Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fear. Eff It.


I recently had a conversation with a person about the subject of the book I’m writing. It’s a natural question and when I answered that it was hyperfictionalized memoir of my experiences with my analyst, I was asked the following:

“Why won’t you just move on, Molly?”


“What is the point of all this? You have a wonderful life, a good husband, beautiful children a safe and happy home.”

And I agreed. I do have all those things.

I answered, “Because it’s a story about recovery, redemption, hope and ultimately, acceptance and forgiveness.  For myself, for everyone in my story.”

The reply was this: “Right, your story. What does that have to do with anyone else?!”

What are you so afraid of?

I have to admit, something in me, a tiny voice agreed with this position, I mean, who the hell am I to suppose that I could benefit anyone?  But a bigger voice told that little voice to pipe down.  And so I tried to explain, vainly (and I suppose probably foolishly), that my story might help someone…?  That answer was met with a “pfft.”  My back went up and my eyes narrowed and the big voice got bigger.  This person was about to get razed.  A person within earshot of all of this smartly intervened and suggested a subject change. That suggestion was met by the interrogator with, “WHY? What makes you think that’s necessary?” and the answer to that was, “Because I see an argument coming on.”  I nodded in agreement and was grateful for the suggestion; I said as much, and I left the room.

The next day, I received an e-mail message from the interrogator apologizing for how I was treated. I was surprised, frankly, to have gotten it.  I wrote back expressing my gratitude for the gesture while also detailing my reflections and expanding on the exchange and what I thought about the line of questioning, essentially proposing, and I hope rhetorically: “Has nothing you’ve ever read taken you to a place where you can agree or picture someone else’s position? Have you never been moved by something you’ve read?”

Crickets. That’s OK. I was pretty intense in that note and I feel like I’ve made my points.

But I’ve been thinking back on my interactions with this particular person over the many years we’ve known one another and I see there has been a pattern: things have never been quite right between me and this person; we’ve tried, or rather it has been suggested to me that I change, you know, in order to make it better.  When I was in college, I was told I studied too much.  When playing tennis or exercising, I was told I played too hard.  When out socially I was told I didn’t wear enough mascara. And now most recently, I am asked, essentially, “What makes you think your story matters?” and “Why bother?”

This is not a person I’m related to. This person does weigh some influence, but not too much in my personal life.  I’ve always sort of regarded this person with a mix of wary kindness; sort of like sniffing your drink before you sip it.  I can’t say why, it’s probably me.  But I have to say this: I’ve never been asked these questions or put back by anyone ever in my life other than by this person, so I have to suggest to you my readers, if you know someone who talks to you like this, first: think about it and ask them, “What are you still so afraid of?” Next: stop talking to them.  Full stop.

And one more: if you talk to someone like this, what are YOU afraid of?

I recently read a comment offered at a blog owned by the amazing Kat Hurley which mentioned Anthony Robbins’s acronym for “F.E.A.R – that it is just False Evidence Appearing Real.” And I scratched my head and said, “yup.” So again I ask you: if you hear people talk to you this way, ask them what they’re so afraid of.  And if you talk to someone this way, what are you so afraid of?  The big bad wolves are mostly in your head. Kick ’em to the curb.

I can say this now because I’ve done what I thought I could never do; what I thought I lacked the courage and guts and the endurance to do: I finished writing my book yesteday. And it’s good, to me.  It’s solid, it’s true and fair, it’s real and it’s so so so strong that I feel like chest-bumping myself and saying “BOOYAH” and other things that people who cross a threshold do. It ended the way I think I’m ready, no that I know I am ready to have life go now.  It is good.

So, yeah, screw fear.  Right now I’m riding the “I just wrote a freaking book!!!” wave and the wind’s in my hair, the ocean’s spraying on my face, my feet are on my board and I’m having a great time. Today is enough.

Thank you.

ps – I’m heading out for vacation shortly so I don’t plan to be blogging (keep your applause to yourself!). I do however have a few reblogs in the hopper; some of my favorites and I hope you’ll enjoy them. if you aren’t already a subscriber, please do leave your name and e-mail address in the field to the right of this post that says “Follow GrassOil via e-mail” and you’re almost done. Just click on the confirmation e-mail and I think that’s it. See you soon. THANK YOU! 🙂

Yes, Ma’ammogram – A Little Something for the Ladies and Their Strong Men


Normally I don’t curse in my blog.  I save that for the verbal spewing from my sailor-like mouth.  But this is my blog and while I don’t plan to let stream a swath of imprecations, I do reserve the right to drop an aptly placed Fbomb or other acutely necessary idiom.

