Archive for June, 2007

Haiku for Andi

I’ve wanted to write about my friend, Andi’s, pottery for the last few day.  Not being a potter myself, I was at a loss as to how to start.  Poseidon’s poem yesterday was my inspiration for this haiku (thanks, PM!)

Potter’s wheel spins ’round
The clay speaks to the artist:
“This is who I am.”

Pinched bowl by Andi

Pinched Bowl by Andi

Busy, busy, busy

Today is a day off for me (yea, me!), and I’m doing my daughterly duty in taking my mother for an outing to the new Nelson addition, then lunch.  But first, the cat must go to the vet, so he’s cooling his heels in his pet carrier which is already in the car, a good 30 minutes before we have to leave.  Why?  Because Tink is a loud, yowling, how-dare-you-put-me-in-a-cat-carrier-you-wretched-human, kind of cat.  Getting him into the cat carrier is bad enough. Listening to him yowl for 30 minutes is torture.   Yesterday the vet called to say if we wanted to check for parasites, to bring a “sample”.  As in stool sample.  Right.  The last time I actually saw the cat poop was probably 1999.  Letting a human see him poop would be akin to George Clooney farting in public.  Can’t ruin the image, ya know. 

Have a wonderful day.  It’s raining here and has been for 3 days.  Damn jetstream.

lovers and other strangers

Shhhh.  I have a new lover.  You know how it is, you think about them all day long and thoughts of them pop into your head at the most inopportune moments – like during a meeting at work, or worse, you find yourself tuning out of hum-drum conversations with your real partner to think about the new lover.  I can’t wait to join up with my lover every day at our usual time.  Sometimes we manage to hook up twice in one day.  Oh the bliss! 

Now, before you start wagging your finger at me and going on and on about what a great guy Ken is and how I’m playing with fire, blah, blah, blah, let me tell you who my new lover is…..

It’s a book.

Do you get the feeling, when you read a really good book, that you never want it to end?  You try to savor every word on every page in order to make it last, but then find yourself gobbling it up just because the words are soooo delicious?  That’s what this book is like.  I love that feeling, don’t you?

The book is The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver.  I recently read We Need to Talk About Kevin, her previous book, and that’s when I fell in love with her writing (yes, Lionel Shriver is a she).  Now I’ve got one of her previous books (Double Fault) waiting in the wings for me at the library, it’s going to be a Lionel Shriver love-fest at my house for several more weeks!

The PB World is about a choice the main character must make:  whether or not to give into a temptation to kiss her life partner’s best friend.  That’s when the book splits into two separate stories – what her life becomes if she does and what might happen if she resists.   This author has a talent for describing the internal lives of women in a way that rings absolutely true to me – our fears and fantasies, our (sometimes) willingness to give too much of ourselves to others, our own duplicity.   As I said before, her words are a delicious feast.

I’m often loathe to recommend books.  You tell a couple of people what a great book such-and-such is, they run out to reserve it at the library, or (horror of horrors), they actually buy it, then they spend several chapters trying to figure out why you thought it was such a bang-up read before abandoning it for something more to their own taste.  I recently had this happen when I recommended The Terror, and two people I know actually tried to read it.  They both hated it.  Loathed it, in fact.  Of course, I admit to doing the same thing with some of the must-read recommendations from my own friends and family.

Anyway, try it if you get a hankerin’.  Maybe The Post Birthday World can become your secret lover also.

Trust is a five-letter word

Trust:  Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Last summer my brother sold the family business where I’ve worked for 11 years, and where my mom and dad also worked until they retired.  He was burned out from steering this company for 15 years.  Not being a natural schmoozer, he was finding it harder and harder to play the business game.  Not being a natural schmoozer myself, I declined his offer to buy him out.   In spite of his natural reticence and reluctance to put in the face time with customers, my brother was well-liked and much respected as an ethical and fair businessman.  Our employees loved him, and our customers were loyal.   When Mark announced the impending sale of the business last summer, I received the news with a a healthy dose of anxiety and trepidation. 

