So… I Fell Down

For no reason. Just, you know. Fell.

I had stopped my car in front of a store in a strip mall, to stick some mail in the mailbox there and toss some trash and the remains of my breakfast in the can. Moving confidently and without impediment, I strode around the back of my car, headed for a completely uneventful encounter with surrogates for the US Postal Service and municipal trash and refuse collection.

Next thing I knew, my ass was kissing blacktop. Hard.

Near as I can tell, my right leg went forward of its own accord just as my left leg cut across sideways. I don’t think I tripped myself… then it seems I would have fallen forward. I fell straight down.

Like Sandra Bullock in "Two Weeks Notice," but without getting beaned in the head with a tennis ball first, and falling straight down instead of backward, and in a parking lot instead of a tennis court. (pic from

What the hell…? How did I get down here? I was sort of dazed for a second, taking in my new, low-angle perspective on my surroundings (and also some exhaust from the tailpipe of my car). Did I slip on something? I wondered as I struggled to my feet. I looked around at the ground. Nothing to precipitate my fall. Nothing to trip or slide on. 

Oh my God. I have Mad Cow Disease.

Just then, a man walked out of the drugstore I had intended to approach with all my limbs arranged properly. He kind of smirked at me in that way when you know someone is trying not to smirk at you because you just did something incredibly dumb and embarrassed yourself in the middle of a parking lot… but they’re concerned you may have injured yourself.

He raised his eyebrows. “You okay?” he asked me wryly. As if those two words were actually code for, “I saw that, it was totally inelegant, one second you were walking upright and the next you had dropped completely from view, I watched you through the window there, and you have got to be mortified.”

I rolled my eyes and bobbled my head in the universal sign for “Yep, I’m an idiot.”  “Yeah,” I said, sighing, sharing through my body language that I was, in fact, sort of mortified, but more to the point, disturbed by the fact that I could just fall down for no reason.

The thing is, I wasn’t really as embarrassed as I probably should have been. That’s a bad sign, right? Time was, I took myself way too seriously and would have looked all around to see who might have seen me (though the looking around would have been done with a great deal of subtlety, because the only thing worse than being embarrassed in public is being seen looking around wildly afterward). But I’m past that point now. I don’t care nearly as much. I laugh at myself a lot more. I seem to remember the transition happening when I was about 23 and my sister and future brother-in-law had come to visit. We went bowling and I swear I let go of the ball, but it didn’t let go of me. It carried me over the line into the waxed lane and I flailed wildly, then landed on all-fours. My sister was crying with laughter. My brother-in-law, God bless him, tried to stifle his. I laughed so hard I couldn’t get up. Serious self-regard cured. Siblings will not let you get away with that crap. The story is told to this day at family gatherings. My brother-in-law no longer stifles his laughter.

I assessed the physical damage. Remember when you were a kid and you’d fall and scrape up the heels of your hands? Ooooh, that stings, right? Yep. Did it. There was even a chunk of skin missing from my right hand, and I was bleeding. I regarded it with curiosity and analysis. Now how did I do that? I wondered. Just in terms of physics, it seemed wrong. I fell straight down… didn’t I? How did my hands get scraped up? And yet the mail and the trash are still firmly in my grasp…?

Am I in a parallel universe? What the hell is going on?

I brushed off my backside, sort of checked my feet to make sure I wouldn’t fall again, and walked to the mailbox. I dropped the bills through the slot. It was only as I reached my other arm out to toss out the trash from my car that I realized I was holding…

…wait for it…

…a banana peel.

Oh, come on.

It had been my breakfast, and now it was serving as a satire for a cartoon. The universe seemed to be playing with me.

I shook my head at myself, got back in the car, and drove to work. I fetched some alcohol wipes from the medicine cabinet and cleaned off my raw and bleeding hands. “What did you do?!” several people asked me. I told them. And then I sat down and composed an email to my sisters, detailing the fall. I knew they’d get a kick out of it.

I’m told one of them wound up laughing aloud – and snorting – all alone in her cubicled corner of her office.

Yet another story told and retold at family gatherings.


"Are moooo alright?" (pic from




Who Let You In Here?

Have you ever heard a mouse scream for hours?

It’s awesome.

Of course, by “awesome,” I mean “completely horrible and makes you wonder why you ever opted for the Glue Trap Method of rodent capture, which seemed like a good idea at the time but now you can’t remember why, as it is in fact absolutely disastrous.”

I discovered I had mice when the cat’s food bag sported holes in its sides. Very shortly afterward, other signs of their presence started showing up in such fine places as my pots and pans.


One Saturday, I arrived home from a late night out and wondered why the cat didn’t do her usual “I’m Really A Dog” routine, waiting for me at the door and yelling wildly as I approached. I found her curled up on the bathroom floor. “What are you doing?” I asked her. “You never hang out in here.”

(This was the beginning of an unsettling but brief period of talking to the cat while she looked at me like, “Um, I don’t speak English, you freak.”)


I looked down and saw her little white toy mouse caught between her paws. The cat looked up at me sort of sadly, meowed quietly, patted the little mouse, and looked up at me again, as if to say, “Why won’t it play with me?”

Then it moved.

Twitched, really.

Death twitch, I think.

And I completely. Freaked. Out.

I covered my mouth, lest my neighbors hear my 2am screaming and think I was being murdered in my bed. I spun around, trying to find something I could put this creature in. I remembered that when I was a toddler, my mother had killed mice in our house by scooping them into a shoebox, throwing a rock in it, clapping the lid on and shaking the thing.

