Category Archives: babble

The Title is Title

The following are titles of blog posts I’ve intended to write for years but probably never will:

  • McDonalds’ Playhell: Lord of the Fries
  • South American Donald Trump Wants You to Buy a Classy Thong
  • I Just Gave You Melanoma
  • Return of the Working Mother (Demise of the Magic Fucking Laundry Fairy)
  • The Korean Cab Hustle
  • My life with PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric DEATHtoALL
  • Kid-Free, Clothing Optional
  • Soju Blackout
  • If There’s Lipstick on Her Teeth, It’s a Vicodin Day
  • Hello Ultra-size Tampon, Goodbye Hymen
  • Damnit Niki: And Other Tales of Assholery

Then again, my failure to share these gentle, heartwarming tales might just be for the best.

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A Confident Walk (of Shame)

Several times a week I leave my office and trek a few blocks to the convenience store for an iced coffee – or, on zombie afternoons, 5 hour energy. Recently, the girl working the morning shift remarked, “You have such a confident walk! I always watch you when you come down the street. Some women are all [bows her head, slumps her shoulders]….but not you. It looks good!” Taken aback, I thanked her, then quickly explained…it’s all an act.

I’ve always felt that a woman walking alone should hold her chin up, her shoulders back, keep her face no-nonsense and her eyes peeled. But it doesn’t mean I’m a badass, it’s simply my preferred brand of asshole repellent. And that determined stride isn’t always the attribute it appears – like, for example, when I fuck up. Badly. In front of everyone. In front of the live studio audience known as the whole ruthless world. Nobody but nobody can embarrass me, with utmost conspicuous grandeur, the way my own fool-ass-foolery can. For instance…….

Not too long ago my boss retired, and since he was the best boss I’d ever had I went out of my way to arrange for a proper gift and send-off luncheon. The service at our chosen venue turned out to be insanely slow. So slow that, after two hours, I deemed it necessary to return to the office. I stood up, hugged my former boss and his wife, received praise from many for the efforts I’d made, bid my individual and collective farewells and confidently strode toward the door.

Upon exit I felt for my cars keys, found them, and froze.
I hadn’t driven there.
Laura had driven me there.
Laura was still inside, eating – alongside everyone I’d just said goodbye to.
I didn’t have a car.
I DID NOT HAVE A CAR!!!

The restaurant was housed inside a hotel lobby. I spotted a restroom across the way and, all of the sudden, I desperately needed to use it. What I really needed was time to think. What was I going to do? How was I going to play this off? How was I going to go back to work without going back in THERE first? Because I could NOT go back in there. EVER. A fate worse than death awaited me in there: fate, thy name is humiliation.

I sat in the bathroom racking my brain for a way out, any way at all; any way that didn’t involve a public walk of shame. Did I mention the members of our party were the restaurant’s only patrons that day?  Oh yeah. 20+ colleagues seated at one long table, smack dab in the center of the place, with an open, positively grand view of the entrance. Right stinking there. No sneaking back in, unnoticed. No sir. And no way around my predicament, either. No ma’am.

So, with my chin held high, my shoulders rolled back, my face set firm and my eyes avoiding direct contact with any other human being, I glided back into the dining room as swiftly as possible. At the sight of me, my boss raised a curious eyebrow and a few heads turned my way, but most were engaged in conversation, and I thought I might just come out of this unscathed. That’s when Laura greeted me….with a clap. A slow clap.
Joined by others. Including my husband.
“I’m surprised you didn’t call a cab,” she said.

OH MY GOD! WHY DIDN’T I CALL A CAB!!!!
My brain is so (blonde) fired.

Unfinished Blogging Business of 2013

Welcome to the unfinished thoughts/would-be blogs/mad ramblings of 2013.
It wasn’t all sunny vacations and lovey-dovin’ times.
Some of went a little something like…
_________________________

On the affordability of organic food for the average American family:

(Working Title: Organically Rich)

I wish my Facebook news feed had less “Hurry! Buy all the ammo you can from WalMart before Obama takes your guns!” and more, “Holy fuck, are strawberries supposed to be the size of my fist? Because, I want to be worried about this….but they’re SO MODIFIANTLY (hello new word) DELICIOUS!”

