Borrowed Saints

This is St. Joseph. I know this because my Catholic friends told me so.  They think I’m a pagan but in fact, I was raised Baptist.  To them, this is the same thing but opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one. I was going to say that opinions are like assholes but thought that might be offensive.

In this version of St. Joseph, he seems to be holding an adult version of Jesus rather than an infant version. I find this creepy and strange but also a bit fascinating. As if the artist hadn’t quite mastered the skill of scale.  I’ve noticed this happens a lot in religious art both old and new which is probably why I don’t have any.  You’ll see what I mean about the “now” versions a bit later.

In my religious world, that is, one that doesn’t really have saints, per se, St. Joseph would just simple be known as Joseph the carpenter, or the quasi-father of Jesus or what we might today call the not-really-baby-daddy.  He seemed to be fine with the notion of his wife giving birth through some kind of immaculate conception.  I have to hand it to Joe. He was a pretty progressive dude and clearly not a jealous guy.  Then again, how can you argue with the deity that you’ve been told created the world as you know it and came up with the macabre notion of drowning all humanity by flooding the earth?  Clever, yes. But drowning everybody?? It’s just all so, so…..biblical.

When I was recently selling a house that wasn’t moving as quickly as I’d like, a dear friend told me about burying St. Joseph upside down in the yard and praying for a sale.  After all, he’s the patron saint of homes.  Makes sense because he was a carpenter.

ME:
Will it work if I’m not a Catholic?  I mean, aren’t there rules and regulations

FRIEND:
God is God, right? You ask St. Joseph to intervene on your behalf and The Big Man listens. He listens to everybody. Even a pagan.

ME:
Baptist.

FRIEND:
Any religion that shuns drinking, smoking and everything that represents good wholesome fun is a pagan in my book.

ME:
Good point but I’m still skeptical.

FRIEND:
Trust me. Just read the instructions, bury him and say the prayer every day.

And so I borrowed her St. Joseph’s Catholic Home-Selling Kit and got to buryin’ just like the instructions told me to do.  I said the prayer…or, more like recited it which felt a little inauthentic and robotic and lo’ and behold it worked!

Thank you Catholic friend!  And thank you St. Joseph!  I’m one satisfied customer!

Here’s an example of the kit. You can get it on-line or anyplace dogma is sold and promoted.  This one looks a little like something those South Park guys may have come up with. He’s called the patron saint of “real estate” on this one and holding what appears to be a scythe.  Bit of a bastardization if you ask me, but what do I know? I’m just a pagan. Give it a try! They’re made in China.

Hair-Brained

A  woman’s self-esteem, as it relates to her hair, cannot be understated. And when things go wrong, it’s akin to being stripped naked and paraded through a shopping mall on the eve of an unfortunately overdue Brazilian. (Thanks, Sandman, for bringing me that horrifying dream, you sick fuck!)

A hair disaster can bring on nothing short of social paranoia. The Aggrieved Unfortunate is convinced everyone is staring at her. (Writer speaking in the third person to protect her nearly pulverized psyche)  Even if they don’t know her and therefore couldn’t possibly know what her hair looked like pre Hair Apocalypse, she thinks they’re staring.

They are.

She feels it.

She cinches her hoodie tight around her fried noggin, her posture reduced to the slump of the publicly humiliated.

Not even her friends recognize her as she reveals the source of her shame. Their greetings, once warm and comforting, have been replaced with dismayed half-smiles of “Holy mother of God, what has she done?” and ever so slight recoils of disgust… as if getting too close might infect them with her hair-brained disease.  She gives them a cryptic warning. “Don’t bother with the hand sanitizer. It’s airborne. I caught if from breathing in some cockamamie idea I got from a hairstyle magazine that made me believe I wanted to look like Miley Cyrus.”

They stare a little harder.

“Yeah. Yeah. I know. If Andy Warhol and Tilda Swinton had a love child, it would have this hair color. I’m going to get it fixed on Saturday.”

And Saturday comes….

Alas, the fixing has failed.

And it’s worse than she could have imagined. Any trace of what remained of her erased…washed away in a diabolical brew of chemical color not found in nature or otherwise.

“Now you look Irish,” one helpful friend blurts out.

“It’s just not you,” another offers, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. (from a safe distance, of course)

“Then who the hell am I,” Andy-Tilda The Irishwoman cries. “Who? Who? Who??!!”

