As she walks to work in the morning, it’s a magical
time. The sun
isn’t up yet, and there’s a blurring between the lives lived in the daytime and
the lives lived in the night.
Weary partygoers stumble home after a night of revelry; hookers, hoping
for a last pick-up or two, wait together on street corners. The transvestites always admire her
accessories and make her feel even prettier than the cat-calling construction
workers. A white coated worker
stands outside the funeral home, having an illicit cigarette. A cable car passes, jingling its bells
She didn’t believe in therapy, but after her father
died, her mother became simultaneously terminally ill and penniless, and her
own marriage started to crumble, she thought that she’d try it. She told the therapist everything, but
it didn’t make her feel better. It made her feel even worse when he hugged her
good-bye one day and tried to kiss her.
She fled to the elevator, shaking, thinking it was all her
fault. She should never have told
him she was in love with another man – clearly he thought of her as fair game,
When was the last time? She doesn’t remember.
But then, she doesn’t remember the first time, either, something that everyone
is supposed to remember. One of these days, she’ll submit that deep, dark secret to
PostSecret and find out if she’s
the only one. “I must have sexual
amnesia,” she muses, trying to recall that first time and that last time. Was it the time she cried afterwards
and he didn’t say anything? Or had
she already cried out all her tears by then? Why can she remember one night stands
but not her husband?
I used to dream often about a house. It was a recurrent dream, and I’d walk through it room by
room, up the stairs, mentally decorating and placing furniture. The house was always empty, but so familiar. I welcomed those dreams. I wonder if it was a real house, and
whether I haunted it in my dreams; whether the owners would see me walking up
the front steps and think “Not again!”
Whether I’d one day come across the house while awake and astonish the
owners by appearing in real life, not just as a ghostly dream visitor.
“Tell me your secret desires,” he whispers, kissing her neck.
All she can think of is a revenge fantasy she has about her
ex-boyfriend. She passes him splendidly in her chauffeur-driven limousine,
splashing mud on him as he lies on the sidewalk. His life has become a ruin since their break-up. Ha! Her eyes brighten as she spills this out to someone who is a
total stranger, other than the fact that they just had sex for the third time
“You want I should beat him up?”
“No, “ she sighs.
It wouldn’t be enough.
When he came home from work, he could hear her singing in
the Victorian clawfoot tub which she had found and charmed the contractors into
carrying up three flights of stairs. They acted like she was doing them a favor as they hauled the cast iron
contraption into the bathroom.
He closed the door quietly. She was singing “Beautiful Dreamer” in
a way that told of childhood. Who
the hell knows all the words to Stephen Foster songs?
He walked quietly into the kitchen, so she wouldn’t stop
singing and he could be part of her moment in time.
She never wanted to get married, completely bemused by girls who
dreamed of nothing else from the time they were children. The same went for children. She always
found dolls kind of creepy, and knew that motherhood was not for her (she often
wished her own mother had realized that herself before it was too late). She was perfectly happy living with her
boyfriend. But he wasn’t. He wanted to get married, and he kept
asking. Finally, she thought,
Well, I don’t care and he does, so why not? This is not a good reason to get married.
He took a second job to pay for the engagement ring. He picked it out himself, and she never
had the heart to tell him she didn’t like it. Is it a terrible sign when your fiancé doesn’t know you well
enough to know what kind of ring you’d like? She wondered about this almost as
much as she berated herself for not liking it after he worked so hard to get
it. But if it’s a symbol, what
exactly is it a symbol of? Hopes? Disappointment? A bad sign? Misunderstanding? Acceptance? None of the above?
I am awakened by hard rain drumming on my curved roof. It makes a change from Adventurous
Audrey demanding to go outside (not asking; not she). I lie there a moment in the pre-dawn gloom, wishing I could
enjoy what most people consider to be a cozy noise rather than fearing it
heralding a power outage. These
are an inevitable occurrence every winter, when we get our year’s supply of
rain. And my hamlet is always the
last to get the power restored.
Despite the pouring rain, the cats still want to go
outside. There are adventures waiting.
The blanket still smells faintly of my late mother’s
perfume. I remember it from my
childhood, and in my mind’s eye, can see it on my parents’ antique cherry wood
bed, comforting my mother in her long recovery from my sister’s birth. In retrospect, I realize she had
serious post partum depression, but at the time, I thought it took months to
recover from having a baby. Now the
blanket is worn thin and I notice how scratchy it is and how worn it is in spots, but I can’t
bring myself to throw it away.
