Category: Humor

Leave the Reindeer, Take the Cannoli

So, over a decade ago, when i was still married to my second, and my weedlings were still little, my ex and i used to put a lot of effort into decorating the house for the holidays. We strung up lights, suspended a star, and, for a while, had lit-up deer for the yard. Now, maybe it was because we bought them on clearance. Maybe it was because we got one that had been dropped. Or maybe it was because we are Italian. But one of those deer could never keep his head on.

The very first night we put them up – One curled up like a momma, and one standing and animated to bob his head up and down like he was eating – we were delighted at how pretty they were. Fancy holiday decor for a young family! And flashier than anyone else on the street! We were so proud! We left them aglow all night… And woke to a decapitated Prancer with his head still moving on the ground beside him. It was the stuff of childhood nightmares.

We turned them off and spent most of an hour reattaching Prancer’s noggin.

Back then, we had a lovely tradition of spending an evening driving to various neighborhoods to look at other people’s holiday displays. We would make up little papers that said “Elf Award” and stick them in the mail boxes of people who had especially good decorations and lights. Christmas carols blaring and hot chocolate in hand, it was always a good time. And that year, we made sure to leave our winter extravaganza up while we went around admiring others’.

While we were gone, Prancer apparently got an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Again on the lawn, Prancer’s head was dancing next to his body. It seems silly to say so about a lawn ornament, but it really was an unnerving sight. We stuck the head back on and turned off the lights. Next morning? You guessed it… Sleeping with the fishes.

We were starting to get seriously creeped out by the Reindeer Godfather’s visits. It was time to get inventive. Using wire, we twistied and sewed Prancer’s head to his body, leaving just enough wiggle room to allow for the animation. MacGyver himself couldn’t have done a better job. That night and the next few, we were able to sit outside and enjoy the prettiest decorations Lowe’s had to offer. It snowed, and the movement of the lights became all sparkly and magical. This was a winter lawn at its finest. Then Marlon Brando paid another visit.

I half expected to see bloodstains on the snow where Prancer’s head lay twitching. It was horrifying.

It became ritual: We would light up the yard every night, and in the morning, go out and reattach Prancer’s head. It was a running joke and the subject of family bets, how many nights would his head stay on before the Godfather would visit. When, in January, we took the decorations down, we kept the deer. We figured we’d come up with a way to keep Prancer’s head on by the next year.

We never did.

We re-headed Prancer regularly for many years. It became a holiday tradition (Certainly no worse a tradition than plum pudding.) And it also became part of our family mythos.

Many years later, while cleaning out the garage, my ex decided to finally throw in the towel and gave Prancer away. Since he was free, there was no need to disclose Prancer’s embarrassing secret. As it turned out, the deer had a different idea. He outed himself. As his new owner was driving off with him tucked into a pile of finds in the back of a pickup, he lost his head yet again. As we watched with equal parts horror and humor, Prancer’s head bounced down the street at the end of a string of lights, makeshift wire fasteners dangling in the breeze.

We still talk about poor Prancer every Christmas. We laugh and shake our heads. We do impressions of his head going ‘plop’ in the snow…

And then we watch cartoons so we don’t have nightmares.

Hashtag Ambien

I keep a list of ideas that float thru my head at night. Some weeks they become starting points for blog posts. This week, i could find no thread to tie them together, but there were exactly 20 of them. That seemed like a sign. So here you go, the things on my “thought list” this week. Maybe they will make you laugh. Or maybe they will just make you grateful that your brain is less scattered than mine:

1. Retail managers are always genuinely surprised and pleased when you go out of your way to give a compliment to the staff. I need to remember to do it more often.

2. I got PIF’d at Dunkin’ Donuts this morning. The person in front of me paid for my order. I paid for the order behind mine. Maybe, at some point, someone who needed a break got one. I need to do this more often as well.

3. Because i knew my son would be looking thru every closet in the house (All three of them), i wrapped all the holiday gifts and put them under the tree the same day i brought most of them in from the car (They had been living in my trunk)… None of them have tags. I have the wrapping paper coded to each weedling, but i won’t tell him which weedling has which paper. It’s driving him nuts. The evil part of me takes pleasure in that.

