Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Path Halfway Traveled

I feel like a mess today. Not in the physical sense like my hair’s messed up or my clothes are disheveled. I feel like my life is out of control. I know it isn’t but I’m just having one of those days.

As the cost of living in Portland increases (yes, our gas prices are one of the highest in the nation) I watch my hard earned cash fly out the door. It never seems I have enough. Thing about it is, I make great money. I just poorly manage it. I never used to though. After my relationship with Daddy D ended, it’s like the poison that was our relationship continues to linger in my life. Some days I can’t seem to catch a break.

Money is tight this Christmas. I knew it was tight going into this commercialized season of giving. I can’t wait until Auburn Aries is just a little older and we can take vacations at Christmas instead of getting sucked into this whirlwind.

Regardless of how tight my money is right now, it still didn’t prevent me from helping out a friend. This particular person has three children and currently isn’t working because she’s taking care of her Mom who is terminally ill. Caring for someone who is terminal the most genuine act of love there is.

So I gave her money a few days ago. She tried to refuse it but I wouldn’t let her. There was a fleeting moment I thought twice about it. I knew it would limit what I was capable of giving to my daughter and then I looked into those beautiful eyes and realized I was being selfish by not helping her give her children some type of Christmas.

After I put the money in her hand, I was reminded of the true spirit of Christmas. I knew I did the right thing.

I walked through my house this morning and muttered a string of expletives at the tremendous amount of clutter everywhere. I can’t take it anymore. This is not how I live yet I seem to lack the discipline to do much about it right now.

Is it possible being melancholy from the holidays (only my third without my Mom) has caught up with me? Have I become so complacent in my life that I’ve lost my motivation? Or have I simply not given enough weight to the fact that a three hour commute every day is kicking my ass and I’m too damn tired to deal with it during the week?

I miss my housekeeper. ‘Nuff said.

This is not who I am. I’m someone who is always on the ball. I stay on top of my bills – not avoid the ones with cellophane windows. I keep a tidy house – not one that I need to apologize for when people come over. I’m a Piscean dreamer who’s usually reading energy and thinking about what will be – not bogged down thinking about how fucked up the things behind me have been.

Who am I and where have I gone?

There is a special woman who is interested in me, and I her. Yet is who I am right now who I want her to see? This isn’t the real me. I’m in here somewhere but will she be able to see it?

I saw a woman this summer for a while. Perhaps one day I’ll tell the story here. I ended up breaking up with here because regardless of the fact that she was heartbreakingly beautiful and I could see a future with her, she had a problem with the fact that I had a daughter and that’s not a path I will travel. It’s a package deal, end of story.

Following that break up and my intense disappointment with the fact that someone could speak that poorly of my child, I kind of threw my hands in the air and started feeling a sense of exasperation toward the prospect of every finding someone who “gets it.” I put on 10 pounds (which I’m currently working on getting rid of) and I concluded I would likely be single for a long time - something with which I am totally okay.

Then, alas, a spark flew and I’m approaching a doorway where I’ve stood before. One of hope and possibilities. Do I reach in and take the hand of this beauty and linger there for a while until I feel like I’m my better self? Is it fair to try to give of myself when I’m not taking very good care of my world right now?

I speak of these things not because I’m depressed and feeling worthless. I simply know I could be and do better and perhaps all it will take is seeing these words on the page to realize I was in here the whole time.

Each of these things is a path before me. I find myself taking hurried steps part of the way down each path but never completing the journey. I will never be successful if I don’t stay the course before me. The answers lie within me and I know this. I need only find the motivation I apparently lack to obtain them.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ahhh Nuts

While sitting with Pony at CC's over the weekend, he shared with me a revelation:

Pony: I found out the other day jock itch is like athletes foot but it's up here [pointing to his crotch] 'cause everything is all crunched up in there and moist [as he uses his hands to make what appears to be an example of an uncomfortable crunched up scrotum. I made this assessment based on the scrunched up look on his face].

So I don't know who's been dragging their nuts across the gym floor or maybe he's been masturbating like this [lifts his foot to his crotch and pretends to rub his foot on the rather *ahem* large bulge in his Levi's] with his feet but I bet how however they did it, they're fucking weird.

AP: [Laughs hysterically at the childlike innocence with which he pleads his case] Geez, Pony - I never thought of it that way.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hot Toddy is Marbles

I received a voicemail from Hot Toddy night before last. Apparently he and JR were watching Will and Grace at CCs and Grace made mention of the fact that she was ovulating. With neither of the boys knowing what exactly let's a woman know when that's happening, Hot decided to call me.

Sadly, I didn't see that he had called until yesterday. When I did check my message, I sat in my home office and laughed out loud at the fact that Toddy would ask such a question.

HT: Hi Aub, it's me. I just wanted to ask you how a woman knows when she's ovulating. Okay, that's it. That's all I wanted to know. Bye

I headed over to CC's last night for a couple of hours and the minute Hot Toddy sat down he asked me the question again.

HT: So, how exactly does a woman know she's ovulating?

AP: Are you serious? You really want to know this?

HT: Yes, I want to know. [he explains watching TV with JR] I knew that I could ask you to find out. Do you actually know when the egg drops? Can you feel it drop?

AP: No it's more a matter of a physical trait your body exhibits when it happens.

HT: [puzzled look] Trait... What trait...

AP: Oh gawd. Okay. About two weeks after a woman's period is when she's most fertile. Women get...shiny...down there.

HT: Like when you pee?

AP: No. Um. When a woman wipes their...ya know... it'll look shiny. It's like a thin, shiny mucous, sort of.

HT: OH GOD!!! This is grossing me out.

AP: If a woman touches the shiny stuff and it's stretching in between her fingers, that's when she's ovulated and can get pregnant the easiest.

HT: This is disgusting. I thought it would be more like a marble dropping. You know it kinda rolls down the tube and plink. [Hot places his hand on his abdomen and jumps just a little] And then a woman would be like, "Oh, I just ovulated."

AP: No, Sweetie, it's not quite like that. But now you know if you ever decide to sleep with a woman don't do it in the middle of her cycle.

About that time Pony walked in and sat down.

Pony: So, what's up?

AP: Well, Hot Toddy was just asking me how a woman knows when she's ovulating and whether she feels it happen. So I explained it to him.

Pony: Well, do you feel it happen?

AP: [gives a quick explanation to Pony]

Pony: Fuckin' gross.

Eh, what can I say. We are complicated creatures. You boys couldn't handle everything we endure as women. Ya'll might be stronger, but we're tougher.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Holiday Hawk

While hanging with Auburn Aries last night watching CSI, that new commercial for Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash came on. It's the one with the Holiday Hawk in it. Aries decided to explain to me what it was.

AA: That's the new Cranberry Splash. It's only around once a year.

AP: So they said.

AA: You know it tastes like cranberry juice.

AP: Really.

AA: Yep. Cranberry juice with suds.

AP: What? Excuse me, baby?

AA: Cranberry juice with suds in it. You know, Mom. The same way regular Sierra Mist tastes like water with suds in it.

AP: [Begins to laugh]

AA: What's so funny?

AP: You mean carbonation?

AA: Yeah, suds...carbonation, same thing.

Aries has entered a stage of talking non-stop. She shares opinions, stories, instructions, gives suggestions, wants to read aloud constantly...you get the idea. Night before last I couldn't take one more syllable. I actually turned to her and told her that I needed five minutes of no talking.

She got upset about it which was just fine with me - it still meant silence.

Last night, however, I was reminded why sometimes I just need to let her ramble!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

AA: Mommy, I have my field trip to Zenger Farms tomorrow.

AP: You need to dress warmly because it's going to be cold tomorrow. Wear something long-sleeved and wear your puffy coat.

AA: I have my new hot pink rubber boots to keep my feet dry!

AP: I'll pack you a lunch. Oh! And you have those gardening gloves I bought you this summer you can take.

AA: Gardening gloves…

AP: Yeah, gardening gloves. Trust me, you'll be glad you have them.

AA: Mom, why would I need gardening gloves?

AP: Beeeecause, it a vegetation farm where there are plants. You'll be planting seeds. Remember this is the first of three field trips there. Plant seeds, watch seeds grow?

AA: We are not planting seeds.

AP: Yes you are. Mr. Teacher-man said you guys were.

AA: [insert exasperated tone here] Mom, we're making beds there.

AP: I know. Flower beds.

AA: No Mom. We're learning to make beds there.

AP: Aries, you're making the beds to plant the seeds in.

AA: What?!...

