Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Think Like a Man, or God’s Got a Not-so-Funny Joke for You

Ever felt the brunt of God’s not-so-funny jokes? You know, the sort of NOT funny times when karma kicks your ass? I had that happen over Christmas and it was NOT funny. As a woman, there are times when you’re wondering if a man’s just interested in you for your booty. We’ve all been there. You crave more cuddling time just to make yourself sure that he’s into YOU for YOU not just booty, right?

Well, until NOW, I’ve never known what it must feel like to be a lusty man because now I’ve totally discovered I’m a lusty man in a woman’s body. Yup, a pig in a skirt! A female chauvinistic pig.

While my ex, Scott, was here, I guess he wanted to really get to know me after two years apart, to watch TV, cuddle, talk, hold hands. But God played a little joke on me. Normally, I would have wanted this, too. Only my hormones have been changing over the past few years. I eat/drink/breath/daydream for sex. I even know the name of my favorite porn star (Joel Lawrence, in case you’re morbidly curious).

What I wanted was sex, the durty-durty, and lots of it. I’d been fantasizing for over a year. And I’ve been without sex for . . . (drum roll) two years. Pathetic, huh?

So imagine my pain to only have gotten nooky a handful of times over the vacation, four times. I’ve waited to have sex for two years only to have sex four times.

At one point, as we were “snuggling” on the couch, he thought it’d be cool to read me some CNN Headline News over his Blackberry since I don’t have cable. I wanted to scream, “PUT DOWN THE BLACKBERRY, THROW ME OVER THE SIDE OF THIS COUCH AND BANG ME LIKE A SCREEN DOOR IN A HURRICANE!!!!” In fact, the whole vacation was like that, him playing the concerned feminine role and me the sex-obsessed male.

Him: “Let’s go out to eat. You don’t need to cook for us today.”
Me: “How ‘bout we stay home and get naked?”
Him: “Come on. Let’s go get a pizza!”


Him: “You want to go see a movie while I’m here?”
Me: “Yeah, if we can bang in the theatre.”
Him: “Dang, The Road’s still not playing here yet.”

Get the picture? This pre-menapause constantly craving sex thing sucks. Either that, or I’m turning into a dude.

Fun With Dogs or How to NOT Have Sex With Your Sig. Other

My ex, Scott, left yesterday to go back home to Florida. I thought there'd be tons of wild-monkey-sex during our happy reunion after being apart for two years, but there wasn't tons of monkey-sex. Why? He brought his two giant labs to visit my tiny, one-bedroom house.

Here's my Top Ten signs that you're with someone who's an obsessive dog owner, ODO.

1. Lack of sleep on your part. Dogs get to go out for a middle of the night pee, even two middle of the night pees followed by loud noisy, crunchy treats to be eaten by them in the dark of the bedroom (which aren't treats somewhat unnecessary since that obviously leads to another middle of the night surprise, called a "poop"?). Don't plan on sleeping much if you're with an O.D.O.

2. Dogs cry all night long, wanting to sleep in the bed with you. Prepare to wear earplugs. Bear in mind, I do not have a queen sized bed. Nor do I have a king sized bed. Yup, that means I have a full sized bed, which is a glorified twin bed. Also bear in mind that Scott's almost 6'4" and over 230 lbs. Nothing says no-sex-for-you more than two 90 lb. dogs with their heads in your face, whining and drooling on your pillow all night because they want to sleep with you. This is precisely why I trained my dog, Bennie, to be fine going solo at night. Nookie with a dog ass in your face, or why not TWO dog asses in your face, will surely kill any mood you might have had going while showering before bedtime.

3. Early morning sex is OUT! Heavens no, not when you have two "needy bears" to attend to. Heavens no, you cannot just let them out to pee, feed them, then hop back in the bed again. Good grief, no, not with an ODO. You must then have a good 10 min. baby talk session with them then take them for another walk, then a feeding where you HOLD their pans out for them, not set them down on the floor and walk away, then another 10 min. baby-talk congratulating them on eating and rewarding them with another walk and treats, even though you're going to walk them in an hour anyway.

4. Just before bed sex is OUT. Heavens, no. What are you thinking if you're with an ODO? Before bed time, is for tucking the dogs in, NOT sex. Yup, tucking them in--like little babies. That means making "blankie" beds for them on the floor, THEN COVERING THEM UP WITH blankets, then when they get up fifteen minutes later (because maybe dogs do NOT like being covered up with blankets), get out of bed and re-cover them as quickly as possible, then follow that up with another 5 min. of baby talk. This cycle can be repeated up to an hour, possibly more. No late night sex for you if you're with an ODO.

5. Romantic dining. No time for that when you have dogs that are trained to beg at the table and eat people food. Eating at the counter is the preferred style. Why bother sitting down, if the dogs are only going to cry and jump up on you and knock the candles over? If eating at the table enjoying a candlelight dinner is in action, then the dogs are to be crowded around the table, either whining, barking, or preferably whining AND barking with their chins rested on the tablecloth edge. SO keep your hand around that candelabra.

