I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love watching cute little kiddies running around in costumes. But I hate having to think up a costume for myself. I go to a Halloween store to buy a couple things and the total is two hundred dollars. And there’s usually only one piece of candy per trick-or-treater, or the candy turns out to be a penny. Years ago, one young costumed cowboy used some of his quick drawing logic by pointing his toy pistol at a penny giving homeowner demanding, “Your candy or your life,” thus prompting several squirts of water into the candy givers face from his spraying weapon. No one got the gunslinger for possession of a concealed squirt gun, although he was mighty susceptible to parental criticism. He attempted to wipe the homeowners face with his red bandana and spent the next five minutes searching the candy bowl for every single Tootsie Roll. Those were going to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day.

Designer Donatelli Versace believes that the best things in life happen as a result of following your intuition. That’s why for one Halloween party, I dressed as Dolly Farton. I had the perfect blonde wig, stuffed my shirt with inflated balloons, and packed a whoopee cushion inside my pants, which totally added new dimension to a rather boring outfit. They were attention getters alright. It was the only time I let party guests fondle my boobs. And all night people were asking, “Who cut one?” They say it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. In preparation for that party, mine kept coming in clawing at my blown up blimps and windy fanny blaster. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going as Minnie Mouse. And I couldn’t get the wig to look right. My daughter chimed in, “Trust me Mom. No one is going to notice your hair.”

Another year I went to a party as brash housewife LaVerne, the most colorful gum chewing character who I resurrected from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. I was impeccably coifed in a tight fitting leopard skin jumpsuit. It was the gum chewing and lingo I had to perfect. Again, my cat sat staring at me while I practiced getting into character in front of the mirror. It was an opportune time to impersonate others as well. I spend forty-five fun filled minutes entertaining myself and my cat. Daffy Duck was a no brainer. But Elvis was a bit harder to achieve. I couldn’t sing I’m all Shook Up and pivot my pelvis at the same time. With all the fur my cat was leaving on my bedspread, I could have wrapped the thing around me and gone as a fur hide draped cavewoman. It turned out to be a rather ho hum party till I got there. I take that back. Carmen Miranda’s exotic fruity headdress hit the spinning ceiling fan.

Trick-or-treating with my kids was always memorable. There I was walking my small daughters through oddball suburbia wondering what else I would come across besides goblins and severed bloody heads. One year we walked up to a guy’s house who had dressed up geckos on his lawn, which pretty much convinced me that he had a reptile dysfunction. Another man came to the door with Gummy Snakes in his beard. One neighbor couldn’t be bothered with Halloween. He was putting out his Christmas decorations. Old lady Ferguson figured she could save about twenty dollars a year on Halloween candy, or keep children away period by lining her doorstep with vegetables. And a teen dressed as a pregnant Mother Hubbard started barfing up Smirnoff all over someone’s lawn. What a spooktacular event that was. I had to explain to my innocent youngsters that she might be experiencing morning sickness. They said, “But Mom, it’s nighttime.” The exhausted homeowner cleaned up her mess and called her parents. I was willing to keep all her candy, and call a cab to transport her to a detox treatment center.

We came across an individual dressed as Frankenstein, who was sitting beside his front door holding his head in his hand when we approached to ring the doorbell. It was by far, the single most traumatizing decoration ever. What looked like a dummy sitting in a chair turned totally real and began to move, scaring me to no end. At first, I thought maybe it was just a side effect from the new deodorant I was using. Jeepers creepers. Always be prepared for strange and spine-chilling human beings on Halloween. An exhumed corpse may come alive and tell you all the reasons why they love gutting little children. I suppose that stopping hearts was his way of reducing the overpopulation problem. He was passing out gumballs, which could get lodged in our windpipes and keep oxygen from getting to the brain. I wondered, what the devil are they breeding here? He must have referred his every decision to the tribunal of Transylvania. There’s a fine line between monster and normal neighbor, and I wasn’t willing to cross it. So I grabbed my girls and ran. I was frightened as frightened could be while my kids were yelling, “Wait Mom, we didn’t get our candy!”

Halloween isn’t the same without a haunted house. Most of those cursed establishments show a trickle of light here and there that provides a sufficient pathway throughout the deep dark horrific structures. One was so blindingly black that I had a death grip on my girl’s coat collars so I wouldn’t lose them. My youngest daughter complained that I was choking her, and I had this nerve-racking notion that someone was going to kill me at the same time I was killing my kid. A hand touched me and I asked, “C’mon whoever you are, lead me through this thing won’t you?” I just hate it when I smile at strangers and they don’t smile back, or I ask questions and don’t get good answers. All I heard was a baleful BOOOOOOOO. I felt as though I had entered Alfred Hitchcock’s residence and some psychos were never going to let me leave. Based on the cast of characters, I was pretty sure some celebrities were there. Like Adam Handler, Drew Scary, Charlie Scream, and Leonardo DeCapitation. Quentin Tarantulatino was there providing his satirical humor by dropping spiders onto the heads of all the tourers. I walked into that house fairly normal and came out with the need to be cast into an insane asylum. In light of those dim circumstances, the next year I sewed noisy little bells to my girl’s coats, carried a flashlight, and dressed up as Jack the Ripper. I probably should have hired a bodyguard.


I am so thankful for Richard Dreyfuss. I just found out he eats at the same ice cream parlor as I do and eats the very same ice cream that I love. And since product availability varies at each location during different times of the year, he called their corporate headquarters asking that they not remove the luscious chocolaty flavor from our locale. They probably wouldn’t have complied if the begging had come from little old me.