And thus begins the slow, agonizing process of rebuilding the woman she once recognized in the mirror as Herself.  She’s come to terms with it now. Every day a little better. Every therapy session one step closer to regaining the self-esteem she so cavalierly tossed away that fateful day.

Oh, what a price we pay for our mistakes, my sisters. Oh, what a price.

 

 

 

 

A Pirate’s Life For Me!

Not long ago, I was corrected by my four-year-old great-nephew for incorrectly imitating pirate-speak.

I insisted that a pirate’s go-to expression for everything from rage, joy, happiness, surprise and outrage was “Arrggggh!” followed by the obligatory “shiver me timbers…” or “where the hell’s my parrot?”… “polish my hook, ship wench” or “pass me an orange, I’m gettin’ the scurvy”.  You know, silly things pirates say?

I was wrong, he informed me.

Pirates say “Arrrrrrrr.”  Not, “Arrrghhh”.

Rather than argue with him, I let it go.  Truth be told, I secretly harbored resentment because I knew deep down in my aging heart that I was right and he was wrong.  I mean, I’m the adult.  By all rights, I should be smarter.

Then I read Fifty Shades of Gray [which, I admit,  automatically dumbed me down] and, to my horror, discovered that the author used the word “arrrghhh” when describing the pain of virginal sex.

So, chalk one up for the four-year-old.

But that’s not what this is about.

This is about the joy of being surprised.

As in finding pirate-worthy booty in my mailbox.

Generally, the only things I find in my standard issue please-not-another-Spanx-catalog- metal-box-on-a-pole are highway-robbery utility bills, stalker letters from AARP and a cozy little nest of spiders that I don’t have the heart to evict.

Until yesterday when it all changed.

What’s when my otherwise mundane mail receptacle contained a beautiful surprise!  A tiny packaged wrapped neatly in a bubble-protected envelope.

Even the spiders watched in deference as I gazed upon this unexpected curiosity.

I plucked it ever so gently from the box, scurried inside and drew the blinds. I carefully sliced one end of the envelope and let the contents slip out. Ahhhhh!  A stunning, gossamer bag with a satin ribbon.

And inside?

Golden earrings befitting a plundered galleon!

“I have laid eyes on the likes of these magnificent baubles before”, I whisper to myself. “On the delicate lobes of a beloved.”

Thank you, my friend, for reminding me that no matter how old I get, the child in me is still alive and well!

 

 

Operation Bambi

When I was a kid, I rescued a group of newborn possums. I blocked out the tragedy that befell the mother.  I tried my best to save them. I failed.

Yesterday, I was on my cell phone chatting about this and that with a friend.  My other friend who had just left my house rang through. She could hear from the sound of the ring that I was on another call.

[I’ll call her back]

My house phone rang immediately after that.  Ruh roh…..that’s the emergency code for no, this can’t wait… pick up the goddamn phone NOW.

I did.

“I need help!  I have a baby deer in my car!” she said in a panic.

[What?! How is your dog handling this situation?]

Funny what goes through your mind when someone calls and says they have a baby deer in their car.

This is my same friend who called when she was run over by a car while on her bike, came to dinner after getting run over by a golf cart despite the hematoma on her shin and bits of rubber tire still embedded in her thighs, rescued a number of dogs, volunteered during seal pup season and would risk life and limb to save an animal in distress. This is one tough cookie and when she says she needs help?? She ain’t jokin’.

I jumped in my car and called the SPCA on my way to meet her.  I was connected to Wildlife Rescue. They assured me they would come right away.

[Man, I love our SPCA!]

I was there in about three minutes and found her in her car with a newborn deer on her lap. It was the size of large cat albeit with super log legs.  It lay limp with surrender, completely spent. It had gotten separated from its mother on one of the gnarliest, curviest sections of 17-Mile drive with no shoulder no bike lane and pretty much surrounded by stone fences, driveway gates and jungle-like underbrush.  The mother undoubtedly jumped a fence which baby couldn’t manage. My friend did her best to slow down the line of traffic that just kept relentlessly flowing.  No one would stop.

[Bastards!]

Until a nice couple took pity on my friend who was now prostrate in the middle of the road trying to get some help. She was used to this kind of thing having been run over numerous times in the past but I’m sure she feared her luck may eventually run out at the worst possibly moment.  Thankfully, it didn’t.

