Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High School and FaceBook--The Whore(s) Of All The Earth

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the significance of Face Book. Sure, on the surface it seems like a novelty it's as addicting as cocaine and as trivial as the purse you carry--but much the same way cocaine can grab a hold of you and a purse becomes an obsession, not to mention a symbol of who we are (or at least, who we want to portray we are) Face Book is much more than people give it credit for. It took me a long time to get interested in FB and had my dear friend from high school, my long time best friend since birth, not suggested I make an account JUST so I could see what ridiculous losers those people had become (the same people she knew had tormented me unmercifully in high school) well, I might not have ever gotten into it. But, I did. I set up an account with the intention of voyeuristically viewing the pages and photos of the people in H.S. who took it upon themselves to show me what a turd I really was. What I found when I finally "got on" FB? It was like the second coming of the 10 year high school reunion. Girls who had never grown up, still acting the part of the high school bully and boys that had sly talked their way into my pants with the promise of a future together (and instant popularity)--now fat, bald and divorced. So, with the help of my friend I set up an account and in the section entitled "Profile" I listed myself as "Not fat, bald or divorced" essentially claiming victory over my tormentors. Little did I know it was just the beginning.
Through the past year or so I have been actively posting my thoughts and experiences on FB. I have teetered between wanting to keep my posts clean enough for my friends from Utah county, so as not to offend anyone, and really wanting to unleash on a handful of people who made my high school experience an unhappy one. Now it might seem as though I am shirking my personal responsibility in as much as having done many of the things they claimed I did, but that is not at all the case. On the contrary, I have blamed myself for years and taken much more than my share of the responsibility. Yes, I bought the bullshit lies the boys gave me and yes, I fell HARD for the false promises of friendship and loyalty the girls gave. In fact, I can remember one girl I particularly liked coming to my house, accompanied by a long time friend (one I had believed to be my allie) and receiving an earful of hatred and scorn followed by a promise of bodily harm if I EVER looked at her boyfriend. Now at that time I don't believe I had any idea who her boyfriend was, but as all good Shakespearean dramas play out, a self fulfilling prophecy is no good without the prophecy coming true right? It was not long before I ended up in the front seat of that boy's Chevy step side caught up in a moment of unforgettable passion...well, as unforgettably passionate as high school sex can be.
And, therein lies the sum, or at least the majority of my high school experience. My uncontrollable desire to prove people right about me, coupled with a magnetically charged personality--it was a recipe for disaster. Over the years I have discovered, not only do I have a habit of attracting men but their psychotic, jealous girlfriends as well. There I was 16, desperate for friendship and approval--I had a new car and a brand new (fully developed) body which I realized could attract the attention of both the boys AND the girls (and dirty old men--but that is another blog entirely). I had the body of a woman and the brain of a child, not to mention the guts of Evil Canival. Together they brought me much the same misery, excitement, and folly as they do today.
So, fast forward 15 years. Here I am--that same girl--with those same endearing qualities I had in high school--now, living the quintessential "dream" as a 33 year old woman. A fabulous 12 year marriage with a man I could never have wished for with all of my heart (yes, he's really that great) 3 wonderful children, who bring me a sense of true purpose and a beautiful house in the most desirable part of Salt Lake City. However, I feel less accepting and more estranged than ever from the idea of being a "grown up" which brings me back to my original thought--no wonder FB is so addicting for someone like me. I have struggled with the idea of "growing up"--letting go of that moment in time--high school was difficult and sad for me, but it was also how I began to define myself, it was the beginning of my adulthood (in my mind), now looking back it was really only the end of my innocence. So of course after marrying such an amazing man and having these wonderful children I thought I had let it go, I had overcome that experience--I thought that "high school" was over for me, but I was wrong.
There I was at the "cross roads" of my own personal development. I found myself asking complex questions like--why don't I feel satisfied? How do I embrace the life I have been blessed with? How can I learn to love and be grateful for this simple, peaceful life of motherhood without losing the "true person" that I am--the "wild child"? Then it dawned on me--maybe that wasn't really who I was, maybe that was only who I was TOLD I was by hostile angry girls and horny, selfish boys. My beliefs about who I was started to unravel. It was not until I discovered FB, started to relive that high school experience that I realized I was NOT the person I believed I was--I was someone much greater then the sum of those awful experiences. I was someone who was ready to cancel out the factors that had been so negative. I was ready to redefine myself. I was someone who could let go of the hurt that went along with being bullied and used and lied to by people that called themselves my "friends". It was time to throw down a glass of wine and start "defriending".
Now, if you asked me today what I think about FB, I would say if used properly, in moderation, it's fun. And if...in the end, I attribute my FaceBook experience to actually helping me overcome some negative core beliefs about myself then really this whole drunken rant begs the question "Why do I refer to FB as the Whore of all the earth"? Well, Bruce R. McConkie said the "Whore of all the earth" was the Catholic Church...but, I like to think that really...it's FaceBook. In the Book of Mormon it says "there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whosoever belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10-11) I believe that passage is a reference to how easily we can be fooled by something that SEEMS good but leads us away from our true path. Now don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting FB itself is leading us into darkness, I am suggesting the MOTIVATION behind our FB posts--the desire to appear to other people as bigger, better, richer, stronger, somehow...MORE than someone else, is what leads us further away from discovering how truly special we are. In an inaugural speech Nelson Mandela gave, he said "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be?" That quote really struck me--it helped to open my eyes to how mislead, how blinded by popularity I was...how willing to follow a "false prophet" I was when it came to high school.
So, guess what all you hater bitches from high school who wrote "Whore" on my locker and made me eat my lunch in the bathroom? I am taking back the power. I will no longer let your fear of your own inner demons influence the way I see myself. I will let my light shine. I WILL be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous--and now that I am--I will grow exponentially. I will keep working toward my goal, the goal of self actualization--and as I begin to see my inner light shine...I will heal, and...I will wish the same for you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mermaids Meets Macbeth

Recently, while I was visiting the laser center, I spotted a poster with a picture of a beautiful mermaid. Now, for those of you who don't know me that well, I happen to LOVE LOVE LOVE mermaids. Beautiful, ethereal creatures who are depicted as both saving men from drowning and, at other times "accidentally" squeezing the life out of them as they attempt to pull them to shore...hey, I didn't come up with the idea...I just really like it. Anyhow, I have always loved mermaids and of course, so does Ava Grace. I figured this was a fantastic opportunity to see a live show, close by, with local performers, featuring one of my favorite mystical creatures. I say favorite because I also happen to love unicorns--yes, I really said that (feel free to take a moment and let it sink in).
Anyhow, last week Ava graduated from preschool and I was already missing the daily contact I had with some of my girlfriends so, I decided to make it a double date, a mother/daughter outing for both myself and one of my good friends. She accepted the invite, we got babysitters and met at the Olive Garden (Ava loves that place). My friend and I shared a bottle of cheap wine, a few funny stories and some mediocre pasta, then it was off to the show. Now, right away, I should have known something was not right when we arrived at the address on the poster and it was the Masonic Temple. Apparently the Mason's are into mermaids too. My friend asked how much the tickets cost, I told her it was free as long as we became Masons before the night was over. I mean how hard could it be right...a few simple handshakes, a couple of rituals, declare our belief in the "Supreme Being" and learn the art of making bricks then VOILA!...we're golden. When we arrived we asked the hostess where to pick up our tickets, she pointed to a woman with a ticket box who asked for our names (as if to look up our purchase info) and then to our surprise (and horror)--from memory--she told us we we're in the front row and would find our seats labeled with our names. Not yet sufficiently freaked out we went in to join the other 10 people at the show and found them (our seats) as promised, labeled with our names smack dab in the middle of the front row.
Now, it wasn't long into the performance when I realized this was not a show ABOUT mermaids but actually a performance of the "The Little Mermaid", and...not the familiar Disney version with a sassy crustacean singing about the pleasures of living beneath the sea. In fact, it was quite the opposite, it was the dark and cynical Macbeth style version where Ariel must kill the prince if she wants to become a mermaid again and return to the sea after a failed attempt at love. Uh...OK. My first reaction was...whatchu talkin' bout Willis? Ariel's going to do what? That's not how the story goes. Then I realized, I had never read the Hans Christian Andersen version of the story. At this point, I was a little overwhelmed. In fact, I was quite upset since I had my 5 year old daughter with me AND earlier in the week I had specifically called on the phone to make sure this was a kid friendly performance. "Oh yes, kids love it" (that's what the lady on the phone said). Really? Who's kids--Ozzy Osbourne? Not my kid, that's for sure. I wasn't sure how much more I could handle. I mean, come on people...I had already turned the other cheek when the mermaids came out looking more like Britney Spears meets Morticia Adam's in costumes that were clearly made for an MTV video, NOW I had to be subjected to witnessing an underwater execution by a pissed off merwhore? What next? I couldn't possibly imagine.
Fortunately for my daughter's sake, Hans Christian Andersen viewed woman as being forlorn and passive when it comes to love. So, believing that Ariel would rather parish then kill her Prince, that's exactly what he had her do...she just up and died. "Ugh" that's what I said as her sisters carried the lifeless, heartbroken mermaid off stage. I mean come on...Ariel made a deal with the evil sea witch in order to become human just to be with Prince Eric. She gave up her voice, her charmed life beneath the sea and all of the things she knew in order to take a chance on love and then he falls in love with someone else? I mean REALLY. All of a sudden I was pissed...I thought "that DICK!" I felt myself secretly wishing she had killed him. However, it was at that moment, that strange, disconcerting moment I was overcome with the desire to see a mermaid get medieval on a man, that I happened to look down at my baby girl sitting beside me...softly weeping. I knew instantly what was wrong--she was devastated, heartbroken. She simply could not contain her disappointment about this play not having a "happy ending". That magical, romantic love story that makes it worth sitting through the scary parts of movies like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. That eternal, undying love between a Prince and his chosen one that Disney has fed us for the last 15 years. I was truly caught off guard. I didn't know how to handle this situation. I mean, lets face it, I know how to handle boys. They are simple, straight forward, easy to read creatures that can be physically coerced and verbally assaulted into submission. But I didn't really know how to deal with such emotional pain, such tenderness, such vulnerability. I looked down at her sad little face, I wiped away her tears and kissed her cheek, then I said, "Oh Honey, I know it's sad, but really...she's better off without him". And then it hit me, the anger, the resentment, the homicidal tendencies towards men...good Lord, I was possessed by my late grandmother Geraldine. It was all I could do not to yell out my favorite line from the Hunchback "sanctuary...sanctuary".
I tried to collect myself for Ava's sake and put aside my murderous feelings toward the Prince (that BASTARD). At the end of the performance we got up and left the theater, though, I must admit it was difficult, those Mason's...they don't want to let you out once they've gotten you in the temple. We tip toed down many hallways and what seemed like secret passage ways. We even ended up in what I thought was some kind of hidden Scooby Doo room you can only enter by leaning against the door frame in a special way. At this point, I was sure we had to join "the order" in order to get the hell out of this building. I looked around to see if anyone was doing the secret "exit" handshake when I noticed a dimly lit sign above a stairwell, it said "EXIT". Hallelujah, we've been saved.
We left the Temple of Doom and went into the parking lot to find our car. Ava had recovered from the trauma and asked if we could get an ice cream. "Of course" I said. I looked at her beautiful little face...the window to her sweet soul and tried to just love her, in all of her tenderness and vulnerability, just simply love her and be there with her in that moment. I tried not to think about what the future might hold for her, what kind of heartaches might be in store for my precious Ava, but I couldn't help it. As we headed to Baskin Robin's I knew in my heart this would probably be the first of many trips to the ice cream store where I would try to help my heartbroken daughter drowned her sorrows in a bowl of rocky road. Unless of course the trauma of the mermaid show coupled with her genetic predisposition had her turning out more like Grandma Geraldine...then I would probably be trying to prevent a Macbeth style execution of a high school boyfriend. Either way, she can count on me to be there, loving her unconditionally every step of the way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Celebrity Worship...Really!?!

