Posts Tagged ‘may’

Suicide

May 23, 2013

I run a dead pool, you know, and keep track of  celebrity death. On this date in 2009, I got up to check the latest, and there were a bunch, and every one of them was a suicide.

First, 54-year-old gay rights activist Rodger McFarlane ended his life, according his note, because of constant back pain.

Right after him, 28-year-old Spiderman 3 actress Lucy Gordon was found dead by suicide in her Paris apartment.

And rounding out the set, former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun jumped to his death from a 100-foot cliff while on a hike. He was 62. Roh Moo-hyun was elected on an anti-corruption platform, but was presently exposed having accepted $6 million in bribes. The scandal was too much for him, according to the suicide missive he left on his home computer.

Statistics claim there are almost twice as many suicides as homicides.

I can’t get past wanting to organize these people.

A headline on CNN that very morning read, ‘Would-be suicide jumper pushed off.’

This is what I’m talking about.

Doesn’t it just make sense for the  homicidal to choose their victims from a pool of volunteers?

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My prom story

May 22, 2013

Tonight my son’s friends are throwing a private prom at my place. They strung little white lights in the wisteria arbor overlooking the orchard. It empties onto the carriage house deck, which they made into a dance floor.

My son will put on a tux to stay home.

I hope it turns out better than my prom experience.

Here’s what happened. My boyfriend didn’t have the money to ask me to the dance, and my best friend was between beaus.

She and I grabbed a can of Pam cooking spray and beach chairs and went to Whitewater — a creek just outside of Palm Springs — for some after-school tanning.

Our friends Craig and Eddie showed up on Craig’s motorcycle and asked us to go, as friends, to that night’s prom.

Eddie and my best friend went back in my car, and I hopped on the back of the motorcycle.

The boys left us girls at my house, where we put on our leftover homecoming dresses.

They picked us up on time. Mom took pictures. We were off.

We drove to Rancho Mirage, parked and walked up to the door of the prom facility.

That’s when the boys admitted they hadn’t bought tickets.

We leaned across the open door to exchange waves with people inside, got back in Craig’s mom’s Camaro and went to Carl’s Jr. for dinner.

Then they took us home.

It was awful.

Though he won’t say it with regret, my son and I will both be able to say we spent prom night all dressed up with nowhere to go.

This is what’s in a name

May 17, 2013

I was born with an unusual name. It’s not an uncommon word, but it was spelled differently so teachers mispronounced it.

I hated the way kids and some adults felt they had to make a comment when they were introduced to me.

Often people would say, “That’s your name?” which was always followed by “Where are you from?” or “What nationality are you?”

I was from here, same as Jennifer and Suzy.

Once, in elementary school, I was getting a drink at the fountain and a boy I had a crush on said loudly, “See that girl? Her name is  (insert name here.)” The boys laughed and I cried.

I started trying to get people to call me different names at age 3. I was Rose, Mary, Linda and Dianne. At age 10 I found one that fit, and it’s my legal name today.

I had a normal name for 13 years, and then I married a man with a last name people giggle at. It was destiny, I guess.

My children are great sports.

Last week my daughter performed in a concert. There were thousands in the theater.

The woman to my left said, “Look at this kid’s name.”

Her son looked at her finger on the program and read my daughter’s name aloud. They tittered.

I imagined identifying myself, which made my ears hot and my heart pound. I am a great big chickenpants.

An hour later my daughter’s group took the stage.

The woman said, “Here comes that kid with the funny name.”

The boy said her name. This was my chance.

I turned to her and said, “That’s my daughter.” My heart was thudding and I was breathing funny. I’m not cut out for confrontation.

“Who?”

“The child you’re laughing at.” I faked calm.

“Chivus?”

What? “No,” I said my last name.

She effected a puzzled face. “We were talking about Chivus.”

She’s insulting me with denial now?

I didn’t respond. She turned toward her son, put an arm around him and kissed his hair.

I debated telling the children what happened, but I can’t have a story inside me and not tell it.

They took it well. They asked, “Where was she from?”

Here, obviously, but I wish I had asked her anyway. Meow.

The kindergarten craft story

May 10, 2013

On Mothers Day when my daughter was in kindergarten, I got a matchbox on a ribbon. It was a necklace.

My daughter had glued heart-shaped pasta to the outside and a photo of herself on the inside, locket style. The box and pasta were sprayed gold.

