Sometimes, You Remember You’re Lucky.

Talking to Em on the phone yesterday, I realized again how much I miss her. It’s good to have friends you can miss that much. I am really, really blessed that the people I call friends are smart, funny, interesting, and empathetic.

I know this, because I had a contrasting phone call today. E’s friend’s wife. You know, the annoying one?

She wants to talk about tutoring. She took a business course and ‘became’ a tutor. Wants to know how I get business.

Well, actually, I am pretty good at what I do. IF a spot becomes available, I ask a student’s mother if she knows anyone who needs tutoring. She invariably knows about three people who need tutoring. If I have an asshole student, I drop him (or her). It’s that easy.

I am dreading having to listen to this woman go on about her seven-point business plan and her trepidation at having adult male students and all the rest of whatever goes on in her brain.

Because, quite frankly, I don’t think I’d trust her to teach the ABCs. She has the empathy skills of a rhino, the intuition of a mollusc, and the patience of a kennel full of whippets hopped up on cantharides.

Schmoo.

Why am I calling everybody this? I mean everybody. Caught myself saying it to a bus driver today. It feels good to say, and stuff, but really, it makes no sense. I don’t even know what it means.

V For Vendetta.

Drop what you’re doing and go see it NOW!

I could use adjectives like Orwellian and prescient, but I’m pretty sure actual, real film critics did it already. Holy God, what a movie!

Also, seen at Arwen’s, a nifty little meme that confused the hell out of me.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

So. Grabbed Moonlight & Vines, by Charles De Lint.

Fifth sentence, page 161: “I wait for Earle to come running up and complain that I left him alone all night—that’s the nice thing about Maybelle; she just goes round and round in her bowl and doesn’t mkae a sound, doesn’t try to make me feel guilty.”

I don’t know what the heck this means.

Decor Disputes.

I used to be mistress of my own domain. With a few notable exceptions, the things in my house were placed where I wanted them. Pictures on the right places on the walls. Plants in the right windows for their light requirements. Candles where I wanted them. Books, just so. Curtains on the windows.

These days, I struggle. There is a lack of harmony between Baxter’s vision of our house and my own. Baxter wants to knock things on the floor. Plants, figures, coats, scarves, pillows, and candles. Among other things. My dresser, which I had thought to be a great place for things like my retainer case, earplugs, and hair clips, needs to be absolutely clear of all debris, according to Bax. And all the things on it need to be on the floor. The curtains, which I feel are effective for privacy, he feels belong on the floor. The shoes were in the shoe rack. But now, they’re on the floor, the better for him to climb in the rack. The books in my bookcase, he rearranges. Onto the floor. Perhaps he feels he needs quick access to some Anne McCaffery or some William Gibson? I have explained that he doesn’t have hands and so he can’t turn pages, but he just stares at me and knocks something else onto the floor.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

While in Philadelphia, I went to one of my brother’s favourite restaurants for the express purpose of tasting their Sweet Potato Gnocchi. They were heavenly.

I wondered if I could re-create the recipe at home. Lo, on Sunday night, I experimented, thinking to serve the results to Eric, even if they weren’t stellar. But imagine my shocked delight when it worked!

I’ve never made gnocchi before, and so I expected to fail or have marginal results several times. But the Cooking Goddess smiled upon me, and it turns out, they’re time-consuming and a bit messy, but not that hard! I dropped the little dough pillows into the boiling water as instructed, and then-the miracle! I watched them bob merrily to the top of the pot, like little tipsy angels of sweet potato goodness! They weren’t exactly like the ones in the restaurant, but I was very happy with them, overall.

So: Coming soon chez MonkeyPants: A gnocchi party for all who wish to participate.

Little Red Riding Crop.

Thank you, Arwen, for putting the title in my head. Gen, if you want me to dress like the Little Goose Girl for your wedding, I will, because I love you. But I’ll probably do damage with that goose-crook thingie.

Once upon a time there was a young woman named Red, who lived with her mother while she was going to Massage Therapy school. One day, as the girl was idly manipulating her own fascia and wondering what to cook for lunch, her mother called her.

“Red, your grandmother’s pulled some muscles in her back. Will you zip this over there? I’d do it, only I’ve got to change the alternator in the Toyota.” She handed her daughter a bag containing organic blueberries and a couple of joints.

“She pulled muscles again? What was she doing?”

Her mother waved a socket wrench. “Something about the Congress of the Porcupine.” She sighed heavily. “She always wants to try the complicated ones…”

Red sighed too. “I’ve told her, time and again. She should stretch.” She took the bag, stashed it in her messenger bag, and went to put on her cherry red, five-buckled motorcycle boots and scarlet jacket.