Tonight I decided to address a topic I feel is really not very important but rather a peculiar phenomenon I can't seem to figure out. Ryan calls it "celebrity worship". I call it the "male hairdresser syndrome". It goes like this--people assume that because you are a celebrity you are "special" you are some how better then the average Joe. And, that for some unknown reason, you deserve special privileges that ordinary people don't--like getting stuff you can well afford (for free no less) simply by attending some special event and accidentally showing your panties to a paparazzi. Really? You have a billion dollars but you can't remember to keep your legs together when exiting a vehicle? Ugh.
Let me use the example of the male hairdresser to further illuminate this idea. When I was attending hair school I noticed that many women would request the male hairdressing students and then treat them like hair Gods. Granted, sometimes the boys were good--but frequently they were little more then the semi attractive kid from your high school who was too lame to do anything else but women's hair. I believe the idol worship has something to do with the rarity of the male hairdresser...well, at least the straight male hairdresser. I have to tell myself it simply MUST be this--otherwise why the hell would you continue to go to a hairdresser who is pompous, inconsiderate and rude AND actually has the nerve to burn you with a curling iron and then blame it on you. Yeah...Mom, I'm calling you out.
Well, enough about the "male hairdresser syndrome", back to celebrity worship. This week People magazine named Ashton Kutcher one of the world's 100 most influential people. Really People magazine? Really!?! When I think of Ashton Kutcher I think of, first and foremost, that dreadful movie "Dude, Where's My Car?" Second, I visualize one of the world's top 100 pieces of boy-ass scored by a women who is old enough to be his own mother. I can't help but wonder if his recent climb to the 100 most influential people list isn't a frightening coincidence with the fact that he "tweets" more then a 14 year old girl and posts super lame videos of himself on Facebook every 15 minutes. I mean really--come on Ashton--the only other crowd posting videos and pictures of themselves more frequently than you are the "Emo's".
Nightline did a piece about him tonight and asked "Ashton, why do you think you have you become such a success in the entrepreneurial world?" His answer, "Because I see the top companies out there losing 100's of millions of dollars every year, and I know how to stop it" to which Diane Sawyer, after almost falling out of her chair, mumbled a truly inquisitive "Really?" His response, "I know...but I'm not gonna do anything about it...YET" Brilliant Ashton, brilliant. Way to keep us on the edge of our seats. Congratulations my friend, you have transcended your previous status as a mediocre actor limited to playing the dim witted kid barely able to graduate high school to a financial wizard (at least that's how those 14 year old girls hanging on your every "tweet" see you).
I guess celebrity worship has something to do with the fact that we pay them (celebs) a shit load of money and then expect nothing from them in return. Maybe that is why we get so much enjoyment out of watching them crash and burn. Their train wreck is our only redemption once we realize what complete morons WE are for awarding this type of entitled idiot to be at the top of our social hierarchy. What is the message we are sending young girls (and boys for that matter) when we let hypocritical hillbillies like Carrie Prejean represent the ultra liberal state of California in the Miss USA pageant? After letting the world know she was openly against gay marriage (even though she IS representing California) she went on to write a book about the lack of respect for women and their bodies and the need to treat them like holy temples. Ironically, shortly after the release of the book she appeared in a sex tape--apparently someone WAS worshipping Carrie Prejean's body like a holy temple.
So, in closing I feel it is important to remember that when looking back at our own childhood and remembering innocence lost, at least in comparison to what we experience in today's world--we really shouldn't blame our off spring, the next generation if you will, for the decline of society when what we offered them for role models were Michael Vic, Paris Hilton and Spencer Pratt. Oh and don't forget to include the "Donald" he was the person Carrie Prejean referred to as her role model whom she was "overjoyed to have meet-ed" (yeah...her words--not mine).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Well, I did it. I have finally overcome my writer's block just in time to share my thoughts about...mom's, and mom's special day. After a certain sister in law blasted me publicly, (well, on Facebook--but still--that's pretty public) about not being a good mother, I've been deep in thought about the significance of being a mom. I decided to look at that comment. I felt it didn't apply and let it go. Maybe it's because it's Mother's Day--the holy grail of days when it comes to being nice to mom--but I feel pretty confident that the techniques I use are good. It appears to me that they have been effective in creating 3 healthy, imaginative, lively children with relatively well developed emotional vocabularies and a pretty strong sense of who they are, and what they want out of life. After my fantastic Mother's Day dinner, right before bed I asked Ava Grace if she wanted to get rid of an old stuffy I saw laying on the floor. She said "No, when I grow up and live here and have a daughter I will give it to her. Then you can tell her about buying it for me at Disneyland." I said "Ok".
I wanted to spend my Mother's Day at home with just my kids and their dad. Our festivities included a delicious bar-b-que and 3 lovely handmade cards. While I sat in the sun drinking a glass of wine enjoying my wonderful husband, my oldest son built a lean-to in the backyard with a mattress on top for resting...and pondering deep thoughts. He was very proud of his accomplishment and marveled, as did we all, at his ability to make such an elaborate design with parts harvested only from an old porch swing. He was proud of himself and I was proud of him. I was also proud of myself for teaching that child how to take pride in his achievements and feel good about something he had made. That same child pitched an awful first inning at his game on Friday and though heartbroken and tearful he stuck it out until they called the "mercy rule" and ended the inning because he had walked in 6 runs. I was proud of him then too. In fact I was overjoyed at his ability to walk off the field like a man and collect himself. He allowed himself a brief moment to put his head in my chest and let a few tears go, then he stood up, put on his batting helmet and picked up a bat. He was over it. He had throw his first "loser" inning, his team was 6 runs in the hole and his ego had taken a serious blow but he gave himself a moment to feel the pain, then he moved on. Later in that same game he went on to pull three outs in a row, almost single handedly, in the last inning and secure a victory for his team. I was so proud of him. I was proud of his team too. Proud that they could love him just the same as they always do and congratulate him on a job well done on first base, putting behind them the first inning tragedy that had only an hour earlier befallen the whole team and cost them 6 runs. I was sure their mom's were proud too.
All of my children are good and special as I am sure each mother believes about her children. My mom used to say "Every crow thinks her babies are the blackest." I agree. I think that someone accusing me of being anything other than a fantastic mother, especially when they don't really know me says more about them and less about me. I have learned how to let people be whoever they are regardless of how stupid they are AND still be the person I am, (sometimes equally as stupid I'm sure). I try hard not to judge people because my honest belief is that people do the best they can with the resources they have. I believe it was Maya Angelou who said "When we know better we do better".
My mother is always trying to do better. I think she is a fantastic mother, sure she is not perfect. In fact just the other day I accused her of being a hypochondriac and you know what she did? She got sick. I mean come on. Really Mom? When she thinks she can help, she does. She always tries to anticipate the needs of others. She does what she thinks is best for people and sometimes it's wrong but she tries hard and she comes from a place of love. She is genuine. She has done well raising 3 wonderful children of her own and just like everybody in the whole world--we have issues and we are not perfect. My brother and sister and I are smart loving social people who like to be with people and have a good time. We are very different. We all have different interests but we are good people. We work on improving ourselves and strive to become better--better parents, better sons and daughters and better friends. How many people can say they look at themselves honestly and try to change the things they don't like? I have done many, MANY things I am not proud of and would not do again. However, I had to do them once to know that I didn't want to do them again. One of those things was religion. If I didn't at least give it a try how would I have know it was not right for me? And you know who was there loving and supporting me and NOT judging me? My mom (there were a few other's but the only get an honorable mention cause it's not Father's Day or Husband's Day...it's Mother's Day).
I am grown now, I don't live with my mom any more and our relationship has changed significantly, but--somethings will never change. Last time she was here visiting I told her "Just when you thought you were out of hot water...I reproduced. I can't torment you in the same way I did when I was a kid so I did the next best thing...I made more kids." She laughed, just like she always does when I tease her. She's a good woman. I'm a good woman. I am confidant my daughter will grown up to become a good woman and someday she will have a daughter of her own and she will teach her how to become a good woman. I want to teach Ava how to really love someone. How to accept and support them through all the seasons of their life.
Someone once asked me what I wanted my legacy to be. I was speechless. It's hard to fathom anything beyond this life when you don't believe in anything BUT this life. I couldn't answer him...but I can now. I want my legacy to be that I was a good woman--that I was strong and loyal. That I was brave and smart and funny. That when I loved someone...they knew it. And, that I was a mother, and a damn good one. And mothers never stop loving us and helping us. And even after I am dead and gone I will still be helping, still working, still contributing to making the world a more beautiful place for my children...only now it is because I am in the ground helping the flowers grow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The "Jesus Fish"

