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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

~Fear, Lethargy or Laziness?~

     Last week, Martin asked me to send him some pictures.  I sent pictures of each child doing what they do, a shot of the lawn and house and then I decided to spice things up and send him some sexy selfies.

     He has been in ND for 10 months with week long visits during most months--but gone more than he is home.  I know he thinks about the things he is missing:  Ike's amazing football ability (He is the QB and the half back; he is an animal on the field) Kt's first day of college and her braces (She is going to be a stunningly beautiful doctor someday) and Jake's growth spurt and his maturity in stepping up and doing the dirty jobs (like cleaning hairballs out of drains, checking automobile fluids and lawn care business).

     I planned to send Martin some sexy shots of me, so that he could look at me semi-clad and think that I was one hot mama and he can't wait to get his hands on me.

     I got all dolled up and took the bathroom mirror shots.  I couldn't get the angle right and I created wrinkles and fat rolls that I didn't know I had.  I tried the bedroom mirror shots and discovered cellulite--so I got out the tripod and ended up with shots of me with closed eyes and odd half poses that exposed some crepe-like skin I can't possibly really possess.

    In all of the selfies, I ended up looking like a 43 year old woman wearing men's underwear.

     To be fair, I am 43 and I was wearing Martin's underwear and tie--

    I deleted all of the pictures that I took and remembered that I had a picture disk of boudoir photos that my friend Mary took 11 years ago.  When she mailed me the disk, I looked at all the shots and immediately hid it from all other eyes.  I didn't want anyone to see them because I thought I looked like a woman who just had a baby (I had a toddler) that got a little tipsy, then put on her husbands leather coat and nothing else for an artsy black and white photo shoot.


    In the tens months that Martin has been gone, I have been doing the mother thing and I have figured out how to control my intestinal issues and I have watched a lot of movies and I have spent entire days doing not a whole lot of anything.

   I have also started editing that book that I have been working on for oh-so-many years.  I found it when I was organizing my office closet; 297 pages of a book that I abandoned because I had other things to do (like getting a college degree, raising kid and working).  I also abandoned it because it isn't that good.  There are story lines begun that trail to nowhere, details that don't need to be added and dialogue that doesn't read true.

  When I found it and started reading it, I found some good stuff  and a story-line that reads true once the fat is trimmed.  There was enough good that I grabbed hold of it and used it as my reason to stop checking out the help wanted ads.  For quite some time now, when people ask me what I am doing I say, "I am in the editing process of my book."

    Mostly I say that because it sounds better than, "I am sitting at home watching netflix while Martin works his ass off him ND."

     But I also say that because it is true.

    When I get into the book and start typing it again, I see so many flaws that I get overwhelmed and walk away.

    The book and the pictures are similar in that they are both something I did many years ago that I hid away because I didn't think they were very good.  They could be so much better.

    The deeper I get into the book the more I realize that--much like the pictures--there is some pretty good stuff that just needs some tweaking and a better angle to be great (or at least good enough).






Friday, April 26, 2013

~Some Weeds Are Wild Flowers~

     I sprayed the weeds along my driveway with weed killer this afternoon, and while I was aiming for the heart of a dandelion I thought about all of the little kids who have brought me handfuls of dandelions.  Then I slashed the teensy tiny purple flowers with a dose of poison.  As I was killing that little purple weed, I thought about I like the smell of them, but my Uncle Roy thought they smelled like cat piss.

     During early spring in Idaho, the tiny purple flower weed blooms in waves--it is one of the first signs that spring is really going to arrive.  They bloom when the days get up to about 65-70, and the nights don't drop below thirty, and as soon as it gets warm enough, I through open the windows and doors to drive out the smell of a long winter--and that purple flower smell wafts through the house.

      Maybe Uncle Roy is right, and they do smell like cat piss--but to me they smell like early spring with a hint of a summertime promise full of roses and lavender. 

     As I was drowning the ones that had the audacity to grow in my gravel driveway, I considered that I don't think of those little purple flowers as weeds, and the only reason that I am killing them is that they will turn into thorns by mid-summer, and they are unsightly in the circle drive. 

     I am also allergic to those little purple flowers, which reminds me that the Russian Olive Tree that I planted outside my bedroom window will be blooming soon, and the smell of the tiny yellow blossoms make me swoon, they remind me of humid Missouri nights, cold beers and fireflies. The smell of the tree stimulates my early memories of Martin.