Red’s grandmother lived in the next village over, through a forest of old trees and dense undergrowth. As she walked, Red idly cracked her bullwhip, flicking off pinecones and huckleberries.

All of a sudden, she heard a great crashing in the underbrush and looked up in amazement as a wolf leaped out of the dense forest. He grinned maniacally. “Hello, Little Girl! Where are you going?”

Red objected to being called a little girl; she was sixteen and quite tall, but it never did to be rude to strangers. “I’m going to my grandmother’s house.”

“Are you, now?” His tongue lolled out of his mouth in a lascivious way. Red tightened her grip on her whip. Weirdos like this just didn’t understand that it was rude to loll their tongues at a girl before a proper introduction.

“Yup.”

“And just where is that?” He leered at her. She sighed mentally. Honestly, some people had no manners.

“It’s Mae’s Whorehouse and Hash Joint. Just off Broad Street.” Maybe he’d leave her alone when he heard she was going to a whorehouse. She tapped her whip imatiently against her thigh. Fucking perverts with their fantasies about young girls, she sighed.

“That sounds delightful. Maybe I’ll see you there.” He licked his chops.

She smiled tightly, thinking, Not if I see you first, and walked past him.

She walked up to the whorehouse and went in. “Grandma! Gram? I’m here!” She called softly, knowing that most of the girls slept late into the day as they worked most of the night. She tapped on her grandmother’s door. “Gran? It’s me.”

“Red?”

“Yeah.” She pushed open the door and saw her grandmother, bent at the waist, doing Downward Dog. “I’ve got some blueberries and a couple of joints here.”

“Thank God. That Robaxacet stuff does nothing. I can’t even do a Salute to the Sun!” Her grandmother straightened up. “I’ll spark up, we’ll make a compote of the blueberries, and have some waffles. How does that sound?”

“Fabulous.” Red slung her jacket over a chair. “What did I hear about you attempting the Congress of the Porcupine without stretching first?”

Grandmother blushed. “It wasn’t as bad as all that, dear. I just got carried away. You know how it is…”

Red rolled her eyes. “Get carried away after stretching, okay?” She handed her grandmother a joint. “Smoke some of this and we’ll have some blueberries and waffles.”

Just then, they heard the front door open again. Grandmother checked her watch. “It’s one o’clock in the afternoon. There’s no rest for the wicked. Go see what they want, will you, love?” She sparked a Zippo and inhaled some smoke.

Red walked downstairs. Christ, just her luck. The fucking wolf was standing there in the open door.

He grinned. “Fancy meeting you here, Dumpling Pants.”

Red rolled her eyes. “You again.”

The wolf started up the stairs. “Me again, indeed. And can I just say, what a pleasure it is to find a tasty little morsel like you in a place like this. Now, c’mon, be a good girl. I know what you are.”

She stared at him. “You think I’m a whore.”

“Of course you are.” He seemed to slide up the stairs like butter on skates. “You’re here, I’m here. Why don’t we make a little party? You know you want to.”

Red backed up a few steps. “Hang on. You think I’m going to nail you?”

“Of course you are. Look at your filthy little slut outfit, with that delicious whip and those darling boots. You’re gagging for it.”

Red backed up a few more steps, until she was on the landing. “Hang on, buddy. I dress how I want to dress. Nothing says I’m a slut.”

“You’re female. You want it. You all want it.” A string of drool dangled from his maw.

Red grabbed the newel post. “You have some serious issues. I don’t think I like you much, and I don’t really want to see you in here. You’re the kind of customer Grandmother doesn’t like.”

His eyes flashed. “She’ll like me enough when I’m done with you, missy.”

This was like living in a really bad movie or something, thought Red. Why was it that some guys just had no idea that women were actual human beings? She smiled sweetly. “Just wait a moment and I’m sure I can accommodate you.”

She grabbed her whip from where it lay coiled on Grandmother’s table. Grandmother looked up from the joint. “You all right, Dear?”

“No problems, Gram.”

The wolf was lounging against the banister. “Can we take this somewhere a little more, ah, private?” He leered again. It was beginning to get on Red’s nerves.

“Let me explain this. I am not a prostitute currently working at this establishment. I am the proprietor’s granddaughter, and am here in a social capacity. What don’t you get?”

He looked momentarily discomfited, but then the leer was back. “I’m getting you, Honey.”

She sighed again and brought the whip out. “Do I have to drive you off the property?”

He chuckled. “A sweet little thing like you? You ain’t gonna go after the big bad wolf all by yourself, are you?” He stepped forward.

Like a snake’s tongue, the whip lashed out and caught him by the leg. She yanked. His leg shot forward and the rest of him fell back. She heard his head bang every step on the way down.