As some of you might know, I have had a long and sorted past with religion. When I was a child I read the book "The Diary of Anne Frank" after which I decided it was my destiny to become a Jew. However, this first religious "revelation" was short lived. Soon after I began my investigation into Judaism I decided to sever my affiliation with this group because of the fact that they claim responsibility for the death of Jesus. Apparently, I neglected to investigate the less hated group "Jews for Jesus" before I made my decision. Anyhow, I decided something slightly less controversial might be safer--especially since I was only 9 years old at the time. I had a friend who was a Mormon and she seemed happy and close with her family. I have always struggled to make connections so I felt if joining this church was the answer, by all means, I'm in. I was immediately baptized and initiated into the Mormon faith by my new extended family "the ward". Soon after my conversion I attended "girls camp", were, I accidentally peed in my pants after fearing I was lost in the woods. I was certain I had stumbled into the ecotone, that place where wilderness and civilization overlap, that place where a hungry grizzly bear might just be waiting to make a meal out of a new Mormon convert. After girls camp I returned to civilization where I regularly attended church with my mother, my new Mormon friend, and her family. Shortly after my return from girls camp I watched my new Mormon friend's father put her brothers head through the front door window. Naturally, my interest in church began to suffer. I decided to re-evaluate my life's direction and focus on my dream of becoming the first dancing veterinarian in outer space.
It was many years until I returned to my religious studies and when I did, it was with a small group of born again Christians who owned a boarding school run by religious zealots. I was fascinated by the women's loyalty to their husbands and found it...refreshing. I have an opinionated, strong willed mother who often fought with my equally opinionated, strong willed father making for a not very peaceful home life. I was drawn to these humble, obedient women and wanted to learn the secret to the harmonious live style they seemed to be living. However, I began to question the motives of my new "religious mentors" when they said I would go to hell if I didn't vacuum regularly, do my chores and be mindlessly obedient to the staff at the boarding school. I felt unrest. I felt a disconnect. And, I felt spiritually lost. I began to read books about Buddhism, Hinduism, and other middle eastern philosophies. I found them intriguing and couldn't wait to share what I had read with the other students. Big mistake...big, huge. This was the breaking point for the people who ran the boarding school. It was bad enough that I was reading it myself but to teach these controversial alternative philosophies to the other students was completely unacceptable. They asked me to leave the school and offered a high school diploma as incentive. I took it and ran.
So, there I was...newly graduated from high school, a budding young adult, searching for my life's true purpose but still reveling from the huge spiritual void I had felt for so many years. I tried filling that void with bad relationships, drugs and alcohol, and naughty exploits that helped me stay afloat financially. I was suffering from severe depression related to a major eating disorder and a recent miscarriage. It was about this time I met my now husband Ryan. He suggested that, (having served a mission for the LDS church and being somewhat of a religious Guru), he observed my problem to be a lack of spirituality and offered to take me to church, to which I said "What the hell?" We were both LDS, the lifestyle of the Mormon religion had at one time appealed to me greatly, and I was a terribly lost soul. I had not been able to quench my religious thirst with any of the holy water I had been consuming for the past several months. So, we began attending church together, fell madly in love (which I called "gaining a testimony") and were then sealed for time and all eternity in the LDS temple. We lived in blissful ignorance for 2 years until I discovered things were not as they appeared. I went to church, I read my B of M (Book of Mormon) and even had a couple kids. I longed to experience what I thought I saw the other women having. A beautifully rewarding and satisfying relationship with their husband, the Lord and their 6 children. However, I knew this was not to be. I knew that I would never be the devout natural Mormon born into the church that I longed to. Equally as devastating was the news that my religious rock Ryan was also suffering. I was crushed when he suggested that he was not nearly as strong in his beliefs as he had originally appeared. Together we struggled to make sense of this awful thing that had happened. We looked in all the wrong directions and asked many people who were not qualified enough to give directions to the bathroom at the zoo let alone advice on finding ourselves spiritually. We were both heart broken and facing a major turning point in our life as a married couple. We offered to blame ourselves. We tried blaming each other. We even tried blaming the kids. Nothing worked, we were inconsolable in our quest to find spirituality both as individuals and together as a couple. We partied out of control and tried to forget about how badly we hurt. We contemplated divorce. However, we decided to take one last trip together. We went to Las Vegas to binge on alcohol and strippers. Well, guess what happened while we were there? I got pregnant. Nine months later we had the most beautiful baby girl either of us had ever seen. She was an angel. She was absolutely precious. She was...our saving Grace. We named her Ava Grace.
Over the next 5 years we would continue to struggle with spirituality. Ryan and I gradually drifted apart in our religious beliefs but grew stronger, much stronger as a couple. We both had learned, from all of the suffering we did together, that the quest for spirituality is one we must make alone. So we have both explored what lies beneath our surface(s). Ryan has struggled to make sense of his life as a born again Mormon. He is still learning how to have a healthy relationship with the Savior that doesn't involve guilt and shame. I on the other hand, have embraced Darwinism. I have rejected all forms of organized religion and come to identify with agnosticism as the only intelligent choice. However, I am still left with the question...what is our life's true purpose? I decided that the next step was to consult a professional. I entered therapy. To my therapist I posed the question how can I embrace a group of people I consider to be less intellectually enlightened? He suggested that I might be spiritually blocked. I had to open myself up, I had to redefine who I considered spiritual, and that my definition of a spiritual person couldn't include stereotypes. I agreed. I left that session feeling hopeful. I walked out of his office, out of the building and into the parking lot where I was abruptly greeted by an awful woman, with awful bleach blond hair and giant fake breasts, in an equally awful pink Toyota Celica. I thought to myself "Ugh" no further explanation necessary. As I walked behind her car I happened to notice something on the trunk. It was the "Jesus fish". I thought to myself, really? REALLY?!? I open myself up to the universe and THIS is what it sends me? I decided it was a sign...a sign from the underworld. I told Ryan this story and he said "Well, if there is an underworld, there must be a God in Heaven because their is balance in all things." I found this thought process intriguing. Here I am paying a therapist, when, meanwhile it is my very own husband who opens my eyes to the endless possibilities that the "Jesus fish" might hold. I call it a disturbing sign from Satan, he calls it a hopeful sign from the Lord. I later told my therapist, I guess that is why we pick people who are our opposite...to help us achieve maximum "enlightenment" or maybe just to torment us spiritually for time and all eternity.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What Do You Want For Your Birthday?

