My Mullet Philosophy of Life

I think I finally figured out the secret to a rich and happy life.  It’s pretty simple really.  It’s all about knowing when to let your hair down.  The people I know who seem genuinely content  all seem to have this trait in common.

What I’m referring to is the ability to behave practically and responsibly when you need to, but also know when it’s time to throw caution – and sometimes your dignity and even checkbook – to the wind.  Let’s call it The Mullet Philosophy of Life – business in the front, party in the back.

NOT David, BTW

I love my fiance David because he totally gets this concept  – he is an entrepreneur and a great salesman.  He would also make a great politician because he is uniquely talented at pressing the flesh.  (For all you pervs out there – I meant networking, but I guess the phrase can be extrapolated to include other talents as well.)   He also knows how to pinch a penny – I have never seen someone quite as pleased with themselves as he is after a trip to Grocery Outlet or the Dollar Tree where he scored some amazing deal on bell peppers or laundry soap.

Yet despite his work ethic and thrifty nature,  the man knows how to have fun.  He is always up for an adventure, throws epic parties, and when in hair-down mode, can make merry as well as Bacchus himself. It’s all about striking that balance.

I don’t like to be around people who can’t let their hair down.  Frankly I don’t trust them.  If you want to avoid them as I do, I find that they usually fall into one of these categories:

The Fitness Freak – we all know these people.  They are the ones that hit the gym at 5 am every morning.  They will tell you as you’re sipping your mocha that you’d be better off drinking a protein shake.  They know what their BMI is and will make sure you do too, and even though they usually have an incredibly hard body, they are about as much fun as a visit to the proctologist.


Red-Faced Angry Guy –  these are the people who make life hell for anyone in the service industry. Vacations are spent bitching about the poor service, the delayed flight, or the crappy hotel.  Even if you spot them at a  party, they still seem pissed off.  They will most likely be gesticulating, cocktail in hand, while  in the midst of an angry rant about the government, the lack of parking, or a rival football team, while some poor bastard looks on wide-eyed, having been unwittingly sucked into his angry vortex.


The Church Lady – someone whose interpretation of their religious teachings has led them to believe that anything that brings you pleasure  must by definition be a sin.  Sex is a sin – unless it’s for procreation, and even then, they caution you not to enjoy yourself.  Relaxing is a sin because idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.  Alcohol is a sin – despite the fact that Jesus turned water into wine, only degenerates drink.   Dancing is a sin. because gyrating ones body in such a matter is unseemly and depraved.


The Tormented Artist – These people are unwilling to crack a smile because it might destroy their finely honed image of angst.  Loves pretending to read Nietzsche,  listening to Arcade Fire, smoking cigarettes, wearing black, standing in the rain, and discussing the pointlessness of life in coffee shops.


The Workaholic – although I greatly admire people who  have drive and ambition, I find that if it’s all work and no play, it truly does make Jack a dull boy.  If you miss your kid’s recital because you have an important deadline at work, you can’t even go to the bathroom without checking your email on your phone, you consider a 60 hour week week  slacking off, and you eat more meals at your desk than you do at home with your family, you need to get a grip. It’s okay to work hard as long as you don’t lose sight of why you do so. 


My recommendation?  Don’t pass up an opportunity to indulge yourself every once in awhile.  That might mean different things to different people.  It might mean escaping to a tropical beach somewhere, socializing with friends and family,  taking the time to learn how to do something new no matter your age, allowing yourself an entire day to lay in bed and binge watch Game of Thrones, or going out to dinner and ordering the steak and lobster combo because, dammit, you just want it,  Anything to remind yourself that these hair-down moments are what really matter the most, and without them, your days spent here on earth are merely killing time.

The Friday NihiList

Have you ever noticed that certain songs make you want to kill yourself?  I’m not talking about sad love songs – we all enjoy those bittersweet ballads, especially when we are experiencing a break-up.  They’re what I refer to as musical therapy – a way to lick your wounds, have a good cry , and remind yourself that he or she doesn’t deserve your love, dammit.