She sprang down the stairway, whip raised. “You done now?”

He groaned. “I’m suing.”

“Why? Because you’re a misguided misogynist who doen’t respect a woman’s boundaries?” The whip cracked again, flicking him on the ear. He flinched. “Or is it because you have no idea that women are actually people with their own agendas?” Flick. His nose this time. “Maybe you had a troubled childhood or a domineering mother or something?” Flick. Yelp. Flick. Yelp. Flick. Yelp. each time, the whip connected squarely, perfectly with his nose. “Whatever the case, get the fuck out.” She stood with the whip trailing from her hand, the other on her hip.

He rose unsteadily. “You really have a problem, missy.” He tried to tower over her but thought the better of it when he saw the whip stir a little, as though of its own accord.

On the porch, he turned again and snarled, “You really, really don’t know what’s good for you.”

Almost lazily, she raised the whip and cracked it not two inches from his nose, making him flinch. “Sure I do,” she said. “Getting assholes like you out of my life, and out of my Grandmother’s house. That’s good for me.” She flicked her wrist and the whip snapped again on his chest.

He yelped and slunk down the steps.

Just then, a buff woodsman came strolling along. He took in the situation, shifted his axe on his giant, muscled shoulder, and asked, “Can I help you, missy?”

“Thank you, no. This guy was just leaving.” The whip whispered one last time, and the wolf fled.

The woodsman smiled. “Ain’t it a fine thing when a little girl like you can take care of herself?”

She looked at him levelly. “Yes. It is.”

“A fine thing, indeed.” He took a deep breath. “Do I smell waffles?”

“Yes. grandmother’s cooking some.”

He smiled, the dimple in his chin a yawning valley. “I do love waffles.”

Red looked him over. “Me too. ”

He grinned in what he probably thought was a lazy and charming way. Red had another adjective for it: Half-witted.

“I sure wouldn’t mind coming in and sharing those waffles,” he offered. “Seeing as I’ve just gone and chased off that wolf.”

Red couldn’t believe her ears. “What?”

“That wolf. He was plainly about to eat you alive. If it weren’t for me, you’d be at his mercy right now.” He used his axe to clean his fingernail, with little effect.

“Excuse me? I got him to the bottom of the stairs and out the door all by myself, thank you very much. You had nothing to do with it!”

He chuckled indulgently. “Little Missy, you’re just full of fire and vinegar, aren’t you? I can see you gettin’ all riled up about this whole Women’s Lib thing, and that’s nice. In its place. But you know as well as I do that you needed a man to come in here and take control of the situation.” He smiled indulgently. “Though you look mighty nice in your little red getup.”

She snapped the whip again, jerking the axe from his grasp, catching it easily in her own hand. “Listen, mister. It’s all nice of you to check and see we were okay and stuff. But your attitude sucks and I cannot wait for dinosaurs like you to die out.”

He eyed her warily. “So you’re not gonna invite me in for waffles.”

“No, I fucking well am not! I am going to eat waffles with my grandmother, and you are going on your merry little way!” She tossed the axe back to him. “Do I make myself totally clear?”

He sneered. “Oh, I get it, you’re one of them lesbians. Ya coulda said. Can’t get a man, can you?”

She forebore to answer.

“That’s what you’re mad about. Girl action not doing it for you, huh?” He leaned in closer, and she smelled the rank scent of his lack of commitment to personal hygeine. “You’re too ugly to catch a man, that’s why you’re here, with your little red outfit and your whip. You need a symbol to get you off.” He gestured to the whip.

Red stepped forward. “Yes, Mister Woodsman. I am a diesel-sucking dyke of the first order. I am angry because I can’t get a man. You got it exactly. In fact, your overpowering manliness has me all a-twitter.” The whip snaked forward, and she wielded it for sound as much as anything. Snap! “So much,” Snap! “That I am going to,” Snap! “Show my anger,” Snap! “By whacking your dick off!” One final snap and he howled with pain as the whip made contact with the buttons on his 501’s. “Now get out of here.” She turned on her heel, went into the house, and closed the door.

The waffles were excellent.

La, la, la…

Yeah. I had every intention of having something great up here. But there I was, innocently writing “Little Red Riding Crop” , and tons of issues came up. Who knew I liked writing Gothic-style, menace-the-girl atmospheric stuff? Not me, anyhow.

Plus, I went to Value Village today and found the most fabulous skirt, except that it had an elasticated waist, and that just looks horrible, and even feels horrible, even if no one can see it. So I did do some writing, and you’ll see the fruits of that later, but mostly I tore out the waist of said skirt. It’s tacked back up and is functional, if not beautiful, in the waistal area, but then, I am functional and not beautiful in said area as well, so we’re well-matched.