Two days ago, I had my mammogram.

I call this experience a “boob smooshing” or a moment with the “cosmic toaster” because of two reasons: 1) you see stars and 2) your breast is held in a fashion that resembles a piece of Texas toast.  Don’t know what Texas toast is?  It’s larger and thicker slices of toast.  Texas toast slices are one-inch thick slices of toast. I guess everything is bigger in Texas.  Probably even the boobs.

I am healthy.  I have boobs.  I don’t care if the guys leave or not now or even if they call their buddies in to “lissen to this shit!  Molly’s talking about her ta-tas!”

I don’t care if I have to look a man in the face who reads this post and says, “Can I buy you a drink?  You know, uh, I read that post you wrote about your mammogram…it was pretty hot…” because this is a fact of life for women in 21st Century America.  It should be a procedure for women everywhere no matter where they live or their economic or demographic status, but I am about to sound political so I will stop.

Frankly you’d have to be an asshat who lives in a bloody cave to have never heard about breast cancer, mammograms and all the rest.  So dudes, deal.

That’s right, I said “breast.” How’s this: VAGINA. Are we done? Man up.

~ ~ ~

I’m a 36-C which means I must be pretty average because when I go bra shopping I can only find ugly bras in my size.

“Why do you bother wearing a pretty one… it’s just gonna come off… heh heh heh … high-five, c’mon, who’s gonna high-five me?”

Crickets. They’ll high five you.

The visit to the cosmic toaster requires nothing special other than no underarm deodorant or antiperspirant or powders. No perfume either – they want you as fresh as the day you born after the nurses cleaned all that vernix caseosa off your slimy, squirmy, and screaming body.

Men: vernix caseosa is the your baby mama’s homemade chapstick that keeps the baby’s skin from gettin’ messed up in the amniotic sac.

They also welcome you with a mint should you so desire. They ask you to not bother signing in on the form beside the sign that says “PLEASE SIGN IN AND WAIT TO BE CALLED.”

They ask you for your ID, your insurance card and your patience while they look up your records. BRACING SMILE.

After you’re done with your administrative stuff, you go sit in the waiting area. I won’t say “room” because it’s not. It’s all part of one big space.

They call your name. You go up to the lady.  She gets you a gown that opens in the back or the front depending on if you’re listening and give a crap, and she directs you to a little room no bigger than a bathhouse changing stall with a curtain in front. “Can I get you anything while you wait?” she asked.  “How about a martini,” I answered. She laughs, “I keep tellin’ ’em to get a martini bar and …” Shut up lady, I don’t care.  You asked, I answered.  Your answer wasn’t an answer, it was another sentence followed by a laugh at my answer.

I didn’t do either, so I totally missed what she asked me to do and apparently I put it on backwards.

When you’re done not putting the gown on backwards like I did Saturday, you open your not-a-bathhouse curtain and wait again.  The ladies waiting for these procedures are not particularly happy or sociable.  A lot of eyes look at the carpet or water cooler.  I hope many of them were there for the same reasons I was: the annual scan.  But I know in my gut that some were there because they are being referred for a 3D image or a secondary referral because an anomaly was found.  An “anomaly.” Most of the time, those anomalies are benign.  Sometimes they are not.  Other women are there for scans to confirm they are clear after treatment.  I am lucky.

Eventually, my name was called.

I get up, smile at the lady who laughed at my martini request and go with my technician into a darker room with a GIANT MACHINE that resembles a smaller non-insect version of that thing that burst through Vincent D’Onofrio’s body in “Men in Black.”  It’s got plates and glass and black trays with smoothed indentations where my breast was supposed to go.

