Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Manhatten

So after crawling to my hotel room........I groaned because the concierge had made a reservation for me at a Mexican restaurant. They were booked on Thursday and Friday and it was now or with the help of the doorman .....I found a cab and got in.....and for the next 15 minutes.....the cab driver who was from Bangladesh....harped on his morning partner that shared the cab......"I find ashes in the car.....on the front seat.....he says I don't smoke....what he think I'm crazy....I'm making ashes up?".....I nodded....I uh-huhed.....I said to myself ohhhh I wish I wasn't in this particular cab.....but I eventually got to the restaurant.

My waiter looked at me and said, "Oh you look like you have had a bad day....You need a drink?" Of course I did.....and had their famous pomegranate Margarita (10.00$ for a small 6 oz drink...ouch).....the man made guacamole at the table...."You look like you had a hard day" by this time.....I was thinking I better go to the bathroom and see why I looked so bad.....I actually had done okay at the agent pitch....I had pitched to 6 people...and got 4 invites to send the manuscript....but all had warned me that the book was educational....and hence may be a hard books don't make a lot of money for publishers ( or agents )so you are kind of in the dog world for books.....

I knew that going in...but now it seemed to be tattooed to my fore head...yes I wrote a book that was me that was the whole fun it....passing the fufu.....attending a male beauty contest......eating camel meat.....Africa is going to emerge someday as a very strategic place in the world and it seems wise to begin teaching our kids some of the positive/interesting things on the I'll remove the

I was pretty glum all day today too...even though I attended some interesting sessions......but then I saw a poster that made me was at a bus stop.....there's a close up picture of a man's and all it says is to risk is to live....

Yeah....I thought....that's true and this is one fricking risk.....and then the poster has a addy on it.....I looked it up and its really a very clever advertisement for a new book coming out called in effect....strategies to use in hazardous situations......I wrote it down...and read the quick synopsis off the net....and then I didn't worry as much....I decided that if the agents said it was all too educational....I would rewrite the damn thing...and start thinking of a spin I could use or an alternative course......

You got to believe in what you do at least for a while....and then if the shit hits the should..get out of its way.....and get a new fan.....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Breakfast with Jesus and the other side of Manhatten

I didn't intend to have breakfast with Jesus but it seemed like a reasonable thing to do....the convention started today bright and early....and I was planning to walk down to the deli...when I noticed a coffee and donut vendor.

The vendors must be a day time operation and....for 1.25 you get a cup of coffee and your choice of me you can get anything in NYC for 1.25 this was a bargain worth stopping for...but then where to eat and drink?

The church next to vendor had a small garden tucked to the side behind a huge black iron gate...I carefully opened the gate and passed by an ultra white large statue of Jesus next to a park bench... I was a little hesitant eating a donut while Jesus looked down on me...especially with outstretched hands....if one was silly you could wonder if God was asking for a donut handout...but I didn't palm some dough onto him....and perhaps that's why when I got to 34th street I became disoriented and headed east versus the exact opposite of the convention center. A nice New Yorker turned me around at the next bus stop.....

When I did get on the bus....I handed my 2.00 to the driver who looked at me stunned....metro card or exact change only. "Turn around and ask if anyone has change."

So like a throwback to my grammar school days when the nun made you stand in front of the class because you did something wrong....I had to address the rush hour bus...."Does anyone have change?" I was totally embarrassed but a nice woman gave me her metro card and I gave her my 2.oo dollars.

Outside of some general seminars....I was attending an agent/editor pitch session and was disappointed that there were only agents listed.....I wasn't sure I needed an agent...I wasn't sure I have a great book......but I went any way....people call these sessions agent speed dating...but trust me if speed dating is like's one tough call....because you sit there pitching your dream and life to a somewhat cynical but cordial person who's job it is to get something out of you.....

I was so emotionally drained and exhausted by my last session....that I had to totally focus on finding the right bus home....which I did and this time I brought the right change....

