Sunday, October 31, 2010

stfu stephen

(cross-posted from my personal blog)
"If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: 'God, I've got to get my fucking rocks off', or they'd go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush. It doesn't happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it."

Fry, 53, continues: "I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want," he said. "Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, 'Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!' But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?"

so sayeth mr. stephen fry. (and also here) now, i have no personal affection for mr fry, unlike much of britain. nor do i think as a public persona he is required to be infallible.

but i find his continued perpetuation of this stereotype of women as frigid to be insulting (and even potentially dangerous) for a few reasons:

a) it's just flat out archaic - what're we, in the 1950's?

b) he's a gay guy, speaking on something he knows nothing about

c) it insults women everywhere by implying that we only have sex either passively or manipulatively

d) the implicit passive role of women in sex is something we have fought long and hard to overcome - women have a right to their god-given built-in sexuality, including enjoyment, exploration and initiation of sex. reinforcing lazy stereotypes undermines that message, and diminishes the work of sex-positive feminism.

e) viewing women as undesiring, apathetic, or averse to sex *as part of their biological makeup* undermines the power and necessity of women's active, engaged, willing consent as part of sex.

and if society don't take women's "yeses" seriously - how do we expect them to take our "noes" seriously?!

women have enough messages out there about how they can't/shouldn't/mustn't enjoy sex. we don't need another clueless voice added to the chorus.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Look, listen, pay attention now.
This is important.
I just want everyone to know that I'm writing this post whilst hysterical with The Elder's previous post about shitting her pants at work and then saying she had to go without underwear all day and ended up with something she could only assume was diaper rash.
That's some funny shit right there. (Pun fully intended).
I'm changing The Elder's name to "Sharta" now that I know she shit herself. Especially since she reported she shit herself when she thought she was only going to fart. See? See how that works?
A fart that ends up being a shit is called a shart. Thus, my new friend Sharta. Kind of like Marta, but better.
But that's not what my post is about.
It's about going pee pee in my pants.
OK, no, wait - it's about having babies.
Except it's not about having babies.
Or, wait, no - it's about not having ever had a baby and still running into this pee pee in my pants thing.
Seriously, I thought the pee pee pants while laughing, sneezing, surprised, startled or otherwise momentarily out of control for one reason or another was an issue that landed in the camp of women who've had a baby or ten.
The first time I peed my pants as an adult doesn't count. I was 29-years-old and just tipped over the edge of a 5 story downhill run of a roller coaster in Dallas. I screamed like a 12-year-old girl, dug my fingernails into my poor friend who was screaming with his mouth open so wide that I thought we were going to discover his dentures embedded in the forehead of the man behind us when the ride ended, and promptly peed my pants.
Just a little.
When that 'just a little' thing happens, these are a few of the things I say.
1) Oh, I've peed, but not a full on pee.
2) Oops! Just a lil' spriggle.
2) Oh hell, should have told me your joke was going to be that good so I could have crossed my legs before I laughed.
(Yes, I know I put 1, 2, 2 when it should have been 1, 2, 3. But I'm getting to the depressing part and don't want to go back or I'll never write about it.)
The first time I pee peed in my pants (just a lil' spriggle, mind you) was a few summers ago on my porch. I was sitting around with a few friends and experienced some kind of half sneeze, half laugh, half cough.
(Yes, I realize 3 halves makes more than 1 whole, but I'm still continuing to type without going back, so deal, please, I really want to write this.)
I said, "Oh fuck! I just peed a little. Not a full on piss. Just a lil' spriggle."
My girlfriends laughed and said stuff like,
"Oh God! I've done that!"
"I have to cross my legs when I sneeze."
"I just kind of bear down over myself when I laugh really hard so I don't pee. The unintended consequence is that people think I think their jokes are so funny that I can't stand up straight because I'm laughing so hard."
I went inside and changed my panties and pants. Upon inspection, it really just just a lil' spriggle of pee.
On the way out the door I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I looked at myself in a way that I rarely do; with a deepness I cannot explain. Right into my own eyes. Not checking anything; hair, eyebrows, make-up. Just stopped in my tracks and staring.
