Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I Scream Social

I’m on a break (goddamm you “Friends” for making me visualize Ross screaming in that namby-pamby way of his to Rachel…”But we were on a break”, nyah nyah nyah, fucker.).


I’m on a break for a few days, vacation with the family until school starts after Labor Day, and then taking some afternoons off next week to deal with doctor appointments, global warming, and getting fitted for pasties. (The stripper kind, not the all-in-one-food-item the Yoopers like so much…although they are darn tasty.) The Work Boys have been inundating me with the usual Stoopid Projects that keep me employed and up to my eyeballs in free donuts and bad coffee.

What I’m trying to say is, my posting will be spotty the next week or so. No Poetry Friday this week. I will be a Bad Blogger. (But oh-so-good, winkwink.)

Before I leave you to your own wicked devices for a few days, I wanted to say:

1) Sorry, Oasis. Yeah, you, Gallagher brothers, you who said you were more famous than jesus. (I abhor ego, so, really, don’t do that again…notice how you’re not invited on SNL anymore?) I’ve never liked your little musical group there, I mean, your music was fine, a little too ‘lala’ for me, sounds like everyone else, right? And then the jesus thing, well, you’re wankers of a higher caliber, aren’t you? But I digress. This morning I managed some radio time on the way to work and after the lovely PSA, I heard a strumming guitar and recognized the song as “Wonderwall”…and then for whatever bloody reason, my big fat yawp opened up and I started SINGING the song, which I didn’t realize I knew so much of, and tapping my fingers on the steering wheel and who does that to Oasis? After some mental torture (self-induced), I realized, y’know, it’s not really such a bad little tree…I mean, song…sounds like everyone else, right? But not bad. So, Gallagher brothers, I just want to say I don’t think you suck. So much. Anymore. But check the ego or I’ll beat it outta ya.

2) I like the Beastie Boys. I sat at a stoplight this morning and felt my head bobbing to
Yeah, so what, I’m a not-young white woman, soccer mom, inappropriately-dressed software hack, and yes, I. Like. Beastie. Boys.

3) Did you ever get the feeling that you forgot to put on pants this morning and you suddenly realized it when you walked down the hall at work and you had to check yourself seven times (SEVEN) because you didn’t believe your eyes and thought maybe, just maybe, it was That Dream Again and you maybe weren’t really AT work but just dreaming you were and when would the alarm clock wake you up, but then what if you WERE at work, should you really tell the boss’ boss you think he should take the latest Marketing Projections and stick them up his ass? Ever do that? THAT, in a nutshell, is why I need to drink more coffee in the morning.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, y’all…get some sun, eat something delish, go ahead and have a beer, and please don’t drive impaired. (Yes, I AM your mom.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bad dream

I don’t usually have bad dreams.

Well, that’s not one-hundred-percent correct.

I sometimes have bad ‘thoughts’ right as I’m falling asleep…a flash of a monster, or one of the kids crying, or my body falling, but it’s at such an early stage of ‘falling asleep’ that I can wake myself up, screw my head on straight, have some good thoughts/fantasies, and fall asleep with nary a wrinkle in my sheet of dreams.

But last night?


Last night was terrible.

In the dream, I walked down one of our city streets and noticed the body of a small child…a girl, blonde hair, her doll beside her, lying face-down on the sidewalk. Her playmate, dark-haired, lay near her. I was…horrified…(I’m close to upchucking right now just thinking about it). I turned the corner to see an entire city block, one of the city parks, full of bodies…FULL. Children, women, men, some singular, some in piles, all dead. No blood. Some survivors sat amongst the bodies, grieving, crying, shocked.

Then I saw THEM.

The Killers.

They looked like a cross between the Reavers in the movie Serenity and the dreadlocked-alien creature from Predator. Mean sons-o-bitches. The thing is, they didn’t have to touch you to kill you. They had some power…what power I didn’t know…to take your life. They were going from house to house, street to street, killing indiscriminately. One family huddled in a corner may have one dead, two dead, all dead, whatever THEY wanted.

I ran home.

I began closing the drapes in the house, telling my husband what was going on in hushed screaming. We got the kids together, and were trying to figure out where to hide, when I heard music. Something sweet and sappy, from the 1950s, a female voice in a lullaby tone. I knew. Instinctively. The Killers used music to sooth us, and then they’d capture and kill. Two windows were left uncovered, and as I ran to close them, all I could see outside was green grass and sidewalk…but I knew. I knew they were out there. Death was at the door.

I woke up panting and afraid. The alarm clock said 5:05. I tried to shake off the dream, but it wouldn’t leave my head. I tried everything…thinking of my ‘special place’, thinking of the kids laughing and playing, fantasies of Boyfriends, DIRTYSEXY fantasies of total strangers, planning my day…nuthin’. I lay there, and tried to close my eyes, but then the screaming started and visions of dark Killers. I didn’t get back to sleep. I sweated my way through to 6 a.m., wondering Why. That. Dream. What did the Killers represent? Was this just a dream, or a premonition? WTF would I do tonight when it was time for bed, would sleep come? Or would it stay out on the sidewalk, in the shadow of something sinister?

I blame the Discovery Channel, those commercials for the Black Plague, or maybe the Sci-Fi Channel, for jeebus-knows-what. Or maybe that piece of pumpkin bread I had before bed. Or, perhaps, my brain just had to unload a lot last night, and dammit, fear is the best way to clean house.

What was YOUR last scary dream?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Poetry Friday: The Word is HAND

5 a.m. is an atrocious time to wake up.

I left the house this morning with everyone else sleeping, my mind already churning ideas for the Poetry Friday word. Handsome sexy Sergei picked HAND for this week's offer. I immediately thought of his hands on me...all over me, and then was diverted by articles I read, random conversations with co-workers, cable television.