4.  People may argue over who was the best James Bond, but no one ever picks a Doctor other than David Tennant.

5. No matter how meticulously i clip the birds to the holiday tree, they always end up hanging upside down.

6. Cat’s in the Cradle is the saddest song ever written. And the older my weedlings get, the more i cry when it plays.

7. In which circle of Hell do the makers of cheap, industrial toilet paper live?

8. Apple brandy is wonderful in Celestial Seasonings’ Gingerbread tea.

9. It is proof of God/Goddess/Universe’s sick sense of humor that a woman can have more acne at 50 than she did at 15.

10. Listen to the news here in Tennessee – severe drought followed by vicious wildfires, followed by even more vicious storms – and it’s hard not to think that Mother Nature is pissed.

11. If time is relative, and our measure of it man-made and imperfect, then why are specific dates so important? Why do we feel deprived, for example, if we can’t celebrate Christmas on exactly December 25th?

12. Who was the first person to look at some milk that had gotten old and gone hard and thought, “Well, that looks tasty. I think i’ll eat it and call it cheese.”

13. And why do we call hokey things “cheesy”?

14. I am pretty certain that any kid who only got two front teeth for Christmas would be both grossed out and disappointed.

15. Imagine the immeasurable amount of awesomeness if you could have a casual dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt and Maya Angelou together.

16. A baby ferret is called a “kit”… So  the food, cage, and accessories for said ferret would be a kit kit.

17. I will never understand how i can find myself halfway to work and unable to remember if i put on deodorant, but i can still recite the “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” speech, and i haven’t read Julius Caesar in over 30 years.

18. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but if its name was “mucus”, no one would stop to smell it at all.

19. Is there anyplace creepier than an abandoned mental hospital?

20. Am i the only one who lays awake at night thinking about these things?

Don’t answer that last one.

“You Put the Lime on the Rodent, and You Mix It All Up”

I had been hunting the stench for over a week. In my gut, i knew what it was, but i had convinced myself that maybe someone was dumping compost behind my property. Compost that consisted of nasty, dirty gym socks and rot. But down in my gut, i knew.

When my son took out the trash and told me it smelled like something had died in the backyard, i told him he was wrong, it was something else.  I did go look around the backyard, and, not finding anything, continued telling myself that it was a waft from someplace else: The neighbor’s trash can, someone’s septic tank, the river Styx….

Every day, i was assaulted by the smell as i got in and out of my car in the driveway. And every day, i would walk around a bit, giving a cursory search for the source, never finding anything.

When a friend came over to do some tree work for me, i asked him to come sniff and tell me what he thought. Of course, he knew what it was. And he looked with me. Except he really looked. And under a back corner of my decrepit outbuilding, he pointed out a pelt.

I cannot express how badly i wanted him to offer to deal with it for me.

But he is not that much a glutton for punishment. So with my hands covered with grocery bags, a trash bag beside me, and rake in hand; i set about to get the nauseating fur-pile out from under the shed.

Raking it wasn’t particularly effective. First off, it had been there over a week, so it wasn’t exactly fresh. Second, i was quickly able to isolate cause of death to be electrocution when i realized its mouth was hooked on the electrical supply. And third… Well, there isn’t really a third. I mean, i was trying to rake a long-dead animal from 3 feet inside a foot high space. There was NO way to efficiently remove it.

Later, my cousin told me i should have just spread lime over it. I wish i had thought of that.

So i rake and rake and rake and rake. When it finally gets close enough to the edge, i decide to just pick it up. Gagging like i have never gagged before, i reach over and pick up the maggot-covered rustic bathroom rug.

Halfway across the 2 foot distance to the trash bag, his head fell off.

Plop. Necrotic rodent noggin at my feet.

I suppressed the urge to throw up out of deference to the friend who wouldn’t take on the task.

I get the body in the bag, maggots and all. Pick up the head (How i didn’t puke, i will never know), grabbed the bits of fur and pelt that were stuck to the rake, pushed the hand-bags into the trash bag, and pulled the straps closed. Certain that the stench wasn’t just stuck in my nose hair and was actually permeating the plastic, i triple bagged that son of a bitch before tossing it in the trash. Ha! You nasty dead Davy Crockett souvenir! I win! You are gone and the stench is no more!

Well, not exactly.

I mean the bag is in the trash can and it’s hot enough to smelt iron on the sidewalk these days.

And soon i will have to open it and put the rest of the week’s trash in before bringing it to the curb for pickup.  Normally, that would be my son’s job, but unless he forgets what’s already in there, i’d have better luck getting my chihuahua to do it.

