Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The comparison: soap operas on t.v. give women something similar to what men get from pornography. Now, keep reading. The premise of the program was that men and women have different needs. The soap operas were a fantasy for women in that the men in the shows were attentive, talked a lot about their feelings, brought flowers and jewelry to the women, took the women out to parties and dinners.
In pornography the women were fantasy creatures for the men. The men didn't need to talk to them, bring them stuff, take them out or have any emotional relationship. The purpose of the association was sexual and the men didn't have to be involved on any other level.
The people on the talk show went on to discuss how women who spent a great deal of time involved with a soap opera often began to expect the real men in their lives to behave like the fantasy men on the show. There were various speakers: a psychologist, an actress who was quite famous back then from a soap, and a woman who had actually divorced her husband for failing to be more like the character she'd developed a fixation for on her soap. Realizing that they all had a point to make, I watched the show with some skepticism.
But as the divorced woman spoke, I got uncomfortable as I recognized some of what she said was relevant in my own life. I had a favorite show and I thought of the times I'd changed an appointment or put off my kids just so that I'd be home and undisturbed to watch the show. It was aggravating to watch it---plot developments took weeks and weeks to come to a climax. The writers had the ability to postpone the revelations and keep the bombshell from exploding day after day after day. I had started substitute teaching about then and many days in a row I'd miss the show because I was working. Then when I'd have a chance to catch up on it, N O T H I N G had happened!
Then I watched this show. And I saw myself in these people. I had begun to feel annoyed at my husband because he wasn't like the bad/cool guy on the show--why not? They both wore leather jackets and had long hair?? Why didn't my husband take me in his arms that way and bring me flowers and tell me all that mushy stuff?? And take me to a ball?? ummmm...because he was a REAL PERSON who had to work every night and sleep days and we had a houseful of kids and bills to pay and a car to keep working and he was usually exhausted and I had PMS and...and...
I decided right then to never watch that dopey show again. And I didn't. Months later, we moved to a new town and the local paper had a synopsis of the soaps every week. So I read it to see what had been happening since I'd quit cold turkey.
N O T H I N G had happened! The Big Secret had still not been revealed, the devastating effects on the heroine's relationship had still not occured. Blah, blah, blah...I realized I'd been freed from a bad relationship and I hadn't even missed them. And my REAL relationship with my REAL guy had dramatically improved because he was no longer in a losing competition with a fake guy.
So, the moral to the story is: don't watch soaps and don't look at pornography---they'll both screw up your real life.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
The grown child that you are visiting is still beloved entirely by you both. She's your child! Just because she grew to adulthood, and married and produced off-spring doesn't diminish your love. Then, there is the off-spring. This child is at the stage your brain remembers the now-adult child, so you get to experience all the joyful parts of her life again! At the same time you're enjoying the grown-child-parent still---the relationship is different, but the love is still the same. And you get to re-live the exhuberance of childhood with a littler version of her, sort of. This little kid just thinks you are the Coolest Thing Ever, too, dropping in occasionally with new books, new socks, and trips in the car without Mommy or Daddy that involve lemonade and licorice!
All the joy and love again---but this time you're not in charge of the drudgery!
comfy clogs from LLBean or Bjorn? Check!
jeans or other easy-wearing pants? Check!
fleece vest? Check!
cotton knit shirt under the vest? Check!
little or no make-up? Check!
sensible hairdo? oops...I don't think long, multi-colored (well, the top half is gray and the bottom half is dark blonde) fits into the "type"...bummer.
But I'll keep looking around in different parts of town. Maybe there's an old lady-with-the-long gray-braid part of town here somewhere.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
"Never mind", I thought in my Emily Litella voice as I drove out of the parking lot.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
She just strolled across the living room floor--from where?? She's not telling.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
When we were high school seniors, Cool Guy and I (and the whole rest of our class) had a Senior Trip scheduled to Salt Lake City. We would go down on one day and do some stuff, stay overnight, and return the next day after doing some more stuff--like the big amusement park, some kind of entertainment, etc. For 33 years this trip has been a head-slapper for Cool Guy. Don't get him started... I barely remember it for some reason. In fact, until it came up the first time after we were married, I'd forgotten about the trip. Also, I don't recall the whole controversy that occured at the time.
