November 23, 2010

West Meets East, Smiling Politely

(This column first appeared in the Good Times Weekly on November 18th, and can be found on their website here.)

As I prepare myself physically and mentally for an impending minor surgical procedure (nothing life-threatening, nothing to increase or decrease specific body parts, nothing I couldn’t discuss over cocktails in polite society), I look back at my journey to this point, the helpful advice received from friends and strangers, and the research into all of the options available to me.  Then I smile and thank someone’s god for western medicine.

Does it have to be this bad?

Before you get your yoga pants in a knot, allow me to continue.

I collect medical practitioners like kitchen appliances, and count among my handiest helpers chiropractors, acupuncturists, osteopaths and Rolfers, alongside Ear, Nose and Throat and Orthopedic doctors. I’ve had psychic readings from afar and visited gastroenterologists…for within. But my sigh of relief at western medicine stems from memories of my first brush with eastern medicine, a day I like to refer to as The Day My Black Heart Stood Still.

It happened some time ago, I can’t remember how long, but in memory it coincides with my being issued a Volvo station wagon, seven pair of flip flops, and a re-usable water bottle, representing the unofficial trifecta of Santa Cruz ideology: practicality, comfort and hydration, which places it around the time I moved here. Well-meaning friends were coercing me to try acupuncture. I suffered from chronic and annoying conditions that weren’t remedied by x-rays, prescription medication or repeated shrieking accusations that my doctor was clearly missing the obvious signs of early onset death. One can only argue with hippies and the persistently helpful for so long, so I gave in, made an appointment and within days found myself lying in wait in a vaguely Salv-Asian Army decorated room. (Oh, don’t write me a letter. Spend the time doing something constructive.)

Sweating through the thoughts that danced in my head as I prepared for that first experience with eastern medicine probably cured me of more ills than anything to follow. My mind raced from hopeful to fearful, from joy to shame, acceptance to panic. Maybe this would work! What if she could see into my black heart? Finally, someone who asked real questions! Could she tell I was lying about everything? If I fix this thing called qi, I’ll be okay! Holy crap, I’m going to drop through this floor straight to hell once her eastern-trained hands/eyes/spirit see into the abyss of my western-soaked soul! And mostly - Aha! That’s what that word is - Qi!

Knowing I had to play it cool and loose with this wise woman, I let her close the door all the way behind her, sit down and get the following five words out, “Hello, Kim. My name is…” before I blurted out, “Will you be able to see into my cold black heart, or will you be able to work around that?” I smiled after my verbal avalanche to relay my willingness to be labeled both “Pure Evil” as well as “Healed.” I wrung my hands and twisted my feet together, awaiting her judgment.

She laughed in such a relaxed, knowing manner that I was certain hundreds of people had asked her this before. Hundreds of other “little sh*ts,” as my aunt always called me, had trumpeted this warning, this confession, this apology and cry for help. This made me feel better. Until she answered, “No, I can’t see anything. You’re the first person who’s ever said that! That’s really funny!”

So of course we both laughed. Because of course I had been kidding. Of course. And she poked me with needles and rubbed my temples with lavender, and played lonely Native American panpipe music and I fell asleep.

When she was done with me, I did feel better, inside and out, and I continue to see her. And I still tell her funny jokes, like “Can you feel where I’m going to yell at my elderly parents later today?” And we laugh. And she keeps my secrets, and pokes me with needles. And she pretends, I assume like all good eastern medicine practitioners, that the true nature of her patient is not Death Race 2000 on pause. Right?

Maybe my secret is that I actually don’t have a black heart, or a cold dead soul, and maybe I should stop paying so many doctors to find what isn’t there. And the relief of western medicine? Well, aside from a hangover here and there, existential angst hasn’t played a role while getting my blood pressure taken. Perhaps I’m missing an opportunity?

(Kim Luke – 110 over 70 – was recently cupped for the first time and had a grand time explaining the hickies.

November 21, 2010

A Quick Quiz: Which Bowling Pin Are You?

Like everything else in life that can be reduced to simple comparisons, "Which Bowling Pin Are You" will accurately portray your character and, most likely, your future successes and failures.

1 = You are vulnerable, and frequently feel singled out. Some might say you are paranoid, convinced everyone is out to get you.

