What is Normal? (or Yes, my Baby is Periwinkle, Thank You)

My great friend, The Trophy Wife, called me today to see what’s up.  Even though we are just two doors away, sometimes we go weeks without actually setting eyes on each other due to the fact that our families make unfair demands upon our time.  We talk every day, though, and our kids are as intertwined as a nest of snakes.

I’m sad to say that she might have been a more normal person if she’d moved somewhere else.  I feel sure that our “otherness” has been the tool that shaped her kids into absolute freaks.


(Note:  I am including this picture of an elephant with a prosthetic leg because there was no other picture that could go with this story that includes that words”prosthetic leg” that wouldn’t have been just tacky, and also because this picture restores my faith in humanity.  When someone will make an elephant a new leg AND give her a pink princess collar, all is not lost)

Once, a while back, the TW and I were lounging around on her sofa, discussing economics or string theory probably, and her stepson (who, incidentally dates my daughter, how inbred is that?) came walking in saying “hey, there’s an ambulance pulling a dead guy out of one of your rental houses”.  Within 4 seconds, her kids had strapped themselves into their car seats and were displaying a decidedly Jack Nicholson gleam in their eyes.

Upon driving the two miles away to this ramshackle house we own, complete with chicken coops in the back and dogs tied to trees, we discovered that truly, one of our tenants had passed away.  We sat for a moment in reverence and then a paramedic came out carrying the deceased man’s prosthetic leg.

I know, we’re wrong.  We should have left it alone but my friend has a great haunted house in her basement every Halloween and I could see her mind turning about what was going to happen to the leg now that it was no longer needed.  I’m just going to leave the conversations that followed to your imagination as those who were involved in it, besides the TW and me, seemed shocked by it.  TuTu, her stepson, was so disgusted by us that he shook his head all the way home. Suffice it to say, after some rational pleadings on our part against the deaf wall of understanding that often comes with people in authority, we left without the leg.

Now, some might say this is not normal. But who, really, can say what’s normal?

Take religion, for example.  I’m surely not going to get up on a religious high horse here as I find my whole grasp of organized religion changes daily.  Although I grew up with what I though was a pretty good understanding of the whole thing, as I’ve gotten older, I find I am pretty darn tolerant of most things.  As long as I’m happy where I am, I really don’t care what you believe unless you try to argue with me.  My dad got the greatest pleasure in life from Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to the door.  He would usher them inside with gusto and they would leave, an hour later, dazed and stumbling while my dad would be in the kitchen making a celebratory sandwich to chalk up another win.

I do find it sad when people say they have no belief at all.  I turn things over in my head all the time, disregarding what doesn’t make sense, including what does. I talk to God a lot, a hundred times a day, describing how happy the new plants shooting up make me feel and telling him of my disgust at WalMart for buying animals that have been raised in horrifying circumstances.  (Truly, if you’re buying meat at WalMart, shame on you for being both cruel for supporting this way of farming and tacky for buying meat, or almost anything else at WalMart.)  God might get a little tired of all my chatter, frankly. I feel that if there is a god, and I fully believe there is, he (or she, if it makes you happier) is pretty pissed about the whole state of things.  Let’s think about it, I’m confident he’s not hung up on marijuana, which he made, and who marries whom, but I’ll bet he’s really scratching his head about the fact that we cage up his wonderful creatures and then eat them.

God: “How’s that sweet little Marybelle doing, Gabriel?”

Gabriel: “Um, she’s standing right behind you already, God.  Some idiot grilled her.”


I’ll bet he might be confused about grass mowing as well.  Every time I cut the grass I picture God saying “well, hmmm, I never considered they’d do THAT with it.  Seems a little redundant, but…”

Cricket and I have the same thoughts about Native American Indians.  What if an Indian from 200 years ago could time travel and spend a day with us.

Indian: “Let’s see, you are wearing shoes that don’t allow you to run fast, don’t allow you to climb trees and make you feel like you’re running downhill at all times. It just doesn’t seem, well, normal.”

I do think both God and Indians would appreciate the joyous ingenuity behind roller coasters and water skiing though.

(I tried desperately here to find a picture of either God or an Indian on either a roller coster OR water skis.  Couldn’t find one.  Go figure.)