Tonight as I was entertaining my kids with lively stories of the Vietnamese nail ladies, I noticed that one of the dogs got very upset when she heard me imitate an angry Vietnamese woman. We all started to crack up when we realized our dog was a racist (well, everyone except Devin--he's not a night owl so he was snoozing away on the couch with a newly penned green mustache I gave him, yeah, that's what you get for being the first to fall asleep during family night). I continued to mess with the dog and found myself terribly amused by her reaction. I wondered do other people find these kinds of things as amusing as I do? Which brings me to the real question...does my interest in all things ridiculously funny and sometimes a little dangerous make me eternally youthful or just a poser?
For those of you who read my blog and know me on a deeper level you are, I'm sure, familiar with my love of adventure and humor. For those of you who are new to me or my blog, I would describe myself as a seventeen year old boy trapped in a 30 year old woman's body. I frequently tell people if you want to know me ask me what I want for my birthday. I think it's a good way to get to know someone. If you are trying to get to know a person, ask them what they want for their birthday and REALLY listen to their answer . One time a friend of mine said she wanted "track lighting". Well, that's practical, lame, but practical. Another time I asked a friend what do you want for your birthday and she said "Oh, I don't know...nothing". Well, I find this answer particularly upsetting because you see what I asked was what she WANTED not what she wanted ME to get for her. The simple act of asking doesn't mean I have any intention of buying. You could ask for the moon, I am usually asking out of a place of wanting to get to know you better, not plan for a future purchase. You see, if you ask me I would say, what I always say, anything YOU might have wanted when you were 16. I emphasize "you" because I believe everybody had the same basic desires up until about this point. Around 16 people start to see things differently. However, I am basically still a kid at heart. I like remote control cars, binge drinking, hanging out with my friends and having pets. I like "sleeping in", looking good, hand guns and camping. I like dirt bikes and hot rods, I like strippers and "drunk" sex (however, after 3 unplanned children, I am seriously rethinking that one). I like racing down the hill on a skateboard or a big wheel or some other contraption with wheels. I like sitting on the couch, watching T.V. and recovering from an injury. I like Lord of the Rings and LARPing (live action role playing). I like pig Latin and if I could learn to speak "Elvish" I would. I love rollerskating to disco music and dancing all night at a club. I LOVE roller coasters and water slides. Oh, and my most favorite movie EVER...The Breakfast Club. I basically love doing and having all the things I loved when I was 16. In fact, tonight when I was cutting my friends hair I told him it was hard for some people to take me seriously because I lived in a semi-permanent state of "Rumspringa".
However, I also love being a grown up and getting to decide for myself which of these things I do and how frequently I do them. That is really the best part of being a grown up...being able to decide for myself what to do. What I really wonder about is why don't more people like doing the things? Didn't we all find them fun at some point in our lives? Why do we love doing these things so much when we are young and then abandon them as we grown up? Can we not find a way to incorporate some of what we loved as kids into our adult lives? Why does adult life seem so boring and so un-fun for so many adults? Sometimes it seems like life in the adult world is some kind of dysfunctional relationship between Fibromyalga and Alcoholism. We avoid reality whenever possible, we drink too much and deny everything. We're tired all the time, everything "hurts" and we just can't seem to figure out what the hell is making us feel so bad.
Now, I will be the first to admit that someone who considers them self a professional hobbyist and find South Park REALLY amusing isn't going to be the best person to give advice on how to live a balanced life. However, I have to believe that our goal is to find a place somewhere between the world of fantasy that I spend so much time living in and the world of reality that most adults spend so much time and money trying to avoid.
My best advice would be to find something that brings you happiness and satisfaction...and makes you feel good--even if only for a moment. How do we do this? Well, ask yourself "What do I want for my birthday?" and when you answer, make sure to be honest and don't limit yourself something too practical. Let your mind go. Try to recapture something from your youth, something that made you feel good, something that made feel ALIVE. You never know, you may surprise yourself and end up having a fantastic 40th birthday at the local Laser Tag, hey it's better then track lighting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stab Him With The Dinglehopper

Have you ever noticed how all Disney movies end right about the same place??? In the Princess movies it's just after a huge, extravagant wedding. In non princess movies it is just before the main character gets to start his or her life with the character he/she has been pursuing. Take for example the budding romance between Mowgli and the girl who carries the water jug in the Jungle Book, or Todd and Vixey from the Fox and the Hound, perhaps you remember that Woody had fallen for Bo Peep in A Toy Story. I could go on, in fact I am sure you have thought of a few in your own mind. Now for some people this might seem like a good place to end the movie, but not for me. I frequently find myself wondering what happens to Simba and Nala. I feel...incomplete. I find this phenomenon very strange. In fact, for me it begs the question, why isn't marriage and family life a reoccurring theme in Disney movies?
However, tonight when I caught myself fantasizing about reenacting a scene from the movie Seven with my child who wouldn't eat his spaghetti, I remembered something my wise husband once said--he said "Some times fantasy is better then reality". Now you see, the problem is that we love fantasy. We were raised on fantasy. We looked to Disney to set an example for us when WE were children about what the future of dating might look like. Now that we are adults we have come to expect a courtship that might look something like what is portrayed in a Disney movie ending with an elaborate wedding attended by all our bird friends complete with a carriage made from a pumpkin. Take for example my own experience. I was a boisterous, strong willed, intelligent young woman not unlike the character Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I met a lost and lonely hairy beast with issues and through our deep everlasting love I transformed him into the prince he is today--is that too much? I don't think so.
Anyway, that part was a breeze. It was the learning how to live together and having offspring that proved to be the real challenge. Sometimes I try to conjure up a scenario and ask myself what would a Disney Princess do? (W.W.D.P. for those of you who are into that) I have come to rely on Disney's stanch moral lessons like if you aren't exactly what your potential Prince charming wants--well then, transform yourself. If he wants you to have legs but you were born with a tail and happen to be a mermaid, well, make a deal with a sea witch and become a human. It's that simple all it will cost you is...YOUR VOICE. But according to the sea witch men don't like a lot of blabber. They think a woman who gossips is a bore. In fact, on land it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word and after all now what is idle prattle for? In fact Ursula goes on to say that men are not all that impressed with conversation, true gentlemen avoid it when they can. They will dote and swoon and fawn on a lady who's withdrawn...it's she who holds her tongue that gets a man. Now, (catch your breath...yes, those are the real words from the movie) while this seems like pretty solid advice I can't help but wonder why there are no equally as fantastic lessons on parenting or dealing with marital strife. I am sure that Ariel would have a fabulous solution for dealing with a fussy eater or a smarty pants like my son. Perhaps stab him with his dingle hopper?
Anyway, I am sure that when Disney comes out with a movie about the "winter years" of a fairy tale romance we will all run right out to see it. Who wouldn't want to see how Belle deals with Beast if by chance he falls off the wagon and becomes a beast once again. Or, how Sleeping Beauty handles the pressure to live up to her mother in law's expectations--can she really satisfy the demands of running a kingdom when she was raised a straggly waif in the forest by three fat little fairies? What about Jasmine? How long until the glamour of the bad boy wears off and she realizes Aladdin is a common street rat, a beggar, a thief. I can only imagine the drama if Ariel and Prince Eric had a baby who was half human-half fish.
I guess it wouldn't concern me as much if I didn't have a daughter...but I do. I don't want her growing up thinking that unless she is born perfect (only Snow White is perfect) she has to change herself in order to find her prince charming. And...what if she doesn't even want a Prince Charming? Want if she wants to be the inspiration for the ultra liberal Disney movie called The Tale Of Two Princesses--then what?
All I'm saying is maybe there is no Disney movie that captures the realities of parenthood and marital partnerships because none of the moms who are subjected to watching these movies time and time again with their 4 and 5 year old daughters want to be faced with their own reality. These movies are an escape from reality. Their ticket to reliving the glory days (before marriage). You know, back when they had a tail and could swim free on the ocean floor, I mean really...such beautiful things surround you what more is you lookin' for? Oh well, I guess it's like they always say...the seaweed is always greener, in somebody else's lake. All we can do is keep on loving our "happy endings". Let Disney help us continue to blur the line between fantasy and reality. Just keep telling ourselves that all WE need to be happy is our very own Prince Charming...and a dingle hopper.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Strange title? You might think that until you realize the context in which it was used. Tonight, while putting my child to bed, I heard her yelling to me from the other room. Out of sheer laziness, I yelled back to her "If you want to talk to me come in here where I can hear you". I would have said "Text me" but she is only 5--and realistically, she probably won't get a phone until NEXT year. Anyway, she came in to my room and proceeded to tell me that she was going to do...some thing (I can't even remember now what it was, if I don't have a text how am I supposed to remember what you said 5 minutes ago? Please.) I acknowledged her by saying "Ok" and went on sending and receiving text messages in a simultaneous manor.
From the adjoining bathroom, Ryan laughed at the text-o-mania that was happening and said "Oh Honey" in a sort of disbelief. I knew where he was going, but I totally disregarded him (it's much easier once your married to pretend like your listening when really--you aren't). I went into the other room where I received several more text messages, which of course I immediately responded to, except when they started rolling in back to back from different people--at this point, I had to start prioritizing. I had to click "view later" on several texts so I wouldn't be interrupted during my frenzied thumb pecking. I sat down next to the computer but continued to text. I logged onto Facebook and checked to see who had written what. Something, anything--I was looking for anything even remotely interesting. I was desperately searching for a muse, a motivation, an inspiration for a funny story--but there were none. No one I knew had anything even slightly entertaining to report. However, several people wanted to "chat". My spirits lifted and I felt a renewed sense of belonging. I had lost my original train of though, I was derailed. I had been side tracked by the feeling of being "popular" again--a moment of relieving the glory days, isn't that what this whole technological experience is about?
Meanwhile, I hadn't stopped texting. In fact, I began intermittently sending texts and "chatting" on line with various Facebook friends--including some I was texting AND "chatting" with at the same time. I carried on my electronic conversations about getting together with my various friends in different social situations and professed my enthusiasm for "catching up". I was busily texting away when I received a message from my patient husband, who was waiting for me to watch an episode of "Jeopardy". He was doing his own socializing with a 6 pack of Bud Light when he managed to find time to shoot off a text (to me) that said "Hey Babe, is this what we have been reduced too? Is this what I have to do to talk to you?" We shared a funny moment. We laughed together and I sent him a text that said simply "Yes".
I continued to text away and communicate technologically with my friends until I received another text from my sweetie that said "Dorkustextorino". It was at precisely that moment that I thought, (be it the 200 texts I have sent and received in the last 4 days or the callouses I have developed on my thumbs from my addiction to texting), what IS it about technological communication that is so appealing to us? Is the anonymity of being able to say whoops...sorry, that was my dog that texted "Geez-us did you see how HUGE Hillary's butt looked in those pants?" accidentally to Hillary? Or the ability to say things you wouldn't ordinarily have the nerve to say in a face to face conversation--like--"What IS your problem? You are being a REAL bitch lately".
I determined that there is a huge variety of reasons why we text. My favorite is "We can re-word and re-read the things we want to say before we send them." This is a common explanation for an otherwise already very stupid person who appears even more stupid (seemingly impossible I know) after you receive a misspelled text they have been "re-reading" for the past several minutes. Especially when all the text says is "Wear (yes, REALLY spelled w-e-a-r) should we go for lunch?" Then there is the awesome justification that it is faster then calling. Really? How long does it take you to have a normal conversation via text messaging? Yeah...like an eternity right? Then of course there is my all time favorite--"It is WAY cheaper to text then use your minutes". Really? Cause doesn't it cost like 40 cents a text after you have exceeded your 200 text messages for the month? and only 15 cents a minute after you have used up all of your 3000 minutes? The reality is, it takes you almost 200 text messages to have a complete conversation that might have taken you just 5 minutes on the phone.
So, really these are not good justifications because they are completely erroneous. The truth is we do it because we feel cool sending and receiving text messages. We do it because it's like the porno version of mail. It is fast, cheap and easy, we can customize it to fit our needs--and--we do it on our terms, when WE want. It really is that simple. I am pretty sure I have come up with a fool proof explanation, but, I'm a reasonable person--if you think I'm wrong--feel free to text me and, if you have unlimited texting--we can probably figure it out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Mom The Culinary Rebel

