Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

$$$

Okay, on the Today Show this morning (and on the radio and other news sources over the last week), I heard a report basically saying that, due to the poor economy, women are forced to enter career fields they never would have considered in a healthy economy.
Stripping, for example.
The reporter interviewed a couple of nice folks, including a woman who had been laid off her corporate job and found herself stripping in a gentleman's’ club. That’s certainly a leap!
The report went on to tell us her earnings and the average wages of other women in her tassels, I mean, shoes. Apparently, strippers make an average of $1500 a night in tips alone (not sure what their base pay is), and supposedly earn six figures a year for an average of 4 nights work per week.
Now, there are a lot of strippers out there! They are everywhere ... everywhere. So my question is, if we’ve got all these women out there “earning” more than a million dollars each..... And men out there who are more than willing to drop - collectively - $1500 per night per stripper.....
How much were they making/spending when we had a booming economy?!?! How do these men find that much money to spend on STRIPPERS if our economy is so bad?
Well, I’m certainly no math whiz ... I should probably ask a guy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Standing Still

Is Stockholm Syndrome by Proxy a real thing? Because I think I got it while reading Standing Still by Kelly Simmons.
It is hard to believe this is a debut novel for this amazing writer. It was extremely gripping. From page one until the very end I was riveted and intrigued, yet somehow pacified and placated. It was packed with plot twists and secrets and surprises.... as well as those sentimental, touching moments that make life worth living.
Standing Still is a tender thriller about a troubled woman, Claire, suffering acute panic disorder who finds herself in the middle of her own worst nightmare. She is troubled and flawed and completely relatable. While she was often surprised by her own actions and choices, I still found her extremely sensitive and raw ... alternately weak and strong. I felt a strong sense of connection with Claire so it is no surprise that I also felt ... something ... for her captor.
My copy of Standing Still is now fat with dog-eared pages and a bent binding. It’s splattered with mayonnaise and potato chip grease and anything else that stained my hands while reading it because I, quite truthfully, couldn’t put it down.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maggie

Maggie wears her faith like a favorite old tee shirt. Soft and comfy, nostalgic. Perhaps it's a reminder of better times when the world starts getting rough. Perhaps it’s warm and dry after getting caught in the rain. Perhaps it’s simply her signature look! It is stained with blood, sweat and tears.... spit-up from her babies, fur from her dog. It’s been hugged and tugged, washed and worn.... but it holds up oh-so-very-well because Maggie takes such amazing care of it. And of this I can be absolutely certain: it still looks damn good on her!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Drifting South by Charles Davis

This being the era of social networking, recently I have found myself in contact with people I haven’t known for over twenty years via the wonders of Facebook. I find myself attempting to sum up my life in a brief paragraph or two and it sounds, frankly, embarrassingly pathetic. What the hell have I been doing for the last twenty years?
So the timing was right for me to read Drifting South by Charles Davis. The main character finds himself back in the real world after 21 years of incarceration, where he self-educated his way into some sort of understanding of himself and his surroundings. I was fond of the way he seemed almost childish in his beliefs and interpretations of the world around him. Clinging to memories and half-truths, he returned to his old “home” in search of answers and, perhaps, even vengeance.
Mr. Davis is a new author and I felt his work was brilliant. He is an amazing storyteller. With twists and turns, mistakes and triumphs, I walked along with our storyteller until my own feet hurt and my own discoveries surfaced.
Our “hero” drifted between memories and dreams and revelations, bouts of grandeur and humility and simplicity. He rose and sank and ultimately found his place in this celestial body and I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the ride!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why I Feel Like I Was Hit By A Greasy Bus!

