Dust to Diamonds

Lillian lived next door to me at Sunset Apartments. She was the classic Crazy Cat Lady. She kept cats-definitely plural. Over her eighty-year lifespan, she’d had a lot of cats. When one died, she’d collect the ashes from the SPCA. Fourteen little ash jars lined her mantelpiece, interspersed with crystal figurines, stained glass pictures, and anything else sparkly she could find. She loved shiny things best in the world. After her cats, that is.

When she knew she was dying, Lil left instructions with me. “Mix my ashes with my pussies,” she said. I was pretty much the only one who paid attention to her, so I was the one who got the instructions. She had no kids, only a couple of cousins out east somewhere.

So when she died, after a small, brief funeral, I had her cremated. I went down to Chinatown to find the biggest, shiniest urn I could. Mixed them all in together. Lil would’ve been upset if one of her cats got more attention than another, even posthumously.

The only problem was, she never said where she wanted to be scattered, and the urn was too big for my mantelpiece. It would have seemed disrespectful to split them up, or put them in the closet. They looked silly beside the couch, and they really were a bit creepy.

So it was providential when I saw the ad. For fifteen thousand dollars, they’d make dead bodies into diamonds. Lil’d left me her savings, along with her Swarovsky crystal animal collection. The money just about covered it.

I called to find out more. The man on the phone said they would do it with ashes as easily as with corpses. Carbon is carbon.

So I duct-taped the lid onto the urn and shipped them down to some place in Georgia.

I had them set in a gold ring. I think Lil would be pleased that she and her cats came back as something shiny.

I Don’t Stink!

So summertime is a precarious time for me on account of I have preternaturally strong armpit sweat. It can break through anything, and often does, leading me to hoping that no one else whiffs my pits.

A couple of weeks ago, Moxie Snacks mentioned that she’d bought some Adidas deodorant that was really working for her. So I went out and got it. It was a little more expensive than LadySpeed Stick or whatever, but I was sold, as it doesn’t contain aluminum! It has a buttload of other chemicals I can’t spell, but it apparently uses “Cotton Technology” to un-stink me and keep me dry.

I’m using it until there is conclusive proof that it will cause me to grow a second head, because, by Jove, it works!

We’ve Got Each Other, And That’s A Lot For Love.

Please forgive the Bon Jovi. But it sums it up.

I have just had a long lazy evening with my brother and his girlfriend who are here from Philly and Columbus, respectively. Carol is a feminist philosopher. Bo does something I wish I could understand.

During the course of the evening, Carol and I were chatting about our status as As-Yet-Unmarried and Possibly Will Choose To Be Childless. One of the reasons that she is hesitant to throw out the birth control (Other than that whole getting her PhD thing, not living in the same city as Bo, and having an uncertain future, of course), is that she figures it would take either a lot of money or a lot of support from other people to raise a child well. She also has Mother Issues, so that factors in.

But as for the support? She doesn’t have a lot. Her sister lives in Toronto and her brother’s at McGill. She hasn’t got close family and her friends are friends in the Philosophy department, not longtime friends.

I nodded. I saw her point. Thought a minute. “I have Gen and Emma and Arwen. But I also could ask Jenny and Deb for help if I needed it.”

She smiled. “That’s a lot.”

Thanks, you guys. Even if I never present you with a tiny-pink-blanket-wrapped MonkeyPants, it’s good to know that you’re around.

Oooh, Shiny!

Hello, I am squirrel-monkey-sm2.jpgpants1.jpg

I live nearkits.jpg

Sometimes there are images2.jpg and raccoons.jpg around my house.

I love to read1.jpg and eat cali rolls.jpg

I live with aeric.jpg and a cat.jpg .

And I just learned to post pictures!

She’s Usually In Chinatown.

Because I am so mad at my father for his general attitude, I am missing my mother even more than usual these days.

It’s okay. All the do-gooders in the world are right when they say the pain lessens over time. It does. Look at me. I have been able to get out of bed and put pants on consistently. I have begun to laugh, to heal to an extent. Because if I need her, I can find a connection to her.

She’s in Chinatown.

We used to take trips down there, especially if some of our cousins were in town. Each kid would get, like, five dollars and we could spend it on whatever we wanted. Scott always bought miniature swords and nunchucks. I bought tiny glass animals and improbably-coloured chenille birds. Mom would ride herd on however many kids and we’d while away a pleasant afternoon looking into baskets and at painted bowls and silk fans.

If I really, really miss her, I can go to Chinatown. Somewhere between the smell of ginseng and barbecued duck, somewhere between the Hello Kitty and the little jade pendants, she’s there.

A Note, in the style of Dr. Seuss.

Mad at Dad.

Dad, I’m mad.

You’ve been bad

And it’s made me sad.

Cowichan Bay

Took you away.

Your condo is shite

and I cry every night.

Because I don’t want to go

And blow a lot of dough

To sit and not talk

And watch the clock.

I am a bad kid.

I ran and hid

When you phoned me to see

What was up with me.

Because I don’t want to say,

You drove me away.

And I don’t want to yell,

As I’ll go to hell.

But, Dad, you’ve been bad,

And I’m mad.

The Bra Manufacturers’ Secret Credo

They just don’t want me to have a nice rack. I can only conclude this after 20 minutes of unsatisfactory pawing through The Bay’s lingerie wares. I want a pushup bra. I want it black. I don’t want it to be fussy. And I do not need any goddamned padding, thank you. If I pad, I will look like a galleon under full sail. I am amply enough endowed anyhow.