It made a perfect lanyard for my press ID. I wore it everyday.

One night a month later there was an evening school event. The kindergarten teacher threw her arms around me.

Unbeknownst to me, her husband had been getting a haircut when I took my son to the barber that afternoon. He saw the necklace dangling over my suit.

She explained to me that her staying up late spraypainting the projects gold irritated him. He suggested it was a waste of time .

My going to the barber earned her an apology.

Happy Mothers Day back atcha.

Destiny

March 12, 2013

During our big kitchen remodel my potpourri disappeared. The bowl was there, but all the little citrus slices and nuts and stuff were missing.

The mystery was solved when I swept behind the couch in the parlor. There were mice droppings and dried citrus rinds. About this time my daughter yelled from the powder room that she saw a huge mouse scurry into the game closet when she turned on the light.

We found a hole going to the driveway where the electrician had run new wires.

My husband wanted to get traps. The ones that cut the mouse in half made me sad. The ones that glue the mouse to a board until he starves made me sad. Poison made me nervous. I closed the game-closet door.

After about a week my husband and I were in the kitchen space. It was bare but for wood floors and wood counters, which we were leaning against.

A big rat sauntered in, brave as you please.

A screaminger, hoppinger woman you never saw. I tried to get up on the counter, but my husband was yelling at me to get out of the room. I think he just wanted a minute of quiet.

He told me the rat could climb up on the counter. But the rat was by the door. I was trapped, hopping from one foot to the other, going, ‘Ah ah ah. I don’t like it.”

The next day I asked the contractor to fix the hole, put out those traps that cut the rat in half, put out the gluey boards, and sprinkle poison everywhere.

And on my way home from my daughter’s school I went to the Humane Society to get a great big cat. I would come to regret my choice of companion.

She went straight to the cage that held a pair of black-and-white kittens.

Oh, no, we’re not.

Here’s where my fear of destiny screwed me. My daughter asked the bad lady who was telling her that little kittens’ scent would keep rats away what their names were.

I ended up taking those stinky, useless kittens home.

They were News and Paper.

link to photos

The ghost story

March 7, 2013

I grew up in a haunted house.

It was a hundred-year-old craftsman that had for some time served as a convelescent home. We assume our ghosts were old people.

I’ve got 15 years’ worth of hauntings to talk about, but this is my favorite.

One afternoon, when I was in high school, my friends and I went to my house for lunch.

When it was time to return to class, I followed everyone through the hardwood entryway and was the last out the door.

The door had a wood frame, but was primarily glass panes. There was a sheer white curtain on the inside of it that didn’t do much to obscure the view.

On each side of the door were vertical panes of windows. Indoors there were thick glass shelves clamped in under each pane. My mother had little blown-glass vases on them that she bought at art shows.

It was my job to clean the glass in the entryway. I hated wrestling those shelves out of those metal clamps.

I was turning the key in the lock when I realized I had forgotten my purse. I changed the rotation of the key and stepped back inside the house.

I was barefoot. I was always barefoot. Fun fact: I fed the school some story about my American Indian heritage. I don’t know if they bought it, but they said if I carried my shoes around with me they would let it slide.

When I stepped back into the house I felt cold under my feet. I was standing on a 100-year-old glass shelf. I made a noise.

My friend had turned around yelled something like ‘no way.’

Ten little glass shelves were lined up like stepping stones from the door to the living room. The clamps were empty. The vases were gone.

Most people say, ‘They were probably like that when you walked out, and you just didn’t notice.’

This is impossible. Even if we hadn’t seen the path or the absence of vases, the shelves were thick. Four teen-agers had just tromped through there. One of us would have kicked them, and I would have felt the cold under my feet.

No one had had time to move them, and they sure didn’t fall.

Over the next four years my parents and I found those vases one at a time: one morning we spotted one behind the leg of a desk; another time one turned up in the refigerator.

My friends, meanwhile, didn’t go to my house for lunch anymore.

Sonnets

March 4, 2013

Two years ago on this date I taught eighth-graders how to write sonnets, and I told the children what I know best about sonnets: They have 14 lines.

Here’s why I will never forget that.

A month after the magical week of meeting my husband in Hawaii he flew to my family reunion to declare his intentions to my clan.

My grama was one of nine children, none of whom had died at that point. They were all there. Piling on all of their offspring made a big gathering.

My boyfriend and I had jumped in on a Trivial Pursuit game with two of my cousins and my mom. I was trying to look smart.