Even though I wrote three pieces for today, I'm only giving you two. The one based on an article in Smithsonian magazine, is just tooo long to be included in today's post. It'll wait.

Please feel free to use the word HAND in your blog post today, in whatever creative form soothes your aching muscles...poem, photo of your hands, play-by-play of that time you were a swimsuit model, audio post of you get the picture.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Mike, the Bed, Amazement

Last night I dreamt of Mike Rowe.

It was a most amazing dream.

Mike Rowe is the host of a Discovery Channel show, “Dirty Jobs”, wherein he temps really gross jobs (sewer pipe inspector, coal manufacturer, exploding toilet clean-up crew). It’s a fun show.

Plus Mike sometimes takes his shirt off.
If you’re very lucky, you get to see him in only a towel.

I’ve always thought he was a handsome fella. Nice on-camera persona. A voice that goes straight to my cooter and does the rumba, the cha-cha, and the hustle. I’m sure he’ll be on my Fantasy Boyfriend list.

This dream.
This dream was Mike and me. Fully clothed. On a bed. Chatting and laughing, Mike’s hand on my hand. It made my belly feel all tingly and gooshy.

That wasn’t the best part.
The best part was the bed.
Which wasn’t a bed.

It was more like a square, above-ground pool. On top of the water were black fleece pads, thick with some sort of space-age-polymer, floating on the skin of the water, the sides of the pads barely touching. They held the weight of our bodies, the carafe of wine, the glasses, the tray of fruit and cheese, several large pillows, two bathrobes. At the seams, where the black pads met, you could see the water underneath, but touching it…it wasn’t water…and it was…the pads turned it temporarily into gel, that would turn back into water when the pads were removed.

Mike held my hand.
I laughed at something he said.
I stared down the crack of the pads, bobbling under my chin, into the gooey blackness, wondering if I’d ever seen this in Popular Science magazine, or were we the first, how much weight would this hold, and if we got busy later, would our thrashing bodies collapse the pads, would we sink, or would we float on a cloud without getting pregnant or herpes, how could I take this home.

Yeah, it was nice to have a fantasy dream with Mike.

But that bed. That. Bed. I’ll be fantasizing about that for a long time.


Hands shaking/my hands
Hands left too long on my arm
Hands clutching my arm, a smiling child’s face
Hands resting on my shoulders
Hands gentle as they stroke
Hands tracing invisible patterns
Hands sliding down, around hems,
.....Sliding underneath the thin fabric,
.....Up to lace and satin,
Hands cupping
Hands releasing fingers that encircle and massage
Hands warming flesh
Hands frantic and insistent
Hands exploring
Hands diving
Hands meeting other hands to
.....Hold down
.....Lift up
.....Balance rocking bodies
Hands hands clutching
.....Sweaty backs
.....Round curves
.....Locks of hair

Hands soft
Hands touching sleepy skin
Hands in moonlight looking for hands to hold

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poetry Friday Word for Tomorrow, plus the itchy head

The handsome and wise Sergei has chosen the Poetry Friday Word for tomorrow. I’m posting it here today, in lieu of LowlandSeed’s nap.

The Word is:


My brain, of course, immediately thought dirty thoughts about it. Then…well, no, it’s still thinking dirty thoughts.

Feel free to pepper your blog post tomorrow with the word HAND, in whatever creative bent greases your muffin tin…story, film, audio post, snow sculpture, song, memory of 11th grade sleep-away camp…whatever the word triggers.

Sergei gave me the Word this morning after we discussed heads. And after I told him the news and he said, “Oh, Snap!” Because when I got the kids to their day camp today, there were little notes everywhere, loudly proclaiming, “Cases of head lice have been reported.”

I think, I’m pretty sure, I said “FUCK!” out loud, and several times, but really, no one minded. Because we were all thinking the same thing. Bloody fuckin’ hell. Sure, any time there are children together, at the playground, in school, at Kindermusik or Gymboree, in the doctor’s office waiting room, there’s always a chance something like that could spread. But. Still. My spincter closed up so tightly upon reading that, it’ll be a wonder if I poop anytime in the remainder of this decade.

I quickly checked the kids’ skulls in the light of the fluorescent hallway bulbs and saw (thankfully) nothing. Boy-child’s camp instructor threw out the couch yesterday, and sprinkled “chemicals” on the rug and vacuumed it. Girl-child’s instructor…has done nothing, yet. They’re working on it today. So, now I’m horrified and a-scared, ‘cause school starts in less than 2 weeks and how would that SUCK if you had to miss the first days of school because someone-or-other infected you with squirmy lice? SUCK to the Nth degree, that’s how much.

Now I’m psychosomatically itching my head. (Yes, I checked my own when I got to work…all clean, except for some gray hairs.) And hoping to jeebus that the Girl-child doesn’t ignore my advice about sitting on the couch and playing with the dress-up clothes, which have yet to be fumigated.

Y'know, I had a lovely day off with the kids yesterday, shopping and relaxing and having a good ol' time...and now this crap.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jump to the rhythm jump jump to the rhythm jump

Girl-childs room at day camp was BLASTIN’ out the dance tunes this morning. We opened the door to her room and were met with the intro to C and C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now (Gonna Make You Sweat)” (check out the video link, dude!). Which made my hips immediately start shimmying in that way, I’m sure, that embarrasses all children whose parents DARE to find da funk.

Problem with dance music like that is, it sticks in my head. All. Day. Long.

