Oh, the Marathon! What a run. I never let the minor detail that I don’t "run" marathons, keep me from thinking that I'm not completely and totally immersed in the marathon action and participating in one of my own.

My marathon starts before the first racer come in, as I’m stationed, bright and early at the finish line while a mere 26.2 miles away, the race is just beginning. I’m well hydrated, carbo loaded and poised to cheer for the wheelchair racer, who can average 45 miles an hour on the downhill (and I marvel at his pecs). I’m mentally trained for the six hours that I will be standing on my feet at the sidelines, clapping my hands until they ache, shedding tears for every participant that wrenches my heart as they limp, stumble, and sometime crawl over the finish line. I sob out loud as I watch them running past the pain of bloody nipples, torn off toenails, and wrenched ankles, I marvel as these people lose control of minor bodily functions at the end of the race and fall into the arms of volunteers poised there to catch them.

For the most part, I myself have escaped permanent injury, only once falling off the curb and being ambulanced by overeager medics to the race hospital. While I was in the emergency room getting taped up, I could hear the comments of the personnel next door regarding the runner brought in from crashing and hitting the wall at mile 23, “Oh, he coding again, shock him. . .” I did that day, feel a tiny hint of a fraud.

But back out on the bleachers, my voice grows hoarse as I yell my marathon mantra, “Good race, Way to Go, You’re Awesome!” I cheer my heart out for the runner who is walking the last few feet so dehydrated that he is cramping up on one side, so dry that his head is being drawn down toward one shoulder which makes him veer off in the opposite direction and he has to keep overcorrecting as he flops one foot in front of the other, eyes never veering from the finish. Soon, I’m so exhausted that it comes out, “Good to Go, Race to Way!” But, in their state, they probably don’t notice.

Total emotional breakdown and tears at the finish line are not uncommon and I sob in anguish when a racer falls 100 feet short and on his knees, forces his arms to lift his leg manually one at a time to place them in front of himself because if he gets any outside help, even this close to the finish, he will be disqualified.

At one marathon, I sit near the same three women every year, sisters who always have "someone" running and they camp out early, and stay until the last racer drags in—long past the final six hour cutoff. They say the last ones need the encouragement most. I have participated in some thirty odd marathons, anguished and sweating, wondering if I will have the mental stamina and willpower to put mind over body and make it to the finish. I still marvel about the genesis of the sport, about those days when the messenger raced to King Darius of Persia after the Battle of Marathon and then keeled over and died. I want to know who looked down at the body and said, “I think that would make a great sport.”



What is that … and is it edible?

This was a vital question during my first visit to the tropical island of Hawaii as an over-forty child in a land of enchantment—the world of beautiful mysteries, of sights, of smells and flavors.

In over my head and covered in seawater and sand, I soaked in its salt, listened to its rhythm and feasted exultantly on its intrinsic joy. Life is good in Hawaii. It is an alluring place to discover so much food, flowers and happiness.

On the first island, Oahu, we found the attitude of the locals was that all tourists have overstayed their welcome. Like fish, tourists have been there over three days and we stink. The locals are tired, the island roads are worn out and even the coral and sea life in the bays are exhausted. They are all sick to death of tourists.

The tourist bureau has adopted the Vegas tactic of lipsticking pigs and has cloaked the worn out dancehall girl under the hollow shell of glamour and glitz. The night life has also been Vegasized and the police are seen well in force on the Waikiki strip.

On the second island, Maui, the tourists adapt to the islanders instead of the reverse. Their world has only mildly evolved to suit the interlopers, and we’re encouraged to adopt their lifestyle … which is how we truly want it when we vacate our humdrum lives to discover the culture and mystery of elsewhere.
We didn’t even make it to the third island. It was a choice of one last day at the beach or a plane ride. The beach won and the week wound down while we curiously explored the option of selling here and buying there. John Travolta’s house on the beach in Maui just sold last week. It was the same size as our house and it went for three million … so maybe not.