Even the staunchest fuck-the-environment-global-warming-is-a-lie-eat-more-mad-cow citizen is having a hard time denying the chemical and genetic creepiness in our FDA approved num-nums. Yet I’ve seen a decade of organic food that is simply way too expensive for the average American family. Buying solely organic is a budgetary ball-buster for general, not-poor-by-national-standards families – like mine.

Do you have any idea how much fruit my kids eat? An entire apple tree a day, at least. And while it has kept the doctor away, it has also kept the college fund away. “Hey kids, sorry you have to work full time at McDonald’s in order to put yourself through the next ten years of community college, but at least you didn’t get cancer. And you’re welcome.”

**************************************************

On the separation of Church and State….

School Friend: “Do you believe in the devil?”
My Daughter: “Uh, no. I don’t believe in scary things like Hell, either.”
School Friend: “Oh. Well you SHOULD! Do you listen to rap or Katy Pery? Because they sold their souls to the devil. You need to listen to gospel!”
My Daughter: “What business is it of yours what I believe in? We’re not even supposed to be talking about this. This isn’t a Christian school!”

I love my daughter.

******************************************************
On Creepy old men…..

(Working Title: “Next Up on To Catch a Predator”

Older men of planet Earth, roughly 35+, please stop being gross. More specifically, stop openly lusting after girls significantly younger than yourself. Do whatever you want in private. Amass your collection of “barely legal” porn and have a big old freaky creepfest, all to hairy yourselves. But, for christsakes, what happens in your pervert den needs to stay in your pervert den!

When I was in my teens and twenties, and men my father’s age hit on me, it was gross. I smiled politely, because that’s what nice girls do, and because it’s a little sad, but ultimately…just gross. And all these years later, as I watch middle-aged men make the same millenia-old advances on very young girls…still gross.

Tonight I stood in a checkout line behind a dude between 35 and 40 years old, witnessing his miserable attempts at flirting with the teenage checker. After idle chit-chat, he angled his head to look at her name tag. “Carly. That’s a very pretty name. Just like you.” She thanked him, courteously, scanning his purchases as fast as she could, as he continued with, “I’m Dennis. It’s nice to meet you.” He inquired when she was getting off work. She wisely avoided answering.

When he left, and she was ringing me up, I said, “Hey. So, uh, my name’s Dennis. What time you gettin’ off?” She looked up at me, surprised, then busted up laughing. She said, “You caught that same vibe, huh?” I told her I couldn’t help mentioning the weirdness, and she said, “You see this blue dot on my name tag? It means I’m underage. I’m 17.” She smiled and rolled her eyes. This happens to her a lot. In my best redneck, I drawled, “Yeah, but Carly sho is a purdy name.” We both giggled, and I felt I’d helped scrub away a bit of the yuck that had been left by Stranger Danger Dennis.

Then I said: “But, in all seriousness, maybe have someone walk you to your car tonight.”

****************************************************
On letters to my daughters…

Dear Bubby,

You recently helped an elderly woman carry her groceries into her condo, unprompted. Afterward, she called out to your dad and I, “You are doing a wonderful job with her! Children these days just don’t do things like that anymore!” What she didn’t know is, while your dad and I feel pretty solid in our parenting, and happily take credit where it’s due, the driving force behind your thoughtfulness is generated directly, and purely, from your own gigantic heart. It’s not a learned behavior. You are just wonderful.

And I hope the world doesn’t beat that out of you. Rather, I hope you don’t let it. Because it’s easy to let it. Trust me. Enough people will repay your kindness with a knife in your back, and you will begin to doubt the wisdom of remaining kind. Some say those that meet kindness with cruelty are the ones who need kindness most of all, and others (like me) say, f*ck those guys. You’ll learn how and where to draw the lines in your own compassionate sand. And if you listen to your instincts (and not the babble of your head), you’re gonna do just fine.

*******************************************************
On Pop Music…..

I just watched Nicki Minaj give Lil’ Wayne a lap dance on stage at the Billboard awards. I don’t generally watch these things, but icons from my youth were being honored: Madonna and Prince. And before I could weep for my daughters’ generation, I remembered the biggest song on the radio when I was 11 years old was “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael.

