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Where to Start

Posted on January 26, 2013

My son: He is funny. When he was an infant, I would look at him and know that, in his most recent lifetime, he had grown to be an old man…at least in his 90’s. I knew this because he told me with his eyes. Well, now he is in his 50’s (apparently) and he can talk. In other words, tell me with is mouth! And I’m like: I KNOW!!! I KNOW, you were ALL those spirits, I am sure of it!”

I had gone to visit with my friend Vanessa, and her baby girl Zoleigh. Ethan and I stopped by. She rents the place I recently moved out of, fulfilling my initial lease requirements, and giving herself some space. So, I told her about the blanket, and how I just couldn’t…


Posted on January 26, 2013

I asked for a lobotomy, didn’t I? I did. Well, someone might as well have stuck a fork in my brain, because that was my state from Monday night until just Friday morning.

I never felt so empty in my life. Okay, let me give you the details while they are still fresh.

It was like I was on ice somewhere. Literally, beside myself. There was a long point during which I did nothing. Nothing! Nothing but…stare at the ceiling fan, spinning, whewph, whewph, whewph, whewph, cutting through the shadow of the light.

Immobilized, paralyzed, disappeared. It was as though I had simply “checked out”. Either I was completely numb, or completely raw, I cannot tell which.

My stomach, wavering like the shadows around me, I slide to the floor and looking up, notice the contents of the nightstand’s plateau. A shiny, glistening, Lonestar can, warm and nearly full, because I couldn’t even do THAT! I couldn’t even bring a sip of…anything! to my lips.

Three days of this, all due to simple contact I had initiated.

Unexpect the Expected

Posted on February 3, 2013

“I ain’t changin’ fer NO ONE!” That’s grammatically incorrect, but if you say it in a “burly guy” voice, it makes complete sense! Well, I am not changing for anyone else either. BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not changing. I am, and always will be. I pride myself on being a life long learner (such a buzzword now, I hate to use it here), and so, I will remain, forever changing. I am mercurial and proud of it! Damn skippy! I like having the freedom to change.

Where too much expectation exists, or where I feel it exists, or more specifically, the wrong expectations exist…well, I find that a partner’s limited expectations of me have a great and detrimental effect on how much I will act on active change. It’s almost like trying something new becomes less important. I suspect that in the REALLY good partnerships, this isn’t an issue, but it has been for me, so, I need to think more on this topic.

When it is only my own expectations on a daily basis… well, now that I think about it, people at work have VERY DEFINITE expectations of me on a daily basis and that doesn’t cause me to shut down…so…AH! HA! They have very definite HIGH expectations. Could that be the difference? Just spend time with people who have high expectations? Could that be the solution? I’ll have to look into this more deeply.

On money: When I think about a partner, I don’t want someone who is going to give me bigger gifts than I can give back. It makes me very uncomfortable. All I can think when I picture it is: Ewww, gross, no! I feel all obligated and icky! So, I’ve learned this about myself. I have never KNOWN this about myself until now, because I always did go for the poor chap in the sloppy clothing, earning about the same paycheck as I was. I don’t mind picking up the tab. It comes back in any case. If I know a guy is broke this week, but I still want to eat with him, well, I’ve got this one. Even Steven, all the way.

I never knew just how important financial equality is to me (even if we are both poor). I didn’t have enough experience to know the difference.  I’m glad for the experiences that have allowed me to consider the subject and come to understand myself better.

An exchange of ideas is far better than an exchange of money and love, or resources and time. Idea for idea, love for love.

On sex: I am one million times more likely to burn with desire if I feel that I’m not expected! Which means nobody can be in my bed every night! I cannot think of any reason why I would share a “bedroom” every day/night with anyone, ever! I’m an American, and we have our own “rooms”! I’m happy to have a sleepover, your place or mine. And I have no desire to get up and leave immediately after sex, like a hooker, or as though I’m off to my next conquest, but I also do not want to spend more than the morning there. There’s no exact time I must leave by, I just know: time to go. I wish everyone had this same understanding. You should never have to ASK your lover to leave. He should just know. I like being unexpected! And I can’t be unexpected if I’m expected every night!

In short, I know what makes me furious now.

Car Conversation with Ethan 01/25/2013

“Mom, look at me. When I go swimming next time, I’m going to do this:”.
I glance to the back seat to see his best, tightest fish-face, sucking his cheeks in and holding his breath.
“And Mom! he said…”watch, watch my finger go to my lips. His tiny index finger pressed against his fishlips. “See? My finger is the water, and my lips are my lips”. Making the fish face again: “See? The water can’t get through!!
“And Mom! That is because my mouth is stronger than the water!”
“Yes, it is”.
Knowing that Ron and I had discovered his usual swim class full, I asked anyway: “Ethan, did Daddy sign you up for swimming lessons again?”
“Um, no. What do I need swim lessons for? I already know how to swim.”
“Well, don’t you think you could learn SOME thing?”
“Really?” I asked, slightly irritated by his arrogance. “So you know everything right now?”
“Yes. Because I’m not a little boy.”
“Okay, then what are you?”
“I’m a grown-up.”
“Really? Okay, so how old are you Ethan?”
“Oh, I see…so, you are a fifty four year old man…”
“Yes. I’m from Brazil.”
“Ethan, what do you do for work?”
“I play with my work friends. At school. School is my work.”
Then he just kept saying: “I want you to hear this. I want you to hear this”.