I’d get there and never be able to afford to leave, or even to live in a house. Yet, the thought of being homeless on the beach in Hawaii is more appealing than living in the states during the dregs of winter.

I’m back home and I’m wondering “What is that? And must I eat it?” Somehow it’s just not the same here.

Reality Bite: Laid-back oblivion is a good thing. Feb 2005

...extreme cuisine

I am consumed with life. I never dreamed anything could give such a rush. Each day pushes me beyond my human capacity—it’s a thrill a minute. Whee! Cooking again, T.D.

I'm reading on the internet that not too many years ago, humans lived dangerously, in untamed wilderness, used sharp saws, and pointy tools, hunted wild animals, and worked without unionization. We were edgy, risk-taking daredevils!

Seat belts, safety harnesses, earplugs, and consumer advocates have driven us out into the world to seek the adrenaline rush of our ancestors through other death-defying thrills. It’s in our genes to live dangerously. We cannot be expected to tame that inborn urge after only a mere century of refinement.

Instead we bungee jump, rappel off cliffs, skydive, drive in rush hour, and watch extreme television—all the while, seeking that exhilaration, the buzz, that ultimate excitement that our progenitors got by just living life.


We Americans thirst for challenge. And so as I consider my life, and what I spend the majority of my day consumed excitement and thrill must be food. Just the wonder, anticipation and thrill of hunting, gathering and preparation. It's definitely the exciting point of my life.

...does anyone else hear the sarcasm? T.


…eccentric eaters

Underneath the flabby hide of Americans, flows the blue blood bred for excitement. If you need more proof, look at our diets. We relish dangerous food and consume it in huge quantities. The fake stuff[1] in our soft drinks craters our pancreas, and prepares our arteries for the onslaught of dangerous synthetic fat.[2]

I’m starting to think the kids show up to dinner solely for the danger… and the entertainment. I soaked white beans on Monday,, cooking them with ham in the crock pot all night on low.

Tuesday, it was good soup, but I hadn’t invited the army to dinner. So on Wednesday I dragged them back out and added tomatoes, taco seasoning, and a can of green chilis. I served them with cheese and chips. Voila! Tortilla soup!. Delicious!

The next night, I fixed chicken burritos with Mexican rice and refried beans smothered with… you guessed it, thickened, blended soup. How exciting, YUM!

Back to risk: We live to eat with the constant threat of disease, the hysteria over lysteria and nitrates in bologna, steroids and hormones in red meat, crazy cow disease, e-coli, and even allergic reactions from antibiotics in ground beef.[3]

We are willing to gobble fast food with genetically altered, hydroponic and irradiated vegetables, but then we cringe when we hear that our ancestors feasted on blood pudding?

The world should never disparage American’s courage based on our wimpy attitude about smoking. We are edgy, risk-taking eaters who setting ourselves up for a miserable, horrible death! But, we don’t let that consume us too much, because we’re looking forward to the new and disturbing diseases we get as we age. These will feed our urge for the adrenalin rush of greater life challenges!

On Friday, I dumped all the leftovers together, soup and rice, beans, chicken and then poured corn bread batter over the top. Then I baked it and called it Tamale Pie. Once again, delicious!
Then, the husband came in singing, “It is the soup that never ends. It just goes on and on my friend. Some people started cooking it not knowing what it was, and we’ll continue eating it forever just because…”
[4] Very punny, love me.

That’s why I cook the way I do. It has a dual purpose, aside from building strong bones and teeth,[5] my family learns that they can face any challenge, anywhere in the world… if only they can conquer the gastric horrors Mom dreams up.

It takes imagination to identify what’s for dinner and then a complicated mathmatical formula challenges them to connect it to what we had last night. It’s like our own personal game show. Guess the goulash and identify its genetic history. Hey, whatever brings them home to dinner, I say!