I left the camp building with that damn song in my head and every fibre of my being doing that shimmy-shake thing, and I had to fight like hell to keep my arms from raising up like the chick in that video, y’know, the chick everyone thought was singing but really wasn’t, and it turned out to be the beautiful voice of a plus-size crooner (who the record company didn’t want to show? WTF??). My arms raising up like whats-his-name in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, as they drove that freakin’ bus through the countryside, chiffon trailing behind every so gracefully. Arms raising up like that guy I used to know, that drag queen, who wore makeup better than me, especially on stage when he imitated Cher and Marilyn Monroe and Liza (with a Z).

I jumped in my car (jump jump to the rhythm) and started rappin’, in my old white girl way, about all these folks I saw out on the street….

…that too-skinny anorexic woman jogging, insisting on dropping more fat she didn’t have….

“I’m here to beat ya down
stop runnin’ around this town
you got no meat
the beat
gonna stomp that body
into the groun’
you too skinny
little mini
go eat some pancakes
and bacon
no wakin’
this early to run your ass off
better ways to sweat”

…and then there was the couple TOO obviously walking home after a night of passion…

“Sweatin’ it out on the brand new bed
roommates banging down the door
doin’ it on the floor
she’s on top
screamin’ for more
two bodies walkin’ home
not alone
call ya later alligator
you got the booty call, boy
time to show her how you can move
how you can sweat”

I totally suck at writing lyrics, man.

But I can dance.

It’s a good thing you can’t see me now, chair-dancing in my stupid ergonomically-correct roll-away chair, hoping the boss doesn’t see me or hear me typing thisfastthisfast tryin’ to post before the guys all come in and start asking me questions I unfortunately know the answers to.

Today I’m gonna check out more of this site, who happened to have lyrics to the song that I’m now looking at and shaking my ass to…’cause I gots da funk, baby….


Monday, August 21, 2006

Mona started out okay, some quips about grammar and current events, and then she started talking about herself, yammering on and on, blahblahsnore....

1) I was filling out the paperwork for the day camp center this morning and the payment sheet said, “If paying be credit card…”…and I had to wonder…when did pirates start opening day care centers?

2) If’n ya’d offer some music that doesn’t sound like it was churned out of the Plastic Music Ditto Boyband Goodgirlgonebad Factory, I might just buy some of your CDs, mister.

3) My own company is joining the soul-suckingness of corporate greed and sending our customers “Begin Christmas/Holiday shopping NOW” mail. I’m so embarrassed.

4) 13 years old, 6 ft 8 inches, 256 pounds…uhhh…steroids?

5) I thought body-parts factories were the stuff of Frankenstein and late-night black-and-white movies.

6) Bizarre Medical Condition #4,138.

7) I have a hard time spending money on myself. Worse, I feel bad if I spend time on myself. I can’t justify spending $80 on highlights and a haircut when that would buy, gee, shoes and lunchboxes and school supplies for the kids. Days off ‘For Me’ (which I’ve done two times in my life) turn into either ‘Get the raging stomach puke flu’ OR ‘Rush around and do errands for the house, for the kids, for school, and then pick up the kids early to spend time with them and have them RESENT you for interrupting their play time.’ If I accidentally fall into nap-dom on the weekend or at night before tucking the kids in (and believe me, this has happened exactly 4 times in the last year), I self-flagellate by staying up late and cleaning out the magazine rack or sorting household items to give to charity or straighten the kids book shelves (of which there are a dozen-hundred). I keep reading articles about ‘hot moms’ who get massages and go on personal vacations and get manicures and take time-outs for themselves. I might as well be reading about how Martians tunnel underground to open super-warehouses full of sponge cake and meatballs, so much I don’t understand. My ‘bright idea’ to take a dance class this fall was squashed when I learned it was held on Wednesday nights only, which happens to be a night both Girl-child and Boy-child have sports, AND Sergei has council…and then I justified it by telling myself, “Well, belly-dancing means you have to SHOW your belly, and believe me, you’re just NOT ready for that.” I guess what I’m sayin’ is that I’m bitching about something seemingly out of my control, but probably isn’t. Am I done bitching? You bet. Will I bitch again? Absolutely. Just wanted to git that off my chest. I. Don't. Like. Mondays.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Poetry Friday: The Word is BROKEN

The inimitable and charming Jeremiah has proferred up the Poetry Friday Word for today...BROKEN. (It broke my heart to type that just now, some knee-jerk gut reaction, I loves me some gut feelin' the first time my heart was broken.) Feel free to use this word in your blog post today, in whatever form you desire...something creative, something bizarre, something naughty or nice.

I have three submissions today, written whilst avoiding the inevitable Project discussions that await me at work today. IlovemyjobIlovemyjobIlovemyjob, I have to keep reminding myself.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

They Got the Fire Down Below

Curbside no tag the
Pink stuffing spilling out like
Knifefight guts like
Wretched excess with
Daddy’s money and
Mommy’s Lexus

Brian and Woodman and Bryan and Mike,
Bone and Ace and Stephan (like
In a borrowed truck
Deposit for the tap and
Two kegs cheap pizza
Fukkin’ rock and roll

Smelling new meat in the humid dusk
“Hey, wanna party?”,
sometimes the girls would stop and
sometimes Bone would run in the street
to stop them or to
chat them
wingman, dude, like a spider

before the cops came before
the girls puked and passed out to
ravish later
some Outkast thing made em jump
the arm popped off like Ace in the shower
pass-out couch now a chaise lounge

garbagemen took the body of the couch
but left the broken arm on the curb
the pink guts spilling out
the dna-crusted fabric bathing in the dew
things its seen
and singin’
hey yah

Tings Youse Got Wots Broken

Wull, yeah, dat pencil der.
And dat piece-o crap china.
How’s youse car runnin’?
Yeah, thought so.
Broken. Innit.