I may actually try the clothespin on the nose trick when trash day comes.

Well, i knew there would be critters. I guess it’s just part life at the new caravan. And at least it’s almost gone.

And don’t ya know that the Lowe’s list on my fridge already has, at the top, “Bag of lime”.

Just Singing In The Rain

Moving sucks. Even when it is worth it in the end. So you have to savor those moments that make it seem less like Hell.

Bringing our final load of assorted leftover crap from the old place to the new place today, in the middle of a rainstorm, my son comes out with this gem of musing…

“Hey, Ma. Do you know that song, ‘It’s Raining Men’?”

“Yes, ” i reply, with a cocked eyebrow.

“I’m wondering, when they fall, are they whole?”


“I mean, does a man just fall from the sky, land on his feet, and say, ‘Hi. My name is Terry. I’m from Montana. I’m a Capricorn and i enjoy cooking and volunteering at the local animal shelter.’?  Or do bodies just fall from the sky realistically, breaking into pieces so it makes a mess of blood and guts everywhere? ”

“You know that old joke, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs out there! I just stepped in a poodle!’? If it were raining men, would you say you stepped on a head? Or a foot? Or a butt! Oh my God! That would be funny! But then you’d be slipping everywhere on the blood and guts.”

“Can you imagine the umbrella you’d need? Body parts falling everywhere? It would have to be made out of plywood or something. Like, a Kevlar umbrella, maybe. And, man, it would suck for the street sweepers!”

“Also, how would you know it was going to rain men? Would the sky be filled with cumulonimbus  clouds shaped like penises? That would be weird.”

I am silent thru this whole stream of consciousness, as i have no flipping clue as to the proper parental response.  When he finally goes quiet, i relax a bit. Then…

“I hope they just fall out of the sky whole.”

Me, too, son. Me too.


Sticking to the Topic at Hand

There i was, sitting on my new kitchen floor, laughing and crying and swearing all at once.

If there had been a fly on the wall armed with an iPhone, i’d be a meme by now.

It all started when i realized that i couldn’t bring one more thing into the new house until the movers brought the furniture. For the past few days, my son and i have been bringing box after box of books, dishes, books, art work, linens, books, clothes, and, did i mention, books? It is now to the point that the movers will be lucky to get the furniture IN the house for all the boxes we’ve brought. So i decided to change lanes and start putting things up. I swabbed out the pantry and set out the supplies to lay new contact paper.

Contact paper is the devil’s handiwork.

I pointedly lay out paper to make a pattern, carefully drawing out all the cutarounds for the various brackets. Since the pantry is actually makeshift over the basement stairs, there are A LOT of cutarounds. But i finish the pattern for the first shelf and painstakingly cut it out.

In retrospect, i should have heard the devil’s chuckling. He knew what was coming next.

I peel the backing from one of the rear corners. As i said, the pantry is built into what would otherwise be wasted space over the basement access, so the shelves are rather deep and oddly shaped. I get up on a step stool and lean into depths of the ersatz pantry cavern. I am in up to my waist before i notice that i have managed to stick the contact paper to my belly.

To note: When laying contact paper, it is best to wear more than cutoffs and a sports bra. Or so i found today.

I retreat to unstick myself and, in the process,  clock my head on the shelf above. A stream of curse words in a couple different languages fly out of my mouth like bats from a cave.

Pulling contact paper off your belly isn’t pleasant. First off, for every 2 inches you unstick, a different inch finds another place to adhere. Peeling it from your skin ranks right up there with a cheap bikini wax. And to top it off, the damned stuff will find ways to stick to itself.

After an hour, i had one shelf done.

The bottom shelf went much faster, as it was much smaller and shallower. It was a pleasant respite before attempting the top shelf.

Again with the pattern paper – this time, two sheets, as it is the biggest and deepest of all. I am exhausted from moving boxes the last few days, so even tho i wipe out the pantry, i am not at my most detail oriented. Which explains how i missed the spider web.

Another meticulous trimming of the vinyl. Back up on the step stool. Up on my tiptoes to reach the back. Peel the paper backing. Crease my pathetic abs against the shelf’s edge and lean in. Charlotte climbs from her web and walks across my hand.