It is for these reasons that I strive to provide home cooking every night, and that’s rare in this day and age. I’m running a success ratio of five to one, but I allow for occasional resistance as the turncoats are spotted under the golden arches wolfing up everything in sight.

I have a fervent wish of the perfect family at home, around the dinner table eating healthier, and a bungie-jumping, Velcro-covered, climbing wall in the kitchen. I’m willing.

[1] High fructose corn syrup, twice as sweet, three times as cheap.
[2] Trans-fat in 40,000 of our processed foods.
[3] My true story.
[4] My apologies to Julie Lewis
[5] Extra raw or overcooked…either way it’s tough.


…older, wiser and prone to forget

Memory loss has advantages. I am forgetting so much these days that it’s become a game. Every day is a new day and I never vacation in the same place twice. I no longer dwell on the things I have forgotten, but the miracle of things I can remember!

Dear Me,
When someone asks me if I’ve ever visited a place before, I turn to my husband with a quizzical eyebrow.
At that point, he puts his arm around me and assures me, “Yes, dear and we have photos to prove it.” Although with the advent of photo manipulation, I think he inserts me into places I’ve never been, doing things I’ve never done, and seeing things I’ve never seen. He’s revising history again. How dare he? T.

Remember the inter-note[about the eighty-year old in the purple hat? If you can’t remember, get on the internet and google purple hat and it will come up. That’s how I found the website designated for poetry about soup. (Don’t ask why I needed poetry about soup. It’s another long story.)

I have a theory about those anonymous inter-notes: Who writes them? Inter-notes are penned by famously great authors that don’t want to be known as contributors of inter-note drivel.

To me:
When I reprinted the note for my husband, (the purple hat, not the poetry soup) who doesn’t have time for inter-note fodder, I told him that I would like to be that eighty-year old.

He said, "You'll be the eighty-year old in the purple bra, wearing it outside your clothes and I'll be the guy standing in the middle of the street begging to be run over.”

I laughed then, but I thought, "Eeugh, gonna stink to be you.”

I’m thinking it would be better to be the one that does whatever they want and doesn’t remember! I’m already living that reality.

The nice thing about a bad memory is that you wake and it’s a new day with all past sins forgotten and so many great new things to rediscover. And it's most pleasant to think that de-ja-vu is just one of my wayward memories returning.



I love the word. Aplomb.

I’d like to think that I wander throughout life exuding aplomb, full of confidence, self-assurance and cool composure.

Today I did it! And the evidence was my jaunty appearance and my unmatched earrings.

I wore two earrings today that were the same color, but a decidedly different design. Does this really matter? If so, Why?

“Socially, it’s just not done,” is not a good reason, because as we have all discovered together, I don’t give a rat what society thinks. I could digress into an aside discussing what a freeing thing that is too… but no, back to the earrings.

Rationally, reasonably, it's a great reward for the woebegone mate of the earring that hangs around after it’s errant buddy has absconded to far bigger and much better things. After all, I ask you, “Has such a devotee not earned the reward of being worn?”

I have heard of persons who advocate punching another hole in the extremities to display the remaining bauble, but I’m beyond the idea of poking another hole in the carapace. I’ve gained the sense that comes with age, and I’m heeding the caution written in small print on the packaging of my ear candle. The warning explains that the ears are sanctuary to nerve endings that affect the overall health and psychological well being of the body. I may or may not have dodged the bullet the first time they were pierced, but who dares mess with the psyche again?

Aside from the holistic, (ha, ha! hole) I’m convinced that all of my brain cells are housed up there, inside my pate and one should never purposely make another avenue for brain cells to escape. As we are aware, there is already a flood of nonsense gushing out another hole in my head.

Back to the earrings, I’ve tried wearing only one and aside from feeling only half dressed, I am convinced it throws off my balance and certainly my personal feug shui. And there is the response that I must make to each and every person who comments, “Oh, you’ve lost an earring,” that of, “No, I’ve found one.”