They were able to get the poor thing away from traffic.  It collapsed on a driveway and my friend scooped it up and took it to her car.

After I arrived, we waited in the car for Wildlife Rescue all the while trying to figure out how we would mend our shattered hearts if the mom couldn’t be found. “We’ll raise it ourselves” we vowed even though we knew that wouldn’t be possible. My mind raced back to the possums and my woefully inadequate mothering skills.

[Shake those thoughts this instant!]

The Savior came as promised. A caring young woman wearing a jacket emblazoned with the SPCA insignia and driving a Toyota Tundra with emergency lights on top.  Hell yes!  Lights! This was, after all, an official rescue.  A rescue that would hopefully result in a deer baby / mommy reunion.

We spotted a doe in the area.  She was staring at us intently, motionless. The Savior gently coaxed the baby toward the doe and on wobbly legs the newborn bolted toward her.  The Savior followed as far as she could.  My friend and I hung back waiting for news.

Oh happy day! The little one was spotted in the company of not one but two doe farther up the path.

And we were joyful.

 

 

 

 

 

Dust On The Brain

My friend (we’ll call her Meg)  is smart as a whip.  Funny, charming, gracious, always makes me laugh…. except when she is totally full of shit. At least that’s what I thought when she told me had this strange ailment.  She called it “dust on the brain”.   This conjures all sorts of weird notions because when I think dust?  I think empty and unused.  Not stuff one wants associated with one’s own brain. I laughed at Meg and told her that only she could come up with such a ridiculous and hilarious interpretation of whatever it was that was plaguing her. I kind of blew her off as just being funny…her usual all-things-aforementioned self.  Ha Ha. Thanks for giving me a chuckle you silly, silly girl.

And then, mysteriously, my husband developed the same symptoms.  Dizziness when he’d move a certain way, weird blurry vision that would come and go. Should I worry?  Is he going to start developing strange ticks like those poor girls I saw on CNN?

Since Erin Brockovich isn’t listed in the yellow pages, we did a little more research.  Low and behold, this dust on the brain business is real.  They don’t call it dust on the brain, however, which restored my faith in the medical community because who in the hell would name it that?  It’s called something much easier to understand than dust on the brain:    Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

Damn, that just rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?  If you really want to be in the know, you can refer to it as BPPV which is totally easy since every letter has virtually the same sound. Disclaimer:  don’t try to speak this acronym if you’ve recently eaten ice cream and your lips are colder than normal as it will make every letter sound the same even worse than when your lips are warm.

Said another way: every letter sounds the same no matter what you do or don’t do.

I prefer the lazy girl way so I’ll just call it plain ‘ole vertigo even though the only thing I can of when I think vertigo is the movie of the same name.  It had a really cool theatrical poster, in my opinion.

Anyway, there are medical professionals that cure this ailment.  It’s simple. No drugs. No shots. No probing of any sort unless you pay extra.

These medical pros (we’ll call them Dust Busters) place weird-science-looking goggles on your head, look at the eyeballs on a computer screen and then determine in which ears you have dust. Important side note:   it’s the ears that have the problem….not the brain.  And the dust isn’t dust, really.  It’s crystals that form inside the inner ear and break loose and wreak havoc on your balance and make you fall down and feel like you’ve just gotten off  a diabolical carnival ride.   Or, visually speaking, people see you and think you’re hammered.

Once the Dust Busters have made their diagnosis, they proceed with putting the patient through a series of sudden movements designed to shake the crystals into submission and corral them into corners deep inside the inner ear.  I’ve seen similar moves watching MMA fights.  One guys grabs another guy by the head with both hands, slams it down on the mat, holds it there.  It’s sorta like that only without the chain link or the hefty pay-per-view charge.  And the Dust Busters are wearing clothes and shoes, of course.

The final phase of the cure is the collar.  The cervical collar.  It has to be worn for 48 hours during which time you cannot move your head.

Think about that.  No head movement for 48 hours.

48.

My husband cannot move his head for 48 hours?  They cannot be serious.

The only tranquilizer strong enough to subdue mi esposo for that long can only be administered through some kind of firearm.  I try Wal-Mart but the only kind of gun they carry shoots real bullets so I’m outta luck. He’ll just have to suck it up.