And I turned out just fine.

(Be afraid.)

******************************************************
On New Year’s resolutions….

At the start of the year I wrote an email to myself: “I will learn to forgive in 2013. Not just accept, not just deal, not just “let go”, but forgive. I will do so with a clearer head and an expanding heart. I will face fears and summon courage.”

___________________________________________

So long, 2013. Onward and upwards.

Perils, Parties and Propositions

Hi. My name is Niki and I am an inconsistent blogger.
(Hello, Niki.)
But I suppose there are worse things to be.

I’ve had stories to tell, and happenings to disclose, and opinions to share, and ideas to bounce off the universe, but 2013 has been something of a challenge in nearly all areas of my personal life – and the time or energy for sharing has been minimal. And since there’s a ton on my plate at present, yet I’d really like to get back into the writing swing, pardon me while I babble about my week.

I’m throwing three parties in the next nine days. Two of them for children. Correction, one of them for children, one for preteens – an entirely different species. I’m doing this because I’m a crazy person. Oh, and I’m drawing invitations and 6 ft. banners by hand, and painting, and possibly building a Space Needle out of foam board, because (it’s so much fun, and I’m rockin’ it) I need professional help with my crazy.

tumblr_mus2w2wvjE1qafr64o1_500Party one is a farewell affair for my best guy pal in town (I already lost a best gal pal last month to Chicago – this year can seriously suck it). He’s moving to Seattle to pursue love and happiness with his boyfriend. Since Seatown is my hometown, I volunteered to host a party in his honor and I’ve been having a blast with the decorations. I’ve suspended umbrellas from my ceiling and shaped shiny blue, fringed wire garland to hang from them like streams of rain. I practiced drawing an orca whale, Mt. Rainer, the Space Needle and spent four hours incorporating them into a sketch for my giant banner. And, though my aging, aching, withering right hand currently detests me, I’m tossing around the idea of launching construction on a 2 ft. tall Space Needle centerpiece. Foam board or perhaps paper mache; not sure. I’ve never worked with either, because I don’t usually do shit like this.

Sketch of Banner. Unfinished.  Hand on Strike.

Sketch of Banner. Unfinished.
Hand on Strike.

Why the sudden burst of creativity? There are lots of answers to that, the simplest being: my little one is in preschool and (in a forever furloughed/sequestered/government-shuttin’-down military/border patrol dependent town) I have not been able to find a decent job. This leaves me with free time, for the first time in five years. And you know what that means, don’t you? Aww yeah. It’s bout to get crafty up in this bitch!

Party two and three are Halloween-related. My eldest had asked for a costume party, I’d agreed, and then the little one said, “Will I have to stay in my room for her party?” *GASP* Heart cracked in two! See, my girls are seven years apart, and more and more the activities one will partake in is neither age appropriate nor age appealing to the other. A spooky, creepy, scary (possible haunted house in my garage) event designed for 11 year olds would not necessarily go over well with 4 year olds, or their parents. Or Child Protective Services. So I told my littlest one, “No, baby. You’re going to have your own party!”

YAAAAAAAY! Everybody wins! And gets a party! And mommy didn’t need to sleep or eat, anyway.

I also have some sewing to do this week. I don’t own a sewing machine – and, in fact, never learned to operate one – so it takes a while. I know it’s a simple skill to pick up, I just haven’t gotten around to it…in 36 years. My mom tried to teach me when I was a girl, but much like her attempt to teach me to cook, and craft, and fold a fitted sheet properly, her efforts met with my surly teenage obstinance. “OMG! I’m NOT going to be housewife! Ever. Ugh.” Just kidding. We didn’t say “OMG” back then. We said “Oh my God.” It was a dark, barbaric, internet-less time.images

By refusing to learn “women’s work” (I really must have thought Future Niki was going to have servants) everything is hard now. Thanks, Younger Impractical Feminist Niki.