Normal isn’t all that important as I see it.  Except for the time someone in my neighborhood painted their 20,000 square foot house pink, I really can’t think of a time when a little deviance bothered me. I even got used to that. In fact, wacky honestly delights me.  This morning, on Facebook, for example, one of my online friends was looking for non-toxic baby paint.  I have spent all day deeply regretting that I never thought of it.  Pastel babies at Easter, neon babies in the summer.  Glow in the dark for when they catch fireflies in the yard, orange at Halloween.  The possibilities are endless.


Once people can start choosing their color for the day, racism might be out the window and wackiness will skyrocket.  I’m thinking that this would greatly please the God in whom I believe.  From what I’ve read and believe, probably God is just wishing we were a little nicer and a whole lot more tolerant.  I think being periwinkle would just be a bonus.

ImageIn a quick aside, I would like to say that my new brother-in-law, despite being a brilliant mind and a fantastic father and husband, will henceforth be referred to, both in my blog and in real life, only as “Handsome”. Make a note.

What’s That in the Corner?

ImageLast night I had a fright.  That, in itself, is nothing unusual.  I am a child of the late 70s.  I grew up on scary stuff.  I had an intimate knowledge of Freddy, Jason and Michael.  I saw every Friday the 13th, every Nightmare on Elm Street and all the Halloweens.  I watched The Shining and Pet Semetary (yes, I know it’s spelled incorrectly, take it up with Mr. King). I went to haunted houses, told scary stories and devoured every book with a black cover I could get my hands on.

What I’m thinking now is it’s a lot like the saying, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” except with me it’s “a teen life filled with fright means a life of scary nights”.

About the time I had Cricket I put down the scary books.  I was 28.  That’s a whole lot of severed crawling hands, floating demonic heads and zombies from hell that had time to roost in my brain.  Once I had a baby, I just stopped enjoying dismemberment, don’t ask me why.  All those scary images, though, haunt me nightly.


My kids love scary movies.  They love to be scared.  Their father has spent their entire childhoods springing from a crouched position when they turn a corner.  Even I have recently hidden behind The Boy’s car when he got out and caused him great distress. The poor Boy that couldn’t sit on the toilet for two months as a toddler after his dad scared him senseless during “Scooby Doo on Zombie Island”.  Why the toilet was involved we never really understood.  They know never to depend on me to come to their rescue if frightened.  Once, there was a noise coming from the little troll door in Cricket’s room so vile, so horrifying, that she and The Boy stood up on her bed and screamed and screamed for me. They were terrified to even put their feet on the floor.  When I got up the stairs and down the hall, almost to her room, I heard it as well and yelled that I was unable to come and save them, they would have to jump to the door. There was a lot of back and forth with them begging me to come get them and me yelling “No, something sounds scary!”. It was the worst noise I’ve ever heard. It turned out to be a neighbor’s cat, but my kids have never let me forget that I was too scared to come in and save their lives and they harbor a loathing of tabby cats to this day.


There is one movie, so vile, so horrifying that just seeing the last five minutes of it by accident caused me to lose an entire night’s sleep.  The whole premise bothers me so greatly that I have forbidden the kids to mention the name.  They delight in whipping out the words, “Human Centipede” just to piss me off.  I am sure that in the history books of the future, this movie will coincide with the beginning of the end of good and kind society. Images from this scar my very soul.

Last night I heard an irritating beep repeating itself about once every minute.  So, I arose and went to investigate.  (It was most likely a smoke detector.  Last time we could not find the origin of the noise, The Goose got so angry he ripped “the smoke detector” from the wall.  Lo and behold, it did not fix the problem as it turned out to be the DOORBELL.  Now we still have beeping but our pizza man waits at the door for 20 minutes.)

ImageI was not thinking about anything except the root of the noise when I made the turn to go upstairs.  Although I KNOW I didn’t see a small girl in a white dress, bloody eye sockets and drooling mouth, floating down the stairs, I had a hard time convincing myself of it and I high tailed it back to bed. The distance between the stairs and the bed seemed endless and fraught with my greatest fear, things standing in corners.  Once in the bed, I turned to tell the Goose, but I have absolutely no faith in him during these situations whatsoever.