(to be continued)....I think I'm going to drop off the chair.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Manhattan evening

Even if I could take pictures tonight and attached them to my blog....I don't think they would do justice to the beautiful evening here in Manhatten. 
I am here in New York City for a convention.....I searched hard for a small interesting hotel....wanting to stay away from the Hyatts and Sheratons....and found a boutique hotel in Murray Hill....a quiet residential neighborhood tucked into mid Manhatten. When I exit the front door.....Grand Central Terminal is glowing with the unique Chyresler spire off to the side and an array of modest sized friendly-feeling skyscrapers all around.....there's an island in the street with flower and trees....and there is a  full moon tonight.... a silver orb in a perfectly black sky.  The honking is modest; there's only the occasional groan of a bus....almost musical.
I just came back from an Italian restuarant....feeling very cosmopolitian eating so late at night verus my normal midwest dinner hour of around 5pm.....actually the whole dining experience reeked of new york city....the restuarant.....has a short wooden bar and tables when you in polo shirts who looked like they lived in the neighborhood versus tourist whee sitting having drinks....the maitre de.....immediately jumped up from a table off to the side where he was having wine and salad and took me to the back room.....a low ceiling....low light place....with mauve and terracotta walls....with old oit paintings and murals on the wall....the linens were white and crisp and the waiter snapped my napkin and placed in on my lap.
In a few minutes a man started playing the piano....songs my father would cherish...peppy swingy the Girl from Iponema....which is the only tune I could name and one my dad always liked to play way too many times....there were older men with white hair in suits and ties and older women in suits....they looked like nearby residents....there were a few single men....a couple in jeans that obviously looked out of place.....and a scattering of single who also looked like residents of the this was not a hip eatery.....  I stared at one older man for a while only because he had such beautiful wavy white hair....he sounded elegant and had a dark suit on ...and i was fascinated by the fact that he tucked his napkin under his chin.....
mid way through my most excellent meal (chichen in a champagne sauce with apples and figs) a single man sat down close to me....and now i was fascinated by the napkin in his pocket.....which was not tucked but folded or prefolded into several points.....he ordered diet pepsi and white wine....he gazed at me....completely unimpressed......then his pasta came and he slurped.....and picked at his salad with his fingers.....and this seemed so incongruent that i could have stared at him for the rest of the evening.....just trying to figure out why a man with a pointhy hanky in his suit pocket would slurp.....
their were numerous wait staff...hispanics being the table persons...dressed in short burgundy tux jackets and the regular waiters who were in tuxs....some of the waiters spoke italian to each other....and didn't sound like the u.s. was their orginal home....a table of businessmen left around this time.....perhaps a party of 6 and i swear each and every one of them were reading their blackberries on the way out the
i almost ligered for a drink at the was a cozy bar and not one where a woman would feel uncomfortable at.....but i went outside and walked around ....just letting the gentle breeze guide me.....and peeking in windows....trying to see what life was like her....some people were obviously in dinner preparation.....and one lower floor apartment I passed made me laugh.....I believe it was a therapist there was a woman sitting in a chair talking to another woman in a such a cliche setting...bookcases on the wall too....that i just had to do a double take....this is obviously where some screenwriter found his scene.....
my little room at the hotel which seemed so small when i checked in....turned quaint and cute this tones of brown and black and the evening light it felt comfortable....and i actually lifted the shades up for a white to watch the city scenes.....although i'm up on the 15th floor and must look down at everything.....before i entered the hotel....I saw a sign at the cross walk that honking....penalty and I see why.....even 15 floors up you can hear the traffic....almost as if you were on the first floor....interesting phenomenon....
so now i can see the moon out my windown and i have a big tomorrow....starting bright an early at the convention center.....a full day....8-530....which will probably also be an exhausting day.....but i'm ready for it tonight.....
nite nite from manhatten

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Double New Year..........

