disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fiction: Mark of the Beast

He had it coming to him. That toothy jack-o-lantern grin would mark him for life, like the Scarlett Letter's A, displaying his ugly transgressions for all to see.

She arrived at the campsite at dark, later than expected, and was greeted with an opaque cup of vodka with a splash of cola, shoved into her hand, "you gotta make up for time lost, chug it". She closed her eyes, wincing back the scalding burn which soon turned into a warm, swirling, calming familiarity that drove her to order another. It was Spring Break after-all.

She heard the tinny tunes of music reverberating from a car and she danced as the campfire went double-single-double and as her cares were numbed away into a surreal jungle of alcohol. Her stomach began to churn, rusty gears grinding and rusty inside her. She stumbled, barefooted (what the hell happened to my shoes, she thought) through the still-hot sands, weaving around towards the restroom; occupied, she waited outside the concrete block of stench, her legs still moving to the beat of music no longer playing.

That's when it happened.

She heard the screech of tires and hollers of drunken men and looked over to find her friends-maybe they knew of another restroom, maybe they have a spare shirt for me if I retch right here, she thought. Her double vision and intoxication did not process much as she began to climb the tailgate, tattooed arms grabbed her a little too hard, their laughter a little too maniacal. This isn't the truck, she thought. Shit. I don't know these people. She tried to stand up to jump out, but the truck revved up and she was knocked down on her knees, her blood pumped alcohol like a jackhammer into her body which was failing her. Hands began to pull at her skirt, grope her breasts, a Medusa beast pinning her down as she wished she could just black out. Do it, she told herself. Get up. She bit her lip as she exhaled and summoned all the prayers and strength inside her, and began to flail and swing wildly, kicking, biting, screaming a slurred "jou mudder-puckershhh get a puck offa me" as she scrambled for the tailgate and jumped out as the truck rounded a bend, the alcohol numbing the now-sprained ankle and scrapes as she rose from a fall and ran back to camp.

She remembered one of their tattoos, a silhouette of a naked woman as seem on trucker's mud flaps. How befitting. "Jou gotta fine da guysh" she mumbled, as she jumped into the correct truck, the backseat driver for the boys who were gonna seek vengeance.

That's when she saw him, a few sites away, on his tailgate drinking beer and cursing, "that bitch got away". They pulled into his camp and her boyfriend jumped out at warp speed and grabbed the guy by his naked lady tattoo and slammed his face into the campfire rocks. "That "bitch" is my girl," growled her boyfriend, "and you better remember, when you need reconstructive surgery tomorrow, just what you tried to do" and he left him bleeding in the sand, white front teeth decorating the rocks like jewels.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

can't find it in the self help section

There isn't a book or website or anything on "what to do and say when the half brother you never met and only recently found, loses his wife to a deadly disease". Yeah. Nothing.

My heart hurts for him. When I saw the fscebook post about her passing, I felt salty tears roll down my face. I immediately called my mom. She has never met him, but when things go wrong, we all run to our mommies. Pluus my husband was away on a business trip and I had a bad cold and it wasn't pretty. I didn't bawl, but yeah. I cried. My heart ached. I felt powerless.

I am a cold hearted you know what, cause if an acquaintance loses a family member or whatever, I think oh bummer, so sorry, but I do not shed a tear. Somehow blood runs strong cause I cried for someone I never met's loss.
I sent him a handwritten card. What the bleep do you say? Where is that self help, what to do when your never-met half brother's wife passes book when you need it most? What do you write? I think I scribbled out some lame crap, how I was sending healing prayere. I sent a small gift card to a grocery store cause what the hell will he do with the inevitable massess of flower bouquets? He can buy a steak or some good beer! I even wrote that in the card-not the lame bouquet part just the steak and beer part.

And then I waited. Full of guilt. I wanted to know if he got the mail. What he thought. I thought maybe this tragedy will bring us together. Then I prayed for forgiveness cause what kind of sick mofo am I? Thinking maybe he will reach out to me now that his life has crumbled? But its my mom's fault. She fed me the line, "he needs you and everyone right now. He needs family by his side".

