Sunday, March 31, 2013


Chopping broccoli and listening to national public radio and history is being made, magically, right here in my tiny kitchen. It is a rare and shining moment and I'm wondering if I should be doing something more awe-inspiring than chopping broccoli. And then I think, no, in a Buddhist kinda way this is the right and true path. Before enlightenment we carried water and chopped wood and after enlightenment we carried water and chopped wood. And broccoli.

"Mr, Cooper, could I just understand your argument. In reading the briefs it seems as though your principal argument is that same-sex and opposite-sex couples are not similarly situated because opposite-sex couples can procreate, same-sex couples cannot and the State's principal interest in marriage is in regulating procreation. Is that basically correct?" This is Supreme Justice Elena Kagan asking Charles Cooper, defense for Proposition 8, a question. Chuck stammers like the bumbling country lawyer he is, "I, y-your Honor, that's the essential thr-thrust of our - our position, yes." Kind of a sexual innuendo thing going on there, but wait, that's just me and Chuck clearly has no idea what he is talking about. It is the typical smoke screen people put up when their platform is shaky with no meaning, no sensibility.

 And Justice Stephen Breyer reminds him that opposite-sex couples get married all the time and don't plan on pro-creating, myself and husband included in that bunch, second marriages for both of us with no desire to buy Pampers or paint the extra bedroom pale yellow.

Chuck then heads down a different lane, this time calling on the plight of the children, innocents and cherubs, and he says. "If-if  marriage is redefined as a g-genderless institution then we will focus on the desires of adults and away from the r-raising of children."

And Justice Anthony Kennedy replies, "Mr. Cooper, there are some 40,000 children in California that live with same-sex parents and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of these children is important in this case, don't you think?" Uh-buh, uh-buh, uh-buh, that's all folks . . .

Monday, March 25, 2013


I hadn't planned on putting out Easter decorations. Spring deserves to be ignored this year with four, count'em four Canadian and Rockies storms burying us this March in the white stuff.

 In the final year of my mother's life I had packed away her plaster cast of a bunny with pink tulips in its annoying styrofoam packaging, little beads of the stuff all over her floor.

And the thought crept quietly into my tired brain, will this be the last holiday for her, lover of holidays that she is?  We've all had these somewhat prophetic thoughts and when they come true it leaves us with a shivery feeling about the mystery of our own psyches. Why can't we understand everything? Why is there so much unexplainable muck still out there?

I cannot stop missing my mother although this is not my goal. But Easter three years ago was the first realization for me that she was leaving. Forever.

The two most beautiful girls in the world will be visiting my household this weekend, granddaughters, what a perfectly incredible invention and for them I will decorate. The bunny with pink tulips is resurrected, hallelujah.

The half moon is high above my oak tree, paled and blurred in the clear winter sky, black craggy clouds swirl about like dirty silks. Marie, are you all right, is your spirit lively, is your pulse still evident somewhere, how do I celebrate you, I cannot believe you are invisible to me. She is in a box upstairs on the upper shelf  in the extra bedroom and when I shake her I feel sand and rocks, thou art dust and you have accomplished that.

It is a tired subject this business of mother and me, but I ache for the years of her I have missed.  My father travels the path alone and I think about the humor she would have supplied in our lives if her presence was still a real and vibrant thing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

please don't do this to me


I am in the shower trying to open a cellophane sample of shampoo.  I am old and fast losing strength in my fingers and soon I won't be able to open anything.  I can see the headline, "Elderly Woman Starves to Death in Apartment.  She Was Not Able to Open Jars or Rice Packages."  The sample says for coarse, unruly damaged hair and I'm feeling slightly insulted by that clerk back in San Diego who said you will absolutely Luh-OVE this as she stuffed the thing in a designer bag.

I am getting ready for another family party on Husband's side. They're loud and coarse, tit-grabbing, sailor swearing, salt of the earth people living on the flats in this river town, jobs at the meat packing plant, German work-ethic driven people. I attended my first Husband family affair eighteen years ago. I sat at a table with the women relations trying to be invisible and Husband's mother is coming in the front door, my first time meeting her. I am wanting to be the best, the best person to sit next to, the best person to be introduced to, the best person ever. Right before mama sits down Vickie, Husband's niece turns to me and says,"so who the fuck are you?"
"Please don't do this to me," I whimpered.

I kind of like Vickie. She has a clever aloof smile that makes her look like she has some terribly important secret she's not going to tell you. I gotta admire her pluck although misplaced but I like the unusual and unfettered in people, especially women, we don't get to be that way too often. She and her husband run a funeral home and the first ever crematorium in this city. Her daughters are fond of wearing Daisy Duke short shorts, kinda slutty and I have threatened Husband that if he drags my corpse to their funeral home I will haunt his last moment. The place is the size of a gymnasium and my introverted circle would prefer something more intimate, amazing grace and all that.