See, apparently the choices for the entertainment on that trip were:
- go see Neil Diamond perform
- go to the Ice Capades
Now you're saying to yourself: Duh? Seniors in high school were being asked if they wanted to go to the stupid Ice Capades over Neil Diamond?? In 1971, when he was totally famous, young, wild, top of the charts?? Who would possibly vote for Ice Capades in our class?? Probably a couple of people did. I don't remember being given the choice. Really, I don't.
But, our advisor didn't want to go to Neil Diamond and, according to Cool Guy, lobbied heavily for Ice Capades. The reasons he says she gave are now lost to our memories, but when he first discussed this topic with me, he could remember them all, and I believe most of them were just old fogey vs young people and involved a lot of cane-waving.
But, ultimately, we went to the Ice Capades...I have a vague memory of sitting up in the nose-bleed section of the Salt Palace and there are little twirling people down on the floor. Weird...It is amazing to me that a grown woman could be so oblivious to the lives of teenagers.
The weird thing is that just a year later, I did go to a Neil Diamond concert at college and he was AWESOME!! And then ten years later, I got to see him in concert again with my girlfriend and he was still AWESOME!! Poor Cool Guy---he was right.
Anyway, why did this come up? Tomorrow I get to chaperone a group of students from our school to see Disney on Ice. We received 40 free tickets and the lucky ones were the kids who had the highest points accrued through our reading incentive program (read certain books, and then take a comprehension test on the computer for points). Four of my students won from fourth grade and the VP asked if I'd like to go too. I'm so excited for my students: they really earned it and I'm thrilled they get an extra reward (above the obvious one of being motivated readers).
This is the age group that wants to see an ice show. NOT Seniors in high school who are going to the Big City for some fun. Ice Capades, indeed---may I never get that old.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
There were several fun crushes in the ensuing years:
- the boy from another town I met while riding my horse around the county fair
- the summer of the Student Body President dating me, then dumping me
- the guy who worked at a restaurant with my sister
- the guy who came up to Wyoming to spend the summer on his grandpa's ranch
- the guy who supposedly was tutoring me in geometry but mostly we'd just make out and then we decided it was ruining a perfectly good friendship and went back to just math
I dated a guy my whole senior year just because I needed a date for a number of functions due to my involvement in school government/clubs and he had a really cool car. He was very nice, and fun and I respected him, but he was not talented academically and I was a horrible snob about that.
I went off to BYU and found that only certain freshman girls get pursued by the RM's. I was not one of them. But as a sophomore somehow I was introduced to an RM who really liked me and dated me often, came home to meet my family (I was so oblivious to the ramifications of this--I was just proudly showing off my farm and my beautiful valley). He invited me to spend Thanksgiving with his family at Lake Mead (he was from California). I agreed, but then overheard my roommates discussing excitedly (thinking I was asleep) about me returning from Thanksgiving with a diamond and I suddenly realized that I was definitely not at the same stage of the relationship as the guy. So I just got a ride home to my parents for Thanksgiving without telling Mr. California that I was leaving town NOT with him. I was a really rude, inconsiderate person. But he was NOT The One.
Guess where I found The One? Sixth grade, it turns out. I did go to California the following year but it was to live with a girlfriend, who, like me, was flunking out of college. We moved there to be wild. It worked. We were. I dated the Really Cute Guy from world history for a few months since he was in the Navy there. And since Brown Eyes was also in the Navy there, and the two of them were inseparable, it was the three of us going to the movies, eating out, them rebuilding their motorcycles in a rented garage, me sitting around watching after I got off work. It soon became clear that World History Guy was in love with someone else--I was just the girl in town--and Brown Eyes' girlfriend of four years got engaged to someone else for Christmas....and soooo
Thirty-three years later we're still married and I have forgiven him for making me cry in Science. And he's really sorry for it, too. (Even though he has absolutely no recollection of doing it--nor of any of the other momentuous occasions I recorded in my diary. But, they didn't happen to him. So why would he?)
