Friday, August 22, 2014

I'm just trying to make people laugh, so why do I look like an asshole?

Out of all the lessons in life, the most important lesson I’ve learned is

In high school I received an award for “laughing in the face of disaster”.  Little did they know how I’d carry that torch throughout my life and into my various careers.  In the 1980’s I was a disaster and I’m surprised there’s not a hurricane named after me ... yet.  I worked for years in law firms that specialized in treating personal disasters with copious amounts of paper and words; and then in a CPA firm where I handed trembling clients their big yellow envelopes filled with doom and taxation.  It was a perfect lead into the fire department where the work is generated by disasters, either of a personal or geographic nature.  My next career?  Emergency Management.  Yes, its a real job classification.  

Laughter is a response that some people use in lieu of crying.  If there’s crying around me, my first instinct is to cut the mood with some jokes.  This goes over as well as my hysterical laughing jag sitting in the front row of a funeral with my BFF Kathy (circa 1989).  Tears streaming down our faces as we cupped our faces with our hands, hoping people would think we were crying instead of laughing.  

Last month I found a flier on the Starbucks community board that called out for poems addressing domestic violence.  My first response was “ugh, how depressing” fast forward two seconds and I fantasized about offering a funny poem about domestic violence.  You know, to “lighten the mood” a little. The working title is “Nothing Says ‘I’m sorry’ Like a Liquor Store Rose.”

Storytime:  About 14 years ago I was pregnant.  It was October and my wedding anniversary.  We married in October because it’s “Disaster Month”.  We were headed out to San Francisco to stay on a boat for the night all alone in the harbor.  We stopped at the OB/GYN on the way to get my checkup and listen to the heartbeat of our little boy or girl.  It was a regular visit except that we were excited about our anniversary adventure.  They squirted the warm goop on my belly and skidded around for a while to find the tiny heartbeat.  The machine wasn’t picking up anything so they went to the vaginal heartbeat monitor and that’s when time started slowing down, and the quiet became thick and powerful.  My husband was in the room with me, the doc, and the nurse.  Being silent and strong, like he always is.  The doctor removed the monitor and gently put his hand on my knee that was still bent up from my foot in the stirrup.  All he said was “I’m sorry”.  

He told me everything in those two short words.  He told me the baby was gone, I was not pregnant, and I wailed like one of those whales on the relaxation cd.  Seriously, if I had to reproduce that sound right now or get shot in the teeth, I’d have to get shot in the teeth.  It’s a sounds that only happens when you’re heart has been broken.  Actually, it’s more like the heart inside of your heart.  There are not words for that.  

The doctor and nurse left me, my husband, and the machine that didn’t make noise in the small room and I put my head on his huge pectoral muscles and snotted up his black t-shirt so bad that it looked like he had snail races on his shirt the night before.  We considered going back home instead of our weekend in the city, but I wasn’t ready to address my son and daughter back at home.  I was going to be the one who says “I’m sorry” and watch them break.

For the next two days I was in a fog in San Francisco, literally and figuratively.  Floating along with my quiet rock husband.  I’d go into the head (that’s the term for the potty on a boat) and cry because I didn’t want to wreck the weekend after we’d spent so much money on the boat.  

After some days I saw a shrink and that helped.  Then I bought a pair of boots.  And that helped some more.  Then I remembered a scene from Howard Stern’s Private Parts movie and that helped a lot  

Howard and his wife Alison were expecting their first child, when she emerged from the bathroom announcing that she'd just miscarried.  Their crying and holding each other:  Action!
A - I think something's wrong. 

H - Even if I'd put you in the hospital and I pumped you full of every medication possible, you still would've lost the pregnancy.  Your body rejected what was going on.  And that's so healthy.  It's such a good way to look at it.  And in a couple of months, we're gonna try to have a baby again and everything's gonna go great.  You're gonna be totally confident that everything's going good because you know your body would reject it if it wasn't going right... you know?

A - I have to tell my parents.
H - Not really.  We don't have to tell your parents.  You know what you could do? I didn't want to tell you this, but I took a polaroid of the toilet.  And we can just mail them a picture of that, and they can walk around Florida, you know, and say it was our grandchild and your mother will be so happy.  She just wants pictures to show her friends.

And Scene!

They cry, laugh, embrace, and move through it.  