T’ain’t nuthin’

Wot broken in You.
Dat somethin’.

Dat ting in yer breath.
Youse calls it Spirit.
Dat broken.

Dat lil peach pit feelin’.
Youse calls it Soul.
Broken too.

N’nat ting in yer chest
Dat heart?
Dey break it r’ did youse?

Youse bettah, youse.
Youse bettah fix it.

‘Cause in dis worl’
Aint’ no bandaid, no glue
Fixit bettern’ wots inside youse.

Rocky Road Cheesecake

one chocolate cookie piecrust
2 8-oz blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs, broken
4 sq. semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Beat cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until well-mixed. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat til combined. Pour into chocolate cookie piecrust. On top, sprinkle chocolate chips and marshmallows, top with peanuts. Press down lightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until middle is set. Chill 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poetry Friday WORD for Tomorrow, and The Oompa-Loompa Penguins

The talented and handsome Jeremiah has chosen the Poetry Friday WORD for tomorrow…go to his blog to see it…do not pass GO, do not collect $200, unless you take me out to lunch with it. His word rang with me, as I’m sure it will you. (Boy, I feel the need to write on the word *right now*, but I will withhold forthwith, as I’m sure the boss would appreciate me getting some actual work done today…what the poor sod doesn’t understand is that I could get a LOT more work done if he let me telecommute…all I need is a computer, Jethro, and perhaps a nicely foamed latte.)

If you are so inclined, please feel free to use the Poetry Friday WORD in your blog post tomorrow, in whatever fashion tickles yer ivories…story, poem, photo, recipe for bratwurst, audio link, erotic takeoff on airplane food, what.ev.ah.

In the car this morning, 6-year old Girl-child asked me this question: “Why are penguins and Oompa-Loompas opposites?” Brtrtrtrtrtrtrtr…rolling through my mental rolladex for reasons, the myriad, of why they could possibly be opposite…one’s an animal and one’s an imaginary character? sings the other doesn’t?...but they’re both the same in movie-star-ness and fancy dress?...duh…uh…what was she getting at?

“I don’t know…what?”, I gave up.

“Well, penguins live in cold weather, and Oompa-Loompas live in hot weather.”

Brtrtrtrtrtrtrtr…wha…?...oh yeah, in Tim Burton’s version, which we all have memorized, Johnny Depp mentions to the crowd that the reason the factory is so warm is that it’s the climate O-Ls are used to. Hah…why oh why does Girl-child remember THAT fact, yet she can’t remember to brush her teeth like I make her do EVERY NIGHT OF HER LIFE, and her underwear never make it to the hamper, and it’s NEVER okay to jump on the arm of the couch, dear Princess.

Huh well.

And now I’ll have Danny Elfman’s incredible music in my head all day…”Augustus Gloop, Augustus Gloop, the great big greedy nincompoop…”

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Linky Linky Loo

Yet another in a series of

Too busy, yeah, but what the hell.

1) Well hell, I’d smuggle cheese too, if I thought I could get away wid it.

2) Oh come on, why are you still a criminal if you’re so bad at it? 226 times? Geezy creezy, get a real job, at least then you can steal paper clips and waste time on YouTube….

3) I’m sure this guy was just trying to chop down a cherry tree or something…”effort doesn’t go well” is the understatement of the week….

4) I don’t think the bible said you couldn’t smuggle coke to your jailbird husband…unless that was one of the commandment tablets that Moses dropped….

5) “Perfectly fine”…you are one of the people I would throw in Stupid Jail.

6) Oh, this is sad…I loved Bruno. Sniff….

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Things I Realized Today

1) When I skip breakfast, the resulting stomach growls startle the nurses at my eye doctor’s office.

2) I’m not really so freaked out about eye surgery, as long as the doctors and the drugs are the best.

3) In the projects meetings at work, I seem to know more than I think.

4) “Lukewarm” is not at ALL the proper temperature for coffee.

5) My boss really should double my pay, for all the important answers I keep giving him.

6) “Boogie On Reggae Woman” makes me instantly happy, especially when Little Stevie Wonder toots that mouthharp.

7) I am not one to let go of fantasy easily (Gordon Ramsay, kitchen sink, bent over, etc.).

8) Hershey bars can fix anything.

Monday, August 14, 2006

She came slidin’ on down the alleyway like butter drippin’ off a hot biscuit

1) The lovely and fascinating Rob Helpy-Chalk once defined my husband and me as “The Couple That Blogs About Their Sex Life”. Which we used to be. But now Sergei is off on other things, and I can’t think of anything sexy to say, at least not right now, not on a Monday, when I’m exhausted from the weekend and can think of nothing better than crawling back in bed and sleeping for 20 straight hours.

2) Except. The sex thing. I find myself entertaining Fantasy Boyfriend Thoughts about random blokes on the telly. Lately it’s been Gordon Ramsay, he of “Hell’s Kitchen” (Finale TONIGHT), he who swears like ten sailors and has a face like a map of the Rockies. He can be a real arse, but when he’s nice, he’s charming, and when he takes his shirt off you can see the fitness there, and that makes me all gooshy. Him bending me over a kitchen sink, the pots rattling on the stove, the smell of garlic and olive oil and sex mingling...gimme a minute to finish this fantasy, please.

3) Okay. Back. Done. Need a cigarette and a spongebath.

4) Tomorrow morning I see the ‘eyelid specialist’ and just in time…my leaky eyeball is threatening mutiny any second, the inhospitable socket unbearable. I’m not even gonna freak out if he comes at me with a needle mumbling the ‘biopsy’ word…dammit, just git it over with. Bring it on, Bubba!