What I’m talking about are the songs that are so morose and depressing, you are left to wonder – what kind of twisted soul would inflict this lyrical despair on the human race?  Who exactly did they write it for?  Is it for the annoying individual that suffers from excessive optimism and perkiness and needs to be brought down a few notches?  Is it for the sulky teenager who needs corroboration that the world is indeed a horrible place?   We may never know the truth, but I do know what songs make me want to curl up into a fetal position in a dark corner, or at least crack open a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to ease the pain.

Green, Green Grass of Home – written by Claude “Curly” Putnam Jr. and made a worldwide hit by Tom Jones in 1966.  This one is sneaky.  It starts out as a feel good song about a man returning to his hometown, where his lady love and the rest of the townsfolk are all there to greet him.  At least that’s what the unsuspecting listener is led to believe…until the man awakens from a dream and realizes he is in prison – and it’s the day of his execution.  WTF Curly?

The Christmas Shoes –written by Eddie Carswell and Leonard Ahlstrom and recorded by the Christian group NewSong in 2000.  It became a major hit on both the country and adult contemporary charts and, as if that wasn’t punishment enough, it was later the basis for both a novel and a made-for-TV movie.   It’s about a young boy who ventures out before Christmas to purchase a new pair of shoes for his dying mother, because, according to the songs’ schmaltzy verse, Daddy says there’s not much time and I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight. Cue gag reflex.  But what really bugs me about this song is the store cashier.  After an eternity spent watching the poor kid count out his pennies, this prick actually tells the kid – gee, sorry, but you don’t have enough money to buy your dying mother a gift for Christmas.  Seriously?  And to add insult to injury, the narrator, who for some reason stands there chewing his gum like an idiot throughout the entire video, actually feels like he’s done something special by kicking in the difference so the kid can get the dang shoes.  Big deal. Unless they were Jimmy Choos, it’s not worth bragging about.

If I Die Young – written and recorded by The Band Perry in 2010.  Just the title alone proves my point, doesn’t it?  Who writes a song about a young girl dying?  It’s also extremely confusing.  Does she want to be buried in white satin?  Laid down on a bed of roses? Or sunk in the river at dawn?  I don’t think it’s possible to do all three, and frankly the sunk in the river at dawn option might get someone arrested.

Ode To Billy Joe – written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry in 1967 based on the film of the same name.  This is basically a story about a man’s suicide and a brother and sister being told about it at the dinner table by their completely indifferent parents .  I deduced that this is all taking place in a Deliverance kind of setting because Dad says things like “Well, Billie Joe never had a lick o’ sense; pass the biscuits, please,” and then mentions that there are “five more acres in the lower forty I got to plow.”   The sister, who is the narrator, was apparently spotted with Billy Joe throwing something off the Talahatchie Bridge right before he jumped, leaving the listener to speculate what that something was. I’m guessing it was some really good moonshine, and Einstein jumped in after it.

Heart Shaped Box – written by Kurt Cobain and recorded by Nirvana in 1992.  This song has some of the darkest lyrics I’ve ever heard.  She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak, I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks, I’ve been drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap, I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn blackMeat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet, Cut myself on angel’s hair and baby’s breath, Broken hymen of your highness I’m left back, Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back.  I always assumed he was talking about Courtney Love (it seemed a pretty apt description of her), but apparently Cobain said it was inspired by documentaries about kids with cancer.  “Anytime I think about it, it makes me sadder than anything I can think of,” he told biographer Michael Azerrad.  So I guess he wrote a song about it so we can all be incredibly sad together.

Brick – written and performed by Ben Folds Five in 1997.  Ben Folds wrote the verses and the band’s drummer Darren Jessee wrote the chorus.  Folds said it was written about his girlfriend’s abortion in high school, which is  a depressing topic for a song.  However I think the chorus makes it sound like it’s about the girlfriend.  She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly – dude, break up with her then.  You’ll be doing her a favor – when it comes to relationships, no one wants to be referred to as The Ball and Chain, The Thorn in My Side, or especially The Brick.

13 Horses – written and released by Alexander Rybak in 2009.  You may not have heard of this one before, but if so, your luck ends today, thank-you very much.  It’s about 13 horses who are left swimming in the sea after their ship sinks.  The men on board are rescued, but the horses are abandoned.  The song wails on in excruciating detail about how they drown one by one, and by the time Ryback sings the verse about the last three horses, it sounds like he’s ready for a straight jacket.  Rybak won the 2009 Eurovision song contest by a landslide for another song that he composed.  By the sound of 13 Horses, he came down from that high pretty damn fast.

