Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Making Up Stories

For the last few days, I’ve been really angry at my son. When texting came into vogue—a time I remember quite well because he had a girlfriend who discovered it and realized she could contact him anywhere, even in middle school class, and proceeded to do so, oh, not more than every forty seconds, sixteen hours a day, a fact I discovered when I got the cell-phone bill—my son realized if he played things right he may never have to listen to my voice ever again.

That’s working for him.

I’ve learned my calls to him will only make it as far as Voice Mail or, as he terms it, I-must-have-pressed-the-wrong-button-and-deleted-it. Our conversations are text bites. Me: WILL U B HOME 2NITE? And him: SEND $$ 2DAY. Me: ?LOW BATT? Which is my equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and saying, “La la la la la.”

Sometimes I can’t rouse him to even answer a text, though, and that makes me so friggin’ mad because it’s impossible to reduce “How can you be so disrespectful after all I’ve done for you, ESPECIALLY knowing I’m wondering if you’re laying dead in a ditch somewhere. This is serious. I mean, really serious. Please at least give me the courtesy of a yes or no. I need to know RIGHT THIS MINUTE if I should set the table for three people or two” to only a handful of words.

So the last few days, I couldn’t rouse him. Which made me really angry.

He finally landed at home long enough for me to actually confront him face-to-face, an occasion when I realized that he’s a foot taller than me and has whiskers.

After checking ID, I berated him for not answering my texts—not the ones I’d sent earlier that day, nor the ones from the day before, and, come to think of it, not the ones from last week, either. He asked if I’d programmed in the new cell phone number he’d sent me and deleted his old one.



Kind of reminded me of a time not long ago when I thought a friend’s lack of response to a note I’d sent her meant she had decided she no longer wanted to be my friend, probably because I’d forgotten her birthday, but that was to be understood, wasn’t it, because it wasn’t like she’d remembered mine six months before that, and before that, I’d invited her to Christmas dinner, and she hadn’t even responded till a few days before, which was probably because she’d never forgiven me for calling her Chubs when we were in high school. Then I found out her mother had died, and she was at the funeral.

Hmph. She hadn’t mentioned that on Facebook.

Maybe I should keep the storytelling to my books and out of real life. And remember real life doesn’t show up on my smart phone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Lance is my husband; I don’t think I’ve introduced him before. I acquired him in early fall--one of the best choices of my life--and tomorrow, almost exactly six months to the day later, we sign some papers and acquire a new house.

You know the drill--along with the excitement and the sense of adventure comes a ginormous amount of work, money changing hands, and fear. And that was just the lead-up to the marriage. Ta-rum-pum.

I joke. But I’m not really joking.

I’ve got a real thing about change. I always want to take life by the shoulders and shake it to a halt so I can breathe easy for a while. At the same time, I also believe Go For It! would make a nice addition to the Ten Commandments. (I mean no offense. Don’t write.) I know great things can happen if I suck it up, have some faith, and just leap.

And this is a leap. To a more rural area than I’ve lived before. To a house that will require a lot of sweat equity. To a different county.

Okay, so Lance has lived in other parts of the world, and what is the big deal, anyway? And it’s not like I’ve never moved. I’ve moved around the state. The eastern part of the state. Mostly the northeastern part that doesn’t extend more than forty miles outside my metro area. I am now three miles from where I grew up, and a different county is a big deal. Capisce?

As some of you already know, Lance is interested in apple trees. (Hang in there, this is going someplace.) For Christmas, I gave him a couple of books on growing apples. One of the things we looked for in a new house was a bit of land where he could plant at least two trees (at least two are needed for cross-pollination).

The current owners of our new house, Dr. & Mrs. B, have already retired to Texas but are in town this week. Yesterday, Lance was at the new house to meet with a fence guy (we have a big dog), and happened to meet Dr. B. Dr. B once had a dental practice. After he retired, he turned author and published six books in the young adult genre. He’d heard of me, knew I’d published five books in the romance genre. Wild.

Dr. B showed Lance around the yard, which was, he said, once populated with more trees than are there now (and there are plenty there now). In fact, he and Mrs. B. loved trees so much, it’s the reason the house’s design is all elbows and knees--they didn’t want to cut any down.

I love these people.

Dr. B pointed out a pecan tree. “It doesn’t yield many pecans, and what it does, the squirrels get.”

And he showed Lance a pear tree. “There are always lots of pears. The squirrels get most of those, too.”

They walked a little further.

“A giant oak fell there in a storm.” Dr. B indicated a clearing between some big oaks still standing sentry.

When we'd first looked at the house, Lance had told me he could plant the trees that he wanted. I liked the idea; I'd see them from our kitchen window.