Lately I have had some weird premonitions that have been coming true. Mostly I will simply have a nightmare or strange dream and then, weeks later, see it on the news (like a plane crash where people were standing in the water on the wings of the plane). This has been happening enough to be eerie, but I have not had the urge to make any official reports, or anything.
Last evening at work, I had an overwhelming feeling that my tire was flat. I park my car a good hour’s train ride from my work, so I don’t usually give it much thought unless I am in it! It certainly did strike me as odd that I would be consumed with the thought of a flat tire.
It was approximately 9:30pm when I arrived at the train station parking lot and, sure enough, my tire was flat! Not just flat, really, but kind of mutilated! Like someone had taken a gouge out of it! I am sure I just hit something on my way to work without realizing it until some vague memory worked it’s way to the surface in the evening.....
I was hoping to use a can of Fix-A-Flat, but the hole in the tire told me otherwise. Make no mistake, I have changed more than a tire or two in my lifetime. I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty, that’s for sure. But I had never changed a tire on my Celica, and it was really a pain in the neck!
Luckily, I was parked in a well-lit, albeit not terribly well-patrolled, parking garage, so I had light and plenty of room to work. The jack for my car leaves something to be desired, though. It took me the better part of 20 minutes to get the car jacked up ... additionally, the nuts and bolts were so strongly connected, it was like separating Siamese twins. I had to jump on the crowbar (whatever it is called, I don’t care, I AM a chick!) several times to get them to turn!
Sidebar: Righty Tighty - Lefty Loosey really will save your life someday!
While I was working on the business at hand, some poor young man approached tentatively. Only because his car was parked near mine. He had fear in his eyes and I could see him scanning the lot for an alternate route to his own vehicle. Our eyes met and he said, “You all set?” Like he was checking to see if I had all my feminine products in order, or something. “Yeah, I’m fine.” I said, letting him off the hook. It was with relief that he scurried into his own car and fled the scene!
Once I was safely alone in the parking garage surrounded by nuts and bolts and various tire-changing tools, I couldn’t get the damn tire off the car! I had to turn my back on little Connie Celica and give the tire several good back kicks until it finally budged.
Ugh.
I was covered in grease and dirt and frustration (and I was just a little freaked out - remember I did predict this!) and all I wanted to do was go to bed!
So, while changing a tire on my Explorer had almost been a pleasure, I am ready to give Miss Celica away to the first person who who happens by ... !
Just letting you know.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Milk

A few years ago, I spent the day at IKEA with my friend, Rick. It had been a nice day when we entered the store, but, at some point during the several hours spent there, it had started to rain.
As we pulled out of the parking garage, I said, “Oh! It’s pouring rain!” Rick replied, “As opposed to what, milk?”
Well, I saw Milk today. I know why Sean Penn won an Oscar and I know why the film has been so highly regarded. It really had a true, gritty feeling to it and, although much of the dialog and intimate moments were fiction based on the truth, it felt incredibly real to me.
I got mad! I felt elation! I cried ......
I will never know how one man (or woman) could look at another and believe that person has no basic civil rights! It infuriates me! And to have the audacity to do it in the name of God, well, that’s just deplorable!
When Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man ever elected to public office in California, he stood under an umbrella in the pouring rain and said, “Anita Bryant said that it was gay people who brought the drought to California. Well, it looks to me like it’s finally started raining!”
And it rained for me today. It was absolutely pouring Milk!
And it left behind the most amazing rainbow!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What a Difference a Day (or two) Makes







Borderline, Wednesday and Allie enjoy spring!

Friday, March 6, 2009

What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in a swimming pool?