You Had Me at Clowns and Pancakes.

People go to restaurants for lots of reasons other than the food.  Price, ambience, and convenience also matter.  Well I have found a spot that combines all of these for a truly stellar dining experience.   It’s a local landmark – Pancake Circus.


I don’t know if you fall into the roughly 95 percent of the population that finds clowns downright creepy.  I happen to be one of them.  So before I first ventured inside, I made up my mind to think of Pancake Circus as immersion therapy.  Once you pass through the waiting area and enter through the front door of the restaurant, you are surrounded by what I would call “mid-century carny” décor.  There is no escaping it – it’s everywhere, even in the bathrooms.

20140323_121748Last weekend, I had a hankering for some pancakes served with a side of kitsch, so we headed over to the restaurant, located at 2101 Broadway in Sacramento.  We were greeted by a very pleasant young man with tattoos on his neck and gages in his ear.  He led us to our booth upholstered in orange naugahyde (excuse me…vegan leather), and gave us each a menu that listed items such as biscuits and gravy and the “Circus Big Top” – which is the kind of standard breakfast fare that you see at most diners – choice of ham, bacon, sausage, or beef patty with two eggs, potatoes, and three plate sized Circus pancakes.  But they also have lots of other choices that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see on the menu…a veggie eggs benedict, chorizo, crepes – everything at the Circus is made to order.

I didn’t want to get too fancy, so I ordered the Circus Big Top and my guy ordered the corned beef hash (with pancakes, of course.)  I was immediately given a cup of standard trucker coffee – you know – strong, black, and served without fanfare in a brown mug.  If you want a froo froo cappuccino with a pretty foam leaf on top, this ain’t the place.  But my mug was kept full and steaming hot by our friendly waitress – and believe me, the caffeine was a welcome foil to the coma-inducing carb loading I was about to do.

When your restaurant has the word “pancake” in the name, you’d better have some damn good pancakes.  Pancake Circus does not disappoint.  I’m not sure what makes them so delicious, but they are, in a word – amazing.  They come with about a pound of bu20140323_124022tter on them and each forkful is a taste orgasm of fluffy, transcendent, pancake goodness.  The more syrup you pour on top, the more they simply soak it in and expand to blob-like proportions before your eyes.  My eggs and bacon were cooked to perfection, and David’s corned beef hash was basically a meat mountain, tender and flavorful. To think that you can get this much instantaneous weight gain for around twenty bucks is delightful.

I’m sure there are those of you that might be reading this and feeling smugly superior,  as you sit in your tastefully decorated coffee house, sipping your green tea latte, and noshing on egg whites sprinkled with chia seeds before heading over to the hot yoga studio.  But sometimes it’s okay to forgo what feels right and just do what feels goooood.  And Pancake Circus is just the sort of place to indulge those guilty pleasures.

20140323_124236Opened in 1961  as Al & Bud’s Platter by Al Nahas and Hollis K. “Bud” Sheely, the building was designed by mid-century modern architect Sooky Lee, who also designed local landmarks Vic’s Market, Young’s Fireside Shop (now Hot Italian), and the remodel of Frank Fat’s, to name a few.  It became Pancake Circus in 1970 when it was purchased by Luis and Ruth Shurh.  For more than a decade, the restaurant has been owned by Naren Muni, who was born in Mumbai and who had worked in the states for many years as an engineer before buying the restaurant.

But back to the clowns…and doesn’t it always come back to the clowns?  Sometimes a place is so tacky it becomes cool.  Pancake Circus is one of those places.  Fortunately Muni appreciated the campy appeal and didn’t try to modernize it to look like every other boring diner. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen as many clown paintings in one place before, all of them mesmerizing for the same reason Honey Boo Boo is famous – certain things are so devoid of good taste that you simply can’t avert your eyes.

20140323_122242The restaurant works because it preserves that rare bit of nostalgia we all crave – going into Pancake Circus is like going back in time.  We’ve taken the kids to Pancake Circus and they are nothing short of dumbstruck.  After all, they didn’t grow up in the era of Hannah Barbera cartoons, when clowns were actually seen as children’s entertainment instead of horror movie fare, and when cigarettes, coffee, bacon and eggs were the four basic food groups to start your day.