6. Fun cooking. This one is out, unless you mean, one person cooks while the other judiciously guards the countertops. Koe Koe jumped up on my counter, while my back was turned for TWO seconds, and ate half my roast that I had doctored up and worked on all afternoon. That was really fun. The way a root canal is fun, or a bounced check, or driving on black ice or getting a D.U.I.

7. Having nice blinds down on your windows. Oh, this one is SO out. Your house should be crazy-animal-proofed as if you were proofing your house to be in a sample holocaust house blasting area. Yesterday, our romantic afternoon was cut short when I got a call from my neighbor, Leslie, informing me with a picture/text that my blinds were hanging in shreds from my living room window. Nothing says sexy time more than shopping at Wal-Mart two days after Christmas looking for replacement blinds!

8. Romantic walks in the snow are OUT--of course this is out! Dogs' pads might get too cold. Therefore, a long walk in the delightful winter snow is out. It must be limited to 40 min. or less on account of the dogs' most tender footpads. This one is rather interesting to those of us who've read WHITE FANG. It seems to me that dogs descended from wolves, who rather liked the snow, but what do I know?

9. Sexy clothing. Oh this one is SO out. Unless of course your sexy peek-a-boo top is made of rip-stop nylon! Yes, aren't halters made of rip-stop parachute material easy to come by? After spending 45 min. with a roll of duct tape on my expensive peek-a-boo sweater, I sadly hung it back up in my closet, instead opting for a windbreaker that hair wouldn't stick to.

10. Absence of concern over safety, YOUR safety that is. The "bears" safety should always come first. The last night he was here, I couldn't remember if I shut off the mattress pad heater. So under the tiny light of my nightlight, I crept out of bed, carefully stepping over one dog in my 9' by 9' bedroom, just to trip over another dog, sail through the air like a rocket propelled grenade, only to land in a crumpled heap on the floor. Scott, the classic ODO, bounces up from bed, "Koe Koe. Are you OK?"

I said, wearily, knowing there'd be no sex again tonight, "Koe Koe's fine. Don't worry about me. I think I might have a major contusion, is all. Nothing."

Ha, ha. Fun for me!

Ho, ho, ho!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fighting/Moving Through the Mess

Like the title implies, breaking up is hard to do. And long, too. There's so much going back and forth and stretching out of some things. He's out of your life, disappeared. Then he's back in, but there's a new dude maybe on the sidelines, then you are not sure what happens next, you move on, keep two on the wire, maybe three. Who do you keep? Who do you get rid of? Or do you get rid of them all, or keep them all?

It's a long, difficult process, this journey through relationships. Then there's those couples who like to fight, break up, to get back together again. Reference the Adam and Eve characters from Northern Exposure.

My favorite early episode of them together, Fleishman gets kidnapped by Adam to visit his hypochondriac wife, Eve. During this shackled forced visit, Fleishman concludes that Eve is NOT sick, that the worst of their problems are that Adam and Eve as a couple are a complete "Disaster," "Trainwreck," and to paraphrase Fleishman, "You go one way, and you go the other and never see each other again."

But what happens? Do they take Fleishman's advice, divorce each other, one running to the utmost region of Alaska while the other winds up in Tibet? No. They wind up back together again! Co-dependant Enabler paired with Passive-Aggressive man, or just strange union of souls, star-crossed lovers?

Maybe some couples need friction, challenges and drama. Maybe they're like two colliding bulls in the meadow, charging each other to be happy, or to continually challenge each other's dominance? Which is it? Does ONE have to be the "goes along with everything" type while the other is the leader? What if you're already a leader like me? I DO NOT want a man who lets me take charge all the time, but neither do I want a man continually butting me with his horns.

In MY world, drama does not equate pain, abuse, fighting or struggles over dominance. Drama can be OK so long as one doesn't taunt the other in an abusive way designed to harm the other.

It's all so confusing!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Martymachlia and Breaking Up

I read a good blog today on "Breaking up," from a chick called "Mommason." It talked about how do you KNOW when it's time to move on from a relationship.

Well, when you can't take the BAD behavior anymore, when it starts outweighing the good, that's when you move on. Sigh.

The worst part about a break up, besides being so alone, is missing the stuff you had that might have been the best you'll ever have again. Maybe it's spiritual comfort, or a laugh, compassion. Or maybe it was all about good sex. No wait. Not just "good sex." I mean mind-blowing, ground-shaking sex, the kind where you wonder if s/he's truly ruined you for other men/women. My ex used to joke he'd do that to me. I feel sometimes like he wasn't kidding.

By far, the HARDEST thing I've ever had to do was leave this guy whom I was not only in love with, but truly a soul mate. Not only that, but a fellow who dabbed in "Martymachlia," a fun condition also known as "adventure sex."

Ah, to be in love and have a person really, REALLY know you and your sexuality, someone who makes you feel so UNINHIBITED you'd try anything. Then to lose that and fall back into the mainstream is . . . . sigh. It's like the metaphor I recently told a friend, "It's like going from Cicilian, fresh herbed pizza dripping in oozy mozzerella to a dried old Tombstone in the back of your fridge."

