Age Before Beauty


Prell Shampoo

Breck Coconut Cream Rinse (square glass bottle)

Chapstick (metal tube)


That was once the entire list of my beauty arsenal that I carried to school, swim team practice, and anywhere else I had to look more human than Yeti. Can I just say that by today’s standards, I may as well have been washing my hair with radioactive waste but it got the layers of chlorine out, which was the point. A few months after a summer of sun and the constant acid hair bath, I had a pretty awesome and free ombre hair style. Back in the day, Prell was the gold standard for freshy-fresh hair cleaning. It never seemed weird that its vivid green color was suspiciously similar to the Ooze that changed four regular turtles into sewer dwelling ninjas.

The conditioner: some of you remember the commercial with the beautiful island girl with perfect hair down to her rear end. She would take her comb and start to run it through her hair and because of the Breck Coconut Cream Rinse’s superior ingredients, the comb would magically float, all by itself, down the length of her deep brown, Hula Girl hair. I wanted that hair. My only island blood is Sicilian so, yeah, that didn’t happen. But I could dream, couldn’t I?

My little beauty kit was a small bag I’d gotten from somewhere and the hairdryers were attached to the wall; big white metal things with a black metal vent you could turn down for short girls, up for us who were taller. We would stand there and rub and brush and in spite of the odds, we would step away with a pretty presentable fall of smooth and glossy hair. I think it had to do with the fact that you could use both hands to fix your hair with a wall blower. I would put one of those things in my house in a New York minute. They rock.

So today, while I was putting on some makeup so I could go to the grocery store and not “scare people”, I did a visual inventory of my dressing table. The drawers, baskets and boxes hold a zillion and one products that now sort-of do what my four item list once did.

These days, I purchase my makeup organizers at Home Depot and there are products in here called “primer” and “base coat” though they didn’t come from Sherwin Williams. I have things that look like trowels and some of it might be spackle stuff but I don’t want to know.

Pluckers and scrapers and scissors litter the space but I need them when I find that errant hair that shows 1/16” on my upper lip, yet when I pull it out the true length of it makes me scream in horror. Where does that hair live? Did I lose the little algebra I had retained to make room for the Rapunzle factory that must be hard at work inside my skull? And if it’s so busy pushing that hair to my lip area, why in hell can’t it push more to the top of my head? What is going on here and who is in charge of this deconstruction anyway? We need to talk…

10,000 Ways to Waste time

mimi morpheus cartoon

As if I need to find another way to get distracted when I’m supposed to be doing something productive with my day…
Now we have BitStrips- the App that let’s you star in your own cartoons and make avatars for your friends so they can join the fray.

Did I become enamored of this clever application and immediately start making a cache of ridiculous and obnoxious cartoons to include in posts and text messages?

Perhaps. But does it really exist or is it part of the construct?

There is no cart….I mean, spoon.
Ponder that.

BitStrips App creation
BitStrips App creation

What A Woman Wants

This is a reposting of a piece I wrote for my old blog. Still appropriate as the topic and the truth of it will never become outdated.

Recently, I’ve heard a slew of conversations about what women want; guys talking, of course.
It’s usually laced with hands being thrown up in the air for comedic exaggeration or sometimes, blind frustration, as if they are painstakingly attempting to resolve a solution for quantum gravity.

Do you honestly want to know what a woman wants? Can you handle it? We’re all adults here and if this is too adult for you then you shouldn’t be concerned with big people things that are real or messy, so go read a crafting blog. OK, here it is.

A woman wants someone who will walk up to her, wind their fingers into her hair and kiss the stupid right out of her. A woman wants someone who will see her when she’s happy, when she’s sad and when she’s pissed off and they will find all of those moments equally adorable.

A woman wants a senseless argument to be ended with your lips on hers and your arms around her making smooth circles on her back while you tell her how much you love her and that this is a moment that will pass.

A woman wants to know that she is enough for you and she wants to know that your heart stops and starts again when she kisses you back.

A woman wants someone who will tell her to open her eyes because you want to see how you make her feel just as you slide into her. And a woman wants to know, without a doubt, that since you found her, no other person in the world except her, is ever going to have a chance to hear you say that again.

That’s what a woman really wants. This isn’t rocket science. It’s the same stuff she wanted when she was 15 years old and the world was not really that complicated.

Not a single one of those things will cost you one thin dime. What they will cost you is a wide open heart and a willingness to be all in; to be there through every glorious, steamy, crazy, beautiful, angry, joyful, tragic and magnificent moment and, it will be worth it.