Funny side bit about the sewing project, though; the other night I was asked out on a date in a fabric store. I had to walk through the mall to get to this store, and I remember briefly making and breaking eye contact with a fellow (standing? walking? don’t recall) just outside the entrance. He followed me into the store and called to me with a “Hey!” I turned as he approached me, holding out tickets in his hand, and he said, “Uh, do you want to go on a date? I have these movie tickets and…..” he trails off, looking at me…hopefully.

He couldn’t have been a day over 25, clean-cut, average looks, on the short side, not my type (but considering no one I’ve dated looks like anyone else I’ve ever dated, I’m not sure I have a type – rather, my type is funny and smart), and, naturally, it wouldn’t have mattered if he was my type, being that I’m a happily married lady who has no interest in any gross cougary business. So I said, “Oh! If I weren’t married, I would. I’m sorry. Good luck!”

Which was a lie. I wouldn’t. Not if I were single, and not even if I were single and his age, because my sense of stranger danger is (possibly overactive) very acute. “Hey! Uh…do you want to go on a date? I have these movie tickets…and…oh yeah? You do! Great! My name’s Ted, but all my friends call me Bundy. Real quick, do you mind if we stop by my nondescript, windowless van first? I left my wallet in there.”

He was probably just a lonely kid working on a new dating tactic, or maybe the pre-bought-tickets/scout-the-mall-for-chicks thing had worked for him in the past. Or maybe he indeed lures 30-something women toward a grisly death in his van of terror. Beats me. But I do wish I’d found out which movie he’d preselected. Was it “Machete Kills”? Or maybe “Cloudy with a Chance of Freakballs”? Alas, we shall never know.

When Brains Give You Lemons

My daughter’s fifth grade teacher taught her class how to meditate and I was delighted to hear it. What a useful life skill (and an ingenious way of getting two dozen rambunctious preteens to calm the hell down). I told my daughter I wished I’d been taught that young, and I asked if she was able to quiet her mind. She said, “Yup. Easy.”

Easy? Hmm. I explained that I’ve never found it all that easy. That my mind likes to chatter, incessantly. I told her it went a little something like this, after about 30 seconds of silence:

Mind: Oh hey, are we meditating?
Me: Yes. And ssshhh.
(10 seconds later)
Mind: You don’t have to shush me, you know. It was just a question.
(5 seconds later)
Mind: I mean, I just think that’s really rude.The shushing.
Me: Please be quiet.
Mind: Oh sure, sure. Serious stuff at hand. Got it. Don’t mind me. I’ll be over here. Properly shushing.
(10 seconds later)
Mind: Just breathing and shushing and relaxing. That’s us.
(5 seconds later)
Mind: Quiet time. Super quiety-quite time.
(2 seconds later)
Mind: Focusing on your breathing, that’s good. In and out. Out with the old, in with the new. Some fascinating involuntary medulla oblongata shit right there.
Me: Ssshhh!
(15 seconds later)
Mind: You know what’s nice?
(5 seconds later)
Mind: Lemons.
(2 seconds later)
Mind: Really though, just everything about them is tasty and refreshing. I can’t think of a single terrible lemony thing. Grandma liked lemons. We should make lemon tea. And lemon bars. Do we have enough sugar? We need to buy more measuring spoons. Where do they all go? Who steals measuring spoons? God I hate doing dishes…..”
Me: SSSSSHHHHH!
(25 seconds later)
Mind: You hear that?
(10 Seconds later)
Mind: Is that the refrigerator kicking on? Is it always that loud?
(5 seconds later)
Mind: I’m not trying to bother you, I’m just saying that the refrigerator sounds like a goddamn 747 roaring in your kitchen right now. But I’m sure that’s normal.
Me: Please, oh please, oh please just SHUT UP.
Mind: Oh right. Calming the mind. Confering with “the soul.” My bad.
(5 seconds later)
Mind: Just curious, does “the soul” know you have a dentist appointment on Thursday? Does “the soul” know where your car keys are?
Me: YOU don’t know where my car keys are!
Mind: And that, my friend, is true. Are we done yet?
Me: *sigh* I think so.
Mind: Good. Let’s make lemon bars!

Lemons

How Many Electronics Do I Need?

