Happy Birthday to My Youngest

My son, Braden Erik, has grown to be an exceptional man. There is absolutely nothing not to admire about him. But one thing stands out because he is the constant companion of his young daughter, Alexa Jade. This year, he turns the quarter-of-a-century corner and it marks an exciting time, as Braden has accepted a scholarship to play football at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. We will be heading that way in June and a new adventure will begin. Much love and best wishes, my son!

A Quiet Man of Music

One of my earliest memories of my father is hearing him sing and play Edelweiss (from Sound of Music) on guitar. Such a sweet, soulful song. I know I was awfully young to be sensing soulfulness but there it was. As a family, we’ve done a lot of singing together. When we lived in Japan (circa 1965), mom and dad and their friends would sing often at get-togethers. Some of the wives even formed a singing group called, “The Whymsingers.” And throughout our lives, there was always music. When camping, everyone would get out their guitars, ukuleles, etc. and we’d sing. It was the best time ever. This tradition continues, as the children and grandchildren grow up and learn to love music and lead their own songs at campsites. I remember my dad teaching me to skip rocks. I remember watching his example of great respect toward our mother. And I recall getting old enough to start asking him questions that really meant something. He always gave the best answers. Still does. There are so many memories to share. Like the way that he feeds the stray cats that show up in winter until mom finally says, “If I get home today and that cat is still here, we’re keeping it.” Or asking him for a favor and having him say, “Maybe,” which really always means yes. And hearing him tell stories of when he was a kid in Minnesota. Oh I get such a kick out of those stories. Watching old war movies with my dad was always one of my favorite things to do. He would explain to me as we watched and I’d have to say that it is from him that I learned more about military history than I have anywhere else. It’s been hard for us girls (four daughters) to find men who can live up to the standard our dad has set. When I was young, I honestly thought all men were like my father. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? Wow. What a shock to find that there are very few truly good men out there. And what a thrill when we find them. My dad is a quiet man. He’s very tolerant of the foibles found in others. He loves his family ferociously. He does not back down on that under any circumstances. He leads by example, which is a cliché that is often used but not so often really true. He has taught me how to love unconditionally and to never despair. That there is nothing too hard that can’t be overcome. That the mind is a great thing and is really where the battle is fought. Thanks, Dad. I love you so much.

Erin and Her Angels

My daughter is a cocktail waitress at a cowboy bar. As I’m sure you can imagine, she has many stories to tell. So I suggested she start a blog. She said, “You do it.” So I might.

But let’s just start with this.

This cowboy bar is situated on the fringes of the San Fernando Valley. Recently, Erin’s baby brother started working there as a bouncer on Friday nights. Yep, he’s our 6’3” baby. And he’s making all the purrty girls swoon. I don’t think they have ever really had a bouncer there before. I think Erin usually winds up filling that role. Erin is no brawny girl. She’s a bright and shining light with a smile that can draw even the most jaded of characters out. But what she lacks in brawn, she makes up for in unwavering determination to keep things civil.

A few years ago, a very drunken patron decided he was going to start tossing bar stools. Erin backed him up against a wall and told him he was to leave immediately. He suggested that she try and make him, so she shoved him out the door and locked it, proceeding to call the police. All the while, everyone else stood in stunned silence. From beginning to end. This is not the type of situation where Erin waits to see if someone else is going to take care of the problem, she just steps up and starts doing it. Many a man would be happy to rush forward and take care of this ruff customer, but Erin just doesn’t give them time.

So Friday night, a fella who was so drunk he could hardly walk decided he was going to get on his bike and drive off. Erin followed him out to the parking lot, telling him he was NOT to drive. He said he was okay to drive and would be fine. She insisted that she was not about to allow him to drive off, advising him that she didn’t really give a shit if he killed himself, but he was bound to injure or kill someone else. He reeled and said to her, “Do you KNOW who I am??” She said, “I don’t care if you’re fucking Spongebob Squarepants! If you get on that bike, I’m going to knock you over!” He hollered back, “I don’t think so! I’m a Hells Angel!” proceeding to straddle his bike.