Later, loser

“I couldn’t say goodbye to the blanket” I told her.
“Why don’t you just call him? Vanessa suggested. “Why don’t you just call him and tell him how you feel?”
I paused. “Why didn’t I?” No answer. “I think you are right…can I do that now?” I asked, nodding my head toward my son.
Acknowledging that she would keep him occupied, she waved me out to the patio.
“Yes! Yes, this is what I must do!”

Actual Action

Trust your gut, listen to your instincts. The advice predates Facebook by a millennium at least, and even today you can find this sentence posted nearly millions of times.

Very familiar with these sentences, we think we know what they mean. Semantically, we DO know. But these sentences in the form of advice… they are only important if we take them seriously. Perhaps it is less about listening and trusting, and more about respecting. How do you respect your instincts?  Action. The advice could be: Let your instincts truly guide your actual actions. If faith in your instinct guides only your fantasy of action, then it is of no use at all.

How often do we know something is true on a very base/gut level, yet act as if the truth we know is a lie? As if our instinct are lying to us?!  Your gut will never insist that the truth is a lie. You can count on that!  It may turn out to be very unfortunate that we, as human beings, deny the accuracy of our primal instincts with such a zealous frequency.

A Trip to a Thanksgiving Past

Posted on November 21, 2012

Everyone forgot that we could go inside. It was about noon and there was only like 2 square feet of shade by the pool. We all simultaneously decided that it was the ONLY spot of shade anywhere and stepped into it, but we barely fit. So, there we stood nose to nose all six of us, in two square feed of shade.  Eventually, we all broke into laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. But not because we realized there was an “indoors” or other shady areas in which to escape the sun’s blaze. No. Not yet. We all had to go back to our original positions. Then some lady who lived at the apartment complex came out and started interacting with us, which sent me a little off kilter. This was when, I, at least, discovered other sources of shade and removed myself from the group to gaze into the desert and watch the cacti dance under the open sky. Really. They were wearing sombreros and everything. It was great, though, I still didn’t know for sure what “that lady” was up to. I grew comfortable with not knowing and then it hit me!! Hey, we were in an apartment earlier! I wonder where that went. With that, I set off to find the great indoors!

Demoted Bicycle Cop

Oh look what I found!! What do we have here?? Is this a seed?? Ah! It IS a seed. And NOT the seed of knowledge either. (Yes, he actually said this! When I tell this story orally, people always ask. Yes.)
I stood, facing the rear of the car, not really knowing how to respond. Shoving the purse unnecessarily across the trunk of the car, he moved toward me, whipping out his handcuffs and turning me around in one motion. Placing the metal cuffs roughly on my wrists, he barked at me “Do you realize the gravity of the situation, now?? Do you??”

Now, there was no loss for words, no thought of how to respond; only tears and a head full of mucous, a mouth full of “Yes sir!” that had to be let out!

The female officer arrived to search me.

Street Name for Painkillers Now “Limbaughs”, plural because nobody has just one…

Use: Dude really needs to stop popping the “Limbaughs©”. And by “Limbaughs©” I mean Oxycodone. That’s the street name now for painkillers: “Limbaughs”©. Remember that!

I just spent a bunch of time confusing Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones and eventually found what I was looking for even though it was a mistake. I don’t have time to correct it. Close enough.

What to Talk to the Aliens About When they Come to Probe your Ass

Posted on November 13, 2012

So I tell him “Listen, dude, I think there is a better way for you to get the intel you need. Okay, check this out…I will just write shit down. Like…okay..YOU can ask me “What about this?” or “What about that?” and I will go find out, you know, anything, and communicate my findings to you. I mean, probing my ass, it’s just, not going to be nearly as productive as probing my mind, I promise.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a reply

Random Thoughts that Pop in My Mind When I Feel Comfortable With my Productivity

Posted on November 13, 2012

I always wonder, when I see writers who write from a very personal place about their own experiences, no holds barred. The question is asked, often incredulously, of those writers “So, what did your family think?” or “How did your family take it? Has your father, has your sister (etc) read this??” “Does your mother read your erotic (ahem) “fiction”?”
Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it is no. It is a decision that will be made on it’s own, if and when it must be. If you, as a writer, are having to make that decision, it means you are being interviewed. Otherwise, you, as a writer, do not have a problem keeping some of your more tawdry stories out of view from those who provided the inspiration. They WILL recognize themselves in your writing. And if you are signing a best seller, your aunt is going to read your book and tell all your cousins about it.

Posted in Monologues, Uncategorized | Leave a reply


Posted on November 13, 2012 | Leave a reply

I always need to ensure that I have the knowledge to back up whatever I’m going to get passionate about. Oh boy! Do I dare disturb the universe?

Rocky Point

Posted on November 13, 2012

Ween – Mutilated Lips

Oh shit!! my sandal broke,(pause)”You know what? It doesn’t matter…we, are going, to Mexico!!I

A thoroughly convinced sigh returns my now bare foot to the floor mat .I smile wickedly at my companion, flashing a smooth thigh invitingly. This is trouble and we both KNOW it, no discussion necessary!   

Wait! I need to step out of this story for a minute and talk to you from the HERE and NOW.