BUT this is inhibited America, where we're not supposed to talk about things like sex. It's not nice. It's not being spiritually-elevated. It's being crass, vulgar, animalistic. It's not aimed towards preserving "Family Values," and all that hogwash.

But I will ALWAYS miss him. I miss the crazy, risky adventure sex, each time standing out in my mind like a scene from a movie. But maybe we were the deviants. Maybe we're in the lowest percentile of uninhibited America.

What are other people like? Do they have once-a-month missionary sex in the dark with the sheets pulled up? Do they REALLY enjoy themselves or would they secretely rather have a bowl of chocolate ice-cream and forego the sex altogether? As closed-lip of a society we are, at least in my humble opinion, I tend to think this is so.

But I'll bravely march on, try to keep my head up, and HOPE I can find a man who at least (when it comes to sex) can stand up to the plate of my ex, but that'll be a tough act to follow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Facebook Fiascos!

Who needs a private detective to keep up with men anymore when you have Facebook? Isn't everyone on these days? If you're not, and if you want a relationship someday, my advice is to join. You can learn tons about a man or your sig other.
Let's take Mr. Big, the asshole. After I canned him, he got married. Like a jerk, he didn't know I knew this, which is unbelievable since we live in the same small town. I guess he didn't think I read newpapers or had any friends.
Anyway, after a year's hiatus from me, suddenly I get a "friend request" from Mr. Big. I accepted it, but as soon as I went to his profile, red flags started appearing all over the place.
1. He had no picture of himself, nor anyone. 2. He'd changed his last name a bit. Ex. Hartkins, transformed into "Hartkinson." 3. In the "relationship" status, he left it BLANK. Nice huh? What would his wife think of that?
Sure enough, the emails started friendly enough, asking about work, etc., but after four months, he started hinting at an affair. I'd never told him I'd caught on that he was married. Instead, call me vengeful, I was waiting for such an opportunity to lay into him. "Really? Really? What would your (insert dramatic pause) WIFE have to say to that?" Then I lambasted him for even remotely considering I had no morals, much like him. He backed off quicker than a cat with his tail caught in the door. Oh, and I passed around the notion that there was a Mr. Hartkins from this same town passing himself off as Hartkinson around downtown to various bartenders. Let the cards fall where they may with that cad.
Moving on to other aspects of Facebook. It's a great tool for seeing what a man is really like, especially if he has his friends AND family on Facebook.
Find out if your new man is on there. Come right out and ask him. Befriending him right away on FB is a good idea. After being with my boyfriend for 2 years and assuming we had a relationship, when he finally joined FB this past April, he left the "relationship" blank on his status page at "single" rather than "in a relationship." Furthermore, he saw no need to post a picture of me, though he had posted several pictures of his vacation with me, though none of me. After a beheading and almost leaving him for good, he realized his gaff and put he was in a relationship with me and a picture of me up there.
But you see what I mean?
Top Five Signals that Your Man is Full of Shit, Using FB as your Defence:
1. He's left his relationship status as blank or put "available."
2. There's no pictures of you on his site, even though you're officially dating or bf/gf.
3. There's pictures of his ex's on there. (not only pictures but strange suggestive tags)
4. He has a Facebook account, but doesn't send you a friend request because, "It's just really for my relatives/high school friends/co-workers, etc." HUGE flag saying to RUN.
5. There are pictures of events/parties on there with time date stamps that don't corro0borate with stories he's told you. I.e.,' I thought you and Susie broke up in 2001. That picture says 2003."

Trouble with Trouble


How is it that one man can cause so much trouble? How is it that a man can be so stupid? And finally, why is it near intolerable for a man to admit to a woman that something he did was a trainwreck?

Saying, "I'm sorry," is very difficult for men. To me, that means either excess of pride or sexism. Is it that the man feels that the woman is undeserving of an apology? Just what's up with that?

I recently had a big BOUT of trouble with Mr. Trouble. We ironed it out, and he made me feel much better and we cleared up a VERY ugly Facebook situation, but the bottom line is while my feathers are unruffled, not once did he say, "I'm so very sorry, that . . ."

So why is that? Why can't men apologize easily to the women they love?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Crazy Face of Love

Lately, my friends and I have been really going through the mill either trying to find love, repair broken love, or just fall in love with someone who floats their boat.
One friend is just counting the days til her kids are grown so she can leave her husband. Another is thinking of settling with a guy who while nice, isn't very cute at all. Another has been getting one flakey lover after another shaking up his world and leaving him in despair.