I shrieked. I swore. I jumped. I smacked my head again – on the jamb of the pantry door this time. I missed the step stool on the way down, smacked my arse on the wall like a Tim Duncan jump shot, and landed on the floor. It took me a second to realize that i was now wrapped like a burrito in the contact paper, with both hands stuck inside the casing.

Thank God i couldn’t reach my phone, because asking for help to get out of the wrapper would have taken the last of my dignity.

I’m not sure how long it took me to peel myself out of my fly paper cocoon. I’m sure it was a while since i stopped periodically, as i said in the beginning, to laugh/cry/swear and curse the sadistic bastard who invented contact paper. Even after washing up afterwards, my knuckles and belly still have sticky spots.

But it could have been worse. If i’d clocked my head harder, i’d have had to explain my predicament to the Emergency Room. I’m pretty sure the story would have been hospital wide by shift change. Thank you, God, for that small favor.

And so it goes. The shelves are finally finished, olive oil got the adhesive off my hands and belly, and the spider got squashed in the melee. The satisfaction is on par with conquering Kilimanjaro. Or at least Mount Wannahockaloogie. It should be a year or so before i need to tackle it again. And last i checked, i’m not a meme yet.

A successful day overall.


Maternal Wind

In honor of Mother’s Day, a favorite story involving my Ma. It was from her that i learned to take things in good humor …

For a short while, i dated a guy in the British navy. His fellow sailors called him “Taff”- some kind of geographical nicknaming convention based on a river where he grew up. He was tall and lanky and funny as hell. Even better, he thought was funny as hell. A sweet, boyish face with a mess of dirty blonde hair that would have gotten him written up in my Navy. On my pier watch, he would come stand with me, and we would talk about a million things. When watch was over, we’d hit the break area of his vessel, his chief would issue me a beer chit, and we’d talk and sing and drink with his mates til morning.

To this day, when “The Lady in Red” plays on the radio, i remember him singing it to me one night, wax nostalgic, and wonder where life has taken him.

It was bliss, being with him. He felt (or at least made me believe he felt) that i was the most beautiful, smartest, wittiest woman in all the world. And he never hid that fact from others.  Not even his friends. Until that point, i’d never had a man show affection for me in public. Vulgarity, yes. Unseemly sexual overture, yes. But not affection. It was a wondrous thing to me, to have someone so outwardly pleased to be with me. Real magic.

Once in a while, we’d get a chance to run off. In my p.o.s. Datsun, i’d drive us to the beach in hopes of finding a secluded dune, behind which we could tumble and make trouble. Well, it could have been trouble… If we’d ever gotten caught.

It was one of those beach trips that i was thinking about today.

Taff and i had spent most of an evening rolling naked on the beach. Long enough that we had lost track of the tide. While we were running amok like a couple of playful rabbits, waves slopped our pile of clothes with seaweed and saltwater. By the time we were ready to pack up and head back to the pier, everything was soaked.

It was an hour back to the ship, but only a few minutes from home. So we wrung out what we could and then headed to my house, where i could put on some dry duds and loan him some sweats so we wouldn’t freeze in the night air. It was the wee hours, so we tried hard not to make much noise.

Leaving Taff at the kitchen table, i quietly stole up the staircase and grabbed the clothes. A few moments later, i was supplied, and we dried off and changed. At some point, we started giggling, which must have woken Ma.

The tall, narrow staircase led to a landing. While we were shushing ourselves and trying to stop the giggles, the landing light switched on. We looked up, and through the slight opening at the top, there stood the whitest, skinniest calves ever produced by God, at the bottom of which were what had to be the rattiest, shaggiest, pink slippers in all of New England. That was all you could see… My Ma’s signature stick legs and those awful, but favored, slippers.

She yelled down, “Is that you, Hol?”

“Yes,” I replied, “Just grabbing some dry clothes.”


My Ma cuts a loud, mean piece of gas that should have lifted her right off the floor. For real. It was at least a 4 on the Richter scale. The National Weather Service could have given it a name.  It was gloriously horrific. I was mortified.

“Ma!!!!!!! Taff is here!!!!!!” (His eyes are bugged out in shock.)

Silence for a couple seconds, then, as she shuts the light and heads back to bed….

“Oh, like they don’t fart in England!”