AP: Like a vegetable garden. The area you plant the seeds in are called beds.

AA: [laughing hysterically] Oh my gosh, Mom, I thought they were taking us there to learn to make beds. Like beds people sleep in.

AP: Why would you think that? [other than you're Mom is a city girl and doesn't ever get your hands in the Earth]

AA: Well, there's that farm house there with all those solar panels and I thought there were probably a lot of beds in there.

AP: Dork.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Drag Queens, Bat Kisses and a Pony

Saturday night CC Slaughter's threw their annual Halloween party. I didn't go dressed up in a costume. I didn't have the gang joining me. The Boys all had different plans so I ventured out on my own. Golden Boy was planning on being in drag while he tended bar and it was a must see. He's a beautiful man and knowing him the way I do I knew he'd settle for nothing less than impersonating a beautiful woman. I was correct. Golden Boy looked great! He even tended bar in boots that had relatively tall heels. I was impressed.

In addition to seeing Golden Boy in drag, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing my friend JR in drag. Oh my hell. Here was this very tall man sporting a big ass wig and make-up that I never thought he would have worn. He was such a good sport. He had me giggling as I watched he and Golden Boy adjust to life as a women - drinking beverages with a straw; not wanting to smudge their lipstick; complaining about long nails. I really had to laugh when I saw JR's feet and realized he was wearing sneakers with his long black dress. I also had to laugh when Golden Boy pointed out he'd lost a nail. I quickly leaned over and looked into my drink to see if I had inadvertently located the missing fingernail!

There were a multitude of drag queens meandering Saturday night. There were some with big hair, some with overly large fake breasts, there were even some with b.o. so bad it made you throw up a little bit in your mouth. It's called deodorant buddy…check into it.

There was one particular guy with extremely well built arms and upper body wearing a straw cowboy hat and overalls with no shirt. Hot, hot man. Good Lord. He caught the attention of everyone in the place.

It's so interesting to me how the tides have changed. Remember the days of straight men being fit and muscle bound? Remember during that same time period that gay men were...not? My how the tables have turned. Straight men are now those avoiding the gym in most cases and gay men are fit and strong.

Speaking of fit, strong men…segue The Toddtender. My what a yummy human being he is. He walked up wearing a Santa hat, red boxer brief-type shorts and a leather harness. Okay, he had me at the leather harness. Thank you, Toddtender for feeding the leatherwoman in me. He looks great.

I spent most of the evening hanging with Vidal and Bat Girl. Bat Girl…a friend worthy of a sexy blog name I have yet to concoct. Bat Girl and I went on a date once. It was only the one date. Golden Boy set us up. As it turns out, I'm not really her type and we've become pretty good friends over the last year or so. She and I talk on the phone from time-to-time and we text. She and I sat laughing and joking over the course of the evening until we ended up in the Rainbow Room at CC's (it's the quieter back bar).

This conversation led to that conversation led to kissing and then kissing some more. Good gawd that woman can kiss. I've been out with Hot Toddy over the years and heard him say things like, "tonight I just wanna kiss a boy." I've heard Young Stud say, "it isn't New Year's unless you make out with someone." I never really got it, just making out with someone for the sake of making out. I can, however, honestly say I have now done it. At one point Golden Boy walked up and stood briefly before walking away muttering that he needed to get away from us before round two of making out started!

I left the bar that night a.) in a great mood and b.) hammered. About the time I realized I had consumed too much Patron I flashed on the time. I had a babysitter to pay and send home.

I walked to my car realizing that I had passed the point that I should be driving. I rarely get drunk. It's just not my MO. I don't like how it feels; I don't like not being in control of myself; I don't like that it lingers there even when I don't want it to; I don't like it. Period. I usually make sure I'm okay to drive since I'm somebody's Mom. But Bat Girl cast her kissing spell on me and I was toast.

I sat in my car for a couple of minutes taking stock of my situation. There was only one thing I could do. I pulled out my cell phone and called the one person I knew I could count on to be there for me. I called Pony.

Pony has proven time and time again to not only be a man of his word, but a true friend in the most fundamental sense. He has, on more than one occasion, called me on my shit. He recently built me a computer that is unbelievably fast. He looks out for Auburn Aries and cares about her and understands that she's a part of me. He viewed being added to the list of authorized people to pick her up as an honor. I trust him with everything.

There are times I know I frustrate him. When I ask for the umpteenth time about Microsoft Money…when I've been amidst a bad depression spell and didn't have much positive to say - he's put up with me. He's been forgiving when I've needed it and conversely brutally honest when I needed it. He has great insight for a man his age. I was about to test our friendship.

At 11:38 p.m. I dialed his cell. When he answered, I was grateful and felt safe. He immediately asked where I was at. I told him. Without even needing to ask, he said he'd be right there. And he was. He probably drove 25 miles round trip to take me home and make sure I was safe. It's only the second time I've ever had to do that. The last time was years ago and Brown Eyes rescued me.

I felt like shit most of the day on Sunday. I had plans with Auburn Aries which required my car but it was still parked downtown. When she asked why it was downtown, I swallowed hard and told her it was because I did something really stupid and got drunk and made the safe choice to ask Pony for a ride. It was the Pony ride that very likely saved me from harm. It was definitely a different Pony ride than I've fantasized nevermind...

If I have a cocktail at home (which is isn't very often), I have one or maybe two. Auburn Aries has never seen me drunk. She's only ever seen me in control. When I told her I had gotten drunk she gasped and said "Oh Momma, are you okay? What was it like?" I explained to her that I hadn't eaten enough, that my stomach was upset and that I felt like vomiting. I told her I had the headache to end all headaches.

I may or may not have done the right thing by being honest with her like that. I seized the opportunity to let it be a growing experience for her rather than lie. When she got frustrated because we had plans and I had no keys and no car, I reminded her that I made a bad choice and didn't pay attention to what my body was telling me and that I was responsible for my actions. All I could do was apologize that my actions effected her and promise her it wouldn't happen again.

I am forever grateful to Pony for looking out for me and being there when I needed him. He has proven once again to be exactly the kind of man I knew he was.

Thank you, Pony, for loving me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This is not depressing...no really!

I am a depression sufferer.

I know...weird to admit to blogdom, but it's true. It's one of those things that I liken to being in the closet. Seriously. It has a similar stigma associated with it. Even as I write this post I stop to ask myself why I would want to admit this to anyone. It has negative connotations. Do I really want to be known as "one of *those* people."

The truth is I am one of those people - on boths counts (living outside the closet is much easier).

When my Mom's Alzheimer's became overwhelming, my sisters and I put her in a nursing home (after assisted living and subsequently living with my older sister). I found myself with situational depression. I didn't know at the time that's what I had. I went to my PCP and told her I was having trouble quitting smoking. When she asked me why, the flood gates opened. Tears flowed. The reasons I was having trouble eliminating smoking had nothing to do with the cigarettes.

It was this same year I realized I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Being from San Diego I have difficulty with the gray winters up here. As the weather turns gray it's like someone is pulling down the blinds on my mind. I wilt. Moving isn't really an option since Aries' Dad lives in the NW. I'm not willing to put my daughter on a jet twice a month for his weekends.


Three years of Wellbutrin turned into the 'why isn't this helping anymore' conversation with my PCP. I switched meds about a month ago and I'm feeling better mentally though I find my motivation is still lacking. It's a process. For me it's just life with a side order of depression added to the mix. Not what I'd have chosen but apparently it's my path for now.

By the way, please don't think that I choose to sit on my butt and wait for meds to kick in. I am cognizant of diet, exercise, meditation, etc.

Moving on... I was on the phone today with Aries' physical therapist who inquired about missing a couple of appointments. With a deep breath I chose to share with her that I had a difficult time with my depression this summer and it unfortunately interfered with life. I told her I was trying to get back on track.

That conversation turned into her story about her depression and what worked for her. We shared our the hesitancy to discuss our stories with people. She pointed out it isn't any different than living with Diabetes or any other condition. It's in there. It exists. Not talking about it isn't going to raise awareness nor will it make it go away.

After I hung up the phone, I thought about how many people must suffer with it and not say a word. I did a little research by Googling "depression support groups portland oregon."

Something happened while I was doing that research. Something that I found so funny I actually emailed Hot Toddy, Pony, The Professor and Ren. It went something like this:

Is it bad....

Is it a bad thing that I just Googled "depression support groups portland oregon" and cruised the chicks on the site I selected? ROFL

Cruising chicks with depression. How gawd damn hilarious is THAT?!?! Oh my hell. Could you imagine that conversation?