I can’t tell you how much I hate hearing about how a guy is a total loser because he doesn’t rake in much money, as though a man has nothing to offer if he doesn’t earn enough to buy you what YOU want, or he’s in an occupation less stable than others, like lemonade sales or something. Don’t laugh! I know a guy who actually does sell lemonade and does well enough with it! Anyway, just because he only brings home a couple slices of bacon doesn’t mean he won’t give you things you want. In fact, this is the guy who WILL buy you what YOU want, even if he can’t afford it, which you will love, you will be so absolutely flattered by his resourcefulness! “HOW” you’ll wonder, “How on earth did he pull that off?”Here’s a tip: If you ask him how, he will tell you, perhaps even show you. So there you are, happy and impressed and all the wiser for it. It’s all great! For a while – until you are married or at least until his bullshit becomes your bullshit…then, when he acquires something he cannot afford, you will wonder how in the hell he could make such irresponsible decisions!!

We sped south toward Rocky Point, plastic cups full of beer. It would have been nice to burn one down, but I had decided that I did not want to take the risk of ruining our trip with some critical marijuana incident. Ridiculously, marijuana is illegal here! Pffft. I KNOW, it’s CRAZY!!

 (music)….you can get another drop of this..yeah you wish…

When we arrive, buzzed from the music and beer, the hotel is nice; it’s what one would expect from Mexico. We don’t care. Maybe it was his regular routine upon entering a hotel room, and who could guess why, but Jonthan proceeded to open EVERYTHING, all the drawers, the windows, sliding glass door (which I later slammed into thinking it was open…it was very clean), the closet, and inside the closet,  right down to the breaker box.

Ahhhh, haaa haaaaa!! Guess. What. I. Found.!” he demanded teasingly…I was immediately suspicious that he was on to something.

“What??…What?? C’mon…”Jonthan dramatically pulled a Mason jar from the hidden space, grinning. Inside the jar was approximately an ounce of what turned out to be, the most supreme kind bud known to man.

“Haha!! HA!” “See!!! See! See how it works? That’s so perfect, man!! The universe fucking loves me!!!”

Ecstatic, we celebrated by smoking a cigarette sized joint on the balcony overlooking the Gulf. Afterward, while he showers, I found myself aimless on the beach barefoot, of course, since no sandals are always better than one!  A native man soon approached.

“Senorita… these sandals…they are for you…”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry, I didn’t bring any cash out with me, and I’m just out for a walk, thanks.”

“No, THESE sandals are for YOU. You are the one needing sandals, yes?” he asks expectantly.


I was drawn back from my thoughts to the expectant Mexican offering his gift…just for me.

“Well, yes…I…” He placed the sandals in my hands. Satisfied, he walked away regarding me with a wide grin, leaving me with two perfectly fitting leather open-toed slippers.

Later, Jonthan and I decided to go hit a bar for a margarita. We agreed that it would be lame to stay at the hotel, we wanted the excitement of the culture of this particular Mexican town! If we were going to stay at the Ameicanized hotel, we might as well have stayed back in Tucson. Off we went, taking a cab to the “other side” of the town.

The bar we arrived at was frequented by both college kids from the states, and local folks. Oddly, but I guess not suprisingly, they separated themselves by what side of the bar they sat on. It was an outdoor patio bar and an American college student was tending to our desires. We each ordered a margarita.

Disappointed in the general atmosphere, Jonthan and I decided to boogie on down the road after we finished our first drink of the day. As we left, I began to feel woozy. Within 20 steps after the woozy came on, I was suddenly damn near incapacitated. We walked down the street in pursuit of a fresh new place, and suddenly, I could not stand up. My hands, with futility, tried to grip the mural painted wall next to me. I fell to the sidewalk, my sundress pulling it self up toward my hips, and me…thinking about my pantieless bottom exposed. I found myself looking up at JoEthan from the chilly shade covered sidewalk.

“Hey!! Hey!! MissPix! Whoa, what’s happening?” Jonthan asked, concerned, of course.
“I….I don’t… I can’t…”
“Shit! Let me get us a cab!” I shook my head, as his face blurred.

Jonathan successfully hailed us a cab. The cab driver got out to help Jonathan get me into the backseat. I suddenly became cognizant of the fact that while waiting for Jonathan to hail the cab, I had shit myself, or the shady sidewalk I guess, since I’d not been wearing any panties.

“I’m sorry I smell like shit right now” I lamented, as the two men helped me into the backseat.

To be continued…

Separation Angstiety Society

Posted on November 10, 2012

I’m only angry because his choices don’t match up with my ideals for myself.

1. Duh!!! THIS is why we went our separate ways in the first place. Why would I expect him be ideal after separation when he wasn’t ideal during our time together? Duh!

2. There is nothing I can do about it

3, There is nothing I should do about it. He is happy, he is the best dad a kid could want, and the best ex-husband a gal could want.

4. He is my brother (figuratively, of course). Moreover, we have an important and exciting shared interest. We never had a problem of not getting along in general…He really was my best friend, and that is exactly why I left.

I did the right thing, and it’s painful now. Almost a year in…knowing that there really is no going back, it was easy to let go in the physical sense, by proximity. We had conversations of dreams about what our life would be like together; letting go of those fantasies is the hard part.