The tech (it’s always been a woman for me) removed my gown and treated my right breast like a flank steak that’d been marinating in a ziploc bag in my fridge for two days.  She walked me over to the non-insect machine and firmly assisted (read: shoved) my body against its cold, plastic frame.  She moved my shoulders and firmly (again) positioned my body so that my breast is now resting on the tray.  Like an uncooked egg, it was just sitting there saying, “Hi…”

I’m not a particularly very heavy person either, you can feel my ribs under my skin, so my ribs were getting the brunt of this pressure until … until she took my arm and positioned it in a way that pulled on the skin covering my breast and then turned a knob which lowered a clear shield on top of my poor breast and pressed it to something that was so depressing and unrecognizable… it looked like a cake dish.

This is not accurate at all. This is about 2/3 compressed.
A little more… turn that dial, honey.

“That was my boob,” I whimpered.

“Don’t look, eyes up,” she said.


So then she ran behind a shield of her own while I was on my tippy toes. I was on my tippy toes because she had this tray so high to ensure that she got the best possible view of all the tissue. Whatever. Just let me out.

And then she says, get this: “Hold still. Don’t breathe.”

Um, lady, you’ve got my melon in a plexiglas vise. There ain’t no way I’m going anywhere, and the discomfort is so intense, my ribs hurt and my skin is stretched and my breast looks like something that I don’t wanna know, that you don’t need to worry about me taking a breath here.  Breathing is sort of … you know, an option?

The machine said, “Mmmmmmm zzzzing MMMM zzzing -ping” and released me.

“Breathe.” She said.

No need to tell me that either, hon. I’m already there.

She did this to the other breast.  Same pain. Same order to not move or breathe.

I’ve been down this path before; I knew she had to do one more set.

The next one is at an angle.

Many men might think of this as the “Mae West Come On Up and See Me Sometime” angle.

For me, it’s the “Holy Fuck, Someone Start My Car and Get Me the Fuck Out of This Machine Right Now” angle.

Like Jeff Leone in eighth grade, The Machine was still staring at my boobs but its trays of pain were positioned at a 45˚ angle.  The tech moved my body like a robot and I was afraid.  I leaned into the machine that looked like that insect.  My arm was positioned above my shoulder and my hand was holding a handle that those kind people at GE or Boeing or MGM of whoever it was considerately included in their design of the boob vise. I pulled in on the handle because if I didn’t I feared my breast woulda come off my body. Just tear right off: “Oops, sorry about that, let me clean that up here, I saw it fall off and roll under the door… If you could just hand me that … thank you…”

She took my move closer in as a cue to get more of my flesh in the money shot.  So she moved me in a way that actually made me whimper, “Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln…” Now anyone of you who knows me personally knows that I reserve that phrase for truly special moments.  Moments when I’d rather say, “Good God, holy shit let me be this fucking sucks. I wanna fucking cry.”  But we’re not friends, that lady and I, and I didn’t feel comfortable letting that spew.

She did the opposite to the other boob. Then, while looking at the image she said, “Uh, come here.”

My stomach dropped.

“It’s nothing bad, but do you see how this image has more of your muscle and lower flesh beneath the breast?” She asked.

“Uh, yeah.” I said because that good image is the one where I moved in to relieve pain and the one when she stole a day of my life by giving me more pain.

“I’d like to get another one like that. Let’s do that.”

I’m such an overachiever, overperformer and people pleaser that I said, “Sure.” And I meant it.  It’s my breast health we’re talking about, so I closed my eyes and pretended to have made eye contact with the machine that I then pretended looked like Gene Kelly (why didn’t I do THAT sooner?) and let the woman go to second base with me for the fifth time.

In about 10 minutes –from start to finish– we were done; less time than dinner and a movie! I was back in my car and on my way home twenty minutes after I didn’t sign in.

I have wanted to write a blog post about this for years.  I couldn’t a few years ago because I didn’t have a blog.  I didn’t last year because I wanted to respect some people I knew who were having their own breast health challenges.  I’m glad to say that I know of no one who is having those challenges themselves. NEWS: those gals are making me laugh and rocking it out still today thanks to that mammogram.  I also wanted to write about this because it’s VERY important to do.  Women are afraid of this procedure and well, yeah, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s totally survivable.  I know when I make this appointment that I have to have a sense of humor, that it’s gonna be uncomfortable and that it will possibly save my life.  Or your life.  Or your sister’s, neighbor’s, mother’s, librarian’s, grandmother’s, aunt’s, waitress’s, cousin’s even your foe’s life.  All I can say is that if you think a mammogram is uncomfortable, try never knowing or finding out the hard way…

You say you’re afraid? Fuck that. Get it done. Don’t wait. Go. Don’t walk. Run. You have kids? Fly. Your fear can kill you. And I don’t mean just the fear in your head.