It all came over me again. Childless me. I couldn't believe it was back. And this time I knew it was staying. That I wasn't going to get some kind of pass. That I was going to go back out onto my porch and look at my friends who reported also peeing their pants and keep thinking they do it because they have given birth.
When I was 35-years-old I was terribly alone and single. My personal life was a mess. And my proverbial biological clock was ticking so hard that it drove me to my knees. Literally. Down on my knees and kind of leaning, drooping, sagging against my bed crying. It was awful. I fucking hated everything about myself, my life, my ovaries and uterus.
I talked honestly about it with a friend. She had me write about all of the qualities a parent should have: Nurturing, tenderness, honesty, teacher, ability to ask for help, willingness to learn, acceptance, etc...
And then she told me to go carry out those qualities upon the world.
She actually said it that way. Or, well, this way, "Get up off yer fuckin' cryin' ass and quit acting like it's only people with babies who get to be nurturing, tender, honest and all of that shit. Shut the fuck up and go. You have those qualities already and have no right to keep them to yourself just because you don't have a baby. Go! Go take that shit out on the entire world!"
And I did.
I literally signed up to do volunteer work that exposed me to human beings, young and old, who needed the exact qualities a person needs to take care of a baby, or any other living human who cannot care for and defend him/herself. Since that time I've literally traveled the world doing this volunteer work. I've read countless pages of information to help me do this, written informational pamphlets and reports to help others do it, talked, presented, given, directed, negotiated, on and on and on with everything I've got to make the world a safe place for at least a few people. Probably more than a few, but most of them were so incapable of knowing they were being helped that I didn't get all wrapped up into being thanked. That's not why I was doing it anyway.
And then this past April rolled around and I started closing doors. I've got to be at home more. I can't be reading, writing, teaching, helping as much as I have been. There is a business to run that is one of my dreams and I want it to succeed. Doing both is impossible.
So, in February of 2011 my volunteerism at that level will end. And then I will be thinking more about never having had a child.
I dream of it; having a child. I always have a baby or a toddler that is mine. She is in my arms and looks just like me. Sometimes she is crying, others she is laughing, sleeping, simply resting herself in my arms. No matter what, she is happy. She is safe and I am always overcome with the bond she and I share and something inside of me that is fully capable of killing to keep her safe.
There are a million explanations I've given myself about why I've woken up with tears pooled in my eyes after one of those dreams. Allergies, not enough sleep, too much on my mind.
It's not that volunteerism didn't work, it's just that the hole inside of me is the size and shape of my child.
My days of menstruation are over. Menopause suddenly started and suddenly stopped for me when I was 39.
Today I'm just empty about it. Surrounded on the outside by reminders of what has never and will never be on the inside. It's as if all I can see is one billboard after the other filled with math equations and know I've never learned to count. As if I'm wanting to hug a tree but have never been shown what one is. As if the only thing I want for is sunshine on my face, but have been shoved into a dirty hole in the ground.
This time it won't pass until I'm into my 60's. I'm sure of it. Until then I will be doing this thing I do about wondering about adopting a child.
Don't try to talk me out of this emptiness. I want it. I want to want something this badly. I want to wake up crying about it, to be stopped dead in my tracks with my own reflection and have the world "childless" bear down on me.
There is nothing wrong with wanting something this badly. I will take it out on something. I will.

Enough Of This Serious Angst-y Stuff

Because I have something really important to tell you.

Last Friday, at about 9:30 a.m. ...

I shit in my pants.


At work.

I thought that just a little fart was going to come out. But it was a little more than that.

I race-walked to the bathroom and examined the damage.

Shit. In my drawers.

Took 'em off and stuffed 'em in the little silver box.

Now you have to understand that I am not the kind of girl who goes around without underwear. But for the rest of the day, that's what I did.

By the time I got home I had a raging case of what I can only assume was diaper rash.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's Do This

Okay, so let's do this. Let's talk about alcohol. I know a great deal about alcohol. I've consumed a great deal of alcohol - comparatively, I'll bet I drank more the week I graduated from college than Rube has her entire life, and I almost didn't graduate from college because I was too busy getting drunk to write my senior thesis. I had a year to write it, and I finished it in three days. I got a D.

