Monday, April 26, 2010

Hey, you! Yeah, you! Don't Go Anywhere!

I'm writing! I promise! I am not slacking off because (a). I don't have a penis and (b). If I did have a penis, I wouldn't want to go blind from all that slacking off.

Thanks, as always, for visiting the Porch. I extend an enthusiastic welcome to my new sitters and visitors. I'm happy you're here. Don't be strangers - even when I offend you in a way that makes you sort of aghast, but also, sort of amused. Really. Stick around a while and you'll get used to it.

I think I've (mostly) recovered from the shock of turning 40 (I'm lying), so new posts should find their way here soon now that I'm not distracted by thoughts of birthday cake. Well, damn, I just distracted myself again. I think there's one piece left...

Truthfully, I'm diligently working on new stuff. Today, for instance, I've been writing for minutes and minutes about my brief time many springs ago as a groupie with the Spin Doctors. Pssshhhhh. Don't act like you're not impressed. I know you better than that. The problem is, I keep listening to old Spin Doctors jams while I write it (to get in the spirit and all) and then I'm up and dancin' to songs with beautiful, poetic lyrics like, "Gotta love it; it's my duty!She's got a big, fat funky booty!" How am I NOT supposed to shake my own big fat funky booty to that, I ask you? Impossible.

I've also spent a considerable amount of time contemplating why the singular groupie is spelled with an "ie" and not a "y". That bothers me. I have issues.

In addition to the Spin Doctors piece, I have other important - dare I say - potentially life-altering works in the ol' writing hamper (I'm lying again. I've got nothin').

So please stay tuned. Make yourself comfy on the Porch (I always save a spot for you), and I'll go pour you a glass of lemonade while you wait (totally lying again. I'll be in backyard garden hiding from you and drinking wine as I crack under the pressure I just imposed on myself.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Oldometer Just Clicked

Somehow, and I'm not real sure how this happened, I turned 40 today.

Yesterday, I was celebrating my 17th birthday by munching on pizza and making out on the couch with my boyfriend of the month. How did that girl with the acid-washed jeans and the banana comb turn [gulp] 40? It went by so fast.

High school. College. Job. Marriage. Babies. BAZINGA! 40!

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'll take 40. As they say, it beats the alternative. I'm pretty sure I don't want my membership revoked. I just don't understand how I can be a card-carrying member already.

Sometimes, I'm honestly surprised when I see a photo of myself or look in the mirror. I don't recognize that woman staring back at me. Inside, I still feel  like the girl who watched "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club" a zillion times dreaming of, well, honestly, the woman who would marry, have babies and write for a living.

Ironic, isn't it?


Does this mean I gave to grow up now? 'Cause honestly, that would blow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dandelion Dreams

Writer's Note: As I recently plucked the dandelions from my backyard garden and watched the neighbors wage a losing battle with the prolific weeds, I was reminded of this piece I wrote several years ago. Shouldn't we all decide that dandelions are beautiful? Please?

I was rubbing the sleep from my eyes one spring morning when I spotted the traitor outside my bedroom window.
My husband, in rubber boots and gloves, was toting a gallon of weed killer and systematically attacking the dandelions that dominate our Kentucky yard from March until October.
"What are you doing?" I yelled from the window.
"They're just weeds," he offered sheepishly.
Obviously, he had caved into the pressure. For weeks, our subdivision neighbors had shaken their heads with disdain as they walked past our yellow-dotted lawn. One well-meaning gardener had even called me next door to demonstrate her new organic weed control  -- a vinegar mixture she regularly sprayed to halt the intruders that threatened her tidy, green paradise.
"This is wonderful if you're opposed to chemicals in your yard," she said, about as subtle as a hungry newborn in church. "See how lush my grass is?"
"That's great if you like that sort of thing, "I said.
I'd swear she tried to spray me.
Unfortunately, no one else in the neighborhood shares my fondness for the persistent plants. To be honest, I used to fight dandelions as diligently as the next gardener, making my fair share of calls to the local lawn company to control the unruly sprouts.
One early-spring visit from my mom changed my mind.
We had watched from the back door as my daughter stooped to pluck the first dandelions of the season. Her face lit up each time she spotted a new bloom, and before long, she had a handful.  She soon presented them to me as if they were the finest roses in the land.
I mechanically pulled a small jar from under the sink, filled it with water, stuffed it with dandelions and plunked it on the counter. My mother picked it up and smiled, recalling the many jars of dandelions and clover flowers that had graced her own kitchen years ago.
"You know why these are so special, don’t you?" she asked.
I shrugged.
"Because that's one of the only gifts she can give you," she said. "Children don't have money. They can't buy things for us. So each of these little bouquets is her priceless way of saying, 'I love you.' "
I never looked at dandelions as weeds again. Instead, I saw them through the eyes of my children.
Whenever they went out to play, my daughter would collect fresh bouquets and string together dandelion necklaces and bracelets, while my toddler son would pull off the golden crowns, roar, and yell, "LION!"
And when the dandelions seeded and produced their white, fluffy threads, my children whispered countless wishes before blowing them into the wind.
Somehow, I had forgotten the magic of dandelions. Responsible adults had green, manicured lawns that fit into tidy, suburban lives. But that spring, fighting the dandelions seemed wrong to me. Wouldn't my children rather have a yard full of wishes?
So when I saw my husband spraying them, I was disheartened and rushed outside to persuade him to stop. He looked over his shoulder at our pleased neighbors, winked at me and promised to leave some untouched.
If Ralph Waldo Emerson is right, and a weed is "a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered," then our yard is ripe with virtue and childhood wonder.
I prefer to keep it that way.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Say What?

