Friday, September 30, 2011

How I Got A Dead Guy On Me

Yesterday was a gorgeous, beautiful fall, cloud-free-blue-sky day. J and I decided to take advantage of it to go hiking at Smith Rock. She decided to take further advantage by bringing along the ashes of her recently deceased father, reasoning that she'd like for him to be in places where she can best remember him. I didn't have a problem with this. First of all, I'd be an asshole if I did. Second, I want to be cremated myself but I've been thoughtful enough to let people know where I want my ashes scattered. J wasn't so lucky with her dad and had to come up with her own locations. Smith Rock is as good a place as any.

I didn't even get creeped out by the sight of his ashes in the little plastic baggy she carried. My parents had their stupid dog cremated and I saw her ashes. That fucking dog. There are no pictures of me in my parents' house, but the dog had her portrait painted and a freaking shrine set up after she died. Not that I'm bitter. Bygones.

So I didn't even think twice when she dropped the first set under a tree next to the river. And neither one of us thought to pay attention to which way the wind was blowing. Yep. She turned her little baggy over and I was standing right in their little wind-blown path. I've never met the man but I feel that we are intimately acquainted now. I think part of him got into a few of my pores. I hope he was a leg man, because that's where he went. And that's when I got completely, utterly, creepily ooged out. Dead guy. On my body. I kind of wanted to throw up. And scream. And jump into the river to wash him off. And sweat profusely to push him back out of my pores.

For the second scattering, I made sure to stay far away from any ash spray. And there's really nothing more to say about that.

I just hope he stays put and enjoys the view and doesn't haunt me for being grossed out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Things I Did This Weekend. For Anyone Who Remotely Gives a Shit.

I went to a friend's house and drank Bloody Marys while watching trash TV and using her dryer because my POS is broken. It got borked. I got a little borked because I'm a baby drinker now after having vertigo and barely drinking for a month. The corn nuts made up for it. So did the bacon pizza.

I watched my Bugabooga sing at the Roots Festival. I was so nervous for her because this was her first real public performance (because a school choir in front of a bunch of other parents doesn't really count) but then she said she didn't care because only "old people" showed up, her friends weren't there and she had a cold so she didn't feel like it. She did mess up one part of the first song, but it wasn't a big deal and she kept playing. I thought she sounded so beautiful and, if I wasn't so focused on trying to record her on my little camera without shaking all over the place, I would have been a heap of tears and kleenex on the floor. She just fit up there. Like she'd just been doing it forever. She had instant groupies.

Drove to Portland and back in a day to take the Singing Diva clothes shopping. She agreed to try on more of what I showed her than completely rejecting my suggestions so I feel we have made progress. Also, her style is more Bohemian/Classic Hepburn than anything resembling Jersey Shore Skank, so I feel I've done my job in that department. We ate crab fondue, which was the most sensually satisfying experience I've had in months except I had to contain myself with Sesame Street words like "oh, this is yummy" instead of taking the bowl into a back room and rolling around in it. It was a close call with the mashed potatoes too.

The drive back was anything but orgasmic. It was dark and raining and I was stuck behind a trailer. Seriously, Oregon drivers are the biggest dumbasses. There are turnouts every quarter mile for a reason, fuck puppet!! He was just lucky I still had some of my chocolate shake left to tame my road rage.

I bought a pair of Dr. Seuss Converse for me and Halloween pajamas for my dogs. And I wasn't embarrassed to do either. Just a typical walk on the wild side.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Most Hated Question

I'm working on the first assignment in my first graduate class. One of the questions, I am not kidding you, is "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" I hate this question. The person who invented it should be made to die a slow and painful death.

I don't even know what this means. And why five years? Why is five the magic number? Is that when goals are supposed to be suddenly realized? Why not two years? 3.5? And where do I see myself? Sheesh, I hardly know what I'm doing six months from now, let alone five years. The plans I made last week for this week have already changed. Life isn't static, there's no guarantee that my five-year plan will pan out. If I had one. Hell, five years ago I didn't imagine I'd be in the situation I am now. And five years before that? Nothing has ever turned out the way I thought or hoped.

