Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Will You Please Shut Up!

Working from home, I have the pleasure of listening to the environmental sounds of my neighborhood. For most of my life, I hadn't realized that the most obscure sounds could be so irritating to me. But recently, I find myself screaming out "Will you shut the f**k up already!"  Every day, every single f**king day, seven f**king days a week, the street cleaner arrives without fail, at 620 in the f**king morning. At least on weekdays, I am already up working at my desk by that time. But I will be sitting there and realize something is really unnerving me. I look out my window and there it is. That damn ugly looking street cleaning machine. It's that steady sound of the vacuum engine that drives me crazy. I always loved watching the Zamboni clean the ice...but this...this irritates the shit out of me. And on Saturday and Sunday? Are you f**king kidding me? At least they could start cleaning the streets at eight or nine AM on the weekends, not 6:20AM. You'd think we lived in the middle of some war torn country...I much crap can accumulate on the street in 24 hours. They can't possibly be picking up enough trash to warrant this annoyance 7 days a week.

I think there is a bird in cahoots with the street cleaners to drive me nuts. I have a bird outside my window that has the most irritating chirp I've ever heard. And God forbid it chirps when I'm awake. decides to give me a wakeup call at five in the morning. Most birds have a sweet, melodious sound, but this one gives a crow a run for its money. Fran Drescher and Janice from 'Friends' sound like Simon and Garfunkel compared to this bird. I'm almost ready to take a rubber band and sling it at that winged hyena, but I'm not a violent person. (And I know it would backfire and hit me in the face instead.) Unfortunately, living in southern California...flying further south isn't much of an option, therefore, it never leaves.

I was sitting at my desk, concentrating on work, and I kept hearing these rustling sounds in my back yard. I looked out the window for several days and couldn't figure out where they were coming from, but the sound was driving me nuts. When I walked outside, I noticed the wood chips from around the perimeter of the yard were scattered all over the patio. I didn't see anyone or anything lurking (happy to report), so I kept sweeping the chips back into their flower beds. I would go out a little later after hearing the sounds again, and the same thing. This kept happening over about a month's time. I finally saw two birds pecking at the ground and making the mess. They kept coming back and doing this over and over all day long for weeks. I would run downstairs and out the door, chasing them and shooing them away, but they always returned when I wasn't looking. And I would continue to sweep the patio over and over and over. It was becoming really annoying and I have the blisters on my hands from sweeping so much, to prove it. I obviously didn't frighten them away; instead, I think it became a game to them. Eventually they stopped their pecking and scattering...probably after I put that electric shock sensor in the chips. (Just kidding)

I have yet to understand why they can't come up with a muffler for the leaf blower. They can muffle the sound of a car engine (I'm assuming that's what a muffler does?), they can muffle the sound of a gunshot, but they can't muffle a leaf blower? I have to imagine that gardeners will eventually go deaf at some point in their life, or they will be shot dead first by those of us who morph into psycho neurotic assassins while listening to them. I'm thinking of cutting down every single tree that surrounds my house within a mile radius, but I'm afraid I would probably be arrested.

What is it about boys and their cars? Why do they believe that the louder the car, the more appealing it is? Seriously? I can tell you, without a doubt, that the louder the car, the further away I want to get from that person. How do they handle the noise? Especially on a motorcycle? Maybe they are all gardeners and are already deaf from the leaf blowers. I can barely stand the noise from my hair dryer while I’m drying my hair. I tried putting ear muffs on, but the band across the top of my head kinda got in the way of the styling process. I’m almost ready to leave my hair in one big frizz ball just to avoid the hair dryer noise.