My friend Krista and I have been celebrating New Year's Eve/Day for (we think) 6 years. Each year we write our hopes and dreams as well as the emotions we want to get rid of.......on balloons. We take them to a clearing....and let them the gods and the universe are crystal clear about our intentions in the coming year.
One surprising consequence of this tradition.... is how much we have learned about helium balloons ....they're affected by temperature ( cold temps decreasing soaring considerably)...and they can be very attractive to tree spirits who are quite playful and nosey and not only like to hold onto balloons but read and contemplate the messages for a while before they let them go.
Trouble is.....Krista, smart wonderful woman that she is, has moved to Minnesota ( to work on her PHD) in the last few years.... and sometimes we're not together on the traditional start of the New Year. So we decided a New Year should begin whenever we get together.
A couple years ago our Year began in the middle of January when the temperature in Minnesota was below zero. We skipped the balloons ( knowing a lift off was impossible) and wrote our hopes and negatives on small white pieces of paper.... which we threw up into the air and onto a frozen lake. The gods immediately gathered them....white onto white.....and they disappeared.
Some years when we've had a lot of shit happen to us....we not only release our balloons but actually write our negatives down....and set them on fire. Last year....we used a little propane lighter to ignite them and then tossed them over the bridge onto a stream.....they burned for a long time......which looked spooky....these little fires burning on top of the water. It seemed the negatives had so much energy in them.....they weren't easily eliminated.
Which is another wonderful part of the tradition. Divination. What does it mean when the tree spirits holds on to your that good or bad or indifferent? What if your negatives take a long long time to burn....does that mean you are still holding on to them mentally even though on the surface you have released them??? So much to ponder....and wonder....about what we dream and release into the universe. It's not only the sending...but how they are received which seems important.
This year....Krista came home a couple days was warm.....which means good soaring we kept our tradition......and since Krista and I haven't seen each other for a whole year....and....the 28th is my birthday..... it was a double double beginning to a New Year.
We let our balloons go......and to our surprise ...they did not lift off....they hovered together at ground level....and actually a if they were having a conversation with the tree spirit....then they lifted off into the sky....not quickly....but slow and steady....till they were up up and finally out of sight.
We wondered what this new twist meant? Why did our balloons stay so close together? Why did they visit the tree? Why did they take off so slowly despite the heat??? Hmmmmm....we both felt our negatives weren't big enough for a seperate burning so our balloons carried our positives and the things we want to let go off in one package to the gods...perhaps the double duty weighed them down a bit.
So here are are dreams and hopes and the things we want to eliminate in our lifes/selves ....going off into the universe.....
Our balloons seems eager to get going.

Here they go off...side by side.....hovering near the earth....and stopping in front of a tree.

Finally they decide to head upwards.

And there they are....still together.....going off to do their business with the Gods.

Happy New Year.


Friday, May 25, 2007

A Dialogue Concerning Hazardous Chemicals

"Look at this....."
" did you do that?"
"I used that new hair removal goop."
"Did you read the instructions?"
"Of course I didn't read the instructions...... goop is goop."
"Hmmm....I would say in this case perhaps you should have read the instructions."
"How am I going to go to the pool like this?"
"Are you talking about the community pool?"
" opens Saturday."
"Has it gone nude and I don't know it?"
"Of course, it hasn't gone nude."
"Then why are you worried about this?"
"Because I'm not sure I like it."
"I think it looks rather good."
"I think it looks funny."
"Actually I think it looks very good."
"You aren't listening."
"What did you say?"
"I said I think I should get a tattoo here."
"When did we start talking about tattoos?"
"At least it would be more ....colorful."
"Oh I wouldn't put a tattoo there."
"Hurt like hell."
"Well what am I going to do?"
"Uh.... leave'll grow back."
"I bet it'll be itchy in a few days."
"No problem .... you can scratch yourself then just like a guy."
"That's not funny."
"Look at the bright side."
"What bright side?"
"You'll swim faster."
"No resistance."
"Leave ....right now."


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane.....Sort of.....

I have packing-block.

It's 11Pm and my two suitcases are lying open on the floor with absolutely nothing in them. Nadda. Zip.

My to-do list for today clearly stated: pack for NYC. I x'd out the whole afternoon. I always need a lot of time to pack because I become suspicious that the blouse and pants and shoes or the skirt and blouse and shoes.....which have worked together just fine till now....aren't right.

I'm not sure I can define "right" but it seems to have something to do with the idea that my clothes will come out of the suitcase and look "wrong" in the place I'm visiting.