And then he sent me a message on facebook, saying thanks, it means more than you know my sister. I was floored. I replied (don't reply urgentlyvwhen feverish folks) with some incoherent, my IQ is lower than the speed limit, babble about feeling his pain its some weird blood family thingy and I felt sad even if we are strangers and then I rephrased it a few times cause, well, I was feverish and merely thought, if he sees I am online and do not respond quickly he will think I don't care.

My heart still feels heavy when he posts online. I sometimes comment but feel like maybe I am over-stepping my bounds. But I can't ignore his pain. Sure we have never met. Sure we are only half-related. But my concious and blood command and demand that I care. So I pilot through this awkward time like walking on eggshells. I just want this unknown relative of mine to find comfort and it bothers me that I...in fact no one...can mak it better.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Everybody poops

I'm laughing but also sad my first actual conversation wih my son was about poop.

Okay so my speech delayed son and I just had our first conversation...as in more than "what do you want for dinner?" "Ham-boo-ga I eat". No. This was actual conversation. It went something like this (details sketchy thank you head cold)

Me: who's who is stinky? (As I eye the dogs who had terrible gas earlier)

Son: (proudly) I stee-kee (stinky)

Me: ok let's change your diaper. Why don't you use the potty like a big boy? Mom and dad use the potty.

Son: you paw hee

Me: yes but you need too. Why don't you try and use the potty?

Son: paw hee sad. It sad.

Me: why is the potty sad?

Son: be-cuh I say so

Me: (to clarify) you're stinky?

Son: yeah

Me: ok let's change your diapers. Why didn't you stinky in the potty like a big boy?

Son: I stee kee paw-hee

Me: no you didn't you went in your diaper

Son: I didn't

Like a Rock

I was never much of one for symbolism, whether written or painted; to me, a bird meant a bird not a supernatural omen of oppressive forces or whatever. I prefer to be more overt.

So when I took a class in lithography and made an image of my hand, wrist cut open and spewing out Stabbing Westward lyrics which were not covert in their suicidal themes, one would think, "oh she is really depressed". Yet it occurred to no one, not even me at the time.

Let me preface this with a fact: I was not and never have been suicidal. But maybe the subconscious artistic side of me had some issues, that I will never know.

The lithograph announced to the world, "I'm depressed, detached, help" yet like the rock it was made on, it stayed silent, cold, impenetrable like myself.

Have you even done stone lithography? First you get a 70-100 pound limestone rock. Then, you use a huge metal circle with a handle, add grinding sand to the rock, and like a tilt-o-whirl, you use the circle to whirl away rough spots and it takes hours of muscle-tiring effort to erase previous images, bumps, imperfections. Once dry, you use different specialty brushes and tools to paint an image on the rock; erasing or re-doing your image is not an option so there's no turning back, mistakes will be permanent. After drawing, you add wood rosin to the stone, and then you mix gum arabic with acid (hands shaking as you pour the acid, trying not to focus too much on the warnings- caution, poison, toxic, danger, severe burns, combustible, fire and brimstone......) and brush on the toxic cocktail, more in dark areas, less in light. It etches the design permanently in stone. Eventually you roll on ink and use a bone crushing press to make newsprint copies, crappy copies, and finally a few good prints before going over the stone with the circle-sander thing, doing your best to remove all traces of your image so they don't appear as ghost images in your next design.

I hated that lithography class. A lover of art, that class simply sucked. It was so much work with so little result, with so much potential for not just mistakes such as a blurry image, but crushed fingers, acid burns, damaged lungs.

I see this class now as a symbol for the depression I later was diagnosed with and treated for. Yep, my loathing of symbolism is here to smack me in the face.

Making a lithograph (image from australianmuseum.net.au)
I felt like I was too much work for too little result. I felt heavy, cold, like stone. I felt like every little move, thought, action, would result in doom and gloom. I was pretty sure I carried around invisible warnings like the acid bottle, "caution, corrosive, poison". I felt like my mistakes were permanent, ghost-like un-erasable images clouding the real me. I was the ugly newsprint print, faded, thrown away.