I was cool when I first recognized that the dream would never happen as we were; brazen when I took action. I’m not sure if I even thought about the possibility of tears in the future, but I can tell you now…yes, there are tears; finally.

Posted in Monologues | Tagged anxiety, despair, divorce, divorce recovery, end, hope, love, marriage, recovery, relationships, separation | Leave a reply

Anonymously Absent-Minded Caterpillars

Posted on November 10, 2012

It seems like so much of addiction therapy centers around the lack of control. “You are powerless!” This has never worked for me, and honestly I’ve never been willing to try something that starts with the idea that I am powerless, because I am and always will be a huge believer in personal responsibility. So all the AA, NA and what have you just doesn’t jive with me.

When my mother went to AA meetings when I was a kid, I waited in a library, and while there, I read a book about a caterpillar that crawled into a bottle and died. It was greatly affecting, but that mentality – it’s just not me. The caterpillar crawled in, why couldn’t he just go back out? He should have paid attention to where he was going on the way in so he could get out later. I can understand wanting to explore the bottle, but if you are going into unknown territory, you should leave yourself a trail of breadcrumbs or chalk to follow back. At least have some forethought so you can show some effort.

Posted in Monologues | Tagged AA, abuse, addiction, addiction therapy, Alcoholic, Alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous, drug abuse, Narcotics, Narcotics Anonymous, recovery, sobriety, therapy, treatment | 2 Replies

Right Something

Posted on November 10, 2012

Participation does not exclude personal responsibility. Working in a group and working in solitude are two wheels of the cycle of learning. Celebrate the opposites! Both are vital, not only to the concepts, skills, and attitudes being taught, but also, personal and social skills.

– Vella, 2007

Just before I read the above quote, I had stopped for a moment to check the time and my progress on the assigned readings for this week. Nearly finished, I thought to myself “Okay, MissPix, this isn’t so bad. All you need to do is keep up with the reading, go to class and talk for three hours with people who have also read the same book, then go home and write. That’s it.”

For a moment, I wondered about Ethan’s experience of his mother constantly having a book and highlighter attached to her hands, and then realized that one thing I want to impart to Ethan is the importance of life-long learning. I had planned on waiting until I thought he was old enough to understand this, which in my mind would have been a couple more years.

As it turns out, Ethan is VERY interested in what I am doing with this book and highlighter and why I am doing it. He asked me: “Mommy, how do you use that marker and why are you marking your book up?” Imagine that! So I explained to him that I am studying and that he will have plenty of opportunity to do the same.

He then asked me to read the book to him. I laughed a little thinking he would get bored quickly, and then decided to go ahead and share some of the reading. As soon as I started, he repeated the first sentence I read. I laughed. He laughed. I continued. Every three or four words he would repeat. This went on for nearly ten minutes with great bursts of laughter (It is awesome to hear your three year old say things like “contextual framework”) followed by more words, more repetition, and more laughter. What a great experience!! I’m glad I didn’t put this off! Now is perfect!

Posted in Kid Stuff | Tagged assignments, books, children, education, highlighters, homework, kids, learning, mom in school, reading, studying, teaching, texts, toddlers, Vella, vocab, vocabulary, vocabulary for children, vocabulary for kids | Leave a reply

Let the most motivating thing in the world be the idea that your own actions could inspire others.


Posted on November 10, 2012

Prior to the “running away from home” becoming the norm for me, my mother had me sent to the children’s mental ward at Mercy Hospital in Johnstown, PA. It was on the thirteenth floor, and overlooked the permanently rust-orange Susquehanna River.

Astoundingly, I was not the recipient of any electro-convulsive therapies, or even any drugs. They simply kept me there for a thirty day evaluation period, at the end of which, it was declared, by some nameless authority, that there was nothing wrong with me, and I was sent home, angry at my mother. She should have realized this would happen. Surely she didn’t really believe that there was something mentally wrong with me.

It had begun over a fight over yogurt in the afternoon hours. One of us had eaten the last of it and the other was pissed off. I don’t remember who was on what side, only that we fought like teenage sisters. My mom was in her early 30’s and I was 13. I’m 35 now, and I sure as hell do not want to be dealing with a thirteen year old girl! I’d do the same as my mom and kick her ass.

Later, maybe a few days later, my mom let me go to the mall with my friends Todd, Jason, and Denise. It was the first time she let me go out with friends who drove. Of course, we did not make it to the mall, but that didn’t prevent us from doing absolutely nothing. Four teenagers on a simple, uneventful joy ride, except of course that we were all experiencing FREEDOM.

Back to my place where Todd sat down next to my mom on the couch, and, putting his hand on her knee, asked her if she was my sister. My mom laughed. Silly boy! We all had a good laugh.  Since it had gone well, I was allowed to go another time with the same friends on very much the same joyride, and returned home, this time being dropped off in the driveway.

When I entered the living room I greeted my mother. She was lying on the couch watching TV. I’m not sure how it came up, but my mom asked me if I had been drinking. I hadn’t, and I told her so. She asked me again. Here, I had already told her I wasn’t, yet she was asking again. I became defensive. An argument ensued and I, miffed, walked out the door.

About a half mile walk, and I arrived at the mall, and having nowhere to go, decided to call my grandmother from a payphone to see if she would pick me up. Before I reached the phone, my mother pulled up in her brand new Chevy Cavalier, purchased for her by her new boyfriend (who is her husband today, over 20 years later.