2 or 3 = You are a leader, and others will follow your path.  You’re often the target of attacks, but you have a good frame of reference.

5, 8 or 9 = You follow the pack and tend to go along with others’ decisions, often teetering at the last minute for dramatic effect.  Always in the shadow, you sometimes hold your ground for no apparent reason, just to be stubborn.

4 or 6 = You are wild cards, the life of the party, or the party pooper, and nobody can call you predictable.  Go with the flow?  Maybe.  Stand out like a sore thumb?  Maybe.  Only you can decide.

7 or 10 = You are loners and tend to not play well with others.   Ornery and obstinate, or fragile and weepy, nobody likes your instability and you know it.  The chip on your shoulder is a mile wide.  

November 13, 2010

Modified Sudden Death? Pass the Cheesecake!

The football clock, akin to the atomic clock.
As 2010 moves to its inevitable wrap-up, and I look back over the news stories, discoveries and revelations made over the past twelve months, I can’t be alone in naming the #1 most important policy change for humankind: the NFL Modified Sudden Death ruling.  (Wait! For those of you who just considered this piece “out of my comfort zone,” please continue – this has huge ramifications for anyone still breathing.)

November 11, 2010

Reading Babies: the 8th Sign of the Apocalypse

Here’s a fantastic new product I’ve seen advertised on the television, and can’t help but wonder how things are going for the beneficiaries of this amazing educational tool as they move through their lives. Why did it take so very long to realize that, indeed – Your Baby Can Read!?

Imagine the benefits of having a reading baby. No more pesky bedtime stories, no more hiding the poisonous cleaning supplies, no more boycotting foods containing dangerous allergens – that baby can take on a lot more responsibility now! But that’s not all!

November 9, 2010

The Gym and I

Statistic show that the average American will spend 67% of her lifetime income on fees related to exercising; 71% of her waking hours planning to go to the gym; 3% going to the gym; and roughly 52% of her free evening hours justifying not being at the gym*. I am an Average American and hope to address these statistics in a calm and  organized manner, perhaps shedding light on these astounding numbers through the finely focused lens of my own opinion.

(yes, food stain on skirt)
I’ll tell you right now why I don’t like going to the gym. Closed captioning. That’s the reason. When I’m on the treadmill or the stationary bike or the Stairmaster, I, like many of my exercising comrades, like to have that “at home on the couch watching television” experience. But at the gym I am forced to watch tv without the benefit of sound, and am expected to read the closed captioning. However, I am near-sighted. I am so nearsighted that this feat of literacy is not possible. Blur blur blur [music notes]. Blur blur blur [laughter]. This is no way to watch Ellen or CNN, and certainly not an effective way to soak up sports highlights. That is the reason I don’t like going to the gym. Closed captioning.

Also the clothes. The reason I don’t like going to the gym is the clothes. Apparently, according to experts, the appropriate fashions for a workout are stretchy, tight fitting and revealing.  I have read that the benefits include ease of movement and ability to monitor proper body alignment. This runs counter to my motivations for going to the gym in the first place – an unyielding desire to hide my body from sight under baggy, loose-fitting clothing. So, the reason I don’t like going to the gym is closed captioning and the clothing.

November 5, 2010

I Halloweened...Did You?

After making such a stink about being sexy on Halloween, I really had ranted myself into a corner, and had to do something both scary AND unattractive. So please enjoy this late greeting from Zombie Grandma, everyone's new favorite holiday spokeswoman. Move over, Santa! (p.s. I am available for parades and children's parties. Swearing included free!)

October 4, 2010

Roller Derby is Jazz

(This is the first installment in a series entitled "The Analogy Project: Comparing the Incomparable.")  
photo by nocklebeast

Modern roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the pants-wearing world. Jazz is an American music style birthed in the early 20th century, whose popularity continues to grow, especially among those predisposed to pants. Roller derby and jazz share many thematic, cultural and evolutionary similarities, although a grateful nation notes that Miles Davis rarely wore booty shorts. This paragraph contained a thesis statement. Don’t get lost!
Those unfamiliar with the current roller derby trend, and remembering only the iteration that consumed middle-America in mid-century, with all of its staged fights and well-planned outcomes, might associate this jazz analogy with a cheap lounge act along the lines of Bill Murray’s infamous character on Saturday Night Live (all for show, with a definite hint of someone’s tongue in a willing cheek). “Sure,” you think, “I enjoy the entertainment, but really, since the public failure of the XFL, haven’t we been through enough?”