You know what else? This question just makes me feel like a failure before I even start. Because I don't have a five-year plan, I feel like there's something wrong with me. The fact that it's even asked implies that there are people out there who have their shit together with five-year plans followed by ten and fifteen and twenty-year plans. I hate those people. I won't be friends with them. If you are one of those people, don't introduce yourself to me. I will shun you. Openly.

Here are the only things I know for sure. I will have more gray hair. The bastards are multiplying as I speak. I'll have a dog because I can't and don't want to live without one. My kid will be in college. At least she better be. I will still love food. I will still be trying to lose weight. I will still wish I had more money and hate paying bills. My moisturizer will be my best friend.

I don't think this is exactly what the instructor is looking for, however. I also don't think she wants me to fantasize about winning the lottery and quitting whatever job I have to travel the world. Or how my dream is to have a huge kitchen with a double oven, a sub-zero refrigerator and a pizza oven. Or that I wonder if I'll still be single or get cancer. It's more entertaining and much more interesting to me, but not very academic.

This is definitely going to take some creative writing. Lying. Finessing. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Missed Connections

I got a text from the wife last week telling me I was in Missed Connections. For those of you who don't know, it's a section in the personal ads on Craigslist. It's along the lines of "You were in line at McDonald's ordering extra cheese on your Quarter Pounder and wearing capris that showed off your cankles. Call me if you see this, I'd like to buy you a Big Mac." Some of them are romantic, some of them are just downright pervy.

I didn't believe it at first but when I went to check it out, he had pretty much described me AND the wife to a T. I was the "cute girl on the trail". I didn't know if I should be really excited and flattered or totally creeped out. These things can really only go one of two ways.

Out of sheer curiosity, and at the urging of almost all of my girlfriends, I wrote him back. And then I waited. With a few dozen thoughts bouncing around in my head. "What if he's super hot?" (Wife said he wasn't.) Maybe he's The One. This would make the greatest story ever. Wait, what if he's a total psycho and starts cyber-stalking me? I should have used a fake name. What if he's really short? What if we fall in love? What if we don't? Maybe he said cute "girl" because he's a child molester." Yeah, I know, I sound totally crazy and neurotic but I'm a girl. This is what we do.

After a few emails (most confirming that I was in fact the "cute girl" he had seen), he got right down to it. He's looking for a partner. (Which, personally, I hate. Partner? What does that even mean? Golf partner? Dance partner? Business partner? Gay is what usually comes up for me when I hear "partner".) Okay, so it's good to be upfront about these things. I guess. He has kids. Okay. Not unusual. He likes to run and mountain bike. Uh huh, totally normal for Central Oregon. And - ladies and gentlemen - he's a Sunday school teacher.

Um. Hold the fucking phone.

I am not Church Girl. I formerly lived with the King of Swearing. I now regularly hang out with the Queen of Swearing. I have a huge potty mouth. I kind of just have a big mouth. I'm the mom that plays the music in the car really loud. The music that's unedited. With the kid in the car. I drink. Like a fish. I smoke cigars. Does any of this fit into the image of a Sunday school teacher's "partner"? Yeah, not so much.

We did talk on the phone. Because I'd had a couple of martinis and thought why the hell not? I think he brought up sex at one point. Hmmm, presumptuous much? Also, something I said was "stupid." Well then.

I emailed him to let him down and tell him that I just didn't feel a connection (missed or otherwise). His response was that I've been on my own for too long. Which really = too independent. Maybe I am. Too independent. But maybe I'm not. And maybe if I weren't I wouldn't be the person that I am. Which may not be Church Girl, but I think is pretty awesome anyway.