Such a commentary only promotes my oddball image and I remind myself that my goal is aplomb. I can’t be bothered with the idea that such an innocent activity makes me weird, odd, offbeat or strange. I must keep in mind that, “Everybody is a geek to somebody else” and rest assured that, “If you knew how seldom someone thinks of you, you wouldn’t be concerned with what they think of you.”

So I’m wearing one of each design because I cannot fling an earring callously in the trash. It is my hope that other adventurers will follow the trail less taken and consider the unmated accessory to be not odd, but curiously freeing.

There is also the hope that one or even both of the earrings I am wearing will gain from me the attitude of aplomb. This will free them to take the path of their mates and jump off, be daring and jaunt off into the big wide world.

Thereby making this issue moot.

I dare you.

Reality Bite: Never again will you look on a mixmatched person and think of them as lackadaisical. It takes a lot of planning to pull off chaos.


…gone buggy

I’m being watched. Every day, as I write for the past three days, I am being watched by a grasshopper who hops up and slams into the window and clings there until I open it and brush it away. I know it is the same one, because it’s missing one back leg. I thought maimed animals were disadvantaged, but I’m learning from the son who is the font-of-insect-knowledge that this is normal and it’ll be just fine.
I’m totally writer blocked… can you tell? T.

Yuck! Bugs. Not my favorite. Earwigs and daddy-long-legs were the worst! My 2nd grade science teacher assured me that daddy longlegs weren’t poisonous because they didn’t have a mouth. But what if I ate them accidentally … like in my sleep?

My children have just presented me with an internet statistic that says we eat 18 spiders in our sleep in our lifetime.
Just so you know and bon appetite, T.

Yuck, Earwigs! Has anyone ever had a wig in their ear? That just can’t be good. Mom hated that they came indoors in everything, the clean wash, the sleeping bags, the garden produce. Everything that spent any time outside came back inside infested with earwigs.

Well, that was my hated bug of choice—up until I moved here, to Bugville, USA. Here, there are big spiny crickets that migrate from a South direction to the North, irrespective of obstacles like homes in their path. They sacrifice a leg or two in my entry way on their pilgrimage, but still they drag themselves, dropping body parts through the kitchen, South to North until they die!
And slugs—I hate slugs that are easily the width of a corndog and longer than my hand and slimy and eat all my plants and the cat food and leave slippery trails over the linoleum and they feel like anacondas when you step on them barefoot in the dark!

There are big brown moths—easily a hand-span wide that are laying eggs and eating my clothes. I have termites eating my house, fleas eating my cat and heaven forbid! “Don’t sit on the grass!” as there are chiggers waiting to lay eggs under my skin! We have found ticks embedded in the worst possible of places—places where watching intently for the bullseye to appear (lyme disease) is also considered a master yoga position.

But the worst by far are brown recluse spiders, nineteen different varieties that wait in the bed to bite you when you roll over them in the dark. If they bite your nose and it swells with infection, it could fall right off! That’s what could happen with brown recluses that live in big trees and we have fifteen big trees right outside my front door.
Again, the wanna-be icthiologist son, reminds me that humans are outnumbered by bugs a million to one. But I’m catching up! I pick them and poke them and pin them on my big bug board. (Actually, when I find them, I freeze them, but the alliteration so much better the other way.) I've turned to hot glue now since I discovered some hibernate in the deepfreeze and then resurrect and flutter off the pin.

Black widows make terrible specimens—so full of liquid that when they deflate, the blob of brown, with a black center and a red dot in the middle is not impressive. Dragonflies with their fluorescent iridescent bodies and translucent wings are such a testimony of the artistic humor of the Lord. June bugs are too bumbling and stupid to kill so they get the pity reprieve. Actually they are kind of endearing because they jump, hit, and land on their back buzzing feebly until you pity-flip them back over. They also qualify as miracles. After all, evolutionarily speaking, they are an engineering marvel—as it is physically impossible that they fly, but when the dumb bug repeats it and repeats it, I get tired.