Friday, March 15, 2013


I am sitting on a bleacher in a Catholic middle school and I really hate Catholic schools.  They are Catholic-spewing factories producing children who grow up supporting a structure that deny high management positions to women, protect pedophiles within their own ranks, and condemn anything and everything gay.

I am here to watch my grandson, a product of public schooling battle those papists in their Mary-blue gymnasium and a crucified Christ hangs high on the wall looking mournfully on the scene below, red droplets on his pale cheeks.

I am sitting with the other heathens and I glance over at the home cheering section and they are sitting above us on the upper bleachers wearing expensive boots. Their kids just seem bigger and their uniforms fit better and I think they're blonder. Catholics are like vegans, they think they are better than everyone else and all though vegans are better than everyone else Catholics are not.

I grew up in the Catholic school system.  I put on a navy blue jumper and a white blouse with a peter pan collar and I was off to memorize longs lists of saints' names and learn the number of years saying "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" would carve off my purgatory sentence.

Frequently it seems the opposing team has a really tall kid, a genetic mutant or some poor slob who keeps getting held back to insure a winning season, those Catholics are not to be trusted. All this kid does is stand there and raise his arm and he deflects every one of our balls headed for the ill-fated basket. They are beating the holy crap out of us although they would argue that their crap is holier.

And now comes Francis to the head office. His simplicity is refreshing, his attention to the impoverished masses a relief, and he pays his own hotel bill, all good.  Bottom line, women are screaming for a voice in this crazy hierarchy.  I feel Francis will be another disappointment, albeit a softer approach.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

glory days

I am home from the pool, 100 minutes in the lap lane. Yesterday, ninety minutes and the day before two hours. There were a couple of runs and some weight-lifting sessions earlier in the week and I know these are the glory days.

 As I enter the second year of my seventh decade I show no signs of slowing down although I do more swimming, my gentle joint-friendly routine and less pounding on the pavement.  What, you say, make the insanity stop? I can't and you wouldn't either if you saw what I consume. I eat like a starving African and yesterday started with an egg mcmuffin and ended with fried bread nuggets and in between there was a buffet and the scourge that settles upon us every spring, those damn girl scout thin mints. Drinking seven gallons of diet coke a day also contributes to the expanding of my abdomen forcing me to hunt up the really stretchy sweatpants, the ones with the bleach stains from kneeling on freshly scrubbed floors. I blame my overindulgence of comfort food on the fact that it's March frickin' tenth and there are seven more inches of snow coming tonight.  I would drown an army of those pesky girl scouts for one hour of sunshine.

 I'm not sure how long I can keep this up and there is a residual fear underneath the blanket of endorphins floating through my brain.  And it's saying, you're getting old, you're getting weaker, you are now useless. As if to counteract this eventual condition I add minutes to the routine, a kind of insurance that I think I can, I think I can do more. We are all aware of the octogenarians and older farts who continue into advanced age swimming the English Channel, performing in triathlons, hoisting impossibly large barbells.  But these people are looked at by the general population with a twinge of nervousness, like Siamese twins they are freaks of nature. I encounter that look every weekend when college students teach swim lessons to little kids in the same pool I do my laps. As I round up my second hour they're waiting for me to collapse, I just know it and some of them are laying bets on it. Just for that, POW! another ten minutes!  Groan, I won't be able to get out of a sitting position for the rest of the afternoon.

Dawn, circa 2052

Friday, March 8, 2013

raisin bread and dope


I am in California sitting on Susan's patio surrounded by Mexican pots and her long-suffering plants. It's 85 fahrenheit and my plan is to get seriously sweaty raise my body temperature to the max and then jump into the unheated pool. I ignore the fact that nights in this latitude drop to 40 degrees and then wham! I am in the water and then desperately trying to get out, my frozen limbs refusing to work. "F-f-f- . . ." I stammer and Susan was on her feet ready to do what I don't know, she looked bemused, she looked worried and I had purposely jumped in the shallow end in case I needed saving and resuscitation.

She has a small bag of medicinal marijuana squirreled away in the cupboard left over from her 60th birthday party. On that night the girls got stoned and giggly watching their upper arm fat jiggle and two of the guests laughed so hard they wet their pants. They didn't have rolling papers so Susan wrapped the stuff in raisin bread and swallowed it whole. In our earlier racier days she and I were quite fond of the weed and we talk about finishing off that bag. I know Big Dave would disapprove although I never met a white man more in need of a joint than that husband of mine.

I remember the last time I got stoned.  It was New Year's 1995 and I was at a lame party eating dried veggie chips. I was at the end of a very sad relationship and then the guy shows up unannounced wearing a shirt I had given him the year before and what did all this mean, I pondered. I was suspicious the dude was seeing other women and later I would discover this was correct. So I threw all his stuff out on the front lawn to get rained on except his grandmother's crocheted afghan and the Victorian light covers, I wanted those. But back to the party. I got so stoned I had to cancel a dinner engagement as I was too paranoid to leave the house. I spent the evening talking to my jade plant.

great dental work