Get your boobs smooshed ladies.  Go to the Cosmic Toaster and let me know how it went.  It’s just ten minutes in the closet.  Imagine it as ten minutes in the closet with your favorite movie star.  Please.

Thank you.

Update: If you liked this post, you might like:

A Rant on Antibacterial Soaps

Do You Pee When You _____?

Living and Thriving with PMDD

Catch! … Send! … Roll …


There is something magical, mystical and utterly fantastic about rowing in a set boat with other people who not only know what they’re doing but who also love what they’re doing.  There’s something even better about doing that in the early morning or around dusk, when the faeries are out.

An assertive and competent coxswain can also make of break the experience too.

View from the Bow at Dusk

Today, the weather was exquisite.  A little cool at 65 when I woke up, heating to 68 by the time I got in my car.  The drive to the boat house is 15 minutes at the most and early Saturdays means no traffic whatsoever. When I arrived, it was 71 and the water was as smooth as glass.  The sun was just above to tips of the trees. A pair of ducks flew about  two feet off the river’s surface, quacking their greeting to us flightless bipedals.

The sky was clear also.  No sign of the clouds that are now populating the open blue and the humidity haze burnt off by 9am.

I met with some others, middle-agers like myself.  We did our dynamic warm-ups (wow, I’m pretty flexible, but mornings fresh out of the car after slightly fresh out of bed is a different story) and I heard Coach Ron call out for line-ups. “Hey! Hey, line up, ROWERS! Let’s go! Line up!”  I did a few more spider-mans (think lunge presses and plank crawls) and then high-kneed myself down to the lower boathouse.

We had a full house today: six eights were ready to roll and we had five rowers, including me, left over.  Some novice, some experienced.  I didn’t make it to practice Thursday because I wasn’t feeling well (note to self: don’t eat bananas and peanut butter at the same time in a protein smoothie before crew) so Ron put me in the middle as my own person.  I was not about to take out a single and I know that’s not what he had planned.  Instead, he picked and pulled out rowers from the eights line-ups to assemble an experienced four.  He kept me off to the side, in my little zone and called a coach, who coaches up at Loyola (he loves the sport and the water so much he drives an hour each way to get here) and a cox who drove some champion boats last season.  He looked at me and he said, “you all are an experienced four plus one.  Rock it out. Let’s go.”  And we were off, getting our boat walking it down under the precision of our cox and ready to set up. I went with our coach in the launch (a small fishing boat with a 5hp motor) and rode for the first half hour.  We rotated out the bow seat rower and I got in the shell.

Getting in a rowing shell from a launch boat in the middle of the water with no dock seems more tenuous than it actually is.  It’s no big deal.  The person in the shell gets out first and person in the launch gets in the shell next.  Does it take a modicum of prioperception (body awareness, strength and balance)?  Hell yes.  But it’s not that hard. I’ve seen novice rowers who describe themselves as couch potatoes turned boat potatoes do it with nigh imperceivable flaws.  I got in and we did a couple warm-ups and we were off.

Have I mentioned that our cox today was great?  She wasn’t my usual cox, who is also great (she’s on a trip right now), but she’s got a little more experience and she’s perfectly confident.  With peers, she probably has no problem telling a bunch of high schoolers what to do.  With a shell full of adults whom she doesn’t know, she still had no problem telling us what to do and that’s a CRITICAL quality.  We’re like sheep, she’s the shepherd and gets to go for a ride.

We all knew what we were doing.  We had a good set (balance) in the boat and our coach liked what he saw throughout the rotations of going by pairs, adding in, dropping out, and all that good stuff that helps determine the success of an outing in the boat. I was so happy with this line-up.  We had two women in the end seats (stroke and bow) and two fit men in the middle seats also known as the “power plant” or the “engine room” (which is where more of the power comes from in a shell).  Coach decided to put us through our paces and I honestly cheered inside.  I was so ready.  I didn’t care where I was sitting, this boat was so hot, we were just in the zone. He called for four sets of power twenties (solid catches, full power press, twenty strokes, on the feather, quick hands away, slow roll ups and repeat) followed by paddles at ten.