Compound this insecurity with the weather forecast. Mostly sunny for the first few days with temperatures in the 70's during the day. Perhaps I could pack for that scenario......except the web site featured a fat purple sun puffing away billowy white clouds next to the forecast. It doesn't look mostly looks mostly menacing....with a chance of rain? and what about temperatures in the evening when the sun goes down and all those billowy clouds are left?

And what does 70's mean? Warm enough to forget a jacket but cool enough to wear a sweater?

And then I hate to admit this but I also have..... fancy dress and shoes fear. .....I'm always afraid I will run into someone like Donald Trump or Brad Pitt.... and I'll be asked out to dinner and realize I didn't pack a cocktail dress and appropriate shoes.

Even when my logic debunks the myth that Brad Pitt will take me out to dinner, I feel a creepy anxiety about not having evening wear along. It's as if some big event is just going to spring itself on me....and I'll embarrass myself by going in business casual. So I always pack a fancy dress and heels ....and 99.9% of the time don't wear them.

So my empty suitcases are still empty...and now it's midnight ....and I've completed lost my chance to cross...... Pack for my to-do for today.

Maybe I can handle this tomorrow. I can x-out a couple hours in the morning. Prehaps if I pack the fancy dress and the sweater and the umbrella first.....I can lessen some of those bad-weather-big-event fears....then I can put on my solo fashion show in front of the bedroom mirror to make sure what I thought was right doesn't look like it will be wrong in a puffy purple sun city with billowing clouds.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Good Wife Rules.......Part 2

I know you want just can't wait to get the next 9 rules for being a good wife or girlfriend......well...... here they are:

  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him; but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first-remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be home and relax.

  • Your goal: try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Ladies.....these last four are my favorites.....I've italicized the parts I particularly like..

  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

  • A good wife always knows her place.

Suggested place for a woman...note attire, meal suggestion and saucy little look.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Good Wife's Guide.......Part 1

Myrna, a friend of mine, emailed me a clipping from an old magazine. It's from Housekeeping Monthly and dated May 13th, 1955.

Titled, "The Good Wife's Guide", it lists 18 rules you should follow to keep your man happy.

Since that's a lot of rules...I thought I would divide them up.... to give you girls time to digest and memorize them.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and it's one of your duties to provide it.

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

  • Gather up school books, toys, paper etc and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense satisfaction.

  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hand and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise from washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

  • Be happy to see him.

  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Well.....I don't know about you....but I certainly need to run to Wal-mart and get some ribbons for my hair......I wonder how I can be a little more gay and interesting for him????

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When the Spirits call on the Living......

Tonight I looked at my pictures of a Vodun ceremony in Africa. Vodun is the religion of Togo and Benin and other parts of West Africa. It is the religion that was carried to the Americas by the slaves and transformed into Voodoo in the Creole and Haitian cultures.

It is an old religion... some say it dates back 5000 years....making it older than Christianity. It is animistic, full of spirits and souls and the dead waiting to communicate.

Many of my pictures are blurry....logically I know it was the light and the lightening speed of the worshippers moving in the shadows. I was disappointed...but now...many months later..I look at these pictures and wonder if the faces....softened, saddened and sometimes contorted by the spirits that possess an intimate and intense form of communication which has been lost in our culture.

We are so neat and tidy and crisp.....what spirits would want to visit us?


Monday, May 14, 2007

When Did Knitting Become Sexy?

I've obviously missed the boat on this sex trend. Yesterday in the book store, I passed a display near the craft section and did a double-take.....was the store showing off sexy photo essay books? No....they were Knitting Books!!

Of course my first thought when I saw the little knit bikinis.....was a practical one.....wear a knit in the water???....unless my sweaters are really unusual....wash a knit and they get real BIGGGGGG and Floppy....toss in the dryer .......and they get become toddler-sized. Of course, maybe that's the inherent fun in wearing a knit bikini.