My Name Is Edmund Fitzgerald

I took my son to the Georgia Renaissance Festival yesterday. As soon as the sky was bright we headed out with the intention of being there at opening and staying til close. We’d sleep in the city overnight and head back this morning. This was a birthday adventure for my son. (If you think that sounds like a cheesy gift, you have never counted how much money leaves your wallet at such events). In any case, it was a nice drive, not too much traffic, and Siri was content in her doggie seatbelt in the back with the open window draft against her face. In less than 3 hours, we were parked and ready to enter.

Before you ask, no, we didn’t dress up. I have nearly finished an awesome Queen Mab costume, but a) the thought of driving 3 hours in a restrictive corset sounded about as comfortable as running into an ex in the condom aisle; and b) my son didn’t want to dress up.

Shows, artisan demonstrations and wares, all manner of medieval and modern food fare, music, dancing, and a whole lotta corsets and kilts.

If i have never mentioned it, i have a weak spot for a man in a kilt. I don’t care if he has the heft of Louie Anderson, the face of Willie Nelson and the legs of a junkyard dog… If he’s wearing a kilt, i will melt. I’m not sure if it’s the vibe of the highland legends that i love so much, or the knowledge that it takes a special kind of man to wear it with confidence and a comfortable smile, but the sight renders me besotted. Never is a man more handsome than sporting his family tartan, the loose muslin shirt, blade tied to his side… Oh my…

And the corseted women… One of the often overlooked, but delightful things about a renaissance faire is that supermodels don’t look good in the costumes. The truly spectacular maidens and wenches are the ones with the mounded, pilowy breasts and the bustle-y bums. Slap some satin on her, throw a corset around her waist, and she looks like Hamlet’s wet dream. Seriously. The younger ones with head garlands of flowers. The older ones with French hoods or crowns… They are lust personified.

The food… I started off going the expected route, mead and a turkey leg. Mead… I know it has a serious cult following, but it isn’t for me. I mean, i’m glad i tried it, just to say i have, but to me it seriously tasted like something whipped up on a dare at a one-star alehouse.  The turkey leg… Now THAT was delish! I made it about 2/3 of the way through before i started thinking about what kind of farming practice produced a turkey with legs like that and had to toss the rest in the garbage. There were other kinds of meat on a stick and a variety of ales. We stuck with sarsaparilla and Cornish pasties – which, while acceptable, were nowhere near the yum-factor of my Auntie Muriel’s. There were fried pickles, kettle corn, jerky, and spiced almonds. Slightly out of place were the jalapeno poppers and ice cream shakes. But suffice it to say, we didn’t leave hungry.

There were some great shows, including washer women who were rangy and bawdy as hell and made us laugh til we cried. Jugglers, characters on stilts, and a bunch of staff who walked about in character selling everything from fresh flowers to dried meat. I’m not sure how they were told to do it… Many of the pretty young girls went around singing their inventory. The men usually rambled on about taking pity on them because the boss wouldn’t allow them to drink until they sold it all.  A few older broads, with squeakers buried in their corsets, took their barking rather literally and demanded you hand over your realm coins now or they’d pummel you. When you complied, they squeaked their tits for you sweetly and then barked at the next mark.

The jousting area was filled to capacity. It wasn’t til the third and final act near closing that we were able to get seats near the arena. The equestrianship was excellent. The sword fighting, well choreographed. (When the two princesses took swords to each other, a couple of the men behind me nearly heated themselves.) I learned something about my dog, tho. She flipping hates horses. Every time one came near the fence, she went ballistic and let loose with a rabid bark that i’ve never heard come out of her before. It got so bad, i ended up leaving the seat i claimed 30 minutes before the show just to calm her down. She was still a puppy when she was rescued, so i can’t be sure if some traumatic event precipitated this. Was she born in a neglected barn full of hateful horses? Was she belted by a horse-faced and cruel woman? I don’t know, but i can promise that i won’t be taking her to the Kentucky Derby.

Is there anything more repulsive than a Port-o-Potty? Especially at the end of a day full of use by the masses? Seriously, why isn’t there a traction bar on the door to keep you stable while you squat so you don’t have to touch the nasty thing? I am never more jealous of a man than when i have to pee at an outdoor festival. I’d have given my mortal soul to have been able to wing it behind a tent yesterday afternoon. But alas, i was stuck. It wasn’t until i had disinfected every exposed part of myself with sanitizer and rejoined my son and SiriDog that i realized i hadn’t seen him approach Prince John all day.

I asked, but was waived off.