ImageFor years the Goose has delighted in scaring the pants off me.  So many nights, when I’m almost asleep, he’ll whisper, in the deadliest whisper, “Lu, what the hell is that sitting in the chair in the corner”.  Then it’s on.  The lights have to be turned back up, I’ll have to get a glass of water, and get my heartbeat regulated, all to the stoic, self-congratulatory pleasure of The Goose.  When he knows I’m frightened and I say “Buddy” to see if he’s awake, he’ll open his eyes, wide and staring in the moonlight, and say, “I’m not Buddy…”.

He hides behind doors.  Not the novice, he never jumps out and yells “boo”, he just stands there, staring.  Occasionally, he’ll whisper “hiiiiiiii” in a dead man’s voice.


Once, I got up from bed to go to the bathroom and when I got back in, he waited a few minutes and said, “Shit” in a very slight voice.  “What?”, I answered, knowing doom had come. “The light in the attic just went on”.  When I looked, sure enough, I could see the light coming from the crack.  This caused me to try to prod him out of the bed to go accost the intruder, or ghost, or thing lurking in our attic, but The Goose pretended to be terrified, which only fueled me further.  He then ducked quickly under the covers, which caused me to duck under with him and he whispered “Oh nooooo” he moaned, “I just saw a little girl just standing in the corner!”.  He then gets really crazy eyed and I realize that I am trapped in a dark room with a staring child, a possessed man and something, something that can turn on the lights in the attic.  He still revels in the panic he caused in me that night and strives hard to duplicate it.  Although he hasn’t come close, he is always thinking, always plotting.  I know he’s always planning in his devious mind and thus, I might be forgiven for being a little on edge.

I don’t know why I stay with a man who will plan to scare me to death while I’m in the bathroom, but I do know my vengeance will be slow and painful.  And I know that vacationing on a man’s life insurance money, with 42 pairs of great new shoes and a 26 year old waiter who doesn’t watch scary movies is the best revenge.



Lots of women have asked me about “THE DRESS”.  I don’t blame them.  It is, frankly, awe inspiring.  It’s the piece de resistance in my dress up box, a pink confection of such magnitude that women who see it sigh from both happiness and jealousy.  This beauty weighs about five pounds and possesses a train that’s over six feet and so frothy it’s about a foot high.  It’s a quinceanera dress, a dress 15 year old hispanic girls wear for their coming out.  I am not only delighted to be able to squeeze, albeit uncomfortably, into it and never contemplate the fact that it was probably a chubby youth who wore it originally.  ImageI

I’ve worn it to several parties, numerous Friday night cocktail get togethers on my porch or around the fire pit and once, to the feed store. I wore it as a zombie this Halloween.  If you’re going to have to be a zombie, might as well be a fashionable one. I still have all my own puffy prom dresses and, believe me, my friends have, on many occasions, put them on as well.

One might think such perfection would be a stand out at the feed store, but that would be incorrect. I had a book club luncheon at my house once.  The book was the YaYa Sisterhood book.  We all came dressed, well, big.  After a long lunch someone mentioned that they had to go home and change and go to the feed store.  Then someone else mentioned that there were baby chicks available at the store and somehow, we all ended up in the car, big dresses and hair, on the way.

Walking in, we expected exclamations and fawning, such as we deserved.  We got NOTHING.  Not a raised eyebrow, not a leer, not one question as to why we were dressed thusly.  I can only assume that the feed store man has a wife at home who has him so thoroughly beaten down that nothing surprised him or that he had been taught southern manners by his mama and just didn’t want to say the wrong thing.  Either way, we got our 6 bags of horse food, a box of chicks and left.

The one bright spot was that the evil neighbor who lives between The Trophy Wife and me did see us getting into the car and, again, standing at the mailbox dressed beautifully and we know it only goes towards the many reasons why she hates us.  We love that.

So many people have called or messaged me about the dress.  I’m not kidding.  Nothing I’ve done in a while has spawned so many questions and comments.  At least not to my face.  Next election, I’m lending it to Ron Paul in the hopes that it will help his cause.

Ladies, you too can find your special princess dress at Goodwill or your fine Hispanic supplier.  I’m telling you, when you feel down, nothing will pick you up like going through your day with a poofy polyester train.  When your husband comes home, he’ll know you’re up to something, but just not what.  It’s good to keep your man on his toes.  Send me your pictures.  We’ll start a movement of sorts.  We’ll be the princesses we forgot to be AND get to hide a multitude of sins under those diaphanous layers.  We could form clubs, open restaurants where hoops would be a requirement.  I’m seeing that this could be the sparkle that’s gone out of many of our middle aged lives.