Ice cream satisfaction goes way back to the days of the Good Humor truck. I had a hard time avoiding the daily siren call of Creamsicles, snow cones, or anything with a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream. We could hear the ringing bells a quarter of a mile away. That gave us time to hunt our mother down and have her go through her wallet to find enough money to satisfy our every need. I really wanted twenty dollar bills, since I had a hankering for about fifteen other needs on their menu. I figured the best way to bypass any conflict with my parents or siblings was to consume as much creamy goodness as I could, starting right after breakfast. But I was confronted with a strange paradox. Mom was a church going conservative who owned a beautiful home in the burb plus a colored TV, but never kept huge amounts of currency in her wallet. Life would have been so much better if she’d kept tons more cash on hand, so I could eat ice cream every hour on the hour.

One day I developed an ice cream headache, followed by digestive issues. My mother probably thought that broccoli and Brussels sprouts wouldn’t have done that to me. But ice cream cured a lot of other things like episodic migraines, sibling infarctions, and persistent schoolitis. My manifestations weren’t going to damper my chances of chasing the Good Humor man down the street. I figured ice cream a day kept the doctor away. But not in my case. Mom planned on taking me the next morning to see our family physician. Meanwhile, she assumed I was simply lactose intolerant and banned me from all dairy. She told me to eat fruit without whipped cream. It was like telling me I could have pizza, without the cheese. She might just as well have offered me a slab of tofu or a pile of pickled beets. I couldn’t watch Popeye for God’s sake, the way he scarfed spinach straight from the can. Yet neither my angry expression nor my confidently spoken demands caused her to give in. My needs were simple. I didn’t need anything else inside my system other than dairy products. Nothing increased the number of meals together unless my mother was making milkshakes or served us sundaes. I’m surprised I didn’t ask for cartons of ice cream for Christmas and my birthdays.

After Mom cut me off cold turkey that night, I went through major withdrawals. I went from being Good Humor’s biggest fan and top purchaser to watching my siblings eat creamy confections right in front of me. Mom said she would save the last of the ice cream for me once the doctor gave me the okay to eat it. But I was compelled to perform the complicated maneuver of sneaking into the kitchen, releasing the frosty ice milk from the freezer into the trembling hands of this tortured vessel. The kitchen adjoined the family room where my mother sat intently engulfed in the scandals that Peyton Place provided. Even if the house had been burning down, she was not going to get up to call the fire department. So I figured I had the chance at ice cream retrieval. I made several failed attempts, since my siblings were intermittently traipsing in and out of the kitchen and would surely snitch on me. The freezer was a pulsating aorta of dairy products and there were salivating brothers and sisters who anticipated it as well. Come to find out, one of them snatched my frozen dessert. I thought I would go insane. Every resident in our pagoda of rapscallion inhabitants had absolutely no idea where that ice cream went. Had my parents dusted for fingerprints, someone would have been sent to the gallows. And if I found out it was a several sibling thievery, I was prepared to boil the culprits in a bubbly cauldron and keep every future carton to myself. Someone also stole my favorite pair of socks. My mother found me lying awake late that night and asked me, “Must you sleep with one eye open?” I would rather she wake everyone up and announce that she was having a two hour seminar the next day on how not to steal stuff from each other.

The doctor confirmed my diagnosis. I didn’t have mad cow disease. Although everything about me was irritable except my stomach, and I missed out on a whole night of bliss. I just couldn’t believe I was doing it wrong all those years. I should have bought Good Humor treats and resold them to the highest bidding siblings, kept the cash for my own stash, and buried a metal container outside to keep my goodies in those long cold winters. Come spring, summer, and fall, it would have been a free-for-all those who didn’t cross me.

I have currently adopted the Nike slogan, slightly revised. I say, Just do it…later. What’s the rush to do anything else when eating ice cream should come first. It’s become the appetizer to my every meal. Besides, at this stage of my life, I can do anything I want.


My brain was my most superlative organ, up until I fell in love the first time. I was thirteen. Not a single force on earth could stop my trembling body. I had to suffer through the entire school year before seeing this guy at my grandparent’s cottage every summer. He and his cousins occupied two cabins across the lake. You sure learn to swim in a hurry when there’s a cute bushy blonde on the other side you want to manhandle. I was either going to swim across for some great kisses, or I was going to die trying. I made that decision in fifteen feet of lake water, and have survived to tell about it.

Recently I ran across a stack of love letters from my first crush. I probably should have sued him for fraud after he told me he would love me forever and went on to marry another woman. Love seemed so eternal at the time. One year my siblings and I contracted the mumps and measles and I sat lakeside staring at his cabin. I could only see him from a distance and it was pure agony. The next year we were like animals in heat. I had practically planned our futures together, although our unworldly and callow innocence kept us from even touching each other. That Christmas, I was hoping that my true love would send me that golden ring. When I didn’t get one in the mail, my heart continued to beat despite the imaginary knife that was wedged inside it. Even though I would have liked a sleepover with this friend every single night of the week, I wasn’t exactly ready to be tied down to holy wedlock at fourteen. Not when there were men who make one common mistake when they get married. They stop playing and flirting with their wives. In all fairness, women choose chocolate over their mates every day.

The year after our viral diseases, I was a little older but not that much wiser when I was willing to pick out plate patterns after playing spin-the-bottle in his barn…as if a kiss solidified our relationship. There were about eight of us twirling the empty glass decanter along with my boyfriend’s wily wise guy of a cousin, who also had a hopeless crush on me. He thought it was love at first sight. I didn’t think it was love at tenth sight. I suspected he came from the Garden of Eden where strutting around in a bulging bathing suit slash loincloth was customary. There is no substitute for flimsy nylon, except for maybe heavy duty canvas that would completely cover his cullions. It would be a trusted favorite among girls who don’t want to see a boy’s package.

