Denial is Not a River in Egypt, (Though I May Be Its Queen,) and Interesting Words

I would never describe myself as “optimistic,” “naive,” or “trusting.”  On a good day I am pragmatic, jaded, and wary.  On a bad day I am pessimistic, burned out, and paranoid.    Today’s prevailing emotional state lands me somewhere between a good day and a bad day, a perfect neutral on the scale. 

Admittedly, in my ongoing effort to maintain some semblance of mental health, I overlook quite a few realities.  I am pleased that Steve-o is gainfully employed and I hope and pray he stays that way.  Even so, I am worried about the upcoming birth of his offspring.  The whole grandmother thing doesn’t bother me too much- I am old- and far younger women than I have been first time grandmothers.  What does tug at me is the fact that the two of them aren’t married, and that fathers of children have precious few rights in such a situation.  Fathers don’t have much say in their children’s lives even if they are married to the children’s mothers.  If they decide not to get along, Steve-o will have to a.) pay support out the wazoo, and b.) fight for what little rights the state does accord fathers. 

Maybe some of my worry is actually my bad habit of guilt tripping just a wee bit.  Then again, the male contributor of Steve-o’s DNA wasn’t particularly interested in him, (or any other child, unless- like his current wife’s children, it came with a monthly government check) and I think it was the happiest day of my ex’s life when he learned he could sign off his parental rights and never pay child support again.  Perhaps I am just cynical- or my ex was not normal, or a combination of both- but I had always been under the impression that most guys deep down really don’t care that much about their kids. 

I have to admit that one of my fears is that I will be cut out of my grandchild’s life in much the same way that I rescued Steve-o from enduring weekends and holidays from hell with my evil ex mother-in-law.   Granted, I know better than to give a 20 month old an entire box of graham crackers .  I have more sense than to collect highly breakable crystal figurines and display them within the reach of a toddler (I have large dogs…my house is Sheena-proof-duh),  and I’m just not cruel enough to make a three year old sleep alone in the basement, but, should the baby’s mother decide to give Steve-o the heave-ho, I might never get to see my grandchild. 

The difference might just be that I don’t think Steve-o will give up on his offspring without a fight.

I am astonished by how much he really seems to care.  He’s been to the Dr. appointments and the ultrasound.  He makes sure she pays attention to her diet and health and he doesn’t smoke around her.  He even bought a four door car and is trolling about for super safe car seats.  Again, I am not prone to mushy sentimentality, but for a guy who didn’t plan to become a father any time soon he is getting with the program and on top of that, I honestly think he is looking forward to the impending birth.  I don’t think she is going to allow him to record any video, but I know he’s going to be right in there watching every gory detail.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually observed “natural” childbirth.  As far as my own personal experience, there is absolutely nothing natural about childbirth, but some women are able to give birth without surgical intervention.  When my sister had her first two kids, both times my poor brother-in-law couldn’t handle the sight of blood, and he passed out pretty early on in the proceedings.  I went in with her for lack of another warm body, and partially out of my own morbid curiosity.  Thankfully, she always had her kids quickly and with very little trouble, most unlike me.  It’s not that terrible to observe the birth process, but then I have had automotive technicians call me “iron guts.”  Once I had to retrieve a finger that one of the guys got chopped off in a fan blade, ice it down, and then drive his sorry ass to the ER, while the rest of the guys stood around freaking out because there was blood.  Pussies.  At least they were able to reattach the poor guy’s finger, although his hand looked pretty nasty for a long time. 

I don’t know if Steve-o has gotten the “iron guts” tendencies from me or not, but I get to find out soon enough.  I get to do one of my favorite things, which is to be a fly on the wall and observe from a distance.  In the matter of giving birth I far prefer being an observer versus being a participant any day. 

The medical profession has its share of tantalizing, technical words that baffle outsiders.  I know quite a few medical terms (especially the more gross ones) so I can catch a few snippets here and there that most people won’t get.  I’ve probably spent more time in doctor’s offices and hospitals than the average person too, although camping out in medical facilities is one of my least favorite activities. 