That’s what a woman wants.

Twerk or Treat

Seriously…what the hell is this costume about?

I’ve been following a conversation thread a bunch of female writers are having about appropriate Halloween costumes for their preteen girls. They’re discussing the battle for common sense. One had mentioned that she was looking for a monster costume online and had to wade through “sexy monster” getups to find something a seven year old could wear who wasn’t a child prostitute in Bangkok.

Another listened as her own third grader chattered on about this or that being “sexy”. When she asked her daughter what that meant, she admitted she didn’t know. Mom explained that it was dressing in a way to make you attractive so that someone will want to kiss and hold you romantically. That shut the kid down pronto. Apparently, to her child, the word “sexy” was akin to “smurfy” or some other innocuous and kitschy adjective.

I saw this conversation thread while back in my Illinois hometown for my aunt’s funeral this week. The memories of Halloweens past were thick as a hand full of milk duds tossed into a greedy mouth.

Driving from the cemetery, I had to take Wolf Road, going right past my school friend, Merry’s, house. That’s the house where we all played spin-the-bottle for the first time at her Halloween Party; the big event of the season. Costumes required. It was seventh grade. 1967.

I wanted to wear something pretty and girly. Being the athletic, tomboy type, this would have been a major transformation for me given that my closet boasted a collection of competitive swimsuits, a pair of treasured kangaroo-skin track shoes with long and short removable spikes, a well-worn baseball glove, a rock collection and a bunch of freaky encyclopedias that I read like other kids read Tiger Beat.

My mom feared my inevitable blossoming into a young woman. After I got permission to attend the party, the costume search began. I was just looking for something pretty. Not slutty. Instead, she prepared a costume for me. I went to this party- this important party- as George Washington. Powdered wig, ruffled shirt, blue waist coat, buckle shoes. No shit. George freaking Washington. Not even Martha! Though I have seen portraits of her and it wouldn’t have been very different.

MORTIFIED. I was completely, utterly mortified. There would be boys there! BOYS! And the bottle thing! Kissing! Kill me now. No one will want to be kissing George Freaking Washington. I would be the only female not in a girly, pretty, sparkly, gown. I just knew it.

Merry answered the door in a spectacular evil witch costume; hideous warty nose and all. Relief flooded through me that she hadn’t chosen to be the Blue Fairy. A little while later, one of my junior high crushes walked in. He tottered on his high heels, adjusted the hem of the dress and shook out the curls of his bouffant styled wig. There he was; adorable, Kurt. He was a brown haired version of Kurt Russell; startling blue eyes and a soft dusting of freckles on his cheeks. Impossibly, his eyes looked even bluer with the slather of mascara and red lipstick that his older sister had put on him; all the while, laughing maniacally, I would guess.


The evening took an instant turn for the better. I even got through the bottle-spinning-kissing-stuff and ended up wearing lipstick anyway. Red. It matched my cheeks when everyone clapped afterwards. Kurt and I won the costume contest and I went home feeling pretty good in spite of my initial mortification.

Two weeks from today, I’ll stand at my door and pass out a zillion bags of candy. I’ll see little Optimus Primes, ninjas, Wii Controllers, Dalmatian dogs and the inevitable blur of tiny hooker-pop tarts whose mother’s caved and let them dress that way because Miley twerked her way into their consciousness.

Those little girls will likely need to up the ante every following year on their “smurfy”, sexy costumes. In ten years, when they’re eighteen, what will they need to wear to feel “smurfy”? They just might end up being the same girls entertaining their creepy elderly neighbor guy at the local strip club.

You know, being George Washington that year for Halloween did not inhibit my ascension to female goddess status one single bit. I spent that evening, at Merry’s party, laughing and talking with everyone; guys mostly. Being a tomboy, they were the majority of my pals. In fact, I’ll bet I had a better time at Merry’s party, than the girls who ran to the bathroom every half hour to make sure their makeup was still looking good.

All this stuff went through my head as I drove past Merry’s old house last Tuesday. Merry, she moved out west somewhere. Kurt, sadly, died of a drug overdose before he was twenty. My mom and her nervousness about my emerging sexuality are long gone with the powdered wig and buckle shoes she’d made in an attempt to make me as gender neutral as possible. Sorry mom. Can’t stop the tidal wave.

