Cali came with my marriage. She was non-negotiable, unlike my ugly couch and his box of Walgreen’s receipts dating back to 1972. She is the dog (see left) in the new picture above my smiling face. She had just gotten back from the groomers that day and if you look closely, you will see the two little red bows that make her look so cuuuuute!!! They lasted about 25 minutes before being pulled out. She likes to snooze on my futon while I am “working” , which sometimes consists of reading The Onion, Funny or Die or catching up on Facebook. When I take a break and lay out my yoga mat, she thinks it is an invitation to cuddle. She is very jealous and if she catches me & the hubs smooching, she is sure to insinuate herself right into the thick of things. Such a child.
Tats are cool. I don’t always understand why someone would pay so much to decorate their body, but hey, I spend a small fortune on make up. So, I can sort of empathize. I just worry about those tattoos’ longevity. I mean, oh, sure: they look great, sexy, beautiful now … but what about when the person is a doddering old fart? And their skin is no longer tight and supple, but baggy and saggy. That evil grinning skull on your arm? It will stretch into some kind of sad, melted mess and the grin will become a frowny face. You don’t really want that, do you?
Nevertheless, I once entered a tattoo parlor and — get this!! — I wasn’t even DRUNK! Or chemically impaired. Nope, I was stone cold sober and ready to githerdone. I wanted a sweet little butterfly on my … somewhere, it’s not important. But I wasn’t 100% certain that I wanted a butterfly, so I opened up the book of examples and began to peruse the photos. Dragons! Ninjas! The entire Patriots’ 2008 starting lineup! George Washington Crossing the Delaware. The choices were overwhelming. I kept pointing and changing my mind, “No, how much would this cost?” This went on and on for over an hour, until a customer came in and pulled off their shirt to have an actual target tattooed on their back. I saw the needle machine, heard it whirring like a dentist’s drill from Hell, watched in horror as the needle came closer and closer to actual skin, and then I lost my lunch in the closest garbage can. That did it. The owner threw me out on my un-tattoed butt. So, now you know where I almost got a really super cool, ultra-impressive, totally beautiful tattoo. Almost.
I am about to test out the Daily Post word prompt, and see how it goes.
“PANICKED”. This is the word prompt of the day. “PANICKED”.
Can you please use it in a sentence?
I know panic quite well; we are on very intimate terms. I can panic at the drop of a hat, in fact, I most likely panicked BECAUSE I dropped my hat. And the wind picked it up and began to blow it away and every time I bent over to pick up said hat, the wind would blow it further away. This caused me great personal embarrassment and I panicked that I looked ridiculous. To whom? The squirrel in the tree? There is no one out here except for me, and the squirrel who has jumped into its nest because he is frightened by my ridiculous panic attack. Screw the hat. I didn’t like it anyway.
originally published in The Silver Birch Press, February 29, 2016
This is what you do NOT want to hear:
Then: “Why didn’t you tell me you colored your hair???!!!”
I was at Erich, “Hairdresser to the Stars,” for my first perm. He styled all the senior managers’ wives at my office in Indianapolis. I was treating myself and couldn’t wait. Erich hissed as he unrolled curlers that had promised beautiful, bouncy waves. Why was he upset? I was frozen with apprehension. The answer became clear after he finished. My hair was fried. I looked like I had been hit by lightning. Twice. Incredibly, he was angry at me. “If you had told me, I would have used different chemicals!”
“Well, you didn’t ask me,” I was thisclose to tears. He was the hair professional. Not me. I stared in horror at my Bride of Frankenstein reflection, but my polite Midwestern personality was warring with the need to be assertive. I actually felt badly for him, and heard myself reassuring this hair butcher that all was fine. I even tipped him, but refused to return so that he could “work” on it. I was never stepping into his salon again. I went home and made brownies, eating the whole damned pan.
My hair and I flew home to visit my parents the next weekend. Dad was waiting at the airport gate, and didn’t recognize this wild-maned girl flinging herself at him. He looked stunned and was speechless the entire ride home.
Mom knew what to expect, having impotently listened to my hysterical phone calls. She pulled me into a big hug, whispering: “I made an appointment with my hairdresser for tomorrow.”
I held on tightly, so relieved to be home. Moms can fix anything.
It was the early 1970’s and the family had tagged along with my father on his European speaking tour. We were three siblings, 14, 12 and 10 going through the throes of adolescence, which is never a pretty sight. I think I may have contributed to my mom’s constant eye twitch, because at that age everything elicited a seriously melodramatic reaction from me. [And as I was to later learn the hard way, Moms make the best target. Karma, you bitch!]
My father was well-respected in his field, and if the Rolls Royce waiting at the train station was expecting an American version of the Royal Family, well, the chauffeur and host were about to be sadly disappointed. We tumbled out of the train, looking mighty worse for the wear. I wore my angst on my face as a scowl, my brother had a gap in his smile from a lost permanent front tooth (how it came to be lodged in the head of a shorter classmate is another story). My sister was still pouting the absence of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in all of these obviously sub-par restaurants that should have been stripped of their Michelin stars for this abomination.