Here are a few of my favorite medical terms:

eviscerate: to rip the guts out of

co-morbid: along with, as relating to diseases that like to travel together

gynecomastia: man-boobs (really, you can look it up!)

exsanguination: bleeding to death

pruritus ani: butt itch


It’s not necessarily a medical term, but, piles: old time word for hemorrhoids.

I’m a veritable fountain of scatological information today!

A Rare Quiet Moment, Secret Speculations and Twists of Memory

It’s not terribly often that I have a sort of quiet day.  Usually I have more than enough to do, but today- not so much.  I sort of regret getting so much done on Saturday but then again, it’s always better to take the opportunity to get caught up than to take a chance on staying behind and having to scramble and rush to get things done.  It leaves me a bit bored today, but better to be bored once in awhile than constantly buried.

I have to come to terms with the reality that the seasons have changed- Fall Monsoon is in full swing with the cooler temperatures and torrential rain that occurs this time of year.  I can only hope that in the next few weeks there will be at least some opportunity for foliage-gazing and a road trip or two.  I should try to use some of my vacation time and just plain get out for awhile even if only for a day trip here and there.

If I had to choose a favorite time of  “fashion in history,”  it would have to be the 1940’s.  Having broad shoulders and a large chest weren’t liabilities back then, and women’s clothes were actually designed to fit women.

Everyone wore hats.  Way cool.  I love hats- and red lipstick, and dresses with sleeves.  Compare the above pic with modern “fashion” and you have a good case for the devolution of humanity.

I rest my case.  And these are supposed to be fashionable people, not the brain-dead zombies of Wal-Mart.

It’s no crime to be large.  I’m no Calista Flockhart either, but coverage is key.  Nobody wants to see your backfat, meaty arms, thunder thighs or love handles.  Just because people burned bras back in the 1960’s doesn’t mean going braless- or mistaking a flimsy little tank top for a bra- is a good idea.

I think that the unisex movement of the 60’s and 70’s led to much of the fashion confusion out there today.  Most heterosexual men don’t have a problem dressing like men simply because it doesn’t take a whole lot of thought.  T-shirts, flannel shirts, jeans, whitey-tighties, tube socks and velcro tennis shoes are all you need to complete a Straight Man wardrobe.  Straight men’s attire is boring, but it’s good for functionality and coverage.   It’s fat women and gay men who have the most potential for polluting the landscape with their wretched fashion choices.  Oh, and shug, eyeliner is for girls. Or is it that you want everyone to know that you’re the queen in this couple? Maybe you femmes are just happy to live out the fairy fantasy.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Large women have the potential to dress most tragically-

Maybe I’m just sort of old and cranky and especially misanthropic today.  I didn’t even have to deal with too many of the unwashed masses, so I should be a bit more patient today, but I’m not.

Perhaps I remember a time when people had a little more pride in appearances, or I’d like to think so.  I did live through the 70’s, which was a decade that was to fashion as a trainwreck is to transportation.  I don’t think I could bear to wear those horrid thick waxy polyester pants ever again.  Especially if they are green, yellow, orange or brown.

God’s ATM? Some Armchair Philosophy and Theology, and Odd Cuisine

I don’t think God would mind if the driver of this PT Cruiser borrowed $1.40 from the kitty to replace the right rear taillight bulb.  Yeah, not only do I notice vanity plates and the burned out taillight, I also notice the big scrape on the left side of the rear bumper cover.  I’ve been in automotive way too long. 