I really do hope that parents can get across to their young daughters that there will be thousands of opportunities to dress inappropriately and that each time they do, they will spend more time worrying about their outfit than they will spend actually having fun with the people around them. Just like Miley, they should wait until they are twenty one to lose their minds and behave like they were raised in a brothel by crack addicted parents. Then, maybe these parents won’t have to suffer through years watching their daughter’s awkward grasp at becoming the “smurfy-est” girl in school.

Yes, do that, young tartlets. Leave the smurfing to the older girls. Please.

And save me some candy corn. I love those things…

Life is Run by Barney Stinson

I will never (insert horrible thing here)!

After you’ve been on the planet a while, you realize what an incredibly stupid thing that declaration truly is. On a fairly regular basis, I have acted in direct defiance of my own decree and boldly done the horrible thing, simply because I had changed my mind.

Last year, for example, I crossed my own line and got a tattoo. Oh, it’s not like a giant Popeye across my ass or anything. It’s small and it’s subtle and it means something to me. I had previously made a loud fuss about never, ever getting a permanent mark on my body and then life came along and slapped me upside the head, altering my opinion.

I should back up and say that the tattoo I got last year was not my first. It was the first one I voluntarily acquired. I have three others. They are tiny, woad blue dots that a mildly sadistic radiation tech marked right on the middle of my breastbone and then two, equally located on the same horizontal plane on the sides of my ribcage. I needed them for the techs to align the machine as I underwent treatments for breast cancer. They hurt like a bitch. Especially the one in the center as there isn’t much meat right there and I could feel the needle pressing to my bone. Not fun.

The one I got last year is a small, woad blue V and a smaller circle that sits just below the bottom of the V marking the zero point. I had it placed on my left wrist, just at the pulse point. I was in California attending a workshop and doing research for another book I am working on. The symbol means “NOW” in my Sci-Fi character’s native Arcturian (yes…an ET) language. I got it because every time I’d get in the shower, I would see the blue dots on me that kept reminding me of “then” and I was so damn sick of living in the past and the “close call”.

I had been drawing the little mark on my wrist for months as I was writing. One day, while sitting up on Mount Shasta looking at all that wonder, I glanced down at my wrist and I knew that it was, NOW. I dragged my friend, Trisha, into the Small Town Ink shop on the main drag of the town of Mt. Shasta, and she sat with me while John did his thing. When I got home with my new mark, my grown kids found it fascinating. Some more conservative friends raised a silent eyebrow. I’ve also had some women my age, give me a high five and then ask about placement suggestions for their own little tattoos. Never…ever…now.

A few weeks ago, I was holding the four month old kitten that I had brought home when the daughter said, “Remember when you said you would NEVER get a kitten? And that you would never, ever get a male cat because they spray and take over the Universe?” Yes. Yes I do. Now shut up. The little guy (Yes! A male. You shut up too) is a feral rescue from a rural Michigan farm area and however the miracle occurred, he is a completely adorable, healthy and sweet flame point Siamese mix. It’s been ten years since I’ve had a cat in this house. My former cats moved to Michigan with us from Florida. The last one, Sushi, a rescue from the Hemingway House in Key West and famously six toed, died at the ripe old age of 22. Her best pal, Mouse, another rescue, died a year earlier at the age of 21.

When I bring something home, I don’t screw around with the commitment thing. Hell, we had a 6 year old guinea pig here, which is like 200 years old in human years. Which was another creature I once said I’d never have in a house. I love having a kitten around again, especially when they crawl up to sleep on your shoulder with their face against your cheek. Oh, yes. Lucca is an epic snuggler. Lucca adores Matty, the Great Dane; who is doing very well now that we’ve identified her Addison’s Disease and are treating it.

Life is listening and taking notes when we make “I Will Never” declarations. It listens like Barney Stinson. It responds like Barney Stinson, as well: Challenge Accepted. If you’re going to be stupid enough to make never-ever declarations, at least make them about things that you are already, secretly waffling on. Then, when you cave in and do the horrible thing, which you will, unless you’re a Cylon with a pre-programmed mandate, some child that lives within you can happily gloat for having turned you to the dark side.

Here’s the thing about those kinds of declarations; as important as we thought they were when we originally made them, they slip into the sea of forgetfulness that is our brains and even when THE SITUATION is smack in our faces, we will not remember how adamant we were about our position on said situation. Our stupid brain wants what it wants and it wants it now. Sometimes, that’s a good thing, because we just might override our imagined limitations and prejudices and then we can have a snuggly kitten sleeping on us and a small sign from the heavens that reminds us to be here now.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Never…ever… Hey, these words are delicious!