Tonight the Curtis family and my dad had a lovely meal prepared by my dear sweet mother (a woman who can never seem to please all the critics). Now, realistically, the only person (from my family) even remotely qualified to critique another persons cooking is my sister who graduated from the Cordon Bleu Culinary School. Everyone else in the family really ought not to complain--but we just can't do it. We just can't seem to keep our big mouths shut. We are either stuffing our faces with the food she has so graciously prepared or pouring out complaints regarding the before mentioned meals.
The complaints usually target an inconsistency in the recipe, but sometimes they reach as far as the temperature of the food. Tonight my dad actually said, when my mom asked for feedback, "It's not hot enough". Oh Lord. Really dad? You had to go there? Stick your damn plate in the micro and keep your big mouth shut. But I probably shouldn't talk--I wasn't really any better when I suggested that the mysterious sweet tomatoey flavor (chili sauce) seemed "unusual" which of course translates into "Mom, don't do THAT again". Really though, you have to ask, what gives us the right to complain about food we haven't either bought from a restaurant or prepared ourselves? I can't answer this. I really don't know. As my mom would say "I haven't the "foggiest".
Now, when it comes to food, my mom is a creature of habit. But don't let that fool you--she has a wild streak of reckless abandon that only comes out in her cooking. In fact, this may be the origin of many of the complaints. See, she doesn't love to cook but she does love to take requests, (she's a people pleaser). In fact "What to do you want me to make for dinner?" are words I have heard come out of my mother's mouth many, many times. Now the right answer to this question is of course the name of the dish you want to eat. However, a more appropriate answer might be "Mom try to make the same thing you made LAST TIME you made...(insert name of favorite food). Further more, prepare it in the same way, with the same ingredients as the last time you made it". You see, here in lies the REAL problem. My mom, the same woman who can give an identical answer, verbatim, to the same question asked 10 years after the fact--could not follow a recipe if her life depended on it.
Take for example, the potato soup. Everyone in the Callahan family and now everyone in the newly formed 2nd generation Curtis family LOVES my moms potato soup. It's creamy, it's potatoey, it's buttery and delicious. That being said--occasionally some rogue ingredient (like whole peppercorns) somehow manages to end up infiltrating a particular "batch". I don't know how many times I have heard her say, in astonishment, "Well...LAST time I made this it was delicious. For some reason this batch just doesn't have the same flavor". Meanwhile, Ryan is ripe with the answer to that burning question as he picks the whole peppercorns out of his teeth.
Now, I know that some times people like to "experiment" with different ingredients, but most of the time they are working off a basic recipe. My mom does not understand this concept. I think she sees the recipe card more like a beacon of hope guiding her ship out of rough waters. She uses it as her own personal bookmark, so as to not lose her place in her "process".
She will frequently offer to make a dish you have lavished praise upon in the past, only this time you are not sure she heard you right. Goulash? I though I said chili. I swear, every time she makes short ribs (one of my favorite dishes) she cannot recreate the same dish she served the last time she made short ribs. It's a pretty basic recipe: meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and gravy. However, every time she makes it I'll be damned if she can't find some ingredient she didn't use the last time she made short ribs. I might ask "What is this? A potato, an onion, a rogue hot pepper?" Her answer "No. A parsnip". What the hell is a parsnip? Next time, I might ask "Does this batch have a sweeter flavor then last time?" to which she would respond "Yes. I added stewed tomatoes, that makes it sweeter." No, that makes it more like goulash Mom. For some reason she can relay a recipe exactly the way you remember it being prepared--BY HER--in the past, she just can't follow it herself.
So, this behavior begs the question why can't she prepare food following the directions from her very own recipe? Maybe she feels confined by the restraints of the recipe, maybe she feels free when she enters the kitchen, maybe she morphs from ordinary mom to chef extraordinaire--she sees food in it's raw state and can visualize it's transformation from mundane edibles to culinary masterpiece, or maybe, simply put, she is a maverick, a rebel, a culinary James Dean. Who knows. Who really cares. All I know is, at dinner time, she keeps us guessing-and-if she didn't do this, time and time again, when it comes to cooking what would we do for "comedic material"? XOXO. Thanks for all those meals you made. Love you Mom.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Leopard Loses Her Spots

So...as some of you know I have been dealing with skin care issues for quite some time now. I have small dark spots on my cheeks from acne, sun spots from over exposing myself at the pool, and a condition called melasma or "the mask of pregnancy" (it's kind of like the mask of Zorro...only not as cool and made of freckles). I decided it was time to take some action. I went to the American Laser Center and had a consultation with the manager. I really liked her--she is also a neurotic picker who is obsessed with having perfect skin--we were a match made in Heaven. She reassured me that I was in the right place and that the problem could be alleviated with a laser treatment called a fotofacial. She told me about doing the treatments for her own acne scars and spoke of a personal "transformation". She showed me before and after photos, many of them with very good results. I felt comfortable with her and decided to go ahead with the treatments.
Now at first I was skeptical. I had several people telling me to be careful, to watch out for untrained technicians who would do MORE damage and leave me permanently disfigured--a hideous monster, if you will. Well, already feeling like a hideous monster I decided I was willing to take the risk. I went ahead and had my first treatment in January. I was excited and hoping to see instant results.
So, after the "relatively painless", (actually it was more like the excruciatingly painful) laser treatment, I went home to recover and wait for the transformation to begin. I noticed immediately I was "transforming". Transforming from a relatively normal shade of beige to a horrifically deep shade of red. And...I started to swell. I began to worry. Shortly after my transformation had begun the girl from the center called and asked how I was doing. I told her what was happening and expressed my concerns, to which she replied "Good, that is exactly what is supposed to happen." I thought to myself--why the hell did I just pay all that money to painfully transform myself from the mildly hideous beast that I had been to the freakish lobster faced girl now asking herself WHY, WHY? (You have to imagine me saying it like Nancy Kerrigan--it's much better). Anyhow, I endured this awful state for several weeks until finally I noticed the red spots had changed color. The spots had turned dark-very dark--and formed little flaky scabs. Now, I didn't think I could get any more horrified then I had been after the lobster incident, but some how I did. In fact, it was about this time I decided to start considering whether or not I should kill myself or kill the girl who performed the procedure. I went back to the center, about 2 weeks after the initial laser therapy for some microdermabrasion (the sandblasting part of the transformation process). And guess what? The tiny crystals from the microderm blasted off the flaky dark scabs and beneath was a fresh undamaged layer of skin waiting to greet me. I was over joyed, I could not have been happier-until she told me we would do this procedure 5 more times until all the spots and discoloration were gone. Ugh.
She also told me I could only do one laser treatment a month. That meant I wouldn't see my final results for another 6 months. So, I decided I would take on a different problem--unwanted hair. That seemed like a more simple and less painful procedure. However, this procedure can only be done once every two months. So I decided to double up. I began undergoing laser hair removal in conjunction with the fotofacials. I was very pleased with the results. After only two treatments of the laser hair removal I noticed much less hair growing back, and, my spots were disappearing right before my eyes. So far, my results were pleasing.
Now, this was the point at which I think I got carried away. I then decided, since things were going so well, I might as well buy the only other package they offered at the AM. Laser Center. Vela shaping (oh Lord it's awful--it makes me cringe just thinking about it). Vela shaping is done to eliminate cellulite mainly in those places that hold on to fat even after you have done diets and exercises galore. The places that make Richard Simmons wear women's pantyhose. Your butt and the back of your thighs. I figured it would be simple. They heat up your fat cells thus shrinking them and detoxifying or draining the fat from the cells, then a machine massages (DEEPLY) the areas that have been heated until they are smoothed out to reduce the appearance of "dimpling". Well...I thought--this will be a walk in the park compared to getting blasted in the face with a super powered laser. Boy was I wrong. It was basically like sitting under the warming lights at a KFC until you just can't take it anymore, while a high powered vacuum type machine sucks and squeezes and pulls on your ass until you feel like you have been to "Ladies Night" at the Jersey Shore. I occasionally found myself saying "Uhhh...Alley...is it supposed to be getting THAT hot? or "Does it really have to pull that hard? I think you're giving me an electronic Indian burn." After being heated and kneaded like a naughty Pillsbury biscuit she told me I was finally done. She said I could resume "normal" activities (although I have not enjoyed sitting on the couch nearly as much as I usually do). These treatments are to take place for six consecutive weeks (or until I yell "UNCLE"--which ever comes first). After which, my butt will have under gone a transformation of it's own. It will be cellulite free and ready for summer. It will have become my magnum opus.
I asked one of my dear friends what he thought about the vela shaping and whether or not he thought it was a good idea. I asked him for advice on how to talk Ryan into letting me do it (and pay for it) and he said "Cas, it'll be no problem. Once he thinks about it, Ryan will see the wisdom in letting you do it. If it makes you happy--it'll make him happy. Besides, then he can say get your ass in here woman. Shit---I paid for it, technically that is MY magnum opus."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gay night at Medieval Times