Am I the only one who doesn’t think Tiger Woods needs to
make a public apology? As far as
I’m concerned, this whole scandal is between Woods and his wife, and it’s none
of the public’s business. I am
alternately appalled and entertained by the irony of people’s wanting to know
every salacious detail while condemning him for the same. The pillory seems to be alive and well
and living in America. We might as well throw tomatoes. And it all has nothing
to do with his career or talent, the reason for his fame.
And while we’re at it, can we stop calling every actor or
actress in adult entertainment a porn star? There are very few people in that particular business who
are recognizable names and could be called stars: Jenna Jamison and Ron Jeremy
spring to mind.
But these women who are linked with Tiger Woods and may or may not have
made adult films are not stars. I
guess it just sounds better (or possibly worse) in the press than the
truth. That seems to be a
recurrent theme and problem with today’s media, from the tabloids on down.
Ever since I moved to the country, I’ve been plagued by
allergies. It’s like having a cold
that never ends: constant sneezing, blowing my nose, congestion, sore eyes. So far
I’ve sneezed my way through fall and winter, and if it’s this bad now, just
imagine how much fun it will be when spring really starts blooming. I’ve tried
all the over the counter medications and nothing works. Maybe I’ll eventually get used to the
environment and the allergies will stop or lessen. I miss the days of having health insurance and an allergist.
When I moved, I brought the stray cat I’d been feeding. It started by giving her water during a
heat wave. Then I thought, “If I’m giving her water, why not food?” This led to buying her a bed, which I
put on the porch so she had shelter.
When I was packing, she started sitting right outside the front door, as
I to remind me to bring her with me. The vet says she’s about 12
years old, and has had her legs and ribs broken at some point, but she’s a
happy cat now.
I have to admit to a certain petty satisfaction when I find
mistakes in high profile magazines and newspapers. I hit the trifecta this week, finding mistakes in “The New
Yorker” (“confectionary” instead of “confectionery”); “Vogue” (an article
referred to “San Francisco’s Lake Merritt”, when that lake is in fact in downtown Oakland); and “Vanity Fair”
(quoted the title of a famous Rod Stewart song as “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
rather than “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, the weirdly-spelled, yet correct version). But when I find spelling errors
in books, it annoys me. Go figure.
I hate Daylight Savings Time. It’s Nature, people, deal with it! Newsflash: changing the clocks does not give us more
daylight. We get the same amount
we always get this time of year.
No more, no less. Putting
the clocks ahead and saying it does is like taking a rug, cutting off the end,
sewing it on the other end, and saying it’s longer. I can’t believe that we, in the land of the free, go along
with the nonsense every single year. It’s
time for us to rise up and rebel! Are you with me?!
Today the sun is shining and Dad isn't here to see it. I can't call him to wish him happy
birthday or look forward to an email telling me what he made for his birthday
dinner. Nine years after his
untimely death, it can still hurt as much as when I first heard the news and my
life was divided into "Before" and "After".
In these After days, I should try and focus on the happy memories. I know I'm lucky
to have had a father who was also my best friend. But sometimes the loss is
hard to bear.
Sometimes she looks at the ruin her life has become and
wonders how she got there. She did all the things you’re supposed to do when you are a
responsible adult: go to college, get married, buy a home, get a job. It all slowly fell apart, and now the
apartment is sold, the proceeds vanished in the economic meltdown, which has
also affected the revenues at the firm where she is a partner. She is making less money than she did
20 years ago and can’t even afford to get divorced after being separated for
I pitched some story ideas a week ago to the editor of a
website I often write for, and I haven’t heard back from her yet. Yesterday, my sister and I were driving
home from the village store when I told her about this and then said, “Maybe she
hates the ideas. Or she thinks I’m
a terrible writer.” Her eyes straight ahead on
the curving road, my sister said, “Mom’s dead,
Suz. Get over it.” I was silent, taking this in and
realizing she’s right. I turned my face toward the setting sun and smiled.
It was a bad break-up. Leaving her husband of fifteen years
would prove to be much easier than ending it with her boyfriend of two tumultuous years.