Lucca and Matty

Lucca napping

Road Trips and Blue Pills and Music…Oh My!


If you follow my blog, you already know I’m kind of a music freak. In some alternate universe, I’m a HUGE rock star. In this one, I’m a huge fan. There are just a few types of music that I can’t handle. They usually involve sounds that resemble metal cheese graters shredding my soul into julienne pieces and 3.2 minutes of recorded Tourette’s syndrome rants about women’s Va-jaja’s, assault weapons and counting money. Beyond that, I can pretty much, lean into any kind of music you throw my way.

Though I’ve sited mostly older music in these posts, my playlists hold primarily new and amazing bits from young artists. This is a renaissance time for music and there are hundreds of young artists out there with phenomenal work pouring out of them. I’m listening to “Satellite Heart” by Anya Marina as I write this. Great song.
This morning, I finally set up my iTunes on the new laptop and got chills of joy as the zillion files floated down from the cloud and filled my library. It was like Christmas morning and I was 6 years old. Crank the JBL’s!

For some weird reason, I have acquired a ritual of listening to a few specific songs each time I take a road trip. I load a playlist for the drive as part of my packing chores and I faithfully add The Allman Brothers, “One Way Out”. It’s the musical equivalent of a 100 mph run on a vacant stretch of Route 66. Excited to see my old pal again, I clicked play and heard the familiar opening guitar riff slithering out of the speakers. Damn it to hell! Instead of my best road song, all I could hear was the background music in that fucking Cialis commercial where the guy is on a beach and about to hit the open road, so of course, he’s thinking about his erectile dysfunction problem.

I don’t know about you, but I hit saturation point with those commercials about five years ago. I mean, come on! Enough already! We get it! It’s called…aging.

There are some completely legitimate circumstances for the use of E.D. meds. SOME. We’re not stupid though. There is no way in hell that pharmaceutical advertising departments would pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the promotion of their pills to people who do not need them, if they weren’t earning billions in return. They’re sitting, right now, around their board rooms tables high fiving and laughing their asses off because they have successfully convinced a ridiculous percentage of the male population to “ask their doctors” for a little somethin’-somethin’ to jack up their weekend. What most of those guys actually need is a personality transplant and (surprise!) their partner’s just might work their own somethin’-somethin’ to insure an outstanding performance in the boudoir.

For the miniscule fraction of the population that is under 45 years of age and suffering ED, you are a major rarity. Factoid: most of the blue pills dispensed in America are used by NON-E.D. sufferers who are rolling the dice that they do experience an erection lasting more than four hours. These are the same guys who were huffing spray paint cans in junior high, mind you. Still at it I see. Another large percentage of the little blue pills end up as hand out favors at bang parties where guys with heavy gold neck chains and crystal bowls full of blow get their jollies with the young girls who dropped out of hair & nail school and now work the morning shift at the strip club across from Walmart on I-94.

Do you think this might be nature’s way of keeping wrinkly old guys from chasing after 25 year old girls who should be waking up next to Taylor Kitsch and not Larry King?

To be serious for a moment, 1 in 4 women, across the globe, will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. I really don’t think a product that makes guys hornier is what the world needs right now. Especially not when I have to sit through fifteen E.D. medication commercials during a three hour block of prime time TV and then I have to watch aging male senators casting a vote on the hill that takes away my right as a woman to govern my own body. If I made the rules there would be no blue pills at all as long as there was no right to choose. At the very least, the pharmaceutical companies could add a birth control element to the Viagra/Cialis/Crushed and powdered panda testicle potion or whatever the hell else men use to continue getting laid after their bodies have put on the breaks.

So, yeah. My Allman Brothers song is tainted…forever, with the acrid stink of corporate greed. I need a new song. You know how you can adore a particular fragrance and every time you smell it, your mood is elevated to a happy place? Well, some skeezy individual has bathed in my fragrance and now, I can’t smell it without the new visual accompaniment of the skeezer. “One Way Out” has been skeezed. I have to find a skeeze free song, quickly, because it’s summer and the road is out there waiting and I want to hear something that won’t plant the vision of Larry King with a boner when I crank up the volume and put the top down.

Suggestions? Send me yours.

Now, if I can just get the image out of my head of the antique bathtubs with the two naked people bathing side by side on a cliff overlooking the 6th hole on Pebble Beach…