I noticed there's some attitude associated with knitting. The most popular series centered around the word stitching and bitching.....which I guess is what you're supposed to do...gather some girl friends...get the needles out.....and bitch.....there's probably some voodoo-like qualities about this can bitch about your co-workers, your men folks, your relatives and instead of sticking a pin in a can clang and clank your sharp knitting needles together.....providing some deep Freudian-type symbolism and relief.

There's no hope for me in getting on this bandwagon. I don't even sew, let alone knit. The feel of yarn/wool/ activates my "don't touch this stuff alarm" which is deeply embedded in me. In fact, I take pride in the creative way I reattach buttons....and you simply can not understand how far hem tape and fabric glue can go...unless you don't sew.

The pool will be opening in my neighborhood in about 2 weeks. I can't wait to go....not only for a little color....but also because I'm going to be watching out for women wearing these little knits.......any bets as to what happens to the little knit suits when they hit the uber chlorine of pool water?

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's a Switzerland calling.....

Well Heidi-O.....I feel like yodeling......just made my reservations to Switzerland. Going to hallucinate someplace pretty while my body goes through central time zone withdrawal. I'm going to be in Yodel town for 4 days....then head to Slovenia.
Been working on hotels in Switzerland....looking for the cozy and cute and thought I found one...until I did more research online for some independent reviews....oh its a cute charming hotel....and the sex shop across the street is interesting too...but fortunately it doesn't stay open as late as the other sex shops on the street....ahhhhh.....I think I'll pass this type of charming. Zeroing in on a few other "charming" hotels....but hoping what they call charming and what I call charming is the same thing.
Went into total angst last night....asking hub...."Do you think I can spend 4 days alone in Zurich and be okay?" He shrugged...."What? You crossed AFRICA....what are you worried about?"
I guess that's it....there won't be any sympathy anymore no matter where I go or how insecure I feel...since I traveled Africa........people will think I can handle ANYTHING....but that's not true....each trip I go on solo or semi-solo holds some concerns...challenges me in a god I can't pronounce one single street in Zurich...and with my Chicago you think I'm going to be able to say...Bahnhofstrasse? And what about fondue? Can you eat it solo? Or will I have to find a Franz or Bernie to share the cheese? I mean really I worry about this kind of stuff....

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Maybe Zurich?

I have been sitting in this damn computer chair for so long I am sure I have a flat butt. I marked this day on my calender as a day to start looking into Slovenia. I'll be leaving towards the end of suddenly there doesn't seem much time left...especially without airline tickets.

Obviously I can't fly from my little city in the South to I spent a long time looking at options....all with wonderful sounding names.....Amsterdam, Dublin, Munich, Barcelona and Zurich. I have a zillion frequent flyer miles so I have to fly American Airlines. To my big surprise, the flights out of New York City (where I had hoped to leave from) were nasty. Fly to Boston, fly to London, catch this catch that. I had hoped to go to New York before or after Slovenia in order to do research for my next book....(I know I don't even have the first one finished....but.. I absolutely already know what the second one will be.....which makes me either eternally optimistic here or extremely deluded.) Now...New York doesn't seem like a good option.

As it happens, Zurich out of the easiest god that Switzerland!!...The thought of passing through Switzerland seemed mildly amusing and interesting......but as I studied Adria Airlines (the official airlines of Slovenia) I realized I hit another snag.....the flight in and out of Zurich did not match.....when Gina needed to come in and out Slovenia.

And so the thought occured to me....rather than go through my painful acclimation to a new time zone in Slovenia why not in Switzerland? Where in a hallucinogenic state I could face streets called...Krahbuhlstrasse and Bahnkofstrasse. Wouldn't that be fun? I can imagine myself falling asleep before I even pronounce the avenue.

Jet lag is a real concern for me. My body holds on to the central time zone with a death grip. In Paris, I laid in bed those first nights with my heart and head pounding in the dark..I would even sometimes "accidentally" kick my he would wake up and keep me company. I tried Lunesta or whatever the new sleeping pill was....only to discover I didn't really remember any of Paris till about 2PM........which sort of takes the thrill out of visiting a new the Museum D'Orsay....I actually got so weird I thought of lying down on a marble pedestal off to the side... to take a nap.....even though the marble pedestal was already occupied by a marble woman. Hey..I've slept with strange women before.... (I actually do have a great story about sleeping with a naked French woman in Thailand).

