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and other everyday moments of laughter and musings

· Maggy Bits

Walking through Costco, I passed a couple fondling a rich, plush, faux fur rug. I was tempted to lean in and say, "I'm thinking chocolate, wine, a roaring fire, and rolling around naked. How about you two?" But I resisted the temptation. Glancing back, I was relieved for that moment of restraint because I couldn't tell if one of them was a man or a woman and overall, the two of them, whatever their relationship might have been, seemed utterly humorless. Those are the comments to strangers that used to mortify my kids.  

Overheard as I was passing by a lady maybe in her 40's standing outside of Safeway, leaning into her cell phone: "So....you mowed the lawn and he went out and played golf?" Tried not to laugh out loud as I wondered who might be on the other end. Had a hunch it was her mother complaining about her Dad.   

Talking with my daughter about an acquaintance of ours we hadn't seen in a long time… LIZZY: “Isn't she a Republican?” ME: “What? No! She's a bleeding heart liberal animal activist!” LIZZY: “Oh, I remember now. She likes country music, that's why I thought she was a Republican.” If there is such a place as Leftie Idiocy, we just reached it.   

Headed for PHX via LAX from Kansas (don't ask) on November23. As we were shuffling out of the airplane in Los Angeles, we all heard a tiny voice (guessing from a two-year-old) saying loudly and sweetly, "Bye!" I returned her farewell greeting, as did a few others accompanied by some amused chuckles. That’s when the little voice belted out HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Best airplane experience ever.  

I still feel a lingering glow from spending last weekend with my daughter Katie in Flagstaff. Before I sat on a wad of gum in the courtyard while listening to an amazing percussion group, we stopped by my favorite shop and looked over the mass of bumper stickers. This year's top contender: I believe in the separation of church and hate.  

Had a huge laugh with no one but myself coming out of a restroom where I had just repeated “Dispense towel!” at least three times in my best Emma Thompson voice. Why? Because that's what the sign taped to the dispenser said to do. Yes, of course I looked around for a camera and listened for laughter but I just kept thinking the British accent part was the only joke. Like this is a brand new voice-activated towel dispenser? Sure, that could happen. That's when I finally noticed the gigantic roll of towels sitting below the dispenser—right in front of me.  

Staying in a condo in Flagstaff, got up at 6 for a long early morning hike and Mr D got up with me. Seriously, dude, why? As I was walking out the door, a fellow from the attached unit flew out the door toward me, babbling in a thick accent about the piping. His manner was definitely unglued but the piping? Was he talking about smoking? I was just about to reassure him that no one was smoking when he wildly gesturing toward our unit, ranting about the piping waking up their children, which he repeated in a crescendo that ended with "The children are trying to sleep and the PIPING, PIPING, PIPING, PIPING!! It never stops! THE PIPING! THE PIPING!” Oh. my. God. He was clearly ranting about my my husband's whistling, which was audible at that very moment. It’s unconscious with him, like a bird, nearly all the time. Reassuring the man that I understand, I bolted back inside to break the news to Bill, who lapsed into total shame and regret. Not another note out of him the entire week, day or night, even when our temporary wall-sharing neighbors took off. Fortunately, I appreciate my husband’s melodic quirk—most of the time. With the exception of those times when he repeats the same song like “Memory” from CATS for 72 hours. That’s when I'm right there with the guy screaming THE PIPING! THE PIPING! MAKE IT STOP!   

And on a different day… ME: (shouting out to the "bird" I live with who happens to be in his Man Cave) "Are you actually whistling “Let My Love Open the Door” in there?"  BILL:  "Yes! And I'm doing air drums with it!" This from the Frank Sinatra, big band sound, jazz lover who knows nothing about and is usually disdainful of rock? Right now he’s back in the bedroom getting up from a nap and whistling the ancient hymn "Abide with Me."  Seriously, who is this man? And where do these things come from? 

Passed a saguaro being moved in a huge sling today and had a flashback to that transport scene from Free Willy. Back in our small-town Ohio days, tiny video shops were still thriving. Ours had a sign above the door said FLICK CITY but the L and I were so close together it looked like a U. Strangers to town and passers by could have mistaken it for a porn shop. We were watching Free Willy just "one more time" when I realized we’d be at least 10 minutes late with our return by the time the credits rolled. Not the dreaded dollar late fee! Calling the clerk to explain our plight, she reassured me by saying, "No worries, Maggy, just bring him back as soon as you can but for God's sake KEEP HIM WET!"   

