May 31, 2009

-image-“same time, next year”

I think of this every year now and it still gets me.

Every year, during The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon, which was this morning, I think of an old customer of mine from little Boheme and his yearly marathon rendezvous.

This is what I wrote when he first told me about it two years ago:

…. He says he always stands at the same location every year to watch the runners and he always runs into the same woman and that they just chat and watch the marathon. So he says, “Now we have a kind of ‘Same Time, Next Year’ thing going on with the marathon. I’ll be standing in that spot tomorrow and I bet she shows up.” They just hang out for that brief period of time of the marathon; that’s all. It’s not romantic in the classic man/woman sense — (mainly because he’s gay) — but the fact that he does that and she does that, I dunno; it’s still romantic to me. It’s two people giving over to a kind of whimsy. They have no connection in life otherwise, but they are each other’s spontaneous marathon date. Every year, they are committed to that moment. And he was so looking forward to seeing her. His face just lit up talking about it and he was thoroughly unabashed, totally surrendered to what those moments are — their secret shimmering ritual.

It made my heart burst a little. The weird random ways that people connect. The ways they find each other. The spark of all that. How it has its own life, its own electric tingle. It’s like some divine serendipity. God’s a romantic, he is, up there in his heaven, not wanting people to be alone, just giddy sometimes with the ways he allows people to collide.

And, you know, every year when I think of this, I think of my customer, my friend, and smile because I just know he surrenders to the whimsy and brings her flowers.

I just know it.

He’s just that way.

May 30, 2009


Someone Googled “I am hairy and I am a grammar freak” and it brought them here?

Well, actually, you know, true story: I once used that exact description on a dating site and, as you might imagine, I was positively overrun, overrun I tell you, by interested menfolk.

Yup. True story.

May 29, 2009


Dear Cara emailed this link to me and, well, the freak-out has officially begun.

This is my hometown, yes, but it’s your country, our country. Scary. Truly scary. What are we? China??

Read it. I almost can’t believe it.

May 27, 2009

-image-perpetually pink

(ed.: I cannot find part two of this post — sob! — but I’m posting it anyway, just this part, until I either find it or, gulp, rewrite it.)

It’s fifth grade. I am 10 and live in a perpetual pink haze of shyness. If someone just looks at me, I blush. If someone just talks to me, I burn. If my teacher calls on me, I want to die. Whether I know the answer or not doesn’t matter; I’d simply prefer death, thank you. At school, I sit at a “desk grouping” across from Bosco Wasco, the large-headed object of my secret yearning. Ten-year-old Bosco is the complete opposite of 10-year-old me. He’s cool, for one thing. Confident. Wears a denim jacket to school and I feel confused liking a boy in a denim jacket. In my house, there is no denim. No jeans, certainly no jackets. Denim means rebellion and we will have none of that, please. So I feel a bit panicky, discombobbled, and sad in my certainty that my twittery crush means I am flirting recklessly with The Dark Side. The road to hell is paved with denim, you know.

The first time I laid eyes on Bosco, I noticed his crew cut, “stick-up hair,” I always called it — never to anyone else, though. I thought it meant he was a bully or had recently had head lice, but no. Bosco is polite and certainly seems clean enough. He likes to joke and whenever he smiles or laughs, which is a lot, the corners of his eyes shoot crinkles like a firecracker. He talks to everybody, including me, and none of the boys talk to me. But Bosco has a magical ease. There seems to be no one he doesn’t like, no one he’s afraid to talk to or joke with. If he murmurs a joke to me in class, I’m careful not to laugh because I was born a goody-two-shoes and don’t want to get in trouble. Instead, I lower my head, smile, and quietly blush crimson, of course. A demure pink girl in love with her big-headed denim boy.

Next to Bosco sits Judy. In whatever spare moments I have between longing glances at my big-headed boy, I’m staring hard at Judy. How I am learning anything at all in 5th grade is beyond me, since my primary academic activity is staring. The teacher writes equations on the blackboard. I stare at Bosco. The teacher has us read around the room. I stare at Judy. The teacher calls on me. I burn bright red, want to die, and try to answer the question all while simultaneously staring at Bosco and Judy, if physically possible.

Judy wears large Coke-bottle glasses and looks grown up to me. Like 17. She wears a brown crocheted bag slung across her body everywhere she goes and her clothes are beige, grey, black, brown, colors of adulthood. She’s tan, so I figure she’s been places I haven’t, like outside. Or maybe around. My undying fixation, though, is with her hair. The bulk of it is a mousy mound that moves in a single lump, which is interesting, a phenomenon even, but it’s the edges of this mound that consume me. They’re fuzzy and flyaway as if the atmosphere around her head is slightly different from the rest of earth’s. I’m mesmerized by the floaty ends and check in regularly to see what they’re doing. Sticking up. Sticking out. Frowsy strands trying to break free. We’re inside, there’s no wind anywhere, and yet, her hair waves at me. It fascinates me. I cannot get past it. It has my heart almost as much as my big-headed boy.