Her: "I'm sad and lonely."
Me: "I'm not sad and I'm not lonely but my house is a mess."
Her: "I'd like to kiss you but I'm too depressed to get out of my chair."
Me: "I don't want to be kissed but I'm up for a booty call if you'll shut'yer gap."

Oh my gawd. I'm crackin myself up here!

As soon as I realized I was looking at the pictures of girls on the site I said aloud, "wtf am I doing," shut it down and started laughing. Maybe I'm not as depressed as I thought!


I don't mean to make light of something as serious or difficult as depression can be to deal with but when I realized I was looking at the pictures of the girls on the website saying "ooh she's cute; she's nasty; I'd do her..." I realized what a pig I was being and had to laugh at myself.

I only got one comment back from the gang as of this writing. It was from The Professor. I'll let him choose to share his thoughts but let me just say that I appreciate his pointing out that it's okay to still have a libido even when I'm down. Great minds think alike...just sayin'.

Friday, October 06, 2006

While Older Chicks Rule

My dear friend Pua sent this to me this morning. It was too cool not to publish.. For those you who have trouble dealing with someone a little older, read on and learn. This is why 40 is the new 20.

I love you, Pua... Thank you for sending me this.

Why Older Chicks Rule
by Andy Rooney from CBS "60 Minutes"

This is for all you girls 40 years and over.... and for those who are turning 40, and for those who are scared of moving into their 50's AND 60's, and for guys who are scared of girls over 40!!!!

Andy Rooney says:

As I grow in age, I value women who are over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.

A woman over 40 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom.

Few women past the age of 40 give a hoot what you might think about her or what she's doing.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

A woman over 40 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women.

Women over 40 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. They always know.

A woman over 40 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one!

You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of 40+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free," here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage.

Touched by...

The friendship I have with My Boys.

Hearing Pony's laugh when something is really funny. The way his head tips back when he's doing so. And the way he leans it to one side or the other just slightly as the laughter subsides.

Hearing Pony say "I love you more" after I've said it to him.

Watching Hot Toddy when he's being jovial and everyone is laughing at his anecdotes and hearing him laugh at his own humor.

The strength of the friendship that consumes me when Toddy hugs me.

A quiet conversation with The Professor after everyone has left for the evening and it's just raw conversation about the real stuff that makes our lives complete.

The Professor's truly grounded spirit and the clarity he possesses.

The interaction between all of us when we're together. Even on bad days we are all there for one another.

The ability to share my fears with the people that love me the most and to know it's okay to be afraid sometimes.

The wherewithal to face my fears and feel "little" because I know I have family to catch me if I fall.

Friday, September 29, 2006

How We Treat People (and things) in this World

A story by Auburn Aries
(none of this story has been modified or corrected)

How We Treat People (and things) in this World

There once lived a girl that was the same from the people in her class but they teased her like she wasn't good enough or something and everyday she would go home and ask her Mom if she was different. Her Mom always told her, if she was different, she would have told her. And if she was, it wouldn't be no different. "Cause" she will always be the better person.

One day she went home and asked Momma are we poor? No. Your not poor if you have a loving family and a nice friend. Ok Momma.

So when she went to school the next day, the kids asked are you poor or something? So instead of answering, she asked if she could give a speech in front of the class? The teacher said yes so she did.

Her speech went like this:

How We Treat People by: Alexa B.

I know this might not change you but listen. We all might be different but we're all one people. We're all one. We shouldn't be friends one day and not be the next.

And teasing. We need to stop "cause" always 24 against one.

[pictures of flowers and rainbows and shooting stars here]


We all just need peace!

Thank you for listening to my speech.

Parental side note:

I may make mistakes as a parent but when I read her stories, especially stories like this one, I realize I am doing one very important thing right. I have the best kid on the planet. My concern is that someone at school has said something to her that it prompted these thoughts in her. We clearly are not poor and she knows that but the stuff about mis-treating her because she's different bothers me on a scale that is indescribable. They better pray I never hear them say it to her…or better yet, I pray that I *do* hear it. Little bastards.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Auburn Aries learns text messaging

During the American Idol finale, I was sitting in CC Slaughter's with the usual gang. I received text messages from Auburn Aries. I loved this exchange.

AA: Talor won

AP: Thank you, Sweetie. I love you.

AA: Love u to, ps bar girl!!

AP: LOL. Saucy Girl!

AA: Did you mean saucy in a bad way?

AP: It's a good thing. Be home soon. Nite, Sweetie. Go to sleep Pretty Girl.

AA: Ok Mommy, night.

AP: I love you so much it makes me cry good tears. Nite baby.

AA: Nite nite

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

20-something Hotties

Explain it to me if you will.

Why is it the age of women who provide services for you has decreased?

Why is it said women have become more and more beautiful?

Is it possible (shush...I know that not only is it possible, but it's *why* it's happening) that I've reached the age where everyone now appears young enough to be my child?

I used a waxing professional in Portland - let's call her Aunt Sandy. Aunt Sandy looked like just that...someone's Aunt. Middle-aged, thick sandy blonde hair to her shoulders that had just the right amount of wave, a pair of cheaters (half glasses) that sat low on her nose.

I entered Aunt Sandy's shop and was nervous until I met her. I realized having her wax my hoo-haw was really no big deal.

Then I began working at Company South and could no longer make my appointments in Portland, so I searched for a waxing professional who could accommodate lunch hour appointments.

I walked into this new salon with a certain amount of ease built right in. Then entered Hot Young Thing. Yep, you got it. 22 years old. Firm, full breasts. Long straight hair with just the right amount of highlights. Long eyelashes. A tattoo on the small of her back (cut to Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers). Tan skin...

Suddenly the thought of opening my legs for a Brazilian wax caused everything within me to tighten with anxiety. I'm old enough to be this young girl's mother and she's going to get up close and personal with a particular area of my body that I'd ordinarily not let someone her age see.

Please understand I'm not normally an uptight person. In fact, most would say I am the exact opposite when it comes to things like this. And don't get me wrong - I didn't shy away from the fact that I was about to open up my goody-box (as we call it in my family) to be (((ahem))) serviced. Being the mature adult that I am I sucked it up and proceeded as planned.

I did, however, apologize for the fact that she was going to be so up close and personal with such an intimate area. I also thanked her for doing so.

She responded and told me about how when she first started waxing she was amazed by all the different ways a woman's anatomy looked and found it fascinating. Said she'd go home and tell her fiance' all about it. Now, however, you've seen one - you've seen them all.

There was a dozen different ways for me to refute this particular argument but I decided it would have been a point wasted on a 22 year old straight girl.

I managed through that appointment and all my subsequent waxing appointments. She does a great job and we've become friendly with each other. She more so with me for obvious reasons.

Fast-forward to today when I had my gallbladder ultrasound.

I'm in the waiting room and in walks this stunning beauty. Average height, thin build, long straight blonde hair, blue eyes, beautiful skin and teeth and probably in her mid'ish 20's. I thought she was going to take me back into the room and leave me with Ursula the Ultrasound Tech.

Not the case.

"If you could just remove your top and leave your bra on..."

At least I wore a really pretty bra today.

"And put this gown on, open in the back... I want to make sure I don't get lube on your clothes..."
Umm hmm. Lube on my clothes. I'm sorry but where's the problem?? (((giggle))).

"We'll get started..."

And that we did.

I laid back on the table and the laughter I had going on in my head about how she had no idea of how what she was saying could be misconstrued was gone.

It was at this moment that I became very cognizant of my age. I have the over 40 mid-section that needs a little attention. I have laugh lines on my face - each one earned. I was old enough to be her mother. I was laying here assessing this 20-something hotty x-raying my body.

Everyone looks younger now. Everyone is so into life and planning their future - all futures that have crossed my path and thankfully so I might add. I'm grateful for the sweet young things that do for me the things I won't or can't do. But gone are the days of objectifying them the way I used to. Now I just feel like a gross ol' lesbian when I do it. Unless of course I have someone with me and we're objectifying them together. Then it becomes people-watching.

You didn't seriously think I'd stop checking people out did you? It's true I am old enough to be a mother to some of them. But I'm not... and that, my pretty...is the key.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The gall of some people

Tomorrow I go to the Imaging department at one of our NW hospitals. I have to have an ultrasound done on my gallbladder of all things.

Who'da thunk it? How weird is this. Off and on for some time now I've had this pain up under the right hand side of my rib cage. It feels similar to the pain you get when you've been running and you get that catch in your side except for me it's more of a big annoying, non-stop ache.