I was hesitant in playing the bottle game since he tried directing the thing straight at me. I refused to kiss him because after that, he would have wanted to play naked Twister. I had a very hard time liking the brown eyed boy who kept saying, “Just digest those butterflies baby.” It was possible that he was just missing some nutrient-rich foods in his diet that would make him less of a scoundrel such as Choline, for normal brain development. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that my tingles were reserved for his captivating cousin.

But the stalker wouldn’t go away. I would get up in the morning and stroll outside where he would be hiding around every corner. He caught me very serenely walking through lofty pine trees and came up behind me remarking, “You seem so unhappy. I’m here to change that.” A babe in the woods is susceptible to wolves and restless boys on the make. Despite all my unembellished appeals for solitude, he couldn’t help himself on another occasion when we got ice cream cones. He commented, “It must be love if your ice cream melted.” I would have preferred that my boyfriend treated me like some majestic endangered species. Not this guy. I wanted so badly to tell my shrewd pursuant, “Meet me back in these deep dark woods at midnight.” I would have shown up fully costumed in Reaper gear, ready for a castration.

After summer vacations, I went home and looked every day for the mailman to come, waiting for those love letters from my crush. One day I opened a note that read, “I miss you. Probably not near as much as you miss me, but I’m an awesome catch.” It was from the boy I despised. Every summer I would see him again and he gave me several more good reasons not to date him. He could make me cringe. He could pump blood faster than he could pump gas. His could create tidal waves when I was trying to sunbathe quietly on a floating raft. I wanted a love like Napoleon and Josephine, Richard and Liz, Morticia and Gomez, Romeo and Juliet. But I also wanted a relationship that would last longer than five days. And I surely wouldn’t commit to mutual suicide.

Years later, I was curious to know if I would be attracted to that loathsome lad at the cottage and choose him instead over my crush. Doting can go a long way. Maybe I should have accepted his fourteen marriage proposals. I went on to marry as well, but found matrimony to be very complex and psychological. One mate ends up logical, and the other a bit psycho. In my case, don’t ask me who was who.


I hear it all the time from friends my age. “I just can’t do what I used to do.” So I decided to challenge myself and go roller skating, and almost ended up in traction. I couldn’t just settle for gliding gracefully on wood floors at some roller rink. I had to pick unsmooth asphalt filled with a stretch of patchy potholes. I guess I wanted to bring out my inner child and do something adventurous. I know what you’re thinking. My inner nitwit has surfaced and you probably wonder what on God’s dangersome earth I will do next. But I’ve always felt that playfulness fosters good health. Although in this particular case, playfulness resulted in the re-alignment of my circulatory system.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So does probiotics, and keeping ourselves out of harm’s way. Okay, there might be more to life than soaring down the street screaming and scaring my neighbors. I’m getting an early start on being an old crash test dummy. I ended up trampling petunias, contoured a row of variegated yucca, and just about took out the Donahue’s beagle. But as usual, I got right back up as I have done millions of times in the past when I was down and practically out, and I will do it every time again until doctor’s can no longer stitch my broken body back together. But when I take on a blood sport, I must say that every drop of plasma running through my veins feels like I’ve been adorned with the ichor of an energized Jehovah. At any given moment, we have two choices. Go forward with determination by turning a mission into something not so impossible. Or step back into safety. I’m not about to let grocery shopping or coloring my calendar be the highlight of my day. Yet I do pity the poor souls who might be in my path. There may be other Sexagenarians roller skating at the crack of dawn who may likely plow into me. I probably shouldn’t be part of the neighborhood watch when I can’t see much in dim lighting, nor can I keep my eyes propped past nine pm.

It’s been proven that elders morph into being children again. Although kids are much cuter. I still eat the cream in the middle of an Oreo first. I too get grumpy when I’m tired, don’t recall what I did ten minutes ago, have poor impulse control, go to bed early and wake before the rest of civilized society, need someone to explain technology, cry out in frustration, base my entire days around food, babble, and I’m menacing behind the wheel of a car. I also don’t have the keenest of eyes or ears. Then there’s that attention deficit disorder.


Sorry for that bit of blankness, but I was trying to remember the other similarities associated with children and older people. Yesterday I was forced to do something I hadn’t done since grade school, which was write notes to my boyfriend saying, “I will not yell. I will not misbehave. I will not burn the house to the ground. I will not throw pan lids at the stove when I’ve scorched something because I walked away and completely forgot that I was cooking something.” My man has no use for vandalism, or for sexy looking firefighters blasting water throughout our kitchen. He probably thinks I’m being overdramatic when I’m stressed out. Octopuses eat their arms when they are frazzled. That’s way more overdramatic than I’ll ever be.

We went to bed last night and I was furiously throwing the blanket back and forth since my stupid body can’t decide whether it’s hot or cold. Meanwhile my bedmate was looking for the light switch on the lamp. I gave him twenty minutes before I jumped in and showed him how to turn it off. However twenty minutes after that, he had to show me how to shut up when I was still rambling endlessly about the stove incident. I tried to restrain my gustatory gesture of passing gas, something both young’uns and seniors do as well. I told him that my flatulence was all his fault. He should have never taken me to Don Pablo’s for dinner. It was a small toot mind you, nothing earth shattering. But every time he says he’s going to trade me in for a newer model, I have to remind him that those younger babes have rear end exhaust systems that could also backfire. Since we’re such a compromising couple, I said I would light some candles, and he said he would get the fire extinguisher. I was always taught to respect my elders and impress upon them some care and concern. So I randomly switched topics, telling him he should probably wear a helmet when riding his stationary bike. My wisecracking loverboy responded, “And you should shower with your glasses on so you don’t use my shampoo and razor by mistake.” I wasn’t sure whether to clap after that comment, or say Amen.
Before we finally settled into a deep sleep, I expressed another worry about his blood pressure. He told me next time not to leave him waiting at the restaurant table while I went to the restroom for half a century. I explained to him that I spent a distressing twenty minutes of purposeful sobbing in the ladies room, trying to embrace the fact that my wrinkles are worsening. I went on to tell him that when I was young and my mother told me I could grow up to be anything I choose, I didn’t exactly choose to be an aging flower child whose petals are wilting. I stayed in the bathroom because I needed a lot more concealer under my eyes, and about twenty other noticeably sad places. I’m just glad age spots and extra weight don’t make me more radical with age. But I can tell you this. It’s never a good idea to ask a woman in her sixties if she’s inconceivably pregnant. She may have just eaten three extra cheesy burritos with a pile of Spanish rice and drank two super-sized margaritas, and topped the night off with a lovely bonfire and eighteen S’Mores.