Now, unless you’re racing, there’s no point to starting hard so we worked up to full pressure in five strokes and I gotta tell ya, This Boat Was Set. So it went like this (these are all cox calls):

“Rowers, sit ready at recovery.”  (Arms tucked into chest, back at the 1 o’clock angle, abs are in tight, thighs engaged and legs are straight and blades are squared and buried in the water at about a 70˚ angle from the hull (sides) of the shell … sometimes we just sit at recovery for a minute to build strength.)

“And row.”  (Arms straighten, hands dip down to raise blade, inside hand feathers the blade which means to turn the blade so it’s parallel to the water, shoulders move the body over the hips, legs bend at the knees, as you roll up to the “catch” on your seat that’s on a roller slide, your inner hand turns the blade, which is now behind you, back to square, shins go vertical, hands raise, blade goes into the water and you push off with your thighs and fanny muscles with everything you’ve got.)

“Four more to build.” (You’re repeating everything you just did four more times but increasing pressure with your legs each time and quicker hands away at the “recovery.”)

“Three. Increase PRESSURE.”

“Two.  We’re at seventy percent, prepare to GIVE ME MORE.”


“On this one, get ready to CATCH and SEND.”  At this point, dear reader you’re thinking, “I might not have anything left in the tank” but you do.  You do have more left in the tank.  It all comes from the feeling of working together, sending that 150# fiberglass, aluminum-rigged, empty shell of a boat through the water with four other of your best friends at that moment.  That knowledge that you know you’re doing your best, you’re pushing and pulling your hardest because they are too is what keeps you going.  If you let them down, well … you wouldn’t.  Because they’re not letting you down.

Suddenly you’re at your last five when she calls a focus on the power “on this one” and you push even harder.  You just do. She said so. That 4’11” 95# high school senior just told you to do it and you do. Her voice commands it, she digs deep into her vocal banks and finds her own grit, her own coarse tone to get you to Get That Shit Done Now. It’s not an Order or a Request.  It’s a simple fact.  You want to work for her (or him) because she will get you there.

“And paddle for ten.” Ahh…

We just sailed.  Power twenties don’t really catch up to you in a cardiovascular sense until the end of the second set (your 35th – 40th strokes).  No matter, the adrenaline and feeling of success is so compelling and strong you just keep going.  Third set… you’re starting to feel it, the burning kicks in and you don’t really think about the fact that you’ve done oh, fifty-five squat thrusts at your maximum ability and twenty squat thrusts at just pfutzing ability (which is probably 25% of your maximum). You’re at fifty-nine and you’re ready for the rest, your upcoming ten at paddle pressure. That rest comes but it doesn’t last long.  It never does but you know what’s coming and you prepare mentally because your cox gears you up.  She gets you there and you get it done.

After the first set of power twenties we transitioned out another rower.  We got a new stroke who was previously bow (I took her spot) and so once we all got used to her strokes and recoveries through some mini-builds we went through it again, another set of 4x20s and it was equally glorious.

When I was in college, when a boat would win a race, they used throw the coxes in the water; it was a matter of tradition.  I don’t know, but I hope no one thought it was bullying or hazing or anything like that, but they don’t anymore.  I wish we still did.  You work your ass off to win a race (you work your ass off if you don’t win a race, let’s not kid anyone here) and the cox gets you there and it’s sort of a tiny celebration.

Today was the closest I’ll come this month to sprints because I’ll be away from rowing while on vacation.  On the last day of “learn to row” the coaches have these three or four 500 meter sprints where all the eights line up on the race course and race side by side against each other.  It’s all in fun, but it’s really not.  No one really wants to suck.  They’re a blast but I’ll be on the beach instead.  Last year I “caught a crab” (my oar went too deep into the water because I didn’t roll up back to square my blade in time and so my blade was parallel to the surface of the water and because the blade was so deep that meant the handle came back up and smacked me in the jaw.  Sometimes crabs are so forceful that rowers get ejected from the boat); I’m just a little bummed, I love to race.  My hands will benefit from the break as my blisters will heal.  But  cutting them some slack will not help when I get back in the shell next month. Rowing is hard on the hands.