Now it so happened that there were two real Hell’s Angels in the bar crowd. So this happened to be a big mistake on the part of Mister Squarepants. These boys came forward, pulled Mister Squarepants off his bike and tossed him hard on the ground, letting him know that if he EVER claimed to be a Hell’s Angel again, he would be severely beaten.

After the dust settled, someone asked Erin’s brother why he didn’t get involved. He said, “I think she had it all under control.” And she did. But the boys were all there to back her up.

Years ago, I found myself in hostile bar situation. I was in the Philippines, Subic Bay. As always, the Marines and the sailors had marked their territories at separate bars in town. The Navy Seals had claimed a bar called, “The Rolling Stone.” (Big neon tongue was on the sign outside.) I was inside hanging out with the Seals. Everyone was happy, having a great time. Dancing and drinking. Suddenly, the mood changed. I saw these happy men’s faces change as they began to walk toward the door in a group. A young Marine had wandered in, not knowing he was hostile territory. But he found out soon enough. They surrounded him and started backing him up until he fell backwards onto the dance floor. The whole place was silently watching. I said to myself, “Fuck this.” I pushed through the mob of attackers and stood in front of the quaking Marine. I told the mob to back off and leave him alone, promising to escort him out. Now this could have turned out badly. They could have turned on me, too. But they backed off and I took the young man out, advising him to be careful about which bars are which before he enters.

I don’t know if I had any boys to back me up that night. I suppose you could say that the Seals did the gentlemanly thing by deciding to disburse instead of pressing on with their irascible plan. I left there amazed that a happy crowd could so easily turn ugly. And I didn’t like that.

Still, I’m glad that Erin isn’t afraid to rush headlong into danger, knowing she has the right heart motivation, fed with the right kind of anger.

And I feel secure knowing that there are always angels watching over her. In one form or another.

*This story is all true. Except for the Spongebob comment. We added that later. We think all stories should include a Spongebob reference. :)

A Whore By Any Other Name

Labels. We all hate them. Yet we all use them. Even those of us who hate them intensely. But I want to talk specifically about the label of “whore.” Often interchangeable with slut, hussy, loose, immoral or scarlet woman. To which I say, I've always looked good in red. :)

When I was a young girl, I heard about “these” women. But I must say, in movies and tv shows, they were the very most interesting women. I was intrigued by them early on. They seemed to possess a confidence that other women didn’t. Still, you certainly didn’t want the stigma of being called a slut or a whore when you were in school. If you were smart, you could even be promiscuous (and by that I do not necessarily refer to sex, because you can obtain those labels even by kissing too many boys) as long as you were careful about who knew about it. However, at the very least, two people knew about it… you and him! And let’s face it; discretion isn’t exactly a developed character trait in young people. So, unless you were very prim and proper, you probably stumbled into the label on one level or another.

My first sexual experience (and by that I do mean sex) was when I was 18 years old. That might sound young to some, but in the culture I was in, I was a little behind my female comrades. My boyfriend and I had been dating for a year and a half. He was RELENTLESS in his attempts to get me into the fucking position. I wish I’d had the nerve to smack him upside the head. But, I was determined to wait until I felt comfortable and ready. And then the day came when I told him, “I’m ready.” Sex was good. Nothing sensational, just good. I did enjoy it but I soon discovered he had another “girlfriend” in another city. She and I happened to run into one another at a mutual friend’s house. It was really quite uncanny. We hit it off right away and started chatting. She was great, actually! And then…………. She mentioned her boyfriend. And told me his name. And I said, “um… that’s my boyfriend tooooooo.”

Funny. So, we sat together and compared a few notes and then, he showed up. Surprised as hell to find us there together. So that was the end of that. In the end, I certainly wound up liking her better than I liked him. Hee.