So SOMEONE finally got totally fed up and ten minutes into the movie just stood up and apologized profusely to the two gentlemen to the right of her as she climbed over them to another seat so she didn't suddenly have to shout at the person to the left to KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY.
The movie was very lovely after that and was so engrossing that finally Someone rarely noticed the chewing/talking that continued and could be heard from four seats away.
Then, for sixth grade, the little schools were all closed because the bigger one was completed in town, and for the first time I had more than 17 kids in my school. (Now, cue the slow-motion video, and the dramatic music...) there, in my classroom, sitting to the left of me, was a Really Cute Guy. He had sensational brown eyes, an awesome smile and--he read the dictionary for fun! Sadly, I was invisible. Actually, it wasn't so much that I was invisible as that I was somewhat out of sight, because he rarely had the occasion to tip his head back that far to look waaaayy up and see me there, towering over him. Our class photo shows me standing on the back row, a full head taller than the teacher, with him sitting on the front row, feet dangling above the floor without touching. I was a flagpole in sixth grade, and he hadn't started the growth spurt thing yet.
It didn't keep me from admiring his vocabulary or impressive manners, however. And every fact I thought I had exclusive rights to (from reading a large range of esoteric materials) seemed to be at his command. Hmmm...Plus he was really wild--he had a dirt bike! And he skiied. And he had amazing self-confidence and lots of friends. He also read naughty joke books, tucked into his lap, disguised by his social studies text propped up in front of him.
Naturally, I had none of these qualities, including the friends. Sixth grade was a tough year. I hadn't really had any friends in little school--lots of the girls there were related to each other, or were neighbors and I wasn't in the clique. But, I was determined to just join right in and make some friends in this new environment. I remember one snowy day when we had to stay inside for recess and I saw a group of girls over by the bookshelves chatting away, and I headed over to join in. As I approached, I heard them say, "Now, only girls who live on [a street near the school] can be our friends, except for Patty, cause she just moved, but she used to live there." So, I quickly pretended that my real errand was to pick out a dictionary just to the right of them. Not only did I NOT live on that street---I didn't even live in town. I lived seven miles south of town on a farm. Talk about wrong side of the tracks---I was on the wrong side of the barnyard.
But, there were two boys in our class with whom I developed awesome friendships, and they stayed my loyal friends for years after high school. Brown-eyes wasn't one of them. But did I let that deter my devotion? Of course not! I continued my outrageous campaign for his acknowledgement of my existence throughout junior high. I made friends with all of his girl friends, I made friends with all of his buddies. Actually, my friendships with the boys was independent of their association with him. These guys were just fun and, somehow, I always had more friends that were boys than I had friends that were girls. I was much more comfortable with boys. I think it was because at the time, I was living more like a boy than a girl. At home, I milked the cows twice a day, fed cattle, cleaned the barn, and in the summers hauled hay with my sisters. When I was 13 my dad gave me the colt born that spring and I spent two years training him. So, maybe I felt more compatible with boys because I wasn't doing my nails and hair and talking on the phone at home every night.
Except that I did use the phone to sigh and discuss Brown-Eyes with whichever sort-of "girlfriend" of his I'd befriended at the time. I really did like these girls. They turned out to be great friends, each one of them, and when his attention wandered off (as is the way of 14 year old boys) we remained good friends and so I did gain that benefit from my unrequited love.