I have never met a smoke alarm that I didn’t want to beat the shit out of. After moving into the house I am currently living in, there was a mass conspiracy amongst the smoke alarms to not only scare the crap out of me, but to drive me straight out of bed almost jumping out the window in the middle of the night. Every once in a while they would give me that lovely little chirping warning that something was amiss, but most of the time, they would go off suddenly…all at once, with that deafening shrill never ending siren sound . I have spent so much money on replacing batteries only to find out that the battery has nothing to do with their incessant screeching. I have literally pulled most of them out of the ceiling and still they insist on beeping. And the description of ‘beeping’ is being quite kind. I cannot understand what it is that keeps them going and going even after they’ve been disconnected.  I have taken hammers to them and beaten them to death and they still keep going. I have thrown them in the trash outside and the neighbors have complained about the high pitched noise coming from my side yard. I waited for the trash men to come and personally handed them all the alarms and told them to take them away as far as they could. I was able to track their garbage route for the next 20 minutes by the screaming of my smoke alarms. In fact…I think I still hear them calling out to me…’help meeeee’…..I just hope I never have a fire in my house because I will now have nothing to warn me. Except the heat and flames, of course, but I think I’ll take my chances.

Why is it that I can hear all the noises I have no interest in hearing, yet I can’t hear my own kids when they talk to me? “What? What did you say? Can you speak up and stop mumbling. Slow down. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.” I mean…who talks that fast? And why is it they can all understand each other but parents can’t? That’s why I like texting. I can understand them when they talk. And the silence of it…well…that speaks for itself.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sister Act

I am so fortunate to have someone in my life who truly and deeply cares about me. No stipulations, all give, no take, no expectations. Just true, deep down, honest love. She has been my confidante, my sounding board, my mentor, my role model. She's been my best friend for as long as I can remember. We've had our 3 minute fights and then they were over. In fact, she used to be downright mean to me when we were kids and would give me Indian burns and rat me out to my parents. But I still worshipped her.

I would annoy the shit out of her as much as possible, so she turned me into her own personal slave. She would make me do the most ridiculous tasks, like call me into her room just to get her a pencil from her desk that was 3 feet away from her, while she sat there and waited for me to give it to her. She would make me test her on her school work every night, which I absolutely hated doing (and which is why she turned out to be the brains in the family). But for some reason, whatever she told me to do, I did...without questioning.

All I wanted to do was hang out with her and her cheerleader friends, and sometimes she would let me. I hated that I got her hand-me-down clothes even though I always wanted to wear them before they became hand-me-downs. I always had crushes on her boyfriends, just because they were her boyfriends. I thought she was the coolest, smartest person ever.

We've had some great times together in our adult years. We've taken a couple of trips to Mexico, which were pretty hilarious. (Club Med...Need I say more?). We got lost in Acapulco, walking around for about an hour, looking for a restaurant. When we finally decided to hop into a cab to take us there, the cab driver picked us up and drove a half block to the restaurant, not telling us it was 10 feet in front of us. And charged us!

She's been there for every major event in my life and my daughter's lives. And she's been there for me during every devastating event, too. I've hit some real bumps in the road throughout the course of my life and made some very stupid decisions and mistakes, but she never judged or preached, just supported...letting me know how true love is supposed to be. She's my big sister and my best friend. She's the one person whose sincerity, honesty, strength, loyalty and love I will never doubt. She's the most selfless, giving human being I know.

I love you Beth...I couldn't ask for anything more than what you've given me. You've been my rock.

This video has nothing to do with this blog...but I wanted to share:

Friday, August 12, 2011


I never understood what fear was as a kid. We were invincible until we hit our late 20’s, early 30’s…or until we had our own kids. Right? Then fear was all encompassing. I cannot believe what a fraidy-cat I became once my kids were born, and how annoyingly overprotective I could be.

As a child, I was willing to do anything and try everything. Nothing seemed to faze me because I didn’t know any better. But with experience, we know what’s ahead of us and what the possibilities are. Ignorance IS bliss.

In grammar school, I would always want to be the lead in our school plays. I had no problem getting up in front of an audience and acting out a role. I couldn’t wait to be in the limelight. (I don’t know how I was able to memorize lines back then. Nowadays, I have to look up someone’s 7 digit phone number 8 times before I can finally finish dialing it.)