I realize that bugs are not a problem for the natives—those people who have, since birth, been raised grinding cicada husks into their mud pies and hanging the hooked hulls around their necks for jewelry. There are even whole groups of individuals who look forward to “the year of the cicicada” as a gourmet gastronomical event. But I speak for the rest of us for whom these bugs are akin to the jungles of the Amazon, “We have a hard time living here.”

Bugs may be the unfair focus of the whole misery of the move; I was six months pregnant, five days of 105 degree weather, leaving our family of eleven close siblings and their families behind—yes, I could be transferring all that rage to the bug situation, perhaps. But what I know for certain is that when I have every last one of them cryogenically preserved, I’ll win!

I’m beginning to look forward to the next cicada season (every 17 years) when they pulse in a jungle rythmn, as they did the first year we were here. Because that means… less of them feeding on us because more of us are feasting on them!

Reality Bite: And what's with the hummingbird that comes and hovers in front of the window over the sink until I go out and add more food to it’s depleted feeder?


…the hood

To: Sis.ter@fam.out
You wiped the dust off the top of that can into the seat of your pants before you opened it! Mom and I do it too. Just for your information, if the can happens to already be opened, green beans or olives cascade down your butt to your socks. Just so you know. Love ya T.

Sisters laugh, cry, read each other’s thoughts and solve each other’s problems. We look alike, and have some of the same mannerisms. One week we blame Mom’s genes, the next, it’s Dad’s. In family photos, people say number one and three could be twins, but then, so could two and four, and three and five; well, but only if five had darker hair.

I think it’s the hair. We get the group rate on hair styling by doing each other’s. When it’s picture-taking time, all of us cram into the bathroom, primping and pulling, clipping and curling.
We have our own homes, complete with their own bathrooms, so we should come to the party ready. But tradition demands that everybody meet in the bathroom. The children squeeze in to stand on the edge of the bathtub and watch the primping parade in the triple mirror.

It’s not the preening, but the talking that’s important. The frenetic babble starts from the moment we meet. Women speak a requisite 25,000 words a day and we can do that much in the first fifteen minutes. It’s actually calmer than when we’re being charged by the minute.

The three sisters-in-law, one a fairly recent inductee, one middlin’ and the other, a long-timer, are right in the thick of things. The new one, of less than a year, disappears once in a while: I suspect find a spot with more oxygen to take a breather. But the others seem accustomed to the chaos and they dive right in.

The men avoid the melee completely, and rather than fight the tide, they spit-wash and dowse their combs at the kitchen sink.

We’re not cliquish. We can’t afford to be. Anyone that can brave the currents swirling at family gatherings is welcome. When fifty of us crest the swell, anyone who doesn’t drown becomes family.

My bachelor brother had to be cautious about introducing any new catch, because if they broke up, she may not be the one we released.

Dad believes in the old adage that fish and family stink after three days. He disappears and only after the maelstrom abates, does he emerge.

Reality Bite: Don't be messing with my sister.


…tell me what i really think

In high school, I could have been the forensic champion, except that my opponent was cute. We debated bovine artificial insemination and although I was better at bull pucky than cow sex, I knew that debate wouldn’t get me a date. I couldn’t disagree with him without being disagreeable, and that was my downfall.

It didn’t dawn on me then, (I must have been busy applying lipstick) but that class was designed to introduce me to the governmental process. When I watch CNN, the House and Senate are as consumed with being popular are high school girls.

The basic theory of debate is still good—that an opinion—any opinion should be voiced. How can my ideas be influenced if I don’t know your opinion? Open yourself up to debate! Risk it! Say what you think and you may have an effect on my opinion.

But, not today! Your comment won’t change my opinion today because I’m too bull-headed to do it today. But, who knows, you have introduced an aspect I’ve never considered and upon mulling it over, it may influence my opinion tomorrow... or perhaps not.