After that, I did a fair amount of experimenting with my sexuality. I never did wander too far there. Didn’t really have a desire to try out same sex or multiple partners. But I did enjoy the physical pleasures that men had to offer. There was never a concern in my mind that it was wrong or sinful, as I didn’t really have that sort of background. Our society (and especially the society in Utah where I was living) definitely tries to impress that idea upon everyone, but I had never really grabbed hold of it. And it never really grabbed hold of me. My family background provided me with what I feel is a large level of self worth and no religious hang-ups.

I had fun. Unabashedly. One night stands, trysts with married men, trysts with younger and older men. Sex with two or three different men on the same day. Fun stuff. Loving every minute of it. But, as is wont to happen to a young woman, some young man comes along and wants you to themselves. Well this is okay. I don’t have a hard time being a one man woman. It’s quite natural for me, as long as he’s taking care of me… if ya know what I mean. *wink wink*

It’s okay if this story is boring you and you feel the need to depart before having to swallow any more of it. (hee, I said swallow) In fact, it’s kind of boring me. But I’m going to keep rambling anyway.

So along comes this man (and yes, let’s go ahead and use the term “man” loosely) who wants me as his one and only. After we’d been together a little while, he decides that he needs to know how many men I’ve been with. I think this is none of his business. But, being young and naïve, I don’t really have the nerve to say that. So I quickly deduce how many men I’ve been with that really counted. Like, not including one night stands. I say “Three.” The guy looks at me with shock and disgust. He can’t believe it. He says something like, “Oh… my… God… you are SUCH A whore.” And then goes on to tell me that he may as well go fuck a hole in the back yard as fuck someone like me. I was fairly devastated. I did not at all think that I was a whore. I just thought I was comfortable with my sexuality and enjoying my body. Never once did I think of my behavior as being wrong. We won’t go into the moral burdens he procured from his Baptist background but suffice it to say, he was the one with the problem. Not me. BUT I fancied myself in love with him. He got over it and apologized. But I’m not sure you can really fully apologize for saying something so deeply and intentionally hurtful. If we must, though, we can zip on ahead to the not too distant future and see that I married this man. And on we went into happily ever after, right? It took me 18 years to finally tell him that it’s wrong to talk to people that way and that he wouldn’t be allowed to do it to me anymore because I was leaving. Yes, he had continued to do so in many other ways, shapes and forms, attacking my self esteem as if it were his highest goal in life to make me feel inferior.

Ah, fresh air. Breathing. The light of the moon reviving me. I touched everything I could because I could once again feel things purely and unadulterated (pun intended…hehehe). I was able to enjoy my own sexuality again. During the years I was married, I was made to feel as if sex were my job. I resisted this idea at first. This made me never want to have sex. But eventually I realized that the only time my husband touched me or showed me any affection was during sex. So I kind of grew hungry for it. Starved, even. This created a sort of faux intimacy. It made it seem like our relationship was fine because we were sexually active. Sex should be the expression of the intimacy that a couple enjoys, but we were just trying to create intimacy. And so went the ups and downs of married life. (Too punny??)

But now I was free to enjoy sex again. Just as I am. No pretending. No sin. Just sex. The enjoyment of the bodies of two people entangled. And it was great. A friend of mine at the time asked, “Doesn’t it make you feel like a whore sleeping around like that?” I said, “No. I felt like a whore when I was married.”

So, cut to today. Labels. Am I a whore or not? Of course I’m not. And of course I am. I playfully refer to myself as a whore. And I gladly say it out loud to those puritans who have an absolute need to call me something. Hey, if it makes them feel better, who am I to stand in the way of their happiness?

What did I learn from this ridiculously long lesson? That it’s cool with me if a man calls me a whore right up front. That way, I won’t have to worry about him trying to beat me with his own emotional chains that he so desperately loves. Because a man who has problems with whores, is a man who doesn’t really need to be in my life.