How many electronics do I need/should I want/should I already own? I only ask because, no matter the hundreds we spend on gadgets, or upgrading gadgets in this household, my husband and I are always well behind the digital curve. Yet, when I pause to look around this house I can’t help but feel we have a LOT of STUFF.
Too much.

We have a desktop PC, a laptop, a netbook and a WiFi router to connect them all. We have two run-of-the-mill digital cameras. We have a Wii and three Nintendo DS Lites, though not a one of us is a gamer – at least I don’t think Mario and Luigi expertise qualifies our nine year old as one. We have three iPod Shuffles, one iPod Nano, and a small, unspectacular dock. We have two DVD players (one of which has a VHS player adjoined, because I’ve yet to copy my ancient home movies over to DVD before they disintegrate), a portable DVD player, two old school televisions and one stupidly expensive 52 inch flat screen HD one. We have an alarm system to protect all of it, and we only just bought a GPS device – like, last month.

But here’s what we don’t have: a DVR, a home theater system (not a complete one, anyway), a PlayStation, an Xbox, a Blu-ray player, a Nook/Kindle/e-book reader. We don’t have a MacBook, an iPad, an iPod Touch, an iPod adapter for the car or an iPhone. We do not have “an app for that.” In fact – and here’s the real shocker – my cell phone is un-smart. My cell phone practically drools on itself. My cell phone’s ringtone is “Duh.”
And, these days, that leaves me feeling like I’m from another century (oh, wait, I am). But, I DON’T WANT ANYMORE STUFF!

Don’t get me wrong, I like gadgets, indeed I do or we wouldn’t have the current lot. I’m the one that wants, installs, assembles, wires and programs the new toys in this house – eager to play with them all. But the bulk of what’s available, and what it seems everyone I know already purchased ages ago, gives me the sense of having four hundred remote controls – and just wanting the one that will do everything. And I’ve no doubt I could downsize to The One Thing That Can Do Everything, but by the time I do that they’ll introduce The One Thing That Can Do Everything Way More Awesome.
And, mostly, I just never thought I’d come to sorta-kinda envy the Amish.

Addendum: As of Mother’s Day, I am now the bewildered owner of a Kindle. Thanks to my thoughtful, well-meaning husband….who apparently doesn’t read my blog. 😉
(I’m kidding. I have to say I’m kidding because he totally reads my blog, just not promptly.)

I Want a Dog

Like the Pet Shop Boys once said, I want a dog.

But not a Chihuahua. I don’t ever want a dog a cat can beat the kibbles out of. I want a DOG-dog. Mid-size, solid, intimidating bark, mild-mannered, loyal, loving, soulful round eyes reflecting pink, bursting hearts: preferably a Golden Retriever.

I almost bought one three years ago. I was passing a pet store in a Tucson mall and there in the window was this panting, miserable, adorable, puppy-mill of a Golden Retriever – being sold for $2000. I just so happened to have $2000 at my disposal at the time and, by God, I was going to save this puppy! I was inside the store, with my credit card out, when I had a brief attack of conscience and thought, “I should probably call my fiancé first.” I called him, and he gently talked me down from the puppy ledge. He reminded me that, not only did we have our wedding coming up in two weeks, a pet is never something to be procured impulsively, rather this was something we should discuss, agree to and prepare for.

I put my credit card away and promised that fuzzy baby doggy face that I would be back the following weekend. But that next weekend I found out I was pregnant. And – as is so often the case in life – stork trumps dog.

Still, I think about that puppy so often. I wonder where he is now, what kind of life he’s had, and how he would have fit into our family. We could’ve made it work. After all, we made the surprise-surprise baby work, and that baby has bitten us, destroyed our belongings and shat on the rug – more than once. And she’s wonderful! People “make things work” all the time. But, with all the traveling I’m planning this year, I feel guilty just buying a houseplant.

I can’t have a dog.
But, oh, how I want a dog.

Addendum: My husband just sent me a lengthy email detailing why this is possibly the worst song he has ever heard in his life: “I think it made part of my brain go mushy.”

I guess that’s why the title of this blog isn’t “Hey everybody, listen to this brain-liquefying song!”