     When I bought the Russian Olive Tree, it was a twelve inch long stick--I got it for $5 because it didn't look like it would survive, in it's first year of life friend's suggested I need to pull the big weed.  Now it is a monster that I planted to close to the house (we will probably sustain eventual foundation damage) and I am allergic to it. 

      When the little yellow flowers bloom, I close my eyes and breath deep and practically swoon at how wonderful they smell, then my nose clogs up, my eyes slam shut and I become a snot factory.

      The thing about the Russian Olive, is that I love the smell of it so much, that it is worth the snot factory that it causes.  I am willing to suffer a few weeks of discomfort for the scent and because it is large enough now to offer some privacy in my backyard.

     The Russian Olive and the little purple are both essentially weeds, in that they are both filled with thorns, and they both damage the man made structures that are built around them--the have a similar shaped flower the difference is that the Russian Olive's is yellow.

      I thought of my Uncle Roy when I was killing the purple flowers in my driveway, and I figured that he would be proud of me for doing so--he would have asked why I hadn't gotten to it sooner.

     I have been eyeing the Russian Olive for signs of life, it is starting to swell with buds and I know it will be popping soon.  I both dread and anticipate the arrival of it's flowers, I know I will experience olfactory joy for awhile before the inevitable reality of my allergic reaction steps in.   The Russian Olive smells like humid Missouri nights with fireflies courting and kisses that taste like cold beer. 


     I am pretty sure there is a pretty deep meaning in the idea of the Russian Olive and the little purple weeds and how I relate them to men that have been important to me.  Maybe some correlation between my ease with the Roundup on the purple flowers and the ease with which I remember what my Uncle Roy would have told me--so that it like a message from heaven--

     And my certainty that there are a lot of aspects of the Russian Olive tree that pleasurable; those first few hours of the scent are divine, the privacy is great--but it is going to make my eyes water, and if I get to close to it the thorns will tear me up. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

~All I Wanted was my AP Book~

There I was, writing a freelance article and trying to prove that I understand AP Style, and I got hung up on the word "Illness's".  Spell checker told me it was alright, but I wasn't feeling sure about the hyphen, and so I reached to my shelf for the spot my AP style book has been for years--and it wasn't there.

     At that point, I should have googled the word, or trusted spellchecker--but no.  I thought it must be on the book shelf in my office closet, and I opened the doors that and holy shit.  There's a lot of stuff in there.  Boxes and envelopes and Christmas bags, and in each there is shoved some cool memorabilia--like the shirt we brought Jake home from the hospital in after he was born. 

    There's some pretty good stuff, and I figured my AP book was at the bottom of the pile and I should just move stuff around--and I found just heaps of stuff--like every single one of my college notebooks.  My algebra notebook--because you never know when I am going to need an equation to find out how to reduce 85% butter fat into 15% butter fat.

    As i sorted, I began to realize that I had precious stuff--like infant baby pictures, and hand paintings from preschool stuffed in paper bags and tossed like trash.

    I figured I might as well start sorting things into piles and organizing them so that the precious stuff got saved, and my dish receiver from 1999 finally got the heave-ho. 

     I had my daughter go to the store to buy storage containers, and she and I set on the floor organizing things, I used that time to talk to my daughter about what it means to be 18--my major thrust was that it took me until I was in my mid-twenties to realize my mom was my biggest ally, and that I hoped she was smarter than I was and she could realize it when she was seventeen--she is going to be an adult soon enough, and so things are switching up and she should know that I am her mom and she is an adult, and she should know that I have her back and a lot of information.

    During the conversation and picture shuffling, I found a picture of my aunt Marie curling my hair on the day of my second wedding.  It reminded me that today was her birthday, and that she has been gone for 13 years.  My middle name is Marie--she was some kind of a wonderful aunt and I still miss her.

     After finding the picture, I found a letter that I had written to her, October 1st, 1999.  It is obviously a rough draft as passages are crossed out and it ends abruptly--but the words that are there enumerate all of the things that I loved so much about her.

    While I was reading the letter, it felt like it was a letter from my Aunt Marie to Me, because it spoke so clearly of the things I admired in a woman--the things that I learned from Aunt Marie.

     I have watched enough psychic shows to entertain the idea that a letter from Aunt Marie is exactly what I got today.  The words in the letter would be words she and I said to one another.

    Furthermore, my closet was a pack rat mess with precious memories in paper sacks.  Aunt Marie was a very organized woman, and my rat's nest would have driven her crazy--she would most assuredly suggest that I put my important memorabilia in organized containers.

     I am not saying that Aunt Marie hid my AP book--even though I still haven't found it.  I am just saying that in my search for the proper AP spelling, I unearthed 23 years worth of memories, and some of them were related to my Aunt Marie.