Sometimes the simplest of tasks take on epic proportions. Case in point was a long-delayed “catch up washing the clothes.” At least the Great Dirty Clothes Prepping Saga was unfolding in the closet. This morning Mr. D announced that a pile of Whites had staged an overnight rebellion.  ME: "Are you referring to that strategic separation of panties and bras on the floor next to the hamper?" (Odd place to stop but it was one step further on the path to the washer/dryer.) MR. D: "Oh no, it's much worse than that." I went in to see for myself and found the sheets trying to crawl back into one of the drawers. #MyGlibMate

Making my way through and beyond the Twin Cities to visit Wisconsin-border relatives, Stella (my GPS lady) was incredibly helpful. At least until I hit the first freeway. With exits on both sides, her annoying habit of waiting too long to call out the next move made it impossible to navigate lane changes in heavy traffic. Awash with adrenalin and a growing sense of doom, I made a split decision to take the Express Lane, which sent me all the way through downtown Minneapolis with no exit in sight. By the time I rejoined the regular freeway crowd, we were headed for downtown St. Paul and Stella had completely lost her mind. Her constant sputter of one or two-syllable directives for miles and miles of Express Lane turned into a demand to take every single exit that came along. At that point, I only knew two things: (1) I needed to head north as soon as possible and (2) dumping myself into the middle of an urban maze was unlikely to be a great move. With my last nerve blossoming into hysteria, I shouted out "Angels! Take the wheel!" (Some four-letter words were involved but you get the idea.) Yes, of course, it worked. Maybe because I finally relaxed enough for the executive functions of my frontal cortex to come back online. Divine guidance or not, by the time Mr. D and I returned toPhoenix I was used to calling in higher forces. We hit the ink-black parking lot late at night with zero idea of where to find our car. And no keys. In the holiday madhouse, they told us to get out in the middle of an aisle, leave our keys, and catch the shuttle. They would park the car for us—somewhere, as soon as a space opened up. Because of all this mayhem, a lot attendant had to drive us up and down each aisle in search of a vehicle that matched our description. The fellow had traversed “we parked these” aisles so long he questioned whether we really had a car there. "Yes! We were turned away at the first lot and sent here!" It wasn’t until my unspoken “Are you #%* kidding me now?” that I called in divine interventionl. The answer came in loud and clear as if a voice had spoken it: “It’s up front.” In the time it took for me to ponder how to tell our driver where to look, he shouted out: "It just came to me! I know where it is, up front—we parked some of them up front. That has to be it."  I almost laughed out loud at the image of a half-dozen angels screaming into his ears like the tiny people in Horton Hears a Who.   #HeavenHelpUs #RememberToAsk  

My Facebook page has an ad that invites me to attend a seminar and meet patients who changed their lives with dental implants. I have just one and I can tell you right now that those people are living out of their car. That's how it changed their lives. My hygienist shared the best quote ever from a patient of hers with several of them:  “I had no idea a Ferrari could even fit into my mouth.”  

Last night around 10 p.m. Mr. D walked in to our bedroom to find me “reading” in bed: Sitting up, holding my book, eyes completely closed, head tilted slightly back, and mouth hanging open.    

As the holiday season kicks off, I love this quote from Anne Lamott: "Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants." Actually, Mr. D and I have discovered that in some moments, that can apply to a party of two!    

#BestMILmoment ME: (to daughter Lizzy as we wait curbside atthe Cleveland airport for son-in-law Jim to pick us up): "Oh that's just great. Some asshole in a big black truck just pulled up and hogged this curb space." LIZZY: "Mom, I’m pretty sure Jim drives a big black truck." So now, whenever Jim is getting ready to leave work to pick up any of us at Hopkins Airport, the text just says: I'm on my way. Look for the asshole in the big black truck.     

Never go to yoga class on a stomach of leftover weekend Hebrew Kosher hotdogs wrapped in Dave's Killer Bread (the ex-con turned baker Dave but that's irrelevant) garnished generously with raw onion and sauerkraut plus a green salad sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles. You're welcome. #PublicServiceAnnouncement   

Some random guy wanted to friend me on Facebook and was self-described as "Engeneer at Self-Employed." Dude! If trolling the interwebs for women is your thing, you need spellcheck.     