“Get in the car!”

“No! I’m calling Grandma and I’m going to stay with her.”

My mother threatened with all sorts of punishment. I refused to budge. Squealing tires sent her out of the parking lot toward home.

Later, at my grandmother’s house, I spoke to my mom on the phone. She told me that she was going to have me sent to the children’s hospital to be evaluated. And so she did.

So, this was 1990 or so and I guess antidepressants and anti-psychotics were not yet prescribed to children with as much ease as they are today, because I never had any of that. I did see some kids get put down with a hypodermic needle to the ass, but that never happened to me.

I had spoken to my father, a largely absent alcoholic, once early on in my stay. He told me this:

“Kid, play the game. You gotta play the game.”

I’m sure he didn’t think I was listening. Even I didn’t think I was listening, but I must have been, because I knew what he meant without completely understanding; as though his words were some sort of code that only my subconscious mind understood.

It was at the Children’s Psych ward of Mercy Hospital that I met Kevin, who was a teacher volunteering time there. I’d always had the worst time understanding algebra; to the point of philosophical debate with my math teachers.  Suddenly, algebra was easy… the way Kevin explained it, and I would ask him to give me more problems to solve, to kill the large expanses of time before me. I felt good about myself. He also taught me how to draw a bit, and gave me a drawing of a young girl in a field with a unicorn. It was pretty. I wish I still had it today.

Sometimes, in the evenings, we would play Gin Rummy, sans Gin of course, and I noticed that I could see everyone’s cards in the reflection of the plastic light cover on the ceiling, so I learned to cheat at a game that didn’t matter. And play the game that did.

Posted in Stories | Tagged adolescence, algebra, card games, challenges, children’s psych ward, crazy, doctors, gin rummy, Johnstown, mental institution, nurses, nuthouse, PA, psychiatric care, rebellion, teenager | Leave a reply

Just one thing…

Posted on November 10, 2012

Natalie: Did you decide yet about that gig…are you going to take it? Gregor: Oh yeah, I meant to do that today…I don’t really NEED to (shrugs)…may meet some cool people. What time is it? Is it after 5? Natalie: … Continue reading →

Posted in Dialogues | Tagged achievement, goal setting, guiding, inspiration, leading, manipulation, motivation, objectives, power of suggestion, subtle, suggestion | Leave a reply

Shoeless and Pantless Outside the Nuthouse

Posted on November 9, 2012

I walked in the door and down the hall to the office to check in. This was procedure. The woman who was in charge of the operation regarded me with disgust as I meekly entered the office, saying nothing to let her know I had arrived.

“Against the wall”, she said dismissively. “Let’s see what ya got.”

I knew this would be a full search and that I was already busted with the cigarettes I had acquired. A half a pack of Winston’s, from a “bum”.  His home was one of the parks that I often frequented while taking the day off from school.

The woman moved her face close to mine; ruby lipstick sank in the cracks of her dry pursed lips; her eyes told me she was angry at something on the wall directly behind my head.  Her hand slipped down the front of my jeans, cool and malicious on my skin. She grinned vindictively upon feeling the foreign object I had hidden there, in my panties.

“Cigarettes!” she said triumphantly.

There would be hell to pay, but that was every day, and I didn’t care, because I knew one thing she didn’t – tomorrow, I wouldn’t be there, and if I wasn’t there, I could never suffer their improvised consequences for smoking cigarettes.

My fellow “inmate” Risa and I had already concocted our scheme. We would meet at school and leave from there. A simple plan for simple girls. The next morning, I ditched all my books in a stairwell outside the school and snuck over to the AM/PM to meet Risa.  From the start, she seemed worried about where we were going.  I didn’t know.  I hadn’t thought of anything except getting back to Johnstown to find my “boyfriend”.  He was one of those kids who preferred wayward girls over the kind that had homes and parents and bedrooms, and frilly curtains. Well, it may not have been entirely due to preference.

He was 17, I was 14, he was white trash and so was I.  Neither of us called anywhere home. We didn’t like the homes we had to call home. He was free and I was always locked away.  Escaping to join his freedom had become habit for me. I never really had a phone number for him, and I never really worried about that; I would always manage to find him. That’s love at fourteen.

Risa and I had attended our respective home room classes in the morning; our names spoken during roll call, coupled with our responses meant we were present, as far as anyone knew. We ran from the store, across a golden field of sun-drenched weeds, and onto a fairly busy street. It wasn’t long before we were offered a ride.  The guy looked like Axl Rose from Guns and Roses, and it was the early nineties, so we readily accepted, making ourselves comfortable in his giant Buick Skylark.

We went to his place and hung around for a bit.  He had a life-size poster of Axl Rose on the landing of the staircase. I had no understanding of narcissism at the time.  He didn’t have much food, so I ate a pickle.  It wasn’t long before the police showed up. When we heard the knock on the door, I immediately ran to the bathroom to pull the ol’ bathroom window escape.  I couldn’t believe how quickly they had found us. I felt a rush of self-importance. Why would anyone even be sending police to find us? We couldn’t be that important could we?