I know that voicing an opinion is risky. It’s best to be thought a fool, particularly when opening my mouth removes all doubt, and with the advent of audio technology, it also removes any future doubt—because my husband now has the ability to rewind in an instant and play back whatever I‘ve said.

To: Sis.ter@wig.out
Wow, I hit a two-in-one, with both the pregnancy and the plastic surgery
[1] comments. Please forgive my big mouth…again. T.

So I may be wrong! That’s a risk I take. Besides, after I've written about experts and big mouths, does my opinion have any long-term validity anyway?

Good, I’m glad that it doesn’t, because my view changes with the scenery and my perceptions advance with the length of the horizon. I am one who has an opinion today, but will take the time to consider your opinion and then may make a value-added adjustment in my opinion and change my mind tomorrow.

I speak of an opinion that evolves… within my own genus of course. I love the quote (can't find who said it) that, "I adapt my views with each new piece of information presented to me. What do you do with new information?" (it was a life-altering and profound moment as you can tell.)

I could never become political figure whose opinion, once stated, is cast in stone—who is forced by surroundings and party to be of, and stay of the same mind, (because they are only sharing one.)

Reality Bite: Just don’t say anything actionable to anyone with a law degree.

[1] I not only say it, but cement my mistakes in writing for all of posterity.


…film-a-tive years

We didn’t have a television when I was young. There was no epic phenomenon that caused our old black & white to die. (At least not that time.) The picture tube just faded and the joy of sitting under a tent of blankets watching the screen roll, faded too. Soon, listening and imagining was not enough and the T.V. went the way of the radio; the guts became parts[1] and the rest of it became a lovely planter.

At that point, there was even more incentive to visit Grams and Gramps, or at least their television. Their house was just around the corner, so from a toddling age, I’d go “over home”. Spontaneous visitors were always welcome.

As I think back, even the television was boring at Grandma’s. The topic on 60 Minutes was never as exciting as the issues being debated right in front of me by the aunts and uncles. Six of the seven siblings lived close by and I shared time with thirty-four cousins.

On rare occasion, my long-distance aunt visited, and pandemonium ensued. Family would spill out of the T.V. room, and up two steps into the kitchen. I could sneak in by the stove, sit cross-legged between two cousins, and soak it all in. Everybody came early, stayed late and talked as fast as they could.

The rules for engagement were shoes off at the door, first-come first-serve, for leftover Sunday dessert and as far as the discussions went, no holds barred. Any topic was fair game and at times, things got pretty heated. I remember the 5’2” aunt jumping up, hands in knife position, to defend karate vs. boxing to the 6’ 2”, 220 lb. uncle. Ah, those were the good old days.

The debate topic was open; religion, the economy, world events, race and social issues. The topic had to be interesting—they added the controversy. No debate ever died due to lack of opposition, for somebody always took the conflicting view. Questionable sources weren’t questioned, supposition flourished, conjecture abounded, and ignorance was no deterrent! The goal was to explore every issue and express an opinion.

I remember Grandpa as the silent referee. He sat listening and nodded once in a while. Grandma, for the most part, spoke only to give advice on dishing the ice cream. They didn’t interject often, but when they did, we all listened.

Because it happened in the walls of safe familial surroundings, nothing was ever held back. Whoever was insulted would go home, think about it, assess the validity of the argument and be expected to write off feelings as inconsequential.

To hubby@worn.out
Honey, in my family, no apologies are offered or expected, everyone has to forgive, forget and move on. I get a clean, fresh slate. This is why, sweetheart, I write off most of your contradictory opinions as misunderstandings or ignorance.
You’re #1 T.

As the cousins and I matured, it was a privilege to join the conversation and have our own input. We were granted no special reprieve. Whoever dared enter the conversation was open to criticism. We were still family and there was no quarter given.

