About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Farewell Funky February

My February stank like steaming cauliflower, no cheese sauce. My heart lightened a little in anticipation of the turn of the calendar page to March. It had to be better! My friend came to visit and we talked for hours. We went through a huge volume of coffee, good creamer, and wore sweatshirts against the chill. "Nobody named me a doctor," she said as she hugged goodbye at the door, "but I think you're deeply depressed. How about if you go get some attention for that right away?" Yes. Well.

I often occupy a reclining chair to read. It is placed in a large bank of windows, and at certain times of day, the sun comes through the wooden shutters and warms me. At night, I can see the cars pass by on the street, or close the shutters and reduce my environment to a small comfortable room. At arm's length stands a small curio table with shelves that hold coffee cup, books and bookmarks, cell phone and sometimes a snack. When I climb into the chair for a read, I follow a ritual. Check the contents of the curio table, check the angle of the shutters, get onto the chair, cover most of myself with a San Francisco 49ers lap throw, place my glasses on the curio table, and open my book. Oh. I also howl out "Kitty, kitty, kitty" and I am quickly blessed with the presence of the lovely Virginia Woolf and her new step-cat, Bogie. I'd be certainly embarrassed, if not fully ashamed, to admit to the number of hours spent in that chair with those cats. On the plus side, I have renewed the lifelong habit of voracious reading, which I had lost when I was lost. I know all of the sounds of the house, and sometimes I sleep in the chair awhile, in the sun, with the cats.

The ornamental plum tree in the neighbor's yard is blooming so profusely, one can almost hear the blossoms snap open. No other plants or trees in the immediate vicinity seem to be in flower, even the other ornamental plum trees. I like to watch the tree from the recliner, through the shutters. It seems to grow fluffier during each reading session, looking for all the world like a gigantic pink Q-tip.

I got a book at the library - a most wonderful, comprehensive biography of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. I am an Anglophile, plus I really like the late Queen Mum, so this book was quite a find for me. I love that smiling face and the pastel suits and hats and the fact that she never hid her fondness for a cocktail. A few days into the book, I began to gripe in a good-natured way. This gem runs 1,000 pages and weighs approximately one ton (actually, using methods many women will recognize, it weighs about as much as a 5 pound bag of flour). I devoured the narrative of her Edwardian childhood and read with interest the explanations for some British pageantry I'd never fully understood before. After another day, I kvetched about my neck, arms and shoulders suffering a bit, and why wasn't this book published either in soft cover or in multiple volumes? I continued to read. On the night I had progressed to World War II, I was in pain. I'd read in chair, bath and bed for a few days. I read without my glasses, which requires planting a book right on my chest or nose. Biceps and triceps screamed. I gave up. I'll have to read the rest of the story some other time. Yes, I sneak-peeked to read about certain events after WWII.

Ex had a theory. He was in no way an Anglophile, but he tolerated my interest which caused him to witness royal weddings, funeral services and other glimpses at people who don't seem to occupy the same world as we mortals. He was taken by Queen Elizabeth's always having the just-so-correct handbag across her arm. After he mentioned it, I paid closer attention, and he was right. She sported a purse even when to do so would seem burdensome and unnecessary. Ex wondered what the Queen might keep in her pocketbook. Face powder, extra pantyhose, lipstick? Nah. She had people to handle that for her. So why the purse? Ex was a wickedly funny man. Whimsical and imaginative. His theory emerged thus: Queen Elizabeth is a capable, hardy woman. She shoots a gun and drives cars, she served briefly in WWII. Ex believed she carried a gun in her handbag. Maybe a .357 magnum. If anyone got past her people and posed an imminent threat to the Queen, she would tear open her purse, drop into a commando pose and show them with whom they were messing. Ex would demonstrate his theory, too, a very large, dark male imitating a small, fair woman.

About the time my brain (if not my eyes, yet) was abandoning WWII to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill, my ears wandered, too. I could hear Piers Morgan interviewing Charlie Sheen on TV, and I could almost feel myself being pulled in. They discussed addiction (Charlie says he's not an addict and those women should not have called 911), his firing from his $1.8 million per episode TV show (Charlie doesn't think he deserved to be fired from the highest paid acting job in television), his treatment of other human beings - women in particular (Charlie says he has never hit a woman) and I could feel myself beginning to seize up like a pickled schoolmarm. Look, I don't know any more about Charlie Sheen than what the headlines scream. I don't know his TV show. I can't quickly name any of his movies I've seen. Without looking at him, I focused on the things he was saying - his responses to Piers Morgan's too-gentle questions, the answers to which were not followed up with any hard-hitting further questions. I did the slow burn for awhile, offended at many levels of my belief system. When the show ended, others in the room milled around while I continued to fume. I finally said it just the way it felt, but quietly, I thought. "That's the most f***ed up 45-year-old I've ever heard speak." I rocked the room. They laughed at me! "We could see when you were getting a belly full of him!" Yes, well, I know about that which I know about. He's f***ed up.