Nearly an hour later, we are stuck in a traffic jam on the bypass. So stuck, in fact, that the temporary speed limit signs of 35mph were a cruel joke. In the midst of this, my son says, “You need to stop someplace. Like, now!” To my left is a Jersey barrier. To my front, right, and rear are enough cars to fill an Ikea, and none of them are moving. I turn to him. He looks like that kid in Rat Race when he begs his father with the line, “But, Dad, i’m prairie doggin’ it!” He isn’t kidding. He needs to go. Now. And there is no way it’s gonna happen. I gesture out the window and all around me and promise i’l do the best i can.

This was not the time for me to be nagging momma, but i had to ask why he didn’t go back at the fairgrounds. I was stunned at his response… He doesn’t use public restrooms. Ever. Not even at school.

What??? “You’re at school for nearly 8 hours every day! How can you not go to the bathroom?!?!” He explains he has trained himself not to. And that means that today he has gone nearly 12 hours. Holy crap. Literally.  I expected my weedlings to be nuts. I mean, they’re my kids, after all… But i am not familiar with this kind of nuts. And not only that, i’ve got to find him a bathroom, and i’m nowhere near an exit, and we’re not moving anyway, and Siri must sense his panic because now she’s doing the quick shuffle too.

I’ll spare the details and say that he made it. Barely. So he was already in bad humor when, later that evening, we had checked into the hotel and immediately zonked out on our respective beds…

He wakes me with a “Ma, listen to this!” He plays something on his phone. At first, i think it’s part of his Canuck love affair… “The song of the Canadian Goose” or something. I listen closer… No, that’s a tugboat, i think. Or a lighthouse. I looked up at him… And then i knew. It was me. I’d been sneezing all day, and my allergies had me snoring at such a volume and tone that i, myself, couldn’t distinguish between me and a shipping barge. Poor kid. As if he needed more shit in his day (See what i did there?)

That was the bulk of our adventure this weekend. Kilts, corsets, turkey legs, horses, Port-o-Potties, prairie dogs, and tugboats. Life is a mixed lot. But hey, i got a Milady deWinter knife for my Queen Mab costume, watched my son show off his archery form, enjoyed Siri getting petted and loved by a dozen or so pre-school knights and pages. My youngest weedling will remember this quality time. I learned a lot about him this weekend. And i learned i need to disable the “record” button on his phone. But it’s all good. Life is good. And i am so thankful.

From Atlantic to Pacific

I admit, i am someone who pushes the boundaries of propriety on a regular basis. I can be in the midst of the most austere occasion, in full lady regalia, when some unfiltered comment will slip from my lips like a gravy fart at Thanksgiving dinner. I can’t help it. When God/Goddess/Universe made me, she replaced the usual filter with a trap door that opens and closes at random. And it doesn’t help that my brain functions like a neurological whack-a-mole, where my better judgement is always one step behind. Obviously, over the years, i have built up an immunity to embarrassment. How could i cope otherwise? Even when caught with my pants down (whether this is figurative or literal is left up to the reader’s imagination), it is instinctual for me to dive into the joke and own it. So when i tell you i was rendered speechless at her comment for a full five or ten seconds, understand that those were the longest seconds in all of Christendom.

I have mentioned before that, especially in winter, i have a tendency to dress a bit like a Manhattan banker. This, combined with my short hairstyle and direct manner, apparently gives some people a certain impression of my sexuality bent. I guess i can understand it. In spite of all we see in movies, tv, magazines, etc, we still have a picture in our minds of the type of woman who dons menswear. Basically, we are inclined to believe she longs for other women who don menswear. (If you are one who truly believes this, we need to talk about book covers. For real. )  This is partly why The Great Kate caused a fury in Hollywood in her day. No one was gonna believe she lusted after Spencer Tracy if she wore pants. Anyway, the point being that her confusion didn’t surprise me…

…  After all, i often joke about my multiple marriages, and the fact that Liam Neeson makes me swoon. I make offhand comments regarding the fact that most of the men in the cubby farm are too young for me. And a few have seen me salivate at a well-dressed man. I’m sure this seems contrary to my visual persona.

In reality, it’s not as simple as that. I’m not as simple as that.

So when she complimented my vest, and i didn’t get the hammer out in time to stop the mole, i slipped my arm around her waist and said something along the lines of, “Thank you so much! And what are you doing later?” *wink * She laughed, then pulled me aside to talk.