5) Maybe Gordon in the walk-in-cooler, on the crates of lettuce and onions…uh-oh, fantasy not yet over. Better go….

Friday, August 11, 2006

Poetry Friday: The Word is MASS

I knew it would brain kept twisting today's Poetry Friday word into a different word, and I'd get halfway through some idea and realize I had the word wrong. I kept mixing up MASS and MESS.

I took MASS communication in college.
I made a MESS of things with that guy I dated freshman year.

Ooh, I think I need a vacation.

MASS is the word. If you're up fer it, feel free to include this word in your blog post today, in whatever form sugars your donut...any definition, any creative bent. I have one offering today..."Based on a True Story!". (BTW, if you've never eaten smelt, you really should. They're like french fries, only healthier...and fishier.)

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Sunday Dinner, Springtime

You ate the bones. That was the beauty part of it. No fumbling with sharp knives to make the slit just so, no finger-scraping the innards into a worn silver bucket, no delicate filleting…no, you simply cut the heads off and threw the bodies into a white porcelain bowl of cold water and sent the heads to the hogs.

We cleaned hundreds of ‘em…thousands probably in a season, and I’d like to think a million over our lifetimes. The older men would come back with their metal buckets brimming, churning and roiling with the sleek silver bodies of that night’s dinner.

It always felt like Christmas.

The Cousins, my sisters and I would get to work at the oak table my great-grandfather had fashioned, me on a chair to see over the top. Things were different back then, it was common to give a 6-year old a knife and trust her to cut only fish and not her fingers. I was the youngest, but had already developed a reputation for being the fastest cleaner. The older kids would tease me as I reached for another handful, another, another, humming some tune or other, my rhythm steady….


Momma and The Aunts stood ready at the stoves, pans bubbling and hopping with freshly shucked peas, dandelion greens, cast iron ships of frying potatoes and onions, orchard apples and cinnamon for dessert, and pots of boiling oil. When the fish were ready, The Women would hoist the bowls to the sink, drain off the water, and dump the fish onto clean white kitchen towels to drain. Then they’d line up, one at the fish, one at the egg and milk mixture, one at the flour, again eggs and milk, and finally Grandpa’s Special Cornmeal Mix. Nimble, calloused hands passed the fish down the line, flipping into each mix, sliding into the oil. The first batch, that first whiff of oil and browned skin, hit us simultaneously, and the room sighed as the fish gradually floated all golden and crispy to the top.

When the last pot was done, and the women had finished scuttling food to the tables, there was mass hysteria. The grownups would run to sit at the head table, The Uncles always fighting over who got to sit by Grandpa. The Aunts would shush them with amusement in their tired voices and throw their aprons on Grandma’s old cedar chest. Each table, even The Kid Table, groaned under platters and bowls of food. The family had learned over the years not to be stingy when it came to family dinners.

There was loud raucous chatter until Grandpa cleared his throat and began, “Let us pray….” Then, unsettling silence. We never got used to being silent, any one of us. It was the noise that made our family what it was.


All hands reached for fish, and those with too-short arms made do for the moment with potatoes and vegetables, Aunt Ruth’s biscuits and tall glasses of icebox-cold milk. Us kids were taught to wait, politely, until everyone’s plate had food, and then we’d dig in, heads bent down, silverware scraping the fading china, napkins dropped and replaced, the smack-smack of lips and food and holding the corners of your smiling mouth so the food wouldn’t fall out.

Then it would start.

Someone would sniff the air. Usually Grandpa.

“What’s that smell?”, he’d say.

We’d all sniff the air, then our plates, then the bodies of whoever was next to us, grinning like it was the first time, the obvious punchline filling the meal like another course, our stomachs rumbling the answer, the chorus of voices at the gate, ready to stampede.

The room would inhale.

The Family Voice would explode.

“I smelled smelt!”

We’d end up in messy giggles, choking slightly, our mouths open with shaking laughter and watery eyes. The air would vibrate and settle, and we’d stab another smelt, more dinner, more smacking of lips, crunching morsels of noisy quiet.

“Smelled smelt!” It was the chorus my parents knew, my family knew, the backbone of our humour and the diagram of our history.

It was the same every time.

It was the best part of growing up.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Poetry Word, plus a mass, and Mona pays homage to Catherine Newman

Here’s something you don’t want to hear your doctor say….

“You may have a mass….”

This morning I saw an ophthalmologist about my leaky eye, and after pressing the lump under my tear duct until it gave me a huge frickin’ lumpy headache, he said, well, the MASS thing. And the word ‘biopsy’ was in there too. He referred me to an eyelid specialist…(wow, talk about niches!)…who I see next week. Now, of course, I’m all panicky that I have TEAR DUCT CANCER or something, and could that be the cause of my week-long headache AND my constant desire to blow my nose, if the MASS is under my tear duct near my nose. Fack. I overreact, I always do, but I had a little “life-flash-before-eyes” thing happen there and it startled the pee right outta my squirter. (I didn’t squirt, but my heart stopped for a few seconds, that I’m sure of.)

I was rolling the word MASS over in my mouth on the way to work, and pondering it’s meanings…MASS communication, MASS in the Catholic Church, MASS confusion…well, you get the picture. So, thusly, and therefore, the confounding Poetry Friday WORD for tomorrow is MASS. However you want to use it, whatever meaning, in whatever creative form…photo or story or church hymn or birth control method or song-styling. Have at it.

