard with it. You'd think he'd at least push it down the storm sewer which would clog up the drains faster during the next hard rain and flood the street - but they wouldn't have thought of that either.

When the next snake came into the yard, they caught it. Claudine looked in a book to identify the species, but she only read the first part of the sentence. When she learned that the snake might be an XYZ snake, she didn't bother to finish the sentence. She thought she found the right answer in the book. If she'd have finished the sentence, she'd have read the part that said, " . . . or it could be a copperhead." Secure in her belief that she knew everything she could possibly know about this snake because she'd looked at a picture and read half a sentence, Claudine boxed it up and sent it to school where it bit a kid on the playground. Just on the finger, but still. The kid had to be airlifted to downtown Houston since the suburban hospital didn't have the necessary anti-venom.

These folks are originally from Ohio. They just live in Texas now. Neither Texas nor Florida have cornered the market on dumb ass red necks. They are everywhere. The situation got worse, though, the principal made it seem like it was all the kid's fault not for having a copperhead at school but for taking it out on the playground without permission. Apparently, if you leave a copperhead under your desk in the box where it belonged, that was okay.

At least that's the way Claudine tells the story - and it must be true because the same dang principal hired her to substitute teach at the elementary school the following year.

It takes a special kind of stupid to hire a teacher who sent a copperhead to school for Show & Tell. At least she can hand them the work books and/or SRA cards. But somebody needs to tell her the answer to the question might be in second sentence of the paragraph. Sometimes you might have to read the whole paragraph because the right answer isn't until the very last line. Somebody still needs to tell Sarah Palin - and I bet you these women had similar work books in one of our country's public schools. These work books are designed to raise scores on standardized tests.

Anyone who cares about analytical and critical thinking skills should be worried about high stakes standardized testing. The weight given one assesment tool that focuses on a narrow band of academic accomplishment leads to compartmentalizing curriculum. When curriculum topics, such as history and science, are not integrated, the ability to make connections between divergent subject matter is neglected. People who can't make connections don't know bull shit when they hear it. A lot of rich guys benefit when the public doesn't know bull shit when they hear it. Those people can become Bull Shit Processing Units like the ones at the town meetings.

Minimizing the practice of high stakes standardized testing has been the goal of progressive educators for decades. Like the economic clusterfuc, we can trace some of the major problems to the Regan administration and the Back to Basics movement. But that's another soap box.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Road to Nowhere

Gearing up for that meme I never did where you answer twenty questions with song titles from only one band. But first, I'll be watching Colbert with Velvet. Won't be long before he goes to school and gets started on his own road.

Song for the Shower

A Musical thought for today:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Buzz Kill Avoids Jail Time Again

Sometimes the endless parade of people in this life don't provide enough diversion from the angst in the living room.

Last night I was trying to entertain myself by thinking about the dumbest thing I ever heard - my mother's neighbor Claudine who sent a copperhead to school with her second grader from show & tell. This event provides an opportunity to ponder questions such as: What's the difference between someone who has been quantitatively proven to be cognitively challenged and a Retard?

The truth is, however, all last night I continued to lament the state of the economy over here at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters which I felt deeply yesterday since I'm facing life with no maid for the first time since Velvet was born. In a land where people are struggling to make ends meet, you can't get much sympathy for having to do without a maid, but it sure is nice to have someone come in early one morning and sand blast the place.

I have also been economizing by taking the subway when I used to drop $15 - 20 at a pop to take taxis everywhere. When you're unemployed and looking at your last couple of hundred bucks in the bank, you can't have a maid and take taxis everywhere. It's a sad fact of life. The worst part is that the mortgage is due today and I'm relying on Buzz Kill for the first time since we got divorced to make the mortgage payment. Normally, he follows court ordered procedures and makes a deposit into my account. He doesn't strictly comply, but in the land of ex-husbands, child support & alimony, Buzz Kill stays on the right side of the law.

Today, he just might have to go to jail.
I would hate to have to alert family court, but the possibility looms on the horizon. Fortunately, I had Buzz Kill sign documents before a notary last week acknowledging arrears and commiting to payments in excess of the original stipulation for the next three years in order to address said arrears. If I do have to take him to court, he can't attempt to reduce child support payments by saying he doens't make as much money today as he did when we got divorced three years ago. Mr. Buttroy & Associates already thought of that and wrote my divorce settlement so that support for Velvet was never tied to the formula generally used to calculate dollar amounts; ergo: Child support for Velvet is roughly double what many parents pay for two kids, and extras such as summer programs and psychotherapy are factored separately and paid 100% by Buzz Kill. I am responsible for 25% of a few things. The amount of my alimony is tied to nothing at all except the budget I provided the court. Buzz Kill has always resented that amount which is why he's never paid it.