He read from a card, “How many lines are in a sonnet?”

I answered “five” and grabbed for the die. I was feigning confidence.

“Wait,” he seemed reluctant to tell me I was wrong. “A sonnet has…”

“Oh a sonnet,” I interrupted. “Seven.”

I made for the die again.

“Fourteen.”

“Oh a whole sonnet.”

That afternoon of fun was a pack of trying-to-catch-a-mate lying.

I was pretending to be a knower of things, and he was pretending to be a liker of games.

Our pants were aflame.

The Little League coach story

January 4, 2013

During the years my husband was the stay-at-home parent, he coached our son’s soccer and baseball teams.

Another father was a Little League coach of badness. He demeaned the boys, and encouraged bad sportsmanship. When they were in the outfield they would boo and yell insults at the batter and pitcher.

He was friendly to my husband and me, but I always dreaded playing his team. It made me sad.

One cold night I was watching practice before one of these games. His team had already warmed up on the diamond. Parents were beginning to fill in the bleachers.

One of the dads sat next to me and made small talk. “Big game tonight.”

“Yeah, and the mood will be crabby over here, you know, with the usual tsking about how mean that coach is, and how negative the team is.”

I should really look at who I’m talking to. It was the other coach, come over to wish me and mine luck.

The Woodstock story

June 27, 2012

When I met my husband, (see parts I, II and III,) I knew he was the one. I sensed I had to be real with him — expose my flawed underbelly and let him reject or accept me.

I also knew I had to catch him before I could clean and scale him.

So I put out some hippie bait: “I was born during Woodstock.”

This is true. Woodstock was a three-day musical happening beginning Aug. 15 and ending Aug. 17, 1969. I born on Aug. 16, 1969 — 3,000 miles away. But during.

Two months later when I had the man securely on the hook, he flew out to the Bay Area to take me to my family reunion. This is when  I introduced him to my parents.

He broke the ice by addressing my mother, “I heard you were at Woodstock.”

Oh, how I hate to start a sentence with ‘technically.’

I’ve since established credibility with 20 years of honesty, but, just like in a story My Oldest Friend’s husband tells, he has never let me live this down.

The song story

May 6, 2012

I was driving home one morning from dropping kids at schools, and I heard a snippet of ‘I Wanna Kiss You All Over’ by Exile.

When I first met my husband, this song ran through my head every time he held my hand. After I flew home, I recorded it on a cassette and mailed it to him. I couldn’t help it.

He thinks it’s a dorky song.

He told me he had a Peter Gabriel song he was going to reply with, but he had to get his record player needle fixed first. I have no idea what song it was going to be.

So 17 years later this snippet reminds me that he has never sent me a song.

I was all kinds of mad walking into the house.

I recognized I was unreasonable, but I was mad, and that was that. It was one of those times I felt sorry for anyone married to me.

I headed for Internet poker, my drug of choice for an unbalanced chi.

When I turned on the monitor, I got the e-mail ding.

My husband had sent me a short note, “Let’s see if this works.”

There was an attachment. It was this song.

I cried all over myself.

It was way better than my dorky song.

I was touched and amazed. How many days are there in 17 years? Those are some long odds. Maybe we have one of those psychic connections I’ve heard tell about.

It was one of those times I felt anyone married to my husband was very lucky.

The pool

May 5, 2012

I love to lie on a raft with a book. This is the first time I’ve ever had a pool, and I’m enjoying it every chance I get.

I was puzzling over why my raft always goes to the shallow end. I have to shove myself back toward the deep end, but it just goes right back.

This is bad, because the shallow end is shady. I don’t understand wanting to be in the shade.

I finally figured out why it does this.

The pool is tipped.

My geometry teacher

April 21, 2012

My geometry teacher was good.

I learned and enjoyed the subject.

There was just one thing — he had body odor.

He was so odoriferous everyone speculated he had it on purpose or didn’t care.

By my second year as his student, in trigonometry, we had gotten used to it. Passing notes about it was still common, but not daily.

One rainy day during that second year everyone chose seats in the back of the room.

This was neither organized, nor for any evident reason.

When the teacher came in, he gave a dramatic visual sweep of us and acted offended.

“Why are you all sitting against the window? Do I have B.O. or something?”

We all had the same thought: Oh my God, he doesn’t know.

You never saw so many frozen smiles of fake nonchalance.