At Pancake Circus, the long-time wait staff, the eclectic clientele, the great food, and the stubbornly outdated décor, reminds you that occasionally, change isn’t always better or necessary.  Sometimes a snapshot in time is worth preserving.

I Heart DQs

I love Drag Queens.  If you thought by my post’s title I meant Dairy Queens, well…I love those too, but not nearly as much.  I have always been fascinated with Drag Queens.  Amongst other things, I find them compelling, campy, brave and trampy.  I wonder what leads them to dress as women – is it because they have a strong feminine side and are confident enough to express it?  Is it because they love the attention and the theatrical aspects of dressing in drag?  Or is it as simple as they look fabulous in a dress and high heels, so why the hell not?

I spot them pretty regularly where I live.  I’d say I have a Drag Queen sighting at least 3-4 times per week, usually in “Lavender Heights” – which is Sacramento’s more modest version of San Francisco’s Castro District.  I love them, but I do have one complaint… I wish they’d tone it down a little – they’re making the rest of us women look bad.

I have never seen a Drag Queen that isn’t dressed to the nines – apparently there isn’t any look too over the top for them.  Sequined gowns, long silk gloves, feather boas, glamorous wigs…and that’s just their business casual look.   Honestly, I have never felt frumpier than when around men dressed as women.

A Drag Queen will proudly float atop 6 inch stilettos and make it look effortless,  I will often opt for a pair of sensible shoes because,  honestly – who wants to compromise mobility?  I’ve seen those scary movies where the woman always trips while running away from the monster.  Who wants to be that stupid bitch?

A Drag Queen seems to instinctively know how to apply makeup to their face like a master painter to a canvas, with the artful skill of a Rembrandt or Cezanne.  When they apply tons of makeup, it transforms them into a beautiful swan.  When I apply tons of makeup, I look like a cross between a clown and a televangelist’s wife (equally creepy, by the way.)

A Drag Queen’s fake eyelashes are always perfectly aligned and sexy, mine usually wind up looking like (to be fair, I imagine – I don’t know first hand) Liza Minnelli’s used to look after a long, hard night of drinking Vodka and doing lines at Studio 54.

Cut us some slack, ladies.  We just can’t compete…

And because I couldn’t write a post about Drag Queens without listing my personal top 10 – here they are, in no particular order:

Dame Edna.  She is the self-proclaimed Australian “Gigastar.”   She also hosted a chat show she described as “an intimate conversation between two friends, one of whom is a lot more interesting than the other.”  Love it.

Dame Edna

Rand Paul.  Oops – wait.  Wrong Paul, although I do have to give him props for that epic hairpiece.

rand paul

RuPaul – She’s fierce and she knows how to self-promote.  Between being the first drag queen supermodel after signing with MAC,  hosting RuPaul’s Drag Race reality game show, recording chart-topping dance music, and developing her own perfume and line of cosmetics, RuPaul definitely works it.


Jerry in Some Like It HotJack Lemmon was brilliant portraying a musician desperately trying to escape being a mafia hit by dressing in drag and joining an all female band led by Marilyn Monroe.  The hilarious scene where he finally reveals he’s a man to his love-struck suitor is one of the best movie endings ever.


Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show – who could forget the deliciously evil “Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Translyvania.” And nobody rocked a black leather corset better than Mr. Tim Curry.


Albert Goldman in The Bird Cage – played to perfection by Nathan Lane.  Although Albert’s stage persona is great, the scenes where Lane really shines are when Albert tries to pull off the traditional wife role as part of his partner Armand’s desperate attempt to appear “normal” to his future in-laws.  I’ll never hear “We Are Family” again without laughing.

Divine – best known as the drag icon from John Water’s cult classics Polyester and Pink Flamingos, Divine was an outrageous, BBQ (Big, Beautiful Queen) with eyebrows that made Joan Crawford’s seem downright subtle by comparison.


Mary Kay – I’m sorry, but that’s a man, baby.  And only a drag queen would have the balls to drive a pink Cadillac.