I received a diary for my 13th birthday and faithfully wrote in it for a year. There are entries recounting every moment our lives intersected. Once, I recorded, that I got to write my name on a library card under his. Once, I sat behind him in an assembly that was a movie, so the room was darkened---ooohh---almost romantic. One extremely memorable time was dance class that was in lieu of gym every Wednesday in seventh grade. We usually learned folk dances like "Oh, Johnny, Oh" and square dances. I really liked dance class because the dances were fun. I'd learned most of them from my fourth grade teacher in the little school because she put on a full-blown program for every holiday--even Columbus Day--with singing, dancing, recitations, and costumes. (Good grief---I grew up as Laura Ingalls Wilder...)
Anyway...dance class in gym. Four girls formed each square. The boy foursomes rotated with each chorus to the next group of four girls. My failure to be in any obvious clique resulted in my being one of the leftovers and I was grouped with three other oddball girls, so that, by contrast, I was the "cool" one. Sigh...junior high is a cruel, cruel environment. When Brown-eyes and his three friends saw that we were next, they all got down in a track stance, for the "race" to be my partner. Brown-eyes won the race (I can still picture this) and grabbed me by the waist and twirled me around saying "I got you, my love!" Which, interpreted that day meant, "Whew....I don't have to dance with [the girl whose mother made her wear little zipped up overshoes with furry tops] or [the fat one who has bad skin and squinty eyes and weird hair] or....you get it. BUT...despite my understanding the hyperbole of his exclamation, it meant everything to me that, for four minutes, I could hold his hand and do-si-do and bow next to him. They raced off to the next square with just as much enthusiasm.
He was the perpetrator of my Most Humilating Moment of Science Class that year, too. We had science first period and he and my So-Called friends snatched my purse off my desk and went up to the front of the room to dump it out and investigate the contents. There wasn't much to see: Avon lipstick samples, a comb, some Certs and---my Little Book from Health Class. Which he immediately opened and pretended to read, saying with each page, "Oh, this is interesting, oh, look at this, oh, really, hmmm...."
I tried snatching the purse back, but one of the friends was even taller than me (a miracle) and held it over his head, and after they dumped it out, I didn't think I'd be able to go on living because of the mortification at having the Little Book being displayed for all to see. At that point in life I had not yet started needing any of the Kimberly-Clark products they discussed in the Little Book, but the mere fact of them displaying to all the world, or at least my Science class, that I was an actual girl with a uterus and a vagina as illustrated was so embarrassing I can't believe I didn't die. I did start to cry however, and asked the science teacher (one of my mother's many, many cousins) to make them give back my things. Which of course he did. As the years go by, I realize now that I was probably the last to know, in that group of kids (including the boys) that I possessed a uterus and a vagina and why.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Monday Menu: Two hot dogs, smothered in canned chili and grated cheese; glass of milk
Tuesday Menu: Two hot dogs, covered with grilled [sauteed] red peppers and sliced onions; glass of milk
Wednesday Menu: Two hot dogs, toasted bun layered with alfalfa sprouts, avocado slices and brown mustard; glass of milk
Thursday Menu: stayed tuned!! There are still two hot dogs in the fridge!!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
"Sorry, are WIC machine is broken today. "
I was buying pens anyway. You KNOW what happens next. Yes, of course I scribbled out the wrong word and put in the right word. Duh.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
So, we parked and went in and paid our ten dollars each and went out back to jiggle door handles to find an empty bath. There are several little rooms where you go in, lock the door, take off your clothes, hang them up and then step down into the pool that is about 10 feet square. You are NOT allowed to wear a suit because it could contaminate the mineral water with residue or whatever. The water is about 104 degrees--we only heat our hottub to 100, so this is quite a bit hotter. You'll only last about 20 minutes. But, unless there is a crowd waiting for the tubs, you can go back in again after you cool off a bit.
There is no ceiling in this little "room", it is open to the sky, and the water is just continually dribbling in through a pipe coming through the wall. It smells lovely (unlike the faint chlorine smell of our hottub) and the feel of the water on your skin is soft and silky because of the mineral content. When I get out of our hottub, I always hurry right in for the lotion to soak up my feet and hands. Many times, I'll jump in the shower to rinse off the chlorinated water. But this mineral water just felt wonderful on my skin and I didn't need to slather myself with lotion.