Alcohol made me fat. I got really, really fat. But I was fat, active, and strong, like a fucking ox that could put away a handle of Jack and twelve pack, no problem. Fucking watch me. I got this shit.

We would have drinking competitions, you know, twice a week or so using various mediums. My team always won. In the world of college drinking, we were goddamn Texas. We were a sorority full of Starbuck. We were fierce, competitive, smart, hard, and sexier than everyone because of it. Some of them were a bit slutty, and some were prudish. I don't know, I'm just rambling right now. Either way, after a while we started calling any competition that involved drinking "wrasslin." With a last name like Rossi, it wasn't long until everyone started calling me Rassles. The progression was natural.

In a small college, you can't just expect to be accepted into the High Drinking Culture because you go to parties. You have to handle your shit like a professional. Don't be a public slut, always stand up, don't talk shit behind anyone's back, never fight for the attentions of a guy, but don't be afraid of ruckus.

We were snobs about it. Jell-o shots were for pussies. Dancing was fine, but conversation was better. If you need to puke, ask for help and go gag yourself outside. No shame in the puke 'n rally as long as you fucking own it and don't blame it on Alcohol. It's your fault that you don't know your limits, not Alcohol's. All Alcohol ever did was taste delicious and make you popular. We entrenched ourselves in this ridiculous, idolatrous ethical dogma of pack-class, competition, and booze.

And we did it...why? To impress guys, basically. I mean that's what everything boils down to, right? We were hoarding all of them to us, so that when they talked about us it would be with respect and friendship, not the way they talked about all the gutterskanks and critters. We were fucking "cool", no question. Other girls were submissive fucking cake-bakers who giggled and couldn't think for themselves and spent all their time sucking up and sucking cock.

It was easy to look down on the girls who couldn't handle their liquor, it was easy to judge them and basically hate on them from up high without ever really talking about them. We basically ignored them with silent disapproval, and made a point to laugh louder and pal harder.

Sometimes I feel disgusted with how highly we thought of ourselves because we drank "as well as the guys" or better. Even still, hanging out with male college friends, they always talk about how we could party just as hard even though we were girls, like it was a handicap or something, and we fed off of it.

I regret having that mindset then, because I probably missed out on meeting a lot of very cool women. At the same time, I'm proud of the person I'm growing into, so much that I don't regret being a snob at all. Gyna, one of my best friends, went to college with me, but we became friends a couple years after graduation. We knew each other, sure, because our school had 2,000 people. But I exclusively paid attention to people who woke up, hit the bong, drank themselves stupid, paddled each other with stop signs and threw beer bottles at cop cars. She was an academic and therefore too serious. How many other girls did I ignore because they couldn't hang? Why was so much of my life focused on being someone who could hang?

Everyone was too serious, and we were hilarious.

But college was all about using. We used people constantly. Guys did not take advantage of us: we took advantage of them. When I lost my virginity - and I was the last one of like, all my friends to do so - I was bonked out of my gourd, but it was superfun and I bled everywhere and I didn't give a shit, I was just proud that I could fuck without shame and attachment. In the following weeks he didn't seem to understand that he was just a means to an end. He thought we bonded, but I really thought he was kind of an idiot.

That's something that the using culture solidifies: the last two people at the party, lurking over everyone trading war stories. That's what it's about. The Last Men Standing.

I thought I had a problem. I considered that I might be an alcoholic. Obsessed over it. I gained so much weight my senior year and slept so much over Christmas break that my mom thought I was pregnant and made me prove I wasn't by seeing a doctor. I couldn't get health insurance for four years because of that visit. I told my doctor, "I'm in college, I drink a lot and eat ramen and Taco Bell everyday," and the doctor wrote that I abused alcohol. I did, of course. But I couldn't get health insurance for years, and I couldn't get a job that offered it.

Sorry, I'm just kind of babbling here.