   And now I have piles and boxes of crap on my office floor, and I am still not sure if illness's is spelled in AP style and I am finding some truly precious memories. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

~Scent Marking~

During our twenty years of relationship, Martin and I have spent many weeks apart.  In the beginning, I worked at the boys camp, eight days on, four days back at the stables.  After marriage and children, he has worked at places that kept him overnight for days or weeks at a time. 

This time was six weeks--which is the longest run ever--and I was overjoyed at the prospect of seeing his handsome face and sniffing up that delicious clean man smell.  I wanted him to arrive at home and think it was the nicest cleanest place on earth filled with the most gorgeous (and intelligent and funny) wife in the world, and the most adorable children. 

As such, I began the preparations about a week in advance.  The cleaning was standard, where I went overboard was in the personal beautification.  I wanted to wash my gray roots out, instead my hair got turned purple.  Knowing that this would be a shock (and probably not a pleasant one) I decided to distract him from my hair with a new coat and a new pair of boots (Gray--ironic since I began the spending spree in an effort to cover gray.)

I was the toe twitching, lip stick applying, hair a-fluffin-pants a stuffin and fancy underwear sporting lady at the airport the day He arrived, and my first sight of him did swell my heart with love and adoration--I had forgotten he was so big and that his eyes were twinkly green.  I tried to keep myself dignified when I threw my arms around his neck, but sometimes the joy bubbles out and you just have to let it run it's course.

Which it did in about 30 minutes, the first time he mentioned, "WOW, when you said your hair was purple, you were telling the truth!"  As we waited for his luggage he mentioned the circus being in town and I told him that I was thinking about getting a nose ring and a bass guitar so I could join a Punk Rock Band--

It was in the first 30 minutes of him arriving that I realized he was sight marking me, and the radiant new hair color and sporty jacket were enough different that I was looking unfamiliar.  While he was telling me that I looked different, I was noticing that he wasn't smelling like the scent I had been dreaming of the night before.

In the first 30 minutes, my joy morphed into  a desire to scent mark him.  It began when I hugged him and realize that he didn't smell at all like home, instead he smelled vaguely of diesel fuel and out-of-state water and off brand laundry detergent. 

As soon as I got him home  I batted my eyes and suggest that I run him a nice hot jet bath, and he complied because who wouldn't comply to a sexy woman asking if she could draw you a bath?  I filled the tub and helped him out of his clothes (which went immediately into the washing machine) and then I brought him a beer and dumped bath salt into his water.  I grabbed him clothes out of the closet and unpacked the deodorant and toothbrush and I handed him a towel fresh and fluffy from the dryer.

In the Five Days that he was home, I remember all of the things that I love about having him home and I remember all of the things that are easier when he is gone.  In those five days I give up the remote control begrudgingly, but give up waking up in the middle of the night to fix something gloriously. 

I am thinking that after twenty years, it ain't bad that we spend time away from each other.  It DOES make the time together better, it is easier to deal with the little annoyances when I know that they will only be around for a limited time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

~Is That a Gun In Your Pocket, Or Are You Happy To See Me?~

The Gun Debate seems as easy to solve as to ask the people:
Will you sacrifice your guns?  No?  Okay.  Good enough.  Keep it. 
The second amendment guarantees you that right, it was good enough for my forefather, and it is good enough for me.
I personally don’t care if you want to keep your gun because you are a hunter, or because you shoot targets, or you have them for home protection. I can understand the argument that we need to be armed to keep our Government honest—I know that history repeats itself and various Governments’ have used the tricks of rounding up all of the weapons from the people, before the armies could march through and slaughter some of them.
 Maybe you have a gun for Zombies…okay…I think you watch too much TV if you really believe zombies are coming, but if that is the case—remember to aim for the brain stem. 
I grew up in Idaho amongst hunters.  By the time I was twelve, I could shoot an army guy off a stump at twenty paces with a .22 pistol.  Literally every single adult person that I knew had a gun—shotguns, rifles, pistols.  Every single kid that I knew had a bee-bee gun, getting a bee-bee gun is almost a rite of passage, for both boys and girls.  Everyone, from my grandpa to my baby sister had access to a firearm, and every one of us knows how to use them.
I have seen my fair share of fancy little single shooters pistols—I once trolled a gun show when I was looking for a boyfriend and I was too young to get into the bar. The things is, these gun owners that I know—some of which might be driving a truck that has been sporting a gun rack since 1975—
We aren’t going to give away all of our guns.  Sure, we might sacrifice some of them, but odds are damn good we have one hid somewhere so good that even we couldn’t find it. We have guns that have been passed down from our great grandfathers, and guns that use musket balls and gun powder and ting little six pistols that only shoot one bullet.  They are ours, and we aren’t giving them away.
Will you sacrifice your guns?  Yes?  Okay, Good for you! 
I assume that you are sacrificing them because you believe that a world without guns is a safer world.  I adore that attitude.  I think there should be a world full of people with just that attitude; I applaud you and your willingness to sacrifice for an ideal.  History repeats itself—Gandhi did alright for himself with the peaceful resistance. 
I recognize that you have an opinion on guns, and your opinion may be that people shouldn’t have guns.  I support your right to have that opinion.  But history repeats itself, and I think it was Freud that point out you can’t change other people’s behavior, only your own.