True story: When I was ill in 2010, I had a problem remembering things. Any things. This frightened me, because I have always - but always - been able to rely upon my head. I took to writing notes to remind myself of things. That may not sound unusual, but I've never had to rely on copious notes for any purpose. "Les, why are you making notes about that particular subject?" "I may need to know it and not recall it." And I had a near-collapse when I began to forget certain words. I broke down in tears the day I explained to a friend about the pedometer in my hand, how it worked, why it was used . . . . but I could not remember its name. My memory is much improved now. I'm almost cocky. Oh, yes, I had to struggle for a word the other day, but it is a pretty arcane word and I didn't panic over it. I Googled around and found the word. I don't take so many notes any more. And I'm back to multitasking. Mostly I can juggle a lot of balls at one time.

So, I have a jacuzzi tub that I love. Into that tub, I could take a baby, a lover and the entire neighborhood at one time and we'd still all have room to swim around. I sincerely apologize from the green/conserving part of myself, but that tub holds a lot of water and I get into it frequently. The reader doesn't need to know exact numbers. Let's just say I have to use an industrial strength moisturizer on my skin against all that bathing. I take coffee, a book, music or anything else to amuse myself during my bath. The sides of the tub are tall and I am not, so getting in requires a swinging leg, a plunge over the side and almost complete, immediate submersion. On a recent day when snow threatened and the house was chilly despite the furnace, I decided it was time for hydrotherapy. I set the tub to fill, the jets to roar, and noodled around doing tasks. When it came time to undress, I did it quickly, never yelping. I swung the leg, I took the plunge, I was submerged up to the neck. In a bath for which I had forgotten to add any hot water. Do you know, it is amazing how much a little old lady can shrink when exposed to ice water!

In my ears right now: I was young. I thought I was bulletproof. I was mistaken.


  1. Yikes - cold jacuzzi - great for toning - oh, and heart attacks! Well, that must have got your heart racing and warmed you up a bit!

    I'm hoping Charlie gets some help - he looks older than his dad, that alone should be proof enough that he is not - counter to his own insistence - immortal or whatever he was recently quoted as saying. I wish him well.

    I am intrigued by your fondness for the royals. My gran wouldn't hear a word said against them - even naming her four children after them. My mother took this to another level when she gave me and my brothers bible names. Two generations worth of wishing did not elevate us from graceless proletariats.

    "The ornamental plum tree in the neighbor's yard is blooming so profusely, one can almost hear the blossoms snap open." This is a beautiful observation.

    It's probably good that I don't have cats as I'm up and down too much to sit with pets on my knees - wriggle arse that I am. But I can imagine it's a very tranquil state to be.

  2. @ Rae ~ You can well imagine how quickly I exited that tub. It may be true that I walked on water!

    Charlie Sheen does look older than his father, and his voice is utterly shot. He is a very sad case and I also wish him luck, being no stranger to troubles myself. BTW, when I got really angry was about the time it became clear he's in denial about ALL of his issues. His life is "bitchin'" he says. I felt he might want to own just one of his problems. Take responsibility.

    I love everything British,Rae,and that includes at least some of the royals. My first trip to England, I fantasized to Ex about tossing our passports into the Thames and basically just stowing away there. Like no one would notice! We made a pact to return there every April. The very next April we had a 3-month-old daughter after trying for 20 years. Be careful of making long term plans, and be careful of what you ask for! ;~}

    I've spent a lifetime being something of a wriggle arse, or at least chronically too busy. Since I was ill, I have slowed down tremendously, or at least include some relaxation in the day. I didn't used to know how to do that. Now I have to. I nearly melted myself down. A cat, IMHO, is wonderful company in any circumstance.I hope to never live without one.

    I thank you re: my tree observation. If you continue to stroke my ego, I'll keep writing.

  3. Oh, what a lovely treat to read at the end of the day on Friday after a very long week! I am grateful that your tub wasn't full of too-hot water. Cold must have been quite a shock to the system, but too hot could have been dangerous! I am envious about the kitties and miss my dear ol' Kiki, but know the day will come again when I am settled and ready for another feline. (Stay tuned for updates on my adventure!)

  4. @ Doozyanner ~ I'm pleased I gave you some reading pleasure. And now you've made me muse on the comparative drawbacks of getting into ice water or boiling water. Yes, as bad as the cold was, hot would have been worse, I think.

    I do love my cats. It's funny. I didn't grow up with pets at all and heard all my life that my dad hated cats. So I hated cats, too. MANY years ago when Ex and I were first together, he said, "Let's go get a cat." "But I don't like cats, Baby." "I do!" It didn't take me long to become a cat lover. 10 minutes or so.

    I can't wait to hear the latest! Remember who your friends are.

  5. BRRRR! I was all set to sink into the tub and you sure put the chill on me at the end.

    Keep hangin' tough, lady.

  6. @ Erin ~ Ha! Instead of a PopTart, I was a Popsicle. I'm hangin', Girlfriend.