Yesterday was a sad day. For the past four years, my every Wednesday has been lit up by the ParentCenter newsletter, and by one thing and one thing only in that newsletter…”Bringing Up Ben and Birdy”, a stunningly frank and funny column by writer Catherine Newman. I can’t tell you how much that column makes my day. Catherine writes, well, like you and I write, self-revealing, warts and all, the funny and the furious, the trembling and the terrific, the toddlers and the kindergarteners, her family, her woes, her joys. Her son, Ben, is the same age as my Girlchild, and I feel a kinship with Catherine when she assures me that, yes, it’s fine to wipe the snot from your wee one’s nose and then dry your soppy fingers off on your new work skirt…or how the first day of preschool is harder on the parent in the long-run…or how it’s fine to kick yourself for not taking the time to play tea party for just “15 more minutes”. In yesterday’s column, Catherine announced she was ending the whole she-bang in two weeks. I sat there stunned for I-don’t-know-how-long. I’ll miss her. I’ll miss the assurances and the way her writing made me feel like a normal parent, instead of a screaming Three-Headed-Monster-Mom. I’ll miss the voyeurism into the life of a family, a family with kids like mine and a husband/partner who is infinitely more patient and kind than I feel most days, and the joys of watching your breasts turn into fun-bags-of-sand. Catherine, I’ll miss ya. I’ll miss ya bad. If you’re ever in the blogosphere and hangin’ out, come see me…we’ll have a tea party.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Dear Stupid Smoking Fuck,

I don’t care if you smoke. I really don’t. The wonderful thing about personal freedom is that you can do whatever you want to your body, as long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s happiness. But you infringed on mine today. Mine and everyone else’s.

I used to smoke, I know how intoxicating that buzz is. I remember the sweet simpleness of opening a new pack of cigarettes, tamping it off, peeling off the plastic, tearing off that little corner of foil to reveal 20 perfect opportunities for a break, 20 gentle white pillows of heady goodness. Even now I can remember the smell of fresh tobacco, clean paper, the cottony stomp of the filter. I remember lighting that first cigarette, the fah-LIK of the lighter, the small fire and crinkle of burnt pulp at the end, the inhale, the hold, the release.

I don’t mean to romanticize smoking. I’m not. I’m just telling you, I know what it’s like.

I also know every car has it’s own ashtray.

And that littering is against the law.

So this morning, when you were ahead of me at the light, and you flicked your still-burning cigarette butt out your car window and exhaled that last breath of gray air, I hated you.

Because you have an ashtray.
And the cigarette was still lit and dangerous.
And you threw garbage on my street.

You don’t know how close you came to getting a windowful of my face this morning, spewing vomitous derision upon you. You should count yourself lucky. You may not think this is a big deal, but it's people like you who should be sent to a far-away planet to muck it up, as a science experiment on How to Screw Up Your Planet. You don't care. You should. And I'd rather not have you on my planet.

But I have your licence plate number. And so does everyone who reads this blog. (See Title)

Next time? Next time I’m gonna get out of my car, flick that butt back in your window, and laugh my ass clean off as you self-immolate.

You Stupid Smoking Fuck.



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

You can watch yourself while you are eating

1) Pinky reminded me of The English Beat and now I have that song in my head…which I love, but apparently I have a problem with misheard lyrics...I always thought it was "Mirror in the bathroom please don't freak", but it's "please talk free"...I like MY version better…. Don't you have a misheard lyric in your head that's better that way?

2) I left a comment somewhere today and the word verification was “VRLPW”. Now it struck me as funny because in my college days, one of my roommates read some Penthouse Forum-like thing that euphemistically used the phrase “Vein-Riddled-Love-Prod” for the boy-part. VRLP. VRLPW. Gawd, that’s all I need, to be thinking about THAT all day….

3) The kids’ Awesome Gorgeous Babysitter called in sick this morning, which threw my schedule clean off. We had to get the kids out of bed and dressed and washed and fed, make lunches, call the day camp and see if they could squeeze them in today with no notice (yes, the answer was yes, and I owe them big-time), get swimsuits and towels around, shoes, backpacks, water bottles, race them there, VOTE goddammit, post office, and here I am, with a headache the size of Rush Limbaugh’s ego. Urgh. I need a job with summers off, that’s it, summers off and lots of vacations.

4) Guess what I had for breakfast today? Nope…nope…you’ll never guess. I had two lovely Ryvita crackers (very healthy) and one whole can of Armour Potted Meat, (made with chicken and beef). Here’s my justification: It cost 27 cents (no lie). It was only 140 calories. It had no carbs and 11 grams of protein. Okay, yes, it also had 17% of my daily fat and a third of my daily sodium, but what the hell. Plus, I love trashy food. Potted meat (best on white bread with mayo and maybe a slice of Mer-kun cheese), Spam, sugar sandwiches, cheap snack cakes…bring in ON.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hoo boy....

1) Sergei and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last Saturday with presents and dinner out. Eleven years…seems like forever…in a good way….

2) More evidence that I have more than a few Y-chromosomes floating around in my skin sack…I love the X Games. All weekend I salivated and oohed and aahed over the Moto X Freestyle and the car rally and the skateboards and the BMX…I got tears, actual TEARS in my EYES when my boy Travis Pastrana did a double backflip during the Moto X Best Trick finals. I could almost feel a penis growing underneath my shorts. It was that intense.

3) My yearly physical last week spawned appointments at other doctors offices: OB-GYN, mammogram lab, ophthalmologist, optometrist, endocrinologist, lab tests. This getting older thing officially sucks. But thank the jeebus for insurance….

4) Now, I love to stroke the lily as much as the next oversexed gal, but this? No, no, just…just…no…not for me….