Just celebrated this morning's eclipse of the sun in Arizona the way the Native Americans do: Stayed indoors, stayed fully clothed, didn't eat or drink anything, and didn't pee or poo. But have to say that I was suddenly taken with how very dark the house grew for a few minutes. Glancing out the window at a cloudless sky was a brain-rattling experience. SomeTV evangelist is saying the eclipse is God's punishment for eight years of Obama and it's going to take eight years of Trump to make God happy again. On the other side, I was sitting in a spiritual circle last night where the tone was one of anticipation: The solar eclipse is a harbinger of a closing the door of the past and a new momentum forward in greater lightness and freedom. One woman in the group shared that she was totally ready for the RESET button. When it came time for one of the two kids in the circle to speak, a little girl who is 11 spoke up: "I just want to say that any of us can hit the reset button at any moment. That's always within our power and we need to remember that."  Can we keep this world together long enough for hergeneration to clean up this mess?   

Went to a free hypnosis therapy session at SWIHA, Arizona's premier award-winning wellness education center in Tempe. My therapist was Vivian, young and vibrant and beautiful—with nose rings. I loved her but oh honey, please go with the lovely little jewels, those things look like silver bugers falling out of your nose. VIVIAN (tentatively): "So you identity as a male?" ME: (startled beyond words for a brief second): "WHAT?!" The M that I circled on the intake form, which I thought was my marital status, was for my gender. We. could. not. stop. laughing. Still wiping away tears, I choked out: “And I wore a skirt today. I don’t even remember the last time I wore a skirt anywhere!”  

#OnlyInFlagstaff… Overheard just outside Macy's European Cafébetween a young couple who obviously were still getting to know each other... HIM: "You're a Republican? You're an educator for God's sake. This could only happen in Arizona!" HER: (very soft voice) "It's a long-standing family tradition. It's not something I usually tell people." God, I love that town.  

Back in Flagstaff with daughter Katie, sipping iced chai at Rendezvous, people-watching from window seats, both of us missing Lizzy whose spirit imbues the entire town. Loving the "fluffy white cloud hat"the Peaks are wearing, the passing billowy grey clouds, periodic rain showers, the constantly shifting temperatures. TEXT: "Hey Liz! Hastings has turned into a Sprouts Market butTrader's Outlet is still tucked in there." One of our all-time favorite memories of that smoke shop (pre-recreational weed days) goes back to the girls’ college years, when we wandered back through the beaded curtains to gander at the dazzling array of hand-blown glass pipes in all shapes and sizes. Noticing the sign near cash register that said: IF YOU SAY THE B WORD, YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE, I leaned toward the girls and whispered, “Bitch?” Liz whispered back: “Bong, mom, they mean bong." One of the décor items in their shared apartment at that time was an exquisite, hand-crafted glass bong with layered swirls of crimson, vermillion, and saffron. It arrived as a sparkling clean gift from Lizzy’s friend Matthew, who was heading back to Georgia and leaving his childhood toys behind. He thought aboutkeeping it as a college memento but it was just too massive, heavy, and breakable to bother. One of our favorite Matthew stories occurred over Parents Weekend when his mother was taken by the considerable beauty of this work of art. She fairly cried out ever so slowly and sweetly in her charming Southern drawl: “Oh Matthew! That is such a beeeauuutiful vase!”    

Bill and I went to coffee at our usual haunt this morning and as we got out of the car, I noticed that the truck parked next to us had the engine running and the driver was waiting patiently for the woman running toward him with take-out coffee in hand—the driver being, in this case, a huge white dog.   

#LoveMyMom As Lizzy and I were packing her belongings in not one but two rental cars for the drive to Portland, she waited to load the guitar last—in my car, on the passenger side. LIZZY: "I'm concerned about having it here. If the airbag goes off, it could smash it to pieces." ME: "Whoooah! Air air bags are going off in my car and you're worried about the guitar?" 