I have realized that there are three stages of life. Birth, middle age, and what the living hell is this? I am a lot closer to approximating infinity with my higher being than I am going to the kitchen in the morning to freshly baked muffins made by my boyfriend. What I did find were keys still sitting in the lock outside our front entrance. Neither one of us remembers who opened the door and left them there. But at least we remembered enjoying ourselves by getting off our butts and going out to frolic with friends. It’s now or never, because there may be no next time or second chances.


My beau and I are doing everything in our power to stay alive. We might increase our chances considerably if we never leave the house. Sometimes we sit in front of the television taking one anxiety attack at a time when watching commercial ads that try to sell us supplements for our aging bodies that might just result in dangerous disparity as well. With all their product liabilities and my atrocious luck, I’d probably choke to death trying to swallow their publicized pills. Those ads certainly don’t let us sit very comfortably when they are warning: Don’t take if you’re a marmot, pregnant, almost pregnant, have been pregnant, prone to sudden bursts of tears, or have moles. And, at the first sign of paralysis, call your doctor immediately. My mate asked how he could possibly make that call if he’s paralyzed.

As we sit in quiet bemusement, we can’t help but wonder what’s the worst that could happen if we took these questionable capsules? I would probably find a forest and lay on the ground exploring the stars and the deep dark galaxy, in broad daylight, during bear mating season. The last time I took something that had significant side effects was about eight years ago. I was walking down the street where saw a sign on a building and swore it said Do not enter or trespassers will be prostituted. I wasn’t sure if I should be an example to others and not go in, or prove to myself that my body was still worthy. Because the heavier side effects that day could have been tricking, possible prostitution, jail time, and loss of family and close friends. That was one excited corner of crowded onlookers who were hoping I would drop everything and play strip poker or dance the hip hop boob and fanny flop. Meanwhile, my boyfriend at the time didn’t take anything and still experienced side effects. Just viewing a picture of Jessica Alba in a bathing suit resulted in uncontrollable manliness. I needed to find something that would settle his horny self down.

When you think about it, there are impending dangers to everything. I refrain from jogging because according to every episode of CSI, there’s a big chance I’ll run across a dead body. And with all the child protective warnings, it would have been easier just to get rid of my kids. When my middle daughter was small, I was very much aware of warning labels. For one of her playdates, I bought that moldable silicone based substance called Silly Putty which comes in original, glow-in-the-dark, glitter, and four bright colors. Yet the stuff contains colorants that could cause serious side effects of staining, and direct contact can make it stick to hair, batten down eyelashes, and be used as permanent ear and nose plugs when dried. Of course during that lovely little incident, my daughter’s girlfriend’s mother came over and saw what my darling did to her child. She had been a delightful woman in the past, until she asked if my daughter was a demon. She also inquired what I fed her child for lunch. She gave me the full facts and folklore about hot dogs claiming the meat is simply manslaughter. Little did she know the girls washed their weenies down with 100% healthy fruit juice.

To calm this woman’s nerves, I offered her a 100% hefty glass of fruit stomped juice known as wine. But she said the Surgeon General insists that if we drink violaceous substances, to be prepared for headaches so bad that we will want to scoot directly to the hospital for a brain scan. She went on to tell me the other un-dietary side effects that include devouring copious amounts of bar nuts, besides poisoning the bloodstream and explaining all the seventy made up reasons why country singers chant about love gone wrong. I almost drowned myself that day from the goblet filled tsunami of fermented relief. I turned to her teasingly and warned her, “Don’t try this at home!” After they left, I ended up reading a book to my daughter about Alice’s titillating Adventures in a Wonderbra. She read one to me called Are You My Mother?

Some memories still come so vividly to me. Many moons ago I housesat for someone who left whimsical warnings throughout his manly shack. The comical and jocose gentleman must have had a jolly time writing me those notes. I went to use the bathroom and found one near the toilet that read, This area might be lethally hazardous. But zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay, just walk away and have yourself a wonderful day. I should have married the guy. Not for his poor cleaning skills, but for his farcical talents. The gun owner even made his own warning label that read, Not only will this weapon mame you if you mess with it, it’ll hurt the whole time you’re dying. Even the washing machine had the warning, Nothing over fifteen pounds. Only a moron would try to wash the dog in a front loader. The next note was far less convincing. I proceeded to do his wash and a shirt label advised, For best results, wash in cold water and tumble dry on low heat. If I had been a laundering extremist, I would have been going for the worst results by tying the garment to the top of my car and driving it through the car wash, then drying it by speeding through town at two hundred miles per hour. But doing that could easily cause injury, frivolous lawsuits, or early onset mortality.

What if we are all forced to wear warning labels? I’m fairly certain mine would caution that I’m known to spontaneously combust and spew liquids, and I shouldn’t be left unsupervised under a full moon… or with Italian men. God forbid if I ever have a suffocation warning attached to me that says: Keep this bag away from babies, pets, and alcohol.