And no, we don’t wear gloves.  No hand models here.  Wimps wear gloves.  It’s like shopping at a fancy store: if you have to know how much it costs, you likely can’t afford it.

Everyone has their passion.  Some pursue athletic challenges.  I run for recreation and fitness, not for competition.  I know I’m slow and the pounding isn’t good for me, but I do love it when I go a little faster than I did the time before.  Rowing is my drug.  So yeah, my hands are torn up; I felt a blister form and then rip off in the second set of power twenties but you don’t think about that, or really feel the pain because you’re flying on water and that’s better than anything.

Thank you.

update: the best part actually of being off the water after a good session like that is the rocking sensation i get when drifting off to sleep. i feel like i’m still in the boat.

Update: NaNoWriMo, Confession: We Don’t Have a Flobie and Other Stuff on My Mind


Hello again. Thanks for reading. Have a great day.

Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ve got so much on my mind.  I’ve been writing a book I don’t think anyone will like.  Which leads me to my quandary: why bother? I keep going because I saw a great video the other night presented by Liz Gilbert who wrote Eat Pray Love ( elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html) that I found via another blog, Three Kings Books, “CarrTalks” whose author has become an e-friend of mine to me (I have no clue if I’m a gnat to her or not, but she’s very interesting and kewl and is inspiring me to test myself). I have found that there are more reasons to keep going than the one or two in my head.  I also find that going to a book store helps: look at all the books that someone in New York or Los Angeles thought were a good idea to buy the rights to, print and push at Barnes & Noble. I have to admit, sometimes it’s daunting: seeing reprints of War and Peace or The Road or The Great Gatsby or Hamlet and then I look around and see Leaves: All You Wanted to Know or Fashion for Dummies and Eyeglasses: A History then I figure, anyone can do this.  Which means that I can too.  Maybe I shouldn’t.  Shh.

Someone on my Grass Oil fan page on facebook (link to join at right margin for both of you who might be interested) asked me about the NaNo process and I am still unclear on what she wants, so I’ll spew what I’ve learned: it’s great. If you’re wired like I am: slightly frazzled, wound a little tight, but have a concept and the stamina to sit for several hours continuously (at least two) a day or break it up a couple times a day, then go for it. Having a deadline has been one of my favorite things that I miss about the working world. I loved the rush and the benchmarks of the editing and production process.  I loved having typos (shit!) on the final draft. But that’s the reality. A quick NaNo FAQ for my FB fan-friend:

Q: How do you take care of your kids during June and still write?

A: Cereal. Lots of cereal and lots of milk. Make sure everyone has clean underwear too. They can put on what they wore last week, it’s still in the hamper, I assure you. Oh, and an online subscription to “Club Penguin” can’t hurt. If I had a kid in diapers and was attempting NaNo at this juncture I’d also be under the table with an empty bottle of Tanqueray. Know your limitations. The book can wait, diapers can’t.

Q: What about nonfiction? I have a great personal story.

A: This is about writing novels, so pretend it’s someone else you’re writing about. Make it the opposite sex, make the city the same but in another state or planet. Lie.

Q: What is this all about? I mean, what’s the end result?

A: You get to say you wrote a book within a month and if that ain’t enough for you, you’ve got issues. Sorry, but true. When you’re ready to submit, they count it up and it’s still yours. ADDENDUM (this just in from NaNo winner friend): “But once you’ve validated your word count, you also get a snazzy certificate that you can type your own name into and print it out and put on your wall. Plus you can say you’ve written a 50,000 word novel/novella in 30 days. : )”  Novella… HEL-LO…

Q: Don’t they sell it?

A: No. They are there to help you along. To get you focused and committed.  Honey, if your first draft is ready for the shelves, then why’d you need NaNo? Fitzgerald took seven years to write Tender is the Night. (I like to say that a lot, it helps me procrastinate.) This program, to me, is all about getting shit done: showing up, suiting up, getting that coffee and getting busy. It’s about taking your dream to write a book and freaking making it happen.  The “value” of it then becomes an ego issue: isn’t it enough that you wrote one? Or do you want money now? Get an agent, get used to rejection. It’s OK: no chance ever taken is not worth taking. What you said? Never mind: Is it your dream? Make it a reality.