All I can say is that he should have provided the court with the financial documentation they asked for in the first place instead of trying to pull as fast one. When he finally provided the financial statement, it was obviously a work of fiction. In response, the judge appointed an independent accountant to analyse the books to the business which revealed that Buzz Kill made more than triple the income he declared. That man refuses to answer simple questions about money, and it always gets him in trouble.

I freely admit that Buzz Kill is supposed to fork over a large sum of cash every month and that sometimes it's hard for him to come up it. That's why I haven't gotten the court involved despite the well meaning advice of friends and family. My mother is chomping at the bit to turn him over to the IRS, but I convinced her that it is in my best interest to have Buzz Kill free to make a living.

Buzz Kill swears he will take the mortgage payment directly to the bank as soon as the wire transfer he is expecting this morning is complete. I have lived through similar scenarios many times during our married life and know that while it makes you grind your teeth, the money generally arrives at the very last possible moment. I have stayed on top of the situation much more actively this time around than I did during the marriage, so I'm not nearly as bent out of shape as I was back then. While I was married, I was an obedient wife and didn't press Buzz Kill for information that distressed him. I waited until something fucked up, then I mercilessly reamed him a new asshole and proceeded to make his life a living hell. That's what wives do.

Some people might think I continue to make Buzz Kill's life a living hell. G*d knows I try to avoid the subject of my settlement when I'm talking to a divorced man. I could be a shining example of The Enemy who pulls a man's balls out through his wallet. Oh well.

I'm confident that the payment will be made today. He's even promised to get a certified check for the mortgage payment so I won't request evidence that his check cleared. I am confident that all will go as planned because Buzz Kill is terrified of me and everyone knows it.

So while I was reminiscing about my mother's dumb ass neighbor Claudine, and wondering if she was an example of the type of Contemporary American Non-Thinker who shouts recycled Bull Shit from conservative media personalities at town meetings and health care reform rallies, I was really contemplating the subservient nature of my ex-husband and wondering if I ever would have married him if I couldn't boss him around albeit in the indirect way that females have been bossing men around for generations under the patriarchy.

I have to say, here, that I really wish it hadn't become necessary to divorce Buzz Kill to protect the property, but the fact is that as well intentioned as the man may be, he's financially unorganized. He is one of those people who is motivated and governed by Shame which makes him highly secretive when it comes to money. My favorite theory is that he uses the money as a diversionary tactic because when someone is so busy running in circles trying to figure out what he's doing with the money, she won't look at his sexuality -which is where the real secrets are buried.

As it happens, back in 2006 I had been focused on Buzz Kill's sexuality for some months when he found the story in the trash can that triggered a fit of rage so complete that he finally stomped down Central Park West back to his mother. As it happened, I had put it in the trash because the maid was coming that day. She didn't show up - which was not uncommon and is one of the main reasons I didn't mind letting her go although now somebody has to mop this joint before we start sticking to the floor.

Anyway, the maid didn't show up to empty the trash. Buzz Kill came home and read a story I had written called, "The Jig is Up" which involved me and a black man with a dick the size of a Mag Light. That story is entirely too good to share for free on the blog, but maybe one day soon, it will be available in an online literary publication. The salient point here is that it was because of Buzz Kill's reaction to this story that the Gemini Party had to be immediately cancelled.

It so happened that while Buzz Kill was indulging in a well deserved fit of theatrics - busting up mementos and draping the apartment as if sitting Shiva for the marriage, sixty or so guests were supposed to arrive in a few hours. He threatened to read "The Jig is Up" to the party guests. Poor man was so distraught he didn't realize that he would only suffer further humiliation if he took that course of action because I had invited a bunch of gay porn stars to the party to unravel the mystery of Buzz Kill's sexuality once and for all: Is he Gay or Does he need a woman with a strap on?