In an unexpected moment of devotion, my doting boyfriend came up to me and said, “I love you.” I asked “Why?” He responded, “I don’t know. I haven’t figured that out yet.” I don’t always whimper. But when I do, questionable fondness is probably involved. But I am convinced that this man adores me so much that he would never use me as bait on a safari if it were a choice between him and me in a tiger attack. I like to be the reason he smiles when he knows he’s going to get eaten alive. Here is another endearing phrase he uses. “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.” But the relationship will continue to grow and prosper and mutually benefit both of us if he doesn’t stand over me with a pillow and a gun when I snore.

Speaking of such profound adoration, both my Dad and my boyfriend think Sophia Loren is simply the sexiest woman ever. I have often wondered out of the millions of women on earth, why Sophia? Is it the curvaceous figure? Or the fact that she wows a crowd with her movie star glamour? Is it the charcoal winged eyeliner she so pointedly paints above and below her eyes that extends almost to her earlobes and screams Here I am boys? People may not recognize me anymore once I start penciling in wickedly black and lengthy enhancers. But I suspect the good Lord did not intend for men to ogle over just one woman.

Recently my beau and I stayed in a Hollywood hotel where every elevator is plastered with actual size movie stars. You walk into one and cannot help but become enchanted by the famous highnesses of Hollywood who have you mesmerized when they stare into your eyes. After a night of moderate drinking, we proceeded back to our hotel where Casanova and I entered one of the big square hoists and he immediately zooms in on the female stars. “Hey girls,” he says followed with, “Nevermind.” As if they weren’t exactly the girls he wanted to flirt with. I asked him, “What about Marilyn?” He answered, “Nope. It’s gotta be Sophia Loren.” We walked down the hall to our room that was lined with more photographs of classic stars. I mosied by each one pointing out Greta Garbo, Montgomery Clift, Veronica Lake, and Lawrence Olivier. Then I yelled, “No way! They placed Sophia Loren right next to OUR room?? What are the odds!” I’m not normally a jealous woman. But I was in star hell that night having to share my beau with a classic Italian pin-up actress, listening to the kind of coquetry carried on by my lover and the sexy Sophia. Her smirky smile threatened to reduce me to something very much like a creature from another planet. Is it a coincidence that I brought along my current reading material Why Men Die First? I’m sure there are chapters coming up about crushes, homewreckers, infidelity, and bloodshed.

Sure, it could have been the three glasses of wine. But I had to explain to my sweet sugardumpling that when a woman wants a guy, first she has to make sure he isn’t with another woman. Then she should catch his eye and hold his gaze for five seconds. I’d say the sultry Sophia was holding his gaze for the entire time we stood there talking. Then a woman is supposed to flip her hair and walk away. I tried telling mister stud muffin that women who can’t flip their hair and walk away are needy and can clamp onto a guy like a bloodthirsty parasite. I’ve done more research on domestic intelligence than the FBI, and sometimes the smallest step of reassurance can activate the mightiest of miracles. I wondered if the aging star suffers like I do from memory loss, and if she too disguises her midriff. In fact, I wanted to go home and look into the dilapidated factors of other famous women. I tried gaining his attention back by laughing at his sleek Casanova impersonation, and restructuring the conversation towards something a little more intriguing like the Louisiana Purchase. After all, I’m no stranger to wine’s magical powers myself. I was almost sure I heard the urbane actress offer my guy a lovely lap dance.

No wonder my beau was so amorous that night. He burst into the room and grabbed me passionately. He claims it’s not about sex with Sophia. It’s more about sensuality. Even though I knew our love would burn stronger than a wired tungsten filament in a see through bulb, I wasn’t born yesterday, or the day before that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stay awake that night wondering about the women he dreams about. At about 4 am I told him, “Honey, it’s been three years now. I think it’s time we seriously thought about cutting ties to past loves.”

Women want trust, loyalty, affection, and no gaping at other gals. Then we will do most anything men want, except move to a remote fishery in the Yukon. As we left the room to check out, my fella said, “I’m walking right by her since I only have eyes for you babe.” That was special. I think crazy girlfriends are the best because you never know what you’re going to get. You might get eight hours of solid sleep yourself, or be awakened by a slinging of catcalls by your mate who swears she is Batwoman but looks more like a disheveled Lizzie Borden on some mission to murder somebody. I usually need seven hours of healthful beauty sleep. Ten if I’m deplorable.

According to Sir Jiminy Cricket, when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are and your dreams come true. I thought maybe the rapturous Sophia was going to come down off the wall and have her way with my man. If that had been the case, I would have been searching that wall for Cary Grant.


I consider myself a babe sometimes, especially since I’m an older gal who still has guys looking at me. If they are gawking, it’s more likely I am carrying around a trail of toilet paper that is stuck to my panties. Then I find myself acrimoniously muttering four-letter words and in the next breath, coming back to civility by saying, “Your patience during my time of venting frustration is thoroughly appreciated.” Never mind the more colorful stuff that comes pouring out of my mouth when I’m pulling out said soft thin toitee layers while twenty other people are staring. Sometimes I just don’t think before I speak. I do the same exact thing when I’m being passed on the freeway by some overzealous Nascar drivers. Or when I have spilled oily foods on my freshly laundered clothes. My swear jar could probably finance the entire Department of Molecular Medicine. I realize it’s unladylike to curse. After a long day gone, I also have this indelicate desire to be flop free and whip off my bra through my shirt sleeves before I even reach the front door. I may be one of those ladies in the nursing home who gets kicked out due to cursing and creating chaos.