After college, I quit drinking for about a year, no problem. Working three jobs, one of them at an elementary school. I just kind of decided that I didn't want kids smelling booze and cigarettes on me, so I stopped completely. It was easy. Everyone was shocked. Again though, people thought I was pregnant because I stopped drinking, but I was losing weight so after awhile they caught on that I was serious about being sober as long as I worked with kids.

Before I forget: Don't tell me drinking is not a feminist issue. If it gets to the point where someone assumes I am pregnant because I am (1) female and (2) sober, there is a fucking problem. Not just with me, but with the people making that assumption. If people are looking down on girls for their inability to handle their alcohol, it's a problem. If girls feel the need to get drunk to get laid, if they think the only way they can prove their worth is by getting drunk so they can look as cool as guys, it's a problem. And the reason it's a problem is because they're judging their worth as individuals on the scale that men judge other men, not the scale on which people judge people.

It's a problem because I associate that drunken behavior with men instead of with women, when there are just as many women who have a drinking problem.

Stereotypically, a drunk girl is just plain visually easier to spot. She's got longer hair that gets messy, she's tripping over her heels, her make up streaks. When she passes out wearing a skirt and a skimpy top, she's bearing more skin, accidentally exposing more hidden parts. Because you can see her fail to live up to the class act she spent so much time prepping to portray, it's easier to judge her. It's a shame.

Anyway, I watched my friends pile up on DUIs, which pissed me off because I was sober and they were obviously fucking stupid. There's no reasoning with that. I'm not going to sugarcoat that, you get a DUI because you do dangerous, retarded things. Sorry Zen Mama, but it's true.

After that, I started bartending and moved to Chicago. Drinking again. Fortifying my position in the using culture of Chicago came easily since I was a bartender (fucking industry people think they're rock stars) and played in a locally successful band (fucking music people think they're rock stars). So I always hung out other bartenders and musicians, some escorts, professional fetish models, tattoo artists - and I was tame compared to those fools, even though I could outdrink the lot of them.

Keeping myself away from drugs and coke was easy because I never had the desire to do it, but I drank a shit-ton to make up for it. The scene pulls you in, and you start feeling nostalgic for a time that existed before you were born and you feel like this, this is what it feels like to be a part of a movement, this is seduction, this is living, we are special and everyone else is livestock. You're the Rat Pack, Studio 54, you're Hunter Thompson, you're Bukowski, you're at the Roundhouse in London, you're listening to blues on Maxwell Street.

Our culture fetishizes icons of the past who lived hard and died young. The role models of my generation are the insolent punks and swank, gutsy pop culture figures that had so much intrigue and defiance surrounding them. They defined rebellion and sexed it up; we are a poor imitation of such a controversial and world-changing lifestyle. And thirty years from now when writers have immortalized our exploits in novels and movies, a new generation will emerge obsessed with us. It's so weird.

Since last summer and my subsequent two-month sabbatical from imbibing, I've cut down on alcohol considerably. Mostly because I was actually scared about my health. Okay, and because the hangovers were getting unbearable. After blacking out twice in a month, it was time. Seriously, I never blacked out. In ten years of drinking, I'd lost time once, and then twice in a month? Never again. Never.

I still go out a couple days a week, and I won't pretend otherwise. But instead of the goal of getting fucked up beyond inhibition on a case of PBR and battling a hangover at work the next day, I slow it down. I'm there to socialize and have a well-honed brew.

I could never be anti-drinking. I made too many friends using alcohol as a bonding tool, some of whom turned to AA or NA eventually, but I firmly believe the key is moderation and responsibility. I love the taste of beer too much to give it up completely. Am I addicted? Yes. I'm just going to go out and say yes. I guess my newest outlook on drinking is enjoying the alcohol for what it is (in low doses like The Elder) rather than how much liquid courage I stock up. Sure, I plan on getting drunk on my 30th birthday.

The worst part is, I'm still disgusted by women who are all giggly and falling over each other, fawning and fighting over men like angry chickens. I don't understand the cat-fights because I was above it on principle, and therefore a way bigger snob.