If you weren’t careful, you became the topic of the day. More than once, girls were asked flat out what was wrong with them that they weren’t married yet. The boys were remanded for being lazy or unkempt—a heavy-handed attempt to show concern.

After going home in tears, we processed and went back, full of should’a-said’s and witty comebacks—but not until we cleaned up, got a job, or got married. When the in-laws joined the bunch, they were tested. Those who could take it stayed and the great-grand babies came, as did advice on parenting, and life.

Those evenings by the woodstove—stoked by the heat of debate—taught me that discussion is good. I also gained a healthy mistrust for absolutes. There are true sides to every story that may become untrue tomorrow.

The tradition continues. At “home” the debate centers at the kitchen table. It gets pretty heated, but the table can take it. Mom can’t. She’s not Grandma. She barely tolerates the dissemblance of nine siblings sitting, standing, and grazing around the kitchen table, debating life and interjecting our opinions, but she dishes out great ice cream and it makes me nostalgic just thinking about it.

Reality Bite: The only proven statistic is that any statistic can be disproven.[2]

[1] Which were interchangeable back then.
[2] One thing I’m sure of, I didn’t learn that quote in college stat class.


…long-lost life

I grew up with a perfect sense of direction. My little hometown didn’t even have street signs, and unlike now, I never got lost; I always knew right where I was.

Dear Me,
That's a new twist. From now on, I am not lost, I have temporarily misplace the rest of the world. T.

Mom turned us loose in the mornings after chores, and we would run all day long. We caught minnows and frogs in the irrigation ditches across town, and kept our catch in baby food jars with nail holes we poked in the tops, sometimes impaling our specimens in the process. We ran free from one end of town to the other and if I had trouble finding my way back home before dark, it wasn’t because I was lost.

When our new ambulance driver moved in and she was given directions like, “so and so lives by such and such,” it became her life calling to bring the town into the 20th century with house numbers and street signs.

That became a defining moment for the little town. Up until then, people lived in relation to the post office or the bank or the grocery store, which all occupied the same block downtown, but shortly thereafter, the town began to change. Somehow, defining our spot on the map, seemed to lead to discovery by everyone else and the town began to grow.

The post office moved around the corner, the bank moved across the street, and finally the grocery store, down to the corner; all of these serving to redefine the outskirts of town. It was now a block bigger in every direction.

When a new highway raced over the hill, connecting us to a dying mining/resort mecca, our town became the fledgling community’s affordable housing for the rich and famous’ service people.

The culturally diverse folk moved in and we joined them and became fiscally dependent on the independently rich. They required condominiums, ate fish eggs and ordered champagne, and we cleaned their homes, their fish and catered to their other feckless requirements.

There was never any doubt that we were headed in a new direction and it wasn’t long before we plotted our fiscal path; and it led to the bathrooms of the upper-class elite.

Reality Bite: And I mourn again what is lost.



My life is one big movie that I’m supposed to be directing, or at least taking in a lead role in the acting. For the first half of it, I was only a bit player, but it worked out because I only remember bits, and most of that is blurred. But, it’s not really a bad thing to have a lackadaisical memory; that way I can blame others for my past mistakes with aplomb!

I certainly took no conscious hand in any decisions. For the most part, I think I sat back and ate popcorn, as life was indelibly impressed on the reel-to-reel film that was my brain. The memory bites that I recall from childhood are a situation comedy, full of pratfalls, miscues and pathetic sympathies for the outcast underdog—me.

I've read that emotions have the power to put memories at the forefront. When my emotions were cruelly swayed or ecstatically weighted, I remember![1] It’s really too bad that embarrassment doesn’t have the same effect. I forget when I make myself a fool, and it may be better that way.

In retrospect, my teenage years were horror flicks, particularly for my parents. I just hung out, oblivious to the fact that I could intervene in my own picture—that I could avoid the nasty ending by doing what everyone yells at the screen, “Just don’t go there!”