He was a trooper. God love him, he tried his best.  And failed.  It took about 30 minutes for him to rip off the collar and start moving his head around like the girl in The Exorcist.  I still can’t figure out how he gets it to do that but maybe he’s just limber.

The dust blew away on its own….eventually.

Unexpected

Little surprises me these days.

Life gets increasingly…hectic? High-pressure?  Or just plain hard, I guess.

Sometimes I lose faith.

Then I get it back.

Humanity disappoints.

Then humanity redeems itself.

And unexpectedly, I meet someone who quite literally takes my breath from me.

Like the “girl” in Austin.

I did not catch her name.

I was too mesmerized.

She looked so much like Lori.

Blonde, tall, vivacious, oozing a comedic sensibility.

Her hands move as she speaks…just like Lori’s did…as if spinning the words like spider silk.

Everything delivered with bone-dry wit.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Does she notice?

My eyes are going to overflow.

[Please don’t notice.]

I want her to never stop talking.

I want to ask her what it’s like now….where she is….can she see us?

How utterly ridiculous of me.

I want to thank her.

“For what?”, I can imagine her saying.

For surprising me.

A Dubious Distinction

Remember wax lips?

They still have them.

One night when I was with a couple of girlfriends, we ran across one of those vintage candy stores in Laguna Beach.  The kind of place that has all that great candy from your childhood like Cow Tails and Bit-O-Honey.

Naturally, we migrated toward the lips.

Big, giant red ones.

I was never into the wax mustaches or funky, hillbilly teeth but those  lips….now that’s what I call fun.

I couldn’t wait to get them in my mouth.  Just the memory of sinking my front teeth into that soft, chewy Red #6 brought a tear to my eye.  Oh, to be young again.

ME

Mmmm. Eee rrrr lvvv tees thnns.

FRIEND #1

Huh?

I remove the ruby reds from between my teeth to clarify; little specks of red still clinging to my veneers.

ME

I said:  I really love these things!

FRIEND #2

Wait! Put them back in.

She grabs her camera and I schmooze  for my close-up.

FRIEND #1

Holy shit!  You actually look good in those!

She eagerly shoves the digital image into the face of Friend #2.

FRIEND #2

Oh, my god!  She’s right!  You look like that figure skater, Oksana Baiul!  Your short blonde hair, your—

I snatch the camera and look for myself.

Damn.

They’re kinda right.

I pass it back.

ME

Fuck you both!  Why don’t you go suck on a Sugar Daddy and leave me alone.  Better yet, go take a giant puff off  a candy cigarette. 

I sulked the rest of the night.  I mean, why couldn’t I have looked like Marilyn Monroe or Angelina Jolie or some other hot mama with full, sexy lips?

Oksasa Baiul?

Thanks.

And no, I will never post that photo.

But here’s one of my dog.

Guess he shops at the same store.  His could use a little color, though.

IMG_4557

When Bad Things Happen To Good Dogs

First of all, I would like to thank my loyal and wonderful human friend for coming to my rescue at 1:00 am Monday night.  During a crisis, it helps to have someone who is a) always there for you and b) single – so getting a call in the wee hours from a friend whose dog is having a seizure and the Ambien she took 3 hours ago has rendered her unable to operate a motorized vehicle doesn’t result in relationship conflict.

Thank you single friend.  Please don’t change.

Okay…that’s selfish.  Feel free to seek a suitable partner but make sure he loves dogs. 

And me. 

And shocking late night calls that jolt you from dreamland and  make you think someone is dead.

My dog is fine.  Thank goodness.  Canine seizures suck! (as if I actually needed to say that)

As for my friendship….well….

Do you still love me?

Oh, pashaw!!  I know you do!

On The Origin Of A Business

And I don’t mean a mainstream business like a liquor store or a gun shop.

Nope.  I’m talkin’ escort service.

It’s more than just a paycheck.

It’s payback.

Let me explain:

I have this friend.  Let’s call her Monday.  Actually, you can pretty much call her anything you want if you’ve got a few bucks but for the sake of this blog, we’ll call her Monday.  And for the record, she’s not really in the escort service but rather one of those special people who provide an endless source of blog material for which I will extend my heartfelt thanks.  Thanks, Monday!

Monday is single.

And Monday has had a run of bad luck in the man department which is completely puzzling since  she is stunningly beautiful and has a great big heart.  She is lovely.