Let me know how this works out for you.  As for me, I’m going to take an aspirin as my tiara is giving me a headache.

Old Friends

ImageWhat is it about old friends?  I have lots of friends, some close, some acquaintances, some “uppity”, some downright hillbilly.  I enjoy all of them.  I can pull myself together when the need arises to be as uppity as I need to be and, heaven knows, I can sink to some depths best not remembered.  There’s something about OLD friends, though, the ones we make when we’re young, that cause all of us to let down our guard and regress right back to our youth.

I have a friend from fifth grade that I see maybe once a year, the Hollywood Glamour Girl. When we get together, we spend about an half an hour discussing what’s going on and telling each other how great we look and then one of us throws out a name from fifth grade, we both lean in and we’re off.  We are still verbally dissecting that big bully, Brett, to smithereens and we still laugh about the time she stuck out her foot and tripped a boy named Fitz into the fireplace.  Once, I looked down and she was wearing knee highs under her jeans, which made her ankles look tan, pink pom pom socks and new Adidas tennis shoes and I almost swooned with fashion jealousy.  We still have to talk about that.  Every time.  When she reads this, she will contact me and we’ll talk about it again.  You’re laughing because everyone does this.  It just feels comfortable, like often washed jammies.

(In a total aside, spell check told me to check the spelling of Adidas and I had to go back to school in my mind in order to spell it.  Remember when people said it stood for “all day I dream about sex?”  I once wore a t-shirt with Adidas on it and a boy pointed and yelled that and I almost called my mother to bring me another.  Now, of course, I’d just smack him but my fifth grade self was not as confident, what with the headgear and such!)

Last night, the Empress came to stay with me.  I met the Empress when we ended up in the same beach house with a bunch of mutual college friends.  Our old college group calls each other “our decent friends” said with a sneer and an accent. I despised the Empress on sight.  I mean, I loathed her, that bitch.  By the end of the first night, we were hanging all over each other and singing.  I believe there was some table dancing in spandex skirts.  She showered me with abuse about my clothes and I told her how she could improve upon her hairstyle.  There are photos of our 80s glamour, our giant earrings, enormous hair, shoulder pads, swim suit tops that could stand alone on our frail 100lb. bodies and these should remain hidden.  In typical 80s fashion, there was a LOT of time spent in hot tubs with this group. Those pictures have hopefully been burned (right Empress?).

When the Empress arrives, we circle each other for a minute or two and immediately start in on a conversation that does not take a breath for the entire time she’s here.  The Goose loves the Empress and especially likes to hug her, often, needlessly, and a little too long, with a little too much caress, but even he has to make a retreat from us after a while.

We made our hair as large as possible and squeezed into our glitzy pants, put on heels and and went to a bar to watch our friend’s brother’s band last night.  This friend was there when I met the Empress.  Our diminutive best Lesbianese friend (she is not gay, but there is someone from Lebanon way back in her history and somehow, this whole thing got twisted) was in our group as well and I will not take the opportunity here to say that I once saw her and the Empress so altered that they were eating chips with ants on them off the sand at the beach.  I would never do that.

ANYWAY, what is it about old friends that causes us to regress?  The dancing we did last night has left us sore and achy (but not achy brakey). I know we did NOT look as good on the dance floor as we did in our minds, but who cares?  The Goose sat and laughed at us all night, shaking his head like the old man that he is. My decent friends are my only group of friends who know that when someone yells out “boom boom” you immediately shout out loudly, and with gusto “out go the lights” and think it’s poetry.  I’m sure I saw a glint of a tear when the band pulled out AC/DC.  This was our music and our time. We say the same old things, talk as little about our kids and jobs as possible, revert to the same college behavior and crude humor and still see each other as wildly attractive, even though we are 50ish. It’s possible this is because of our diminished eyesight, but I’m choosing to believe otherwise. There are a lot of suggestive comments bandied about and it causes me, for one, to toss my hair around and bat my eyelashes.