September 17, 2010

Sunday: a review

Seven days in the week, and fewer than half are distinguishable among the fray. Monday’s reputation is well known and irrefutable. In fact, today is Monday and I would be remiss in describing it any way other than dreadful. Wednesday’s “Hump Day” moniker, while lending itself to sophomoric elbow prods, is embedded in our collective unconscious as a recurring attainable albeit low-slung goal. Saturday’s starring roles in numerous blockbusters, both film and song, have established its status as frat boy of weekdays. Tuesday and Thursday, seemingly content as the placeholders of the week, come and go all but unnoticed. But one rotation of the Earth remains a day of mystery, a day of ever-changing meaning, content, import and implication: Sunday.

By the time you are forty-six, you will personally experience 2,392 Sundays. Each will essentially begin the same, sun rising in the east, and end identically as well, sun setting in the west. However, every five hundred Sundays or so, elemental changes will take place. Saturday will always precede, and Monday will always follow, but what happens in between runs the gamut.

September 3, 2010

Doppelgangers Among Us or Who's That Girl?

(This column first appeared in the Good Times Weekly on August 18th, and can be found on their website here)

A few weeks ago, during a typically foggy, chilly Santa Cruz morning, I decided to take a brisk walk to get the blood moving, revitalize the senses and energize my mental state. It was early in the day and as such I chose to simply hide my comfortable almost-pajamas and disheveled almost-awake self with a black trench coat cinched dramatically at the waist, a pair of extra large sunglasses, and a neatly tied black scarf atop the leftovers of the previous night’s fantastic hairdo. As I headed for the front door, a brief glance in the mirror told me I looked a lot like a movie star in a clichéd disguise, more specifically (and fantastically, in the true sense of the word – the derivative of “fantasy”) I imagined I looked a lot like 1970’s era Elizabeth Taylor dodging the public eye. (Need I remind you that it was very early, and I probably had not yet had my reality-inducing first cup of coffee, so humor me.)

Basking in my newfound, if wholly undeserved confidence, I adopted a slight swagger in my step, thinking, “How would La Liz exercise?”  I committed to my own inner monologue and avoided direct eye contact with strangers, as if I were Someone Important who did not want to be bothered. I reminisced about my marriages to Richard Burton and my perfume empire. My journey led me toward the Boardwalk, and through small groups of early arrivals at the beach: groups of families, friends and a church group or two. My intent to breeze through on the wings of the starlet express was halted mid-step as a teenager muttered, “Is that Rosie O’Donnell?”

My personal Mancini soundtrack skipped a few grooves, my stride de-glamorized as I tripped over the offending comment, and my mouth fell open in shock. Rosie O’Donnell? The reality of my true demeanor fell over me like a breaking wave. Not the kind of wave that lifts you up and carries you like a graceful water goddess to the edge of the sand, but a wave that knocks you over unexpectedly, rolls you on the sea floor and tosses you out with sand in all the wrong places. How could I have been so delusional? Nothing against Ms. O’Donnell, but when one is trying to feign paparazzi dodging, one usually does not adopt a personage that requires dialogue along the lines of, “Yo! Exercising here! A little privacy?!!"

The remainder of my stroll lacked zing. I trudged home to resume life as plain old me. I thought about the mistaken identity perpetrated by the teen (whom I pegged immediately as a Taylor Lautner look-alike), and the doppelganger tribes among us. I admit to being one of those people who regularly says things like, “He’s a Robert de Niro guy,” or “She’s one of the Jessica Tandys” when describing someone. Apparently what I hadn’t considered was that I might be “a Rosie O’Donnell.” Doctor heal thyself? How about “judge pigeonhole thyself.”

August 12, 2010

Vote Bluto Tuesday For Change Today or I Can’t Believe I Watched the Whole Thing

(This column first appeared in the Good Times Weekly on July 8th, and can be found on their web site here)

The June 8th election has come and gone, and with the exhale of relief as the primaries fade, comes the gasping inhale of sheer exhilaration as the California general election looms.