“I have a friend i want you to meet, ” she says in a not-quite-whisper. “But i’m not sure if you, you know…..”

“Are single?” I ask. “Yes, i am.”

“No, i mean. Ummm. Well, this friend… I mean… She’s a girl. And i know you were married before, but i thought, i mean, maybe i’m wrong. You know, the way you dress and all, i just assumed. I mean, do you? I didn’t mean anything bad. I mean, not that it’s bad. I just….”

“It’s ok,” I say, trying to alleviate her awkwardness. “I generally date men. But tell me about her.”

“Oh!” she says, sighing a breath of relief. “That makes much more sense! You’re bi-coastal!”

This is where i am rendered temporarily mute for a handful of seconds. Then…

I’m laughing. A good-natured laugh that makes her start to laugh too.

“I’ve never been called that before, but yeah, you could say i’m bi-coastal.”

Apparently, she doesn’t win at Whack-a-Mole either.



Get Your Geek On, Boy!

I long ago stopped buying big traditional gifts for my weedlings. In general, i like to give experiences instead. So this weekend, my son and i are away together at a big comicon. And we’re having a blast!

It was a five hour drive here, about half of it through beautiful mountain towns that we couldn’t see because it was terribly late (But i look forward to seeing them on the ride home!) We drove along listening to comedian Jim Gaffigan and laughing out loud, until the booger fell asleep and i found myself struggling to stay awake. But when i looked sidelong at him, seat laid back, mouth open like a fly trap, hair in his eyes, gently snoring away… I was glad we were making the trip.

We were up bright and early this morning and headed into the city. We lucked out and found convenient and reasonably priced parking – a sure sign of a good day ahead. We gingerly make our way into the acid-dream melee that only a comicon can bring.

Spiderman, Storm Troopers, Xena and Kiki. Maleficient, Pikachu and every single Dr Who. In the main hall, while waiting to enter, Jesus is taking selfies with a Dalek and HarleyQuinn. A nine-foot wookie is holding the hand of a toddler Donatello. A goblin just autographed a book he wrote, and i got to shake Fonzie’s hand. There was an entire family dressed as Borg. And down in the basement is speed-dating for geeks of all persuasions. Only at a comicon.

Watching all the cosplayers, i have decided that next time, if i am not with my son, i WILL dress up. I am destined to play Queen Mab at some large comicon. Skimpy war-fairy dress over platinum corseted ducks, soft silver lace-up thigh boots, stunning metallic wings, some funky pastel contact lenses… I didn’t see any cosplayers that were over college age, so i look at it as a necessary public service. I don’t want the weedlings to think they have to outgrow their outrageousness! But i won’t do it now. My son would be horrified. And i should probably go to the gym first.

We were exhausted by late lunch time, so we headed out to the square looking for good food. Again, we were in luck’s good graces: We happened upon three cops who were on crowd control duty. They directed us to a fantastic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, where we had a yummy New York style pie (Unexpected in Lexington, KY). Then we found a killer ice cream parlour. We got some scoops and sold the tourist benefits of Chattanooga to the proprietors. Then we did a quick check of our phones.

My oldest is minding SiriDog this weekend. She sent me a video of them out on a walk. As i am watching it and smiling, i say out loud, “Hey, i think she is wearing my bedroom slippers!” Nolan looks up with a quizzical face and asks, “Siri?” “Yes, Goober, the chihuahua is wearing my size 8 slippers.” The proprietors start giggling. Poor kid. I swear, he was so tired that it actually took him a few seconds to realize i was referring to his sister.

We walk around town a bit more, and then head to the car. On the way back to the hotel, we make a pit stop at a public park that the parking attendant recommended. It’s a beautiful day. Sunny, clear-skied, and breezywarm. There are a couple young men fishing, and a few older folk watching out open windows from their cars. We get out and sit on the bank of the lake. I lay back, close my eyes, and enjoy the sun. My main man eats the last of his leftover pizza and then discovers that he is covered in gnats. He screeches like a caricature of a prissy girl and runs back to the car. I don’t bother to tell him i locked the doors. Instead, i watch him do the icky-dance while he waits for me to return. I know it’s wrong, but watching my son do the icky-dance makes me laugh.