I've had this place in between my shoulder blades that's gone out a lot lately. I actually thought it was a rib that kept sneaking out of place. When I went to a naturopath/chirocracker he indicated that it could be indicative of something more serious. Upon answering what seemed like a neverending list of questions, I came to realize that those symptoms I had that I had been dismissing could likely be a problem with my gallbladder.

I was supposed to go have it checked last week but they scheduled it on the first day of school. I wasn't up to sacrificing the excitement of Auburn Aries first day of school.

I'm truly hoping it's nothing but from what I've heard your gallbladder will give you a couple of warnings and then could get acute in short order. Best not to screw around with it I guess. It's funny...I never heard of anyone having their appendix out until mine ruptured when I was 20 and then I knew a dozen people who had it happen.

Similarly, I only know of one friend who's had hers out and now I get rumblings from friends and coworkers of this person and that one who's had theirs removed. Of course, it'd be nice to talk to one of these people first hand - I guess I'll find out what it's like soon enough if they decide to rip it out. When I went to the doctor the nurse that took my vitals told me that I was the fifth person they'd seen that day for the same thing.

Eh...no need to get spun up in a knot over it just yet. I should know more tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It's not Hot anymore!

Well, it's finally happened.. Hot Toddy no longer lives here. No longer will I hear that familiar beckoning from downstairs reminding me it's 5 o'clock somewhere and that the cocktail hour is upon us. No longer will I be able to just pop downstairs and visit with my friend. No longer will I worry that he's not eating well and invite him up for dinner at the spur of the moment. Well, that will still happen it will just have to be planned better.

I know it's his time to go. Though I have not seen his apartment yet (boycott perhaps?!) he's told me it's great. The Toddtender told him it has great energy and I trust The Toddtender in that regard. I'll make it over there this week perhaps.

Ordinarily one would see the new digs of a friend when they move, however with Hot Toddy that's a horse of a different color. You see Toddy doesn't move things like a normal person would. He tends to drag his feet and do it in spurts. He was telling me this weekend that it took him two months to move out of the home of The Handsome Prince and The Math Whiz when he moved in with me.

Now that Toddy has Sven, it's taken moving to an entirely new level. Don't get me wrong, I'm not by any means complaining. On the contrary, I hope it takes him a long time to move out. That guarantees plenty of face time with the Toaster Oven. I did, however, have to laugh earlier when he and Pony and I were having cocktails together on my front porch.

AP: You know Toddy at the rate you're moving things out of here, I might as well just keep charging you rent.

HT: I know. It took me two months to move out of The Handsome Prince's house. You see, I don't want to burden any one person with helping me move so I'm spreading it out between all my friends.

Pony: Remember, I'm only going to help you move boxes. No furniture this time! Hey, wait a minute. You have a truck now, why am I helping you at all? Besides, if you'd quit moving every six months, that would help.

HT: I know, I know. No furniture. Doesn't matter anyway. The Toddtender already helped me with that. He was such a big help. Besides, I lived here almost a year and a year at THP's and a year and a half with Juju.

AP: Wait a minute!!! You lived here the least amount of all?! That's not fair!

Pony: Yeah, you chased him away! See what you've done.

HT: Don't worry, Aub. I'll be by in a few days and grab another shirt and pants for work. Then a couple days after that I'll come by again... You get the idea.

AP: Auburn Pisces' Storage Facility. Eh...works for me.

He took another box out to his truck tonight. Pony and I watched as he heaved his computer box into the bed of his truck. A little piece of my heart goes every time he heads for his new place. I know he's still just across town. I know I'll still see him. But fewer are the days of us sitting on the porch in our jammies having tea and coffee and getting caught up. Gone are the days of heading home knowing that I have him to vent to when something's gone awry and I need to talk about it this minute.

As I write this post Auburn Aries reads over my shoulder and says in her small little voice, "I'm going to miss Toddy." Girl, if I had a nickel...

The love I have for Toddy and all My Boys continues to grow exponentially with each passing day. They are truly my family. Without them I don't know what I'd do. In as much as I was there for Todd following Thor's departure when his heart was breaking, he's been there for me in equally important ways...even if it was just to have a Margarita and not talk about whatever was going on because that's all we could do.

So go on, Hot Toddy...move into your bachelor pad and do your thing. I'll make sure there's ice in the freezer for whenever you come back home for a visit.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm sorry

I know I said I'd write. As it turns out, the legal stuff I am smack dab in the middle of has created a sitch where "they" have taken to reading and scrutinizing my blog. By the way, for you sneaky legal people it's 3:48 p.m. on Friday, August 4, 2006. I am not at work, I have the day off. I am posting this on my own time, on my own computer and in my own house...so all of "you" can just stop reading now, this doesn't concern you.

I have been hesitant to write because so much of what I have written has been picked apart. I think about writing every day. I still take notes on cocktail napkins and other scraps of paper because something funny or terrific happens and then when I think about how "they" have taken stories told in innocence and torn them apart like I'm a bad person - I rethink telling my stories.

I have decided that I'm fucking tired of worrying about what "they" think. I will get back to posting again. Just so you legal-types know...it will be on my own time, on my own computer in my own house. You needn't question me about it.

Things are great. Auburn Aries is at her Dad's right now - the second of her two week breaks with him. She's having fun. Her Dad has a new girlfriend who seems to be pretty great and it's making it easier on Aries.

Hot and I still have cocktails on the porch and talk. And yes, I still yell "Hey Hot" down the stairs and he still says "It's 5 o'clock" giving me the cocktail hour warning.

I'm still commuting in the Stang to work everyday. And yes, the price of gas is still eating me alive. I love my job, however, and the people I work with so it eases the pain a little.

And right now, I've gotta run. I have someone beautiful waiting for me as I have a previous engagement. I jumped on to check in and felt I owed you a bit of an explanation.

I love you guys and will get back to it.

I promise.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm still here

So many fun things to write about...I just need to find the time to write them. Don't give up on me!!!

I have vacation stories about Aries to tell.

Among other things.

I'll find the time soon...

It's almost 11:30 p.m. Been been up since 4 a.m. and am draggin' my fanny or I'd just keep my fingers on the keyboard.

I've been to the gym twice today and pulled weeds this evening. I'm freakin' beat. Perhaps tomorrow night I'll find some time after dinner.

Sorry I'm on the lag crew....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hamlet...the hamster

I was in Auburn Aries' office looking for index cards on which she must write her speech on flies. I was looking around and realized I was maneuvering around a pedestal fan that magically appeared.

The weather in Portland has been phenomenal. It was around 93 degrees yesterday. That pleases me. Feeling the warmth of sun against my sunlight deprived skin puts me in a great mood. Not being cold...another plus.

Having a daughter that never gets cold can be the only drawback. When I put her bed last night, she requested a fan to keep her cool. The fan ran all night long in her room and she slept like a baby because of it.

While looking for the index cards I stopped, looked at the fan and looked at Aries.

AP: Where'd that fan come from?

AA: My bedroom.

AP: Why is it in your office?

AA: To keep Hamlet [her Albino hamster] cool today.

AP: You ran a fan all day long to keep your hamster comfortable???

AA: Yeah. What's wrong with that? This room is really warm [it's located in the very center of the house] and I didn't want him to overheat.

AP: Wait a second...you ran a fan all day long without my knowledge while I was at work 50 miles south of here at Company South to make sure your hamster was comfy? Were you going to let me know you were going to leave a fan running all day long?

AA: Mom, I told you this morning. I said I was going to move the fan for Hamlet so he'd stay cool. You didn't say anything.

Mental note to self: Spend less time playing with your MAC makeup and picking a sundress and more time listening to your kid.

Somewhere in between "I can't get my ponytail tight enough" and "do I have to brush my teeth" she snuck one in on me.

P.S. Canada Girl, I know I owe you some calls. Bear with me, I'm working through some stuff. And Guru, leave some time open the week of Memorial weekend. You've got a couple of Auburns to meet.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ten Dollar Ha Ha

Last Wednesday I ran home after work, through on some workout clothes and headed for the gym. From the downstairs addiction hole World of Warcraft corner of the house a voice spoke.

HT: When you get back, let's have a cocktail since we didn't go to C.C.'s tonight.

After a quick inventory, I realized I would need to stop by the liquor store for Patron and some Vodka for Hot Toddy.

As I neared the liquor store (I didn't want to go in there all sweaty after a workout) I realized that I had forgotten my MP3 player and doing a cardio without it is impossible for me. My plan was to run into the liquor store, run back to the house, head back to the gym and then home.