From now until November 2nd it’s campaign free-for-all season! Some of you are pretty excited about this; some of you dread it like a root canal. Still others are making that confused golden retriever face right now, muttering “election?”

Being a fan of overworked clichés, I’d like to say I’m as political as the next guy, but here in Santa Cruz that can be a dangerous statement. Some of the next guys are much more informed, embroiled and passionate than I; some of the next guys don’t believe in voting.  Some of the next guys will rant your ears off on issues that only exist in their beautiful spotless minds. I personally don’t tend to wax political, even in an election year. Let’s just say, to borrow a phrase from the art world, I don’t know politics, but I know what I like. This generally leads me to the candidate and issues I support. But one thing I know for sure – I don’t like campaigns.

As campaign season gets underway, so will the sloughs of similes. Campaigns are like locusts; they come every few years, make a lot of noise and leave a mess. Campaigns are like childbirth; nine months of discomfort, a night of screaming at one’s closest support staff, resulting in at least one crying baby. Campaigns are like baseball; aficionados assemble fantasy teams while the rest of the country tolerates highlight reels. Campaigns are like a cheap buffet; all you can eat, but nothing you can stomach. Campaigns are like Van Halen; someone’s got to sing, and it’s not always David Lee Roth.

I’d like to throw another simile into the ring for consideration: Campaigns are like Popeye cartoons. Not merely because they are poorly colorized and include veiled support for the tobacco industry, but for a host of intricate parallels, to wit:

July 9, 2010

Cleanliness Is Next To...Solvency? (from the archives)

It’s happening again.  I’m having one of my moments.  My husband is self-employed, which means every now and then “the checks are in the mail” – to us.  Now, as history will prove, the checks really are in the mail.  We’ve never landed in the poor house, never even close.  In every economy we’ve been blessed, and I don’t use that word lightly.  I’m not the serene type of woman I imagine earns the right to use it.  No, I am the type of woman who exhibits what we call “Scarlett O’Hara Moments.”  Perhaps you recognize them.  They occur when the bank account gets a bit lower than desired and I forget to breathe deeply and remember that everything works itself out.  “Scarlett O’Hara Moments” occur when I hyperventilate unnecessarily, fall to my knees, grab two handfuls of dust-bunnies and say to myself, with jelly smeared across my forehead, not “I’ll never be hungry again,” for that would be too optimistic.  No, I say, “If we must be poor, then we will be clean!” for this, at least, seems noble.  My patient husband, recognizing my symptoms, looks forward to the brief bout of domestic organization that inevitably follows.  

I concluded somewhere in my parallel learning curve - HGTV and VH1 - that being rich and sloppy is bohemian, poor and sloppy simply negligent, so with stoic resolve I decide to scrub the entire house and each of the children (even the boys!).  

June 3, 2010

I'm In For a Lifestyle Change - or - How Selective Hearing Keeps Me Interesting

A recent trip to my general practitioner to address my general malaise brought two magic words that many adult patients have heard during a treatment plan: Lifestyle Change. My involuntary response was immediate and romantic. I was going to have a lifestyle change! Goodbye suburban homemaking, carpooling and Bunco.  Hello, world! I was going to live on a houseboat, take a vow of silence or perhaps become a Cowboy Poet. My mind raced. Okay, to be honest, in light of the subject at hand, maybe my mind sauntered at a casual pace, but it sauntered enthusiastically. Do houseboats have doorbells? Will my motion-sensitive partner join me or will this lifestyle change start a domino effect and throw me into a crazy singles-only-houseboat-community? My kids aren’t water safe. They will be bulky and awkward in their life jackets around the clock.

Next stop, my vow of silence. I consider the communication options in lieu of speaking. I wonder – is writing notes cheating?  Do silent-vow-takers use copious amounts of printed exclamation points and asterisks when angry or does that run counter to the psychological benefits of silence? How will my family react to a non-verbal matriarch, accustomed as they are to having their laundry folded by the loudest human in a one-mile radius? When sneezing do I need to avoid the audible “ah-choo?” 