In our house growing up, we got our mouths washed out with soap for swearing. Now when I’m happy, I sputter off innocent words. But when I’m upset, I use the Lord’s name in vain, hoping He has a sense of humor when I turn into a foul-mouthed name dropper. I’m not sure where this came from when I was a church going purist who was taught better. In my past I would have said, “Dangit. There’s a piece of toilet paper stuck to my behind.” Now, I’m exerting every effort to sound off irreverently about whatever experience is annoying me. In order to curb such enthusiasm, I looked into this disturbing characteristic. Seems I have Lalochezia, the emotional relief gained from using vulgar language. Then I’m mad at myself and proceed to walk around and do something else that’s dumb, experiencing life at the rate of several more profanities per minute. I don’t often use big words. Not when a singularly linguistic expression can satisfy my immediate need.

Of course not all females swear. But I have witnessed quite a few using grandiloquent language. The last time I was on an airplane, that lively pedestrian promenade that has people watching at its finest, I thought I would be zenning out when in fact I ended up interacting with a collection of female cussers. I sat next to one gal and immediately said to her, “I know it’s against code and all, but if we experience any sky diving, I’ll adjust your oxygen mask after you adjust mine.” She rolled her eyes and started spouting off at me as if I was some kind of self-centered gamine with wicked charm. But I stayed wildly optimistic that she would save my life in case of a dire emergency. She began describing her dislike for airplane food, complaining that it tasted like “f-ing cardboard.” Whereas I told her, “There’s always peanuts!” Some cheered me on. Although I’ve known others in my life who have wanted to gag me from day one. She started mumbling a bunch of sentence enhancers that would have made a sailor sound like a saint. It brought to light my own iniquitous and foolish practices of profanity use.

When I turned away, I observed a couple who was obviously on their anniversary trip since he was presenting her with a wrapped box. She wanted one with diamonds in it, but he surprised her with a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret. Every strand on her mood swing snapped, and she possessed a demeanor that suggested she was unsatisfied with his sexual gift. It sounded like they had a successful relationship when I overheard something about four children, five grandchildren, and ten thousand days of togetherness. And I assumed there were zero stabbings during that lengthy time period. But that moment was forever captured with quite a blasphemous retort from the wife that ended with a wonderful exchange. One that almost made me want to be married.

Not fifteen minutes later, a boy was kicking the back of another woman’s seat. Meanwhile, the man next to her decided to take a reclining snoozer by taking up two seats to nap. She was not a happy-go-lucky beam of flourishing sunshine. I suppose she began swearing because beating the hell out of two humans is illegal in most states. I cannot repeat what the woman said. I can only say that the younger mister adorableness was a sponge, and that those vocables do not vaporize so quickly. Her words packed a serious punch and he could have repeated them. It was bad enough he called her “meannie head.” She erupted again, correcting his comeback while verbally bashing the man next to her with more smuttiness. This might be what happens when you don’t pay close attention to your espresso intake. Or I came to another epiphany that maybe she was menopausal and someone messed with the airline thermostat. I do believe that women with that sort of influence usually live longer than men who mention it.

My body language doesn’t always say what I’m thinking. But watching this babe told me that she was probably prepared to use a closed fist on both of them while spouting off indecencies. People in the down under know how to react to things like this. Aussies would tell the woman, “That’s a bit crikey ya wanker!” Which is the clean way of saying, Oh my gosh you idiot. This prolonged stay in verbal punishment prison made me want to chant, Stop, in the name of love… besides stopping my own profanity use. I knew it was a good day when I didn’t need to unleash my own flying innuendos. And I could have, since there is usually a screaming toddler on board, or when you’re hedged between two tedious talkers with horrid breath, or when the lavatory is being overly occupied by sex driven couples. Vulgarities could have easily erupted when the young girl in front of me decided to free her forever flowing hair by letting it drop behind her seat and onto my tray table where my food was resting, not to mention covering my in-flight video and totally blocking those Jerry & Kramer shenanigans. The man on the other side of me recommended that I not point my finger and try to arrange safe words when describing my angst. Lucky for Rapunzel I wasn’t carrying any hair cutting shears. I did wonder if the airplane masks that dropped down carried something else besides oxygen.

I have used the “F” bomb, trying fiercely to change it to “fudge.” The problem with that is, I think about food then run to the store for Fudgsicles and whatever else has crystalline candy and saturated fats in it. As I get older, I realize I should take up other hobbies like knitting. Or muzzle wearing.


Now that I’ve become a keen sharpshooter, no one should be nervous. If I see something crawling up your leg, the Annie Oakley in me can take out the dreadful creature in half a second. Although it’s your leg you might want to worry about. I had to learn how to shoot since we have a lawn invader whose rank presence would make even a garbage truck veer away. Just call me the crazy skunk lady. My neighbors did when I aimed straight at them.

One of the foul-smelling scoundrels comes to visit us every night. And believe me, they are nothing like Ipanema girls parading in who are as they say, tall and tan and young and lovely. These varmints are short and partly pale and older and much wiser and repulsive. It doesn’t do me a darn bit of good to stop and smell the ranunculus in my garden when there’s a strong toxic scent lurking around them. At first, my boyfriend and I looked at each other wondering who passed this strange sort of gas. We did eat something that night for dinner that made the rapid release of some powerful methane and sulfur. What was worse was having a bigger stinker trailing the yard. Wildlife removal and animal control are never around when you need them. So we decided to take matters into our own hands before being at risk for skunk psychosis.

We began plotting our skunk trapping strategies wondering which artillery methods to wield, without resorting to firing off a few hundred flares then basically bombing our back yard. There would be a lot of damage repair and the reinstallation service of laying new sod and planting shrubs all over again, not to mention the spray that would occur during the obliteration. If we use a simple slingshot, chances are that we would miss the piss-cat and snip off some of our cherished blossoms. I thought about borrowing my friend’s dog and have a sleepover for scaring purposes. We could bait the black and white weasel with food, but then we’d have a slew of other unwanted guests. Or we could simply trap him in a cage and play some funky music till he died.