  7. I like Charlie, yeah he has to take responsibility for how f'd up his life is, but I like him. He's a huge baseball fan and he came on the Dan Patrick Show to talk baseball and the boys of summer. That show has snowballed into everyone want an interview and Charles complies, not wisely mind you but he goes along and he's like a 6 year old with ADD, ping ponging from topic to topic and saying whatever comes to mind. I'd like to hang with him and talk boy stuff, you know batting averages and the Reds chances of going to the World Series this year. I wish him the best. Sometimes we are all a bit F'd up and I know that feeling well.
    Knowing your love of venerable things I'm not surprised at your love of the soap opera that is the royal family. They certInly put the fun in dysfunctional, eh?

  8. That cold water plunge made me laugh out loud ...sorry !!....he he ...did you jump out quicker? .....My singing daughter Sophie sang at Price Charles' 40th private birthday party at Buck Palace, the Queen et al were there too ..its funny I got a text from her saying 'Mum I'm in Buckingham Palace' ...although they were locked in a backroom for 3 hrs before the performance because of security and were fed burgers out of polystyrene packets !!!...took the romance out of it somehow .......xx

  9. @ Tag ~ Good to see you this morning! Yes, I caught that Charlie is all about baseball and I even grinned to watch him get passionate about it. This was interesting to me - one of the things about him that annoyed me most was his strong odor of "rich man's son" and the sense of entitlement that goes with it. Never mind they're actors and that he's a rich man in his own right. I'm just talking about a personal attitude. I have known some of those. I don't find them sympathetic characters. And I am the last person who should toss aspersions at ANYONE because they are f****d up. But he did make me angry.

    True deal: I do love the royal family, but with a grin on my face if that makes sense. Kind of like, "Well, have at it, homes, but who's zooming who?" I'd love to run into the queen in the ladies room at Harrod's. "Hey, Girlfriend."

  10. @ Artymess ~ Lorna, I'm fairly certain I walked on water. To have captured me on video would have been priceless. You know, truly, it was so shocking that at first I couldn't figure out, "What just happened here?"

    YAY, Sophie! I'm not surprised to hear that it's less impressive behind the scenes. It makes me sad, but I get it. And she still has the memory of singing for the Prince at Buck House.

  11. I miss my cat, but can't really afford another one at the moment. Plus, when you live in an apartment rather than a house, you have to REALLY keep up on that kitty litter.

    As for the British, I like their comedies (Monty Python, Are You Being Served, Absolutely Fabulous, Dad's War, 'Allo, 'Allo, Red Dwarf, Dad's War, and any movie with Peter Sellers) and one of my favorite bands is a certain four guys from Liverpool, but, as for actually living there, well, even though I get the impression they don't take it too seriously anymore, I'd much rather be a "citizen" than a "subject"

    As for Charlie Sheen, I've never seen Two and a Half Men. Guess I'm too busy watching British Comedies. Anybody hear from Emilio Estevas?

    As for forgetfulness, watch the Oscars at all? Best supporting actor winner Christian Bale wanted to thank his wife, and forgot her name! And I don't think he's even out of his '30s!

  12. @ Kirk ~ Well-put about the royals seeming to take it relatively easy these days (not meaning lazy, meaning not all that seriously). I LOVE Are You Being Served?! Do you know Keeping Up Appearances? (I'm 99% sure that's the correct title of the show. Hilarious!!) And you know of my esteem for the Liverpudlians (the two who are left).

    As of today I've decided no cat is worth keeping (yes, I'm kidding, but just barely). I had a rough night thanks to cats.

    I did see at least part of the Oscars because I was rooting for The King's Speech. Bales memory slip was something! Not to mention the Melissa Leo vocabulary slip.

    I suspect Emilio and others of the family have just slunk on back home into hiding.

  13. What a delightful piece of writing, even though you're talking about depression, cold water aversion therapy and memory loss. You have such a way with words.

    The ongoing Charlie Sheen exposé is pretty compelling TV. Did you see the interview where he's asked if he's a narcissist and he says, "Of course not. I'm just grandiose?" Duh - what do you think one of the biggest characteristics of narcissism is, Charlie?

  14. @ Kass ~ Well, one needs to get her proper recommended daily amount of the basic five! And if you can't laugh about it, you may as well put your head in the oven.

    He is sickening (Sheen). BTW, you'd appreciate a book about narcissism I got at the library. It's got the well-recognized test in it for "am I or am I not"? Maybe I should send it to Charlie!

  15. I have seen Keeping Up Appearances (it is the correct title), and find that funny as well.

  16. @ Kirk ~ OK, if we get to choose the characters we'd play, I'm not going to be Hyacinth OR Daisy.

  17. Kirk - no one buys cats!! Seriously - everyone has a neighbour with cats - you just make friends - a little tune here or there, few treats and lots of pointed ignoring of said cats has them visiting their leetle paws off!

  18. @ Rachel ~ Ha, Woman. I think Kirk may have been saying he can't afford the upkeep of a cat. However, I'm with you ~ I've never bought a cat and I've kept maybe 50 of them. Guess what? I don't even have to flirt as much as you suggest. If I'm in the vicinity, the cats find me and beg me to take them home. I do it, too, to the extent that I can.