You know fantasy football?  I have a fantasy retirement compound that I’m constructing in my head.  I am slowly filling it with those I love and would like to circle the wagons with when we get to retire. Pretty houses and gardens, lots of animals and, as the Goose likes to tease me, opossums and martinis hanging from trees.  I am definitely filling it with my old friends, and only hope we can survive it and that those others around us that weren’t there back in the day will either join in or choose to be tolerant.  Disclaimer: Were not as young as we used to be and there DEFINITELY won’t be any hot tubs!


ImageSo I’m lying here, enjoying Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and relishing the fact that I’m not out walking little kids around door to door, freezing and trying to balance a flashlight, a two grubby little hands and a wine glass.  Really, I’m just happy about the missing the cold.  It’s a little sad to see that my mommy Halloween packed up it’s candy bag and left years ago.  (This is where I’ll thank you, Cricket, not to bring up the fact that I sometimes let your dad take you and I stayed home to man the door with my friends and cocktails!)

I don’t understand those folks who claim to hate Halloween.  I can’t even begin to address those who believe it’s evil.  I grew up Baptist, my mother was perfect and thought Halloween was just fine and I’m sure she got that information directly from God.  I went to Christian school and I know that NOWHERE does it say “thou shalt not dress as a Power Ranger and collect candy”.  

Why, in the world, would anyone not want to put on a costume?  I’ve frequently been known to whip on an old prom dress or glittery majorette costume just for Friday night cocktail hour.  It just makes things more fun.  The other day I had on a gown with a 6 ft. train and walked several times around the kitchen and considered it a good floor cleaning. 

The Goose refuses to dress up.  Twice, I’ve had him in a Halloween costume.  When we were first married and he still could be moved by “a look”, I made him a Jolly Green Giant costume by dying a pair of long underwear green and making him a leaf dress to wear over it.  I then covered him with green paint and went with him as Sprout.  We went to a party at his boss’ house.  Just this weekend I was reminiscing with his boss and he had the audacity to bring up the fact that there were parts of his house with traces of green paint, on carpets and walls for years.  I am assuming he was commenting on our exuberant dancing and the Goose’s “nap” on the carpet sometime in the wee hours.  I wish I still had a picture of it. 

Several years ago, when he had become immune to “the look”, Cricket asked him to dress up and he did, briefly, wear a pair of fairy wings while downing some beers.  Fifteen minutes, tops. I DO have a picture of this, but am not allowed to post it lest the Goose’s business associates realize he has a fun side and a family.  

When the kids were little, we would become so overcome in the costume isle that I couldn’t say no and we would go home with a 2nd mortgage’s worth of costumes that required a change every hour.  As Shep wore his for some part of everyday for two years, I felt I got my money’s worth. The child wore a batman cape and frog boots for two solid years, ever day.  Everywhere.  The costumes, the pumpkin candy holders, the nip in the air, neighbors, wine.  I loved Halloween with little kids. I loved Halloween as a child.  I really liked it as a teenager (except for the two month’s worth of trouble I was in afterwards…sorry, Mom and sorry to my date for all the throw up in his car.  I mean, really, you make a drink that tastes like peppermint schnapps and expect kids to know when to say when? Seems like some kind of conspiracy to me!)

You know what else is great about Halloween?  Parties.  Parties where everyone dresses up, there’s lots of good stuff to eat and drink and, best of all, NO GIFTS!  There is absolutely no stress about what to take and give.  No wrapping, shopping, guessing if what you’ve brought is adequate.  I love that.  You just throw back a shot or two, put on a wig and, voila, good times.  My love, the Trophy Wife and her husband, Big Poppy have a party that beats all others.  In years past I have misbehaved to the extent that my children and husband have chastised me greatly for weeks.  This year, I was SO good that I remember all parts of it and it was fantastic.  

Wrapping up, Halloween is good and bad.  On the surface, it’s fun, but  it’s the sneaky little holiday that makes us think the oncoming winter is going to be okay.  By Black Friday, most of us realize we’ve been duped and are already longing for spring.  So it’s a good thing to give this scary night it’s homage.  Now, it’s November, though, and I can’t help but think of the ugly woman with her make-up off on the morning after.  Things just look bleak and scary with just the cold and the talk of the election.  Ugh!  Somebody hand me a fluffy dress, quick!