Many times, I wonder why I don’t have anything that interesting happening on me. I have a red pleated skirt and a white puckered blouse. I have teddy bear knee socks and a baby blue headband. I have a perpetually pink face. Maybe this is interesting to someone, but I want to be interesting like Judy. She’s got it going on. Sometimes, because I am devoid of social skills, I stare too long and Judy catches me gawking. But when she does, she always smiles a smile where her eyes spark up yet her lips turn down. I stare even harder because I don’t get how she does that.

Nobody but Bosco talks to me or Judy, and he’s too much in demand by less marginal children to really hang with us, so of course, Judy and I must become friends. It’s destiny. Kids have already paired up. Grouped up. Started their sly whispering circles and their petty grade school thuggeries.

One day on the playground, Judy walks up to me. No, that’s not it. She doesn’t walk so much as lumber. She’s tall for a girl our age. Lanky. So she lumbers up to me. Wanna play tether ball, she says. I don’t, really, because I’d rather skim the edges of the ball field, singing “I Have Confidence” to myself. I don’t like to be seen doing anything with anybody in case I do it wrong. But she stares down at me and her eyes are huge and gray behind the Coke-bottle glasses and look like eyes you really shouldn’t say no to. Besides, I am 10 and perpetually pink. I don’t know how to say no even if I want to, so I say yes and die inside.

We play tether ball. Or rather, because she’s so tall, I stand there in my knee socks and watch as the ball whizzes in hypnotic circles over my head. I raise my arms to give the appearance of effort and to make my face look like it’s red from exertion not mortification, but, really, there’s not much point on either score. I think she knows there’s not much point; she’s clearly tall enough to beat most of the boys in tether ball and I’m clearly self-conscious enough to drop dead from failure. Playing tether ball with me, the girl who just drifts around the playground or swings in the swings or occasionally plays hopscotch, can’t be the most fulfilling experience. Still, day after day, she asks me to play tether ball and day after day I say yes. As we play, she smiles at me with her turned-down smile, says encouraging things to me. “Good one” or “Nice try” and stuff like that. I think these things are strange because, frankly, I don’t do any good ones and not one of my feeble tries is nice. I wonder if she’s kidding when she says them, so I always check her face. Is she smiling? Is she gonna laugh? Should I believe her? She seems years older than I am, like a big sister, a wiser cousin. Sometimes her shoes have heels on them. Sometimes my socks have Raggedy Anns.

As time goes on, she tries talking to me a little more. What do I think of math? and What do I do after school? and What do I think of Carlyn Carnevalli? My face burns. I answer hesitantly: I hate it and I go to the park a lot and, since I am too afraid to blow it by saying I hate that Carlyn Carnevalli, she is a big fat bully, I say Well, not much. Little by little, she gently pries open my thick shell, allows me to emerge at my own slow pace. She waits for me, but I don’t know she’s waiting. She sees things about me, but I don’t know what they are.

One day, after tether ball, we lean up against the ivy-covered fence to rest. It’s hot and the ivy feels cool on my back. Out of the blue, she says I’ve kinda invented this person. I jerk my head up to look her straight in the face. I invent people too, but I don’t talk about it. Judy’s talking about it. Well, it’s not a person, really; it’s a dog. I kinda made up this dog character.

I listen and my heart is flooding over.

-image-stupid car discussions

I should never be in a car with anyone ever.

Just don’t get in a car with me, okay?

Because if you do, I might force you to talk about 50,000-hand piles or play the “Million Bucks” game or I may cluck the theme to “Rocky” to cheer you up.

Or I just might make out with you. It’s a real problem.

Or like the other morning.

The spirited discussion in the car went like this:

ME: You’re chewing gum?
HE: Uh-huh.
ME: You are? It’s 7:45.
HE: Uhm, yeah? What are you saying?
ME: Doesn’t that seem early?
HE: I dunno.
ME: Seems early to me.
HE: Well, so, are you saying there’s a socially appropriate start time for gum chewing? Like “Don’t drink before noon; don’t chew gum before …..ah, when, exactly?(smacksmack)
ME: (wavering in the face of the exaggerated smacking) Uhhh ….
HE: Well, you must have a time in mind (smacksmacksmack).
ME: I don’t, okay? It just seemed early.
HE: (smacksmack) I think you do.
ME: (I’d rather discuss how soon I can kill you. Let’s discuss that.)
HE: Nine a.m.? Ten a.m.?
ME: Maybe before 9:00 is early.
HE: (smacksmacksmack) Hm.
ME: Hm, indeed.