Seems other than one sister and one friend, everyone else is having not much luck, including myself.
He reels me in, whenever he feels like I'm ready to leave forever, yet he's not willing to do any of the work needed to make a relationship thrive. And sending me an invitation to his Facebook where I found out that his relationship status was set to "single" as opposed to "in a relationship," leaving it blank, or even better, "it's complicated," like what I thought we had, really sent me for a loop. This coming down the pike after telling me TWO WEEKS AGO that he wanted me to consider moving to Florida for good, is just overwhelming.
There's so many people with dysfunction in this world, the above included, so many damaged people. And I've never thought of myself as co-dependant, but it seems, that's a very popular role when you have so many damaged people out there.
I really think it boils down to a few simple facts:
1. many Gen. X'ers came from broken families, and you can say all you want, but that creates dysfunction in people, like my b/f situation. While it's not impossible, it's not very likely most of the time to see someone come from a bad family life then turn out to be a really kind, caring and compassionate person ready to foster a stable relationship.
2. Fear of intimacy/committment KILLS many relationships.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update on the 24-7 Program

Ain't this grand? This is a bunch of substance abusers with long records pulling up to my door. I should post the picture of two 3-year olds who were almost hit on their tricycles by these fools. Dakota Middle school with a population of 650 kids is 3 blocks away. The Rapid City Library, biggest library on this side of the state and host to many children's programs, is 3 blocks away.
However, the Sheriff in his infinite wisdom, or selfish bravado, doesn't give a crap about this neighborhood or any of Rapid City. After a tireless never ending series of meetings with (the county comissioners, city council, the press and the infamous jerk himself, the Sheriff vs. ME), the city planning commission, against the head planner's advice and the city council, railroaded the drug rehab program twenty feet from my door. This was taken literally from my front doorstep. Nice huh? As you can tell, this is a neighborhood, and they jammed it in going against city coding and the city zoning. 700 people parade into my tiny neighborhood, twice a day, every single day of the week, for drug tests held without any jail cell or deputy to guard either the public or the participants, every day of my life.
I've been on the news interviewed almost a dozen times with my full name, the radio and extensive interviews with the newspaper. For the most part, I've done it all by myself though I've had a few quiet supporters. I've been in front of the media, done all the interviews, created the "Rapid City Neighborhood Coalition," did 99% of the petitioning and went to EVERY single city/county meeting. I've made some enemies. But I've made some allies, too. And it's not over yet. No, no. It's going to be more like a 1-3 year battle. Isn't this nifty? The coolest part is I'm doing watchdog work of a politician, yet I'm not getting paid. That's what sucks. Many people told me I should run for office. Tempting. But I'm a Maverick, and I mean a REAL one. I would make people angry because I expect people to do their research and show objectivity. And they don't. And I call people on that.
It's funny. When it's love, I'm a pushover. When it's my job, a pushover. But when it's anything that comes to politics, and I'm a warrior.

I'm an Art Collector

OK. It's been way too long since I've posted. If you read some of my last posts (Scott, the 24-7 Program) you can see why. So today's post is fun. Light hearted Trivial. It seems out of nowhere, a watercolor I bought, somehow has inspired me to go online and research. Bear in mind I bought it 25 years ago from an old lady in a tiny thrift store back in Illinois. I've done research and apparently it looks possible that it's a Mary Van Der Veer, who studied with Whistler as in "Whistler's Mother."

Here it is. Wish me luck. I wrote the curator of the biggest collection of Mary's work in NY.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Little Thing Called Drama

"Oh, yes, he loves me. And you know that can't be bad." Beatles. Really? Is it really a good thing to be loved by someone who's truly WEIRD? Scott's a never-ending soap opera. Maybe that's why I accept his calls, read his texts without automatically hitting delete. He kills me slowly, but he's never boring. He's a three-ring circus with tigers who've got fangs; he's a tight rope walker without a net. Anything but dull.

Today's another story. He texted me a million times (yes! I know. YES! I'd blocked his texts from Verizon), though I have NO idea how he got through. He wanted to make sure I got to school today, that the blizzard here wasn't too dangerous, that I had a ride home, that I was OK. GAWD.

OK, "Dumping-guilt" I thought to myself. Then came the flirting texts, and a freaking nudie shot. Then he had the audacity to call me. I took the call (since I'd deleted his custom ringer, pictures and phone from my email) as it only "ding-donged" and I thought it was Jen.

All around Mr. Nice Guy. Also said he had some "other things" he wanted to chat with me about, but not today. Mr. Pleasant and Attentive. Whatever.

It's like the minute he knows I'm SO DONE, he's all about me. But at least I'm not sad, depressed or anxious. It's more like, "OK, Houdini. What rabbit you going to pull out of your hat next?"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Broken Hearted

He did it again. He dumped me. This makes three times, and after three strikes doesn't the umpire call "You're Out!"? Feb. 1, 2008; June 24th, 2008 and now; March 22, 2009.

Only this time, besides being torn and beaten, one thing is different. I'm not continuing my friendship with him.

This is the only time I've ever had to do this. Normally, I continue my relationships as "friends," but then nomally, I have been the one doing the breaking up. I asked myself why, why can't I be friends with him. The truth is, if I have to wittness him falling in love with someone new, and actually making it work, knowing it couldn't be me, knowing I just wasn't quite good enough, is more than I can bear. I just can't do it. It's lead me to an new relationship rule.

Unless a break-up is agreed upon by both parties, you cannot be friends. End of story. No exceptions. There's too much yearning on one side, "Maybe she'll come back to me." "Maybe if I'm a good enough friend, he'll realize what he was missing." The ONLY way it can work is after a good deal of time has passed and you have gotten a NEW LOVE in your life. That's the only way.