These thoughts fly by at breakneck speed. I’ve covered lives both nautical and silent in  the time it takes to roll my sleeve down after having my blood pressure checked.  As I re-secure the buttons at my cuff, my flight of fancy banks left: destination, wild west.

Cowboy poets live by guidelines instructing dress as well as prose. If I’m not mistaken there’s an age-old code of bandana-knotting and hat brim folding to master, something akin to the hidden messages in equestrian war memorial statues: hoof  raised, rider died in battle, or some such thing. Maybe it’s: poet’s kerchief  tied on the left, lost a heifer on the trail…or perhaps published by Harper Collins. This lifestyle change is exciting.

Then, it dawns on me.  I realize Dr. Brennan’s intended meaning, and I grudgingly return to the here and now.  She doesn’t want me to raise alpacas or live on water (although drinking more of it would be beneficial). She wants me to walk twenty minutes a day, eat fruits and vegetables (not fried or dipped) and get healthier amounts of sleep. My shoulders droop in disappointment. My life as a houseboat-dwelling-silent-cowboy-poet-monk is fading, and I wonder why my enthusiasm wanes once a truly attainable lifestyle change presents itself. Why am I so ready to try anything other than this doable, achievable task?  I don’t own a houseboat or even a cowboy hat.  I do own shoes that I can walk in, and even a juicer (the Bowflex of the kitchen). I could never in a million years stop talking for even one hour, yet I could most definitely cut processed goods out of my diet little by little and replace them with delicious whole foods. 

Then another “it” dawns on me. The real lifestyle change I need to make is not improving diet and exercise. The lifestyle change I need to make is replacing fantasy with reality, at least every now and then. But an alpaca farm…that must have health benefits, don’t you think?

(Kim Luke is sauntering casually toward a healthier lifestyle in Santa Cruz, CA. Send comments or cowboy poetry to

May 11, 2010

The phrase "far from the public gaze" comes out "public gays" when you're looking for boy backup singers. Good name for an all male choir!

April 13, 2010

This wind blows...No, really.

Wind makes me crazy. Maybe if you know me, or know of me, you might me mumbling something along the lines of “Lady, I’ve seen you in CostCo in the stillness of consumerism, and even then you exude an undeniable crazed charm.” Well, thank you and let’s move on.

Wind makes me crazier than usual, and that is saying a lot. We’ve had some windy weather here lately, and I haven’t been coping well.  I’ve often uttered “It’s the wind. I can’t take it.” Naturally the response I usually get is a polite smile and nod, the type of response one might give a hoarder upon unannounced arrival when she states, “I was just straightening up.” (Yes, expect the hoarder references for a while, because like many women of a certain age who collect more than one category of entirely valuable items, I am petrified by the thought of the slipper slope to Hoarderville.)

So let me explain the wind problem, because it is real. (You could ask any self-respecting Pagan about the relationship between air and thought, but I’ll bet you won’t. I’m a drifted Pagan, just as I am a drifted Catholic, so I’ll skip the earth religion reasons behind this and give you my homespun metaphor. Mmmmm…homespun metaphor. My favorite!)

Thoughts are a hairdo. On calm days, when the breezes are still and the air all around is gentle and essentially unnoticed, thoughts are organized. They are a classic Vidal Sassoon bob, each hair in its place, unmoving, in order of layer and relevance. 

On these calm days each thought is also in its place, unmoving – and in order of priority and relevance. Bangs represent immediate tasks: breakfast and lunch for kids, get them to school, sleepover tonight, switch out that load of laundry, don’t trip over the dog.

Side layers represent things to be considered within a broader amount of time: gas bill is due, next Saturday’s potluck, costume for the kids spring musical, my brakes are squeaking again, what’s that smell in the back yard.

Longer layer in back of head is longer-term things to think about: idea for a play, a great couch you saw in a catalog, maybe you should try wearing brown, reconsider gluten, did you dream your ex died or did he die? 

Underneath layer in back that knots in your necklace clasp represents well hidden secrets and regrets: you should have gone for your degree, you only like one of your parents, you can’t stand one of your kids’ names, you don’t like music, you prefer tv to sex, you can’t remember how you met your boyfriend.

And those tiny new hairs around the edges? Those are ongoing, like eat something, sleep a little, love this, hate that, tolerate the rest.