Honestly, one of us is not gettin’ outta this thing alive and, well, it’s not gonna be me.

All right. So I put it to you, pippa: Thoughts on an “appropriate gum chewing hour”?

You know …… the minutiae we cover on this blog truly staggers me sometimes.

But what is life made up of if not the minutiae?

May 26, 2009

-image-happy girl

What’s up, Trace? You jammin’ to the Perry Como tunes, are you, hon?


-image-gear up, everyone

Wimbledon starts in less than a month.

That means The Best Thing Ever — England is coming up, too.

And over the weekend, in the midst of my meditative trance brought on by the Eagles and Timothy B. Schmit’s dead sexy fingers, I hit on the perfect insane prize for the winner.

I’m quite excited about it all.

Be prepared.

-image-cheering myself up

While I try to reconstruct The Lost Post, I am cheering myself up with my swift and violent weekend crush on Timothy B. Schmit, sexy bass player for the Eagles. Uhm, yes, I understand that it’s Tuesday, but the weekend crush just applied for an extension and has — hooray! — been approved.

If you find yourself alone, spouse out of town, I highly recommend the weekend crush on famous people you will never actually encounter.

MB will roll his eyes over this whole dealio. He’s not threatened by Timothy B. Schmit, sexy bass player for the Eagles. I told him over the phone about my emerging tsunami of swoon and he remained unruffled.

Pffft to that, peaches. You know, I need me some ruffling. I mean, what? I ain’t worth no ruffling??

Okay. Just wait, babe. Someday Timothy B. Schmit show up at our door crooning “I Can’t Tell You Why” to me in his feathery tenor and I will go weak at the knees and be completely undone. He’ll want to whisk me away — naturally, because this is my little fantasy here — and then, my friend, well, you’re going to have to decide, aren’t you?

You will be in a pretty pickle.

A pretty pickle, I say.

Actually, I can see it now. The more likely scenario: MB literally begging Timothy B. Schmit, “Take her, man! Take her away, for the love of God!” And Timothy B. Schmit taking my hand, pulling me away with a whatevs shrug.

I engage in random obsessive behaviors, I guess, when I’m by myself. Like eating Cheerios all weekend and trampolining all willy-nilly and watching Eagles videos on YouTube and watching Eagles videos on YouTube while trampolining all willy-nilly. So, yeah, that was my weekend. That, and planning “romantic weekends in Oregon” with SarahK.

Here’s the truth: Growing up, I never knew what Timothy B. Schmit looked like. Nope. Never laid eyes on him until this weekend. When it comes to popular music — rock, pop, whatever — I came to everything late. Oh, so very latelatelate. We didn’t grow up being allowed to listen to “that kind of music.” When Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” is one of the few acceptable listening choices, well, you get a little skewed in the head. It messes you up. You become slightly nutso — and, as a bonus, you forever hate that song. We had a stereo in the hall closet controlled solely by my parents. They listened to Perry Como or The Ray Coniff Singers or Robert Goulet. Basically, my parents listened to the music of their parents which means I grew up on the music of my grandparents. I was a real swinger. We didn’t buy albums or cassettes or whatever. We weren’t given them as presents. Asking for them was out of the question. I simply didn’t have these things in my possession. Things that other kids might have had. Things like albums with photos of sexy bass players, for instance. I mean, sure, a few things trickled down through my friends, but my pop/rock musical knowledge was completely stunted.

Things changed when I went away to college. Oh, did they change. I had a lot of musical catching up to do.

And let’s just say I married the man who introduced me to Aerosmith. So there you go.

But this weekend, I finally realized the upside to all the compulsory Robert Goulet listening: It saved me from becoming Timothy B. Schmit’s crazed stalker which is what I surely would have become had I ever had the slightest idea of what he looked like. Or the slightest idea of his dead sexy fingers. Or the slightest idea of his glorious mane of hair. I may have been force-fed Perry Como, but things were definitely a’brewin’ inside. I mean, I wasn’t dead.

Well, only in your basic repressive soul-crushing way, not in an I-am-unaware-of-my-fancy-place kind of way. Oh, no. I was a secretly fiery little Baptist minx.

And, come on. “I Can’t Tell You Why”? Even I, the Baptist Nun, was aware that things happened when people heard that song. I didn’t know what kind of things they were. Maybe people heard it and baked banana bread or re-tiled the tub. I’m a complete innocent on every issue, as we all know. All I’d heard was it caused people to do these things. I’ve watched this video repeatedly now this weekend and I can vouch for its effect. I have both baked banana bread and re-tiled the tub. Because of this song and the things it makes you do.

Please watch and fall in love with Timothy B. Schmit and his dead sexy fingers and his gorgeous mane of hair and his perfect feathery tenor and don’t blame me if you bake banana bread. I am not responsible.

Furthermore: Completely ignore Glenn Frey. I do.