Flip Wilson – His portrayal of Geraldine on the Flip Wilson show was sassy and hilarious.  “What you see is what you get” indeed.


Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club – As a man who is actually prettier than 95% of women, Jared Leto was perfectly cast for the role.  It also didn’t hurt that his performance as Ron Woodruff’s unlikely partner in fighting AIDS is absolutely breathtaking.


The Mile High Shopping Club

Flying to Orange County recently with a low battery on my laptop and an unwillingness to pay $8 for an hour of internet, I was left with perusing the Sky Mall catalog, strategically placed, as always, in the seat pocket in front of me, next to the barf bags and a never read safety manual.

I don’t know about you, but I have always been fascinated by the Sky Mall…it leads to so many questions.  Who shops at the Sky Mall?  And more importantly, why?  Is it merely out of boredom – passengers thinking they might as well buy some shit while they’re just sitting there in that uncomfortable seat?

I am also always strangely intrigued by the items I find in the Sky Mall.  Do they have a marketing team that actually has research indicating people are twice as likely to buy a talking dog collar when traveling at 600 mph 30,000 feet in the air?  Or is it the same understanding that all tourist destinations seem to share – that as a traveler, suddenly you have lost all sense of taste and the value of a hard earned dollar?

There were some items that I was admittedly tempted to order, just for the hell of it.  If I’d had a couple of cocktails in me, as I suspect is often the scenario when many of these items are purchased, I probably would have.  After all, these are some truly amazing products.

Pajama Jeans Now in both boot cut and skinny, which begs the question – do people actually wear these with boots?  They don’t look like they’d be super comfortable for sleeping in, so I can only assume you actually wear them out because it’s just too much darn trouble to throw on an actual pair of jeans.  And what do you wear them with?  I’m thinking they pair perfectly with a total lack of give a damn.


The Biffy Buttler It’s a bidet sprayer!  It’s a digital accessory caddy!  This must have product conveniently holds your iPad for you while you’re doing your business and then helps you hose down your ass afterwards.  “Buttler” – get it??  Why don’t they just call it the Jizz Butler, since we all know it’s meant for jacking off to porn in the bathroom.


GuitDoorbell – First of all, let’s agree this is one of the worst product names ever. I keep reading it as GuiltDoorbell.  Not sure what feelings that name invokes for you, but for me, it is certainly far from welcoming.  Is it the great aunt you don’t visit as often as you should just stopping by for a surprise visit?  An ex-boyfriend or girlfriend coming by to pick up that last box of things? The police with a COPS film crew standing right behind?  Secondly, who exactly would be delighted seeing a guitar perched precariously over their head as they step into your home?   And it’s not like it actually serenades you.  It plays a single chord.  If you fork over $149.99 for this, chances are you probably don’t have guests – you have victims.


The Human Slingshot   Who thought this was a good idea?  My guess would be the same people who brought us Lawn Darts and the Exploding Ford Pinto.  Then again, if you are willing to be a human slingshot,  I say let Natural Selection run its course without interference from class action attorneys.


Jockey Odor Control Boxer Briefs – Can someone please tell me that this ad’s slogan “Smell Like Victory.  Not Your Friend Victor,” doesn’t really mean what I think it means?


Soul Combat Headphones – I get why they’d advertise headphones in a Sky Mall Catalog, however it’s a little off-putting when they’re called “combat” headphones, especially since the one guy looks like he’s playing a song titled “Must Kill All Honkies.”


2014-03-15 18.40.00

Bigfoot, The Bashful Yeti Tree Sculpture Okay, I admit I want this one.  Bad.


The Silhouette Wine Glass
This is a wine glass that has an opening to accommodate your nose.  Uhmm…my nose fits in a regular wine glass just fine, thank-you.  Perhaps I’m not a true wine connoisseur, but if I want some special gizmo to help me drink wine, it’s going to be a nipple that attaches directly to the bottle.


My Personal Jumped The Shark List

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Personal “Jumped The Shark” List

I remember when I first had to explain to my teenage kids what “jumped the shark” meant.  I must confess that even I didn’t know the phrase was so literal, since my “Happy Days” fixation was long behind me and I had stopped watching by the time that fateful episode was aired.  But like a tidbit of folk wisdom passed on in somewhat demeaning terms as “wives’ tales”, or an old home remedy that low and behold actually works – there is much to be gained in an academic study of this particular cultural phenomenon.  It’s all about knowing when to say when.