Outside the window, I worried that the officer had backup with him, and if I darted directly ahead, a fellow officer might see me.  Just to my right, there was a porch, with a dark crawl space underneath.  I crawled under it and waited for what seemed a long time before I heard footsteps.  I didn’t budge, I could almost smell the leather of the officers boots as they walked by, kicking up morning dew. I slowly drew in my breath and held it momentarily, and slowly exhaled, without sound. I was a fugitive!

I decided to wait as long as I could stand it.  What I really wanted was a cigarette. Had I waited long enough? It seemed like hours. There’s really only one way to get cigarettes in this situation and that is, of course, the five-finger discount.

I hadn’t been paying attention to various things, or anything, on the way in with Axl, so I wasn’t sure which direction to head. Then I realized it didn’t matter; eventually there would be a store.  In the early nineties, cigarettes were not yet kept behind counters.  They were produce for all anyone cared.  Very handy for teenagers with no money. It was still possible for a parent to write a note for a child to purchase cigarettes at this time. It was also possible to purchase a pack of smokes for $.99.

I went directly to the cigarettes, not even bothering to pretend I was out for anything else.  I surveyed my choices and for whatever reason, chose a pack of Bristol’s, soft pack.  I had a choice of anything I wanted and here I had made the worst possible choice!  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know that until the next time I lifted the same brand of cigarettes.

As I attempted to leave the store, a manager grabbed me, and escorted me to a little green room.  The walls were pine trees, the carpet, moss.  The ceiling fan was green with envy over the fact that it wasn’t quite ivy.  Inside this room stood my accuser. He had been deciding on a method to give himself mouth cancer when I had noticed him earlier.  I had mistakenly believed that he had not noticed me.

As a result of my arrest, Risa and I both ended up back at the group home where we started.  To keep us from leaving, we were required to wear orange jumpsuits.  I attempted to convince Risa:  “Who cares if we are in orange jumpsuits?  They’re warm! Plus, it is October, we’ll just say we are dressed up for Halloween until we get some clothing.  I’d steal from a Goodwill box to get out of here!”

Off we went! I had to pee, and we were in someone’s backyard. It was nighttime, and I remember thinking how comfortable the house looked. The curtains were wide open, and golden light reflected off of comfortable living furniture.  I saw the residents inside, and mistakenly believed that they couldn’t see me. They could see me, and they didn’t ask us any questions directly about why we were wearing orange jump suits; people in such comfortable houses let the cops ask those sorts of questions.  We were, once again, taken back to the group home.

This time, probation officers, case managers, and headmasters got together and decided that to keep us from running away again, we would be required to sit in our rooms wearing nothing but our underwear.  All of our clothes including shoes had been removed from our rooms. Risa and I were separated only by a partition and so could still talk to each other.

“Bet our clothes are down in the laundry.  Maybe we could get out through the laundry chute and get our clothes on the way”.  Risa went to check.

“I don’t think we can fit,  and anyway, I’m scared.”

“I’ll go down”, I said. “We’ll wait until Jane is on shift. She wouldn’t chase us even if she does see us go.”

“Jane’s already on, she started early today.”

I looked at my bed. “Fuck it” I said, “I’m going now!” With that, I proceeded to get a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom and passed the laundry chute on the way back.  I knew then I wouldn’t be going that route.   It was far too narrow, and, not being familiar with the building’s schematics,  I had no idea if there was actually an exit once in the laundry room.  I raced back into the bedroom, with the toilet paper.  I swiftly pulled the sheet off the bed, wrapping it around my lithe figure and Risa did the same.

“C’mon, let’s go, Risa.” Risa followed me as I raced out the back door. I remember Jane yelling for us to stop and then she said:

“Fuck it, if they wanna run away that badly, let ‘em”. Exactly as expected, and I knew we were free. 

We cut through some lawns, a cemetery, a grocery store, and finally arrived on the PA turnpike.  “What should we do now?” I heard Risa say behind me.

I positioned myself on the side of the highway with my thumb out. “I’m gonna hitch us a ride”.  The first truck sped by, but the second came and I put a little more effort forth, waving my arms about while trying to hold up my sheet. As he began to slow, I looked back and winked at Risa. When he stopped, I yelled above the noise and heat of the truck that we needed a ride. He said something but I couldn’t hear him. “What??” I yelled.  He motioned with his head for me to climb up the truck to get closer.  I did so and explained, still in the same volume, that my friend and I needed a ride.

“Okay, hop in” he said, and I was glad it was so easy.

“There are two flannel shirts in the closet, in the back.  Go ahead and put those on, and I’ll see what I can do about some jeans for you two.”

We thanked him and now we wore flannel shirts with sheet skirts. He popped into a truck stop to purchase jeans, which they didn’t sell. They did, however, sell cigarettes and he gave me a pack of Marlboro’s along with a twenty-dollar bill when he came back to the truck.

We hadn’t driven very far, I was seated up front and Risa in the back, and he was already talking about how we could come up to his cabin in Vermont.  “I’m scared”, Risa whispered, even though the truck driver could certainly hear her.  “All right ladies, I’m gonna have to drop you off here if you don’t want to go any further”.  Risa twisted her face at me, and I thought maybe there was a better way to get around.  One could only imagine what this trucker had in mind.

“We just need to get to Johnstown. I have family there.” I paused. “They are expecting us.” He pulled the truck over. “How about if you ladies just get out here?”