Easily Onward, Through Flowers and Weed

This is my mom (on the right). Circa 1967. And this is how beautiful she is to me.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

I was thinking about my mom today while I was making my breakfast. When we lived in Japan back then, she learned to make an omelet in a wok. She would swirl the egg mixture around the pan and it would create a thin, thin wrapper for whatever you might want to put inside. She would put buttered rice inside of it for us and it was sooooo yummy. My sister, Tami, loved ketchup on hers. I hated ketchup. So I chose barbecue sauce instead. (You know kids. They think they need sauce on everything.) I know this sounds weird, but I love it.

This wok omelet is something I never learned, so I resorted to just making scrambled eggs on top of rice with bbq sauce drizzled over it. Still tastes like that great breakfast, sans the love. However, the memory of the love is there. In every bite. Every single time I make this, I remember the warm love of my mother. Today, as I drizzled the bbq sauce on my eggs, I had a little flashback to the sight of my mother doing this. She didn’t haphazardly toss it on my omelet. She made everything pretty and nice. I deeply felt that the reason she made things special was because I was special. She never complained about the terrible trial of raising four girls. I’m sure she had bad days, but I don’t recall her ever taking them out on anyone. She must have suffered in private. Because God knows, motherhood is full of suffering. But here’s what I learned from her:

Children ought to be made to feel important, but not most important. Children should not feel more important than their parents. The world (or the omelet) can be handed to them on a platter, but the world does not revolve around them. Parents should be given the position of respect. And it’s right for parents to respect each other. We were told when dad came home, he was tired and needed peace and quiet. She honored him highly. Never did she speak a disparaging word about him. By example, she made the demand that we respect him as much as she did. We got the same message from him. He revered my mother and by example, made sure that we respected her as much as he did. We were not given the first position. They were. But this made us feel no less important.

It’s tricky business, this. Friends and I have often discussed the issue that seems to come up when single parents date and develop serious relationships. Sometimes there are implications or full on accusations that “You are choosing your children over me!” First of all, if someone says that to me, it’s already over. Mainly because it is definitely not a matter of “choosing” but also because I think this makes that person a whiny bitch and I see no future for us. Most people respond with, “Yeah! Of course I choose my children over you! They are my children!” But as I said, I find this to be putting the concept on a level where it does not belong. And I refuse to put it there. Of course I don’t think it’s a good thing to put your children’s demands above those of your needs. The same goes for your significant other’s needs. I also don’t think it’s okay to put the demands of your significant other above the needs of your children. So you see what I’m getting at? Just as in the home I grew up in, my mother didn’t teach us that our father mattered more. Nor did she tell him that we mattered more. We all mattered. She just showed us that in different circumstances, some needs take precedence. And that love and respect should rule in all of these things.

So there you have it. Lessons from the wok of life. I love you, mom.

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Angels Can Fly...

... because they take themselves lightly.

Remember the "Love Is..." comics from the 70s? And all of the "Happiness Is..." quotes that were being tossed around? It was a decade of love and happiness. Or at least it was trying to be.

I loved these trends. My father used to call me a Little Pollyanna. Which, of course, forced me to look up what a Pollyanna was.

But in the end both love and happiness are choices. We choose to love and we choose to be happy. I know... it's terribly cliche. But it's true. And these are not easy choices. Love and happiness aren't things that just happen to you. I'm afraid that most of us sit around waiting for them to do just that. But they don't. And then we're sad. And then we're bitter. And so we wind up with hate and despair. And we're sure it's not our fault.

Ugh.

So, if you can't muster up the strength today to choose to be happy or choose to love then at least remember not to take yourself too seriously. It's the first step in the right direction for both.

Hauling Ash

Hauling Ash. Could be the story of a family who owns a crematorium. Could be a Cinderella story. So goes the confusion of ashes and dust.

Recently, I’ve been pondering death. It’s never really mattered much to me what happens to my body after I’ve died, since I don’t intend to be in it. I have always believed that those things are done for the living. Those left behind. Sometimes people just need certain things to happen in order to help them grieve the loss of that loved one. I would prefer to be cremated. I hate to think of people going to a lot of expense to put my useless body in a casket and plant it in the ground. The funeral biz is such a racket and I do not want my loved ones being taken advantage of when they are feeling weak. Plus, I hate the idea of my body being put into the ground. On the other hand, I think it’s wrong to make demands about the observance of my passing. After all, I won’t be there! ;) So…… that’s sorta where I’ve left it. Kinda nowhere.