We had been staying in various Ritz-Carleton’s, not our usual Howard Johnson’s with a roll-out cot. We were soon deposited in a beautiful historic hotel in some old German city. My parents had a gorgeous suite and the children were relegated to the smaller room next door. We were ecstatic! Our own room? My sister began jumping on the bed while my brother went on a search and rescue mission, opening every drawer, every cabinet. On cue, I stared moodily out the windows, wondering who else had sat in that exact place over time and if their ghost was still hovering nearby.
Suddenly, a “WHAT????” was heard from my brother. Baby Sis and I went to join him, but he slammed the bathroom door in our face. “What did you find?” we squealed, but he was silent. Finally he opened the door and we could see that his face was frozen in shock. He slowly pointed to the opened cabinet drawers under the sink. There sat a pile of magazines. We gathered around them and our faces froze in similar shock: these were Naked Lady magazines!! Oh, my, goodness … or not. We laughed and giggled our way through the pages until we heard our parents knocking at the door.
“It’s dinner time, kids,” mom advised us.
“NO!” we responded in unison.
You could just see her and dad exchanging looks. Dad rattled the door knob, “Open this door now,” he demanded. He was tired and hungry and in no mood for sassy kids. So, my brother slowly unlocked and opened the door.
“What is going on in here?”
But mom had already looked over our shoulders and saw the pile of magazines. She started to walk over, obviously puzzled as to their origins. We screeched and ran to cover them up, but it was too late! “Where did you get these?!” and my brother explained that they had been in plain sight … if you crawled into the cabinet and scrunched behind the plumbing.
The General Manager was simultaneously notified, horrified and mortified. He came to apologize and to confiscate the pornography, but my brother refused to give it up. The rest of us were welcomed to take the soaps and shampoos for our souvenirs: but the magazines were his alone. My parents said they would deliver the magazines later, but let’s go eat dinner now.
We were packing to leave, and Dad happened to glance through my brother’s suitcase. He thundered at him, “Are you crazy? Were you really going to try to sneak these magazines back home?” My dad was furious, confiscating the porn for good. He and mom were beside themselves: “Do you kids realize what would have happened to your father if he were caught TRANSPORTING PORNOGRAPHY INTO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA??” My dad was clearly traumatized at the vision of the newspaper photos showing him being led away in handcuffs for a crime he clearly hadn’t committed. And how close it had been to reality, had he not happened to sneak a peek into his son’s luggage. I think that was the last European vacation that we took as a family. In fact, I am positive.
I have some wonderful news, particularly for those Boomers who “partied hardy” back in college. In fact, this news will affect all Partiers, past and present, regardless of race, sex, marital status. You will still want to know the result of this study whether you are Democrat, Republican or Anarchist. You will have new information that will change your mind and rock your world. Or is it change your underwear and rule the world? IDK, something about change is good. So, I am about to change your mind concerning one of those Factoids that we grew up believing. Nothing as bourgeois as “wait thirty minutes to swim after eating”. That old chestnut has been debunked for years. No, this one will make you sit up and say, “Would you repeat that, please? I wasn’t paying attention.”
Remember that old commercial that gave you the munchies? It was some dude breaking an egg onto a hot griddle and he was going to prepare a scrumptious sunny-side-up egg and maybe some bacon? If he added a side of pancakes, he would have totally nailed it. Anyhow, the voice-over warned that “This is your brain” (whole egg) and then “This is your brain on drugs” (show cooking video). And you were like, “What?” But all you could think about was procuring some brunch. The message was supposed to scare you and warn you that you were destroying your brain cells! Forever!! Your brain would sizzle and melt as cells were killed off, screaming in agony. And it would be all your fault, you murderer. If you didn’t stop your wicked ways you would soon have no brain cells and find yourself wandering the streets, even before it was cool to be a Zombie.
Don’t worry: this will all make sense in the end.
Yesterday, I went to this awesome seminar about how to keep your mind sharp. I really worry about that, it’s too easy to let your mind get lazy and do everything on auto-pilot. You know how sometimes you pull into the driveway and wonder how in the world you got there? And without causing an accident? Lazy Brain. Every time you walk into a room and forget why you are there? Drugs. It’s all those drugs you did way back when that snap, crackled and popped your brain cells into mush. But here is the update: THIS IS FALSE NEWS.
You do not destroy your brain cells forever. Per the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, the brain produces new dendrites all the time. Dendrites allow the brain to store and retrieve information. Even as we age, the brain is producing new dendrites! That’s right, folks: another Old Wives’ Tale just bit the dust. You can destroy your brain cells, but eventually they will grow back. HALLELUJAH IN A BUCKET!
So, Party On, Garth.
But there is one caveat: you must have a sufficient supply of brain cells from the start. Your brain will only replace lost cells, it won’t transform an Idiot into an Einstein.
For Valentine’s Day, I gave my husband a heart-shaped box (oh, shades of Nirvana!) that was filled with miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. He ate about three of them, and then completely ignored the rest. I watched that pile of chocolate-peanutbuttery goodness for a week, two weeks, a year (in candy-watcher’s time) before I pounced on them and unwrapped and devoured every single blob of caloric heaven. And then I wah-wahhh’d because I’m so fat. Continue reading