Monthly Archives: April 2013

1:11 PM

1:11 PM


She traded it all for a silver kiss. A slow, smooth, cool, decadent kiss that reminded her of who she was.

She marked the time of the kiss, so simple and benign at first, at exactly 1:11PM. A time that, for some metaphysical, astrological or numerological reason, she was inextricably tied to.

Years later she would continue to be slightly obsessed by this time of day. If it was 1:09, she would stare at the time until it progressed to 1:11 and would feel a small outburst in the pit of her stomach. At 1:12, it would be gone.

On the first instance of 1:11, she was on a plane flying to attend her mother’s funeral.  She had always been exceptionally close to her mother, but in the past five years she had been swallowed slowly but steadily into the vacuum of dementia. She would have preferred to be able to say goodbye in a much more cinematic way with a last thank you to the woman who raised and loved her unconditionally, and her mother gifting her some final words of wisdom and love. But, they were destined to have the kind of farewell that slowly slid into oblivion without any real end point to refer back to over the years for some sort of solace. Her last lucid conversation with her mother went unchecked and, try as she might, she could not remember what it was or when it took place.

She felt  her own life had taken on some of the tone and color of dementia. The thread that connected her to her unique likes, dislikes, passions thinning to the point of breakage. She could only picture herself in a hazy, watery reflection, no longer in sharp focus.

This is what she was thinking of as she stared out over the fluffy marshmallow landscape outside her small window at 1:11 Mountain Standard Time.

Then, the second instance of 1:11. The kiss.

She was at a crossroads. Possibly the first of her life, or at least the first she took note of. She’d always been a person who winged it. Never a planner, just waited for the signs of what her next step should be by what crash landed at her feet at a particular moment. Then, she’d stop, say “What the hell?” and move into that direction. She lived her life as if she were in a maze of life choices. Hit a wall, turn right. Hit a wall, turn left. But, always keep moving.

WIth this new wall there didn’t seem to be any logical way to turn. She just kept moving against it like some kid’s wind-up toy.

Unbelievably, as she now stood in front of her husband, unsure of what to say, she allowed herself a glance at the clock.

1:11.

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(Now, if you are so inclined, please go directly here: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/107-voting/ to read other great writers and vote for your favorites…hopefully mine being one of them!)

 

Cap’n Crunch And The Weakening of Our Youth

Cap’n Crunch And The Weakening of Our Youth

Captain_Crunch_WTF_507516178

Oh Cap’n, my Cap’n. I am sorely vexed.

I have recently heard what I had hoped was an urban legend – that the original recipe for my favorite weed-induced breakfast cereal has been changed.

I speak, of course, of Cap’n Crunch, Original flavor. Because I require Yellow Dye 5 and 6.

The broken glass and razor nuggets that used to slice up the roof of my mouth, rendering it useless for other foods, is now softer and less abrasive.

Say it isn’t so, Cap’n!

This is yet one more example of the codling of our children. We are at risk of raising a generation of people without leathery upper palettes. People who have smooth inner cheeks and lack the life skills to deal with violent food stuffs.

Why, when I was young we ate only after beating our food into submission in a violent knife fight. Then we washed the jagged shards down with a sugary liquid laden with every chemical dye known to man. And, if it came in a can and was called Hi-C but possessed no known vitamin of any letter, then all the better.

I remember stealing my parent’s Maraschino Cherries from the liquor cabinet. That’s right, I was shooting formaldehyde by the time I was 8.

So, keep your gentrified cereals, you generation of weaklings. I will continue to man-up and chew, unabated.

And to you I say, There Will Be Blood.

The Wall of Confusion

The Wall of Confusion

living_in_boston

I wanted to bring the funny this week, but I’m having a hard time with that.

I felt like I wanted to say something about the horrific violence this week but also felt like one more missive about it wasn’t going to necessarily help anyone.

But, it’s kind of like listening to really sad songs after a bad breakup. I kind of want to wallow for a while. It seems appropriate.

When senseless violence happens on any scale, it confounds me. I find myself walking around in a general state of confusion. There is also sadness, anger, sympathy. But for me the overwhelming emotion is confusion.

With the events this week, I’m feeling all the more confused. This one feels different to me than some of the other horrific events we’ve been through. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a runner myself. Maybe it’s that I have friends who have run the Boston Marathon in the past. Maybe it’s that I’ve been to tons of events just like this one, sharing in the camaraderie and excitement of the crowd.

But, I think at it’s core, this one confuses me because it was a day of joy and community that was targeted. It was a day of great accomplishment for so many, with friends and family there to support and love these runners who had trained hard and made this, the most prestigious foot race in the country, a goal.  For many, just making it to the Boston Marathon was a huge goal met. To run it and finish could be a life-changing accomplishment.

I am of the thought that people are wired to be inherently good. That given a choice, humans will choose to be empathetic, to help, to connect, to care about each other. Every clip and news story I see supports that when you see the number of people running toward the danger to help others stuck in the midst of it.

So, what was the message that these broken people wanted to send? What could only be said by the deaths of children and the disablement of such able bodies? I can’t imagine, even for a moment.

But, I also know that we can’t imagine it because we are not them. We understand the immeasurable value of human life, family, community, altruism.