Friday, August 04, 2006

Poetry Friday: The Word is VACATION

Oh, I need a vacation...I'm not picky, really, somewhere that I can be half-nekked and be waited on hand and foot by strong, tanned young men, maybe by the ocean, with cable teevee and wireless hookup.

The Poetry Friday Word is VACATION. Feel free to use it in your blog post today, however whatever way tugs your bobber.

I have two offerings today, both stories based on fact (but the extent of which is questionable). I'd yammer on and on about them, but really, I have to pee now and get back to work.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

A Child’s Vacation from God

When I was a young child, my parents hung a sign in the room that my brother and I shared. In blue and white lettering were the words:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take

I spend the entirety of my childhood convinced I was going to die in my sleep. Every night I’d squeeze my praying hands together so tightly my knuckles turned white, and I’d beg God with tears in my voice not to let me die. Please, don’t let me die. I didn’t care if my soul was going to God, I much preferred it in my little kindergarten body, thankyouverymuch.

I knew for certain God was watching me through that sign…making sure I prayed hard enough, putting my name on the list of ‘Possible Souls to Gather’ for the night, threatening to pull me face-first through the clouds and into nothingness.

This was the cause of many unexplained stomachaches and bouts of insomnia.

This was why my parents took me to a panel of doctors and specialists to determine why I threw up so much, especially in bed.

This was why, every summer, I begged my parents to take us on a vacation, somewhere, anywhere where that sign wasn’t.

When we went to the cabin up north, when we went on a tour of Lake Michigan shoreline, when we went to the east coast to play in the ocean with sharks, I was free…free from God, free from the specter of death that awaited me in my sleep, free from the knowledge that any second, my sweet dreams would be interrupted by a loud boom and God's mean voice and my breath and soul escaping my small body and never returning.

I was free. Thank god almighty.

That sign found its way to the bottom drawer of my dresser when we moved my younger brother to his own room. Then the dresser was moved to the attic. Without the sign there, my dreams returned like summer peaches, sweet and warm, and the stomachaches subsided. I still prayed, sometimes, but I made up my own prayers, full of asking and thanks.

And nothing in them about dying in my sleep.

Brother Monk

Two of my best friends and I were returning from a college Spring Break trip to Florida, where we got drunk, sunburned, and lucky nearly every night. We each had a handful of cash left from the Week of Debauchery, enough to pay for gas on the way back and one good meal. Somehow we stumbled across a restaurant of a different colour, outside the bedlam of college students and nearly beyond our means.

It was staffed my monks.

These men were gorgeous.

Now, I don’t know if they had the best-looking monks serve the customers while the older, more character-actor-looking brothers worked the kitchen and the staff, or if they were all hunks of cheesecake. I just knew that our server, Brian, was the handsomest thing I’d ever seen. And I’d just ogled thousands of guys half-naked on sunny Florida beaches.

Brother Brian brought us freshly baked wheat bread and sweet churned butter.

He recommended their wine, which we ordered and drunk with our eyes half-closed in heady appreciation.

The menu was small and hearty, and our boisterous burnt voices lowered and calmed as we sat in the white stone room, the salty breeze from the open windows fingering our hair, the wine so warm, the food so much like home, the gentle rustle of robes slipping in and out of the nearly-empty dining room.

Into our second bottle of wine, we asked Brian what it was like to be a monk. Why did he become a monk, where did he live, what did he own, what did he do every day. He answered each question with a grace and quiet excitement of someone who is certain, absolutely, that he is living his own idea of a perfect life. Then I asked, in a whisper, “Did you take a vow of celibacy?”

Brian blushed. With a small smile, he said that yes, indeed, he did. His eyes searched mine for something, some sign of understanding, and I smiled and mumbled, “Oh…wow….” Brian smiled again, with finality, and walked away to tally our bill and fetch us a bottle of wine each to take home, to the cold winds of our Michigan winter, with Florida all purple inside a bottle.

I wondered if Brian was telling the truth. Could someone so nice, so gentle, so good-looking, decide not to experience the joy of sex? Wouldn’t he miss it? What if…what if we were stranded on an island together, could I persuade him to bed me, for the experience, for my experience and his, to wave off the loneliness, to expose the wrappings of that robe, to rub some of his goodliness onto me?

Brian returned with the bill and three brown-paper-wrapped bottles. He wished us a safe trip home, bowed his head, and gave us a smile that broke my heart.

Nowadays if I see a monk in town, I can’t help but wonder if he’s taken the vow of celibacy, and muse the depths of gentleness he could teach a partner. What a gift, what a find.

I think about Brian every once in a while, and wonder if he’s still there, serving and Serving, while college girls have dirty thoughts of him as he brings them sheperds pie and warm bread.

That wine, by the way? We toasted Brian when we uncorked each bottle, in the misty gray cold of March.

It was delicious.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Poetry Friday “Word”, Plus “Oy, Me Head”

Because of my own slothfulness, and other factors beyond my control (wait, why do I picture John Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich saying that line?), I haven’t got my butt in gear to ask one of you beautiful people, out there in the dark, if you’d provide the word. Maybe I need a sign-up sheet or something…? Anyway, tomorrow’s Poetry Friday word is easy, because so many of you have HAD one recently, and show photos of them, and make me long for one of my own. (A penis, sure, but that’s not the word.) The word is: VACATION. Yeah, you know you want it, baby, and ya want it bad. So tomorrow, if you so desire, please feel free to incorporate that word in your blog post in whatever fashion clears your sinuses…poem, photo, dishy re-telling of that little hottie you scoped out, audio post of same….