I don't know. I have no conclusion or point to all this, I guess. Just adding my business. Does this even make sense?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mommy Needs Her Medicine

I was nineteen and worked at a local steakhouse doling out Porterhouses that hung off the plate and tray after tray of Martinis and Gimlets and large sloshing glasses of wine. I had quite a few regulars that came to eat and I got to know most of the seatwarmers that parked themselves at our bar. While I picked large chunks of feta out of our cold trays and grabbed the first steak sent back to the kitchen to take home with me for dinner, I never drank. The regulars all offered to buy me a drink at the end of my shift as either a thank you for the night's welcome banter or to ply a young fresh woman out of her panties. I never accepted because my short drive home from the restaurant was riddled with cops and speed traps and Wisconsin's Not a Drop Law, made the penalties for driving with any alcohol in your system before you reached the legal drinking age, especially harsh.

So when the restaurant hosted a huge Halloween party that I attended but was not scheduled to work, where a number of my family members were in attendance, including my mom who promised to take me home, I felt comfortable having a drink with the people who I always politely declined as I sipped my diet cokes. Maybe because I normally eschewed their generosity or maybe because I was dressed like Marilyn Monroe, the free drinks came pouring in. It started with a margarita because they were on special that night. It tasted pretty good, like a high octane smoothie. The effects hit me immediately and the second margarita went down even easier. My senses were all numbed so this time, I couldn't even taste the alcohol. Two more of these and I found myself spinning in our bathroom. I miraculously managed to point my head right at the toilet as my body surprised me with a barf with no mouthwater or stomach turning foreshadowing. I was so drunk that my normal phobia about vomiting was absent. Emboldened by alcohol and apparently not deterred by getting sick, I attempted to hit on the restaurant owner's son until my gracious friend intercepted me, told me I had a little puke on my dress and ushered me home.

I was sick for three days. I didn't have even an ounce of alcohol for two years. I had a small glass of champagne on New Year's Eve with my boyfriend at age twenty-one, and one more overindulgence at twenty-four with business colleagues who were seasoned drinkers. After that last time, a night of three gin and tonics and another three day hangover, I rarely drank again. Save for the occasional glass of wine at a very good restaurant or splitting a beer with my husband over spicy Thai food, I never drink. I probably average one drink a month. My total annual alcohol consumption is what some drinkers put down in one night. My husband drinks the same way I do. We both have alcoholics in our family and our individual drinking habits, or lack thereof, are of comfort to each of us.

I am aware that in our culture, I am not the norm. I am the teetotaler, the prude, the one who leaves Happy Hour at 6:30pm just as everyone else is getting started. I am the one that will shoot you looks of irritation and exasperation that you won't even register because you are drunk. I am the one who will remind myself that there is nothing quite so annoying as a drunk person when you are sober. I am the one who will drive myself home safely, not putting families and individuals and light poles in jeopardy because I am too intoxicated to understand and consider the potentially horrific consequences of having too many Jack and cokes and getting behind the wheel. I am the one who will tuck myself in bed, watch Law and Order and wake up clear headed the next day regretting nothing.

I offer you this back story as a reference for what comes next.

I am absolutely worried and dismayed over the current female drinking culture. The whole Mommy Needs Her Medicine mentality, the young single girls drinking night after night, the women who come home to a glass or four of wine every night. I am sick of the television shows that not only condone excessive drinking but encourage it. I know emails like this are meant to be lighthearted but I don't like them.
Important Women's Health Issue:

* Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
* Do you suffer from shyness?
* Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?
* Do you suffer exhaustion from the day to day grind?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or
pharmacist about Margaritas.

Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident
about yourself and your actions. Margaritas can help ease you out of
your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing
to do just about anything. You will notice the benefits of Margaritas
almost immediately and with a regimen of regular doses you can
overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want
to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will
discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start
living, with Margaritas.