Who better than a room full of gay porn stars to make this determination? I happened to find myself at a housewarming party a week or so earlier hosted by a former gay porn star who had commissioned my friends at Hottlead to design a logo for Porno Bingo. I was the only woman at this soiree. Copious amounts of vodka was drank, and countless catty remarks were made at Buzz Kill's expense. A few of the fellows and I developed the plan to solve the mystery and I wound up inviting everyone at that party to The Gemini Party.

They were scheduled to arrive in a few hours when I had to cancel the party due to marital distress. Pottery was flying, after all. You can't have people over when they might be injured even when you've made deliciously lethal punch.

Perhaps I am maniacal, but I was only playing. And the salient point here is that if Buzz Kill weren't so worried about the secret of his sexuality, maybe he'd stop fucking up the money. The worst part is that now that Buzz Kill has gone home to his mother, Vagina Dentata, it's very hard to deny that there are distinctly similar aspects between my character and hers - except she's a snazzy dresser:

I refuse to examine the similarities right now, but Buzz Kill used to enjoy pitting his mother and I against each other then trashing about like a nervous wreck. I can imagine her wearing a strap on studded with Swarovski Crystals. Buzz Kill and Vagina Dentata have always made a lovely couple so I gave her back her man. It makes him look like such a bitch - and I hate it when I think things like, "Why don't you mail the Netflix while you're at it, bitch." But I do.

If you're financially dependent on somebody, maybe it's best to think of that person as your bitch. But it's not the way I like to think of a man and explains why Buzz Kill doesn't count among the men who have penetrated my soul even though we shared a bed for twenty years.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

In which Velvet says I'm Maniacal

My son says I'm maniacal. He looked me in the eyes and declared me maniacal. I can't decide whether I'm offended or flattered.

Velvet made this observation when he heard that I speculated in a blog post on the likelihood of a connection being made between the professional writings of a man who has made his living for years as an on-line journalist and the x-rated Google trail under his adult dating screen name. I removed that post after accumulating sufficient evidence to confirm that the ip address which had been popping in regularly since St. Patrick's Day belonged to HCW. Who else would look at that statement seven times in thirteen minutes? That wasn't what Velvet found maniacal.

When Velvet heard that I had sent HCW an email saying it appeared as if he missed something about me, he busted out laughing, and said, "You're maniacal!" Apparently, it's bad behavior to taunt a fellow on the internet then suggest he misses you.

But really, how else was I supposed to confirm my hypothesis? Call HCW? The last time I did that I was so far off base that I wasn't going to rattle his cage again.

Over Christmas, there was a preponderance of statistical activity from a blackberry. The blackberry scoured my archives in the middle of the night for days and days. I was stumped because the blackberry first appeared from a direct link - not a Google search or somebody else's blog. Ergo: the reader had to have previous knowledge of Menopausal Stoners. It was a bloggy mystery.

I could see how anybody might have gotten a blackberry for Hanukkah or Christmas and been stuck at Grandma's with nothing to do over the holidays except fool around on the new blackberry. But this person went over the archives methodically. First, s/he looked at January, February and March. A few hours later, the blackberry would be pouring over April, May and June then appear again at 2:00 in the morning in July. Nobody does that unless they have a personal agenda.

I thought the blackberry had to be HCW and it was a sign I had been forgiven for causing a shit storm. That was during the final stages of the life long psychodrama that had fucked up my emotional gestalt, and I was deep into the plak tow.

Plak Tow is the blood fever which possesses a Vulcan during pon farr and strips away the capacity for rational thought. Although in the world of Star Trek, the plok tow only applies at Amok Time, in real life a person can be deep into the plak tow any time.

The blackberry could have been Cretin because Cretin is entirely capable of being stuck in the plak tow himself. I dismissed that notion because the mystery guest hadn't commented or written me personally. Cretin couldn't keep quiet that long. He seems to have developed that skill recently, though. I suspect he's been checking in regularly from a new job, but that's another story.

Turned out the blackberry belonged to ShatAKing - the man whose douchebaggery reaches such staggering heights that the story can only be compared to the alleged shape shifting goat a bunch of Nigerians turned over to the police for being a car thief. True Story.

In any case, solving the mystery of the blackberry was one of my motivations for seeing HCW back in January. Not only did HCW have no blackberry, he still blamed me for every single thing anyone could think of that went wrong in that relationship. Consequently, there was no way in Hell I was going to make the assumption any recurring ip address was HCW despite a very small margin for error. And there was no way on G*d's Green Earth that I was going to say a dang thing to HCW about anything at all whatsoever unless I knew for sure it was him. Besides all I said was that if he missed something about me, I wished he'd pick up the phone once he simmered down. It seemed logical to me.