Well...I'm back. After a few days in sunny Las Vegas or as we call it "Lost Wages" I finally returned home where I was greeted by two very stressed out dogs, a bird in the kitchen (that was a gift from the cats) and a truancy notice for one of my kids--but, as the saying goes, who cares--we had just enjoyed 5 fun filled days at the Sunset Station in Henderson, NV. During those 5 fabulous days we lost lots of money, (won just a little), ate lots of mediocre food, drank tons of Pina Coladas and bowled some pretty terrible games (including one that almost sent Ryan to the ER) Ryan had one too many Pina Coladas and ended up crossing the line--literally crossing the bowling line, hitting the oil on the lane and totally eating shit. He fell and when he fell...he fell hard. It was kind of like the shot heard round the world only this was the fall heard round the bowling alley. He ended up with a minor head injury and a stiff neck but more importantly suffered a serious injury to his pride. We stayed up late, ate too much, drank too much and had way too much fun. We even took a trip to the Excalibur to see "Medieval Times". For those of you who have seen "The Cable Guy", you know what I am talking about. For those of you who don't...let me explain.
Medieval Times is a restaurant which features an elaborate arena show where highly decorated knights participate in medieval-style games, sword fighting, jousting and even a "tournament". This of course, takes place while you eat (without utensils) a medieval feast fit for a King including a giant turkey drumstick and a piece of pie. In the movie "The Cable Guy" the main characters eat at this restaurant. My favorite scene is when Janeane Garofalo says "Hello and welcome to Medieval Times. I will be your serving wench--what can I get for you?" One of the patrons asks if he can get a fork and the serving wench says "There WERE no utensils during Medieval Times, hence, there ARE no utensils AT Medieval Times. Would you like a refill of Pepsi?" To which the customer replies. "There were no utensils but there was Pepsi?" My thoughts exactly.
Ryan and I thought our 8 and 10 year old boys might enjoy this show very much. So we purchased 4 tickets and planned an evening of Medieval madness. As it turns out, I think I enjoyed it the most out of the four of us. The LARPer's (live action role players--you've probably seen them at your local park reenacting a civil war battle or an 11th century sword fight--major dorks) participated in the high drama medieval pageantry and each came equipped with giant galloping horses, realistic weapons, and long straggly pony tails. In fact, the only good looking knight was the one from Norway who was immediately killed by the much uglier knights in a horseback jousting match. We sat in the 3rd or 4th row and had a terrific visual of all the participants and of course the medieval pyrotechnics. However, one of the highlights of the night (for me anyway) were the Medieval "slaves". I must admit, I was a little surprised to see the beefy shirtless "slave boys" who occasionally ran on to the field to retrieve a sword or a mace that had been lost in battle. The "slaves" were surprisingly handsome, not to mention very muscular and oily, and shirtless, did I mention that? They waited on the side lines ready to spring into action when a knight lost a weapon or got killed and needed to be carried off the battlefield after hand to hand combat. Now, don't get me wrong--I am in no way complaining about the shirtless slaves in their leather loin cloths--but I did find it a bit odd since the show really seemed geared towards men. Oh well, maybe it was "gay night" at Medieval Times. Anyway, the show was entertaining (on many levels) and of course all the weirdo's that went (our foursome being the exception) were a sight to behold.
Now, for those of you who know me, you know that I revel in the bizarre. I don't know if I would call the trip to Medieval Times "bizarre" (had there been an "iron maiden" or a stretching rack or even say the dreaded "Judas chair" now that would have warranted the term bizarre) but I will say it was up there with some of the stranger things I've seen. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. It's definitely worth seeing--especially if your into LARP ing (which I secretly am). However, be forewarned, my advice is to go hungry but don't have high expectations when it comes to the food and wear something you won't mind smelling like horse during the rest of your trip. Oh, and be prepared that anytime some thing (even remotely) exciting happens--like a knight pulling off his helmet at the end of a grueling battle and shaking out his straggly pony tail--you will be expected to raise your frosty mug of Medieval Pepsi and shout "Huzzah!" at the top of your lungs.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fetish Night--say what?

Fetish night--say what??? I didn't feel I could possibly leave for a week long vacation until I posted a blog about lasts nights big outing--and by big I mean REALLY big. Ryan and I have a new friend we are really into and she asked if we wanted to go to AREA 51 with her and her girlfriend and witness the freak show that is "fetish night". Of course we were game, being the avid people watchers that we are. So, our dear friend told us she naturally thought of us because it was "Hollywood" night and people would come dressed as "Hollywood" themed characters. Perfect! I wore a blue silk skin tight Kay Unger dress from Nordstrom that looked like it was right off the the Mad Men wardrobe rack. I did my hair in victory rolls and completed the outfit with bright red lipstick and some insane black patent leather heels. I even carried a tiny beaded purse my grandma Olive gave me. Ryan wore a black suit with a white dress shirt and a black tie. He completed his look with a black felt fedora and sun glasses. Together we were a sight to behold.
To start the night off, we took our daughter out to dinner as a little treat for being such a sweetheart. She wore her beautiful new Easter dress and a special little necklace Ryan and I bought for her. She and I had gone together earlier in the day to have our nails done. We were all dolled up and off to the Olive Garden (Ava Graces favorite restaurant). After dinner we dropped Ava at home with the sitter, had a few drinks to start off the evening and headed off to the club.
Well, imagine our surprise when we arrived, looking smashing of course, and found we were the only people dressed like Hollywood movie stars. We entered the club and met our darling friend and her girlfriend and headed upstairs. We were greeted by a tall thin heavily pierced, heavily tattooed young man wearing a dog collar and baggy black pants with lots, I mean LOTS of chains--and a mohawk. I thought to myself "Well, aren't you going to be out of place." To my surprise he was not out of place at all in his outfit. It was US who were out of place not being dressed like we were attending a local showing of the Rocky Horror picture show. We proceeded to wander about taking in all the sights and sounds around us. First of all, the smoke, My God, the smoke. Not cigarette smoke but literal smoke machine smoke. Why on earth does a place need that much smoke billowing around? It was as if at any moment one of those fashionable young men might be a magician about to pull a rabbit out of those awful baggy black pants. Now the next thing we saw were people dancing. However, they were not really dancing at all, it was more like...flailing about, as my mom might say, arms swinging in every which way and people moving about randomly. We watched in amazement as our friend and her GF went to get some drinks. We moved on out of the haze, literally the haze, and went in to the "demo room". This is where the real fetishes took place. Ahhh, the fetishes. You could be whipped or hogtied or even vacuum sucked if you wished. We all stood there, our mouths open watching in horror as this poor over sized women (apparently big girls LOVE fetish night) got into the vacuum chamber and got squished. It was very entertaining. We finally felt a picture was in order but quickly got shut down as apparently people who display themselves in these extremely public displays of fetishism don't like getting photographed. They must be like the Amish. It was really the worst part not being able to take a picture. We did however, get permission to take a picture from the girl wearing the light up nipple clamps.
So, we finally decided that since no one from our party was going to get in the vacuum chamber we should probably head out. I sure as shit was going to get that new 300.00 dress dirty in that sweaty vacuum chamber. Plus, we are leaving for a vacation this morning and we needed to get some sleep. So, my thoughts about fetish night? Well, it was an experience you might want to be more prepared for if your not part of that scene. However, I will probably be going to fetish night again next month--and when I do I will definitely wear my light up nipple clamps--and so will Ryan.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Permanent Vacation