In clearing out some ancient files, Mr. D happened upon a yellowed summary from one of the three charm schools that Motorola graciously sent him to. On the cover page, he scored extremely high as a Charger and extremely low as a Diplomat. But that's only the beginning. The summary gave him high marks for competitive, vigorous, bold, stubborn, force of character, willpower, daring, brave, nervy, self-reliant, restless, determined, persistent, assertive, eager. The lowest marks were in the categories of considerate, nonchalant, resigned, tolerant, gentle, restrained, accommodating, peaceful, cautious, soft-spoken, and polished.  Granted, in Mr. D’s own handwriting, some words had been scrawled across the top of the page: IN A WORK ENVIRONMENT.  Still, I told him that any information remotely like this should be fully disclosed before marriage.   

It was May of 2016 and my friend Linda had flown in from Colorado to see the Book of Mormon with me—from the kick-ass fourth center seats I had purchased about a week after seeing the show the first time in 2015. As in the year before. No worries about who would go with me. I have to see this again. So you can imagine the deep crash of excitement that washed over me at the door when the agent scanning the barcodes frowned, took a closer look, and handed them back: "These were for the matinee today." Like someone hit with a taser, it took sometime for words to come out of my mouth. “Is there anything we can do?” And of course, that trek to Will Call on the other side of the universe was met with, “Sorry, just sold the last two tickets in the house and we don’t issue refunds for past shows.”  We did end up seeing the show. Only because I couldn’t bear to leave the parking lot. I spent so long trying to unwrap my stunned brain around the idea that we belonged inside, Linda had time to remember the miracle of Stub Hub. Which is how my $400 kick-ass seats turned into $700 nosebleed seats, but our memory of those last-minute shenanigans is far more outrageous than the show would have been from the fourth row. The very next year Linda returned for a make-up date: Hamilton, third-row center. Yes, she insisted on having an advanced copy of the tickets. In recalling so many times like this, I told my daughter Lizzy that I have enough stories for the rest of my life. I don’t need any more of them. Ever.  And Lizzy said: "I know, believe me I know, but they just keep comin' Mom."   

The other day I noticed a Wisconsin license plate with the words AMERICA'S DISNEYLAND. And I’m thinking, what the hell is that all about? Are they referring to the Dells? Straining to see the illustration, I saw a barn. Who do these people think they’re kidding? America’s Disneyland my ass. Back home I was telling Mr. D about Wisconsin’s weird plate. He looked at me quizzically and said, “Are you sure it didn’t say AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND? Oh. Well that's not what I saw, but then...  #SheMightHaveCataracts 

Lizzy and I had the pleasure of learning Denver together for a couple of weeks in April. The city’s Best Pizza, gauntlets of parked cars on teeny tiny two-way streets, surprise one-way streets, diagonal streets with strange 50-foot twists into another street, passersby who leave a cloud of weedsmell in the air, and afternoon rain storms that come up in microseconds andlast for 10 minutes. Welcome to Rocky Mountain High!   

Headed out to an online quiz that would give me a hippie name and ended up with What’s Your Mental Disorder instead. Discovered I'm bipolar. That is so yesterday's news. And by the way, I prefer the traditional moniker of manic-depressive, thank you. Way too many whack jobs are falling into mydisorder bucket these days.  It's creating an identity crisis.    

Looking at mugs on Cafe Press website and found a few classics…  "Dear Algebra, stop asking me to find your X. She's never coming back." "Dear Karma, I have a list of people you've obviously missed."  "I'm silently judging your grammar. " "I'm not arguing. I'm just proving why I'm right." "I'm too sexy for my hair. That's why it's not there."    

Mr. D and I took a quick trip to Prescott in leaf-peeping season. Last night a couple walked into the restaurant, him dressed in a whiteshirt, black suit, black boots, black cowboy hat. His butt-length grey hair was pulled back in a pony. I leaned into Bill and said, "I'm glad you don't wear your hair that way. No woman wants to see three-foot-long white hair in her bathroom drain unless it's her own."     

January 26, 2017  Trying so hard NOT to lapse into my default Chicken Little The Sky is Falling state of terror and despair. Still, my most reassuring mantra at this juncture, given the tone of the past week, is: You are going die no matter what, so live out loud, fight all the negativity you can, put yourself on the line, choose love over hate every fucking time, do not remain silent out of fear, and most of all, hold hands and sing and pray and be ONE with those you love who share a vision of peace, kindness, safety, and social justice for all. #SomeMantraThere     

Walked into the fitness center to find about 15 men standing around in stone silence with equally dead expressions. Sashayed over to theattendant and whispered: "What's going on over there?" She said they were waiting for their aerobics class to begin. Really? I've walked in on many days just before the women's class started and the place was alive and humming with laughter and conversation.      