Personally, I don't see anything remotely maniacal, but when I think of the justifiable complaints regarding being subjected to public ridicule (that would be Cretin's grievance) I have to concede that there is truth to Velvet's assessment.

Velvet was also of the opinion that it was infinitely worse to suggest that HCW's google trail had more to do with being Middle Aged Crazy than with being a perv. In Velvet's considered opinion, it's much better to be a perv than a middle aged goofball - but that's the perspective of a testosterone driven eighteen year old male with no body fat. When he's 45+ with hair sprouting from his ears, he may look at the world differently.

Now that someone turned Menopausal Stoners over to United States Army Information Systems Command (USAISC) Headquarters yesterday, I'm ruminating on this Maniacal thing.

The first image that springs to mind with the word Maniacal is, quite naturally, Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls. There may be more successful villains, like on James Bond for example, but Mojo Jojo and I are neck and neck in the "generally harmless" department. I can hear Cretin shouting, "Harmless!" as if I've lost all connection with reality, but honestly, people shouldn't take themselves so seriously.

Rhet believes I share Cat Woman's tendency to wreak a little havoc in someone's world then be swamped with remorse. "Own it, Darling," he used to say.

I confess I like the idea of Cat Woman better than Mojo Jojo because she's sexier and because Batman liked her even though she occasionally caused trouble. Personally, I would like to be maniacal in the manner of Bugs Bunny, but the truth is that Bugs is much more clever and slick than I will ever be. A more accurate comparison would probably be Jeannie.

We could accuse Jeannie of being Maniacal, but she never meant anything by it. Everything Jeannie did made perfect sense to her. She could be led astray by her wicked sister or her mother, but by and large, she was well intentioned and loyal.

I always liked her relationship with Col. Nelson because she could have blinked him into perdition whenever she wanted, but he had the threat of the bottle. That's a fair balance of power, and they were both a little maniacal when you think about it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Margaritas, Coming Up

That married man is annoying me again. Let's call him Mr. Polo because he actually belongs to a Polo Club in Connecticut. It seems I have offended Mr. Polo by not taking him seriously for the Summer Boyfriend Reality Show. Earlier this week, he sent me an email moping because I have ignored him for a couple of months. I responded by saying he might have picked up the phone since I can't call him because of his wife which I frankly find troubling. Now he's left a message on my cell asking me to call him back. That'll be the day.

In the first place, I cancelled The Summer Boyfriend Reality Show this year on due to lack of interest - namely mine. I've finally had an opportunity to discover myself outside of any relationship. Just me. Not me as a daughter, wife, girl friend, mother, sister. It's kind of cool even with the anxiety around financial realities. I've discovered all sorts of things, and it wouldn't have happened if I'd have been worrying about pleasing somebody besides myself.

In the second place, married men are automatically disqualified as potential boyfriends. Call me Old Fashioned, but even if I thought Mr. Polo hung the moon, I have issues with causing problems for another woman. I wouldn't want my husband fucking around with some floosie behind my back. Granted, some people have marriages that accommodate that kind of thing. But when you're out to lunch with a fellow and his cell phone rings, then he looks at the number, shushes you and walks outside with his phone - that's not an open marriage. That's bullshit.

Not only that, but even though Mr. Polo's family is in the fine jewelry business, he never produced anything sparkly. When a married man who can get jewelry for under cost tries to seduce a younger woman and doesn't attempt to turn her head with a pair of earrings or a bracelet - that's double bullshit. Trinkets go with the mistress territory. Hell, Granny the Ho's last boyfriend bought her a lovely house in Laguna Beach, California. Of course, she'd been keeping him company for a while by the time he bought her that house, but married men have got to start somewhere. A gold bracelet with a few precious stones seemed like a reasonable place to me. The thought never entered the head of this jeweler's son.

*Note* Buzz Kill was quite generous in the jewelry department, and I have several nice pieces of my own. Some of them museum quality from exotic locations. My head wouldn't have been turned a centimeter, but Mr. Polo still should have tried.