At any rate, I'm not apologizing for who I am. And I'll stay independent for now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nature Is Gross

Yesterday, while walking the river trail, the Wife pointed out a group of male ducks chasing a female and informed me that they were gang raping her. Yeah. Like that's how they mate or something gross. Personally, I don't equate gang rape with mating; I'd rather call it some horrible, disgusting form of impregnating.

Of course I had to Google this phenomenon when I got home. Not that I didn't believe the wife, she knows some shit about birds and animals. It just sounded too horrific. I wish I wouldn't have done that. There were videos. It's definitely rape. Then there was some science-y stuff about how duck penises have evolved to better force entry into duck vaginas and how duck vaginas have in turn evolutionized to better thwart the attempts of the penises. It's all so violent.

Seriously, this is so upsetting that I can't even think that little ducklings are cute anymore now that I know they're really rape babies. Next spring I'll be all, "Oh, look at that duck with her little rape babies." I won't even feel bad about eating duck. As long as it's a male duck.

So then this morning I was noticing the spider webs in my garage. At least a quarter of my blogs are written about my issues with spiders so it's no wonder that I am always on the lookout for them. Specifically black widows. One of the webs in the corner had six or seven egg sacs on it. Ew! Doesn't each sac hold like hundreds of babies? I do not need that in any part of my house. Ever. I looked on the other side of the garage door and the mother bitch was hanging out over there. With three more egg sacs and some recently hatched babies. I sprayed them all with Raid. All of the little motherfucking cocksucking assholes. Every. last. one. And then I swept them out next to the garbage can. And before you ask, the spraying of toxic poisons was not overkill. I wanted to make sure they were dead. Like I need a gazillion baby spiders growing up and taking over my house. No fucking thank you.

Yep. I think I'm done with nature for a while. Cute things are getting creepy and the creepy things are just getting creepier. Mother Nature is a twisted bitch.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Memory of Today

I'm not sure I want to write this, even as I'm doing it. There's already so much about today and its history. Websites, blogs, television shows, news stories are being dedicated to what happened 10 years ago. I don't have anything profound to add. I know it changed me somehow, but I don't know in what way. Not for sure. I was thousands of miles away. It's less concrete for me than the people that were there, who lost loved ones, who have scars and holes in their lives. Those who mourn for real. But it did mean something and it does mean something. For what it's worth, this is my memory of September 11, 2001.

My boyfriend at the time had spent the night on the 10th, we were leaving in two days for a friend's wedding in Hawaii. He had gone home that morning to get ready for work and I went back to sleep, only to be woken by him calling me ten minutes later. "Turn on the TV." Why? "Just do it. DO IT!!" By the time the west coast was awake and aware of what was happening, both towers had fallen. We knew it was a terrorist attack. We woke up in fear. And shock.

D was in kindergarten. The other parents and I stood around in silence. We didn't know how to talk about it. Or how to tell our kids. If to tell them. She found out shortly that planes had crashed. But to her, blissfully, New York might as well have been another country. And the planes toy planes. I didn't watch the news when she was in the room. She didn't know that there was horror or evil. She didn't understand any of it until it was taught as part of a history class in seventh grade. We've only recently talked about it.

I think the eeriest part for me was the silence. I don't live in a large city, I don't even think about planes flying over me daily. I hardly notice them. But I noticed then. The silence was deafening. It was like the world stopped.

There was no trip to Hawaii so we decided to take advantage of the days we had off to go to Victoria, B.C. I'd never been and I would have fallen in love with it anyway, it's a beautiful city, but I especially love it because I was there in the days after. There were signs everywhere - theater marquees, restaurant signs, church boards. "God bless our US neighbors." "Keep America in your prayers." There was a memorial set up in front of the Parliament Building with flowers, cards and candles and we stopped by there every day to pay our own tribute. We felt loved and accepted, part of a new community and something bigger than ourselves. I will never forget how I felt that weekend. If there was a perfect place to be during a time filled with fear and sadness, Victoria was it. I would never do it any differently.