And like a true historian, I must begin with none other than one Arthur Fonzarelli.

You see, back in its heyday, Happy Days was cool.  I know kids – it’s hard to believe that about a show that made a 30 year old scrawny looking dude posing as a teenager a symbol of toughness.  But as we now know, that black leather jacket covered up a heart of gold.  And remember, this was before MTV and the Internet, so the show obviously benefitted from the fact that the number of channels back then was limited to the amount you could fit on a small rotating dial. When The Fonz put his thumbs up and gave the audience an “Aaaayy,” we lost our freaking minds.

It was also one of the first shows to milk that golden calf dry with seemingly endless spinoffs.Laverne and Shirley.  Lenny and Squiggy. Blansky’s Beauties. Mork and Mindy. Joanie Loves Chachi.  Long after the last drop of goodwill had been shed, Happy Days was still on the air.  For 10 years to be exact, which doesn’t sound especially long, except that several of those years were post shark.

Somewhere along the line, Happy Days ran out of fresh ideas, and the “kids” all grew up.  But instead of bowing out gracefully, like The Sopranos or Mash managed to do with grace and dignity, Happy Days just kept going.  It kept going and going until it literally “jumped the shark”  – which was both a literal and figurative manifestation of its pathetic attempt to remain cool and relevant.

For those of you unfamiliar with the episode, The Fonz actually jumped over a shark in a ridiculously over-dramatized water skiing game of chicken.  If it wasn’t already apparent, this is the point where even viewers who represent the most lagging indicator consumer (I’ll call them straggling indicator consumer  – see “people who still collect Beanie Babies as a financial investment”), finally realized the show was on the downward side of its bell shaped curve.

Since then, I like to maintain my own personal “Jumped The Shark” List.  And it has nothing to do with what is trending, what is hot, what is buzz worthy, and what is not.  This is my latest list.  You may not agree with it, but it doesn’t really matter, because this is my list, and it’s far from all inclusive.

Network TV – Who in the world watches network TV except for old people?  It caters to the lowest common denominator, which results in shows like “The Bachelor” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”  And seemingly anything new or fresh is promptly cancelled by network executives only interested in appealing to the masses, which unfortunately ain’t all that sophisticated.

Clubbing – Believe me, the last thing someone my age wants to do is stand in line with a bunch of twenty somethings waiting to get onto some crowded, sweaty dance floor.  Besides, we all know they don’t let us in because we’re cool – it’s only because we are deemed a necessary evil by some meat head bouncer that was informed somebody has to be able to afford that overpriced table service.

Vodka – Yeah it’s low in carbs, but it isn’t exactly full of nuanced, sophisticated flavor.  It tastes like rubbing alchohol.  I’ll take a bottle of Jamison over Grey Goose any day.  Sorry Comrades.

Gym Memberships – Driving somewhere to go work out is just silly, isn’t it?  Walk the dog.  Do yard work.  Move heavy items.  At least you’ll be productive while getting in shape.

Bottled Water – Unless you live in a third world country you are being scammed.  Number one symptom of Affluenza- you know what a Water Sommelier is, and your bottled water from some pristine glacier in Norway has a nutrition label on it that you have actually read.

Kombucha – why would you want some lumpy, solid bits of who knows what lurking at the bottom of your drink?  And it smells like a bad yeast infection.

Greek Yogurt – When companies like Dannon and Yoplait start mass marketing it, it’s definitely jumped the shark.

Boyfriend Jeans – These are the Levi 501s of the younger generation.  If you like unflattering jeans that don’t fit your womanly curves, then buy these.  Or just steal your boyfriends, it’s cheaper.

Kale – Sorry – it may be a “superfood” but it still tastes like crap.  Basically collard greens for white people.

Beards – It’s more likely you’ll spot a unicorn than a clean shaven chin these days when you’re out and about at the various hipster hangouts.  Don’t believe me?  Just go to your local beer and sausage joint or bar that serves old timey cocktails and you would think you somehow landed at a Quaker convention.  Except for all those tattoos and gages.