We exited the truck, only to realize that it was our lucky day! Directly in front of us loomed none other than the Pennsylvania State Mental Institution! There we were, shoeless and pantless, in front of the nut house.  Nearby, about a football field’s length away, was a warehouse or perhaps a factory.  We cut through a bunch of brambles and thorns, cutting our feet to shreds, until we reached a barbed wire fence. I climbed over rather swiftly; proud of my agility. Risa followed and as she straddled the fence at the top, her panties caught on the barbed wire.

“My panties, my panties!  Oh ow! ow!” she yelled at the top of her lungs.  I admonished her. “Be quiet, Risa! Holy shit, you want them to come with the white coats, or what?”  Too late!  Two gentlemen from the warehouse had run to the rescue, and why not?  “My panties!  My panties!”

After one of the men retrieved Risa from the fence, we walked down over a slight embankment to the parking lot of the warehouse.  I asked one of the men if we could use the phone inside. “Yeah, well, let me go inside and ask”, he said.  Several other men came outside to join the two outside.  They formed a semicircle around us as I described to them how we had been at a Halloween party that didn’t have a happy ending and we wanted to call my parents. I assured them that we were not escaped from the nut house, but when I noticed a car moving toward us I became certain they didn’t believe me.  The officers didn’t believe our story either, and being detectives, they were able to quickly determine where we actually belonged.

They cuffed Risa first.

“Can I least finish my cigarette?” she pleaded.

“No ma’am, you cannot” the officer said as he cuffed my friend.  As he did so, Risa’s sheet fell off.  “Oh, please put my skirt back on” she begged. I couldn’t help but laugh with the realization that, to her, the sheet had actually become a skirt, even though we all knew it was a sheet and nothing more.

When the officers cuffed me, my thoughts were with the twenty spot I had tucked away in my bra.  I didn’t want them to confiscate it or worse, bear the accusation that I had somehow earned it.  Once we were seated in the car, I began working furiously to remove the cuffs.  Squeezing my hand, I was able, to my surprise, to slip out of the cuffs, remove the twenty and fold it up really small to fit it in the back of my mouth, saving for my next escape!

Posted in Stories | Tagged 1990, adolescence, arrest, axl rose, call trace, foster care, girl’s home, handcuffs, hitch, hitchhiking, mental institution, nuthouse, Pennsylvania, police, police officer, prostitution, runaway, teenager, teenagers, trucker, turnpike, ward of the state, youth | Leave a reply

Explaining Nemo

Posted on November 9, 2012

bruce the shark Nemo-150x150.jpg

The first time Ethan got scared was when we were introduced to Bruce the shark. Even I was slightly uncomfortable, as his introduction was unexpected and abrupt. I watched Ethan’s face try to make sense of Bruce and of his own reaction. I asked him: “That shark is kinda scary huh, Ethan?” He turned to me quickly, nodding his head and jumping in my lap simultaneously. I sensed that he was grateful that I had understood and acknowledged his feelings, though it could have been fear alone. Either way, it was nice to comfort him. And, since he asked me, I got to tell him that I will never ever let any monsters get him! He was immediately reassured, his trust in me made me feel proud. Then again, what does HE know?

Most of the scary stuff was easy to explain, EXCEPT, the guy in the dentist chair, writhing and screaming in pain. What are you supposed to tell your kid? The dentist is awful? It hurts to go to the dentist? I don’t want Ethan to have this idea before he even has the chance to experience it on his own. I never had a terrible dentist apt until I was in my 20’s. Luckily, Ethan didn’t ask about it since I had no idea what to tell him. Having given it some thought, I’ve decided that this will be of great use when he refuses to brush his teeth. Thank you Disney! Can’t believe I just said that…

At one point, when Nemo was not in the current scene, Ethan asked where Nemo was. I explained that he was captured by the fisherman and put in an aquarium, which is outside of the ocean, but Nemo’s Daddy is still inside the ocean. So Nemo is trying to escape the aquarium to get back to the ocean. Ethan’s response: Well, someone should just take away that fisherman’s aquarium and his bag, then, Nemo won’t have to escape.  Very sound reasoning Ethan. Very good.

Blue Blooded Black Sheep

Posted on January 22, 2013

My understanding is that I am a descendant of Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the DOI, and the attorney who prosecuted the British soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre. He was unsuccessful against the defense attorney, James Madison.

What I find most interesting and perhaps telling, is that Mr. Paine’s son, from whom I would also, naturally be directly descended, made a decision to steer clear of political life, and spent most of his life living in an attic, writing poetry, and songs for the marching bands that accompanied armies in those days.

Just One Thing…

Natalie: Did you decide yet about that gig…are you going to take it?

Gregor: Oh yeah, I meant to do that today…I don’t really NEED to (shrugs)…may meet some cool people. What time is it? Is it after 5?

Natalie: 4:46.

Gregor: Well, I can’t call yet, I don’t know how much material I’ll need, and I need to figure that out to get the cost. Can’t do that before 5…

Natalie: Yeah, you are right, Three minutes is not enough time to figure the amount of material needed and make the call and get the total cost.  I wonder how much material you might need. If you figured that out tonight, you won’t have any reason to hesitate to make the call in the morning.

Gregor: Yes. I’m going to do that now! Does your phone have a calculator on it?