Margaritas may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or
nursing should not use Margaritas. However, women who wouldn't mind
nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:
- Dizziness
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Incarceration
- Erotic lustfulness
- Loss of motor control
- Loss of clothing
- Loss of money
- Loss of virginity
- Table dancing
- Headache
- Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- And a desire to sing Karaoke

* The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering
when you are not.
* The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your friends over
and over again that you love them.
* The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to think you can sing.
* The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you can logically
converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

I feel like as a culture, we are encouraging women to drink to handle their lives rather than changing their lives or dealing with difficult, uncomfortable and painful feelings. Drinking has never fixed anything, it only adds shame and anxiety to the current set of problems. As a child of an alcoholic it is painful for me to watch the faces of the children of my friends and neighbors who drink in excess, knowing firsthand some of the issues those children will grapple with as adults because of their parents emotional checking out. It is painful for me to watch a woman I work with walk through her day like the living dead, sneaking off to her car for a beer in between clients.

I think this is a very important feminist issue. For me, the consequences of drinking so immeasurably outweigh the fun that I just don't understand why so many women willingly risk so much. This isn't meant to be a tsk-tsk to you Z. and I hope Mongolian Girl, who has gone through recovery has some insight to offer. I just think that when so many people condone excessive drinking, or treat a DUI like a right of passage that I had to offer up the alternative viewpoint.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who are you calling a Princess?

I’m a girly girl, always have been. I don’t like fishing, hunting or camping, though I admire the women in my life who do.  They are able to bait their own hooks, pull the disgustingly slimy fish off the line, shoot a deer, field dress it and cook up both using an arsenal of creative culinary techniques. It’s reminiscent of those vintage Enjoli advertisements, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never ever let you forget you’re a man, cause I’m a woman. Wherein, I’m generally satisfied with Mrs. Paul’s beer battered fish fillets. Which by the way, is itself reminiscent of the smell of Enjoli.
Hunting in Wisconsin is more than a pastime or a hobby. When the season opens, work comes to a standstill.  Good luck finding a contractor during that week, unless you have some land “up north” with a few deer stands in it, you’re not likely to see one. They sit in these rickety old stands, generally alone, in minus twenty-fuck degrees. They don’t realize when hypothermia is about to set in because along with their weapons of choice, they have packed enough liquor to sustain that fine line between being drunk off your ass and being drunk on your ass. It’s not uncommon to see photos of them passed out at the top of a tree with a cigar in one hand and a rifle in the other. Does anybody else see this as dangerous?  I like to imagine the woodland animals with makeshift cameras and tiny reading glasses hiding behind rocks while taking detailed notes on the peculiar habitats of these large orange creatures:

It continues to drink from the bottle, causing loud noises to pass from the regions of its mouth and buttocks, the latter of which sends off an odor of most foul proportion.  Have not been able to identify a pattern to these guttural sounds, thus have ruled out the theory of a mating call.

Be that as it may. Here I am, living among the large orange creatures. I am certain I was communicating with one who happened to be on duty that night in Walworth County. He opened the door of my cell, handed me a blanket so thin it folded up to the size of a cell phone and pointed me in the direction of the green vinyl mat that would serve as my bed for the night. Just before he closed the door, I asked if he might possibly have forgotten to give me my pillow. The look he gave me was something along the lines of, boys, we got another one. “No princess, I did not forget your pillow.”

There is a big difference between a girl who doesn’t care for camping and a girl who is a princess.  I don’t like roughing it, woman against nature, but I also don’t need to be pampered. I’m not one to volunteer to sleep in a place with no running water but then again, I’m no prima donna.  After all, I survived my childhood.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Does This Look Like A Mug Shot To You?

It is October and I am in jail.  

Moments earlier, I had the most surreal experience when I realized they were about to take my mug shot and I remembered how I always wondered what I might do in the event of a mug shot. Would I want to fix my lipstick, slick down my hair and smile or would I want to look surly and disheveled? I had spent more than a few minutes contemplating this after seeing mug shots of Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and that guy from 48 Hours, what was his name?  Nick Nolte.  Paris smiled, Lindsey looked trashed, as usual, while Mel and Nick really had no business being in front of a camera at that moment.

The fingerprinting process had been fascinating. I chatted nervously with the deputy as he rolled my fingers over a tiny computer screen until it beeped. I watched as he gingerly manipulated each of my fingers with his purple rubber-gloved hands until the beeps indicated all ten had been registered, viewed and approved for picture perfect clarity and content. Like a fine diamond. 

