January 29, 2010


I saw her standing in the express line at the grocery store. A woman I had taught with several years ago. Back then, she and her husband were struggling with infertility, and she was always open about that. MB and I were struggling with it, too, and I was never open about that. Never. Not with anyone outside the people I called my “hand people,” meaning, they fit on one hand, the number of people in real life I shared this with. If you weren’t one of my hand people, I talked to you, sure, but only through a small hole in the wall I built around myself. Most of me was hidden away, armored, silent. Too many people just aren’t safe. Emotionally safe. Women, especially, aren’t safe — not on this issue. Too many times in my life I’ve seen the smug gleam of schadenfreude in the narrowed eyes of some nosy woman. Not my hand people, no, never, but random women full of “good intentions” or “godly curiosity.” Those women got nothing from me. Or if they got anything from me, it was flat rudeness and they never spoke to me again which, to be honest, was my goal. I knew how I knew how I knew the caring from the curious, the real from the fake. I still do. It’s a discernment that serves me and cloaks me and frustrates people who deserve to be frustrated. I have no guilt over it. If social marauders have no guilt about trying to breach the tall towers of my life, I have no guilt over defending them.

Still, even though she wasn’t one of my hand people, I liked this woman. Her voice had a disarming baby doll squeak and her smile would go all crinkly-eyed at the corners. It was impossible to see that and not smile back. She talked about their infertility struggles to anyone who would listen. The other teachers listened impassively. I listened intently and tried to seem as detached as the others really were. I was desperate not to give myself away. A couple of times a week, she’d stand in the teachers’ lounge and share with me while I busied myself. I’d nod and shuffle some papers. Glance at her and make some copies. Furrow my brow with her and check my inbox. Anything to distance her plight from mine. Her outcome will not be mine. Her outcome will not be mine. I didn’t want to seem rude, but I didn’t want to seem vulnerable either. I needed to seem vague because it was all too specific. I needed to seem detached because it was all too consequential. I had to. Survival mode. Of course, at some point, this woman asked about us. Women do. It’s just what they do. “Do you want kids?” she asked one day while I stapled papers that didn’t need stapling. “Oh, yeah,” the smooth stone fell from my lips, “I’d love to have kids some day.” If I focused just so on these papers that didn’t need stapling, I could pull it off. Don’t look at her. Do not look at her. Because your face, your naked face, will give it all away. I tugged at a crooked staple and smiled sideways at her, clutching the side of the table, waiting for the searing limbic burn to fade away so I could breathe again. She just smiled her crinkly-eyed smile and said, “Oh, good. You’d be a great mom.”

She never knew.

Some people have basic boundaries. Some have high stone walls.

She may have suspected, but she never knew.

She never knew that we were trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and failing. She never knew that I cried myself to sleep and that I cried myself awake; that I had dreams where I had babies, lots of babies, pink chubby babies. She never knew that even waking up at all was a kind of torture for me. She never knew that I could not bear the sight of any pregnant woman anywhere, even the ones I called friend. Even the ones I called sister. She never knew how many times I sat alone on the edge of our bed loading and unloading my gun. Such pretty little bullets. Tiny silver teeth. I wouldn’t feel a thing. She never knew how one night, in a small voice, I finally told MB to hide my gun far far away from me. She never knew how that man, my mountain, jumped up, white, frantic, so fast, to do as I asked. She never knew any of this because I could not tell her. I just could not. The towers were tall, more stones every day. She never knew how much I understood. She never knew how much I wanted to hug her and lie and say it would all be okay. She never knew how much I wanted her to hug me and lie and say it would all be okay. I listened behind my high stone walls and marveled at her ability to tell anyone who would listen about their struggles. I could never decide if I marveled because I thought it was admirable or if I marveled because I thought it was stupid. To this day, I can’t decide. I just don’t know.

So I saw her standing in the express line at the grocery store, this woman. I know she saw me too, standing in a line several feet away. Our eyes flashed on each other a split second and then we looked away. She stood over there, childless, and I stood over here, childless. Perhaps you could say she had children at home. But I say you recognize your own. You just do. We looked at each other and we looked away and I knew how I knew how I knew the look of emptiness and longing in her eyes mirrored my very own.

You look away out of respect. You look away out of shame.

I stood there still and silent in my tower until the cashier shook me out of it.

“Have a nice day now.”

January 27, 2010

-image-more from the killing machine


If you could only see the abs hidden under gammie’s afghan …… I broke my hand on them once …..