There is a real sense of security in a family business.  When you work day in and day out with your parents and siblings, and when everyone naturally gets along anyway, you feel nurtured in your job.  We’re all very driven and results-oriented people, so my brother never had to worry about any of us performing poorly.  I worked closely with Mark on the financial side of things until I gained enough experience to handle it all, and he guided me every step of the way.  We had a trust relationship based on lifelong kinship and mutual respect for each other’s intelligence. 

Mark chose his predecessor well, after declining to sell it to one prospective buyer because he didn’t have a good feeling about how that person would be received by the employees.  “The guy I’m selling it to is a good guy.” Mark told me.  “I really think you’ll like him a lot.”  I trusted his judgement.  One day, before I’d even met the new owner, Mark approached me with a request that would be hard to agree to without the trust I already had in him: “I’d like for you to make a blind commitment  and promise me you’ll stay for at least a year after T___ takes over.”   My reply was that I would promise to stay.  I promised to stay because my brother, whose judgement I trusted and whose character I had faith, in had asked me to.   I agreed to transfer my trust into the new owner’s hands sight unseen, work ethic untested, abilities unknown and character unascertained. 

Those first few months were a little shaky for T___ and me, as we circled each other warily and learned each other’s work rhythms; when to joke around and when to be serious, whether or not it was OK to say fuck in front of the other (it is), nad whether or not my droll sense of humor would delight him or cause him to look at me crossways.  Luckily for both us, his sense of humor is even more droll than mine. 

T & I had a meeting with the accountant during that first month, and near the end of the session, Rick – a man who’d been our company’s accountant for years and who I’d met with many times in the past – broached a topic that kind of took me by surprise.  He wanted to talk about the checks and balances that T should employ in our accounting practices, or to put it bluntly, methods to use to make sure I wasn’t stealing the company’s money.  It was then that I realized I wasn’t the only one who was putting their trust – lock, stock and barrel – into an unknown person. 

Not being completely trusted was uncomfortable for me, as it is for everyone.  You always hear about this person or that person who had been arrested for stealing money from their company, and I always wondered how folks like that sleep at night.  How does one look themselves in the mirror, knowing that they’ve broken what most of us would consider to be a sacred trust?  How could a person live day after day with the sickening knowledge that they could be caught doing something so unethical?  I know I’d never do such a thing, but T didn’t know me at all.  I had to earn his trust and this was new to me. 

I am happy to report that things have worked out better than I expected – for both myself and for the company.  I don’t know if T is checking the books like Rick instructed, and I found that it doesn’t really matter to me anymore.  It doesn’t matter because I’ve found him to be a trustworthy person.  It doesn’t matter because I can see, through T’s actions, that he wants the company to be successful as much as Mark did, and perhaps more in some ways.  It doesn’t matter because I know trust is a 2-way street.  I trust his integrity and I’m pretty sure he trusts mine too.  It’s been a long road and my year is almost up.  I can’t say I haven’t contemplated moving on – especially during those first shaky weeks -but I can honestly say I don’t think about that anymore.  I’ ve made my livelihood  here for a good many years, and I’m willing to stay for as long as T is willing to put up with my droll sense of humor, and I, his.   Yes, Mark chose well – as I expected he would – and he’s much happier now being a man of leisure and doing the things that make him supremely content.  

 I’m glad I could trust him.

hair issues

I have hair removal issues.  In fact, I’ve had hair removal issues since my teens.  Being the daughter of a swarthy, mostly Italian father and a fair skinned, blonde WASPy mother, it appears I inherited none of my mom’s physical traits, but made up for it by doubling up on my dad’s.  I have hair everywhere.  In fact, I used to be embarrassed by this fact so much, I never discussed it with anyone except my friend Tracy, who, upon helping me choose a wedding dress for my 3rd wedding commented “It’s a little low-cut.  You know you’re going to have to really work on that hair issue on your chest.”    Thanks, Tracy. 

When I was in my 20’s I realized that I was getting hairy in places that weren’t exactly appropriate for a female – my neck, my chest (not just the usual nipple location – I’m talking ON MY CHEST, people), my upper lip, my chin – and it was then I discovered the necessity of having a really good pair (or two, or three) of tweezers, a good light source and a ready supply of Nair. 