Q: Are there any requirements?

A: No. This is voluntary. You’re not getting paid.  Underperform if you wish. Overperform if you wish. There is one requirement if you choose to go the distance: a 50,000 minimum word count by the end of the month (providing you start at zero words) enlists you in some contest. I don’t know what that contest is, and a friend won it one year and while I’m totally excited for her, I don’t know what that means. But because I’m all about commitments and value and showing up, I’m going for 75k minimum because I started at 18k on 1 June and 50k is only about 135 pages at 12pt Cambria, but who’s counting?  That’s only 70 sheets of paper; that’s not much of a book to me. I want a book I can injure people intruders with. Not emotionally, by the way, physically. Emotionally takes too long. I want to give a bad guy a black eye with it.

Q: I missed June.

A: Next one is August. Then the big one is in November. Oh, and post-its are your friend. Get lots and write on them and then stick them on to other post-its and forget about them.

I will readily admit that I went into NaNo Camp with little more than zero knowledge of the process and I’m learning more as I go along; I’d be truly lost without my NaNo friends pushing me and helping me out. They better watch it or I’ll dedicate my book to them… 😉

No more questions, I’m out of hypothetical questions and rhetorical answers. 🙂

~ ~ ~

Writing this book has taken everything away from my family. I throw frozen bread and deli meats at them when the sun is at a 45˚ angle on my street and the shadows are one-third longer than the trees. Clothes are clean, but well, it’s not pretty. Dog hair is everywhere. Zone Bar wrappers and empty coffee cups  are leading out of my office toward the rest of the house. My eldest has begun shaving. My middle son is 5’10” and my youngest has asked the dog to be his parental guardian. They need haircuts.

We have a Flobie knock off. It wasn’t a matter of money, it was a matter of warranties and not saying we own a Flobie. “We bought the ‘Robo Cut’ which is much more manly,” said no one ever.  I ply my three sons with chocolate to get in The Chair.  They like to come to me to have it done because I’ve always cut their hair, save for the photo-op time for each of them that we endured as a future warranty against claims of negligence to prove to them that we did actually throw money at other people to groom them and that this vacuum-haircut at home thing is all just a crazy made-up fiction. (Remind me to delete this post in five years.)

this is not the kind you dance on. you sit. now. hot towel?

They also like to come to me to do it because they like to be able to have a conversation with their barber.  Thing 1 who is 14 and freaking hilarious, said that when had a memory of going to the barber, it was always confusing for him due to the language barrier and three-word sentences between himself and his talented Asian follicular cutter. He regales us with stories, amplified by his father’s true experiences. This is one such event that happens around our house after dad gets a cut. T1 is playing the part of the barber… lights… curtain … cellphones on stun…

Barber: Hello! Welcome!

Field male: Hey, thanks. I’ll sit here and wait?

Barber: You sit here.

Field male: Ok, hey I’d

Barber: Off work today?

Field male: No, just on my lunch br

Barber: Number one blade?

Field male: Sure, uh, no actually just on the si

Barber: Number two then?

Field male: Well, you usually do it shorter on th

Barber: Remain still. I cut.

Field male: Do you remember me? You cut my hair last

Barber: Sure! How baby?

Field male:  Uh, I don’t have a baby. My youngest is eight

Barber: HaHa! I know! Just kidding! How daughter?

Field male: sighs. Oh, her? She’s great. She’s going to the Olympics.

Barber: So great! Rifle?

Field male: No, water ballet. She’s the ball.

Barber: Oh! My daughter love horses.

Field male: What?

Barber: Trim eyebrow?

Field male: Sure. Thanks. Water ballet is

Barber:  Shave too?

Field male: No, not today. I’m afraid of you.

Barber: Ha ha! Ok, hot towel?

Field male:  Definitely. I can hide under it.

Barber: I show you picture. Here’s my daughter on horse.

Field male:  Under the towel. Owh, waaow! Fthat’s freat! Fhe looks feautiful!

Barber: Ok. Fifteen dollar. Next!

So my kids like the Robo-Cut. Last night we ran out of chocolate bars. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Take care of your waitresses.