I didn’t mind giving oral reports in high school. Piece of cake. But for some reason, once I hit my college years, fear set in and froze me from deep within. Getting up in front of a class of my peers tormented me for days prior to the big speech. I kept writing it and rewriting it hoping it wouldn’t sound stupid and hoping no one would ask any questions. It was like those dreams where we are standing naked on stage for all the world to see. And although my body may not have been naked, my soul was. And I didn’t like it one bit. Communications was probably not the best major for a person who feared public speaking. [Ya think?] I would try to speak on subjects I knew first hand thinking it would give me more confidence.  I would stand at the podium and do all I could to not have my legs give out from under me and keel over.  I tried to keep the thought of projectile vomiting out of my mind. But my voice would crack and I would shake so badly, that one time my grip on the podium was so tight, it started tipping over, and the guy sitting directly in front of me jumped out of his seat to push it back upright. Thank god for him or I would have face planted in his lap. I’m sure he was also saving himself from a little nut crushing. Talk about humiliation. Fortunately, I was concurrently showing a short film to complement that speech, distracting them from what just happened to me. On the positive side…I didn’t pee in my pants. And to my surprise…I aced the assignment.

I have turned down certain jobs just so I wouldn’t have to do presentations. I remember sitting in the conference room at my office one day, and I had recently accepted a management position. Each week we would have phone meetings with our clients. I said to my supervisor, “If you make me speak in this meeting, I will quit. I swear”. Luckily she knew me and liked me (and didn’t fire me), and all she did was have me introduce myself. That, alone, made me break out in huge red blotches all over my chest to match the colorful flush of my bright red face. And it was only a phone meeting. Could you imagine if it was in person? I’d most likely be passed out cold, sprawled out on the conference room table. I decided I wasn't cut out for management.
People have suggested taking a public speaking course. Seriously? Do you NOT have to get up in front of people to learn to publicly speak? What about fear of speaking in public do they not get? So why would I want to take a public speaking course if you have to speak in public to learn to speak in public? Geez….
I am claustrophobic. Claustrophobia is horrible. It pops up in places you wouldn’t think it could. For instance…during various sexual positions. [On the bottom, for example.] That tends to ruin the mood…don’t you think? Trust me…it does. Obviously, elevators are a huge problem. I’ve only been stuck in one once…but it was the most crowded elevator I had ever been in. It was at my daughter’s college on moving-in day and I have to believe every student attending her school was packed into that particular elevator. I’m sure the weight limit was far exceeded, as was my composure. I looked over at my daughter, [as if there was anything she could possibly do], and said, “If you don’t get me out of here, I will pull every piece of hair out of your head, in chunks. If you don’t get me out of here I will cut you off from every single dollar I was ever going to give you. [Like that was a big threat with all my millions]. If you don't get me out of here, I will....” She looked at me and said so serenely and quietly and so melodically…[that I wanted to shove my fist down her throat…] “Mom, calm down. Everything will be fine. Nothing is going to happen. MOM….BREATHE” as I was starting to lose consciousness.  When I came to, I was sitting on the floor leaning against the wall in her room. I lived! I was no longer a sardine. I made it out. I have no clue how but I did. Needless to say, I get many a great workout climbing stairs now. I only need resuscitation from too much aerobic exercise, instead of from hyperventilation.

I never understood how people are able to walk into a room full of strangers and immediately assimilate. I walk in, pivot around, and walk right back out, not knowing what to do with myself. I was never able to just go up to a group, or even just one person that I didn’t know and say, “Hi, I’m Jaime”, (in one of those annoyingly perky little voices,) for fear that they would look at me with a “who the f**k cares” attitude. And then what? Then what do you say? I have no problem talking to a person in line at the market…you can always talk about the food you’re buying and what you’re pigging out on or complain how slow the line is moving…but at a gathering, where there may not be a commonality, how do you begin a conversation? “So…what’s your sign?”, “You come here often?” “You want to get in my pants as much as I want to get in yours?” So I basically either hang out hugging the wall or avoid those situations altogether.