Anyone who could afford to be God’s ATM could probably afford a little more high style ride than a PT Cruiser.  I would imagine if God were to drive a car He would pick something really good like a Mercedes or a BMW, not an underpowered and pathetically forgettable Chrysler offering.    On a philosophical and theological level, the thought of someone being God’s ATM- even as a sort of joke- and especially while driving a PT Cruiser- is a bit unnerving.  First of all, I really don’t think God needs money.  He created the universe, so it would stand to reason if He needed a few Ben Franklins ($100’s) and Yuppie Food Stamps ($20’s) for some reason that He could handle that without any help from a guy who really needs to check his bulbs and who also needs to stop backing up into poles.

Seriously, if God is God, then what in the flying thunder can anyone do for Him?  It smacks of arrogance and hubris for anyone to think he or she is indisposable to God.  The paradox in this is that humanity was created to serve God but apart from God we can’t even do that.   I am reminded of little kids who fashion crafts from things their parents have bought and present the crafts back to the parents as “gifts.”  Technically, you’re giving me my own stuff back, only now it’s scribbled and slobbered on.  That’s about how good of a job we humans do for God.  We take his stuff, make it crappy, and then- if we’re feeling generous- we give it a teeny tiny bit of it back to Him. 

We put our kids’ lame artwork on the fridge not because it’s good (generally it’s anything BUT fine art) but because we love our kids, and they tried.  I’d like to think that God smiles on our lame efforts too, but I really don’t want to fall under the illusion that I’m all that great or important.  I know I’m not. 

I’m certainly not even close to being God’s ATM. 



Why, oh, why do people whose ancestors come from the British Isles eat some of the most disgusting things?   Apparently canned sheep tongues are popular in Australia- complete with the cute little sheepie pictured on the can.   I’m surprised they don’t put the cute little sheepie picture on the lamb and rice dog food.  Americans generally aren’t into mutton, so maybe that’s why they picture dogs on the dog food bags.  Dogs may be pictured on the bags for the benefit of the illiterate, but I could see how a rube might think that dog food is actually made from dog meat, rather than, “This is what your dog is supposed to eat.”  Never underestimate the power and depth of stupidity and/or ignorance. 



No, Virginia, there is NO dog meat in the dog food bag, regardless of what you see in the picture.

I know some people in the US eat beef tongue (nasty enough) but think about it.  I’m sure sheep lick each other’s butts just like dogs do, but even if they didn’t,  I don’t want to eat something’s tongue. 

The Brits get the prize for the weirdest food in the Western world by far though.  Americans love potato chips, right- but in civilized flavors, such as sour cream and onion, barbeque, cheddar cheese, hot and spicy, etc.

Brits love potato chips (although they call them “crisps”) too, but the flavors are a bit more unique:

Mmmm, Cajun Squirrel and Chili Chocolate.  

Remind me if I ever travel to the UK to bring my own stash of food.

Why I Am No Paragon of Morality, Frumpiness and Poverty=Deliverance From Temptation?


I try to avoid scandal and gossip for the most part, but a snippet in the (for lack of a better term) gossip column of yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch caught my eye.  To my horror, none other than Neal Schon has been implicated in a rather sordid affair with the White House party crasher chick.  I think he could do better, but that’s neither here nor there.  Granted, Neal Schon is probably the finest living guitarist on the planet today, (and nothing would change my opinion on that one) but that doesn’t mean one should look to him as some kind of moral example.  If anyone were tempted to be a tomcat, I can see how Neal Schon would be- he’s still a good looking guy, even though he’s well into geezer territory,  he’s a phenomenal songwriter and guitar player, and he has money to burn, etc.  He can pick and choose his women freely.  I find it hard to imagine too many women (yours truly included) who would have the moral fortitude to say no to a dude like that, even if you were well aware that regardless of whatever dalliances you get to enjoy, the relationship itself will almost assuredly turn out to be temporary.  In other words, I don’t know too many women, especially Journey fans of cougar age, who would turn down an opportunity to get busy with Neal Schon. 

I think in some ways my troll-like appearance and lack of material success has helped me maintain some kind of morality, especially in recent years.  I’m not tempted to drop everything and take off with a hot rock legend, but there is more to the story.  I’d never be offered the opportunity in a million years.  It can’t be a temptation if it’s an impossibility.  Jerry has his faults, but I’m lucky to have an old man with hair and teeth who is gainfully employed. 