Or was that Oprah?  Either way—wherever you stand in the gun debate, you have made a decision and it is unlikely that you are going to change the mind of someone who is the opposite camp.  Maybe we can call a Truce—the gun owners won’t demand that everyone who doesn’t have a gun go buy one and non-gun owners can stop demanding the gun owners give away their guns.
The only thing the gun debate is good for is a subject to talk about at a social gathering when you can’t think of anything else to talk about:  What do you think of the gun ban?” is a great conversation opener and you can ask that question and then sit back and watch the debate.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

~Life Isn't At All Like a Lifetime Movie~

     The problem with Christmas expectations, is that they will never equal the imagination that has been tainted by Hollywood.  The idea that you can wave your hands and make a wilted tree limb turn  into an Elegant Christmas Tree is simply ludicrous.  I have spent at least seven years trying that trick and do you know what?  I still end up with a kind of wilted tree stuffed with home made ornaments.  Sure, my tree is precious because all the homemade ornaments were made by the hands of my kids in years past--but it ain't exactly elegant.

     Furthermore, all of the Romantic crap that you see on the Lifetime channel--the ones where love is rekindled and there are diamonds and trips to the tropics for a surprise renewing of the wedding vows--are made up.  It doesn't really happen in real life, or at least not to 100% of the people that I know.

     Also, sometimes the holiday season is more like a comedy central version of Christmas--one of those shows where the food get burned and sewage backs up and squirrels jump out of trees and occasionally the cops get called--but unlike the Comedy Central show, it isn't some humorous mix-up and people really do end up going to jail.  Real jail with real fellow convicts and orange jump suits and cheap deodorant that smells like onions. 

    Now that I think about how horribly wrong Christmas can go, I am starting to feel a little more thankful for mine.  The above scenario with the sewage and the squirrels and cops and  the orange jump suits will not happen to me. 
I can say that with almost 98% certainty.  The jail thing won't happen, but I have a history of sewage problems, so I am fully confident that shit can go wrong super fast, so it is best not to get cocky.

I am just a little touchy because Martin is in North Dakota hauling oil and he may not make it home for Christmas, and I am feeling a little put out by that.

Obviously, I am thinking of a Christmas special about me (played by Dolly Parton) as a hard working woman missing her truck driving man and singing songs to orphan children while holding a stray kitten.  In the middle of the show, there would be a snow storm and my truck driving man would be out of communication I (still played by Dolly Parton) would sing a Christmas hymn guaranteed to make the audience cry their  eyes out--and Martin (played by Matthew McCoughney) would pull in with his big rig all lit up with Christmas lights.  I don't want to completely spoil the surprise--but there would be a fat man in a red suit in the passenger seat and perhaps a herd of 'livestock' in the bed of the truck.  And diamonds, and a puppy dog named Little Andy.
Alas--I am probably not going to have that Christmas either, primarily because I look more like Angelina Jolie than Dolly Parton but also because Martin couldn't actually high jack an oil tanker and drive it home.
But if he did, the addition of  jolly fat man in a red suit wouldn't be so much of a Happy Surprise, but more of the surprise along the lines of, "No....I understand why you brought him, he is interesting...but how do we get rid of him?"

I can say this with 100% certainty though:  my expectations run the gambit and I am bound to be both disappointed and delighted by the final outcome. 
I will be disappointed that there are no diamonds or vacations..
but I will be absolutely delighted with the fact that I have three kids that aren't orphans  that will sing Christmas hymns with me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

~When I Was Her~

When I talk about the Boys Camp, I do so in a tone that makes me appear as though I were wise, or loving, or kind, or cunning. It has been 18 years since I left the place and I have had plenty of practice telling Boys Camp stories in a tone that fits the mood.