Lunched with my dear friend Suzie today... SUZIE: (talking about her son's girfriend) "I used to be friends with her mom when the kids were small and her dad was our butt doctor for 20 years." ME:  (wondering who had all those butt problems but who wants to ask that?) "Oh really? He's a proctologist?" SUZIE:  "What? He was our exterminator! At this point I am losing it, as in “I might wet my pants” losing it. SUZIE: (her eyes lighting up as she managed to choke out these words before joining me in dangerously losing it)  "No, no no, BUG doctor! B. U. G." We were both wiping tears from our eyes but everything else stayed dry. Miraculously.  AARPMagazine once asked seniors if they would rather experience an orgasm or along, deep endorphin-laced laugh. The vote wasn’t even that close. And just for the record, I would BUY endorphins on the street if they were available as a handshake drug.     

Just got a Groupon that was entitled "Get active and release disgusting endorphins.” So that’s either a stupid joke or just plain stupidity. A few months ago, we saw a sign in Flagstaff that said, "Violence does not beget violence" in opposition to Syria events. #CollegeTown?

I've been charged with making a God Box for a holiday partynext Sunday. It’s actually a God Box gift exchange, so we all leave with a place to stash our worries, fears, anxieties, and gratitude. If worries and fears have to fit inside this thing, mine better be super-sized as in "delivered through the roof by crane." 

My daughter Katie is away for a few days so it's the Bill and Maggy Show for her little Yorkie-Maltese mix. Murray walks all over Maggy (who doesn't?) but Mr. D is another story. Last night Murray was running around the house with my slipper in his mouth, the picture of gleeful defiance and unbridled naughtiness. Tired of watching me chase and yell at the dog, Bill grabbed a glass of cold water and tossed it his way. When that cold, wet surprise hit, Murray dropped the slipper in a heartbeat and looked up at Bill with a shocked "WTF, dude?!! That is NOT how you play keep away!" expression. #mendoitdifferently

Katie's pup Murray had a play date with his Arizona best buddy Gizmo yesterday, 90 minutes of non-stop wrestling and chasing each other in circles at the dog park. We drove away with both of themcompletely exhausted. ME: "Murray! I cannot believe that you aren't totally tuckered and prostate this morning." ALSO ME: (after a momentary pause): "Prostrate." KATIE: (not even glancing up from hercomputer): "I was willing to let that one go right by."   

Online Ad for ICONUNDIES.COM: "1 in 3 women pees a little when she laughs, coughs, sneezes, jumps on a trampoline, rides a unicorn, etc." Yup, it's riding that damn unicorn that always does it for me.   

Yesterday Bill saw Don Juan De Marco for the first time. I thought he might see us as more the Brando Dunaway couple, but his comment at the end of the movie was: "You need to get a gauzy white dress and I'll find an eye mask and let's head for the beach." Silly me that I would even CONSIDER him finding a mirror in anyone but Johnny Depp.    

Just had to paraphrase this little thought: We aren't born on the day our mother gives birth to us. That just gets us in the door. Life invites us to continue giving birth to our authentic, creative, miraculous self each and every day. Gotta go...my water just broke.     

BILL: "You have to live with the good fortune of being married to an E-N-G-I-N-E-E-R." ME: "I believe that is spelled E-G-O-M-A-N-I-A-C." BILL: "You're just saying that because our intelligence is so superior to you lesser beings." ME: "Thank you for making my point."

Had dinner with wonderful friends last night at a very pricey place we would never choose. Groupon was involved. We had a great time just being "in the vibe,” which happened to include bagpipe music. Looking through the wall-of-glass-sized window, I said: "Oh my God, there's actually a guy out there in a skirt playing the thing." Mr. D, barely looking up from the menu, said flatly: "I believe that's called a kilt." (Missed my wit AND tossed in some manspeak?) The belly laugh came around dessert when Joe noticed that the background noise had stopped: "With bagpipes, you pay them to quit, not play."     

#FavoriteObamaQuote One of my favorite moments was an address to the Press Corps: I've been looking in the mirror lately, and I am just not the young strapping Muslim I was when I took office.     