At first I felt like I was a bad person for thinking this. Rob guilted me saying, "You should move on and wish him nothing but happiness and luck in finding true love."

Well, guess what? I'm not Mother Teresa. I do not wish Scott happiness and great luck at finding true love--sorry. Not now. For now, all I can wish him is good health. That's as good as I can muster, and even that is harder than hell.

Love and relationships should NOT be this hard. If you would have told me at 26, hell even 36, that I'd be alone and just coming down from this LONG and EXTREMELY TURBULENT relationship with a guy like Scott, I would have laughed. I would have said, "No way, I'll be happily married by then to a great guy."

He loves her, but she doesn't love him. She loves him, but he can't love anyone. Love shouldn't be this complicated.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How would you like a criminal element visiting you next door? How would you like an extension of the arm of the reforms department approximately twenty feet from your front door every day for the rest of your life from 5-7:00 p.m. and 7-9:00 a.m. every day 365? You'd be a NIMBY, right ("Not In My Back Yard"). When you wake up, there they are. When you get ready for bed, there they are, up and down my alley, all over the place crawling like roaches.
Welcome to MY world. A world I wasn't even asked upon if I wanted to participate, a world that without a democratic vote, assumed it would be OK to put a "24-7" program in the parking lot RIGHT NEXT to my house. Folks, I'm talking 20 feet from my door step.
For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a program developed (probably all over the U.S.), but in MY county, Pennington County, South Dakota, for repeat alcohol law offenders. I don't mean the once-in-a-lifetime, whoops of a DUI. What that means in laymen talk is people who've had so many DUI's that they are ONE step from committing a felony and going to prison. They come to a little building twenty feet from my house for a urine analysis twice a day, every day of my life starting this week.
Let me clarify some things. I live downtown. I realize that living anywhere downtown means loud noises, public buildings, traffic. That applies to any city or town, large or small. But this, when you get right down to it, is a drug-enforcement program in my yard.
This needs to be held in an area that is NOT residential.
Let me paint you a picture. Every day now, since its inception this week, a tiny area, the size of a tennis court, is filled with 75-200 cars, all honking, doing burn-outs while leaving, trying to fit into a tiny area to get an urinalysis test. Let me also fill you in. The majority of these are not polite people. This isn't a senior citizen center or a Big Brothers Big Sisters Center. There's honking, fighting. Two fights already broke out between men waiting in line. There's constant horn-honking, swearing, screaming, burn-outs. And all this, outside my door.
In fact, as a single woman, many of these people waiting in line are men, men who are obviously troubled. Am I a sitting duck for trouble? What about the children in this neighborhood, too? The elderly walking their dogs in what was a quiet neighborhood?
My neighborhood is a landscape full of families and retirees. This is not the place for a drug-rehab business operated by the county. Property values will sky-dive.
And who's responsible? N.A.U., the college next door are the culprits. They decided to lease out one of their buildings not in use (I'm sure due to declining student numbers).
Thanks, N.A.U. What a paragon to higher-education you are. And thanks for what you've done to this old community.
Fist fights, screaming, yelling, honking, already a criminal element. Don't think I'll take this lying down.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've been giving this "Poor Communication" thing a lot of thought. You can have poor communication with your best friend, kids, spouse, lover or boss. The bottom line is that it can ruin a great relationship/bond/career. But lately, I'm wondering just how many people truly are good communicators. It seems the more work/study I do on it, the more I see others are awful at it.

Top Signs of a Poor Communicator:

1. Avoids talking to you about a particular subject. Ex. Shuts the phone off, Leaves the room, leaves the city, leaves the country.

2. Makes plans around you if sensing you'll bring up a topic. Ex. "I'd love to talk to you about your new work-from-home-plan, but I have a board meeting. Can it wait?" Or, "I'd love to talk about our relationship, but I'm really busy at work right now. Can we talk about it later?" (But, guess what? "later" never comes).

3. Gets hostile and brings up your weaknesses when you DO try for openly communicate assertively. Ex. "I see what you're saying, but you always ________."

4. Doesn't answer your phone/e-mail/page/memo until much later. Then when quizzed about this, responds, "I was busy."

5. Changes the subject when at all possible (also known as non-sequitor) or reverts to number #2. Ex. "I know you would like a raise, but have you seen the material Quality Control has put out lately?" OR, YOU: "So where do you see our relationship going these days?" HIM: "Clint Eastwood has a Clint-fest on at AMC."

6. Uses defensiveness to thwart any discussion at all. Ex. "Can't you see I have a migrane now? I absolutely cannot talk." or "My job is VERY important and/or dangerous (or substitute "and has a big merger"), so you KNOW I CANNOT talk right now." Or finally, "If you KNEW how many calls we were getting in Customer Service, you wouldn't be asking such questions right now."

7. Uses everybody's favorite "Get out of hot water" line of all time: "I'd like to get into that, but I'm REALLY BUSY these days.