Any dude I could scrounge at my advanced age, with my rather pathetic bait, would more than likely be a downgrade.  I am not digging correctional institute inmates, dudes 80 and older, the chronically unemployed, or deviants from the sex offender registry, even if there were a chance that they might have working Johnsons.  I’d much rather use my imagination and battery operated assistance like I already do than to stoop to an even lower level.   I hate to say it, but there ain’t no Coupe deVille in any Cracker Jack box I would be able to pick from.   Jerry, with his drunken tirades and ED, is definitely no prize, but then again, neither am I.

The silver lining of this dark cloud is: It’s a lot easier to be chaste and moral when you have no access to the alternative.  I should really be thankful for my frumpiness and relative poverty when all is said and done.  I get to stay out of trouble- if only by default.  No moral dilemmas here for me, and that’s a good thing.

I freely admit I don’t have the moral fiber to resist that kind of temptation.  If (and this is most certainly in theory) I was some hot chick that every man alive wanted, I would be the first one out there sampling the buffet.  If it were raining men, I would be right on out there with a big old bucket.  Believe that.  I can’t blame Neal Schon for doing exactly the same thing know I would do (only I would, obviously, be banging every hot dude at my disposal) if I had the means.  Truth be told, I don’t know very many people, when given the means, would be able to resist.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak- especially if the flesh is hot and has plenty of cash and popularity.  Yeah, you know it’s morally wrong and you might even feel guilty, but at the end of the day I know I don’t have that kind of fortitude.

Nobody in their right mind is going to settle for last night’s leftovers when you’re having gourmet dinners delivered to your door. 

Perhaps it’s wrong for me to put a theological spin on things, especially with the clear and ever present knowledge that a lot of my outward moral behavior is by default, but maybe this is one of the things Jesus is talking about in the Lord’s Prayer.  Lead us not into temptation.  I know all too well if I were able to get close enough to that kind of temptation- hot dudes, sordid affairs, etc. that I would fall right on in. 

That’s not to say I avoid temptation altogether.  As much as I would like to say otherwise, even though chastity is the least of my worries (by default), I am tempted by a lot of other things.  I am tempted to be judgmental and sarcastic- even though I don’t have any kind of inherent virtue apart from the grace of God.  Left to my own devices I know full well I am a vindictive, vengeful, greedy, sarcastic bitch.  As hard as it is to take sometimes, I should be more thankful for my situation and shortcomings- if only to be reminded of my proper place.

I can’t point a derisive finger at Neal Schon or throw stones at his current paramour.  I’ve probably done far worse (though much more privately) in my lifetime than either of them.  I live in the glass house, and I have skeletons aplenty in my closets.  The major difference is that because of my frumpiness, poverty and obscurity nobody cares.  I’m thankful for that too.  What happened in the ’93 Camry stays in the Camry, you know?

The Camry tells no tales.  I am very thankful for this fact.

I even have a certain amount of pity for serial fornicators.  Even though it has been a very long time ago, I do know the thrill and the excitement of the pursuit of forbidden fruit.  It’s a hell of a rush- until the excitement dies, the other party decides to chase something else, and all you have left is shame and regret and a faded memory.  I know all too well the embarrassment of having done ridiculous things under the spell of temporary lust.  It’s not rational.  Following one’s heart- or one’s desires I should say- can lead one to act like a horse’s ass. 

Maybe there is more to the story for these lovers.  I know, it’s like a car wreck.  You don’t want to watch but you can’t help it.  Everyone wants dirty laundry (to quote Don Henley) and it’s particularly juicy when it comes from a highly unlikely and shocking source. Perhaps there is more to this sordid saga than simply animal attraction. Perhaps they truly do love each other.  Sending the cuckolded husband a pic of one’s junk is probably not the most tactful move, but I have to admit,  it is funny.  I wouldn’t mind a peek myself. 