You can see that calm days are a very nice, easy to handle hairdo. The inner voice sounds doable:  “Make toast, get the kids to school, answer some emails. Hey, don’t forget to work on that play and maybe look up the cost of that nice couch. Sleep well, despite your lack of an MFA.”

Windy days mess everything right up, no pun intended. All of the same hairs are there, all the same lengths and all stemming from the same point in the scalp. But the wind mixes them up so there’s no rhyme or reason, no prioritizing, no hairdo anymore.

The inner monologue changes: “Get kids to school, lose twenty pounds, buy milk, the chorus to that song needs more strings, Emma needs glasses, why didn’t I get a degree, the brakes are squeaking, what street did I live on in Chicago in 1994? I can’t find the phone, stop breathing so loud, buy milk, does USO need me to tour Afghanistan? I smell bacon, my priest in fourth grade smelled like ear wax, buy milk, our garage should be a rec room, throw in a load of whites, how did I get so tired, look up grants for female playwrights, try giving up dairy, buy milk, the kids are late for school.”

Usually my mind will race like this for a few hours before I notice the weather.  (Honestly, where would I fit in “Is it windy?”) Once I ascertain that it is, in fact, windy, my thought patterns and stress levels do not change, but I do have a sense of relief knowing that there is a reason for the tangled mess, and the likelihood for an end to the madness. What can I do? Not much. Pray for rain. Pop a Valium. Go with it and take notes. Sometimes a zinger comes through that I’d never think of on a tranquil kind of day.

After the storm has passed there is a feeling of exhaustion, almost a hangover from the wind. I need to set my thoughts back in order, sort of brush my hair and detangle after a ride in a convertible with no scarf. Make sense of it all.

So there you go. Next time I toss off a, “This wind! It’s making me crazy!” you’ll know what I mean. I’m not talking about the lawn chairs getting blown over,  I’m talking about buying milk and overcoming regrets.

With love and back-combing, 

p.s. Yes, what I’ve just described is mania. Thank you, Dr. Mind-your-own-business. If you’re so smart, why does it come with the wind, huh?

April 12, 2010

This is a test of your emergency status update service. Status: updated.

March 9, 2010

(A bedtime story, to be read aloud.)

The Dad Who Rocked So Hard His Cover Band Got Signed to a Major Label
Despite Their Inability to Tour Extensively
(also told in some circles as
The Middle-Aged Man Whose Mad Skills Were Discovered
the Day he Took his Son to the Skatepark )

By Kim Luke

Once upon a time, in a town just like this, in a neighborhood that looked surprisingly similar to yours, there was a man who looked an awful lot like you, Dan. He had your curly hair - on his head and a little on his back, too. And he had a beautiful clever wife and three totally awesome kids, just like yours. He lived in home that cost him a large portion of his paycheck every month, but that was okay, because he was putting a roof over his family’s collective curly-topped heads. His name was…also Dan, isn’t that a funny coincidence? And he had made good choices in his life after college. Mostly good choices.  A number of good choices. Some on purpose and some quite by accident, and nobody ever knew any better.  These choices and happy accidents led him to this happy place in his life. All day long he would go about his work-a-day job arranging for consumers to make payments on overdue credit charges, and the evenings would be spent rollicking playfully with his two sons and baby girl, all the while his adoring wife looking on lovingly. He was a good father and husband.

But once a week Dan would gather his most precious belongings, don his very luckiest t-shirt, kiss each family member adieu and make his way across town for a sacred night. A special night. A night shared with three other men just like Dan, filled with ritual, chants and deep introspection. Once a week Dan would go to band practice.

Dan had been playing in a rock n roll band with his friends for many a year now, when the wife was a girlfriend, when the children were not considered, when the house was a couch in someone else’s apartment. Dan was a guitar player first, deep down inside, and his band-mates knew this, although they all kept these truths a secret from their family members. They were rockers. They met weekly and rocked. They rocked hard. They rocked loud. And none rocked harder or louder than Dan.