Heights make my stomach churn. If I have some protective wall or railing I’m usually ok, but there are times I look down over the banister in my house and get nauseated, worrying I’m going to fall over. I walk down the middle of the hallway just so one of my hallucinatory ghosts doesn’t push me over the side.
There was a time I couldn’t wait to learn to ride horses. I thought since I would have reins and a saddle to hold on to, I should be ok with the whole height thing. Who was I kidding? But I decided I was going to take riding lessons because I always loved horses and riding seemed so beautiful and liberating. A couple of friends and I went to Pepperdine University, where they were giving lessons, and where the terrain was spectacular. I asked for the smallest horse so they gave me one slightly larger than a pony. Probably smaller than a merry-go-round horse. But whoa…that was still quite a ways off the ground with no pole to hold on to. My first conquest…I got on the horse. Yay! That was a huge accomplishment. Then…I got off the horse. Then I told myself ‘suck it up and it will be fine…get back on the horse, you big wuss.’  [great pep talk] So I did. The instructor (who was a retired army drill sergeant) told us to give the horse a kick to get it going. Well…not on your life bub. I ain’t kicking no animal. So I sat in the saddle and rocked my body back and forth hoping the horse would understand what I was telling her to do. As she sat there, not budging an inch, the instructor kept yelling at me to give her a kick. “NO, I won’t kick her.” He then marched over on his horse and hit me on the head with his crop. “Now kick the god damned horse.” Just short of shitting in my pants, I gave her a little, teeny nudge and off we went. He must have been one helluva drill sergeant .

I was quite pleased with myself that I was actually on a horse, riding. Well…I wouldn’t exactly call it riding. We couldn’t have gone any slower unless we were at a complete standstill, but that was good enough for me. We were walking on the trails and they kept getting narrower and narrower and my heart kept beating faster and faster. You have got to be kidding me. These were beginner trails? Ants couldn’t stay on these trails they were so narrow, and they wanted our horses to? It wasn’t long before my heart sank down to the pit of my stomach on its way out my ass. My horse’s back leg kept slipping off the trail and I was losing my balance. I proceeded into panic mode, but I gave it a couple of more feet before jumping off and running for my life. I was outta there. But before I left the grounds, I grabbed the crop out of Satan’s hand and broke it in half over my knee. I’ll teach you Mr. Svengali, drill sergeant, horse kicker guy.
After that experience…I decided to play it safe in the horse arena.

I won’t go into the other phobias I have or I may as well just make this into a book. But to sum it all up, here’s my list. I was amazed at all the classifications of fears:
Glossophobia speaking in public
Topophobia stage fright
Acrophobia  heights
Hydrophobia  water
Claustrophobia  confined spaces
And we all know I have this…I believe I’ve mentioned it just a few times…
Mageirocophobia  FEAR OF COOKING (LOVE this one!)
Good thing I don’t have this:
Logophobia  fear of words (or you probably wouldn't be reading this right now)
But this is my favorite…even though I’m not afflicted:
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia  fear of long words…I’m still trying to pronounce it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I frequently think about what I would get if I was to get a tattoo. Not that I'm planning on it, mind you, but it's crossed my mind a number of times...especially when my girls discuss what theirs will be. My youngest daughter already has two. She had to wait to get her first on her 18th birthday, because I was not going to approve her getting one [at all] and she needed my written permission as a minor. She described what she had wanted and I had to admit it sounded kind of cute. A little design that I figured wouldn't be too intrusive and mostly hidden on her body.  But I certainly was not going to be the one to take her and watch some tatted up, drug addicted, Harley riding, strung out, motha frickin’ gang member inflicting pain on my little girl, in some hole in the wall storefront. So she went with her dad, [I think], and some friends and had it done. I expected her to come home with some colorful, playful little piece of art adorning her hip, hidden by her jeans. Boy was I way off target. This thing was gigunda. I mean gi-normous. I mean, if you had to compare it to something, I'd say Texas has nothing over this thing. This tattoo would cover the entire body of a Tyrannosaurus Rex when it was pregnant. And hidden? I think not. It is smack in the middle of her back, between her waist and her shoulder blade, towards the side. So you don't actually see it when she's dressed, but you certainly can't miss it in a bathing suit. It screams out to you...Yoo I am. Your eyes are immediately drawn to it and glued on it. Obviously she went in there with one idea in mind and came out with another. Or so I thought. Or so she led me to believe because she knows me oh so well and didn't want me to go into panic mode had I known what she really was going to get…a tattoo the size of an IMAX theater screen.  

