Thursday, March 13, 2008

Top 10 Favorite Signs In My Neighborhood

1) Served in a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant: Homlet.
If you retranslated it back to French, would it mean "little man?"
2) Coming onto my son's school campus: Drive slow.
I wonder if the class on adjectives and adverbs is next semester?
3) Painted on the Amtrak platform: Stand in back of the line.
What happened to the perfectly good word "behind?" Was it considered too rude?
4) The name of an Armenian coffee shop: Ancient Grounds.
How appetizing!
5) The name of a Cambodian bar: Little Joy.
A place to cry in your beer.
6) Elvis dress shop.
Elvi really should punctuate or she'll perpetuate the myth he's still alive.
7) Outside La Parrilla restaurant: A real Mexican kitchen.
That has many scratching their head, but it's the literal translation of the French word "cuisine."
8) On the left rear bumper of a laborer's truck: Passing side.
On the right: Suiside.
9) Legal Bookstore.
What would the illegal one sell?
10) Outside the library: Literacy class ->

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Am I An Alcoholic?

He looks deep into my eyes. "I read your blog."
"Oh yes?" (Thank goodness it's not just my mother.)
"I've been in therapy 4 years myself."
"Oh?" (Hells bells! He's telling me this on our first date?)
"I thought your writing was fiercely honest. I just wanted to tell you that."
"Thank you!" That's more like it! A man who recognizes my fearless self-revelation. But wait a minute, what the heck did I write?
"So how long have you been in recovery?"
"Me? Recovery? Ha-ha ha-ha!" Gosh, he's serious. "I'm not in recovery."
"Oh! So, it's still a problem then?"
"The drinking?"

Suddenly the disparate parts of my flow-of-consciousness writing come together in my head, not, as I intended, a poem to those great and profound moments in life that as human beings we long for and at the same time want to suppress because of their sheer sweet agony, but as it obviously appears to my readers – a confession of alcoholism!

So, to all of you who read my last blog entry and have gone strangely quiet, I am not an alcoholic. Although, if my writing continues to get me into this much trouble, it soon might be the only way to pass the long lonely hours. Hic.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Saving A Life

When women alcoholics are in recovery, the hardest thing about sober living is having sex without booze. I just thought you might like to know that.

Hemingway wrote with a glass of whiskey at his side: obviously he was not married to someone like me, or he would unaccountably keep finding his glass empty.

The other day, we whirled and twirled our way through a dance class until we hit a moment of hushed stillness. We had put our hearts in our dance, stretched them through our upraised hands into the clouds and let them go as prayers. There is a silence that comes over the soul after that. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began," said my heart, "though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice." No, not my heart, a woman reading Mary Oliver:

"But little by little,
as you left their voices behind...
... there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save."

By this time, tears were streaming down my face. I feel like the canary that has been living with a dark cover over its cage. I sing and sing and then realize no one can hear me because I am only singing in my head. My words are read by random visitors to my site (and a few regulars, God bless you!), but my book lies unpublished, my heart unseen.

The funny thing was, after all that emotion, the first thing that popped into my head was, "God, I need a stiff drink!" So quick to bury the very moments that make life meaningful because they are almost too hard to bear. Almost. I came home and wrote my blog.

Thank you for continuing to read me. Thank you for saving my life.

Monday, March 3, 2008


"I don't want to go!" My son looks on the verge of tears, something I've become accustomed to, as well as the pimples and the faintest, faintest shadow on his upper lip.

We are sitting on his bedroom floor, surrounded by a sleeping bag, back pack, snowboarding helmet, silk long-johns and discarded wrist guards and gloves.

"I said I didn't want to go!" Now this is news to me. When my mum offered to pay for the school ski trip, he seemed happy enough. When I parted with $100 in Big 5 Sporting Goods, he did not demur. On this occasion, I am relieved that any hesitation about cancellation is not selfishly motivated on my part, nor has nothing to do with plans to spend four blissful childless nights with the man of my dreams because, despite Cupid's best efforts, he has yet to appear, if ever.

"Come here!" I say, and he crawls into my arms. I savor the moment, stroking his elbow and sniffing his peppery hair, planting a few quick kisses before he remembers he's a preteen and any signs of affection herald a perilous descent back to the days of Barney videos and food cut into shapes.

The dilemma is that the gloves no longer fit over the wrist guards - something we hadn't thought to check out since last year. And he can't wear his goggles over his glasses, so he has the choice of being blinded by the sun or smashing into a tree. Problematic, I agree, but then life's not perfect.

The next morning dawns sunny and with a pleasant edge of chill. I rouse my son with a John Belushi (drinking chocolate with coffee - terminology straight from jail, so he'd better not use it with his LAPD buddies) and pack his lunch. His bags wait by the door. I throw on some clothes in case the carpool is late - we can't risk the bus leaving without him. I'm still in the bathroom when the carpool arrives. I hasten out to help my son with his luggage.

"I don't need you," he calls from the door, hoisting the backpack onto his shoulders and snatching up the other bags.

I watch from behind the screen as he throws the bags into the trunk. No, you don't, I think. But I'm here just in case.