Trouble is, men are visually motivated and Monday is visually stimulating.  Like Magpies, they want to steal her because she is a shiny object.   And listen up, beautiful creatures.  Magpies are not that cool as far as bird go.  Here is a bit of cultural history:

In Britain and Ireland, there are a number of superstitions regarding magpies .  Here are two:

  • A single magpie is associated with bad luck (and a married Magpie is even worse luck).
  • One should make sure to greet magpies when they are encountered in order to either allay bad luck or encourage good luck.  Common greetings include “Hello Mr Magpie” “How is your wife/where is your wife?”….

 

A good question, indeed,  since the other night, Heckle (or was it Jeckle?) forgot to mention to Monday that he had a wife and kids back home in Dubuque or wherever it was he was visiting from.  Oooops.

MONDAY

I know why women start escort services.

ME

For the stimulating conversation with old rich guys with foot fetishes?

MONDAY

Self defense.

ME

Like Tae Kwan Do self-defense?

MONDAY

No. Like stop breaking my heart self-defense….. If women are always getting  screwed in one way or another by Wandering  Peckers whose marriages have gone dull, I outta just start organizing it instead of living it.

ME

Interesting point of view.

Monday was, of course, joking about the escort service thing and we had a good laugh about it.  Then I thanked her for yet another blog idea and we said our goodbyes.  But not before I asked how Heckle handled the “I’m actually married” thing.

He texted her the following:

Does this mean I can’t call you again?

Uh….only if you have a grand and some really cool toe polish.

I love you,  Monday.

Fear Of A Profound Nature.

Facebook.

Yes, I fear this place.

Perhaps it’s a misguided fear but I’m one to err on the side of caution most of the time.  Emphasis on the word “most”.  Sometimes I charge blindly into the woodchipper without safety goggles and end up blinding myself  but that’s another blog subject (note to self: woodchipper as a blog idea).

But back to Facebook.

My nephew is a card-carrying cult member.  So is my neice who, in a ploy to lure me into Facebook membership has withheld e-mail pics of my grand-nephew Noah and posted them exclusively on her Facebook page just slightly out of my reach.  My gene pool seems predestined to gather here.  Perhaps I’m adopted?  (another note to self).   Even my sister is on it and she’s more of a computer illiterate that I which fuels my fear even more.  

I have received these little “knocks” from Facebook notifying me that I’m a friend of a friend who recommended a friend who wants to be my friend.   These knocks have gone unanswered until a few days ago when I got a knock from someone I met recently who is really a cool dude and his wife is a really cool dudette.  Now, it’s one thing to ignore your own family since they expect it, but a cool couple who just wants to say howdy?  That’s another bucket of fish altogether. 

I found myself in a sticky wicket of a social nature and I do not like sticky wickets of a social nature.

So I ventured in.

I did not like it.

But I wrote something on their “wall” anyway even though I had no idea what I was doing or what this wall was or where my words would ultimately end up.  I think I actually said that on my post.

Then WHAM-O!  I got a flood of other Facebook notifications. 

Is this like an Internet marketing thing? 

Does Facebook just wander around searching for people’s e-mail addresses that members put down as friends and whenever that e-mail actually enters Facebook for the first time they grab it, put it in a stranglehold and then pepper you with so-and-so-wants-to-be-your-friend notifications??  Holy shit!  To me, this is sick and twisted and propels me back to my grade school days when I’d  lay awake at night and pray that all the other kids would like me and that big mean girl, Karen Bluer, wouldn’t pick on me like she did poor Lisa Brooks? (name has been changed to protect the innocent).  Poor Lisa, she always smelled of urine.  I remember it like it was yesterday. But I did manage to win over Karen by giving her access to my board game KABOOM which she seemed to be fascinated with.

But alas, if I ever want to pictures of Canadian nephew ever again, I suppose I’ll have to conquer my fear. 

I have to resign myself to the Facebook learning curve and familiarize myself with prompts such as:

Write on so and so’s “wall” or give a “gift” to so and so.   I have also heard speak of something called the Ring of Fire, or Pit of Fire or something of that nature that requires some sort of ransom or pleading for one’s  cyberlife. 

I want  no part of that fire thing.

By the way, it appears that I, too, have a wall.  But I don’t know how to find it. 

Facebook has also told me that my profile is naked.