The next one she got, she got without telling me beforehand. She just nonchalantly posted it on facebook for all to see. I always check out her pictures on FB and usually can tell what I'm looking at. But this one kept me staring for about 5 minutes. It's like...'What the hell is it? Are there letters? Is it a word? Where is it? Is it some secret code she is sending her friends?' My face was practically up against the screen trying to figure it out. Then it hit me. Another tattoo. Was that on her finger? I immediately called her and she told me, yes, it was indeed a tattoo. It said 'Shine'. I must can't be more positive than that. And it really was cute. And her hands are still the size of a 5 year old so it looks adorable. OMG...I actually like a tattoo. Who have I become? I don't know if I know me anymore. Who woulda thunk?

What I don't understand, is how does anyone willingly allow another person to take a needle and engrave their skin to the point of having a picture permanently embedded? I have never seen it done in person, but just the thought of it creeps me out. I have no problems with needles. I never wince when I get a shot or get blood drawn (actually, the rubber tourniquet they tie around my arm hurts more while it’s squeezing and twisting the shit out of my skin then the needle does), but taking one and drawing on my body for what must seem like eternity, has the same appeal to me as falling down an elevator shaft. How my kids have no problem with it is beyond me. I used to hear about it for days when they were due for shots. I almost had to drug them to get them to the doctor for the millisecond the injection took. But for problem? How does that make sense? I just can't understand lying there, being calm, while someone takes this dentist's drill and chisels out your skin, scarring you for life. me the willies.

You look at some of these kids with their entire arm or leg covered with tattoos and wonder how they will feel about it when they're 50 or older. I wonder if, when the skin starts sagging, the happy faces will turn into frowns. A ‘d' will turn into a 'q'. And a picture of a naked woman with perky little tits will then have boobs down to her waist. People's tattoos will need plastic surgery. what would I get if I did get a tattoo? Well...I've thought about Tweety. How cute would a teeny tiny Tweety bird look on some part of my body? Adorable, right? I am 50 something years old. So I still have this affection for a cartoon character. So what. It's Tweety bird…C'mon.

I thought about my favorite quote..."Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened".  But I realize that it would probably wrap around whatever part of my body I have it carved out of, and I don't want to be wearing a permanent belt of letters. So I'll just keep that quote in my head and heart instead.

This could be me but without the crack showing

I could just do my initials. JPBSP...but if I remarry (yet again), I would have to go back to add another letter. No way am I going through that torture twice. So the question would be, do I get the initials, or do I get married again? What a real dilemma that is.

So here’s what I decided. There really is no decision. I was never going to get one. But if I did…this is what it would look like:

I could dress myself in my tattoo…

And no one would notice the saggy skin, boobs, and every other body part drooping under the designs. But hopefully the tattoo would make me look like this:

And if that's the case...Mr. tatted up, drug addicted, Harley riding, strung out, motha frickin’ gang I come!

Tell me...if you were to get a tattoo...what would you get?