I am watching The Gilmore Girls with my husband. This is not our first trip around this circle and he's totally into it. He goes to the ballet with me, LOVES the ballet. I have said more than once that he is a better woman than I am, this mega died-in-the-wool, probably soul-tattooed at birth "Semper Fi" guy. Mr. D is by far the most extreme version of masculine and feminine I have ever encountered in a single human being on this planet. How does a woman get this lucky?  

I was toying with the idea of joiningToastmasters when Bill said he won a lot of awards in his years with that organization. ME: "I could see that happening. You have a rich resonant voice, a great vocabulary, a strong presence, a bright mind—and you're full of yourself." MR. D: "I believe that word is CONFIDENT."     

The AccuWeather app makes me laugh. The extended Phoenix summer forecast has at least five days where all it says is Sunshine. The following day varies by one degree and it says: "Abundant sunshine and warm." The next day is exactly the same and it says: "Brilliant sunshine and warm." #TryingNotToBoreYou     

Bill asked me a few days ago: "Have you ever heard of BruceSpringsteen?" And I'm thinking, "Seriously, dude?" For some reason he was researching Roy Orbison on YouTube and found a cut from a concert/album called Blackand White Night. Of the many famous musicians accompanying Roy, Bruce grabbed his attention for his energy and guitar work. That one guy, The Boss. Long story short, we order the DVD from Amazon and it is totally phenomenal. I can understand why Orbison was such a master of emotion in song and why some of the finest talent in the nation was happy to back up this icon. We miss you Roy, and I hope you are rocking it in heaven. Thanks to Toad Hall, the early morning DJ for the ASU radio station who introduced the valley to a LOT of great emerging artists in the early ‘70s including Jackson Browne, Bruce had a huge following in the valley from the beginning. I saw him three times at tiny Celebrity Theater before most of the nation knew his name. Sent his first album to my musician friend Steve in LA, who called to say: "I cannot believe you found this guy before I did. Trust me, he's going to be big. And I mean really big. Like Beatles big.”     

Got up at 5:22 am to walk the sandy shores of La Jolla but found cliffs, rocks and angry surf. So I strolled along, entertained by a"late blooming" seagull and his frustrated mother, then by the RoughWater Swim Team. These folks are no panty-waists. No wet suits; just good old bare skin and Speedos for that EARLY morning plunge. Pretty sure these folks are extraterrestrials.     

Making Mexican food tonight, over-cooked the tortilla, will probably be more the texture of a cracker than a tortilla. This one is going to the bottom of the pile because my husband always takes the last one. Does that make me a bad person? I think not.    

Arrived in Ohio on a day when Angie was babysitting year-old Lily. She was changing Lily's diaper when toddler Emmett fairly screamed "What happened to her penis?" Angie explained that Lily is a girl and doesn't have one. Emmett immediately asked "Does she have a BUTT?" 

Got a text from Chase bank fraud dept asking if I just tried to make a $208 purchase at Ross. REPLY: "Uh-NO!" TEXT: "One of our specialists will call you or you can call the number on the card." Damnstraight I'm calling. HIM: "How about TJ Maxx, Circle K, and Hernando's restaurant?" ME: (voice rising slightly) "NO NO andNO!!!!!" HIM: "How about $8 at AJ's yesterday?" ME: "Yes, that was me. I haven't been ANYWHERE today. OMG I didn't check my account before I called you. What if..." No doubt a slight hint of impending hysteria in my voice at this point. HIM: "No worries, ma'am, you can check your account when we hang up and let us know if you see anything else. We have removed all fraudulent charges and closed that account and already issued a new number. Your card is on the way." I know all about online fraud, but the realit ythat someone “gassed up” at a Circle K using my debit card is start to hit me. Hard. ME: (in full-blossom hysteria) "HOW CAN THIS EVEN HAPPEN? I'M HOLDING THAT CARD IN MY HAND. RIGHT NOW. IT’S NEVER LEFT ME. HOW CAN THEY DO THIS? HOW CAN THEY HAVE A PHYSICAL CARD? CAN YOU FIND THEM?" HIM: (sounding like someone who received calm-the-raving-caller training) "Ma'am, we can't say right now how it's done. The important thing is that we are taking off all fraudulent charges and your new card is on the way.