Victoria Secret – This one is on the list because I happen to remember when VS models were actually voluptuous, and not twigs with fake breasts.  And VS also didn’t market themselves to 12 year old girls.  Pink is the new Creepy.

Moroccan Oil – If you’re a white girl, this is only going to make your hair look limp and greasy, not shiny and exotic.  Sorry.

Uggs – Ugh

Shows Featuring Bigfoot Hunters – just because you traipse around in the woods at night with a night vision camera that makes your eyes glow, doesn’t make it scary.  When you actually capture a real, live Bigfoot, then we’ll talk.

Ombre Hair – We used to call it growing out a bad drugstore dye job.  Now you pay hundreds of dollars at a salon for the exact same look.

Any Shade of Grey – Honestly, I tried to read the first book, but couldn’t even make it past the bad writing to the first good sex scene.   And now we get to look forward to all the movie hype.  Whatever the Fifty Shades phenomenon says about women’s secret sexual desires, it should do so with more finesse and skill than a rejected Penthouse Forum letter.

The Art of Aging Disgracefully – A Prelude

funny old ladyIt’s true. I’m getting old.

There comes a time in one’s life where you can’t deny it any longer.  Grey hairs, fine lines, sagging skin, age spots – they continue to gang up on me until there is no denying that I  – like everyone else – am going to eventually lose this battle.  Having said that, one thing has become abundantly clear to me:  I’ve come to accept that I cannot stop time from its relentless march forward – but I don’t have to do it gracefully.

I know what you’re thinking – but let me assure you I am not promoting some miracle cream or pill that promises endless youth.  I realize that shopping at Forever 21 doesn’t mean I’m going to look like I’m 21.  In fact, it will probably just draw attention to the fact that I haven’t been carded in nearly that many years. I also realize that too many women fall victim to the idea that going under the knife and trading a few well earned-wrinkles for the often freakish mask of over aggressive plastic surgery isn’t going to make them look younger, it’s just going to make them look…well, freakish.

I’m talking about something more profound – that we should get to define what aging
means to us.  And it may not mean wearing Mom jeans and watching Law and Order before sensibly turning in at 9 p.m. each night.  One positive thing about getting older is that – although it may not necessarily make you wiser – if definitely makes you more open-minded.  At least it should.  Because for me – being open-minded is as close as you can come to finding a true fountain of youth.  If you are inflexible and unable to cope with change, you will age in dog years.  Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

I came about these lessons the hard way.  I nearly died when I was 19 years old.  It’s a funny thing, almost dying.  Somehow having stared death in the face doesn’t make death scary – it makes the idea of not living absolutely terrifying.  And when I say living, I don’t mean merely existing.  I mean truly living.  If I live a rich, meaningful life and die at 50 years of age, who’s to say that my life is somehow sadder than the 90 year old that dies after living a long but unfulfilled life, and who leaves a small, easily dissipated wake behind them?

I’m far from an example of the fully evolved, together woman, but I’m finally starting to accept myself – flaws and all.  In fact, I tend to think our flaws make us more interesting – sort of like Joaquin Phoenix with that sexy hair lip scar.   I have always suspected that women who profess to be self-actualized or close to it are deluding themselves, and in fact are probably more insecure than the rest of us.  They cling to the public image of perfection to deny a simple truth.  No matter what our age, we are all works in progress.  If you think you’re not, than you have ceased to be open-minded and to embrace this crazy ongoing education that is life.

So I’m okay with making mistakes.  Hopefully I’ll learn from them, but if not, I at least hope I have fun while making them.  I’m also okay taking what some might deem to be risks that only twenty-somethings should take.  I didn’t take those risks then and I wish I had.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t take them now.

It’s not over ‘till it’s over, and that’s the damn truth.  Who is to say when the time has come to settle down and live sensibly?  What if I don’t want to?  Should someone else be able to tell me that I must?  If the idea of questioning how you are living your life is too scary for you, than perhaps it’s because you are living a compromised life, one that is still in soft focus black and white, and not in HD color as it should be.

So I hope you join me on this path that we must each blaze for ourselves.  Let me be a cautionary tale and an inspiration.  Laugh with me and at me.  Take my hand and lift me up when I stumble and fall, and I will do the same for you.  Rejoice with me when I reach a milestone in my travels.  But most of all, realize that we are all in this together, and although no one is getting out alive, we can make it one hell of a journey.