And so why not Zurich? If I'm going to be miserable and dopey....why not be miserable and dopey in a beautiful city....not that Lake Bled in Slovenia doesn't sound pretty.....but if I was going to take a few days to acclimate ...why not in Zurich? I guess I'll sleep on a little more Googling.....and then best get a move on it.....I found a little hotel in Switzerland...that is basic and clean and in the old section of town.....and has "writer's rooms".....rooms with a view of some cathedral....which for some reason makes folks want to write something down about the experience....sounds right....or....write? And really after Africa where spiders rained down from the ceiling in one of my hotels....isn't everything else a real upgrade?


Am I imaging things or do you get a Disneyland feeling when you look at Zurich?
I wonder if this is where Walt got his inspiration?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Year (obviously) of the Snake.....

Sometimes you begin to love what you begin to see the beauty in what frightens you.

Copperheads are gorgeous: the tan camouflage.... rhythmic and intricate. They're aggressive. You can find a baby on your driveway....a creature no longer than a pencil ....and it will rear up and hiss at you. It doesn't care about the disparity of size......your smell, your heat, your presence....that's all it takes to activate it.

I scream when I see snakes. In Chicago, where I grew up, the only time I saw a snake was at the zoo or some special pet shop display. Snakes in California and Maryland were certainly worthy of a scream because of their size....but they were harmless.

The first Copperhead I met here in the South attacked me. I was in the backyard in the summer....popping weeds with a shovel. I heard a noise...a russling of leaves...then saw a big snake....I screamed and jumped back....the shovel swung in front of me....and there was a ping...a tight metal sound and I realized the snake had lunged for me.

I was so stunned an animal would attack me....that it didn't care what my intentions were....that I sickened and almost fainted. For an instant, I felt the vulnerability of prey. No wonder people aggressively beat back any animal which dares puts them in that position. Isn't that why we have tried to wipe out....bears, gators, wolves......anything that reminds us of that feeling?

The logical thing to do, of course, would be to clear the yard of brush and bush and do what most of my neighbors have done....plant grass, mow lawns, create the picture book suburban yard. But the things that attracted me to this neighborhood were the trees, the wild flowers, the blooming shrubs....the scent of wild honeysuckle. So my front yard conforms to the standard but I've left the backyard wild....leaving the elements which invite all kinds of wildlife ...even ones that attack you....intact.

The other night we found the first Copperhead of the summer on the driveway. My son ran in the house to get me. "Don't kill it,"" I shouted to the men folks.....we all stood back and gave it room. It coiled....protecting itself.

My hub fetched a grabber....a stick....with tongs at the end. I let out obligatory but muffled screams as he grabbed the snake's midsection. My son found a tall plastic laundry bucket. Hub released the snake into the bucket.

It was beautiful. It didn't was ready to strike. I peered down and felt myself have to admire a feisty animal like this.....ready to defend itself ....even though we were armed with saws and shovels and all kinds of tools that could kill it in an instant.

I convinced my hub to put a board over the bucket. I convinced him to sit in the back seat of our car with the bucket and the board and the snake. The snake didn't deserve to die simply because people have changed its habitat.

I drove a couple of miles down the road till we hit an area of brush. I kicked the bucket over....the snake slithered out...turned and reared its head at me. I was far enough away to laugh......and take a picture...the one mean dude picture up above.

I don't want Copperheads in my yard or neighborhood. It's too dangerous with kids and dogs and cats. But I admit I have this growing grudging admiration for them.....this growing respect...for something that so aggressively defends's good to be's good to be reminded that not everywhere and not every win.

I'm hoping this Copperhead will be the first and the last of the season....but if it's not....I hope I can at least round the next one up and take it someplace....where it can just be what it was meant to be.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Teddy's Perfume

I wear perfume. When I leave for work or a meeting, I always dab a little on. Most of the time, my perfume is based on a blend of oils from Singapore which I discovered 6 years ago in perfume shop in the Muslim section of town.