~ ~ ~

Nice problems to have: My ice dispenser won’t work. I moan about its bloody inconvenience but then I recall I have a refrigerator. Problem solved.   I’d also like to live in a slightly larger or more 21st century attuned home. I love where my house is: a private street with little traffic, but the living room is massive, a vestige from a time when people used to come home from drinking at the agency to drink some more with Larry Tate and his wife. But then I remember that I have a home and it’s very comfortable and we’re not underwater and then the problem vaporizes. I get this way about the house after I come from a home that is naturally larger and in which I am a guest. I think, “if our house were bigger, then we’d be able to have parties like this,” but then I remember that I don’t have parties like this very often and that for the five of us, the house is plenty. It’s all the hampers in the way. Stupid NaNoWriMo.

~ ~ ~

The Internet has Taught Me

The internet has taught me that there are a lot of people out there. Many have great ideas and others just like to swear and be crass and shock other people. I mostly enjoy my time on Facebook and blogs. I think they’re great outlets for sharing ideas and being entertained.  I also realize in my old age that dropping F-bombs for the sheer habit of doing it isn’t nearly as hard as choosing another word altogether. Anyone can be crass and get a laugh.  And this just in: “The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out fines and sanctions against broadcasters who violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on broadcast television.

The justices declined  to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. The justices said the agency is free to revise its indecency policy.

For Pete’s sake… talk about shitty timing. Is all hell going break loose now on everything? Time to cancel cable I fear. By the way, “shit” is not a swear word to me. It’s a noun, “what is this shit?”, an exclamation, “oh shit that hurts!” an adverb “that was a shittily performed play.” And the F-bomb does have it points. But man, I really gotta be in a state to write it, keep it and publish it. It takes a lot of shit from people to get me there. Oddly, the universe has blessed me with a couple such people, but we don’t speak anymore.

The internet has also shown me that if you think you had a crappy childhood, you’re wrong. Or you’re right. It all depends. The thing is, everyone has been disappointed. And if anyone out there thinks that giving a child everything he or she wants, sheltering them from every possible adversity and picking them up the moment they fall down or before they make contact is the key to raising resilient, resourceful and emotionally adept adults: stop smoking the crack. Hear me now: You have already disappointed your children, count on it.  Somehow you picked the wrong spoon or you didn’t give her the right amount of ice cream. Or he WANTED THE YELLOW ONE!!!!!!  The thing is: think twenty years into the future: my kids are going to have to fire your kids because they have no coping skills or no idea how to do things themselves. So stop. Stop constantly pandering to your kids. I’m certainly not advocating that you lock them in a closet for hours or deny them food, but let them not get the one thing want. Make them wait fifteen minutes before swimming.  Let them be picked last for the team.  Let them not have something else because they won’t eat peas at dinner. You might just spare them costly therapy one day.  Because life is not always fair.  One size does not fit all.  Living through disappointments and challenges makes us stronger.  Being a loving parent does not mean to pander; being a loving parent means to do your best, apologize when you blow it and teach your children how to pick up the age-appropriate pieces too.

~ ~ ~

I Have A Lot to Say. Clearly.

I’ve written 14 posts in June. Well, no, 13, no, 12.  One is a reblog and one is a repeat of my own. But still, 12. That’s a lot.  If I can write 4k words a day, blog another 1,500 (average) as well and hang on facebook for a moment or ten, I have a lot to say. The thing is, for most of that time, my kids were still in school, so the slowdown is occurring.  My biggest cheerleader, Thing 2 (11) has also been my biggest complainer about how much I’m at the computer.  As much as I say I dig people, I also dig creating people, fictional characters and scenes, but this will come to a greater slowdown next week when I push off for vacation. Despite evidence to the contrary, I dig face time more than e-time though. There is so much I don’t say and that’s usually because I am reluctant afraid of pissing someone off, still. Despite my post “real” a few weeks ago, I feel I must be careful lest I alienate anyone. But I’ve been so pleased with both of the people who like what I write that I am feeling a little freer to be more honest.  Here’s this: I’m not writing anything I don’t already believe in.

~ ~ ~

Happy Summer Solstice! Today’s the longest sunny day of the year! Enjoy! Six months to winter… (it’s so hot here I had to say it).

Thank you.