You know you're out-of-touch when you have the following conversation with your 13-year-old daughter:

Me: What a beautiful day.
K: I-K, R?
Me: What?
K: I-K-R, Mom. I know, right?
Me: You know what?
K: Ugh. Dat's booty, Mom.
Me: What did you say?
K: Booty, Mom. You know. Boo-ty. The opposite of beast.
Me: Beast?
K: Yeah. That's beast. It means something is awesome.
Me: Awesome! Yes! Yes! I know that one!
K: Awesome? Ha. That was deep ago.
Me: You mean long ago?
K: You're hopeless.
Me: I-K, R?

Monday, April 12, 2010

All that Glitters is Definitely NOT Gold

Disclaimer: As I've developed this blog, I've had two friends give me completely different reactions to it. One friend has chastised my work as too "saccharin", while another said he sometimes finds my posts "vulgar." Somewhere in the middle lies the truth, I suppose. Or maybe it depends on which writing personality shows up on the Porch (I welcome all of my inner voices, regardless of their political/cultural/religious affiliations. As long as I get something written, I'm good. I figure in the end, there's a little somethin' somethin' for everyone).

This particular post, however, most likely will be filed under "vulgar." You've been warned, family members and non-vulgar-lovin' folks. Stop reading right this very second or risk jabbing pencils through your mind's eye later.

Why? 'Cause I'm writing about my glittering up my vajayjay (Dammit. I told you to stop reading up there! Go away, already!).


Gee, thanks, Jennifer Love Hewitt!

It's bad enough that I have to decide how to style and color the hair on my head, but now I have to worry about stylin' and profilin' down yonder, too.

That's right. You had to go public (or would that be pubic?) with the concept of vajazzling. For those of you who don't pay any attention to Jennifer Love Bigtits - and that would be plenty of you, I imagine - vajazzling is basically bedazzling your lady parts with crystals. Remember the Bedazzler, the little bead gun that adds instant state-fair quality tackiness to otherwise nice clothes?

With vajazzling, the pubic area is shaved or waxed, then genuine Swarovski crystals are applied to the, um, upper pelvic area. Thank goodness they are genuine Swarovski, or else it would be tacky. Once the crystals are adhered (with a substance similar to eyelash glue) it's like a big ol' disco ball down there - all glitzy and sparkly and dazzling. Depending on how fast the hair grows back, the crystals last a few days to a week before falling off on their own.

According to my extensive research (about 10 minutes online, at least), salons in New York and Los Angeles report that vajazzling is catching on quickly and is a popular trend for special occasions - like weddings, anniversaries, Valentine's Day and birthdays.

Women can choose custom designs or go with popular vaginal flair like hearts, peace signs, flowers and snowflakes. When completed, I imagine your previously dull, boring vajayjay has been transformed into something FAB-ulous like this:

Why would anyone turn a perfectly nice vagina into a Christmas ornament, you ask?

Good question. Hewitt says she was bummed about a break up with a boyfriend, so a friend convinced her to try vajazzling. The crystals made her happier, she says, and boosted her self-esteem. Apparently, decorated hoo-has are the 2010 equivalent of eating ice cream out of the carton.

Sounds silly, but I actually found more than 1,000 fans of vajazzling on facebook. One fan page declares, "The body is a temple -- why not spice up the decor with a little glitz & glam! Vajazzle your va-jay-jay today!"

One female fan said, "All hail the Vajazz!", while a male fan posted, "My wife vajazzled …and all I can say is…oh my."

So there you have it. The lady business apparently needs more bling. It wasn't enough that we women had to worry about Brazilians or landing strips or nice, neat little triangles (though I suppose I should be thankful the triangle was the chosen shape, and not, oh, say, an octagon. Can you imagine the waxing precision that would take? Crap. I probably just gave Hewitt another idea).