It was a beautiful shop with mirrors on the wall and delicate vials displayed on shelves and behind glass door cabinets. A young man approached me and politely asked if he could smell my wrist. I was embarrassed to offer him my white sweaty arm...but he took it gently and inhaled me.

It was...rather erotic...but he was all business...and in a few minutes created a special perfume for me...oil based rather than the customary perfumes from France which have an alcohol base. The perfume was thick and amber-colored and when I inhaled calmed and relaxed me.

I still have a little left....I learned to copy the smell with oils I purchase from a speciality perfume shop which specializes in scents like amber and sandalwood. I wear this perfume in some combination almost every day except for rare days when for some reason I need to wear Teddy's perfume.

Teddy was my husband's roommate in college. Handsome, theatrical, uber-intelligent....he knew right from the first day of college he was going to be a physician. He was known for reading paperbacks in physics and chemistry classes and of course pulling A's in those very same classes.

Senior year....Teddy knelt down in the cafeteria on one knee and asked me to marry him. He promised me a beautiful house on Long Island's North Shore with a white picket fence. Had I been to the north shore of Long Island at that point in my life, I would have grabbed his hand and ran away with him. He proposed when my future Hub and I weren't seeing each other....and since I was still rather stuck on my future hub.....I gently took his hand...and said I would think about it.

While Teddy was in medical school he called me one night....very angry....saying if I had just said yes....perhaps things would have been different for him. Teddy had come out of the closet...and admitted he was gay. I never knew he could carry such hatred ....and when he hurled all these words at me blaming me for his fate....I was so wounded I cried in jags for days. Months after....he called again to apologize...and I began to understand on a personal level ...what a long and sometimes agonizing journey it is to admit to a different sexual orientation.

A while back....I visited a prominent pediatrician and community activist in his city. He was throwing a party at his fabulous yuppified old house near the city center. Although the party was "casual", I decided to dress up.....skirt, heels, makeup...good choice.

I melted when I first saw him.......he looked fabulous in the way gay men look fabulous....buff from the gym, expensive cologne.....salt and pepper hair.....perfectly ironed shirt... slim tight jeans...leather loafers. I realized how much I liked him...and still did......he took me by the hand and introduced me to a room full of his gay friends. "This is the woman I almost married." Jaws dropped, men ran in from the adjoining room to look at me....for Teddy had always been gay to these people so a woman in his life was rather .....astonishing. I wanted to kick him...because in a was a highly theatrical...almost staged type moment...he must have loved it...... I was immediately engulfed by a group of men who wanting to chat with me. I could feel them studying and analyzing me ....who is this strange creature and why did he like her?

As the party wore on, I met a rather interesting woman.....stocky but pretty....who pulled me aside and told me she was a transvestite. He had been married and had three children...but was happy now living as a woman.

His makeup was fact.....he whispered to me...that I needed to wear eyebrow liner since I was obviously a natural blond and needed to darken up my brow. He chastised me for not wearing perfume. "You have cleavage, natural cleavage....stick something down there that will smell will be looking there give 'em a whiff." He suggested I find a "cheap store" and buy...."Exclamation Noir".....a 25.00 bottle of perfume that he felt would be just perfect for me..... it would bring out my inner Marilyn Monroe. I wrote the name down on a small piece of paper he found in his purse.

At the end of the party....Teddy asked me to stay for awhile....we stood in the doorway.....holding hands waving to guests that were leaving. For a moment, it felt like we were living the life we could have....waving to people in the doorway of our house. He closed the door....we talked for a while...and then he walked me to my car. He kissed me on the cheek. We hugged for a long time. We both had tears in our eyes when I drove away.

I bought the cheap perfume and loved it....but it's a strange potion....borderline cheap...somewhat exotic....and no longer made by the company. It's very powerful so I can only wear it atcertain times and certain days and always under my clothes.... to diminish the intensity. Too much of it and you smell like someone that should be standing on a street corner....just enough and you feel like someone else.

Today I needed to feel like someone I wore Teddy's perfume...and thought of white picket fences around houses on the North Shore.