My niece's little girl, just a bit over three, gave her parents a big surprise a couple of weeks ago when they asked her what she would like to have for dinner and her answer was "vaginas." Apparently, assimilating new vocabulary words into meaningful, appropriate language takes a little time.     

In Flagstaff we had the privilege/pleasure of dining with Bill Walton, one of my hubby's dearest and oldest friends. At 86 years young, he is still so aware and involved in good governance, in ideas that solve issues for the collective good. That calling has been his life and that of his beloved, Bobbie, who is now in a care center with Alzheimer's. They were married with two little ones when he said to her, "I hate being a coach, I want to go back to school and get a landscape architectural degree." She said, "Let's make that happen for you" and that's where the two men (and their wives and little ones) met at Iowa State. Bill Walton went on to serve on the Scottsdale Council, he was the one who looked at the watershed plans and said, "Don't make some ungodly ugly cement thing there, let's create miles of recreational greenway for walking, cycling, rollerblading and extend some park space for picnics. It's one of Scottsdale's most fabulous amenities. Just being in his presence reminded me that the job of governance is coming up with the most creative, viable, feasible solutions to everything, big and small. What part, may I ask you, does party allegiance play in that? Let's drop whatever divides us and focus on solutions.     

Bill and I are staying at a Wyndham timeshare in Flagstaff, and the internet here is totally open, nary even a password. Whenever we sign in, especially on our phones, messages pop up that say (to slightly paraphrase): Just to let you know that you are about to have sex with a total stranger without a condom.     

I will miss Marvin Hamlisch. What a genius, what an entertainer. He was guest conductor at our Pops, when the few rude folks started doing their disruptive Early Exit thing during the last number, he turned around, still conducting, and hollered: "Hey, where are you guys going? It's not over! We're still playing! Is something wrong?" As they skulked out, the rest of us were nearly falling out of our chairs laughing. He was a gift to all of us. And by the way, he came back for a LONG encore of absolutely fabulous Broadway and movie hits! They missed A LOT!     

I keep getting this "trending" headline, for days on end now, about Orlando Bloom appearing in naked photos while on vacation with Katie Perry. As an English major who actually takes the arrangement of words in a sentence semi-seriously, I can't help but wonder what exactly naked photos are. Do photos usually wear teeny tiny clothing? I find this concept intriguing because, hey, I might want to appear in them as well.     

My hubby wanted to select a special ring for me on his iPhoneand he chose the BARK. He wants me to call him next time he's with his buddies having coffee. All cliches apply: Your wife's a dog? Does she bark at you that way at home too? Is she all bark and no bite?     

Patty Duke just met me online and showed me how to sign up for Social Security. I mean, she's cute in that short spiked hair but I would have preferred George Clooney. Okay, he's too young. Maybe Jeff Bridges. Okay, he's too young. Harrison Ford? How about David Letterman?     

#LetsTryAnewPlace Don't know if our hostage situation yesterday made national news, but I called my friend Suzie today and said, "Hey, let's order t-shirts online and personalize them with something like I survived the shoot-out and lock-down at Chandler Fashion Square Mall. We could have the date printed beneath it: January 5, 2011."  She laughed but guessing she won't let me choose our lunch place anymore.     

At a class on Radical Honesty, we were supposed to write down our shameful secrets and then share one-on-one to our comfort level. I went first, emotionally undressing like a radical honesty pro and plowing through the entire sordid list. My partner, who was obviously gay so I'm expecting anything, came up with, "It's been three years since I joined Unity, and I still haven’t worked up the courage to tell my mother I'm no longer a Catholic.” Wait. That’s it? I spill my darkest secrets and that’s all you can come up with? The look of shocked disbelief on my face must have said it all, because he continued: “I know, I know, my partner can’t believe that I’m okay with leading an openly gay life but I can’t do this thing.”  And I’m thinking, “Oh my god, dude. I’m sitting here totally naked right now so compassion is probably running a pint low. I just want to crawl under the chair and beg you to at least return my bra and panties.”     

Marital Dishonesty, Case #439:  The man, who just finished licking the beaters and the bowl in the living room, called out, "Is there any more batter left?" To which the wife, who was just out of his sight in the kitchen gobbling spoonfuls of batter directly from the cake pan, answered nonchalantly: "No, dear." 

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