There was one unforeseen flaw with my plan.

AP: Hey, Liquor Store Girl (LSG), you don't have any boxes of Patron out so I'm taking the front bottle.

LSG: That's fine. I can get you a boxed bottle if you'd like…

AP: [shrugs] I'm just going to recycle it anyway.

LSG: BTW, we got the Platinum in.

AP: The wha?

LSG: The Platinum. Patron makes a Platinum tequila now.

AP: [in a challenging voice] Show me…

As we're approaching the counter she's giving me the 411 on the new tequila. She said one of the regular Patron patron's bought one and said that it was "fucking magnificent."

She ran into the back to get a ladder to reach the glorious bottle. She reached up on the top shelf (where it belongs) and there it was. What LSG said was true. She gently handed it to me and was laughing at the expression on my face.

AP: OH. MY. HELL. Look at this. It's a thing of beauty.

LSG: The bottle is made of lead-free crystal. It comes in a black velvet bag with a bolo-tie that closes it. It has a small booklet inside that talks about the tequila and the packaging. Each bottle is numbered and signed. The box it comes in is made from curly maple (I think that's what she said, at this point her words were nearly inaudible - I could hardly hear over the angels singing] which is what they make violins out of.

AP: [Taps on the ball on the top of the cork which is made of silver] I have to have one. You never should have showed this to me. I'm going to have to buy it. How much is it?

LSG: $199.95

AP: Two hundred gawd damned dollars for tequila. This is insane. [I think quietly for just a moment searching for logic…that voice that says don't do it. That voice of reason was nowhere around…or I couldn't hear it either, over the angels singing of course…or maybe I was meant to be in the liquor store on that day at that time - it was a sign - okay that's a bit of a stretch]

With only two sales girls and me in the store, I got pretty excited about the new tequila. I actually jumped up and down and clapped my hands saying "I'm so excited!!!!!" They girls were laughing at me.

Anyway, I handed her the bottle and walked over to the vodka section. I grabbed the half gallon of Potter's Vodka HT had requested and then picked up a bottle of Patron Silver and sat them on the counter. LSG rung up my order.

AP: No, no, Sweetie. I was serious. I want that bottle of Platinum.

LSG: But you have Patron right here.

AP: Yeah, that's the rot-gut tequila for mixing. That, right there, is not.

Now, I never thought I'd see the day I referred to my beloved Patron Silver as rot-gut…and we all know I wasn't serious because it's the polar opposite of rot-gut yet here I was saying it. I paid the bill $278 liquor bill and waited for LSG to bag my prize.

She put the Platinum box (which she retrieved from the back of the shelf to assure no one had touched it), in the bag first. Then she grabbed the rot-gut vodka tasty beverage of Hot Toddy's choice and hovered it above the bag.

LSG: I can't do it. I can't put Potter's Vodka in the same bag as the Platinum.

I left the store with two bags.

I raced home forgetting the gym even existed.

I yelled downstairs and begged HT to come upstairs to see what I had done. When I told him I had done something "over the top" he replied with "what did you buy?!" He knows me too well. As I pulled out the box of Gran Patron and unveiled it in all its magnificent glory, he was in awe of its beauty and we were both excited to taste it.

We headed outside to partake in my new purchase. Toddy grabbed two small bucket glasses and I poured 'em neat. We spoke a small "Blessed Be" to each other and felt the subtlety of the Gran Patron delicately stroke our palates. It is exquisite. HT said it was like drinking silk. He is 100% correct.

So based on the price I'm sure you can understand how tight-fisted I am with this particular bottle.

Fast-forward to Saturday night. Ren came by to say Hi. We (me, Hot and Ren) were on the front porch visiting and I showed her the Patron. Though she was unable to participate in a cocktail that particular evening, I offered another drink to Hot Toddy and poured one for myself.

Now there's one minor detail I feel compelled to point out. I am unaccustomed to drinking anything straight up. Even Patron Platinum. So when I pour drinks for HT and I, I pour more for him than I do for myself. Same thing Saturday night. In fact, his was a pretty heavy drink.

We sat there talking and I took very small sips of my tequila savoring each time it passed my lips. The evening got late, Ren was leaving and it was Aries' bedtime.

HT: Well, I guess I'll go downstairs. [Hot Toddy began collecting his things…vodka glass, mail, bucket glasses…]


HT: What? Oh, really? Which one was it? [He grabs the top glass, holds it to the porch light of the neighbors house to verify it was my glass of Patron and GULPS IN DOWN IN ONE DRINK] Well….NOW IT IS!!!!!! HA HA

I was blown away. $200 tequila that I share with my dearest friend who has the most indiscriminate palate of anyone I know and he guzzles down my cocktail. It's so expensive, I wasn't going to pour another, nor did I really want to. I was only going to have the one drink.

I wasn't sure what to do. Was I pissed or hurt? Was he drunk or thoughtless? Do I say anything or let it go? These things I pondered until I fell asleep and again when I awoke. I simply couldn't believe he had done it.

Later Sunday morning, Toddy and I stepped outside to have coffee and tea, respectively.

HT: Man, I was so drunk last night.

AP: Drunk?! You were drunk last night? Well, that explains the Patron incident.

HT: Oh my gawd, WHAT Patron incident.

AP: You don't remember?

HT: [hesitantly awaits my response to see how bad it was]

AP: [explains his actions the night before]…You actually took my bucket of Platinum and guzzled it down like a shot of Cuervo. I had only had two small sips of that tequila, ya bastard.

HT: Oh my gawd, Aub…I'm SO sorry. Wow, I guess that was like a ten dollar ha ha wasn't it…

AP: Yeah, Hot, ten dollar ha ha…very funny.

So let's do some simple math, shall we? A fifth of Silver is $50. A fifth of Gran Patron Platinum is $200 which is four times as much. A shot of Patron is $9 therefore a shot of Platinum would be…$36… yeah, Hot…a funny ha ha indeed!

He SO owes me a margarita the next time we go out and I'm SO not letting him off the hook.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Driving Un-etiquette

Now that I'm commuting I have time to think about a myriad of things. It's amazing what a person thinks about when they're all alone…or not.

A couple of weeks ago, Auburn Aries and I were in the car when a really bad, really slow driver pulled out in front of me. If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought they did it just to piss me off. Once behind these people there was no way out. Every red light we stopped at turned into an eternity of me begging the other driver to "PLEASE, TURN…DO SOMETHING…GET OUT OF MY WAY…"

To quote Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty..All this horsepower and nowhere to gallop.

Aries was in the car laughing and knows me well enough at this point that she started a dialogue.

AA: Man, I can't believe they pulled in front of the Mustang. Don't they know how fast this car goes? I mean, it would have only taken a second for you to be out of their way.

AP: This is all I'm sayin'!! Eh, their just jealous cause our car is nicer than theirs and if I were in front it would sting doubly bad.

AA: [mocking Jim Carrey] Laaahoooo-saaahhher [and smacks the letter L on her forehead]

Well, I started laughing which probably wasn't the right thing to do.

AP: (prepare yourself for an airhead moment) Hey, I wonder if we did that so they could see it in their rearview mirror, which hand you'd have to do it with.

Aries and I talked back and forth about - if we see it this way in the mirror, then they'd see it that way if they were looking at us, but their not. They'd be looking in their mirror too so…

Visors were pulled down; examples were shown; and we were laughing so hard it didn't matter that we were sucked into a blonde-moment vortex even though we're both redheads.

I was telling my coworkers today about the Loser hand signal in the mirror story today. Everyone was laughing and shaking their heads. One of the guys piped up and said, "you should have just told your daughter to use a lower case L (and holds his index finger in the center of his forehead). Someone else said, "You can kill two birds with one stone with that hand gesture by using your middle finger."

I laughed so hard… I reminded him that teaching my daughter to flip people off while driving isn't a good thing. I've actually taught her that when someone flips you off and are steaming mad, the best thing to do back is to flip them a Peace sign. It really chaps them when they see you were the better person!

Admittedly, however, I'm not the best example of perfect driving etiquette. Au contraire… I'm the "if they could hear me ranting they respond with road rage" girl. I cannot shut the hell up when I'm driving. It's like a hobby - which is a fun hobby for a short-tempered redhead who is Irish, Scottish, German, Indian. It's like a mini-pressure release valve similar to a pressure cooker. I'm making myself laugh today. By the time I get home I'm all cooked and easier to swallow! I’m crackin' myself up!