How did I meet this man? On line, of course. It was one of those situations where the truth came out over time. All this happened a while back - before I ever even met HCW. Once I knew the whole story about his age, his marriage, and the love of his life who lives in France, I respectfully declined his invitations. But he was persistent and persuasive, and in a weak moment, I acquiesced to "a friendly lunch." Other lunches followed, and they were always very lovely, friendly lunches. My favorite was at the MoMA restaurant, but the bottle of wine we shared at 'Cesca was lovely too.

I was intrigued with Mr. Polo's personal history because he was "second generation," an adult child of Holocaust Survivors. His parents met and married in a Displaced Persons camp. As it happened, Double Wide was Second Generation too, although he was born in this country. He liked to say he was a little "fuck you" to Hitler. I met Double Wide (Stonerdate 11.15.08) on line as well - through an adult dating site while I was still married - which is why I'm not judgmental about HCW's x-rated google trail. HCW's experience reads like a sausage fest, but mine was more like Ladies Night in the strangest bar in town (Sorry, Mom, but it seemed like a good idea at the time).

If you ever need a relationship where emotional intimacy is not on the agenda, I recommend Adult Children of Holocaust Survivors. As it happens, my therapist treated Holocaust Survivors for years as part of a reparations program from the German government and still runs group therapy sessions for the adult children. Interesting crew, but they can have issues with relationships.

As it happened, Mr. Polo was a card carrying Narcissist - with an official diagnosis from a psychiatrist and everything. So when I started thinking that HCW might be a narcissist, I turned to Mr. Polo for information, advice and support. Mistake, but I was heartbroken and not thinking clearly.

Now that Mr. Polo has made himself thoroughly disagreeable, I blocked his emails, blocked him from the blog, won't answer his calls and wrote him a note to tell him so. That's what you do when you want somebody to leave you alone.

Now I'm off with some friends to Cowgirl Hall of Fame - which I believe is a known lesbian hangout - and I know from experience the margs are excellent even if the TexMex is decidedly Yankee. The best news is that my friends have declared it my birthday again and I'm not driving.

Building a Fence

I'm pondering the nature of love again.
At least, I'm pondering how I experience love and what it means to me. I don't know how anyone is supposed to ponder anything except through their own experience. We can always try to put ourselves in other people's shoes, walk a mile in their moccasins as it were, but in the end our understanding is limited.

I know that the world has big problems like wars and famine and AIDS and genocide. And America has troubles with the economy and health care and rampant consumerism, materialism, etc. etc. etc. There are important worries in my own living room, too. For the moment, though, the lights are on and cupboard is full which means I can ponder the nature of love, how I experience it and what it means to me.

I'm still a bit perplexed about how Buzz Kill fits into all of this and can only conclude it has something to do with what Marion Woodman says about penetration in Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride. We all know about physical penetration when you have sex - but being penetrated physically is inconsequential if your soul isn't penetrated. You can use the term Consciousness or Self interchangeably with Soul since to me it's all the same. Foma if you listen to Bokonon. Lies all Lies. I don't really believe that, more's the pity, although I am willing to concede that this earthly existence is all we'll ever know.

Naturally, it all comes back to the latest salvo with HCW, that exciting, difficult man who penetrated my soul. I feel like Luke Skywalker insisting in the face of all the wisdom in the world that Good lives inside Darth Vader. There are any number of ways to interpret a situation where someone who said he wants nothing to do with you reads your blog regularly for four months. My hairdresser, Max the Genius, says that since the individual in question is a man, we can never forget that there may be no meaning behind his actions at all whatsoever. I will accept that he himself may not have given his actions a second thought, but that doesn't make the actions totally meaningless.

All I can say is that when somebody knows that your statcounter registers every click anyone makes on a page and continues to click away, he's trying to tell you something even if he doesn't know what he's trying to say.

G*d knows I don't know what to make of it. Having a lot of time on my hands right now as a result of my unfortunate employment status, I've given the matter more than ample consideration. In the course of this contemplation, I remembered the what the shrink in the looney bin had to say about my Rorshach results. The first thing you do in a Rorschach test is look at the blots and say what you see. Then you go back over the blots and describe in more detail for the shrink exactly what you saw and how you came to see it. We learned that sometimes I focus on one specific portion of the blot, excluding everything around it.

Of the ten blots in the Rorschach, I only showed this tendency once or twice, but shrinks will make a big deal of out things like that. I figure it all goes to prove that we all make choices and decisions based on our own experience and imagination in order to make sense, or meaning, of the world. Ergo: we think what we like to think at any given moment.