These were the same fingers that spent the day wrapped around my golf clubs, happily chipping away at the Grand Geneva resort. It was the first time I had golfed the magnificent and aptly named Brute, at over 7,000 yards, it is one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest and is considered one of Wisconsin's best golf courses. Enhanced with 68 bunkers and huge rolling greens, this par-72 perfectly manicured and immaculately maintained course had kicked my ass for the better part of an afternoon.

My fingers had also spent most of the day wrapped around an assortment of Styrofoam cupped free cocktails. Funny, but I never paid much attention to alcohol until I moved to Wisconsin. Now I’m considered one of their own.  I don’t drink domestic beer or cheap wine the way they do in Oklahoma.  I live in Brew City where there is a tavern on every corner, directly across the street from the Catholic Church and immediately adjacent to the church cemetery. Drinking is a serious business here. It is embedded in the fiber of every tight knit community up and down the shores of Lake Michigan. 

On this particular work sponsored golf outing, I ordered a few Bloody Marys, followed by a few beer chasers, followed by a pre-dinner Vodka cocktail, followed by white wine with raw fish appetizers and red wine with my gorgonzola encrusted filet.  I had the impression after dinner that I somehow still needed to catch a buzz so I rallied the troops and headed out to the resort’s fire pit for more wine where I kid you not, there was a convention of office supply sales people from around the country, doing their conventioneer thing, drinking heavily, hiding their wedding rings and hogging all the good seats to the fire pit.

Surveying the situation, I immediately noticed they were all men, save a few token females who were referred to as the hired help.  In my impaired state of mind, I stood up and asked for the dick who was in charge of this mess to show himself.  The time for reckoning had come. Little did I know, the time for my mug shot was soon to come. 

While staring down the lens of the DMV style camera, preparing for my Mr. De Mille moment, I am told to stand with my feet against the wall, do not move your head, look straight into the camera. No, do not tilt your chin, this is not Vogue, look up here.  

What to do, what to do?  If I become a well known author, this shot will be seen by millions.  If I smile, it could appear apathetic and smarmy, as if I were saying not a problem, I got this.  On the other hand, if I don’t smile, I risk pulling a Gibson or Nolte, and I can’t have that. I mean, how embarrassing. Maybe I could ride the fence, looking calm with just a hint of a curl at the edge of my lips, not nearly a full smile.  Some will question whether it’s a smile at all, like the Mona Lisa.  It could become a pop culture debate as countless intellectuals joust enthusiastically as to the meaning of my facial expression, or lack thereof.
And like that, the photo was taken and I was unceremoniously escorted to my cell in the Walworth County jail.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't kick me out of the vagina club, but...

I am fucking sick of breast cancer. I'm sick of pink ribbons, facebook games and poignant spam filling up my email inbox.

Last week some NFL players wore PINK SHOES while they were playing football. Others had pink towels tucked in their pants.

And that helps people with cancer how?

I'm sick of people assuming that I had breast cancer when they learn I'm a survivor.

I know that breast cancer is bad. But get this--all cancer is bad.


Did you see 60 Minutes last week? If you didn't, go to and watch the segment on Bill and Melinda Gates. These people aren't running around wearing pink shoes and matching ribbons--they are spending BILLIONS to cure malaria and HIV and to improve schools.

They're spreading their money all over the world because they know that along with a lot of luxuries, $60 billion can buy a lot of time for thousands of people.

They're not doing it from a distance either. Melinda Gates is on the ground, making sure that the people she wants to help are actually getting the care she's paying for.

OK. I know a couple of you are out there cynically rolling your eyes and muttering "photo op" under your breath. But I really don't think that's the case here. Bill Gates is the classic nerd who struck gold. Melinda was the lucky Microsoft employee who caught his eye.

They're not fame whores and they didn't inheirit this fortune. But they are determined to give it away.

So here's the deal. Don't just put on a pink ribbon or post something cutsey on facebook. Do something that actually helps someone. It doesn't even have to cost any money.

Give somebody a ride.

Cook a meal.