Tonight I had to go to the grocery store to buy food for the cats. They had been out of food for about a day and a half and were really pissed off. They let us know they are out of food by following us around the house meowing and being everywhere we are glaring at us as if to "Feed us, or we will claw the leather coach until it becomes beef jerky". So, off to the store I went. I grabbed a bag of food and went to the register to pay. Of course I always gravitate towards the cash register being tended by the fresh faced boy just out of high school. As usual, this particular one looked high as a kite and sure enough when I asked for cash back he handed me an extra 20. I didn't notice this until I was walking out of the sliding doors into the parking lot. Now, although I am not a religious person, I am a strong believer in karma. I went back into the store, back up to the kid and extended my hand with the extra 20 in it as if to show him an act of generosity. He said " Did I not give you enough change?" I said "No you idiot, you gave me an extra 20 now take it back before I change my mind". I left the store and got in the car with my cat food. I thought about it for a minute and I remembered 2 days earlier when a friends dad asked THE dumbest question I have ever heard (coincidentally, I get asked this almost every time I say I am an Agnostic) he said "If you don't believe in life after death what gives you the motivation to behave?" I told him what I tell most people, including my children. I said, I don't make decisions about how I behave in order to get into Heaven, I make decisions based on what makes me feel good about myself. I think it's simple and straight forward. He wanted to debate this. He suggested that a person who is not motivated by the possibility of spending eternity burning in Hell might not want to "do the right thing". I explained to him that doing the right thing makes my life better and helps me enjoy the cosmic fart that is our existence. He asked if I get depressed by not having anything to look forward to. (I thought to myself, besides your immediately leaving my house?) I responded that I sometimes get depressed when I think about how stupid people won't stop reproducing but I try not to let it overwhelm me. We shared a laugh and then basically agreed to disagree. After a few awkward moments of silence we parted company. Alas, this conversation begs the question if not for today what day ARE we living for? Just for a moment imagine that this is the only life we have. If you lived only for a tomorrow that never came wouldn't you regret that? I was particularly interested in his comment about my "motivation". He asked how I convinced myself to do the right thing without the promise of celestial glory. I told him I operated from a place inside myself I liked to call "being a good person just because it seems like a reasonable idea". Tonight when I had to explain to my son why I didn't keep that kids 20 dollars I told him about making decisions I could live with...and karma. I told him, what goes around comes around and if I fuck someone over it will eventually bite me in the ass (exact words). I also explained to him that I had a good life, a privileged existence. I told him my life is so good I don't even have to work and that kid is working a shitty job at Smith's. He obviously needs that 20 dollars more then I do. He said "Why is your life so good Mom, why don't you have to work?" I said...karma. Your dad got me pregnant not once but 3 times and after pushing 3 babies giant heads out of my vagina HE has to work cause I am on "permanent vacation".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ruvry Nails

Today I decided I needed to get my "glam" on to get ready for my upcoming trip to Vegas. So, after some microderm abrasion (I know, not very glamorous-but still very important) I decided to go to the nail salon with my new Bettie Page haircut and freshly pierced nose (don't worry Mom--it's a tiny diamond stud) I figured a "mani pedi" was in order. So I headed to Lovely Nail. I went inside and picked out my polish. I sat down with two girls who looked like they might be relatives of Jackie Chan and started getting pampered. Now, it's not very often that I get a manicure, let alone a manicure and a pedicure, but today I decided I would.
I looked around the bright pink salon painted in a lovely shade of Pepto Bismal and tried to take in all the sights and sounds around me. Of course at Lovely Nail there wasn't relaxing instrumental music or small rock water fountains, there was only the loud Vietnamese shrieks of hysterical women as one of the women saw the other woman's car getting a traffic ticket. I was startled to hear what sounded like a mother frantically searching for a lost child, but, as it turns out it was one of the nail techs trying to explain, and convince, the other nail tech that the car receiving the ticket was in fact NOT her car at all. After a few minutes of verbal brawling in a foreign tongue they simultaneously burst in to laughter as the actual owner of the car came out and discovered his ticket.
After the dust had settled I looked around and noticed the posters in the salon. I imagine if I had a salon I would have posters that made the customer feel...well...inspired. I don't think that was the goal behind the poster of the 5 hands with dreadfully long nails all collectively playing a flute. And I have to admit, I didn't exactly feel inspired by the Siamese cat wearing purple acrylics but I did start to think maybe the poster of the 2 inch long red and yellow silk tips might look good on a circus clown. I tried to just relax and enjoy myself but I felt distracted by the one women motioning to the other woman to look at something on my foot or feet. The other woman stretched all the way across the counter where she was working on my nails to get a glimpse and snicker at my horribly wonky toes or whatever they were looking at.
About this same time two women came in together with a stroller and a baby. They both had blond hair, they looked similar enough and the older woman was cooing over the younger woman's baby in a very loving way. I looked at them and said "That's nice, are you guys doing a mother daughter day at the salon?" The younger woman looked at the older woman and the older woman looked at me with what I am sure could be THE look from the expression "If looks could kill". Anyway, the older woman then said "I am NOT her mother. I am not even old enough to be her mother. I am only 38." Now, I imagine the other woman was in the her mid twenties, so naturally, this was very insulting to the older woman. I was embarrassed and very apologetic but my efforts were in vain. Mean while the one Vietnamese woman was hurriedly trying to explain what had just happened to the other Vietnamese woman when I heard the victim of my comment say to the younger woman "Come on DAUGHTER lets get our polish".
I thought to myself I better add this comment to the list of things NOT to say to someone--along with "When is your baby due?" (never say that unless you can actually see the baby emerging from her body. Also, never ask an expectant mother "Are you SURE it's not twins?" I tried to hurry up and dry as fast as possible so I could get the hell out of there but before leaving I asked if I could pay with a check and one of the Vietnamese women said "Sure. Make check to Ruvry Nails "(Lovely Nails).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bettie Page Bangs

So, I have been in limbo for a few months now. I need a change but I don't want something to dramatic. I want something that seems authentic-not phony-or created. I need to get in touch with my inner beauty but I don't want to forget entirely about my outward appearance. So begins the quest for a "new look".
I have Ryan cut my hair straight across the bottom to try to keep it from getting straggly every couple months or so. It has been "growing out" from a short spikey "A line" for the last several years. I have been trying to grow my hair long again, since after I cut it while I was at Paul Mitchell the School. But now I'm bored. Bored of the long straight style I have had for 2 years. I have been putting pressure on Ryan to tell me what he likes when it comes to different hair styles. He says (like any good hubby would) "I like it right now. Long. Just how it is." Well, that's probably a safe answer for most husbands--but not mine. I tried to explain to him the thing you DON'T want to say to someone who has a bug up their but about change is "I like things just as they are". Duh.
So, lately I have trying out some new "looks". I have been dressing exclusively in black. I am back into my earrings and piercings and I am thinking about doing something a little "edgy" with my look. This weekend we went to the lesbian bar "The Paper Moon" it was a blast--anybody who knows me knows I HEART lesbians. But after going to the bar I decided to throw out the idea of going "shorter" it's kind of a popular lesbian look, in case you didn't know. Next we went bowling and I decided not to try the mullet (popular among some bowlers). Saturday we went to the RV show. I won't even get into the hair you see there, but, what I did see was my gorgeous sissie-in-law looking like my twin. She with HER long black hair and me having HER exact same hair cut. Ironically exacerbated by the fact we were dressed in tight jeans, black boots and grey jackets (looking fabulous if I might say so). Of course, if I had to pick a twin, it would be Tami. But, I do start to feel like a bit of a poser when we show up dressed a like. Now you might say it's because great minds think a like--I'll accept that, however, I felt it was time to strike out on my own. I'm sure it is in the genetic make up of a younger sibling to follow in the footsteps of the older sibling but I knew at that moment, it was time for a change, I had to let Tami keep the original hair-do (I think she had it first, lol) and try something different.
So, I decided I would cut my hair. I'm already moving towards a kind of "retro" thing with my wardrobe so why not go all the way and cut the iconic "Bettie Page Bangs". I called my friend, my best friend who I went to hair school with and told her I was going to a popular salon up here (one she happens to hate) and get my bangs cut. After she reprimanded me for being a bad friend--not asking her to do it, AND going to that lame salon--she said go ahead, if anyone can wear "Bettie Page Bangs" it's you. I think she's right. I mean shit--I have always loved the movie stars of the 40's and 50's--I did name my daughter Ava (after Ava Gardner) and I had to stop myself from doing this exact hair cut in the past because of a lack of confidence that I could pull it off. However after talking to Kelly I decided to go ahead and do it--and not just do it--but do it TONIGHT.
Well, turns out it's not as easy as it seems. After about a half an hour I emerged from the bathroom to my little daughters joyful shouts "Oh Mommy, you look so beautiful...just like Snow White". Uh oh. Back to the drawing board. I looked at a photo of the bangs on the computer and went back in to the bathroom to hack away for a few more minutes. I re emerged (only after said daughter was asleep) and sat down to look again at the picture on the computer. Perfect! I no longer resemble Snow White at all. I now look like the black haired beauty of the 50's-if she had received a bang trim from a 10 year old with a tremor. Just kidding. It looks AWESOME. It is so hot. I even styled it--complete with victory rolls, a big purple bow and bright red lipstick. I feel like a movie star. Yeah!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Can't Take It With You