The Dark Side of Sleeping Beauty


I have a serious problem with mornings.  I don’t like them and they don’t like me.  At least the getting out of bed part.  I wish I could blame it on insomnia, but it is just as likely to be a hangover.  And honestly, it’s  my sloth-like disposition that is mostly to blame.

Put me in a cozy bed, all warm and snuggly under the covers, and why in the world would I ever want to leave?  I’ve always got my smart phone plugged in right next to the bed, freshly charged, so I can log on to my favorite websites, read the latest news, sort through my email, check my facebook feed, play a little words with friends…believe me, I can waste hours  doing absolutely nothing productive.  And that’s if I don’t decide to doze off again.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to wake up like those weird couples in the “sleep aide” commercials.  If I pop a sedative before I turn in, will I really awake to birds chirping and the sun shining, emerging from a bed not even remotely disheveled, make up on, hair in place, and ready to greet the day with a moronic grin?  I doubt it.   As a matter of fact, when I used to dabble in prescription pills with names evoking blissful states of unconsciousness – Luneeesta,  Ambieeen, Sonaaata – it was ten times harder for me to wake up.  I usually didn’t fully emerge from my self-imposed fog until at least 10 am.

Also, I absolutely guarantee you the couples in those commercials didn’t have mad, hot sex during the night.  Unless you think molesting a corpse qualifies.  After her sleep crack is downed with a glass of Cabernet, the clock is ticking gentlemen.  You have exactly 20 minutes from start to finish so better get ‘er done with as little fanfare as possible.

Don’t believe me?  Notice how the couples in these commercials are always still completely clothed in their pajamas.  No guys t-shirt sans undies on that lady.  She’s wearing a sensible, full length nightgown, straight out of the latest JC Penny catalog, with cotton granny panties still completely intact underneath, no doubt.  And no sleeping commando for him.  He’s dressed in his Ricky Ricardo plaid PJs and my guess is that he still has his socks on to boot.   And just look at the hair.   These people aren’t sporting anything close to a freshly f*#@ed hairdo – they look like they just walked out of a salon.  I promise you, sleeping is the only thing going down between those two sheets.

I’ve come to terms with my characteristic lack of morning perkiness.  And like a true enabler, my fiancée actually takes the dog out and then brings me coffee in bed nearly every day.  He wisely understands that it keeps the demons at bay, at least until the sun rises and awakens them once again tomorrow.

Dexter Doodle

Meet my dog Dexter Doodle.  Or just Dexter for short. He is a world class dumbass.  But an adorable dumbass.  I don’t know what possessed me to get a Pomeranian, because I am really more of a big dog person.  I also don’t like yappers.  Did I mention that Dexter is a dumbass and a yapper?

Dexter likes to think that he is the protector of the castle.  I let him believe this even though he couldn’t defend a cardboard box.  When I let him outside in the morning to pee, he runs the perimeter of the property, huffing and snorting like some raging bull, ready to commence said yapping if the slightest thing seems amiss.  Did someone leave the hose laying on the lawn?  It will be barked at as if it was a menacing serpant.  Is there a car parked in the driveway that he doesn’t recognize?  That will be barked at like it just jumped off of the pages of “Christine.”   Like I said, he ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

I am actually a bit envious of my dog’s vacuous skull.  Sometimes I suspect not having two brain cells to rub together is the true key to happiness.  Look at the Kardashians.  They seem happy. One thing is certain, Dexter always has a positive outlook and an enthusiastic appreciation for life.  Case in point –  he wears the same stupid grin every waking moment.

Dexter waiting patiently for a dropped mini marshmallow, which for some reason is like crack to him.


Dexter curled up with me on the sofa watching Sophie’s Choice.


Dexter right before he gets his freak on by humping his favorite stuffed animal (which, by the way, he can do sans Viagra for hours at a time, especially if there are guests present.)


Dexter gazing skywards at the giant Bald Eagle as it majestically swoops toward him, talons outstretched.


I guess it could be worse.  I could have a smart, depressed dog, lying around worrying about global warming and continued unrest in the Middle East.  Dexter reminds me to breathe and…just…be…happy.