There are fifty states, 3.8 million miles of land mass, and one skunk still willing to walk through our valley of death. We opted to go with Plan W. Whip out the BB gun, sit on the patio with a glass of wine, talk in low monotones, wait for the little mephitis to show up, and mame him till he waddles away and warns the rest of his species never to show up at the Walton-Clark household again. In the corporate world, they pay you big bucks to think this way. What we didn’t count on was the fact that we ended up drunk as the skunk. When I watched Cape Fear, I didn’t think about the unparalleled suspense. I thought about the same vulnerability from the feeling of being dominated, wondering how I would handle that predator. But something told me it wouldn’t be near the same type of situation. I’d probably have to kiss my arse goodbye.

The following night, I sorted my contemplation by importance, comfortableness, and my boyfriend’s point of view. So in the general relativistic sense, we both found that patience and not raising a stink ourselves was the best way to prepare for the showdown. I was confident that we could handle being local trappers, as long as the thing didn’t score a direct hit from fifty paces, rendering us temporarily blind and useless. I had to practice hitting the deck in case this happened. But if there’s one thing I know about striped animals, they don’t really come when you call them. My boyfriend reassured me that the long lost and possibly rabid intimidator would want to search our lawn for grubs sooner or later. We sat the next night waiting again while I practiced soberism along with my shooting, trying to keep my trigger happy self under control. I didn’t want to sing, really. Singing leads to dancing and possibly spooking the skunk, dancing might lead to me falling and missing out on the actual annihilation, and the skunk might spray me and I’d have to remove all my clothes. Falling might lead to hurting myself whereas paramedics would show up and smell my body that would be more noxiously fragrant than a septic tank. Not to mention they would see me naked. After all that Einstein-ish brain activity, the stinkpot decided to take the night off.

We still haven’t caught the odorous animal. But we haven’t given up. We have a whole new plan of attack tonight, unless the fur handling auction committee that I called comes to take him away. I was hoping to reveal a fun and final chapter to our skunk saga. Instead, I can only reveal the story my beau told me about another time when he dealt with a similarly sly little bugger. His mother lived with him and at the time, urged him to get rid of the critter that was hovering around their house. Trying to stay incognito since the police station was one block away, he grabbed his shotgun, proceeded out the back door where he targeted the perpetrator, fired the carbine and massacred the unpleasant munchkin with a bang that was heard for miles, ran back into the house and laid down the gun, then nonchalantly walked out the back door again yelling, “What the hell was that?”


Recently I scanned a complete manual of things that might kill you. Listed was a stack of trappings that included ovarian cancer, fairground accidents, eating apples from a manchineel tree, and having a mother-in-law. Just kidding. But most of the time when someone wants an unsolicited opinion, they can get it from the reluctantly related woman who has given birth to your husband. And if there are children involved, some say that co-parenting with a sociopathic troublemaker is a special kind of hell where you are constantly thinking up a viable exit strategy. I was one of the lucky ones. Mine would never have been cast for the movie Monster-in-law since she was not manipulative or vindictive in any way. I was worried though, when they had just named a hurricane after her.

Lemoncholy was probably the word that most described how I felt about partnering with this lady, which left me downing a coupla citrusy Arnie Palmers that facilitated some deep concerns about sharing my husband. And I felt the intense pressure to produce offspring when she was around. Maybe it was the cutout magazine ads for Gerber. Or the fact that she watched me draw and paint pictures when I should be nursing or diapering. I felt her silent stares one day as if she were to say, “Now walk away from that artist’s easel and go start making me some grandchildren.” So I did, after she went home of course. It wasn’t long before she was one happy lady who held onto my postpartum belly for nine months and showed up in the delivery room ready to grab my daughter the second she slid out of the birth canal. But that was okay since I couldn’t get up or anything, and the man I married was gravitationally challenged and basically needed smelling salts. That was a good bonding experience, especially after she viewed my privates. Then I was twice blessed with having a baby that inherited every last one of my in-laws traits. My infant didn’t look anything like me except for a few eyelashes. It was also an odd coincidence that my kiddo was the spitting image of the hunkish teen who mowed our lawn.

My MIL wanted to get my first baby’s ears pierced at the budding age of six months. It may have been a hopeful experience that might have changed my whole attitude towards the usefulness of nose, nipple, and naval rings. But I wanted my teensy tot to be old enough to handle the responsibility of caring for those ears all by herself. My daughter would have probably loved to go bungee jumping as well. But that wasn’t going to happen either. My newly kin folk said the piercings could be done by an insightful and caring staff that uses high quality jewelry. If it weren’t for my MIL, I would never have known the luxury of owning cashmere. So I wondered if the earrings were coming from Cartier. And if so, I could surely get mine done instead.

Thankfully I didn’t have to reach for love potion number ninety-nine when my MIL was around because she was a delightful creature who didn’t make me resort to drinking. I didn’t get Cartier earrings, nor did my daughter. But she did teach me how to keep my babes away from undetectable poisons or being mauled by unsuspecting characters. She helped me when I had no functioning brain cells after being up all night with feverish and restless children. She supplied plenty of hugs and conversations with my babies in the wee hours of the morning and let me sleep. I couldn’t be sad having her around. Not when Pottery Barn should hail her as the reigning queen of tablecloth usage since she let my toddlers run around with my fine Belgian Flax linens that doubled as capes. She also taught my kids how to dial her phone number. That’s why my outlandish phone bills had misdialed calls to foreign countries. But with grandmothers around, toddlers don’t ask for an apple, then refuse the apple, then ask why the apple was cut up, then cry because the apple was in wedges instead of cut into giraffe shapes. Kids are just happier people. It was the marriage that turned out not so successful.