One night, during an especially rocking practice in Brian’s garage, the phone rang. The band, expecting a call from a spouse or babysitter, let out a deflated sigh and started to unplug. But no! Brian’s face could not hide his excitement! He hung up the phone and spread the good news – a major record label had heard tales of the Tangy Lemons and was ready to sign them to a three record deal. Dan, Brian, Tony and Chris were beside themselves with joy. They always knew their hard work and tireless rocking would pay off.

The very next day the small town would reel from the loss of one consumer debt consolidator, one transmission specialist, one daycare operator and one stay-at-home dad. However, the pride of that town swelled as the Tangy Lemons laid plans for their first world tour.

(Dan? Are you still awake honey? You are? Okay, I’ll keep going.)

After an implausibly short amount of time, the four band-mates found themselves in the Hollywood headquarters of a major record label, being showered with the adult beverages of their choice, served by super-models who only dated middle-aged rock stars, preferring their life experience and down-to-earth qualities to the vapid hotness of young sculpted boy bands. All of the Tangy Lemons’ wives and children had been more than happy to remain behind at home, knowing that their support “keeping it real” would be more valuable than all the riches and bitches found on the road. As the world tour took shape, so did the requisite friction that breaks up so many monsters of rock. Brian had hired a demo crew to start a tear-down on his garage in March and needed to be there to supervise; Tony’s joint custody agreement only allowed for weekend and every other weeknight dates; severe allergies made it necessary for Chris to avoid large portions of Northern Europe in the summer months. Dan tried and tried to keep the dream alive, but no matter how hard he rocked on the hometown stage, he had to face the truth - he was the only Tangy Lemon destined to rock the world.

It was a sad day when Brian, Tony and Chris took the bus back home. But Dan wiped away a tear as he boarded his touring Leer jet and waved goodbye to his best buddies and hello to his solo career and destiny: Middle-Aged Rockstar Dad.

Back home, Dan’s kids and wife would gather around the television to watch the E! Channel, the Grammy Awards and the Induction Ceremony into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, never questioning Dan’s fate. Never doubting that Middle-Aged Rockstar Dad was the best dad in the world, no matter where in the world he was.

And Dan was able to enjoy his newfound Middle-Aged Rockstar lifestyle without the slightest hint of guilt, remorse or moral and/or ethical conundrum.

(Goodnight, Dan. Sleep tight. Rock on, little Dan.)

February 27, 2010

Four years ago, during the 2006 Winter Olympics, I had the following thoughts. Still apropos...

RECENTLY DISCOVERED OPTIONAL DIALOGUE FOR 97.44% OF OLYMPIC ICE DANCING ROUTINES. At least this is my best guess after watching way too much ice dancing, way too late at night.

Boy/Girl (together): Here we are!
Boy: I love you
Girl: I love you, too
Boy: This is nice, the skating, the dancing
Girl: Whee!
Boy: I think I’ll hold you near
Girl: Wait, I’ve decided I hate you
Boy: Come back here!
Girl: No, stay away
Boy: But we had a love
Girl: A shameful, hurtful love
Boy: But who else can please you like this?!
Girl: I look the other way thusly!!
Boy: Damnit, wench, you’re mine, now and always!
Girl: The confusion is making me spin
Boy: My love lifts you high
Girl: I melt for you after all
Boy: We are together again. The happiness makes me giddy. And spin.
Girl: Whee!
Boy/Girl (together): Here we are!

1984 Gold Medalists Torvill & Dean, reconciling. There they are!

DIZZYING HEIGHTS or JUMP JIVE AND WAIL (or is it TWIST AND SHOUT?). Along with the hours and hours of figure skating, I've also been watching the other, less diva-populated sports. Last night I watched the freestlye ski-jumping. Is that what it's called? It reminded me of the Summer Olympics' high dive competition for two reasons: 1) they start up high and end down low, 2) I have no idea how to watch them twist, turn or flip. Really. The commentator can detail every double or triple this or that, and I can be staring at the athlete in action, and I still cannot tell what's going on. "Aaaww..." the informed announcer will say, "He tried for a triple and had to pull out at the double, leaving the last three-quarters of the twist for his next run." Really? I would have probably just said, "Wow! Look at him go," every time, for every jump. I would know when to throw in, "Well, he fell down that time," or maybe "His outfit is white with blue stripes," and I can spot a good landing from a bad. But please, tell me I'm not the only one who feels like I'm watching my blender while making a smoothie, trying to find the banana in the whirlwind.