A couple of years ago, on Memorial Day, my Tiny was working at a store where she watched people come in and pick out flowers to put on the grave of a loved one. It bothered her that they often chose the cheapest ones. A man had even asked her for advice and she suggested roses. After looking at the price, he settled on the cheap ones, too. So, the other day I was thinking about that. I know my Tiny would like to be able to visit me somewhere after I’m gone. I wondered where that would be. The first place I thought of was Santa Monica Pier. After my divorce, I met my friend Jack, who lives in a high rise apartment building at Santa Monica Beach. He very generously offered to let me stay in his guest room whenever I wanted to get away from it all. I would arrive in the late afternoon, he and I would go to dinner and then he would work long hours into the night, writing stories like, "Hauling Ash." When I awoke in the morning (usually around 7 or 8) I would take my book, walk down to a local restaurant (The Omelette Parlor) and have a quiet breakfast. Then I’d walk to the beach, sit down and read my book. This was a very healing and tranquil time for me. And my fondness for Jack, and Santa Monica, quickly grew to a degree of great affection. To this day, Jack still welcomes me any time I want to visit. Jack and I were never romantically involved, but we remain very close friends and he is a man I very much adore.

I’ve visited and lived many places in my life. But my favorite places have always been near the Pacific Ocean. So here’s my suggestion:

Let me burn and scatter my ashes in the Pacific. That way, anyone who wants to “visit” me can meet me anywhere that the ocean meets the land. I don’t know if I will be able to really go and meet them, but if things are anything like they are in the world of fantasy and fairy tales, I believe I will be hanging out at that Pier. ;)

And maybe somewhere, a sign can be planted that states my epitaph, which I wrote myself a number of years ago:

They say there is beefcake for every fine lassie,
As long as you promise to keep your fine chassis!
While his member is throbbing to enter a beauty,
He doesn’t care which… only knows it’s his duty!
So I’m leaving the men, to their own discredit ~
And what of my cake? I already et it!

And who’s to say that these things will even remotely come to pass? Check out what happened with Dorothy Parker’s ashes.

But just for the record, when I talked with my daughter, Erin, about this she said, “If that’s what you want, Mom, I will be sure it gets done.”

We've All Been Through Our Own Kind of Hell

We are tempted to get into pissing contests over whose hell has been worse. But for each of us, it was hell. I remember, when I first moved to Virginia, a fella I met was trying to convince me that it was the biggest mistake of my life. He said “The laws here are very strict and you’ll spend all of your time trying to get out from under their thumb.” I said, “Oh, I’m sure I’ll do fine.” He kept pressing the point. “Oh no,” he said, “you won’t do fine. It sucks here.” I asked him why he didn’t move then. “I can’t. I can’t afford to. I have to pay fines…” and blah blah blah. He was completely boring me and I wanted him to stop talking to me and move on. I finally said, “Look! I’ve been to hell and back! I don’t think Virginia is gonna kick my ass!” That shut him up long enough for me to say so long.

I don’t like negativity. I think it’s rude to tell someone who just moved somewhere that they are not going to like it. Or to tell someone who is about to start a new job or move to a new place that they are not going to like it. I learned early on in my life that you can like it no matter where you are. Because you certainly cannot like it where you are not!

Still, we’ve all been through hell. The key word being “through.” Like the song says ~ if you’re going through hell, keep on going. There is absolutely no excuse for staying in hell. I should know. I stayed there for far too long. And I have nothing like a good excuse for it.

Let’s let JoDee have the last word on this:

I’ve felt the chill of this world cut down to the bone.
I’ve walked many a mile down this road on my own.
I’ve been through hell on my knees ~
Come face to face with the devil.
And I know that it’s hard to believe… but it gets better.