I found my litho print a few years ago, and wasn't surev what to think. I was a little indignant- why did no one say "hey are you ok?" I was a little humored, "ha ha silly old me" and partly saddened, reflecting back on those dark days. I threw away the print, as if tossing away the last bits, the ghostly image seeping through, to say, I'm done. I haven't felt depressed like that since then; it is manageable and I can say I am generally happy. The person that drew that hand seems like someone else, not me, and I'm perfectly fine with feeling alienated from her.

But I still think lithography

Friday, September 20, 2013

Teddy bear teddy bear turn around

My mom loved rock hounding, exploring desolate places for rocks no one else in the family cared about, but we enjoyed getting out anyways. To entertain myself, I would read maps and learn about the history of the places we visited. I especially enjoyed visiting places near home, because I enjoyed discovering petroglyphs, abandoned mine shafts, arrowheads, rusty metal; these things represented a tangible history for me.

One day, my mom had suckered some friends into rock hounding, and their son and I were beyond bored with staring at the dirt all day, so we looked around for something to do. We happened upon an old abandoned cabin; my mother was staring at the ground nearby (doesn't rock hounding sound fun?) and she decided to rest her neck and explore the old cabin with us.

yeah I'm a little creeped out now
We saw it had been vandalized, covered in graffiti. We walked in where there was no longer a door and explored the living room and decided to climb the stairs by the fireplace. On the mantle was a dusty teddy bear, which I found strange since there was nothing else in the home but broken glass and torn up wood. We explored upstairs, discovering more graffiti, creepy pentagrams and the like. We were a little spooked by the graffiti so went back down and headed towards the back door to leave. We walked past the fireplace on our way out and that's when I saw it.

The teddy bear was now hanging from a rope off the mantle, the rope like a noose around the bear's neck. I didn't want I say anything right then, instead I whispered to my mom and friend that we'd best leave quick. Once we left, I told them what I had seen. They didn't notice it, too preoccupied by the need to watch their step for fear of glass and rusty nails, but they didn't doubt me.

I was covered in goosebumps on this hot summer day, because there must have been someone in the home while we were there, hiding, watching. I felt like the teddy bear was an ominous warning to us, and I am glad we didn't stick around one second more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ode to the floor

I like shiny things, except I don't really like jewelry, so I prefer a shiny floor. Anyone who came to visit would call me a flat out liar, as their shoes crunch on Herriot and stick to old apple juice, as dust bunnies and dog fur perform an all out battle next to their toes.

Truth is, while I love a clean house, I despise any form of cleaning, and I think I would be better at rocket science than organizing clutter.

Know what gets to me? Swiffer commercials. I own two sweepers and two dusters and I am eying the vacuum-sweeper and steam sweeper for Christmas. The commercials show darling and happy housewives making their floors sparkly clean in a jiffy. My lazy ass yearns for the convenience of the Swiffer. My loath of cleaning yearns for me to smile while cleaning. No matter how much cleaning spray my Swiffer squirts out, the fumes do not put me into a drug induced smile. The advertised cleanliness also does not put a smile on my face because SWIFFER LIES. Sure, it makes my house smell clean, but bare feet turn black with grime seconds after cleaning. Just like how my dad hid dirty dishes in the oven so the house looked clean when my mom came home, Swiffer hides the dirt smell to give the indication of a home well cleaned.

I hate you, Swiffer. I just spent twenty minutes scouring my flora with your advertised magic and it doesn't look any cleaner. I even tried to cheat on you and go back to a real mop, but just like in the commercial, the mop is sitting outside by the garbage with a sad look on his face. See, the mil's handle kept detaching from the mop head, and the bucket kept spilling and truth be told, he was a pain in the ass so I kicked him to the curb halfway through cleaning the hallway.

One Swiffer has recently met an untimely death when used as a bee squishing device, and my other one is going limp an detaches from the pole, spilling his electrical wire guts, but he limps along and continues to do the same shitty job as always.