It's great, isn't it? Got any to add?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Poor Communication, a Poem

Communication for Crash Test Dummies 101

(for Scott, and Tony Hoagland, 3-09)

They say it takes two to communicate.
Otherwise you're just talking to yourself,
standing in the corner of the room, asking the mirror how its day went.
I open my mouth and the words come out slowly,
like an LSD dream or talking underwater, yet I'm learning how to communicate.
But it ain't easy; each word like giving birth to broken glass.

He's not listening.
The microphone always gets unplugged whenever I'm on stage.
I'm talking to an empty theatre,
his seat vacant, only an Exit light burns, reflecting red on my sleeve.
He always has to go, traffic's bad, the dog knocked over a vase.
And I'm left texting cyberspace where words bounce to Mars before hitting earth, broken, the "I" now looking like an "L," all the letters re-arranged like a cryptogram.

I want to be heard. I need to hear words,
but it's like commanding a man in a wheelchair to walk.
Though you hope there's feeling in his legs,
you could poke him with an ice pick and not even get a flinch.

"Get out of the chair. Rise. Walk!" I command,
but only meet silence,
then the groan of rusty wheel bearings
as he silently rolls

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Trail of Nerds

Groovy looking, dude, right? I can't remember where I got this picture. I think it was a long time ago, some dude from Match, I think, wanting to date me.

Which leads me to a new and interesting question. It's a question that one of my new "nerds" on-line has asked me, aka, a new guy wanting to meet me and ask me out.

He asked, "What is edgy?" He asked that since it's a requirement listed on my site. It's kind of like one of those things that if I have to explain it to you, you shouldn't be asking in the first place. But it did raise my intelligent ponderings. It could be obviously completely subjective. So this is what I said.

"Well, edgy. . .
John Lennon, not Paul McCartney.
Robert Mitchum, NOT Tom Cruise.
Andrew Dice Clay, not Conan O'Brian (though Conan is funnier and more PC, he's NOT edgy nor hot)
Charlie Sheen, not John Cryer (granted, Sheen's a jerk, but he IS edgy)
Micheal Hutchins, not Huey Lewis
Jim Morrison, not The Beach Boys.
Henry Rollins, not Seinfeld
Quinten Tarintino, not Ron Howard
Cormac McCarthy, not Steinbeck
John Trudell and Russel Means, not Newt Gingrich
Gimme more Rob Zombie, Guy Richie, Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood.

Picking a new thrash band to go see, even though you never heard of them before.
Following your passions, your heart, hell may care.
Dressing in all black or wearing something hip and cutting edge, or trippy or rock-star not something conservative that looks like Mom picked it out.That's a start anyway."

I could have gone on and on and on, but I drank too much coffee and shot off the VERY first thing that jumped into my head.

So how do you define edgy?

How to Become a Novelist, or My Experience Anyway

Ever wonder just how a novelist goes about being one? Read on.

I read an article once called, "The 24 steps to Publishing a Novel," and here's how it goes.

The very FIRST step is getting an agent. Then it leads you to the last step which is your novel coming out. However, what they didn't tell you is that there's about 50 steps you take BEFORE you even get an agent (and you have to HAVE to have an agent these days unless you want to "self-publish" known as "vanity publish" like a granny).

Firstly, you must write like a bandit before even trying to get an agent, like, writing thousands of practice pages (that no one should ever read except your best friend, mom and you), and that might mean, you have to write a few, yes, more than ONE, finished novels, and then learn how to REVISE them, (two things they don't teach you in any college). And well, you should probably spend 10 years studying novels in college, too. LOL. Then, after you do all that writing/studying , then you're ready to submit to an agent.

But what the article doesn't tell you is that's VERY hard. Agents on their sites will tell you this: 1. they reject 99% of all manuscripts each month and 2. they get anywhere from 400-5,000 submissions per month.

Yup. Crazy, huh? Also, you just don't send out ten letters then think you're going to bag an agent. My first agent took me about 125 letters/rejections to finally get one to take me on. The second agent took about 200.

Then, you're still not published. You're only at step 1. Then the agent starts submitting to anywhere from 4-15 publishers. If they don't sell your book, the agent drops you like a hot potato, and you start all over again. But guess what? A new agent usually doesn't want your book either if it's been "Shopped" so you have to start over and write a new one. BTW, you don't make a cent, until your novel is SOLD. And often, you have to pay your agent fees (copying, postage) to run out and sell your work.

Then if you do get a contract, you have to give Uncle Sam 30% and your agent 15-30%. Typically, you don't make much on a first novel. What you make is called "an advance," towards future prospective sales. It can be as low as $2,000 or as high as $100,000, usually LOW for a first novel.

I wrote a very commercial (big reading audience) novel, so Victoria was aiming high. I've written: Wide Open Places (a historical western), Eating at the Tall Corn Cafe (women's fiction and all the rest are women's fiction), Searching for Galileo, The Fat Chicks Club (comedy), All My Friends are Men and now . . .Welcome to Rock County.