Say a prayer.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wife Strength

There is a twitch under my right eye and my knees and ankles are throbbing. I have poison ivy that is drying up on my wrists, forearms, chest and at the left side of my solar plexus. I'm strangely glad for it's remaining itch. Part of me wishes it was five days ago when it was still an oozing and all consuming mess.

It's Thursday. No, it's Wednesday.

Last night I stayed up until 2am waiting for the news to go public. I knew it was going to. I kept going online to the major local news sites to see if it was there yet. It wasn't. I fell asleep on the couch using one of our dogs as a pillow and one corner of a little blanket over my shoulder to convince myself I was warm.

At 4am I got up, peed, and got into bed next to my husband who had been sleeping since around 10pm. He could barely stand the whole thing and had finally gone to sleep to avoid thinking about it anymore. I couldn't blame him.
I knew she'd done it. I always know when people have done things. Bad things. The worst things. I can tell. I can feel it. The more evil, twisted, depraved, sick, disgusting and horrifying it is; the more I know it.

Around 6pm I had been in the shower and my husband pulled the curtain back.
He said, "T's baby is dead."
I was holding my head under the shower head to rinse out the shampoo. I closed my eyes. I breathed. My teeth clenched together so hard that I thought I might crack one. I opened my eyes and watched my husband. He wanted me to do something; to make it better. To make it go away or take my beautiful, strong and sun filled arms and hug the earth until little sunflowers pop up all over the place and everyone is happy. I'm good at that - sunflowers and happiness. But not for this.
"She did it," I said.
His eyes widened and he started to shake his head.
"You know she did it and we might as well deal with that fact right here and now."
He closed his eyes, pressed his lips firmly together and continued to shake his head.
I moved away from the shower head and put my warm and wet hands on either side of his face.
"Give me your eyes," I said firmly.
He opened his eyes and I hated everything about everything in that moment. I hated his pain, his running for the hills of denial, and his loss.
"Do not close your eyes while I am telling you this," I said, pressing more firmly on either side of his face.
"Do not look away from me. Keep your eyes on mine."
I could see him shift into gear and get with me. He moved forward until our noses were almost touching and put his hands at either side of my waist so I could get the reality train started.
"She did this, and you know it. She killed her baby and that's all there is to it. She is horribly, terribly, sickeningly, enormously mentally ill and there is nothing - absolutely nothing - in the Department of Family Services system that would or could do anything about the fact that they had to return that baby to her. Our society did nothing to protect her before she had a child, and is not capable of doing anything for any child that has or ever will come out of her body."
I let him close his eyes at that point, but continued to hold his head firmly in my hands. I waited for what I know is one of the loss things in his heart; the death of his own son at 10 days old from an uncontrollable and irrevocable illness.
His chest heaved and his hands drew into fists on either side of me. He pulled me close to him and we stood as one at the edge of the shower. I wanted to pull him into the water with me - to stand him there and strip him down naked. To load up our body sponge with every bit of shampoo, bath gel and soap in there and begin scrubbing. To make him tip his head back and drink water directly from the shower to cleanse his insides as I scrubbed and scrubbed his outsides. Something. Anything. To make it go away.
Alas, he released one deep and lonely sob and said, "My son."
I said, "I know."
He released me and we pressed our foreheads together.
"You in this?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said.
"You really in this? Ready to look at this, because I am telling you, without doubt, that she killed her baby and we are getting ready to hear some horrifying shit."
"I am," he said.
He pulled away to look me in the eyes again.
"Are you in this?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.

But I wasn't. Not really. I lied to him because his son died 10 years ago and the thought of a baby dying at the hands of another human being, its mother no less, takes him down a road of anger and grief that will need lots of support. I am already talking with two of my most trusted friends about this; dumping my own horror, shock, disgust and grief outside of my home so I can support my husband with the strength he deserves.

So I stayed up. I monitored the local news sites. Nothing happened until around noon today when this came across the wire:

October 6, 2010
In _____________ a woman has been charged in the death of her not quite two-month-old son. She admitted using pillows to suffocate her son for one hour, and has been charged with 2nd degree murder in the baby's death. Police were called to the scene where they found the infant lying unresponsive on his mother's bed. He was transported to ______________ Hospital where he was pronounced dead.