Know what? When my Swiffer dies, I am totally in the market for a new one. It's like when you date the loser and break up with him, only to get back with him, because even if he sucks, he is predictable. He isn't Mr. Right but he is Mr. Somebody and I want to keep he dream alive. I am ready to accept a new Swiffer into my heart and home because I know exactly what to expect - dust bunnies and apple juice covered up in clean scent.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Something between the rocks glinted in the morning sunshine. It called to me.

It is never good to keep secrets. I should have taken that to heart, because the truth can set you free.

I lied and told my mom I was fine. College was okay, I was meeting new friends and keeping up my grades. Mom never prodded, and I purposely gave little detail and skirted the issue tactfully. I kept up appearances, like a shiny apple that was rotten on the inside, my secret eating away at my flesh yet no one would know it.

What is dark will come to the light, and I could feel it like a tidal wave, a lump in my throat, a caged animal scratching its way out. I was being consumed, mind and body, and the professor's voice began to drift away as my own repetitive thoughts began to scream inside my head. I felt my palms go sweaty and my heart go wild and I stared out the classroom window, trying to drown out the devil inside.

That's when I saw it, shimmering in the distance, offering a permanent escape. I knew I had to go, and I got up in a trance, stumbling past my desk and out the door, my mind finally quiet, the beast soon at rest. If only I had told my mother everything, for the monsters inside and out will kill you. And your story isn't old when you're dead.

Join us at the speakeasy, fiction and poetry abound!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I fear everything slipping away into the darkness, a black hole of no return.

The worst part about it? It could happen and it is one of those "possibles" that makes me queasy inside, a gnawing with worry kind of feeling I try and shove deeper and deeper inside in an attempt to ignore the obvious.

I was born like any child, except, one eye never "grew up"; as doctors tell me, I never got past newborn vision. My eye muscles, for no apparent reason, decided to never develop and thus atrophied, causing "amblyopia" (lazy eye), except my eye doesn't move around like the pasty coke bottled nerd's did in eighth grade, or like the frizzy haired psychiatrist's did in college.

But it is was all okay, because I had one good eye. It could see with decent 20/30 vision. So while my poor bad eye endured patch therapy and other experimental therapies, hard stabby contacts, and near blindness, his friendly sidekick helped him along and saw for him. Good little eye! Good eye even took one for the team and wore prescription-free glass on his side of the spectacles so that bad eye could have a coke bottle thick lens to kind of sort of see blurs with. Both eyes endured teasing children. Both eyes conspired against the constant torture of optometrists and decided to memorize part of the eye chart so that I became a medical marvel with improved eyesight until they switched charts on me. Bad eye endured exasperated ophthalmologists who couldn't believe bad eye couldn't see the big damned E (first letter on the chart) even with corrective lenses. Bad eye even endured that creepy ophthalmologist that probably kept children in his basement.

I decided to get contacts as a teen and even got one for my good 20/30 eye. The creepy ophthalmologist told me 'contacts are bad for your eyes" and in regular teenage fashion, I ignored him until one broke. In my eye. I had to put ointment ON MY EYEBALL.

Good eye got mad, or jealous of bad eye, and began to deteriorate, but slowly, almost imperceptibly.

Over fifteen years, good eye rebelled and now.... he can't see the big damned E on his own but can with correction. He is estimated at 20/350. Bad eye has either worsened in step, or technology has advanced as he is "past 20./800" and finally the ophthalmologist gave up on the chart and I get the humiliating "how many fingers am I showing?"

My biggest fear is approaching...I am slowly getting more blind. My good eye, with glasses, can't see the clock across the room, or the poster in my friend's house, or street signs until too late. I need new glasses but I am in denial.

 I love sunsets and paintings and my children's smiles and my independence and refuse to accept the "possibles" of blindness. The thought alone makes my heart skip a beat in panic and I simply cannot express how it makes me feel because I don't want to accept it. I will continue to bury it inside as I squint through life.