Things Don't Get More Beautiful Than This

Sharing pics of the flower girls because well... two out of three of them are MINE! Little Lexi looks just like an angel. And my little Maori Princess, Bryn, is all set to grow up in a royal way to say, "Let them eat cake!"





















LO and BEHOLD ~ today I received a message from Becky that the wedding video was ready! Woo hoo! Check it out.

Becky & George's Ceremony from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.

Amazing Grace

Harmony Grace Lee arrived on Friday, May 1st. May Day baby. Her mum was also born on a Friday. Friday the 13th on a September day, 23 years ago.

Little Harmony’s mum is Gracianna. My sister Erika named Graci after our grandfather’s sister, Grace and our father's mother, Anna.

My mother says that her Aunt Grace was a saint, if ever there was one. A beautiful spirit who spent her days on her knees, praying for her baby brother (Grandpa) ~ a man who squandered most of his time on booze and women. Yet, he was a charming, charismatic soul and all who knew him loved his company. Perhaps her prayers were answered in that way. At any rate, he did finally turn toward sobriety when a picnic turned sour as he made a pass at his son’s wife and said son proceeded to knock him out, dragging him through the streets of town and dumping him on his front porch. Grandpa never had a drink after that. He settled down and became a very tame husband to his shrewish second wife. But he still told dirty jokes every chance he got. :)

Grace was twenty when Alva Lee was born. Rumors circle around the family that he was actually Grace’s baby and, given the fact that it was 1910, Grace’s parents chose to tell people that he was her brother. She took care of him as if he were her own, and she never married. Never even came close. Either way, sister or mother, she loved that boy until the day she died at age 88.

Now on to her namesake, Gracianna. Graci was born in adverse times. It’s a miracle that she survived the situation she was in. Along with her mother. There were times we thought someone was going to die and we dreaded every phone call. Graci’s father was severely abusive to her mother, my sweet baby sister. But Erika left him while Graci was still very young and they both moved on to live stable and unthreatened lives. Let it be said, though, that Graci’s father has never been anything but sweet to her and supportive in the best ways he knows how.

When Graci graduated High School, she went to San Francisco to attend culinary school. She does currently work in a field that allows her some small amount of opportunity to enjoy her craft, but she hopes to lean further on that dream in the future.

That brings us to Harmony Grace. I’m going to call her Mazie (short for Amazing Grace). We had thought to call Graci by this nickname when she was born, but it never stuck. We’ll see if it works this time, because three syllables are way to many to say! (I happen to know, though, that I will probably just wind up calling her “honey.” I do this so much, that my oldest granddaughter at one time used to refer to me as “Honey Grandma.”)


Mazie’s daddy is Scotty Lee. He is a stand-up comedian and quite good. You can read about him here
and do go see him if he’s performing at a location near you. From what I hear, Scotty is a wonderful and attentive father. At present, it is clear that this child has been born into a happy situation.

But thank God we know that grace doesn’t end there.

A Word from The Wise

My oldest sister (yes, I'm talking about Tami, The Beautiful) gave me this advice years ago. She's always given me the most excellent and life changing advice. From the time I was a very young girl, on the brink of becoming a woman up until now. I'd like to share a little of that gift with you now:

It’s important for a woman to have a man who is strong and makes her feel safe and secure.
It’s important for a woman to have a man who cares about her feelings and responds to her needs.
It’s important for a woman to have a man who shows her new things in the world that she never noticed before.
It’s important for a woman to have a man who is passionate and adventurous and satisfies her wild side.
And it’s important that none of these men knows each other.

(More on Tami to come.) :)

New Tattoo!

My son just had his daughter's name tattooed on his forearm. It's a blurry shot, but I think you get the picture. :)
I LOVE IT!!
Okay ~ I had him send a sharper pic. Here 'tis.

This is the Lord’s doing. It is marvellous in our eyes.

Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth shouted this out when she became queen.

I thought to myself ~
I like this scripture. I’ve heard it a million times.
But I think I should like to hear it a billion more.
At least.