British Olympic Freestyle Ski Jumper.

(sitting on couch)

February 25, 2010

More "best of" re-runs from Madame Luke. This one is from December 2007.

Today is the first day I can say four particular English words in a particular order.  Many many people use these words in this fashion.  I, however, am behind the curve and despite living in the town, state and west coast that I do, am finally able to say, truthfully (yet with full awareness of all cultural kitsch that go along with them):

“I’m doing a cleanse.”

Clearly I’m overdue.  I’ve had that “blech”, or “yuck” or “feh” feeling for quite awhile and have become weary of attributing it to my catch-as-catch-can diet and lack of exercise.  I’ve decided to properly assess blame and point to build-up of toxins!  (IMPORTANT NOTE:  I will not be updating or detailing the process of said cleanse.  No way, no how.)

Here are some examples of the closest phrases to the above  that I have used in my lifetime:

“This cleanser scratched my sink.”
“My cleanser burns my skin.” (note in retrospect – try in sink)
“…something something sins are cleansed something something”  (Catholic upbringing obviously didn’t stick)
“I heard that speed is cut with cleanser”

Here are some examples of lifestyle changes most closely resembling cleanses that I have undertaken in my lifetime, along with the accompanying results of each:

“This is the worst hangover I’ve ever had in my life.  I’m never drinking again.”
- Result: inconclusive (failed)

“My doctor is so stupid.  I feel fine.  I’m just going to stop taking these pills.”
- Result: dizziness, mild hallucinations (non-enjoyable), request for prescription refill

“Meat is murder (fattening murder)! I’m going to be a vegetarian.”
- Result: bacon is delicious and overpowering.  Pants available in size 16

“I’m allergic to dairy and wheat.  I’m going to give them up.”
-Result: define “allergic.”  Sensitive is really a more appropriate term, and in today’s world being sensitive is good. I wish more people were sensitive, don’t you? 

“I’m doing a cleanse” is the new “What’s your sign?”

I know this because I was watching Santa Clause 3 (I have children) and the snarky Jack Frost character (Martin Short) turns down a sweet treat with a breathy aside “No thanks, I’m doing a cleanse.”

(Note, this is entirely different than "getting clean," a common phrase, claim and activity used in the '90's, one I thankfully never had to deal with, no pun intended.  Some examples might include:
"My drummer is getting clean since he hocked all his drums for junk.")

So who’s going to make me a confession? Try writing to Give me permission to quote you.  You know I will.



Oh, and here's a nice picture of two persons I take turns liking:


February 24, 2010

Double Dipping into my blogging past, I bring you fool's gold from February 2008:


The calendar year so far has been challenging healthwise, not to say traumatic, just annoying.  But at least I like my doctor and his staff, I have health insurance and am 100% certain that I am the only person any of you know (virtually or in reality) who has received the diagnoses of the following two afflictions within the same month, afflictions which are demographically and nomenclaturally (is that a word?) comical.  Are you ready?  You will think me a liar and a fraud, but perhaps a more interesting party guest (at least after the anti-biotics are finished):  Thrush and scurvy.  Yes, I have gone from infant to pirate, traveled from crib to high seas, pacifier to cutlass, all within four to six weeks time.  I'm thinking next up for me will probably be St. Vitus Dance, carbuncles or cat scratch fever.  And of course I always mistake whooping cough for a good old time, until I have it. (Note to pirates, mothers of babies with thrush, and sufferers or caregivers of others with unfortunately named diseases:  I am really not intending to make light of any affliction or hardship caused by ill health, only the names we attach to these afflictions.  Please take this in the spirit I offer. Signed, Dr. Smart Ass)


This is apparently today's reference image for scurvy, according to the world wide inter-web-net.  I don't actually feel this menacing or criminally inclined right now, although I wouldn't put it past me, if you know what I mean.

This is not at all what thrush looked or felt like.  If this is what thrush looked or felt like, people would be lining up to catch it.  I chose this image to represent my bout with thrush because if you do your own damned search for images you will be disgusted and thank me for not posting anything other than this nice woman resting peacefully with HER MOUTH SHUT.