Next stop is a local coffee shop near the hotel. I desperately need a proper cup of tea, but accept a London Fog. He gets a frozen mocha concoction. For some reason, we started speaking as Irishmen in the car on the way, and we continue it in the shop. I’m hoping we don’t run  into any true Paddy’s, since i’m sure we only sound authentic to untrained American ears. But it was so much fun. And to be truthful, once you get going, it’s hard to stop. We were in that cafe for over an hour, using aliases and brogues the entire time, and it lingered on for long past. If anyone knew we were faking, they let it slide. And we felt like we were starring in a BBC documentary on horse country, USA. Or a silly prank video on Facebook.

It’s still early here. Barely dinnertime. But we are wiped out and even contemplating skipping supper for early bed. After all, tomorrow is another day of  Wonder Women and Indiana Joneses. Wizards and Zombies. WWF and TMNT. I will get to meet my favorite Star Trek character, buy a Hogwarts school ID,  maybe even get some tips on being a sexy, if older, cosplayer! But best of all, i will get to watch my son smile and laugh and enjoy himself among the other imaginative peoples of the comicon community. The one place in the world where being weird is the norm, and everyone is welcome. So grab a cape and a sidekick and join the party!

*** P.S., If you would, please check out my goblin friend. His blog is hysterical and well worth a visit. I promise!  The Goblin Guy




Disco Inferno

Oh, the sting and burn of a sarcastic observation! I don’t care much for the ones that leave scorch marks; but the ones that sizzle like a Texas barbecue sauce are another matter entirely. Gotta love those. And while it’s fun to watch someone poke a political bear, or William Shatner, sometimes we have to suck it up and take the roasting ourselves.

I love making people laugh. It makes me feel good. And then, there are those times where it’s someone else’s quip that gets the laugh. Very often at my expense. It used to mortify me. Now it makes me laugh as much as everyone else. A good zinger is a good zinger. I admire anyone who can pull it off. But i  really admire someone who can pull it off while being nervous and scared in the middle of a medical procedure. That takes a real gift. Or comedic intervention. Channeling the comedians of times past. But you’d be surprised how often it happens.

In the middle of a case, an invasive procedure, we are getting to the “easy” part. The patient has been silent for a while now and appears to have fallen asleep. A favorite song comes on the radio. I start to sing along. From under the sterile drape comes a deadpan and drugged voice, “You’re ruining it!” Commence full-on belly laughter. From then on, whenever any of us in the lab start to sing along with the radio – usually me – someone shouts out, “You’re ruining it!”

As we are preparing a patient for a procedure, he says, “Oh, and if my eyes start to water, i’m not crying. I’m….. I have allergies.” I respond with a sly grin, “Oh, i thought you were going to say that i was so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes.” He turns to me with a leprechaun smile and says, “You wouldn’t want me to lie, would you?” One coworker covers her mouth. The other says, “Ouch!” and laughs.  I responded at that moment with a snarly face and a laugh. But “You wouldn’t want me to lie, would you?” is becoming a standard response to any statement that remotely resembles fishing for a compliment. 

A non-English speaking Latino patient is coming out of anesthesia and begins to thrash. Worried that he will cause himself to fall off the procedure table, the nurse anesthetist calmly reminds him in Spanish that he is still in surgery and needs to not move, which does absolutely nothing. Knowing that when we are sedated, sometimes it takes a momma voice to bring us to our senses, but having to rely on languages i speak, i stick my head under the sterile drape and yell, “Basta!!!” The physician, who is Latino himself, calmly says, “Holly, that’s Italian.” I peek my head out from under, “It isn’t the same in Spanish?”  “I have no idea what you are trying to say, so i’d say no.”  Everyone cracks up. Now, whenever any of us is being impish or silly, another will yell, “Basta!!”

Most of the time, i don’t mind looking silly. Life itself can be pretty silly. So if i slip on a banana peel and slide into a pile of honey and chicken feathers, i’m going to laugh. Ok, that’s never going to happen. But if i am dancing around the office and a loud toot escapes during a Grand Jeté, i will laugh. Yes, that has happened. And it was funny. Or rather, it was funnier than it was embarrassing. Everyone laughed. Including me. I couldn’t help myself. Besides, as someone once told me, “You had better learn to laugh at yourself, because everyone else has already learned how to laugh at you!”

So go ahead. Take your best shot. Zing me. Parody me. Bring it. Tease me. Mock me. Make me laugh. Heckle me. Roast me. Do it. I can feel the sting of humor already. “Burn, baby, burn!”

Yeah, i know. I’m ruining it.