Right now, I like to think HCW's visits have to do with the last part of a song that seems to resonate endlessly for any number of people: Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen.

And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

Sometimes when you look into that mirror, you may not like what you see - but that doesn't make it any more or less real than when you're pleased with your reflection. I'm not so worried about my own reflection because, as Popeye says, "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam." When I'm attached to someone, I'll continue to believe the best even though it might seem sensible to give up. That's how it is when you're a person who claps for fairies. To me, HCW is another child leaning out for love - as are we all - and I must have touched him somehow or he wouldn't have been swimming about in my writing.

When someone looks into your eyes to find himself mirrored there, there are times when you have to reflect back an uncomfortable vision that acts like a fence built to protect your own vulnerabilities. I've never been a fan of fences, but as trusting as I am by nature, I am not naive. Vulnerable, definitely, and I'm okay with that.

All the Fairy Tales suggest that a real prince will not be deterred for long by walls of thorns. My mother has been trying to tell me for years to consider the possibility that Prince Charming will never come. In real life, princes come and go, and some are more charming than others. Granny the Ho, with five husbands and an unknown number of boyfriends, could have testified to that. She would tell me to keep wishing on that star and asking the goddess to help me find joy no matter what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Theme songs and meme songs

Jaliya has tagged me in a meme that requires answering twenty questions with the titles of songs by one artist or band. This is a tricky task, and one I'm taking seriously since I spent the last couple of days getting documents together to apply for mortgage modifications as provided under the stimulus package. My lender wasn't a subprime subhuman, but I qualify as one of those struggling Americans who are current on our mortgages but face changing circumstances as a result of taxes and shit. Part of this process involved getting Buzz Kill to sign, in front of a notary, a document saying he agrees to add some hundreds to the amount stipulated by the court to my spousal support as a result of accumulated arrears. He didn't have a problem with it, but that sort of activity makes him grumpy.

Meanwhile, another friend who once was lost but now is found - The Rebbe Mohammed McCrory and I are back on the nail salon circuit together. She called out of the blue this weekend after nearly two years. We'd had a bit of a falling out, which I always attributed to her taking an extended trip into Vicodinville as a result of chronic pain. Between the meds and the pain - which eventually landed her in the hospital for six weeks - her naturally impulsive, manic tendencies increased dramatically in a way that interfered with normal social interaction. I always knew that the Rebbe would call as soon as she felt like it. I've left her a voicemail every couple of months saying I was just making sure I still knew her phone number by heart, happy new year and stuff like that. And sure enough, The Rebbe finally felt like calling.

That's how it is with good friends. When you've known each other for years and years, sometimes you each have to go your own way for a while to deal with your own mishigas. I always had faith in our friendship, but I also took the steps to stay in touch. Not everyone does that - so bridges burn through inertia. I'm glad The Rebbe and my bridge held up through the little storm.

While I struggle to decide on just one band for the meme project, this ditty can illustrate our delightfully cockamamie relationship.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tits and The Patriarchy

Now that I'm finally emerging from a shit storm that lasted roughly two years, the only thing I know for sure is that I'm committed to maintaining a harmonious environment in my own home. That's really all anyone can do. Since this is my home, however, there are men on the periphery. There have been males on the periphery ever since I grew these tits:

Something about tits causes trouble in relationships. All kinds of relationships, actually, because when my mom saw this rack starting to bud, she spazzed. She's got a rack, and Granny the Ho had one too. Mother's main concern was that I'd end up in situations I couldn't manage on account of the rack. She was right, of course, but who listens to her mother when she's fourteen years old and getting an unusual amount of attention?
I got the message that it's best to keep the tits under wraps as a result of the actions of one of the movers the summer my family moved back to Texas. I was 15 and unpacking books in my new bedroom when this fellow came up behind me, pressed his full body into my back, and rubbed his hands all over my torso while he muttered, "Tell me something good," into the hair just behind my ear. I went straight to my mama who told the supervisor to tell his helper to keep his hands off her daughter or she'd be calling the cops. I was standing there and saw the supervisor get a gleam in his eye when he asked for details like he was getting a hard on.

It was gross, and I saw my mother's point about wearing modest clothing. Then I learned how to let my tits do the talking in certain situations. Invariably, however, those are the sort of situations that come back around to bite me in the ass because the man in question only knows the tits. He rarely cares about a thought in my head unless it has to do with how smart he is.