Of those novels, I came PAINFULLY CLOSE to getting a big novel deal with Eating at the Tall Corn Cafe. I was VERY lucky to get Victoria Sanders in Manhattan to rep me (she reps huge stars like Queen Latifah and Karen Slaughter). She got the biggest, brightest stars in publishing to READ my whole novel in ONE sitting in a matter of THREE WEEKS. I came so painfully close, my secretaries were notified to get me out of class if my agent called. I made it straight to the top with the readings. First, I got Penguin to almost publish me through Ellen Edwards. She called me, and I almost had a heart attack on the phone. But she was, very, very vague and had poor communication. I couldn't understand what it was exactly that she wanted from me. She wanted me to re-do the storyline, but she didn't tell me 1. why or 2. what she wanted changed. I changed a few minor things, then I was rejected. Heart-breaking!

Then Victoria got Hyperion/Disney/Miramax Film/Publishing interested in me.Again, I got an interview on the phone. This time it looked GREAT! The editor was my age, had grown up in the midwest on a farm like me. She communicated fabulously. We were on the same page, literally. She totally DUG the novel, and with this Miramax connection, if it did well, it would be made into a film! She gave me GREAT notes on how to make the novel's revision even better (you ALWAYS have to re-do the novel, btw, you can NEVER just write it "as is" until you're Cormac McCarthy), and I was ready to go. But she was ONLY a "junior editor" which meant she needed unanimous approval in committee to "buy me." One editor balked because I'm an "unknown," so the contract was cancelled.

Crushing, huh? So you can probably see why I'm NOT ready to throw down my cards, leave teaching and get a 9-5 job just yet. This all happened in 2003-2004. Then I took some time to just develop my craft and I wrote the next few novels.All My Friends are Men, felt like it was worthy, so I gave it to Victoria, but she didn't care for it, and I was dumped. Back to the slate I went and got a new agent, Joan, in Florida. But Joan's not a famous agent, and the novel went no where. So, back to the slate I went and I wrote this new novel Welcome To Rock County in 2007-2008.

I'm now revising it, and I think it's my best work to date.Hopefully, I've learned enough that this will NOW be the break out novel. I'm confused though. When the time comes, which agent should I submit it to? Joan, the nice helpful agent who's a nobody? Or Victoria, the famous ex-agent who's hard to get along with? Victoria is good at what she does, but she's a HUGE crank to work with. That's where I'm at.

I've had some short stories and poems published in academic literary journals which were prestigious (but no pay), like last year I was published in 13th Moon, out of University of New York-Albany. They asked me to present my work with 12 others at a convention in Cincinnati, but my school wouldn't fund my plane ticket to go (cheapskates). So that's it in a nutshell.

Want to know about Welcome to Rock County or ever feel like reading something, just ask.

Anyway, there's your glimpse into the world of a novelist and why I'm not quite ready to abandon it just yet. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nice and Ugly, or Bad but Gorgeous?

Does the face of good looking also have to be the face of trouble? Why is it the better looking the man, the higher incidence of jerkiness, the higher incidence of "issues," depression, moodiness, whatever? Is this a problem only women have, or is it a problem men have equally?

Does it seem the good looking guys are always the jerkiest, or does this also apply to women as well?

If so, I'm confused. I'm good looking (or so I believe), but I'm not a jerk. Hence the last couple of dates I've been on, have been with nice men, but none of them are good looking nor have this edge (as in above photo), this, handsome-dashing thing going on.

So why did I go on these dates? Because they were "nice guys." But I found myself staring at large noses, non-symmetrical faces and yawning, looking at my watch and thinking that even catching Bennie pooping in the living room was more fun than being on a date with no zip-zip.

Not a good sign, I suppose.

So what gives? Does the person have to have an ugly (or least boring) mug to be "nice"? Are all the nice and good looking ones taken?

What gives?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Book, a Series a Food and a Dude

OK, I thought of a good little game. If you were stranded somewhere indefinitely, and you could only be with ONE man, one book, one TV series and one kind of food, what would you pick and why?

My answers:
One Man--Well, if we're talking reality, it would be Scott because as much as he drives me mad, his mind is brilliant and he's gorgeous to look at so I'd never be bored. If it's fantasy, it's John Corbin for the same reasons.

One Book--It'd be Confederacy of Dunces, hands down. Why? The humor NEVER gets old. And weirdly, in many ways, I identify with Ignatious.

One Food--why that would be cheese of course. Why? It's good for you. You can fix it a million ways. It's delicious and doesn't require refrigeration.

One Series--Northern Exposure. Why? Well, not only was each episode kind of a way to view life, they filmed it on location, and when does Alaska (aka, Washington), ever get old?

So what are yours?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Perfect Show and the Perfect Man

Remember this?
Ahhhh, the perfect man. NOT that the perfect man exists, but if he did, (and I'll exclude Scott for a moment), it would be this character from the old show, Northern Exposure.