Natalie: Yes. It does.

Steak or Sex? I’ll Have the Soup, Please

Wondering why it’s so difficult to find someone to eat steak with who:

1. I like
2. Can afford his/her own steak
3. Wont ruin my life

There are important considerations when deciding with whom and how you will commingle steak and sex.


To my mind, the only acceptable time to eat steak with your lover is IMMEDIATELY after sex. But if we had sex last week, and I call you this week and see if you want to eat a steak, and you do, so we go cut some steak together, there will be more sex, and possibly more steak, and then I’ll start to care and then your problems will somehow become my problems and somehow that will get me off track, of course, and I will never be able to know who I really am!! My steak/sex combination must be very carefully…

What does this mean in a practical sense? It means that I cannot have steak with the same person I have sex with, unless we hurry and make with the steak immediately after the fornicatin’!

Steak before sex is the worst kind of sex. It makes the steak awkward… Now, steak after sex…if you happen to have some on hand, and a gas grill, you don’t even have to get dressed…that is the best way to have sex… and by sex I mean, steak, of course.

Why these thoughts? Because, where sex exists as a consideration in the steak/company criteria, criteria #1 is always met. Criteria #3 is often the case.  Where sex intersects criteria #1 and #3, steak cannot happen at any later time other than immediately after the deed, even before a shower; because as I noted earlier, there will be more sex, and more steak, and the steak and the sex will eventually take over!

In short, If I’m having sex with you, you will probably ruin my life, so I cannot have steak with you!

I’m sure someone could put this in a simple equation for me. I’m no Einstein, but…

Steak (sex)/time = oops!

If I had sex with a man, and later that day or the next thought that this person might want to eat some steak with me, that can’t happen. You see…Sex and steak over time gives a very  different impression than “I’m not interested in a “relationship””. Perhaps in truth, relationship IS the very thing desired, but commitment is another matter. And the more meat you consume with and of one source, the greater the commitment becomes. Steak(sex)/time is truly an unstoppable force!

Also, be sure not to have sex with everyone in your little black book of Steak Companions… If you mess up and accidentally do this, you will understand why… Not that I have done this. My problem is that though there ARE some who don’t fall into category three, they just don’t all meet #1 and #2. Number two isn’t a deal breaker necessarily, but I’m budget conscious.

Come to think of it, even steak immediately after sex is dangerous. Especially on a Sunday…steak can lead to naps, naps lead to more sex, and so… then, you’d better have some plans for the rest of your day, or you’ll end up doing something together, some silly project at your place or his, and you’ll enjoy it, and well.. There you have it. You’ll never find out who you really are, distracted by all this steak and sex, and projects, and naps…

I’ve discovered in my experience that casual sex is not casual sex unless it is a one shot deal. Any more than that and you are moving along the continuum toward “friend with benefits”, which I’m not sure exists. If it does, it can’t last long, and if it doesn’t last long…then can you really call that person a friend?  If it does last a while…then, wouldn’t you find yourself wanting to do other things with that person?

I had a very satisfying encounter recently, physically speaking. As a result of some mutual interests, I had enjoyed this man’s company on several occasions, and on some of those occassions we discovered that he would be content having his face between my legs for any given amount of time; there was some discussion about “if we did, then…” , then there were some rubbers around…yadayada…the circumstances were convincing enough, so “why the fuck not?” I can’t say I was disappointed.

It was only later, when I was considering people I might want to go get some grub with…and he WOULD have been on that list..but now, he wasn’t. Because NOW, if I do that, it’s going to send the wrong message. I already know that he is not the “ultimate love experience” or whatever the fuck I’m seeking. Doesn’t matter whether I know how to label what I want or not, I know he is not it.

So. We could have continued our acquaintanceship, had no sex, and gone to get some grub, but now we cannot. This left me with a rather empty feeling… It seems cliche to say it that way, but that really IS the way it felt. I mean, physically it was great, but it can’t go anywhere.  Prior to the physical relationship developing, I had agreed to attend an event with him next month. Last, night I get this email asking if we are still going as a “couple”. I nearly blew a gasket!! I’m sure I’m just making a big deal out his choice of word, but I quickly corrected him saying that I still wanted to go “as two people attending an event together, yes.” Of course. I roll my eyes at myself because I already know I’m being ridiculous.

It doesn’t matter what words we use, it’s the actions that determine the reality. I can TELL him whatever I want, what I say is not going to have nearly as much weight as what I do.  And guys will alwayssay they don’t care. They will ALWAYS say they are not interested in a relationship either. Some actually mean it, I’m sure, but eventually… eventually, it IS going to come up!

Give it time and questions will start coming up: “what is this?” “what are we doing?’ “what does this mean?”. I’m exasperated just thinking about it! Because everyone in a so called “friends with benefits” relationship is in big denial that these questions are going to arise, but they do! EVERY time!

And why is it that when we are married we STOP ASKING QUESTIONS LIKE THAT?????!!! As though once it’s established that you have exclusivity, or whatever it is you decide marriage is, that the relationship no longer changes or moves, as though it should be, or is, static! I’m throwing a bit of a tantrum right now, if you couldn’t tell!

So, I guess the question is: what do you want? Soup or sex? Or steak?

Or…if you prefer something a little more heady (heh), these Libra Box Recordings are fantastic for listening.

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