Marvellous Perspective


Marvellous Patience


Marvellous Angle


Marvellous Weather



Marvellous Envy


Marvellous Wings


Marvellous Throng


Marvellous Leader


Marvellous Rest


Marvellous Love

Sweet Cherry Wine

Spring is nearly sprung. We all can't wait. We're slipping into sandals every chance we get. We're toying with the idea of scanty clothing. And depending on where we live, we are doing more than toying with it!

But spring is often the season that scares women. We've been able to hide our bodies under layers of thick clothing for months. Now we're afraid that our flesh is not only pasty but a little too jiggly. But we love the feel of that spring air on our skin. It just makes us want to take off our clothes and kick off our shoes. Yet we've been trained to be overly critical of our bodies. To see them as unsightly if they are not in line with a certain type of expectation. Regardless of how big or small a woman's body is, the average woman struggles greatly with her body image.

I say, let's give up on the hunger for acceptance from the masses who have a warped view of what is beautiful. Let's embrace who we are. Where we came from. And what made us the fantastical creatures we are today.

Let's drink it in. And pass it around.

And ever remember these wise words from one of the most beautiful women of our time:

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes ~

It makes utter sense to stay healthy and strong, to be as nourishing to the body as possible. Yet I would have to agree, there is in many women a "hungry" one inside. But rather than hungry to be a certain size, shape, or height, rather than hungry to fit the stereotype; women are hungry for basic regard from the culture surrounding them. The "hungry" one inside is longing to be treated respectfully, to be accepted, and in the very least, to be met without stereotyping. If there really is a woman "screaming to get out" she is screaming for the cessation of the disrespectful projections of others onto her body, her face, her age.

The idea in our culture of body solely as sculpture is wrong. Body is not marble. That is not its purpose. Its purpose [is] to protect, contain, support, and fire the spirit and soul within it, to be a repository for memory, to fill us with feeling--that is the supreme psychic nourishment. It is to lift us and propel us, to fill us with feeling to prove that we exist, that we are here, to give us grounding, heft, weight...The body is the launcher of those experiences. Without body there would be no sensations of crossing thresholds, there would be no sense of lifting, no sense of height, of weightlessness.

The body is like an earth. It is a land unto itself. It is as vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off, overmined, and shorn of its power as any landscape.

There is a line in Ntozake Shange's "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf." In the play, the woman...speaks after having struggled to deal with all the psychic and physical aspects of herself that the culture ignores or demeans. She sums herself up in these wise and peaceful words:

here is what i have...
poems
big thighs
lil tits
&

so much love

How to Say "Fuck Off" with Panache

From Wiki:

Panache is a word of French origin that carries the connotation of a flamboyant manner and reckless courage. The literal meaning of the word is a plume, such as is worn on a hat or a helmet.

The epitome of panache and the reason for its establishment as a virtue, is Rostand's depiction of Cyrano de Bergerac. (Prior to Rostand, panache was not necessarily a good thing, and was seen by some as a suspect quality).

Cyrano's last words " ... yet there is something still that will always be mine, and when I go to God's presence, there I'll doff it and sweep the heavenly pavement with a gesture — something I'll take unstained out of this world ... my panache ".

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When I first became single, after 18 years of marriage, I knew I was going to find myself in a game that may or may not be fun for me. I had always had plenty of male attention, so it wasn’t like I thought I was going to have to go out and find the men. I can’t tell you the number of men over the years (namely, my spouse’s friends) who said to me, “What are you doing with this bum? I’d treat you so much better.” And I would invariably reply, “Really? Are you so sure you wouldn’t be exactly the same after 2 or 5 or ten years of marriage?” Part of the reason I stayed married so long was because I was convinced that all men would be the same. Once you married them. Of course I knew this was not true. I have known a number of wonderful husbands.

So back to singlehood. It became very quickly clear to me that I could choose any kind of man I wanted. For whatever reason I wanted. And I liked this idea.