Let me say, here, that all of the fiancees got to know me in addition to knowing the tits. The Man from San Antone knows the full power of the tits, but he is well aware that I'm the one driving them. I may need to drive them in a specific direction to make some money for us both, but that's business in America. Gigi and I have combined the power of my tits and her ass to get our bar bills paid. That's okay too because there's a barter system on the bar circuit.

We must acknowledge that a person's looks are part of the whole package, and how we present ourselves to the world sends a message about who we are. The trouble starts when people label each other based on looks. Take, for example, the recent episode regarding the arrest of Prof. Gates.

Just as people make assumptions about each other based on race, socio-economic status, etc, people make assumptions based on tits. Women do this to each other, too, but most of my experience with people making assumptions comes from interacting with men on a personal level. While these are purely personal observations, I have noticed that many woman share similar experiences so they must represent of some sort of demographic. I'm not sure which demographic, but it's a demographic for sure. Most likely it's the Menopausal Stoner demographic.

Having made this qualification, let me say it pisses me off that some men think I don't know anything about business and politics on account of I've got tits. My education about business and politics began in 1961 when Lyndon Baines Johnson had to suck up to my great uncle in order to secure the Democratic votes in the Golden Triangle area of Texas. That's Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. As part of the sucking up process, Lyndon came over to my great uncle's house and bounced me on his lap. I was still a baby then. A few years later, I learned just how much old, drunk white men like to have young girls wiggle on their laps - but those men were not politicians. They were my grandfather's business associates and friends from the country club.

A man may have advanced academic degrees, published books or a CV filled with professional accomplishments, but that doesn't mean he knows more about the real world than I do just because I've been on a feminine trajectory. This same Great Uncle was such a crook that the legendary Percy Foreman was his defense attorney in conflict of interest cases. Percy was known for running a wire through a big cigar and lighting it up just as the other side was about to present their case to the jury. The wire kept the ash secured to the cigar so the jury became mesmerized, watching to see when the ash would fall, so they didn't hear a word from the opposition. The question of innocence or guilt is secondary to the cigar - and in this case, the cigar was just a cigar.

I also learned a lot about business and politics from hanging out with The Man from San Antone. Once we caught a ride to Austin on a little private plane with his father and the Texas Supreme Court Judge 60 Minutes had recently accused his father of buying. A gaggle of trial attorneys joked with the judge that their secretaries were named Lucky, Ducky and Fucky. There may have been a senator there. I can't recall. I know it was a senator who put his hand up my skirt at a party at this same father's building. I refuse to get started on what any observant individual can learn about the price of oil simply by osmosis when you hang out with rich guys and legislators in Texas. So I know about politics and business, the price of oil and the prevailing mindset of the judicial system in America. Growing up Female around men like that informs a girl's perspective.

On the personal level, however, you eventually learn that some men are most interested in a woman because she enhances their self-image. Her primary function is to make him feel like a successful alpha male. A woman's looks and social skills are key to this role since the whole idea is for other men to covet a man's possession because that's what he needs to feel like an Alpha. You have to master the art of flattering business associates in a way that makes associates feel sexually potent without thinking you're hitting on them because you are, first and foremost, the alpha male's property. Whether the man in question is your husband or boyfriend - or your grandfather who needs you for business - you're his property. Whether he is, in reality, Alpha or not is entirely debatable.

This role has certain compensations: Money and Protection. I don't know how it works for women who command large salaries in their careers because I've never operated in that environment, but date rape is a drag for anyone. Also, I've never been hung up on being rich because my experiences with the Man from San Antone showed that as comfortable as life can be with vast sums of money, wealth creates a different set of problems. A refrigerator filled with Tattinger does not make those problems easier to bear.

I'm grumpy today because one of those men on the periphery has been disagreeable. It sucks when some guy chastises you for not paying attention to him as if being married shouldn't automatically disqualify him from The Summer Boyfriend Reality Show. It all goes back to those tits and how they make some men him feel better about themselves.

He lives in an affluent, horsey suburb and drives a sedate BMW, but the money comes from his wife's family. Once he wanted me to pretend to be a former business associate and accompany him to some theatrical production where I would have been surrounded by his acquaintances. Like it wouldn't get back to his wife that he was seen in the company of a vibrant younger woman. How fucked up is that?