Come to find out, there are lots of people out there who are crammed into crowded corners of their own homes jockeying for cabinet positions with a hurricane of troublesome MIL figures. One of my friends commented about the days his smother-in-law visits. I thought she may have been a sea serpent since he always used the phrase, “Thar she blows.” His otherwise silent mouthed cries for help are met by the discerning eyes of this woman who supplies a large amount of condescending tutorials. Supposedly she possesses a demeanor that suggests Hitler is in the house, knowing if he acts on his feelings he will either go to prison or be separated from his wife within a matter of minutes. He added that she most resembles a bat whose body is covered with hair and leathery skin. And in order to keep such wildlife under control, he makes a special place in the rafters in the garage where her highness can hang upside down to sleep. He also leaves out lots of almonds and cashews because whatsherface has nut allergies. He calls her a dirtwater fox because her real name often escapes him. But out of respect for his wife, he calls her Duchess.

Now it’s my turn to be a mother-in-law. I suspect that any man who treats his woman like a princess is proof that he has been raised by a queenly matriarch. I can only hope for a jovial companionship where the jokes are small and the love and laughter are plentiful. But if I go to my son-in-laws house for my birthday, and he has bought me a chair containing straps with electrical wiring and is waiting for me to sit in it so he can plug it in, I’ll know something’s wrong.


It began when one of my daughters remarked, “I have a brilliant beyond brilliant idea! Let’s go to Universal Studios.” Once again, I had fallen into the parental tourist trappings of another theme park adventure. Participants included two scheming daughters, two precocious granddaughters, and one not-so-happy-to-oblige sluggish woman (moi) who is always trying to avoid exhausting funfairs. The kids called it their fun place. I called it a magical arena full of more toys than I could afford for eight hours while pretending I could still think straight.

The granddaughters were dressed and ready to fly through the fairyland. The daughters and their mother needed to be catapulted to the park, and were then espresso energized by way of Starbucks. I needed enough caffeine and carmelized sweetener to walk that communal event. I was one of those sluggish people who appreciated coffees invigorating significance, which probably explained my electricity while dancing with my ten month old granddaughter, asking nothing in return but frequent pee breaks. Eight cups of water per day and I’m a casual bathroom visitor. Yet one cup of coffee and there are abnormal changes in the urinary system and the need to pee is intensified by a million. I turned into a speed demon, wanting to use the mommy had an accident excuse to forge forward in bathroom lines.

We proceeded to the world of Harry Potter where we entered the main amusement ride that holds a high level of screaming activity. What looked like the cloaked headmaster of Hogwarts approached us and my twelve year old granddaughter became breathlessly besotted. For a minute there, I thought Hallie Parker was my grandchild when she proclaimed, “I’ve dreamt of meeting you my whole life and I just hope that one day you can love me as me, and not as the person my mother thinks I am.” She isn’t the same freckled-faced drama queen as she is a comedic charmer. The caped wonder provided us with information about baby swap whereas we were able to use a password to skip ahead in line and take turns on the ride. We passed people who were fixated on us with such sisterly betrayal as if we were no doubt, the lowest most awful creatures on the planet. Regardless, we still had to wait in line amongst murderous stares and with my urgency to release a stream from the front faucet yet again, if you know what I mean. And I thought a constantly weeing baby was bad. Either way, large amounts of incontinence is hard to ignore.

With my kids right behind me, I told the ride operator, “It’s me, or them. Take your pick.” He took my kids first, probably because he didn’t want to deal with projectile vomiting from a panicked elderly person who ends up freaking out on this drop tower of perpetual terror. Little did he know I needed to get on and off that thing rather quickly before it was necessary for my bladder to lower its water level again. I swear my kids were so happy to go ahead that they turned into a couple of Elvis impersonators when they told the guy, “Thankyou, thankyou ver much.” I’m sure both my daughters would have liked to disclose, “She’s never had one cup of triple espresso her entire life and she shows up today totally stimulated.” I could have added some spice to their non-verbal commentary by adding, “It was a little too robusk for a cup of coffee if you ask me, but then again I’m impartial to being supersonic.”

Once my speedy body was on the rapid rotating track, I felt my organs floating inside me, not to mention my leaky drawers. Any respectful carnival goer would have visited the restroom first so not to lubricate the seats of amusement rides. Flying high above the Hogwart castle, my eyeballs were practically forced into the back of my head. I called out to the person who was handling the contraption at the far end of the wild ride, but he couldn’t hear me above my gasping or the ten million other shrieking occupants. Thankfully no kids could hear my swearing. The young male attendee watched me exit in such a way that he most surely expected me to go weak in the knees and fall into his arms and sob hysterically. Okay, I did cry hard, and tears fell down my legs. My trembling frame staggered off looking pale as school chalk with vessels bulging in my forehead, and with wet panties. Holding it in was just as hard as trying to control the bamboo in my yard. I’m sure the other riders thought I was the bloody incontinent ghost of Christmas past. Nothing would have pleased me more than to say, “Being older and incontinent is not a crime you know.”

I wasn’t prepared for another landing. Once three o’clock rolled around, I was jolted away from the coffees potency and very close to collapsing. I ended up flat on my back in line at the Simpson’s motion simulator ride where it was open season for the frenzied whir of bypassers. It was time to go home to a glass of something that would relax me. When I did I told my girls, “Here’s to you. May your lives be far less complicated than mine.”

Let me sum up this theme park adventure. I had a great time. I now have a new loan to pay. Next time I’ll be wearing something for the weak end, or make my bladder gladder by not going at all. And I’m writing this from my bed because I still haven’t recovered.