This Old Cougar, Personal Landscaping, and Age Has Its Advantages

I have to admit I enjoy life a lot more in my cougardom than I ever have previously.  There is still plenty of room for improvement in my quality of life, but over all I am thankful that life in general sucks less than it used to.   My childhood consisted of thirteen years of wearing bad clothes, being a klutzy and nearsighted social pariah, and getting the living thunder beat out of me by my sisters, their friends and the kids at school.  Adolescence wasn’t much better, as I was voted “Least Likely to Get Laid” in the high school Senior Will.  The good part of high school was that I didn’t get beaten up once I had the good fortune to make friends with big girls who could fight.  I looked old enough and usually had money to buy cigarettes, so protection for smokes was a fair trade.  Guys only asked for my phone number so they could call my sisters, but I can’t say I blame them.  I was nothing to look at.

Fast forward into college- that was an improvement mostly in my personal autonomy.  For the most part I could come and go as I pleased, at least as far as my limited finances and the condition of the current tires on my old Subaru allowed.  If I would have had the foresight to have ran, ran, ran away from my ex before I was naive enough to marry him- and went to college in another state- life would have been different.  I don’t know if it had been better, but it would have been different.  Perhaps a better male contributor of half of Steve-o’s DNA would have actually given a shit, and perhaps Steve-o would have gotten better hair.  He managed to get off incredibly well in the genetic lottery with the exception of having bad sinuses and even worse hair.  Coarse, kinky, greasy and mousy brown, just like the sperm donor’s.  Acck.  But hair can be buzz cutted, and when your hair is nasty, the clippers are a beautiful thing.  I am glad he gave up the Robert Plant- sometime- around- 1971  hair style.  I had to wonder what kind of unauthorized insect life was living in that mess.  The only good thing about it is that he didn’t attempt dreadlocks- he has the right kind of hair for it, but Anglo men look absolutely disgusting with dreadlocks even when nature does give them coarse, kinky and greasy hair.  It’s just not culturally congruent- unless you can prove you are related to Bob Marley.

With a good haircut he almost looks normal.  This was not a good haircut.  They didn’t shave it down to 1/4″ or less.  The only good thing about his male parentage is that the sperm donor was 6’2″ .  Steve-o is 6’1″, and he certainly didn’t get height from my family.  The tallest one of us is my formerly sadistic older sister who is 5’9″.  Dad is only 5’6″ and I tower over him if I wear a three inch heel or more.  Then again, the odds are that had I chosen for myself I probably would not have bothered to procreate at all (Steve-o, the illustrious POMC, was not exactly planned) so that’s a bit creepy to mention.

I have to say my 20’s and 30’s pretty much sucked.  Between bad relationships, trying to raise the POMC (mostly alone) and constant work, it was almost all a bad nightmare.  I didn’t make the greatest decisions.  I found myself in some pretty stupid situations.   For a long time I was on a first name basis with day care managers, elementary and middle school principals and guidance counselors, and even more frightening, representatives of law enforcement.  Steve-o did not have a particularly mellow adolescence to put it mildly.  He always had to be the ringleader.  If there was trouble in a communal setting, he was generally right at the center of the action.  Hell, he didn’t need a community to get in trouble.  There’s nothing like explaining to the cable company that the $300 of pay-per-view porn that magically appeared on my statement was procured via the cable remote by my 12 year old.

But finally, I woke up one morning and Steve-o became an adult.  The fact that his first child is due in February might have something to do with it.  I am glad he is being a man and taking care of his obligations.  He even bought a four door car.  I may even dare say he is becoming a responsible adult which scares the hell out of me in a way.  Somewhere in all the chaos I went from young and struggling and constantly moving from crisis to crisis and discovered I became an old cougar.  It seemed the transformation was overnight but as I look back I realize it was by degrees.