About a year later, we tried and again and that’s when we were blessed with our youngest daughter.  So you see, it all worked out because I got a new pair of boots.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Blogger Queen is Back!

After a four year hiatus while working in the pubic sector (pun intended) I'm coming back with a vengeance. Visit next week for some fresh new posts.

I like you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ready, Aim, Let Go

I had just finished a pathetic attempt at lap swimming in my local gym. Only managing to accomplish about 14 laps, I hoisted my wet self up on the side of the cement pool, slosh, I felt so heavy. Heavy with water, anger, and frustration with the world. I sat on my butt and swung my legs in the cool water while I contemplated my latest failure. Next to me was a hunched over old man who appeared to be perhaps 100 years old and Chinese.

I noticed he didn’t have his own lane so I politely inquired “Do you want my lane? I just finished.” He smiled wide and I saw that he was missing his front lower teeth. He looked like an old rockfish. He was wearing a rubber swim cap pulled down low onto his face. His folds and wrinkles acquiesced in multiple folds to enhance his smile.

He moved over to sit next to me on the side of the pool. He asked “How was your swim?” I replied with embarrassment “Not so good, it’s been a while.” He began talking but I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying because his accent was so strong, sort of like a Chinese character from an old movie. The indoor pool devoured all his words and spit them out like wads of wet toilet paper. At least that’s what my bad ears heard. I did a lot of smiling and nodding.

I had to lean far to my right and twist my head around to hear him better. “Do you work? Swimming will relieve your stress.” He stated. “No, I have kids at home but they’re a lot of work.” His wide football shaped head nodded knowingly with the silly grin stretched on his face. “Your children are like arrow. You aim and hold bow, but you don’t know where it will land. They have their own destiny that you cannot control. This is not your destiny, but theirs only. It will never be yours. You have your own destiny and it is not theirs.”

We sat quietly on the side of the pool for a moment, our feet dangling in the water. I knew that I was hearing a Wise One. “Thank you. You’ve been very helpful to me. Really. Thank you.” Then I put my hand on his bare back warmly as I stood to go. “Did I lighten your heart?” He asked. “Yes, you did.” And I was so grateful for his words of wisdom and this warmth that he exuded. I asked the Wise One “Just who are you?” He quietly answered, and most humbly said “I am nobody.”

I don’t know why I needed his information; but I trust that I will. I’m not sure what the universe has in store for my children or me. It is wise and comforting to remember that, no matter how hard I try (or don’t try), my children have their own path. I find myself worrying more about their own destruction than I do fantasizing about their successes. I try so hard to spare them from pain, sickness, poverty, violence, hatred, lust, disappointment, entitlement, expectation, self-pity, hunger, everything. Everything that life gave me to put me here. Here in my very good life.  I’m a consequence of all my actions and none of my intentions. I love my arrows.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"To Do" or "To Don't"

List making is a medley of procrastinating and high-efficiency.  I have ongoing categorical lists on my iPhone. I use the kids' binder paper for the temporary lists.  Then I have the lists in my head. They are shorter and have things like "eat" and "keegal" on them.

As important as the Holiday "To Do" list is, perhaps a "To Don't"  list is even better because it is a preventative against all that ruins your holiday season.

To Don't

  • Talk to people about their conspiracy theories
  • Cancel any personal appointments for the sake of the family (i.e., hair, exercise, girls night)
  • Start a candied yam fire in the oven. Again
  • Expect to receive great presents that reflect the inner you 
  • Take a break from your anxiety or depression medications to "see how it goes"
  • Try on a swimsuit
  • Break the Santa News to your kids
  • Tell your husband that you don't even want a present this year because you already have everything. Family. And that's what really matters most
  • Quit Weight Watchers because they changed their point system and it's too hard now
  • Invite tons of people over for a Holiday Extravaganza while you have PMS
  • Plan a sober caroling party
  • Make brownies for other people
  • Buy interior paint with naive optimism
 I think I've covered it all. I guess I can check that off my list.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Catering and Party Throwing for Poor People

For my surprise birthday party, I bought myself Amy Sedaris' Simple Times, Crafting for Poor People. It was an incredibly thoughtful present from me.

Her newest book is crammed with good ideas for us all. Here are some of my favorites:

Dropout Crab Claw Roach Clip, in the Nature's Way chapter
Rusty Nail Wind Chime, in the Bipolar Disorder section of the Handicraftable chapter
Glitter Halo, in the Crafting for Jesus chapter

I've been inspired to create a new sideline for myself:  Introducing ...