I tell the story of the ghost "Mary" that I made up to scare the boys, and when I tell that story I want people to appreciate my ability to improvise in emergency situations.

I tell stories that are religious in nature, in which I used some verse of the bible to explain a truth to a boy, and when I do that I want the listener to believe that I was once a twenty-two year old girl on a mission to share the word of the lord with young boys who might never ever hear it otherwise.

I tell alot of stories, and most of them are true to the best of my recollection--but I don't often tell the truth about who I was when I was working at the Boys Camp.

It is 100% fair to say that I went into the job believing that I could make a difference in the lives of boys. It is also 100% fair to say that I had no idea what it was that those boys needed. I pretended to be what I felt I should be for the eight days that I was a housemother.

The picture that I have posted was taken six months before I went to the camp, and that is the look that I tried to emulate on those nights when I was not a house mother for twelve boys. When I was at the Boy's Camp, I braided my hair and didn't wear a smidge of make-up. I did this for two reasons:
1. I had to wake 12 boys up at 6:00 am, and I didn't give a rat's ass what I looked like.
2. I recognized that at the age of 22 I was only five years older than some of my 'kids'. I didn't want them to think I was cute. I wanted them to think of me as a guardian.

But there were nights when I took the braids out of my hair and got out the aqua net.

When I was the girl in that picture, I requested an evening off so that I could go to a wedding with Martin. My request was granted, with the stipulation that I leave after the boys had been tucked into their beds for the evening and that I would be home before midnight so that I could preform my House mother duties at 6:00am the next morning.

I completed my hair and make-up while still at the camp and left wearing pants that were to big and a gray t-shirt. I drove my red Trans Am the hour and a half that it took to get to the local JCPenny where I purchased a green dress with pearl buttons from the collar bone to the hem,a pair of white pumps and thigh high nylons that I attached to a white garter belt.

I dived into the gas station next to the church to change into my wedding reception finery, and I met Martin just as the keg was getting tapped at the reception.

When he met eyes with me in the doorway, he walked across the room and wrapped his arms around waist, he sniffed into my hair and then whispered that he was so happy to see me that he would open all of my buttons with his lips.

The reception was grand, we danced and we ate and he introduced me to everyone I had not yet met as "Miss Idaho".

Because I am telling a story about When I Was Her, and She was me an entire lifetime ago, it seems only fitting to admit that we left the wedding reception inside of a Catholic church, and we went to a basement with a bed covered in animal hides and while we were there we partook of illegal substances and we listened to Ac/Dc at full volume and Martin proved his promise to open my buttons with his mouth.

Many hours later I was covered in sweat and panting on a cowhide, and I realized that I had missed my midnight curfew.

By many hours.

Many many.

I fact, I had been fornicating for so long that I had less than an hour to get back to the Boys Camp before my job began for the day.

When I was the girl in that picture, it felt like a challenge and I believed that my red Trans Am could take corners like it was on rails and I was just young enough and immortal enough to get out of town and then stomp on the gas pedal like it was a cockroach.

There is/was a spot along the road in which it was a Missouri double letter road that had hair pin turns and little hills. There is a special sweet spot that has three humps in a row, and I had always taken them a bit fast so that I could get the roller coaster butterflies--but on that particular day when I was racing the clock and listening to "back in black" at full volume--I hit first one so fast that I sailed over the hump and landed on the top of the second hump. I goosed it at the top and sailed to the third hump and I did a fist pump out of the absent T-top when I didn't crash.

When I reached the turn-off to the camp I squealed to a stop and reversed to the trail through the trees. This was when I remembered who I was supposed to be, and so I turned off the music and crept through the woods to the driveway. There I turned off my motor and coasted to a stop, just as the sun was creeping through the trees and I knew the wake-up call would be issued soon.

I snuck into the front door and made a bee-line for my room where I stripped off the dress and put on my pajama pants and size XXL t-shirt. I had to piss like a Russian racehorse, but I thought that if I went to the bathroom it would alert my partners that I had just gotten home and so I chose to pee in a coffee can in the corner rather than leave my room.

That day went from there--I pretended to have just awoken and herded boys to their various school activities while I was still feeling the after-glow mind blowing orgasms and drugs and booze. As soon as they were gone, I went to bed and slept the afternoon away.

When I talk about the Boys Camp, I usually do so in a way that makes me look like I was being selfless and doing things for others.

But ahhhh.....when I was her, I also did things because I wanted to know what freedom felt like.