“When it fell," Dr. B continued, "It took out the two apple trees I'd planted there.”

I don’t feel fearful about this move anymore. In fact, along with my new husband, I know it's one of the best choices of my life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Finding Balance

If anyone can figure out the whole hormone replacement therapy thing, clue me in, would you? It has something to do with finding the right balance between estrogen and testosterone.

Which is all fine, except it’s so darned experimental. Apparently, if we take too much estrogen, we’ll grow a third foot or, possibly, a polyp or two. I hate the word polyp. It just sounds so… polyp-y.

On the other hand, if we take too much testosterone, we end up with too much free testosterone, which, I’m assuming, is much worse than, I dunno, incarcerated testosterone. Maybe jails are exploding with the stuff, and, in the current economic climate, the last thing we want to do is spend our tax dollars on rounding up testosterone to throw behind bars. Our tax dollars are much better spent on bankers and corporate officers who don’t have the sense not to order a $40 million private jet with public money.

Which I think says something meaningful about testosterone, but I haven’t figured out what that is.

Back to HRT. I’ve learned enough to know that testosterone levels need to stay up in order to support a good libido. Now, there’s a word for you. Much, much better than polyp. Libido sounds fun. Think hullabaloo and whoopee and oh, baby, oh, baby, oh. See what I mean?

But give yourself too much of a good thing and you end up growing, not another foot, or even a polyp, but something much uglier: A two-inch black hair that sprouts on your cheek just in front of your right ear.

Oh, c’mon. Quit ewww-ing. If you’re female and over 45, you’ve had one of those. It’s the one that you miss, even with a superb magnifying mirror, bright make-up lights, and a pair of tweezers that could pick up Jell-O. But you don’t miss it forever. No, when you’re out with the man of your dreams, and a breeze blows, you discover it because it tickles your cheek. Then, no matter how hard and unobtrusively you try to wrap it around your index finger and yank—-and unobtrusively is hard under these circumstances—-it Won’t. Come. Out.

Of course, this leaves your cheek red, illuminating your one big character defect. You know, that one that indicates you haven’t found the right balance.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What goes around...

We’re selling a house and buying a house and along with all that comes chimney inspections. Ours is in need of repair. It shouldn’t be, because the previous homeowner said he’d fixed what was wrong when I bought the house four years ago. He hadn’t.

This fixing of chimneys is a tricky business because it’s not only very expensive, you can’t really see what you’re getting. It’s a matter of trust and faith. I have a lot of faith. But I also tend to put my trust into hands that I shouldn’t.

Mea culpa.

And shame on him.

During the time I’ve lived here, I’ve continued to get mail for the former owner. Some of it has looked really official and serious, but, having no forwarding address, I sent it back to the post office.

The other day, the same day I found out about the chimney, the postman handed me a document that required a signature. I started to sign, then realized it was meant for the former owner. I was happy to hand it back. This particular missive looked really, really official and really, really serious, and I was glad I was dealing with chimney repairs and not the IRS agent who’d sent it.

I’ve heard the IRS can be very, very expensive, much more than the repairs on a chimney. My trust may have been misplaced, but my faith remains intact.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cat Behaving Badly

I love my cat, I really do. Recently, she learned that what the dog can do, she can, too. Namely, use the double-doored hole in the garage wall to get out of the house. We don’t necessarily want her to be outside the house, but in the interests of keeping the dog happy, who was, after all, here first (as she likes to remind us), we can’t close that door.

So my cat, whom I love, I really do, has now turned from plump fireside kitty into sleek and mighty feline warrior. She spends her nights, or at least parts thereof, terrorizing small animals.

How do I know this?

Because she likes to bring them, or parts of them, inside. Like the dead chipmunk I stumbled over in the kitchen doorway. Or, my personal favorite, the bird’s head deposited next to my closet. I have a feeling the rest of said bird could be somewhere inside, but because it’s touch-and-go whether anyone who enters my closet, even on a good day and without the possibility of a dead bird, or parts of it, buried under the pile of shoes in the corner, will ever emerge again, I haven’t gone in to look.

I love my cat, I really do.

She illustrates something I need to remember. That everyone sometimes behaves badly. No, wait; I’ve phrased that wrong. I mean, sometimes people behave in a way I don’t like. Sometimes, they just behave according to their nature. Sometimes, they do something that has consequences they didn’t expect or intend. Usually, it’s nothing personal, nothing intended to harm me or hurt my feelings or ruin my day or even make me walk into my closet.

And how do I know that? Because I do it, too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just a slight pause...