In fact, that’s the next thing I notice. There are A,B, and C cups aplenty. But whither the D’s and so on? I do a mental checklist of the women I know. I’m kind of average in size, comparison-wise. Sure, some of them are nursing mothers, and some were never really ‘there’ in the chest department. But why are there so few D cups, let alone E,F, or G? Women with larger breasts must buy online or at specialty shops? Why? We shouldn’t be allowed out, as our Mammoth Mammaries cause public health hazards? I just don’t get it.

I’m getting suspicious now. I check out the options in my size. Hmm. There are granny-bras. There are “Wear-it-to-work” bras, the ones with ribbing and support and three-inch-wide straps. There’s Comfort Fit, which means no support. There are minimizers galore. But I want to maximize. I want cleavage to ski down, Goddamn it. I want VaVoom. And the Bra Manufacturers’ Secret Credo won’t let me have that. Why is this? Why will they let me have padding, but won’t let me push my norks up under my own chin and leave them, two creamy hills of gravity-defying flesh? They’ll let me strap them down and cover them up. They’ll let me encase them in armor. They’ll even let me pad them. But they won’t let me push them up!

What would be the consequences of a too-high D-rack? Would I overbalance and break my neck? Would I become a target for WMDs? Would I cause traffic to screech to a gridlocked halt as my breasts and I sailed through the afternoon? I doubt it. So why can’t I find the bra that I want?

Gross Pedicure.

So I went to get a pre-preGen’s wedding pedicure, because my feet were pretty gross, and I didn’t know if the day-before-the-wedding pedicure would de-callus me enough. Also, I was concerned that the DBTW pedicure would be too de-callusing and I’d bleed all over the damned place. Paranoid? Ok. Yes. So? Jenny had told me about an esthetician up on Broadway who excelled at the de-callusing of feet, so I called and made the appointment. I trust Jenny. I’ve seen the woman before for waxing and such. I trusted her. So I went.
Holy Disgusting, Batman! She spent 45 minutes de-callusing my feet with something that sliced off little curls of skin like a cheese cutter thingie. Forty-Five minutes. At one point, I apologized profusely for giving her these foot-units to work on, but she smiled and said she’d seen worse.
They weren’t even that bad, I thought. I mean, I’d had them pedi-ed, what, two months ago? What was that woman doing? Nothing with the cheese slicer thingy. So how am I making these tremendous calluses? My shoes are comfortable. My socks do not chafe. Is this simply a design flaw on the human animal?

Or, perhaps not a design flaw. More like civilization has taken over and is actively fighting an evolutionary strength.

I remember when I was a little kid and couldn’t wait for late spring. Then I’d take off my shoes and socks and practice, first on rough pavement, then in the alley behind our house. I was toughening up for summertime, for rocky beaches and pine-needle-covered trails. I was enthralled by a fact I found in a book about different cultures around the world. Apparently, there are some people in the nomadic desert tribes of North Africa who can hold their feet in a three-inch flame and not feel a thing! I aspired to the toughness of their feet.

Now, me, I have just paid money for someone to cheese-grate the calluses away. I couldn’t run down our old alley without drawing blood. All in the name of fashion. The upshot of my foot-shaving is that I couldn’t run away from danger. Especially in the high heels I am currently learning to walk in.
Don’t get me wrong. I am delighted with the results. My feet are pink and cute and I can trip gaily into students’ homes, take off my shoes, and be blithe in the knowledge that my feet will represent me well.

Just keep my feet away from open flame.

Cognitive Dissonance.

So I’m sitting in my hundred-dollar ergonomic hydraulic-enabled swivel chair, watching kids work and glancing out at the North Shore mountains. The sun is shining and I desperately want to walk out of here and go to the beach. It’s, what? Four blocks away? I totally could.

My reverie is interrupted by a student who has a grammar question. As I answer, I notice she has sparkly earrings on. Upon closer inspection, I discover those earrings are little silver Playboy bunnies, with rhinestones attached.

How strange. This little girl is still a couple of years shy of puberty, and here, she’s sporting little symbols of the sexual objectification of women in her ears. It can’t even be ironic, because this little girl doesn’t have an irony meter yet.

She’s too young to have gotten pierced ears without her mom’s say-so. Mom probably bought the earrings as well. What would she say if she understood that her daughter was wearing little symbols that mean “Women are a commodity to be objectified, used up, and thrown out once they no longer photograph well in the buff”?  I think about the fact that the girl’s ears are pierced. Metal rods have been pushed through holes in her ears, and scar tissue has healed up around them, all for the purpose of looking attractive. And then this little girl, who isn’t even interested in boys yet, has taken the Playboy bunny and shoved his metal pole through her little earlobes.

And even if I wanted, I couldn’t explain it to her. Because when I asked her about her earrings, she grinned and asked, “Aren’t they cute?”



I was up in a cabin at Whistler for Gen’s stagette weekend. (I hate that term and all it connotes, but of course I had a good time anyway). Six women and Tater-Tot, who is too young to really be a boy. He’s more a black hole of cuteness.

We got along pretty well, but then, I knew we would. Any friends of Gen’s, and all that. But it made me wonder. Lots of folks would say that an all-women world would be a happier one. No war, little violence, decisions based on consensus, not for the individual’s greater good. A little more give-and-take. But I wonder if this is true.

I have personally seen women being petty, greedy, emotionally manipulative, and overzealous. Not just when there was competition for a man, but also for control of affection, higher marks, or a better wage. I don’t know that an all-woman world would be too different from the one we already inhabit. There might be less war. Maybe we’d end world hunger. We could curb the population explosion and all manner of good things.

However, it’s the personalities that become the problem. Even in a penis-less world, there would still be egomaniacs clawing their ways to positions of power. There would still be thoughtless assholes. And there would still be sexual and emotional predators. The world would still have problems, because it’s not just men who cause problems. Women do, too.

The would would NOT be a better place if there were only women. The world would, however, be a much better place if there were more women like my friends.

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