What I've found is that whereas I have a 90 minute drive home, if I spend it talking to someone on my cell phone with my headset on, it makes me frickin crazy. I start feeling like I have no alone time which dominoes into being snappy because I talk until I get into Portland and hang up outside daycare and immediately have to engage in conversation with Aries. Not pretty. I end up not taking any calls on my cell because I hate the damn thing.

I seem to be getting used to the drive. Sometimes I don't like forfeiting the time I spend on the road because it feels like time lost - but I've made pretty good use of it so far.

For instance, this morning traffic was heavy (I was in the fast lane not going fast.) On the shoulder was an older van that was obviously the work truck of a small mom and pop shop. As I approached I noticed blackish smoke starting to pour from the hood. The driver had propped the hood open and was running to the back of the van - hopefully to grab an extinguisher.

My instinct was to pull over and help him then I realized I don't have an extinguisher in the Mustang - something I'll have to remedy. When I checked my side mirror though, a semi-truck quickly pulled off the freeway to help him. It reminded me how tight the trucking community is and how selfless they can be. I've never met a trucker who hasn't stopped to help in some way. I just hope if the day comes that I need help like that, that I'm wearing one of my sundresses and sexy shoes!!

I've also noticed that there are a fair amount of people (translation: a lot of assholes) who think that doing 70 in the fast lane justifies their presence in that lane. For the Aries K car that won't effing move - you know - the one with the duct tape on the bumper…GET OUT'THE WAY BITCH, GET OUT'THE WAY.

And for all the people who slow waaaay down when they see a cop...the presence of a policeman doesn't mean doing one mile an hour less than the speed limit will fool him into thinking you always drive that speed. Find some ovaries and go, gawd dammit.

Just once I'd like to have the freeway to myself...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Time is a precious commodity

It's interesting that I've gone from having too much time on my hands (and not particularly caring for it) when I wasn't working to feeling like there is now never enough.

A typical Auburn Pisces day:

Wake up at 4:10 a.m.
Throw on workout clothes and head to the gym
Train with my Hot Trainer from 4:30 - 5:00 a.m.
Back home by 5:15 a.m.
Get cleaned up and put make-up on by 6 a.m.
Wake Auburn Aries up at 6:00 (which is not a quick task)
Get dressed, gather healthy snacks and make a lunch between 6:00 & 6:30.
Deal with Auburn Aries trying to convince me it doesn't matter if it's raining, flip flops are the best choice.
Shoot for getting out the door at 6:30 (translation: this means 6:45 unfortunately)
Drop Aries off at daycare
Drive and hour and ten minutes to Company South
Work until 4:30 p.m.
Drive 90 minutes back to Portland
Pick up Aries at her after school program

Evening Variables are:

Variable One:
Go to the gym by 6:30 p.m. to get in a cardio workout
Get home at 7:30 p.m.
Make dinner
Eat around 8:15 p.m.
Put Aries to bed at 9:00 p.m
Die on couch soon thereafter.

Variable two:
Go straight home after picking up Aries
Make dinner and eat by 7:15'ish
Swear to all that is Holy that tonight is the night you'll get caught up on [the laundry, cleaning off the kitchen counter or cleaning the bathrooms]
Die on the couch around 7:30 only to be awakened by Aries saying "Mommy, it's time for me to go to bed."

It's a split, really. Two nights a week it's Variable One; two nights a week it's Variable Two and the other night I pray that Toddy will be coming home right after work so we can have a cocktail on the front porch and unwind.

I'm tired. I haven't gotten used to the lack of time I now experience. I slept 12 hours both Friday and Saturday night. This feels absolutely great considering that the reality is I only get between five and six hours of sleep a night during the week. Once I nap on the couch I can't fall right to sleep when I go to bed - try as I might. I also have to contend with feeling like the day is half over when I wake up.

I turned off my cell phone for the first time in ages because I wasn't willing to forfeit any of my precious time yammering on it.

To top it all off, Aries was sick on Friday which caused me to miss a day of work. I took her to her Dad's this weekend only to receive a call this morning with her in tears due to a misunderstanding between her and her Dad and the fact that she was sick again. I left early to go get her. She slept all the way home (an hour) and feel asleep on the couch promptly after she ate a little dinner. We'll have to see what tomorrow brings. Right now it's a crap shoot.

I do have a list of things I want to blog about. The systems at work are very locked down which makes it difficult to post. Hot Toddy had a great suggestion though. If I write my entry and email it to him he will post it for me. A viable option indeed.

Thing is, I have not been very successful at planning my time better. It's times like these I wish I were a Type A personality like Hot Momma... Now there's a woman who knows how to get things done. Sadly, however, I am not. Occasionally my friends will point out that I tend to be OCD. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't seem to be in the areas I most need it.

Gurustu sent me an email that speaks of a solution that I'm implementing that will help in making me successful. (Guru, I couldn't find the link on your site to post here.) He spoke of turning "maybe" into "may be." He wrote about making a list of all the things that are going on in our lives and all the things that we want to have in the future.

Then assessing the list you've created, eliminate the things that you are clinging to for all the wrong reasons. Also eliminate the things you truly have no intention of committing to. Giving each remaining items a score rating it for what value it brings and how easy it is to obtain. Then circle the top 20% of the list. That's what's most important; that's what's going to take up 80% of our time.

He indicates that's where we'll put most of our time, energy, resources and motivation, then those most-valuable-things are the ones that truly may become.

I agree wholeheartedly with Guru's thoughts on this. It would work even on the most fundamental level. Just creating the list alone would put into perspective what you're doing with your time. For me it comes back to the saying I used while working at Company X. If everything is a priority, then ultimately nothing is.

For now, I'll keep my list of things I'll be blogging about and do what I can to get out here and get them posted. I'm sure I'll find a blog-groove soon.

How funny...I just spell checked my post and blogging wasn't listed in dictionary but flogging is. And a smile creeps across my lips......

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Midnight Thoughts

While driving home tonight from Pony and Chopper's, I saw an American Flag waving high upon a flag pole illuminated by a white light. The wind blew the flag which caused it to wave gently and perfectly. It looked a peaceful sight and I felt proud. I feel that way every time I see a flag waving like that.

I cry every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner...especially at a sporting event. I still hold my hand over my heart when I hear it.

I love that my closest friends trust me with their most private secrets. I love being the person they trust. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love that my relationship with Pony has evolved to the level it has. Toddy pointed out a few days ago that when they were dating, he never saw "this" (my relationship with Pony) coming. I agreed. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Pony holds my heart in his hand the way only a close friend can. I trust him implicitly.

I love that I am as spiritual as I am. I know there is more beyond this and that gives me peace.

I love that I live my life by a moral code and regardless of what that means to other people, I still live it because it's all I know. It's what makes me happy, content.

I miss my Mom and Dad.

I wish my brothers were still alive. I miss the way they laughed and the way they called me Merle.

When the people at my new job asked if I had considered moving near Company South, I immediately knew my answer. I wouldn't do that. I've lost members of my biological family and though my remaining family is not far away, my chosen family are equally as important and I don't want to forfeit being close to them.

I love feeling a breeze on my neck.

I had lunch with Oak Point Man today and he thought he had said or done something wrong, igniting a reader's comment calling me a hypocrite. I had to laugh when I thought about what he said. He could say anything to me and it wouldn't matter what anyone said because he and I will always be cool. I got to spend time with my good friend. It was calming.

I love the way Oak Point Man recalled Gurustu's comment back to the confused reader. Two of my friends were now connected and they didn't even know they were.

I was proud to be able to tell Oak Point Man about Gurustu and how he's helped me and that Gurustu is my friend...even though we've never met face-to-face.

I love that Hot Toddy turned me on to Pua's blog and that now she's my "Sister." I love that I worry about Pua and her family as though they were my own.

I miss my sister, Skinny Girl.

I wish I could lay beneath the stars with my daughter when it's warm and just talk.

When I look across a room at Hot Toddy and we smile at each other, I love how we know what the other one is thinking.

I wish I could express in words what my spirituality feels like to me. I wish everyone could feel it.

Being a Pagan feels so absolutely right for me sometimes it makes me cry. I've found my place in that regard. No one can ever take it away.

I love they way Aries says, "Good Morning, Momma" with her sleepy voice.

I spent time with My Boys tonight laughing. I watched each of them and their robust energy filled my heart. I studied their features and listened to them laughing. It made me want to curl up and sleep right there because I felt so safe.

I saw Pony and Chopper sitting side-by-side holding hands and I realized I wanted that as well. That comfortable, loving familiarity that comes with love.