The skirt was the kind of Val Vil find that makes me see that my horizons are broader than I thought they were. See, back in my callow youth, I used to pick up clothes there that enabled me to dress like a hippie pirate, or a 60’s Mod glam queen, or sometimes an 1880’s Regent Park horsewoman. Believe it or not, my friends used to stand in awe of my fashion sensibilities. Jenny used to compain that she had to go buy outfits from Bootlegger, whereas I could take ten bucks to Val Vil and come away wth something that no one else was wearing. (In all honestly, that was often because no one else would think of wearing it.)

But now that respectability dogs my heels, and my waist has thickened, and my breasts have decided to assert themselves as though I am a figurehead on an 18th Century trade ship, I no longer have the body that can sport radical or strange fashions without looking as though I am an insane bag lady. Since I am also a teacher, I try not to look like an insane bag lady.

So the skirt was a deeply fabulous find. You’ll see that later as well. In the meantime, I continue to write “Little Red Riding Crop”.

A Tale of Two Mothers.

Mother A:

Her hair has been dyed blonde. The roots are showing , particularly as it has been gelled back and put up in a hair claw. Her face was pretty, once. Now, her freckles are incongruous with the silver eyeshadow over her resentful brown eyes. Her chubby face has relaxed into a permanent disappointed pout. Her nails, long and acrylic, are painted sky blue. Her little blonde girl is obviously eager to talk. She says “Hihihi” to people around her, but her mother never speaks to her, and in fact, even taps her child on the chest a couple of times when the child vocalizes, to discourage her. Taps, but never touches. The nails preclude actual contact. The mother is hooked into earphones blasting death metal at a volume that I, sitting four feet away, can hear clearly. Her vacant eyes track the scenery as her drooping lips mouth lyrics like a zombie half-mawing the leg of a victim. Never once, that I see, does she engage with her child.

Mother B:

Her hair has never seen dye. Rich and ginger, it is merely a part of her body; nothing special. Her face is not beautiful by any cultural standard I know of. But she observes everything around her watchfully, analytically, and her brown eyes are beautifully thoughtful, if guarded. Her nails are short and unkempt. Her baby is only thirty-four days old, and she strokes him as she watches the world, and sees what he sees. He is always within the confines of her arms, or touching her, somehow. She carries him with her, against or on her body, when she moves from place to place. They rest in a place where she makes sure her baby can see everything, and she can see everything, but where they are both safe. Occasionally she turns to him, to make sure he wants for nothing.

Mother A is a woman Em and I saw on the bus yesterday. Mother B is an orangutan in the Toronto Zoo.

I bet I can be a better mother than Mother A, a member of my own species.. But Mother B? I don’t know. That was some pretty good mothering.

International Women’s Day

A. sits down tonight, her usual happy self. “Hey, El! Today is International Women’s day! Yeh!” She makes the little gesture peculiar to her that is kind of a cross between a punch in the air and the thing you do when you want to spatter water on someone, flicking your fingers out.

I know her well enough to know that this is an exciting event for her. She’s just on the dizzy edge of puberty, and a day that celebrates women would appeal to her. So I do not say, “Yes. Only one day, and 364 of the other days of the year are Men’s Day, days for rape and torture, for sexual harassment and higher wages, a day to come home and demand when dinner will be ready. Days for the systemic belittling of people with vaginas.” Instead, I smile. “I know, it’s good to celebrate that we have come so far and have so many more choices.”

She grins and gets to work.

I continue to seethe.

Light Blogging Ahead

Like it hasn’t been a little bit ‘teen size’ in terms of flow lately anyhow, but I’m going on holiday.

Speaking of ‘teen size’, does anyone remember tampons being labeled this, or am I just high and manufacturing memories? because I seem to remember a time before ‘light’ ‘medium’, ‘heavy’ and ‘super’ and ‘super plus’.

See, nowadays, tampon sizes are geared towards volume of flow. But this ‘Teen Size’ I remember seems to have been geared towards age: Teens only had light flows back then? They hadn’t had children? I don’t know. Also, were there other age-appropriate names? Was there a slightly larger than teen-size for the early twenties, and an even slightly larger one for the late twenties? Was the largest tampon called “Fucking come on, menopause!”?

Or perhaps they were all centered around (hetero) sexual experience? Teen size were tiny because dudely penises hadn’t banged their vaginas out of shape? Were bigger sizes called “Sexually Liberated”, “Whoah, Nellie”, and “Total Whore?”

I wish I could remember. Is it time for some more cold medication yet?

Bad Behavior has blocked 169 access attempts in the last 7 days.