Coming home was not fun. We waited in a line of cars for three hours to cross the border. They asked us where we'd been and why. What had we done. Where specifically had we gone? They went through our suitcases, looked under the seats of the car. This was home? This is who we are? We don't trust each other now? Canada had waved us in so friendly. We weren't welcomed home.

Maybe that's what I miss the most. Trust. That we've become divided more than ever. An event that should have united us more than ever has had the opposite effect, in the long run. That's the saddest part. I still love us though. U.S. We're damaged. Still. We're hurt and that's why we act like we do. We need to remember that we're better than this. We can do better. Right?

I hope so. And I can't be the only one.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

My Summer List

My biggest tantrum won't stop it. Fall is coming. I can tell by the location of the sun in the sky and the faint smell in the air. The biggest indicator is that school is starting this week, but I'm going to stay in denial about that one for a couple more days. It's not completely gone, we still have temps in the 80's so I'm going to squeeze out the last drops of sun while I can.

This has been a busy summer though, so I just want to take a second to recap all that I have learned. In list form, of course. It's how I roll.

1. My friends have my back. In an "I'ma cut you!" kind of way. The feeling is mutual. Don't mess with my posse.

2. My kid is really awesome when I'm not wanting to kill her. And smarter than I give her credit for.

3. My dog is allergic to insects. Benadryl must be purchased.

4. Beer is better than I thought, but it still makes me pee like a racehorse.

5. Vertigo sucks.

6. Being unemployed in the summer isn't half bad.

7. Life is short and scary, but being scared isn't living.

8. Rafting is totally fun. Even if I didn't get the Princess Cruise.

9. Tomato pie is freaking delicious.

10. I'm not in shape.

11. I'm done having babies.

12. Men are camping accessories but booze is not.

13. Making out is as fun as I remembered.

14. Certain species of humans shouldn't breed.

15. Old friends stay friends.

16. I really don't like weddings.

17. Funerals are sad, but I'm lucky that I've only been to a handful in my life.

18. It can always get worse.

19. It can also get better.

20. I'm a very lucky girl and new adventures make me a better person.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

In Remembrance

He was a programmer. Tall, soft-spoken, kept to himself. He frightened me a little. Especially when I had to pester him about looming deadlines.

And then I sat next to him for a year. We talked about our mutual California backgrounds, our kids, trips to Mexico, my cruise, his sailing and diving. We complained about work and made fun of co-workers. He went on a weight-loss plan with another co-worker. Every Friday they got out a scale and weighed themselves at his desk. He won most of the weeks' weigh-ins and he won overall. On our company river float I saw this guy on his paddle board. Tall, toned, muscular arms. Tan. Oh crap! That's my co-worker! Highly inappropriate. But, oh my.... He got bashful when I flirted with him.

I found out two weeks ago that he was in hospice. I was in complete disbelief. What? Who? What the hell are you talking about? He got sick soon after I was laid off, she said. She'd seen him, she said, and he was okay. He had accepted it. I did my bucket list, he told her. I heard the word "hospice" but it didn't register. It couldn't. I pictured him tall and tan on his paddle board. Is he going to be okay? No. That's what hospice means. He's dying.

I cried when I got home. I don't know why. We weren't that close, merely co-workers for a while. But he was a really great guy. And he was too young. 51 is not the time to die. Maybe it was the bucket list and being reminded to Live Life and Be Less Afraid.

His funeral was today. People said things like Quiet Dignity. Protective. Competitive. "Evil" Steve. I didn't know him that well, but as they talked I thought, yeah. That's him. His daughter spoke about how he lived life to the fullest and how she will take advantage of every opportunity because of him. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I'm glad I was there.

To Steve's family, I'm sorry. And that is a gross understatement. There aren't enough words or flowers or casseroles to fill the void that he has left. Just know that he has touched countless lives and that his spirit will live on through each of these encounters.

To Steve, thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your life for a little while. You will not be forgotten.
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