I miss someone reaching out to hold my hand.

The thought of finding someone I can trust with my heart and with my daughter feels tiring, my standards are so high.

I'd like to find someone who can love and be honest without fear. That is so beautiful to me.

I know that person won't cross my path until I'm ready.

Until then, it's all good.

Tonight I am blessed with a peaceful heart.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Glimpse at Oak Point Man

Within the pages of my blog, I have mentioned various people over the past year and a half. They are people with whom I am close and like to give you a glimpse into who they are as well. They are truly people worth knowing (in most cases anyway!).

Sometimes the stories I tell take you on a walk. They create a vision in your head. In the absence of personal knowledge about those I speak of, your vision may have faces you've merely imagined we have.

My entries may be funny or sad, poignant or ridiculous but either way they are a look into my space in time at that moment.

It's true that in many cases a person's blog isn't who they truly are. I doubt there are many of us who'd truly want the details of our personal life splashed on the pages of the 'Net. Who'd read it? I've often been told I should write a book about my life. I've often thought of it. It would not, however, be for the copies I may or may not sell but more so for the ability to keep some kind of memoir.

Other times I think that my life may not be much different than anyone else's. Okay, that's not true. I've done some pretty freaky things in this lifetime that make for great story telling but those things may best be left untold - or told only to those who love me unconditionally.

My point to all of this is I was talking to a wonderful man last night. He's someone with whom I've spent a good deal of time. He told me last night that he enjoys reading my blog because (to paraphrase) he knows the real me and he finds it interesting to read what piece of my life I've chosen to share that day.

We continued the conversation for a short while and then he spoke of a book he was reading and a specific passage that reminded him of me. He searched for it while we were on the phone and read it to me. I was so moved by what I heard him read and subsequently by what he said with regard to how he feels it describes me that I want to share it with you.

This email was from my friend Oak Point Man. The book is People of the Raven.

He wrote:
Here is that passage I told you about on the phone... It is a conversation between a 'Holy Man' and an apprentice Holy Man.

...."True compassion does not make a man feel pride. Its core is humility and sacrifice. If you feel pride after an act of compassion, you've clearly only sacrificed enough to make yourself feel good".
"I like feeling good after I help someone."
"Feeling good is not the goal. The heart of compassion is sacrifice." He halts long enough to inhale a deep breath, then adds, "When a human being sacrifices so much for another's sake that he feels empty and bereft, he has, for one shining moment, been truly compassionate. All other acts of 'compassion' are simple selfishness.
I tell him, "If what you say is true, it's a miracle anyone is ever compassionate twice."
The Soul Keeper scoffs, "It's not supposed to be easy."

When I read this, I thought about the most compassionate person I know... you! I really enjoyed the message... I hope you do also.

Thank you, Oak Point Man, for thinking such a beautiful thing about me. I am just me and it pleases me that I have in some way touched your life the way I have.

Oak Point Man owns a nursery that specializes in plants native to the Northwest. It's an endeavor he would like to see self-sustaining giving him the ability to stop 'workin' for the man.' I know some of you don't live anywhere near here, but take a minute to look at his website. He is an amazing person that I think the world of and I'm blessed to have him in my life.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Aub Finds Job!!!!!

Sounds like a headline, doesn't it?! It is just that in this household - worthy of headline news.

I started looking for work in mid to late-January. I had a couple of really great leads here in Portland and held off on putting my resume into the Abyss on the Internet with the hope that I would see those leads into gainful employment.

A couple of weeks ago while sipping a Margarita and reading the baseball stats one evening, I heard a commercial for one of the leading job search websites that claimed you'd land a job twice as fast if you posted on their site. In absolute exasperation from holding out on what I thought would be "the job," I posted it...there and several other places.

Within two hours I was receiving calls and emails like crazy. Within 24 hours, I had been contacted by a recruiter who had a contract job until July 2007 making six figures. The only drawback to the position was it's 50 miles south of Portland.

In less than a week, I had an interview at "Company South" and within one full week I had an offer.

I struggled initially with the offer. This would mean a minimum of two additional hours a day away from Aries and on the road. When I first heard about the position, I walked into the living room and talked to Aries.

AP: Oh my gosh, Aries, I just heard about this great job. The whole system would be my baby. A ground up position making really great money.

AA: Why don't you take it?

AP: There's only one problem, it's 50 miles south of here.

AA: [looks toward the ceiling and ponders her thoughts for a moment] Well, we could move. I would be willing to move and change schools if it meant you would be happy.

AP: [HUGANTIC, GINORMIC LUMP IN THROAT] Baby, you are the most wonderful daughter on the planet. I can't believe you'd do that.

AA: I just want you to be happy when you go to work every day. You were never happy at Company X and if this means you would be, I can always make new friends.

I thanked her, told her I loved her and reminded her that I own this house and can't just walk away from it but assured her I'd think about the position. Even now when I think about what must have gone through her mind and the sacrifices she was willing to make for me, it makes me tear up. I love her so much that I've exceeded the depths in which I thought I could love another human being.

After a looooong discussion with Pony and a subsequent conversation with Hot, I accepted the position. Though I didn't buy my Mustang for a commuter car, at least I'll be going in style. And if everything works out okay, I can lease something if it comes to that. My trainer at the gym laughed at me this morning and said at the end of my contract I should just buy another Mustang and quit worrying about it.

Not a bad idea except the level-headed part of me (which for a double-Pisces rarely exists) thinks about filling my 16 gallon tank twice a week (or more) at $3 a gallon (if it gets to that) cringes at the thought of the expense of going in style.

Who just said that? It sounded like me but seems really weird coming from my lips.

My greatest fear is leaving this life too early and leaving that beautiful daughter of mine alone to figure it all out on her own. The thought of her heart breaking if she lost me is more than I can bear. I just upped the odds by commuting.

So I had to quiet my brain down long enough to realize there is a reason this particular job opened up and the others didn't. I have to trust in that. I won't lie and say I'm not worried about something happening to me on the freeway but I have to have faith that everything will be okay.
If feels so great to have something lined up. I'm starting this Wednesday - I had hoped to be able to take a day and just read - guilt free, but that's not going to happen. Aries was sick with the flu Tuesday through Friday of last week and then I awoke Saturday morning with it and was sick all weekend. I haven't been sick like that in forever. Can't say I missed it.

So I have today and tomorrow to get my things in order. Once I'm out of Portland working, it limits what I can do until I find ways to adjust. I went from too much time on my hands to not having nearly enough.

Careful what'cha wish for, you just might get it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Earthquake Awareness

The new furnace was installed yesterday. In as much as I hated paying for it because my money tree is stripped bare, it was wonderful to feel heat in my house again.

I promptly called Hot Toddy at work and left a message...

"Go 'head, ask me. Ask me. Ask me how it feels to be warm again. It's so nice to have heat in the house and be warm again. I'm not cold. No sir-ry. Not cold at all. Not me. Okay, that's all I have to say." [click]

Once the furnace guys were out of the house, I was able to get my day back on track which required one more call to The Toaster Oven.


AP: [laughing] Hello? Since when do you answer the phone at work like that?!

HT: Since I'm under my desk. We're having a mock earthquake drill and Juju and I both dropped underneath our desks like we were supposed to. My phone rang so I answered it. You just happened to catch me in the middle of an earthquake, that's all.

AP: What good employees you two are.

HT: I know. When they walked through our area and said "earthquake drill" everybody else just stood around talking about it but Juju and I knew what to do. Although...just in case I got bored under here, I did grab my World of Warcraft book to read while I'm under my desk.

AP: [laughing]

HT: Hey, Juju.

Juju: Yeah?

HT: Are you still under your desk.

Juju: No. [she said something else I couldn't make out].

HT: No, I think I'll just stay down here. There might be aftershocks!

The childlike innocence, excitement and silliness in his voice were priceless. He sees humor in situations and capitalizes on it so quickly that I often wonder where the ideas come from. It's comedic genius. I could totally see him writing another play about office life and writing that into the script.

I was just calling to let him know I was behind on getting the laundry done and was going to be needing the washer and dryer after he got home. I usually try not to invade his personal space with such chores when he's home since it requires I be downstairs.

What I got was an exchange that totally made me laugh which is something I've not had enough of lately.

I posted my resume into The Abyss on the Internet and within just a few hours I was receiving calls like crazy. A company in Boise called looking for an AIX Engineer and was willing to line up strippers for private dances just to get me to relocate.