It’s probably the neck and chest hair that really piss me off, and embarrass me the most.  Women are supposed to have smooth, hairless chests, and not look like they’re closely related to a cave man species.  You can imagine the hours and hours of plucking that have gone into those areas over the years, especially during the summer months.  Nobody wants to see a chick in a tank top who looks like she’s about halfway through a sex reassignment. 

That’s so not cool. 

When I was in my thirties, I finally sucked it up and asked my (male) gynecologist about this freaky hair growth.  “Is this normal??” I wanted to know.  “Well,” he said, scrutinzing my chest and breasts, “it’s not unusual for women to have hair there, but boy, I see what you mean.”  That was not comforting.  We decided to have my testosterone levels checked, and the news was bad.  My testosterone levels were normal.   Absolutely normal.  “You’re just a hairy woman.” said the doctor when he called me with my results.  Fuck.

There’s a part in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the female relatives of the bride are attacking Toula’s unwanted facial hair just before the wedding.  “At last”, I thought “someone had the guts to actually show the world our dirty little secret.”   Although it was an hilariously funny scene,  it was so real.   Nothing says love like having your aunts and cousins minister to your unwanted facial hair, so you won’t be embarrassed on your wedding day.  Ditto for friends who offer to pluck your chest hair on your wedding day so you won’t look like a tranny playing bridal dress-up.  

Thanks, Tracy!
hairclub1.jpg

Happy birthday!

Happy 60th Birthday Meredith Baxter!  You truly are the queen of the Lifetime Movie channel.  Your portrayal of women in various personal crises set the acting standard for women’s televisionmeredith-baxter.jpg and you literally paved the way for those who followed in your footsteps. Yeah, I’m talking about some of the greats like Gail O’Grady and and Stephanie Zimbalist.  And let’s not forget Annette O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden.   That’s some pure Grade B acting chops, and I’m not just saying that.  You’re right there in the same league as them,  Meredith Baxter, and we salute you!  In fact when you didn’t win the Emmy for “A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story”, I boycotted the Lifetime Movie channel for a whole 2 weeks.  That’s how much I respect you.

I know you’re more well-known for that Family Ties show, which I guess was pretty popular back in the eighties.  Sorry, didn’t see it – which I really regret now that I’ve seen The Betty Broderick story.  So, I guess you got to work with Michael J Fox before he started getting shaky, huh?  That’s pretty sweet.   Ken really likes those Back to the Future movies, but he hasn’t seen you in  “Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter.”  You rock, Meredith Baxter.

I don’t really like that you dropped the Birney part of your last name.  I liked it better when you were Meredith Baxter-Birney (I love alliteration!),  but I guess your ex-husband wanted his last name back, huh?  Bummer.  Hey, I just thought of something.  It’s probably a good thing you weren’t really married to Michael Gross cuz then you would have been Meredith Baxter-Gross.  Not cool.

Anyway, have a rockin’ good birthday, Meredith Baxter!  I hope there’s a few more Lifetime movies left in your career.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for ya.

Name your favorite movie(s)

The heat and humidity returned today so tonight Ken and I are enjoying an air conditioned evening in front of the TV, eating our ice cream and watching AFI’s top 100 movies.  Ken is keeping score to see which one of us has seen the most movies, and judging from the fact that he’s not crowing about his score, I assume I’m winning.  He tends to win on the older, more classic cop dramas and I tend to score higher on the newer, edgier films.  I wonder if they will choose Citizen Kane for #1 movie again, although for the life of me, I never understood that choice.  Granted, a top cinematic effort but not the best story, in my humble opinion.   Not sure which movie I’d choose for #1, as there are too many favorites for me to choose just one – Gone with the Wind, Dr. Strangelove, Blazing Saddles, Annie Hall, The Godfather (I and II), Clockwork Orange.

What are your most favorite movies, or if you can do it, which one would you choose for best movie you’ve ever seen?