But I got slathered...during the massage I had after the soak. There is a little courtyard in the middle of the soaking rooms, and one of the doorways has a sign identifying this room as the office of a massusse. So I went in and signed up for one hour. If you've never had a massage, then RIGHT NOW google your area and find a theraputic massage office and book yourself an hour of bliss. Ahhhhh....ooohhhhh....ahhhhh. That's all I can say. Someone rubbing your tired old muscles with warm cream while you lay silently on a soft table listening to new age-groovy wah music. OOhhhh....ahhhh. Doing this right after you have soaked yourself into a state of relaxed bliss in a hot mineral spring adds a fillip of decadence. Now, go---google!
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
The desert is actually quite beautiful in its own way. It is so completely different from the other places I've lived---hardwood forested east-coast; chapparal/beach west-coast; alpine forest Rocky Mountain valley. In the desert you get geology--unfiltered. The variations of the earth's plates are all thrust up and exposed. It is so obvious where each layer begins and ends and sometimes a hill right next to another hill has its layers moving in a completely opposite direction and you hope that God has an IMAX so when you get to heaven you can watch the tectonic wrestling match that must have caused this.
And the colors!! There are some canyons on the west side of Vegas that have the most precise stripes of startling red sandwiched in the layers of beige and brown and tan. It's like Mother Nature made a delicious PBJ and then Father Nature accidently sat on it, curving it around with all the colored layers.
Desert plants are no less amazing. You're gazing out on a scene so stark you'd think it was the moon, when you realize that the sides of these mounds of fossilized gargantuan elephant dung(actually...hills)are dotted with tiny little bushes. The leaves are the size of a piece of oatmeal and there are teeny little flowers in the center of each leaf group just blooming away. What pollinates these flowers? How can they grow in this hill that is just a huge lump of tiny rocks cemented in place by hard pan dirt?
As we go further down the canyon between these giant dung heaps we pass by fenced-off areas with stark red warning signs to stay out of the abandoned gypsum mines that are dug out under these hills. You can see the old timbers supporting the edges of the openings that are cut way back under these mounds. Now you know why the shape of these hills is so unique---they are just huge repositories of this mineral formed under prehistoric Lake Bonneville. As the water evaporated, it left behind these lumps and gradually the desert wind blew in enough soil to form a little eco-system with the essentials to support those tiny plants able to thrive on top of a pile of gypsum. Cool.
Then we turned a corner on this road that had narrowed and become a gravel path and voila! An oasis of date palms and bamboo appears like a mirage! (A cliche--but you can see why the old prospectors had to rub their eyes in disbelief after passing through the miles of moonscape to come upon lush greens and water.)
According to the sign a Chinese man started a farm here at these springs in the 1800's and sold food to nearby mining camps. He "mysteriously" disappeared and someone else took over the property and finally in the 1980's the most recent owners have planted date palms and have a little Bed and Breakfast. The property is only about 50 acres, tops, but it is thick with trees and a couple of ramshackle buildings. A small stream runs through it that is completely obscured by reeds and cottonwoods and apparently just disappears into the ground right outside the hills of this tiny valley. The owners pipe the spring water into their orchard and use drip irrigation to keep their trees alive. They make a living, and it is a lovely place to walk around and smell the moisture and marvel that anyone stayed alive in their trek through the surrounding deserts to find it in the first place.
I found myself thinking that I was grateful my ancestors were cow milkers and chose a remote, high mountain valley that is exquisitely beautiful to establish their dynasty of genteel poverty from which I could descend. I don't think I'd have liked growing up the progeny of hard-scrabble miners in the tiny dry villages that dot this area of no-man's land on the border of California and Nevada. But, many people living here are the off-spring of those crusty old loners, and wouldn't have it any other way.