Another firm was willing to give me time to blow the dust off my Unix skills, train me on their product and pay me $100k... to travel the country to different offices 85% of the time. "But we'll make sure you're home 'most' weekends." I'm sorry, bite my what?

There have been some really great opportunities that are very real that I am scheduling interviews for. I want so badly for something to cross my path that really gets me charged up. Goddess, how I miss the old me.

I realized today that whereas yesterday I felt depleted and out of options, I realized today that patience is the ultimate option. It's similar to the saying that change is the only constant. For me, if I can incorporate into my thought process that patience is the ultimate option, I think I'll be a lot better off.

I know not every situation is going to be conducive to taking the patient approach. Some situations require an immediate response. But for me, if I can build in a pause and realize that not everything needs an answer right now I will find some of the faith it feels like I've lost.

Sometimes I forget that things happen for a reason. I've had a tough time of it lately and though I don't currently know why these things are going on in my life, I'll find some patience and know that one day it will become clear why I had to endure so many bumps along the way.

If there's one thing I do know, it's that I'm a strong woman and I will be standing tall on the other side of this.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

When it rains...

How is it possible the sun is shining so beautifully today yet when it rains it pours?

I took Aries to opening day of Mariner season. More on that tomorrow. For right now I just need to vent.

When we arrived home last night from the game, Hot Toddy pointed out that the furnace wasn't working. I checked it but there was nothing I could do.

It isn't necessarily cold here at night right now. Not by ordinary standards I guess. I, on the other hand, am usually cold. Though it was 60 degrees when I awoke this morning, I couldn't shake the chill in the air.

I called the furnace guy to come over and take a look at it. It's a guy I trust. He owns the heating and a/c company. He poked around and finally broke the news to me.

It's time for a new furnace.

He said he my current furnace was installed in 1987 (which seems not that long ago), however, when he said it was almost 20 years old I realized avoiding a new furnace may not be possible.

He did say he could find parts for the blower, ignition thingy for the pilot light and the motor but that it would cost quite a bit to fix since the parts are no longer manufactured. He also said he couldn't guarantee it wouldn't still crap out on me.

He looked at the house, compared my 70% efficient furnace to the new 92% efficient (I can't afford the 99% efficient one right now) and we worked up some numbers.

Sweet Hot Toddy called me after I left him a tear soaked message on his voicemail. He pointed out that it's Spring and that he's okay warmth-wise. That maybe we could just leave the furnace off and not worry about it until I get back to work. Bless his heart.

And maybe if I didn't have a daughter, I might contemplate doing that. Maybe. Aries awoke this morning to a cold house and couldn't shake the chill. And who am I kidding, I don't like to be cold.

In as much as I would love to have lived in the 1800's riding horses and carrying pistols strapped to my leather pants..where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to say that I don't know how I'd have stood it with no damn furnace in the house. But it just occurred to me that back then I'd have just built a fire.

There's 5 minutes of your life you're never getting back.

Anyhoo, I'm broke, my job search is never ending - it seems no one ever calls you back, I'm supporting my kid on a wing and a prayer and now I have to pay $2500 for a new furnace.

Needless to say when the furnace guy left, I broke down and cried. Not silent trickling tears down a sad face, but full-on, head hanging low, hand on my forehead, sound coming out of my mouth, crying. I walked directly into my bedroom next to my bed, fell to my knees and begged for help. I don't know what to do anymore.

I've, once again, thrown it all up to the Gods and Goddesses. They can handle it.

I've tried to remain strong through all I've gone through lately. There's a chunk of my stress I don't write about here for legal reasons. But I've tried to not string things together. I've seen them as individual events that happen to be taking place relatively close together.

But after today, I actually asked why me. What is it I've done to piss someone off to "deserve" this. Now granted that's a victim's attitude. But I have to wonder wtf is up with my life lately.

I know things will work out. They always do...But it's amazing what you can get used to, isn't it?

Okay, I need to post this and log off. My frickin' laptop is making a helluva noise and the last thing I need in the middle of a job search is my computer crapping out on me. More tomorrow (hopefully).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I am NOT old

Over the weekend, I brought in the mail and sat it on my desk. Upon checking it on Sunday, I realized that I had received a communication from the Oregon Osteoporosis Center. They were inviting me to participate in a research study.

How very nice of them.

How very special that they'd think of me.


It clearly states on the gd letter that to qualify you must be 45-60 years old. 45-60, people. Learn simple math, you morons.

I know perhaps I seem overly sensitive to the invitation to participate in the holy-shit-you're-getting-old survey. I mean, who wouldn't be thrilled to have some density testing done to find out if they have thinning bones - thinning bones that could result in fractures of the hip.

I mean for cryin' out loud, jerkwads...

I just had my 43rd (forty-third) birthday.

I go to the gym five or six days a week.

I start my workouts with squats and lunges.

I work with a trainer who gets paid to inflict pain upon my person.

I do 30-45 minutes on the elliptical.

I sweat more than a whore in church.

People are constantly asking me how it is I'm still single.

I am a desirable, warm person with depth who's in the prime of her life.

Now granted I only recently started working out, but if it's a yes or no question, then, yes, I'm kickin' ass.

So, Oregon Osteoporosis Center, thank you for the offer for the calcium supplements and for the kind and generous invitation to step across the threshold into my twilight years, but I think I'll pass.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Hail, hail, the gang's all here

While hanging with the Chosen Fam recently at C.C.'s, we were all engulfed in various conversations. I had been watching the boy porn trying to get a closer look at the tattoos on this particular porn. No, really, I was looking at his ink - okay, not just his ink, but...

I inquired about it. The Professor said that it was Dred Scott (sorry I couldn't find a better photo).

AP: I wish they'd do a close up shot of his tattoos.

HT: Doesn't his tattoo look like a corset or something a can-can girl would wear?

AP: No.

HT: Oh my God. I just sounded so gay a purse just fell out of my mouth. I might as well put on a beehive wig and start lip-syncing to Bette Midler right now.

I couldn't grab the trick pad quickly enough to make notes.

Later on, Zereos, the clever bartender, noticed the bowl of popcorn before us was empty.

Z: Hey, you guys are out of popcorn. Can I get you some more? You know, popcorn is like heroin. It's made out babies [as Zereos taps the vein in his arm like an addict and walks away].

Again, I race for the trick sheet to make my notes.

It's common knowledge how much I love Hot Toddy. When he and I get to spend time together, it makes me happy. He is always so witty it amazes me how his brain works. This particular evening was no different.

Hot Toddy had gone outside to plug the electronic meter which spits out a stickered receipt to post inside your car window on the curb side. Rather than put it in Sven, he walked back into the bar and sat down beside me casually sitting the sticker in front of himself.

HT: Good, I have my sticker.

AP: Why didn't you put it in your truck?!?!

HT: Oooooh. You have to put it in your window.

As he walked out the door, I was about to pee my pants from laughing so hard. His intentional blonde moments crack me up.

Then there was the boxing conversation.

TP: This is why gay men are bad at boxing...they think this is a fist [making a motion with his hand similar to when you would mock someone talking too much - thumb placed beneath all four fingers].

HT: It isn't fisting. It should be called "lobster clawing."

It was then The Math Whiz piped up.

TMW: Oh, it was so good...I got lobster clawed last week.

Again, to my blog notes I went while practically blowing Margarita all over the place.

Upon completing my notes, I looked over to find Hot Toddy digging diligently in the bottom of the pretzel bowl.

HT: Sorry, I'm just trying to get to the salt.

Pony: Hey, I'm the Pony. I get the salt lick.

HT: I crave salt waaaaaaaaaaay more than I crave pussy.

We all lost it. I've never known anyone who cringes more than Hot Toddy when it comes to talking about girl parts.

There were a couple of guys leaving the bar, one of them looked like Osama.

AP: Hey, look, it's Osama Bin Laden.

MzKarma: Bush hasn't been looking in gays bars for him!

That's probably where that bastard is hiding. He's probably tucked away in some gay bar or porn shop incapable of stepping away from the Glory Hole.

I spent a little time visiting with The Handsome Prince. Even he had his clever cap on that evening.

AP: [motioning toward the boy porn] Look, that bottom must like that action in his ass - his penis is hard.

THP: Yeah, it's called Viagra. It must be like beer nuts on a porn shoot - there are just huge bowls of Viagra sitting all over the place.

Though we do at some point in the week get together at C.C.'s, it's rare that the whole gang is there together. Since the gatherings at The Vortex have ceased since Hot now lives with me, we don't seem to gather like that as frequently. It's good to know when we do, it's like we've never been apart.