Furthermore: Please watch Don Felder’s guitar solo and imagine that you are that guitar. No, wait. I didn’t say that. Don’t do that. Re-tile the tub instead.

Furthermore: At 4:53, Don Felder does a little “chucka” move on his gorgeous guitar. (Cullen, please help me. Tell me what that’s called. Save me from myself and this post.) Anyhoo. Watch him right after he does that. His impish little grin. He’s very pleased with himself. Frankly, I’m a little twitterpated over him, too. His guitar is like honey. You heard me. Put THAT on your banana bread, pippa.

Okay. Calm down, Trace. “Got to keep your head little girl.”

You’re all thinking “too late,” aren’t you?

May 25, 2009

-image-oh, no no no no!!

AHHH! I am sick. SICK! I’ve spent a lot of time working on a post about the night MB and I met, and …. oh, my stomach’s a little queasy over this ….. I’ve just lost three-fourths of it. It’s just …. poof! …. gone.

No. No. Nononononononono. I’d saved it, too. Repeatedly. I don’t understand it. I think I’m going to have to write posts elsewhere and copy and paste them into the blog edit window, because the blog itself is eating things. I worked on the post earlier today, saved it, came back to it just now and, well, almost started crying. Okay. I am crying a little bit. I’m crushed. I basically have to start over or try to recreate it or …. just lie down in the road and pray to be run over by rampaging hoodlums.

I was hoping to have that up for you tonight. I was going to have it finished. Not now.

I am crushed, pippa. CRUSHED.

May 23, 2009

-image-heaven only knows

Well, My Beloved is visiting his parents this weekend up in the deep dark middle of nowhere. He’s having some much-needed mountain man time with his dad and The Devious Twins. So that’s why the girlie girl is here.

(Although, truthfully …. uhm ….. MB’s aunt, my mil’s older sister, is also visiting from the East Coast … and, well …… I can only take so much, okay? I am not Jesus.)

Now The Devious Twins are identical twin brothers whom MB has known since childhood. One of them — do not ask me which one — was also, along with MB, a member of that primary cause of swooning and naughty thoughts in the minds of high school girls all over town, the The Bitchen Rock Combo. He’s on the far left in the photo with the white blonde hair blending into the background, next to, oh, that superstar of hotness, My Beloved. Although, admittedly, at that time in my life MB was basically Total Stranger I’ve Neither Seen Nor Met Nor Even Know Exists. Funny how things work out, ain’t it?

So The Devious Twins were your basic clowns, your average pranksters, your neighborhood nightmares, and there were TWO OF THEM, exact replicas of one another, so whatever they did involved mayhem multiplied. They are hilarious — do not misunderstand me — but they are dangerous rubes and should not be trusted with human life in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps this weekend they will do something like drink a bunch of beers with MB and then lie down in the middle of Main Street to see if they get run over by any hapless drivers just trying to get the heck outta that loco town. Who knows? And yes, these are grown men, pippa. With wives and children and giant millstones of responsibilities around their necks.

I tell you true: whenever my phone rings this weekend and it’s MB, I will pick it up with at least a half measure of dread, wondering if this is the phone call where he’ll say, “Okay. So one of The Devious Twins was driving his truck on the shore so we could waterski in the canal which — yes, babe, it’s only five feet deep — and, well, he hit a tree — yes, it’s only five feet wide; you know, it’s the canal! — and I was on the skis being pulled but I slammed into the shore when he hit that tree and I can’t move my arms or legs so I think I might be a quadriplegic now, etc.”

And I will sigh with great wifely concern, “Okay. Well, what do you want me to do about it from here?”

To be fair, The Devious Twins did repeatedly ask MB, “Is Tracey coming with you? Are you bringing Tracey?” You know, which is nice. So they were at least willing to have a girlie girl interrupt their mountain man shenanigans. Plus, I get along well with the menfolk. I LIKE men. I even like men like The Devious Twins. No. I especially like men like The Devious Twins. Even when one of them — again, do not ask me which one — a little tipsy last Christmas, regaled me with a half-hour epic tale of his long-ago horrifying penis injury. It was told with great glee and graphic descriptions. What is it about me that causes this to happen?? I have no idea, truly. But it was hilarious. (I love being the only sober person at a party.) From the first word out of his mouth, I was howling with laughter. The next day, this same Devious Twin called MB, all remorseful and said, “Hey, dude. I’m sorry. I think I talked to Tracey about my penis last night.” Hahahaha. Yes, you did. And, God help me, I found it oddly charming. I mean, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable on my account, you know?

So heaven only knows what might happen this weekend with The Devious Twins in the deep dark middle of nowhere.

And heaven only knows what stupid thing I’ll end up doing out of sheer boredom around here.

Uhm, live-blog of “Frogs” anyone?

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