But I still love him.

-image-word searches

Sometimes I love going through the Google searches that bring people to this little ol’ blog. It’s funny. Also depressing. How it does both at once, I leave to you to decipher.

Some recent ones:

~ hawaiian word for “defecate”

You know, we’ve covered a lot of ground here in five years, but I do not think we’ve covered this. Uhm, I hope.

~ men who drink foofoo coffee drinks

THIS I did talk about, since I care about manliness and whatnot. I think it’s truly one of my most humanitarian posts, and it’s getting lots of action lately — from Twitter. Why is that? Someone tell me. Is it good if someone links to your post on Twitter? What does it mean? How does that happen? I really don’t understand enough of this world anymore to still live in it. Do enlighten.

~ how to paint like bouguereau

The artist featured on this blog. Uh, pray? Perform a ritual involving rosemary and lizard feet? Travel back in time to Paris 1845 and enroll in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts? Yes, I think that’s probably the most direct route to getting what you want here, hon.

~ eurbgs skwrao

Oh, no. No. Look, Googler. You do NOT want to be a court reporter. And if you really DO, then you must know what these are, as they fall under the heading “Required Knowledge.” And if you really DO and you really DON’T, then, well, you have precisely the requisite mental acuity to just zip zip zzzzzzzip through court reporting school and then fall flat on your face in the real world. tkpwaod hrubg, tkupl/aoe! (You Googled it backwards, precious.)

~ hindu floaty thing

Thank you, Timothy Treadwell, for adding this phrase to my life. I use it all the time. Sorry that bear ate you, ya nutter.

~ slatterns

Hahahahahahaha. We supply all your slattern needs here.

~ fat frog w/two tan lines and tan dots

Uhm, wow. Your frog needs are really specific. Tan lines? I prefer my frogs sunbathe nude, but that’s just me. Also, you do know frogs don’t live on the Internet, right? I mean, they’re out there, uh, in the real world. Well, perhaps not the one you’re looking for. And what exactly is this frog wearing to have only two tan lines? A turtleneck? A mumu? Sigh. You couldn’t just read my live-blog of “Frogs” and be happy, could you?

~ actors/actresses with vegetables

What?? Is there interest in this? Of greater concern, have I actually talked about this?

~ stupid horatio caine sucks

Well, there you go. Something I HAVE talked about.

~ sandra bezic, condescending

I love the punctuation here. It’s like Joe Smith, CPA. As in that’s what she does. That’s what she is. I personally enjoy Sandra Bezic and her figure skating commentary, although Scott Hamilton and Dick Button are my favorites. I must have mentioned her during one of my world famous Olympic commentaries.

~ stupid coloring pages

So should I be distraught over how many people are brought here by Googling things with the word “stupid”? Also: “coloring pages”?? Do we do a lot of coloring on this blog?

You know, I think I’m now going to draw and post some stupid coloring pages for the world to enjoy. Maybe of a frog wearing a turtleneck or mumu. I sure hope that condescending Sandra Bezic doesn’t see them.

Good thing there’s nothing stupid here.

Proceed apace, pippa.

January 26, 2010

-image-gee, thanks, doc!

Doing some medical editing these days.

So let’s imagine you come to me, your caring doctor, with these problems:

~ Depression

~ Cirrhosis

~ Low back pain

~ Heart disease

All right. You’ve got a few issues, peaches. But that’s okay. Lots of people do. Again, I’m your caring doctor. I’m here to help.

Here are a few of my thoughts about you:

“Patient does sweat the small stuff. He has a lot on his mind. He feels like he is on a roller coaster. He is interested in writing, although he did not graduate from high school. The patient states that he has a gift for prose. He believes in a “Higher Power,” but does not believe in organized church.”

Wow. Yes, I am your caring doctor, but yamahama, am I condescending. Also, nosy in a decidedly non-medical way.

But I do want to help you. I do. Let’s face it, though. As a caring condescending doctor, it’s less about me helping you and more about feeling godlike about my healing powers.

So, are you ready? Here’s the plan I have for you:

“1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff video was recommended.

2. The patient was given a book by N.V. Peale and a forgiveness handout.

3. Should watch Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff video next time.

4. Follow up in 3 months.”

There you go!

Good luck with your back pain and cirrhosis and heart disease!

I mean, come ON. Don’t sweat the small stuff, peaches.

See you next time!