Now and again, in times of crisis, my film hits auto-rewind, then play, and my response is conditioned from those “film-ative” years. It is interlaced with weird yet wonderful moments that flick on and off entirely unbidden. Mom has since encouraged me to get therapy to erase and overwrite some of that old stuff, but think I prefer my youthful misperceptions.

To: Sis.ter@win.out
I’m not ready to give up while I’m still perfecting this technotherapy thing. I’m writing my memories—besides, when we all talk about it, I get nine different versions anyway. Love T.

[1] Births are vivid! Like it was yesterday!


…life as hyperbole

My husband knows my buttons. All he has to say is “Stop lying.” That’s it. The rocket is lit and I go ballistic.

I do not lie! I exaggerate. I always have. It’s a trait found in all good writers and I'd like to think that someone, sometime will exaggerate enough to consider me one of those.

He thinks I should warn him when I’m exaggerating—that it should be identifiable. Good grief, it's not like it’s a foreign language.

To me,
“I never exaggerate.” Note the voice inflection, and the facial expression? See, it’s easy to spot.
[1] Venting again, T.

I only use exaggeration when I feel that it’s absolutely necessary. When I screech, “I’ve told you for the millionth time,” it is because that is infinitely more believable than calmly stating, “Child, I’ve told you for the eighty-eighth time.” Nope, it has to be millionth.[2]

To me,
As I was saying… how can he exist, always living totally grounded in reality? Life is so much more entertaining when the dull and mundane are exaggerated. For example:

I’ve eaten a horse,” when in actuality, I’ve only eaten six peanut butter cookies, two pieces of bread, tuna casserole, most of the lettuce and cottage cheese, the spaghetti leftovers, and a box of Girl Scout cookies? It feels like horse, and the exaggeration makes the point! T.

Is that lying? I don’t think so! It’s my life—just one more extreme after another. I speak and live an exaggerated non-reality because it’s more pleasant to think that the inanities I am living are just part of a hyperlife.

When I walk around with an inflated view of everything, nothing can ever be as bad as I perceive it to be. Life isn’t truly crazy; war is an overstatement; drugs are inflated; food or oil crisis is nonexistent, big brother is an embellishment; terrorist threats are overdone. It’s all hyperbole.

In my mind, it’s okay to state facts, to live mostly in reality, but never go for the whole thing! Real is all too real.

Reality bite: I’m really good at rationalization too!

[1] For the record, all of Hollywood speaks in exaggeration.
[2] Million, by the way is a keyword warning of overstatement—except, of course, when relating to the government.


Missing Teeth

I lost my teeth this morning. No, not dentures, it was my retainers I misplaced. As a late-in-life victim of braces, I expect to be in retention for the rest of my life, “Because,” the doctor warns, “at this stage in life, who knows which direction the teeth would take if they were all set free.”

I remember putting them in before bed, both the top and bottom set, but at the four forty-five a.m. wake-up call, when I glanced in the mirror at my breakfast head, they were missing in action.

Two-hundred and fifty dollars worth of scenarios raced through my mind as I panicked because, this being my second replacement set, I’m less assured that left alone they will find their way home.

As I searched, I rehashed the ideas out loud. “My teeth are missing. Could I have dreamed a very expensive snack, like escargot on really stale crackers?”

My bunkmate rolled over and groaned. A lot of help he was. “I went to bed with a headache, did I pull them out at midnight?” They weren’t on the nightstand, or on the floor, and only the top set was missing. Weird.

I searched across the room by the distant wall, where I’ve been known to fling them before. As the panic increased, I slung covers and sheets into the air, and the frantic panic ensued, “Where could they be?”

“Finally,” I yelled, “I found my teeth! They were under the pillow.” My bedmate, roused by the chaos crawled back onto the bed, pulled the covers back over himself, and mumbled, “Well, I hope the fairy left money.”

Reality Bite: Yup! Two hundred and fifty dollars!