Violence doesn’t understand the value of anything but violence.

So, how can we ever understand in order to stop the feelings of confusion? We can’t.

And, for that I am actually grateful. Because as long as we’re confused, I know we will never understand. And if we never understand, we don’t run the risk of being them. Ever. Not for a moment.

So, this is a confusion I will choose to embrace.

If Lunacy Had a Soundtrack It Would Go Something Like This

If Lunacy Had a Soundtrack It Would Go Something Like This
Play Freebird!!

Play Freebird!!

There is nothing weirder than kids. Except maybe parenting kids. That’s just Kim Jong Un weird. You know, unreasonable weird.

I don’t usually like to blog much about being a parent. It’s not that I have an issue with being a parent….who the hell am I kidding? OF COURSE I HAVE AN ISSUE WITH BEING A PARENT!

Being a parent is being in the epicenter of the lunatic fringe, if that’s even possible. The thing is, I kind of like being in that epicenter. Except for the noise there. And the crying (theirs and mine). Oh, and the smell. Definitely the smell.

At the end of the day, the odd way kids see the world is what I sort of dig about them. It would appear I kind of get lunatics. Who knew?

But, there is shit they come up with that I honestly think would better the world as a whole if we all just decided to behaved like them.

Case in point: My kids seem to constantly be singing. They have a soundtrack for everything. They can’t help themselves, they start to hum and sing background music for almost anything you can imagine.

  • Watching the velodrome races during the Olympics, they sing circus clown music. I suddenly enjoy watching track cycling. A first, I assure you.
  • Walking through a zoo, they have a different song for each animal depending upon the pace of their movements and physical oddities.
  • In the grocery store – each fruit has a theme song.
  • They actually wrote some rap upon seeing  a woman pushing a little pug in a baby stroller (I know, I live in southern California, shit like that happens).

Puppy in a stroller
What’s wrong with your legs?
Puppy in a stroller
I bet you’d like some eggs.
Puppy in a stroller
Bone

They even made up a game called Colored Elmo. And, no, this is not some strange racial slur. Though, if Elmo ever needed to be cast as a human, I think Samuel L. Jackson may be our man.

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The rules of this game are as follows:

Player One thinks of a color. They then begin singing a tune that reminds them of that color.

Player Two then rattles off every color they can think of that may (or may not) match up with the color the music brings to mind. These colors can range from primary (green, blue, red, etc.) to hybrids (chartreuse, puce, mauve, etc.) to precious metals (bronze, gold, platinum, etc.).

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Player Two, Player One has changed the color numerous times in his head to throw off and enrage Player Two.

It’s fun stuff until someone loses an eye.

So, next time you are in some high-powered meeting, putting gas in your car, having a mammogram or a prostate exam done, go ahead and sing a little ditty. It just might put the whole thing in a new light.

Or, you may end up either arrested or institutionalized. Either way, you’ll have a song in your heart.

Hitting Publish – My Year of Living Dangerously

Hitting Publish – My Year of Living Dangerously

It was one year ago that I wrote my first blog post. I’d invite you all to an awkward first birthday party but I don’t know how to bake a virtual cake. Though I could probably figure out a virtual piñata of sorts.

All of this was really a grand experiment to see if I could stick to ANYTHING for a whole year so, from that perspective, it’s been a success. I said I’d post something, good or bad (no comments please) every week for a year and by God I did. So Yay Me!

Some milestones this year:

  • Hitting the Publish button for the first time was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
  • People actually read my stuff this year. I remember the first person who subscribed to Left of Plumb who was not a friend or family member or who I paid. I almost wet myself. I could not believe anyone would purposefully read something I wrote. What a revelation!
  • Writers are awesome people. I’m not including myself in that, by the way, lest you think I’ve got an overly healthy view of myself. Having insecurity and angst is the foundation of being a writer. But I’ve had the chance to “meet” so many this year and have been amazed at how nurturing and supportive that community is. And, I might add, I have been overjoyed at the amount of funny out there!! I salute you all!
  • I feel about this blog much like I feel about my children. I both love and hate this blog.  Some weeks I can’t wait to get a post out. Other weeks I want to start it on fire, pee on it, then start it on fire again.
  • I really hate social media and suck at it. Twitter is like a black hole of despair for me. But, evidently, one has to suck it up and do them all in order to get “followers” (which just sounds creepy and Jim Jones Kool-aidey). Twatter, Bookface, Instacrap, I hate them! And, they make me feel like I have headgear and am sitting alone at a table in the cafeteria eating applesauce.
  • I have not received a single mean comment. Now, please do not take this as a challenge or request, because despite what you may think, I am fragile and could devolve into tears at any moment. But, the fact that all these total strangers have been so kind and supportive has renewed my faith that the world is full of rockin’ decent folks! And, even without meeting them, I feel like I can call some of them friends. How over-the-top cool is that?!

So, those are just a few of my thoughts around this year of living dangerously. A well-deserved tip of the hat to all of us who have put ourselves out there for the world to see and are still alive (and not institutionalized) to talk about it.

To another year!

Even Tom Waits is impressed...

Even Tom Waits is impressed…