Your caring condescending doctor.

P.S.: Forgiveness cures cirrhosis, you know.

January 25, 2010


MB is out of town, up in the deep dark middle of nowhere, hanging out with his brother who’s over from Australia.

I’m here at home.

Because they needed man time. Brother time.

Uhm, clearly ……..


I need to stop looking at it, but I can’t. I’m sitting here crying with laughter because there is actual snow on MB’s hat and because I think that’s the stupid hat with the fishing lures on it that I always see lying around their house and because Brother’s eyes are just tiny slits of pain and because Mr. Dozen Black Belts could kill a person with one flick of his wrist, but, well, obviously, not NOW.

MB told me that the night before all of this …… he had to carry Brother home.


January 24, 2010

-image-Protected: never ever do that

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January 23, 2010


Last night, MB and I were reliving days of yore. You know, the Perky Bob lunch dilemma of five months ago. We were applauding ourselves for our choices, telling ourselves how smart we were, etc. The basic stuff that glues a marriage together. At one point, he said, “Well, it’s like we all learned from Oprah: NEVER let yourself be taken to the second location.”

The man is a sage.

January 22, 2010

-image-original banshee says ….


“Tee Tee, your hair has stripes in it.”

True dat.

And thank you for not mentioning the wrist stump, kid.

I mean, you tell your stylist to do what she wants and you end up with a wrist stump. No more creative license for her.



Hey, pippa, my Internet connection has been spotty here what with the end of days storms here in SD.

Back soon with more regularity. (What, like I’m taking fiber??)

Er, how about more “consistency”?

Yes: “Beyond the Pale. Now with more regularity.”

January 19, 2010

-image-more about c*h*u*r*c*h

I’m still a little paranoid about things regarding Maybe Church aka Not on Your Life Church, but less so. I’m getting closer and closer to not caring anymore who from that organization finds or reads my blog. Bring it on, Slappies!

During our tenure at Maybe Church, MB would take a small sketch book with him, writing and doodling in it during the sermon. Er, “teaching.” I wrote in a composition book I always had with me. You know, outlines for all those slanderous blog posts. If I could have, I would have live-blogged the Sunday service, I imagine. (Or “meeeeeetings” as this “family of churches” likes to call them.) We’d plop ourselves in the farthest reaches of the church, as far as we could sit from anything and anybody and still be sitting IN the church, bend our heads over our respective books, and look very earnest, very notetaker-y, very Onward Christian Soldiers about the whole dealio, when, really, I was just writing blog notes and MB was doodling caricatures of various church members and, when we weren’t doing THAT, we were busily writing notes to each other.

Oh, I miss Maybe Church! I do. For all the wrong reasons, but I DO miss it.

Below are excerpts from one page of Sunday notes to each other. These were written AFTER Outing Person had outed this shameful blog but BEFORE the retarded unsatisfying fallout. (Uhm, that I have yet to even write about.) I’d scan the actual page if I could, because the visuals are priceless, but it has real names on it, so you get my transcription instead.

I do hope you will be as edified by them as we were.

At the top of MB’s page, a list …..

Pastor Talents:

~ Supporting the short-sleeve casual industry
~ Channeling John Lithgow
~ Reviving the mustache

Then various frantic scribbles ….

HE: Hey, Perky Bob has backed off this week.
ME: He is DONE w/us. Maybe he saw the Ned Reyerson thing on my blog. Oops. Oh, THANK YOU, Outing Person!


ME: I need some Icy Hot for my sore ass crack!
HE: In church?? You’re “de-gifted”!

(ed: That one is for Kris)


ME: He’s really stuck on this “intersection” theme …… (several minutes later) ….. he’s talked about it every DAMN week …… (and another several minutes later) ….. if he says “intersection” one more time ….. KAPOW!!! …..(annnd another several minutes later) ….. Jesus must get bored …… zzzzzzzz …….

(Why MB was not moved enough to respond to my “intersection” plight, I do not know. I was clearly suffering.)


ME: Where are they? Grumpy Guy and Nan? Theories?
HE: Hunting for food? Depression festival?
ME: It’s weird. Do you think it’s related to the whole “Tracey-is-a-tramp” extravaganza?
HE: Seems viable.


Then there are various spot-on caricatures of the aforementioned people. It also says “Calvin” with a frowny face — because the pastor mentioned Calvin. Uhm, again.

Ah, yes. Church can be SO edifying, you know?

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