Yesterday I went to a new salon and a new stylist for a new hairdo.
My stylist was awesome! She was young and cool. She had a lot of tattoos. She asked a lot of questions. She looked me in the eye. She really listened to me. I told her I did not want a bob. I told her she could do anything she wanted. ANYTHING! I told her I was funky and fun and that I wanted something to reflect my personality. We spent the afternoon together chatting and processing and primping and fluffing ....
... and 4 hours later,
I walked out with a bob.
What the hell?
Not only do stylists seem to not listen, I have been to more than a handful of salons in the last few years that do not include a tip line on the receipt. Which I always seem to forget in the 9 months between appointments. In an industry that expects tipping, I cannot understand why it is nearly impossible for a customer to do so! So, not only am I paying a great deal for the one hairdo I specifically said I didn’t want, I can’t even leave a tip for my new stylist.
So, I went to a nearby ATM where I promptly forgot my PIN. After 5 attempts to remember the exact 4 digits in the exact sequence, the ATM told me to back away slowly.
I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t have enough cash to give her a tip. I was freaking out and feeling like a schmuck who can’t get any money and doesn’t leave a tip in a nice salon. I honestly did not know what to do.
So I went to the bar.
Three beers and several onion rings later, my card was denied while I was in the bathroom!
Are you kidding me?
I knew it was some gallant security measure since someone had just attempted to withdraw money from my account, but that did not make it any less embarrassing! Meanwhile, my friend paid the tab and gave me the shameful news about my card.
To put a big dollop of pink icing on this little cupcake, the unattractive, unpleasant, older bartender - who refused to look me in the eye - thanked my friend vigorously and, yes, hit on her!
Ugh!
I have a freaking bob.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Deja Vu Book

Only twice in my life have I read a book more than once (other than children’s books and poetry): Little Women and To Kill A Mockingbird. I read them a second time because I loved them as a child and wanted to revisit them as an adult, not because I couldn’t remember them or the outcome of the stories. I usually remember books very well. I think the reason I can’t remember what I wore to work yesterday is because my head is full of other people’s admittedly more interesting stories.
So, that is why what happened with Vinegar Hill, a novel by A. Manette Ansay, is so strange.
I had finished another book and had nothing of interest on deck, so in a rush to leave the house the other morning, I perused my bookshelves for something new to read.
I saw Vinegar Hill tucked in amongst several books I remembered very well, with only a vague memory of owning the book (I think I should mention that it would have been within the last two years that I purchased this book.). I picked it up. It looked somewhat recognizable, but I couldn’t remember anything about it. Oprah apparently liked it. I read the back cover. Nothing. No real surprise there, though, since I rarely read the back cover. I flipped through a couple of pages and nothing looked even remotely familiar. I thought, perhaps I bought this book and then forgot to read it!
So I took it with me to read on my commute. As I began reading, I remembered each and every word ... as I read them. But I could not remember, for the life of me, what was going to happen next. I thought I would just read for the first leg of my journey and then grab a magazine or something to entertain me until I could pick up a book I hadn’t read.
But I couldn’t put the damn thing down. Each and every word on each and every page made me say to myself, “Yes! I remember that!” But I never could remember what came next. To the very last page. None of the words jogged my memory beyond the end of the sentence.
So, for the better part of a week, I was in a strange state of deja vu. It was, frankly, rather irritating!
I will say, however, and this makes the fact that I had apparently blocked it from my memory even more bizarre, it was a good book. It was a chick book, make no mistake, and a sad one at that, but it was well-written and heartfelt and while I certainly wouldn’t read it a third time, I have no plans of throwing it away in the near future!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Under the Banner of Heaven

If Ron Lafferty were deemed mentally ill because he obeyed the voice of God, isn’t everyone who believes in God and seeks guidance through prayer mentally ill as well? In a democratic republic that aspires to protect religious freedom, who should have the right to declare that one person’s irrational beliefs are legitimate and commendable, while another person’s are crazy? How can a society actively promote religious faith on one hand and condemn a man for zealously adhering to his faith on the other?

Under the Banner of Heaven - A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer is a work of non-fiction exploring two main stories: the origin of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the 1984 murders committed by Ron and Dan Lafferty, two brothers who subscribed to a fundamentalist version of Mormonism. The Lafferty brothers believe God commanded them to murder another brother’s wife and her 15 month old daughter.
This investigative book explores all aspects of the Mormon and Mormon Fundamentalist faiths and the extremes surrounding both. Jon Krakauer is a brilliant writer, and although this book contains an incredible amount of information, it was still an interesting, albeit unimaginably shocking, read. One that forces the reader to think and ask questions....
excellent qualities in a book, in my opinion.