It also became very quickly clear to me that men, in general, are pretty sucky at knowing how to woo a woman. For instance, a man would say he would call. And then he wouldn’t. It didn’t take long for me to recall that rush of a feeling when you are excited about a man calling you, and then the desperate lonely realization that he ain’t callin. These were in the days when I had no cell phone. The last thing in the world I was going to do was sit by a LANDLINE and wait for a call that may or may not come. Nosireebob! So, when a man asked for my number and said he was going to call at such-and-such a time on such-and-such a day, I would say, “Okay, I will give you a 15 minute window. If you don’t call by then, it’s so long dearie!” Always a woeful plaint would utter from said potential suitor at this news. “But…. But…… buttttttttttttttttt….??!!” I said, “No buts (and no butts either) I happen to firmly believe that if a man doesn’t call, it’s because he just didn’t want to. I will take it to mean that. Plain and simple.” (Rita Rudner taught me that.) Again, said suitor would ply me with the “buts.” Talk to the hand.

Silly rabbits. Didn’t they know that trix are for kids?

So here are a couple of stories about how this trouble with wooing would play out. Both of these stories involve online encounters. Men would often “find” me on Yahoo Messenger. They would contact me from places one to two hours away. Then they would say something like, “Let’s meet halfway.” I’d say, “No thanks. I don’t go to men. They come to me.” They’d likely move on. I have no interest in a man who can’t even drive to meet me. If he has trouble with that, then he has BIG trouble with the idea of maintaining a relationship with a woman. That’s a freakin’ easy test. So this one man was much like many others, but I will tell his story just the same. 'Cause he’s so special. :)

The man wanted me to meet him halfway. I said no. He pressed me to explain how that was reasonable. I told him I had no intention of being reasonable. If he wants reasonable, look elsewhere.

He said he really liked me and thought we would hit it off. He was just looking for a friend with benefits. No expectations, no commitments.

I said, “Well get in line, motherfucker. You do realize that I have a number of applicants for that job. And you are waaaaaaaaaay at the back of the line.”

He then asked how he could move up to the front of the line.

I said, “What do you have to offer that makes you exceptional, standing above all the rest?”

He said, "~ insert idiotic and lewd statement here ~"

I said, “Nope. Sorry. Back of the line.”

He said, “I’ve never been one for standing in line.”

I said, “Then why start now.”

The end. (Whew! It took way to long to shake that one off, in my opinion. Which you know to be so very humble.)

Another man contacted me and we liked one another quite a bit. We chatted a lot. About everything you can think of. He lived a mere 15-20 minutes away from me. We talked about meeting from time to time, but it just never happened. He was intelligent, entertaining, sexy… you name it. He had it. Well one day, he said he had nothing to do. Not a thing on his schedule. He suggested maybe meeting for lunch or dinner. I said, “That sounds cool.” He said, “Well, let me think which would work better.” I said, “You think about it. You have 30 minutes to decide what time you want to meet and where. After 30 minutes, whatever you decide you have to stick to, or you will never get another chance.” (Incidentally, he could also choose not to meet at this point and not shoot himself in the foot. The guy was just given ALL The cards.) He laughed. (LOL) He decided on a place (near me, of course ~ he knew the rules) and a time. It was to be dinner. Six o’clock. This was around one. Around five, he buzzed my messenger again (and no, it wasn’t the good kind of buzz). He sort of yawningly said he had taken a nap and now feels all lazy. Thought maybe he’d beg off the dinner and do some laundry instead. Laundry?! Are you fucking kidding me? As if laundry were something to “do.” Laundry is something to be done in between the things you “DO.” Anyway, I said, “Sure, that’s fine.” A little later, he messaged me again and wanted to make plans to meet some other day. I said, “Nope. No chance.” He was stunned. He said, “Are you serious? Because of that, I can never, ever, ever, ever meet you? Ever?” I said, “You got it, babe.” And so… we never did. But we still chat from time to time. And he’s still an intelligent, entertaining, sexy and cool cat.

Miao.
Panache Galore (her real name)