Now we must bejewel our booties to boost our self-confidence! And to think, I never even pierced my ears. But if the Edward Cullen phenomenon is any indication, sparkles do make us ladies happy. Maybe I should dress up the lady business and add a little glitter - or would that be clitter?

After all, I'm turning 40 next week. I might as well have my 30s go out in style, right?

If I'm going to do this, I want to do it MY way, so no copycat roses or hearts for me down there. Nope. I've given this a great deal of thought (at least 30 seconds worth).

You all know of my affinity for rare, delicious Hostess Chocodiles, right?

Now imagine their mascot, my beloved Chauncy the Chocodile… in Swarovski crystals…on my lady business!

Awwwwww, yeaaaaaahhhhhh. Bling it on!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Gloryland

I'm terribly sorry I've been neglecting the Porch lately, but I have a very good reason: I've been sitting on the actual porch - which if you've paid any attention at all - is what this gal is all about. I don't like to brag, but when it comes to porch sitting, I'm hardly an amateur.

After a harsh Kentucky winter (by Kentucky standards, not Minnesota standards), we were blessed lately with sunshine galore and temps in the 80s. 80s!!! Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! For a person who loathes winter, this was too good to ignore, friends. To paraphrase our drunken uncle, Vice President Biden, it was a BFD.

Therefore, instead of staring at a computer monitor the past couple of weeks, I have sipped coffee on the porch, lemonade on the porch, sweet tea on the porch and, well, okay, maybe a little wine on the porch. I've listened to the bird songs and watched the naked neighborhood trees slowly dress in their spring finest.

Ahh. Spring's that damn good. If there is a more beautiful color than new spring green, I certainly don't know it.

When I wasn't on the porch greedily soaking up sunbeams and contemplating life's deepest issues (like, I wonder if John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston will get back together, or Was Oates the one with the mustache, or was that Hall?) I likely was in the backyard, tending my secret garden.

I so love my little garden, selfishly hidden from the rest of the world by a privacy fence. When we bought our home a few years ago, the owners had decided to redo the small backyard but had yet to finish it. Other than the tall fence they'd just installed, it was mostly a blank slate. In fact, not a single blade of grass grew within it. There was a big tree (now home to our two squirrels, coincidentally also named Hall and Oates because one of them has a bitchin' squirrel mustache), a bunch of mud and a narrow dog run, but that was it. For someone who loves to tinker with a garden, the nothingness out back was a dream come true. Much like storytelling, gardening allows me to create something out of nothing. And that is what I set out to do.

I'm not a landscaper or a master gardener by any stretch of the imagination. Professionals would scoff at my efforts, I'm sure. But I've always relished digging in the dirt and learning by trial and error. I like to see how things grow, how they fit in with the big picture. So the past three springs, I've patiently filled that muddy blank slate with roses, hostas, azaleas, painted ferns, clematis, coreopsis, butterfly bushes, holly bushes, daisies and herbs (um, the legal ones. If anyone asks, I grow the other stuff for my "aunt" who has "glaucoma". Yes, I'm totally kidding, Mom & Dad. You know I grow that for you).

So when the garden once again fills with spring's lovely light, I am drawn to it - like Hall to Oates (Is that one too many Hall & Oates references? Well, I can't go for that. No can do).

I find myself wandering around the garden time and time again, seeing what has burst forth from the soil each day; what plant has leafed out; what bud might be on the verge of unfurling. Every day in spring, the garden holds a new secret, and I am compelled to find it.

There are many lessons and stories in spring's renewal and the tending of the garden - so much to learn about life in the sunbeams and the soil. But you know that. It's why there are so many odes to gardens in paintings and poetry.

I often find my stories on the porch and in the garden, too, which is why I've been out there, and not here lately. I, too, needed to shed winter's heavy cloak.

This past Easter Sunday, for instance, I grabbed my cup of coffee and headed out to the porch, where I watched the sunrise through the neighbor's delicate pink dogwoods. As I sat in my jammies sipping, I offered up a few prayers. Later that morning, my family dressed in our Sunday best and went to a traditional church service.

Guess where I felt closest to God?

So yes, I still have stories to tell and will get to them soon, but I have been happily distracted by Mother Nature and all her spring glory. I've been tending to my soul, clearing out the weeds to make room for new growth.

In the words of writer Minnie Aumonier, "When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden."

So, I'm sorry if I've been "Out of Touch" lately. But the garden, she is a "Gloryland."

~P.S. How this became a Hall & Oates/Gardening post is beyond me. But I don't explain what's in my head; I just put it down on paper. There are times I probably should rethink that strategy.