... in case you haven't noticed, and you probably haven't, I stopped blogging over a year ago. Almost two years ago. You see, I write about my everyday life. And my everyday life suddenly got romantic back in July of 08. It culminated this past September in getting married. While I love sharing my thoughts with you, this was a pretty personal deal, and since my thoughts didn't seem to wander too far from this pretty personal deal, I stopped blogging.

Clear as mud? Thought so.

If you're still checking every once in a while, keep doing so, as I plan to get rolling on this blog-thing again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Acting Your Age

I was in Texas earlier in the month – always an experience, Texas. I’ve decided I love driving there. When I drove there the first time, it terrified me, because every time I looked in my rearview mirror, there was a pickup grill looking back. They don’t drive anything except pickups in Texas. But now I like the way they drive, because they’ve made things so simple. If you want to pass, you get up on someone’s bumper, they move over, and everyone’s happy. I mean, I have a Honda CRV, which can’t terrorize anyone. But when I get up on someone’s bumper, they still pull over. It makes me feel powerful. If I did that in my city, they wouldn’t pull over, they’d pull out an AK-47. Which would make me feel dead.

But that isn’t really what I wanted to talk about. When I was in Texas, my niece said that she didn’t like seeing people acting younger than they actually are. Wait, not people. She said, women. Probably because men never grow up, so she’s not carrying the same expectations for them. (Oh, c’mon, don’t send mail... you know none of us do.) Okay, I can agree with her to a point because I’ve never thought micro-mini’s and pigtails go well with laugh lines and jowls, but...

Well, I decided a while back – I think it was about the time I turned 50 - that age was irrelevant. Yes, thinking about it, it was exactly at the time I turned 50, because that decision kept me from driving off a bridge.

I went to to see Chicago and the Doobie Brothers this past June. To clarify, these are singing groups. Don’t ask, as my niece did, “Did you see the Natural History Museum while you were there?” Sweetheart. Dearest. That’s not cute.

It was an outdoor concert. I went with a similarly-aged friend, and we hooted and clapped and danced in the aisles – and we were glad there was nobody there of a respectable age. You know, like my niece. I only once decided we should act more dignified – that was when the overhead clapping started. You know what I’m talking about. It’s when somebody in the band drops his guitar so it hangs by the strap around his neck, then claps his hands over his head, like he’s signaling emergency rescue. And then the audience joins in. Well, it struck me that most of the women there had flaps that could slow a cargo plane. It wasn’t pretty.

But, otherwise, I thought we all looked pretty cool. Even after storm clouds thundered in and tornado sirens sounded in the next county which prompted a lot of cell phone activity, but nobody left, even after lightning flashed, and the skies opened up. Instead, being cool, we all crowded under covered walkways. The concert was suspended for twenty minutes, and then I guess the organizers thought, what the hell, or else they thought, lawsuits for an electrocution or two might be cheaper than refunding everyone’s $72.50 ticket.

Once the music started again, I can assure my niece that the walkways looked like any other mosh pit at any other rock concert. Except, maybe, for the umbrellas. You know, when you get to an irrelevant age, you have these knee-jerk needs to be practical when you’re standing outside in severe storm warnings during a rock concert.

About a half hour before the concert ended, the rain subsided enough that we could go back to our seats, although we couldn’t sit in them because they were too wet. Oh, that’s not another example of practicality; that’s just ego. When you walk around with a wet tush when you’re of an irrelevant age, people don’t immediately jump to the idea you were at a rock concert in the rain. They just think you forgot your Depends.

Another cool thing happened. A cute-looking guy ducked under my umbrella while we were clapping – or rather, he was clapping because I haven’t figured out how to hold an umbrella and clap at the same time. It’s not something I mastered in my youth. Actually, I don’t think I ever held an umbrella in my youth. But nothing came of anything, even though he was cute; I think because I looked really stupid trying.

Concert over, but storm still underway, my friend and I headed to the car. Outside the concert bowl, and between the tall, very tall, trees that line the path to the parking lot, we could see bolts of lightning splitting the nighttime sky.

I guess she was feeling kind of foolish – I’m not sure; I couldn’t study her expression because I was busy trying to look nonchalant. She turned to me and said, “And how old are we?”

I pondered, then lifted my chin. “Old enough that nobody can tell us not to do this.”

Which is a really great age to be when you think about it. Not that I plan to be a lightning rod again in the near future, but I like being this old, and I like not caring what anyone thinks. Not even my niece (whom, if she is reading this: I love you very much, sweetheart, and I forgive you). I can still dance at rock concerts. I can still ride somebody’s ass all the way to Corpus Christi. And nobody can tell me not to.