I think someone is poisoning me, and I think his name is Crimson Permanent Assurance. Yesterday and today my body is telling me something is WRONG, in a crampy all-over sorta headachy, pulled muscle/heart attack way, and then I pulled out my planner and…voila!...indeed, the Big Red Ship is due to sail any day. Jeebus, why do I always badmouth my period? Because it SUX, that’s why. Hell, if I got hit by a Schwann’s ice-cream-and-frozen-meats truck it wouldn’t feel this bad. At least then I’d have popsicles.

Does this scare anyone else besides me? The thought of the government having total access to the medical records of all us lov’ly Mercans? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather the President and my congresspersons NOT know about my past, the blood tests I’ve had, and the clear possibility that somewhere, some doctor has written on my chart, “Healthy, flirts like a ho”. All the gub’min would have to do is, well, you know how a spreadsheet works, right? Select a column and sort? What if they sorted by, say, Diabetes, and then told my grandma that if her grocery store receipts (which I’m sure are already out there in the ether for someone to look at) show purchases of sugary snacks, they’ll increase her insurance premiums (again, data in the ether)? Really, do people with herpes want that data made available to anyone who can hack into the giant sucking government database? People with superfluous third nipples? Men on Viagra? Prehensile tails? Ass-cheek implants? Really, now, we don’t need a database for that. That’s what tabloids are for.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

And your little dog, too....

1) Alright, I’m done…one hundred degrees is TOO hot, dammit. All the Cooling Centers are open around town, the streets are deserted, the public (yeah, I did spell it 'pubic' at first) pools are breaking attendance records, and the governor has said for business to turn off lights and turn down A/C to conserve energy. Yeah, okay, if I have to be here instead of by the pool calling for Raoul to bring me another Cuban Breeze, I’ll work in the dark, by the light of my glowing computer screen...but I will NOT let them turn down the A/C. Over my dead, shriveled, rapidly-decomposing body.

2) We have the HOTTEST babysitter in town, and by that I mean men do Fight Club to sit next to her gorgeous-ness at the pool. The thing is, she really is gorgeous, and so sweet it makes me look like the Hideous Shrew Creature. It’s Day 2 of the new babysitter, and she’s so great and I'm great with her watching my offspring. The kids will still go to their day camp a couple days a week, but it’s nice to have them at home in the A/C or out and about with a responsible adult in a 2:1 kids:adult ratio. Plus, with one of her radiant smiles, I’m sure she can score the kids free ice cream. Bonus!

3) I nearly passed out this morning. I went to the doctor yesterday for my annual physical and he, being of sound mind, ordered a myriad of blood tests for me (liver, thyroid, cholesterol, blood sugar, and "panels" of stuff). And because of the sugar thang, I had to fast. Which was alright except I got it in my fool head that I couldn’t drink a lot of water either. DUH. I know. I suck. Anyway, it was 80 degrees at 8 a.m., I got the kids/babysitter set up, got to the lab, and realized my throat was too dry and that my head spun and I was panting, and oh god the light is fading could she just hurry up and prick that old man’s arm so she could get to me before I passed out? Then I realized, if I breathed like I was sleeping…long, deep breaths with eyes closed...I got my body down to normal. 'Cause I hates passing out. Lab lady took my blood and I ran to my car to quaff 16.9 ounces of freezing cold Diet 7-Up. That and leftover salad for breakfast did the trick. (I never claimed to be normal when it comes to breakfast...what did YOU eat this morning?)

4) For the first time today, I watched the lab lady draw my blood. Usually I just look away and stare at the framed Privacy Notice on the wall, or at the coat rack with no coats on it. But after she inserted the needle, I watched. The needle is in a plastic thing and the plastic thing is on a sort of empty bottomless tube, into which the vials get pushed to collect the blood. She needed THREE vials (Thank you, Doctor, may I have another?). She stuck the needle in, pretty gentle, and I looked down to see the needle contraption sort of…well…moving…or throbbing…in my arm…the needle stood straight up like it was going through my arm...and the first tube filled up, she pulled it out (no blood splatter, people!) and stuck the second tube on, and the needle bobbed a bit and the tube filled and number three was put on filled and then it was over. The guys at work were easily impressed with my story of watching the blood draw, the sissies.

5) Every other woman I talk to (seriously! Every! Other! One!) has a low thyroid condition. What the hell? Doesn't this make it an epidemic? If 50% of "The Women Mona Talks To" have an underactive/non-functioning thyroid, doesn't that mean the CDC should be out here investigating and raising money to stop this rampant under-activeness? Or, evolutionarily speaking, does that mean the thyroid is being phased out of the local female body, and something else will take over, like hormone-filled gills? Or a perky tail? Or a third eye? Which, actually, might be kind of cool....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Troup Fabulous

Local University has been invaded by gaggles of boy scouts and troup leaders. They roam our streets, they lengthen the line at the bank, they ask for directions to shoe stores and Walmart, they tilt their hats with a cheerful “Howdy Ma’am!” as they hold the door open for you.

They’re fun to watch.

They're so polite.

They're learning mad skills.

The boys aren’t really “boys”, they’re mostly older teenagers in what I guess are Eagle Scout rank. Their troup leaders are men of middle age and much practical skill, who study maps and find shade for their den of cubs.

They all have bright sashes.

Like Miss America.

Sashes with colourful badges and insignias, sashes that lie gracefully on one shoulder and bounce gleefully off the opposite hip as they march around town.

Sashes that point with perfect form to the tops of their two-tone knee-high socks.

They wear jaunty hats on their heads, and playful camp shirts. Green, khaki shorts and hiking boots.

Don't get me wrong, I think Boy Scouts are wonderful, the experience lasts a lifetime, the skills are forever.


Really, now.

They don’t want openly gay adult men leading their troups.

Then they shouldn't dress them so fancy.


Where the hell is MY sash?