Have you ever noticed how much "stuff" we have? I mean shit, if we didn't have so much stuff we wouldn't need such huge houses. We could drive smaller cars, no one would ever need to pay for a storage unit, and we wouldn't have to have such huge fucking purses. We are obsessed with stuff. In fact some people let their "stuff" determine the course of their life. Who we marry, where we live, what we do for work, (based of course on how much money we will make to determine how much stuff we can buy). We are a society of consumers based on having, storing, accumulating, showing off, coveting and down right worshiping our "stuff". Although, what we really want is to have other people worship our stuff right? Doesn't THAT feel good?
This can't be normal. I am afraid our "stuff" is taking over our lives, interfering in our relationships. In fact our "stuff" can easily become a priority and prevent us from having the one thing we really NEED to survive--LOVE. Ahhh, but who needs love when you have "stuff".
We love our stuff, we love other peoples stuff. We love dead peoples stuff so much so in fact, we fight over it. How many people have lost a friend or relative after fighting over somebodies stuff that has died? Now for those of you who know me, I am NOT a stuff person, but even I have caught myself saying to a loved one "When your dead can I have your stuff". It's almost as if we look right past the living person and miss opportunities to simply love each other. And for what? Because of our obsession with stuff.
What about trying to move into together. My God...the STUFF. There's no room for your stuff. Who's gonna sacrifice THEIR stuff? How about we get rid of all our stuff that is MINE or YOURS and buy new stuff that is OURS so we can start a life "together". Really? You couldn't start a life with the stuff you HAD before? It's as if to say "we" are not a "we" unless "we" go through the rite of passage that IS purchasing "stuff"--together--it's ridiculous.
I say if it works use it and make it earn it's keep. That's right, make your stuff justify it's existence. If it isn't getting used-in other words, it is unable to prove it's worth, get rid of it. In fact, I feel so strongly about this...I will even try to get rid of YOUR stuff while I am on a vacation at YOUR house, (just ask my mom). There is just something about the accumulation of stuff that makes me very uncomfortable.
Now that being said, don't think for a minute I don't have my own "stuff" (while most of it is non-tangible emotional baggage), it still qualifies as stuff. But have you ever noticed how judgemental we are about stuff? It's almost as if to say a person with emotional "stuff" can be dealt with but a person with really awful "stuff" in their house is a problem. Haven't you ever been somewhere, someones house and left thinking "God, THEIR "stuff" is awful." and then said "We are definitely NOT going back THERE." Why is it that other people's stuff is "shit" and your shit is "stuff"? Is this really how we measure OUR value? Is it how WE measure someone else's value? It's the equivalent of saying YOU are ok because your STUFF is ok. Who is to say who's stuff is "OK" and who's isn't? Who gets to decide whether or not having a garden gnome makes you acceptable? If I don't care about garden gnomes your having a "collection" doesn't mean shit to me. What about giving some body else YOUR old stuff? What makes us think OUR stuff is so great that once we decide we don't want it we still think someone else might? Isn't this a little presumptuous?
The importance of our stuff really cannot be measured. Have you ever tried to pack for a trip? Oh shit...what "stuff" am I going to bring? It's a tough decision whether or not to bring this or that? Why do we bring so many clothes when we end up wearing the same thing the WHOLE trip?
I think we really have become a society of "stuff" worshipers who can't distinguish between what is US and what is our "stuff". Well...I don't believe in life after death...I do however, believe in death, and this expression seems to be what one might call a "universal" truth...you can't take it with you. Whether I'm right or not about the afterlife, no person is taking anything with them anywhere after they are dead. Call it what you will, Christian philosophy--valuing good works over material possessions, or the simple physics of being dead (you can't carry anything with you once you are dead) the point remains the same...none of it really matters in the end. (Unless I need a place to put my "stuff" and your "shit" is in the way--then we're gonna have a problem.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hornets Nest

I decided, since my parents are religiously following my blog, I would give them a few reminders of the "good old days". Ahhh but that begs the question which fond memory shall I begin with? There are so many--it's hard to choose. Like, the time they had a dinner party and I convinced all my cousins visiting from out of town to go outside and B.A. passing cars (bare ass or "moon" for you novice pranksters). Or, there was the time Leslie and I told my parents we were picking lemons for lemonade when in reality we were making lemonade grenades. Or, any one of the numerous times I threw water balloon's off the deck on our three story house onto passing cars. Possibly the time Leslie and I squirted the meter maid with a water bazooka and then made her chase us around downtown Petaluma trying to evade a ticket for loitering. There was the time one of my friends and I (not sure if it was Leslie) taunted the neighbors from the apartment building across the street so badly we had to run home and seek solice in the house from an angry mob of Mexicans. It seems Leslie was my constant companion on these adventures (hopefully her mom isn't reading this blog or she'll be like "Bob...I knew it all along, it was that Cassie that corrupted our innocent little Leslie" (innocent my ass). Anyhow, I know my parents always love to tell the story of the "hornets nest" so let me share a family favorite with you.
For those of you not familiar with my childhood home in Petaluma, I grew up in a beautiful three story Victorian home in a small town on a cozy street where all the neighbors knew each other and took pride in the appearance of their homes. One day when my father (the one who bought the wee alarm) went out on to the upper deck that over looked a vast landscape of rolling hills and grassy meadows he noticed what he thought were rather large hornets nests. He was puzzled and studied them for quite some time. He came into the house and got my mother and asked if she had noticed the hornets nests on the side of the apartment building next to us. She too was puzzled and together they studied the nests for quite some time. After pondering the sudden appearance of these elaborate nests they decided to come in and find me, and of course my partner in crime, Leslie. They told us to step out on to the deck and take a look at the unusual hornets nests. They asked us if we knew anything about them. We did our best to act surprised and said "No, we know nothing about them." They were satisfied for the time being and sent us on our way. Now, I am not certain if the investigation began that day or several days later but my dad, still bothered by these large hornets nests and concerned for our safety from potentially wild africanized hornets decided to spray them forcefully with the hose. As he took on the challenge of ridding our neighbors building of these pests, he became surprised at the "nests" miraculous transformation. As he began to wet the nests he noticed they became heavy and saturated. They began to fall apart rapidly and slid down the side of the apartment building. He called us back on to the deck and said "Cassie...Leslie...watch this girls" he vigorously sprayed the "nests" and we watched in horror as the giant wads of toilet paper we had soaked in the sink and thrown onto the neighbors apartment building began to slid slowly down the wall. We remained silent for a moment, all of us staring at the wall in awe. It was about this time I am quite certain Leslie suggested she had to be leaving and getting back to her house to finish up her chores. I don't remember the resolution to the "nest" incident but because of the frequency of times the story has been told--it must not have been too bad.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The "Wee Alarm"

Tonight as I was putting Devin to bed (in his sister's bed instead of his own) I reminded him to use the bathroom BEFORE he got in bed rather then AFTER. I told him "Go in and go potty or I'll hook you up to the 'wee alarm' and you don't want that--do you?" Ahhh, the dreaded wee alarm. I have (through years of fantastic story telling) glorified the "wee alarm" to resemble something of a medieval torture device for the young bed wetter. For those of you not familiar with the wee alarm--let me explain. The wee alarm was a device my father bought for me when after about the age of 6 or 7 I just couldn't seem to get my bed wetting under control. Now the reality was that it was a normal, infrequent occurrence that happened less then rumored by my father but naturally more then I would like to admit. In any case, he purchased a pad that was made of some thin sheet of metal covered in cloth with a clamp on either side that was then attached to a battery. When I peed on the pad it was supposed to send a small shock through the pad in turn waking me, prompting me to relieve my bladder in the toilet and saving my parents the hassle of changing my bedding in the "wee" hours of the morning (no pun intended). Well, the way I have described it to the kids was as if it were THE device used to electrocute Jack Nicholson in the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckcoo's Nest". Now the way it actually worked well, I don't really know. How could that be you might be asking yourself, me being such an accomplished bed wetter? Well, the wee alarm was created by someone who did not have a child with my overly active clever mind, (obviously). My father was very hopeful that the wee alarm would be the answer to our soggy night time struggles. Little did he know I had no intention of being electrocuted just because I couldn't wake myself up to pee in the bathroom. So every night he would turn it on, tuck me in and leave with high expectations. The next morning he would come in and find me just as he had so many nights before not in my bed at all but in a make shift bed my mother had made for me on the floor of their room dry and toasty soundly sleeping all the while having peed all over the wee alarm with no electrocution having taken place. After several weeks of this he finally realized that I had been (after he left my bedroom) immediately unplugging the wee alarm, peeing on it and going into their bedroom in new pajama's just like I always had. He was horrified. I am not sure of the where abouts of the "wee alarm" today but I do know my fathers expectations that a child of mine will not pee in or on something at their house are much lower because of my experience with the "wee alarm". I think he thought I must have taken some sadistic pleasure in wetting the bed, which of course was not true at all. For me the pleasure was in outsmarting him and peeing on the "wee alarm".