Chris, what made him perfect? Well, clearly everyone's expectations of perfection differ. Some might find Donald Trump to be the perfect man (ewwww), but here's my qualifications why "Chris in the morning" was the perfect man.
1. Super intelligent. Chris was always reading. ALWAYS reading. And not comic book stuff, but amazing stuff from Thoreau to Emily Dickens, from Terry MacMillian to Updike, from National Geographic to Redbook.
2. He really UNDERSTOOD women. He understood emotions. Emotions to him were natural. Nothing to freak out about.
3. He knew how to dress. Even if it was a flannel shirt with the sleeves ripped out and and old t-shirt, it was slick and well put together.
4. He had cool hair. Nuff said.
5. He was laidback. Nothing sent him over the edge, unless he was stuck in a moment of writers' block. Which leads to . . .
6. He was creative. He could write, speak eloquently, and create sculptures and still earn a living (though he did live in a pull-behind trailor, which wasn't very realistic for allegedly taking place in Alaska).
7. He was nice-n-tall. Who doesn't love a Big Boy?
Ahhh, but it was FICTION. Not reality. And the character was supposed to be the paragon of a man like that, not REALITY. Now that the show's been off the air awhile, and I'm much more mature, I can see that the creators of the show were after utopia.
Everything about the show always centered around achieving some sort of lofty ideal. Not that that's bad. It's admirable, but life rarely gives us perfection nor ideals. Nevertheless, "Chris, in the morning," was the "ideal man."

Does this scenario look familiar to you? Is this just me, or does the Mighty Mouse's myopic concerns look a lot like men we've been in relationships with? I can think of the last three men I've known who are like this.

Relationships, and love, for that matter, are about thinking/loving the other person, wanting the best for them, not what they can offer you.

Leslie and I are watching, don't gasp, "The Tool Academy" on VH-1. Yes, I realize it's mind-pollution, but it's sociologically of interest to me. The concept of the show, is that a dozen women who are SICK of their boyfriends' bad behavior, enter them in a charm school for men, to transform them from self-absorbed idiots into kind, caring, stand-up men. Some of the men are un-fixable, have cheated and lied to their women, and they're "Terminated" and kicked out of the school. The better ones go into therapy and the counselors decide which men have made the most progress.

On many levels this is sad: 1. we have a show prostituting men's' bad behaviors? 2. that people watch it for "fun"? 3. that so many women are so sick of being treated badly, that they have come up with a show to illustrate this and reform bad behaviorists.

Sad, isn't it? How about this notion. Men be sweet to your women. Women, quit trying to change men. Wouldn't that be a great world if this could come to fruition?

In the meantime, the show is interesting to watch, so I'll tune in. I guess I'm a full-fledged voyeur, gasping at how awful these men on the show can be and even mortified they'd do this for money.

The Pooper Bowl

Does it get any cuter than this? I'm a mommy now. I took the plunge Nov. 23, 2008.

Bennie and I had fun last night watching the Pooper Bowl. Why the Pooper Bowl? Well, it was the Super Bowl, but Ben customized it to fit his own life-style.

For the past three, LONG months, I've been potty-training him to ring the bell attached to a long string on the front door's doorknob when he has to potty. Bichon's aren't much for barking to tell you things. They're quiet dogs. He rings the bell to potty most of the time, and that's great. The only problem is that he also rings the bell when he's bored. How fun for me, right? So sometimes when he's ringing the bell, you don't know if he's serious or just bored.

While Bruce Springstein was playing at half-time, Ben rang the bell. I said, "OK, Ben, let's go potty," and took him out. Well, it was crying wolf because he didnt' have to potty after all. To my immense aggravation, he did this two more times, so when the third time came and he rang the bell I said, "Quit faking it, Ben. Damn it. I want to watch Bruce." So Ben got a "disgrunted with Mommy" look on his face and took a dump in front of the door.

Mommy's fault, obviously. So it went from the Super Bowl, to the Pooper Bowl over halftime. You gotta love a baby Bichon. But potty training ain't fun!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting to know you?

OK, Terri tagged me, and these surveys are almost always impossible to answer definitively.

FAVORITE TOP 5 NOVELS: (this would have to be updated every five years) Icy Sparks, The Things They Carried, Plantation (bawled my head off silly), Lonesome Dove (read it probably four times!), Forest Service 1919: The Cook the Thief and a Hole in the Sky.

FAVORITE SHORT STORIES: "A Good Man is Hard to Find," "Jury of her Peers," "The Evangelist (my story, sorry)," The Red Covertible,"Everyday Use"

FAVORITE POEM: "Violence on Television," tie, "Skinhead"

FAVORITE SONG: As if there could be ONE favorite song. "Show Me How to Live," Audioslave


FAVORITE ARTISTS: Rembrandt, Salvador Dahli, Gustav Klimdt

FAVORITE MOVIES: Sunset Boulevard, Johnny Guitar, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, Godfather, Leave her to Heaven, dir. John Stahl, Rear Window, The Birds, North by Northwest


FAVORITE FOODS: all cheeses, olives, potato chips, pizza, anything salty

FAVORITE VACATION: last year with Ivy to NM and CO

FAVORITE SPORT: sex with Scott, well you asked!

FAVORITE TIME OF DAY: watching PBS in bed or reading in bed at night


FAVORITE HOBBIES: AS if I could name them all, but to start: playing guitar, hiking, camping, daydreaming about Scott/Mr. Right, cooking, working out, going and visiting funky diners/thrift stores/taverns in towns I've never been to before.