After the final fight, he left, slamming the door and leaving many of
his possessions behind him. He
used this as an excuse to come by, pick something up, and get her into
bed. Unfortunately he was the best
lover she had ever had, and their chemistry didn’t die along with the
relationship. Finally, she took
all his stuff and dumped it on his parents’ lawn. She never saw him
What better way to get over your ex-boyfriend than a
one night stand? Especially one
with some Eurotrash guy you’ll never see again. It seemed like a good idea in the bar after drinking a few martinis
and ingesting a few chemical substances, but naked in bed with him – at her apartment, never a
good idea in the one night stand situation – she just felt depressed. She wasn’t really paying attention when
he whispered, his lips against her neck, “I haff no preconceptions” and she realized he
meant contraception. She had both,
and this wasn’t it.
Getting over him was like rehab, even though he’d punched
the vice president in the face at her office Christmas party and stood her up
on Valentine’s Day, and probably cheated on her with his frumpy
ex-girlfriend. She was never sure
about that one, but the fact that they got back together suggested that he
had. This didn’t stop him from stalking
her, though, and keeping track of her every move until she finally had to get a
restraining order. If only she could get one for her heart and emotions, she’d
be all set.
He feels the tiredness tug at his eyelids. Looking in the mirror
as he shaves, he thinks, “I go on a lot of first dates. What’s wrong with me?” He’s 45, he has a good job and a
nice car. He’s a straight man in a
gay town, a man who has never been married and has no children. “I’m carry-on,” he thinks, putting on a
fresh shirt. “No baggage
here!” Sometimes he thinks he
should just give up, but he somehow keeps hoping that this time, it will be
Few people could endure my brother’s Spartan lifestyle. He has no neighbors, lives on
thirty-five acres of land in our late mother’s trailer. It’s very small, containing a bed, a desk, a kitchenette, and a shower. Until he dug the well this fall, his
showers were of necessity no longer than three minutes, since that would use up
all the water. He has
solar panels for electricity, which power giant batteries, and a
generator. He has a little propane
heater to ward off the night’s chill. He has the pioneer spirit I so sadly
If I had known then what I know now, I’m not sure that I
would have bothered with the expense and boredom of college. It was so hard,
working all day and going to school at night, sacrificing sleep to homework for
four long years. And for
what? I have no savings, no
retirement fund, and I don’t know how to do anything practical. I wish I’d learned to build shelves,
plumbing, electricity, and how to do basic car repairs instead of getting a
useless degree in linguistics. At
least I could fix things around the house.
One of the things I miss most about having healthcare is
having an allergist. Here in the country, I have year-round allergies, which
translates to a cold which never ends.
I’ve tried every over the counter allergy pill without success. I have sneezed my way through the fall
and winter, and I imagine that the burgeoning spring will bring no relief. I wish I had an allergist t wave a
magic wand and banish the allergies once and for all. It’s all this damn Nature
everywhere. I’m not allergic to
cement, skyscrapers, taxis, museums, or shops.
I take my friend’s daughter to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at a
historic hotel. She'll be seven
in a couple of weeks, but is so old for her age that I sometimes forget she’s a
kid. Her mother went to the yarn
shop to buy knitting needles, and when she’d been gone for nearly half an hour,
I observed that it was taking a long time. “She’s probably distracted by some gorgeous yarn, and now
she’s debating whether to buy it or not,” her daughter replied. She was right. She knows her mama!
A week ago, there was a sunny 80 degree day. My sister and I took her dog and met
our friend Lu at the beach with her two dogs. We walked along the shore for more than two hours, watching
people ride horses on the beach and seals bask on their rocks. I got the first sunburn of the year,
despite a careful application of SPF 70 sunblock. Lu lent me her baseball hat to no avail. Today, I woke up to a wild hail storm. It looked like
snow. March’s weather can be as
unpredictable as I am.
Rob turned up while I was sipping coffee this morning. If you visit, just walk right in. Of course, if I've gone to town (aka the Three
Hour Tour), it could be a long wait.
Good thing for you there are books, movies, and magazines galore. And cats to let in and out, even though
they now have their very own cat door in the door leading to the balcony.
That's why Rob stopped by, to install the cat door. While I woke up slowly, he installed
the door upstairs. It's very relaxing to watch other people work, I find.
June and Audrey are getting used to the new cat door
upstairs. I had to shove them
through it a couple of times before they grasped the concept, even though they've had one between the main house and the studio for several months now. It's great not having to leave the door
ajar all night, especially now that the cold and rain are making yet another
I had a vain hope that they might use the cat flap
exclusively, making me obsolete as a doorman, even while knowing it was on the
unrealistic side. A girl can dream.