There are some things I still find important.  Personal landscaping is a constant challenge.  Women should only have body hair in three places- the top of the head,  thinly sculptured eyebrows, and eye lashes.  Every other bit of hair is unsightly and should be removed.  Nails are another part of the personal landscape.  I like mine big, bold and brightly colored.  In nature bright colors and bold patterns are warning signs.  They say “Don’t Screw With Me.”  That’s why the poison toad is bright orange.

Toe nails must match fingernails.  It’s part of a package.

I refuse to take on the conventional wisdom of platinum blonde hair and boring earth tone makeup for older women.  First of all with my round moony face I look hideous with blonde hair.  Second of all, I like the contrast- dark black hair against my Super White skin.  Third of all I like bold eye shadows and bright lipsticks.  I am taking a cue from nature.  Let them eat the platinum blonde toads- I am brightly and boldly adorned to give the world fair warning.  I am not the average middle aged woman who is content to blend into the wall.

Now that I am in the over-40 set I get to do a lot more observing.  Age has a certain gravitas. I get away with a lot of things that younger people just can’t do. 

I did have a young girl express her dislike of my anti-Obama commentary on the back of my car today.  It was sort of hard to take her seriously because she wasn’t even alive yet when President Reagan was in office.  Too bad she didn’t live through Jimmy Carter.   Then maybe she would have understood where I was coming from.

Warm and Fuzzy as a Tire Iron, Stay Straight- It Might Come Back In Style, and Other Politically Incorrect Opinions

Even though I am female (and a straight one at that) I am not a huggy-kissy overly sentimental type.  The public at large need not fear me randomly hugging, touching or groping anyone.  I generally avoid physical demonstrations of affection whenever possible.  I am one of those people who is very sensitive to touch even from people I do know, and I don’t want strange people touching me at all.  Maybe I’m just strange but it really creeps me out when people try to touch me in the course of conversation.  Please don’t come up behind me and put your hand on my shoulder or even worse, try to grab at my hands.  I worked with a guy who was really cool and very nice, but he was a toucher.  One day he came up behind me (but I didn’t realize who he was) and put his hand on my shoulder.  My instinctive reaction was to elbow the poor guy in the gut before I’d even realized it- a reflexive motion, but still rather mortifying.  He meant no malice and I felt really terrible about elbowing him, but I really am squeamish about unauthorized touching.   I had the hell beaten out of me way too many times as a child.

My parents weren’t into physical fighting (thankfully) but they are masters of verbal sparring and passive-aggressive revenge.  I think the older they get the more they enjoy finding creative ways to piss each other off.  Some people are into that.  I think it must be what keeps their relationship fresh after almost fifty years.  Dad knows he can get a rise out of Mom by failing to flush the downstairs toilet or by leaving his dirty socks on the floor.  Mom knows she can piss Dad off by leaving all of her various crap (and she’s virtually a hoarder so it’s everywhere) all over every flat surface in the house.  Ad nauseam.  Tit for tat, pick for pick.  Acck!

At least they aren’t into really odious pastimes, like swinging (that’s a really creepy thought considering their age) or square dancing, or having an ankle biter dog that wears clothes and perfume and goes to the groomer’s once a week, but even so their constant picking and petty fussing is unnerving.  I find it unnecessary and annoying.  As a child- since I tended to take everything literally- it took me awhile to realize that Mom, even in her manic rages, was not likely to literally rip Dad’s head off no matter how many times she threatened to.

For that she would have needed the chainsaw, and Dad’s the only one I know of who could start that damned thing.

That’s me- pragmatic and practical.  It’s what keeps me relatively sane.

Speaking of which, when I get the time I will share my latest and greatest concept in detail.  There are people out there like my parents who spend all kinds of time and money on home improvement.  I have absolutely no hardware expertise, money to burn, or knowledge of interior design or feng shui or any of that high faluting stuff.  But I  do know a thing or two about renovating This Old Cougar.

More to come, very soon!