Catering and Party Throwing for Poor People

Here's a sample menu from the Trailer Park Memorial Service that I'm planning for Ain't Diane this December:

Ketchup Packet Tomato Soup

Backyard Greens Salad

Vegan Swiss Meatballs
(Wonderbread balls in vegetarian gravy)

Top Ramen Explosion
(Special blend of Pork, Chicken, and Shrimp flavor packets)

Dessert is up in the air.  That's not a creation name, I'm telling you that I haven't been inspired yet.  I'll have something to you soon. 

Until then, please note that I have joined Amazon Associates.  This is a special tool that is now included on Bloggerqueen so that I can become rich (and famous).  If you decide to buy any products from Amazon. Enter from here and I make a LITTLE cash.  Don't worry, I'll keep reminding you, as I have many suggestions to make you a little more wicked and a lot more sarcastic!

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Throw A Party For Yourself

Giving someone a giftcard is like saying "Here. Buy your own fucking present." This year, I'm going a step further and I'm throwing my own fucking party too.

Every Friday night I get together with the Country Club Girls. We bring appetizers, desserts, drinks, laughter, concern, consoling, and all other things womanly. My husband calls it "Melanie's Birthday" each week. But his Friday we will be celebrating someone else's birthday, mine!

I'm turning 46 next week and I need a little party and some presents but I hate to be a burden to my friends during such dire times. That's the kind of thoughtfulness we're talking about here folks.

In order to appease my need for presents and be humble and unselfish, I have purchased the presents for myself, and a little chocolate cake filled with coconut, and the card. This is an anti-obligatory party. The best kind.

Last year they passed around a sad little birthday card and signed with the usual "Happy Birthday!!!" People: Extra exclamation marks are lazy and pointless!!! Perhaps they were shouting their standard birthday wish. The signatures were messy and unreadable. I rejected this pathetic attempt and passed around the card again and this time I told them what to say:

Lynn - Tell me that I'm a good person
Catherine - Tell me that you respect my mind
Robin - Tell me I'm your best friend ever
Cathy - Tell me how funny I am

and so on. Needless to say, it was the best birthday card I have ever received.

This year I've purchased a fitting birthday card and filled it out for them. All they have to do is sign their names on the wish they'd like to give me. Here are their choices:

Congratulations on finishing the Triathlon - You Go T.W.A.T.
I wish I was more like you
Are you getting skinnier and smarter?
Clear your calendar - I'm taking you out to lunch!
During my quiet moments, I sometimes think of your smile
It's too bad we're not lesbians, because I would totally be into you

I have also purchased three presents for them to give me. One is very thoughtful, one is predictable, and one is cheap and insulting. I am having them wrapped professionally by my nine-year old.

Happy Birthday To Me!

[In a non-passive/aggressive kind of way. To which no guilt should be sustained by the readers' forgetfulness of this event this year, or hence-forward.]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hot Weather Dinner - Salad Bar Tonight?

Too hot to cook. Almost too hot to eat. But since I'm the cook/nutritionist for my family, I'm not going to just throw in the towel. I'm planning on a salad bar tonight. I'll prep the ingredients and they can throw it all together. However, we always include The Big Three (Carbohydrate, Protein, Earth)

Tonight I'll be making BLT SALAD

Romaine Lettuce
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Thick Cut Bacon, all torn-up
Sourdough Croutons
Dressing: Newmans Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here are some items you have laying around the kitchen. Pull some out and have a Salad Bar Night!

Leftover Cold Pasta
Crunchy Chow Mien Noodles
Cooked Quinoa
Crumbled Tortilla Chips
Corn (the grain most likely to be mistaken for a vegetable)

Canned Kidney Beans
Hard Boiled Egg (see my video!)
Garbanzo Beans
Black Beans
Cheese (grated, so we don't go crazy)
Sunflower Seeds
Tofu (Extra Firm, diced)
Edamame (cooked and shelled)
Frozen Peas
White Chunk Tuna (canned, drained)

Lettuce (Exception: Iceberg has no nutritional value)
Baby Spinach Leaves
Sliced red peppers
mandarin orange slices

After dinner, head out to frozen yogurt, then they can really build a delicious creation!