Yeah, probably not PETA’s favorite method, but these were the ’70s. Everything was harsh in the ’70s.

As fate and poor housekeeping would have it, there was a shoebox just steps away, so I grabbed it and somehow got the little mouse in there. I don’t remember how. I think I’ve blocked it out. I took it outside and flung it into the trees. All I could think was, “It’s dead, she killed it, it’s dead, did she bite it? I don’t want to check it for teeth marks, do I have to take her to the vet now? What if it had the plague?”

I knew I had to do something, because this little one probably had friends and family. I couldn’t stomach the idea of hearing the old-fashioned traps snap, though. I don’t know why, I really don’t, but for some reason I thought glue traps would be the better way to go.

Way. Wrong. Answer.

Sitting on my couch one night, I heard this God-awful screeching coming from my kitchen and realized that a mouse had gotten stuck in the trap I’d put behind the cat’s food bag in the cabinet.

Ohhhhh, noooooooooooo, I thought. They SCREAM?!

They do. But only for a few hours. It was like the lambs in Jodie Foster’s head.

I called Brad. “Come over and get this mouse out of my cabinet,” I begged, allowing myself to be really quite girly, which he doesn’t like, but in need of him to help me, which he does like.

What?! No!” he replied, not at all heroically, from his place across the street. “You do it!”

“I can’t!” I whined. “I can’t do it!”

“Well I’m not doing it!” he replied, refusing to don his shining armor and mount his white horse. (This was during the phase in which Brad and I were considering being more than friends. I was giving him a serious opportunity to score some points. He didn’t care.)


I couldn’t deal with the dead mouse. So I ignored it. For days. Somehow I managed to take the cat’s food bag out of the cabinet several times over the course of those days and never once look while I was doing it, so I never did see the dead mouse in the glue trap behind it.

Finally, about five days after the thing screamed til its little vocal cords were shot, I worked up the courage to dispose of it. I found another shoebox. I opened the cabinet, careful to stay behind it so I didn’t have to look inside. I took the cat food bag out, turned the box upside-down and clapped it down over where the mouse would be. Then I moved around the cabinet door, lined the lid of the box up flush with the bottom of the cabinet and sllooowwwllly dragged the box and mouse until it dropped onto the lid.


Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew…

It was heavy. It was not a small mouse, I sensed. This was Mama Mouse.


I think I took it out to the Dumpster. I’m pretty sure I ran.

A few weeks later, on Thanksgiving morning, I awoke to the sound of something squeaking and something sliding across the linoleum kitchen floor. Knowing what I was about to find, I padded out to the kitchen.

The cat was playing with a little field mouse, stuck in a trap but alive, like it was the puck in an air hockey game. She slid it this way… weeeeeee! And that way… wooooooo!

I actually felt bad for this little guy. He was brown and white and kind of cute, with his little head sticking out of one end of the trap, and the cat thought he was a wonderful toy. Still bleary-eyed, I didn’t have the energy for disgust. I merely got a shopping bag and a broom, swept him into the bag and escorted him out to the Dumpster. Sorry little guy. I don’t want you to come back inside. Even if it is a holiday.

All was quiet for awhile. Then one night around 11pm, I was washing my hands at the bathroom sink when I thought I heard a little squeak. Like Steve Martin in a Pink Panther parody, I stiffened, then leaaannnned out the doorway.

The cat sat there. Looking at me.

“What?” she seemed to say.

“What?” I said back.

She sat. “I don’t speak English, you freak.”

I finished washing my hands and looked at her again.

EEEEEEEKKKKKKK! Mouse in her mouth! In. Her. MOUTH!

I sort of shriek-groaned, and the cat did the unthinkable. She dropped the mouse. Another shriek-groan, something like “Nnnneeeeuuuggghhh!” The mouse scampered away and the cat, finding my language confusing, looked at me and then took off after the mouse, which was a dark thing – not white, not brown. She pounced and caught it beneath her paws. The mouse froze. I was trying to find something to catch it with, while keeping an eye on the animal scene. The mouse stayed still for so long, the cat eventually lifted a paw, slowly.

“NO!” I yelled.

The mouse shot away. The cat looked at me.

“GET IT!” I yelled.

She pounced again, but the mouse eluded capture. I found a mini-cooler– the kind with the flip-top lid. It was all I could grab. “GET IT!” I yelled again.

The phone rang.

For reasons passing all understanding, I stopped, picked it up off the table, and answered it.

My sister wanted to know what was up. I told her. She burst out laughing. “Like, right now?” she asked. “You’re chasing it now?”

“Yes!” I replied, breathlessly. “I gotta go!”

“Well, yeah,” she said. I hung up.

I turned to find the cat with the mouse in her mouth once again, looking at me with bright eyes like, “I got it! I got it! …NOW WHAT?!”

 “Ooh!” I cried, holding out the mini-cooler and gesturing. “Put it in here! Put it in here!”

The cat stared at my finger. Excitedly.

“In here!” I shouted, pointing. “IN. HERE.”

Still staring at my finger. With focus.

How do you get a cat to put a mouse in a box?! I wondered frantically.

And then the mouse was gone again, out of her mouth.

All this was happening in front of my sliding glass door, the blinds to which were open. At some point I became fully aware that anyone outside could watch this scene unfolding with hilarity, like a cartoon. Tiny mouse runs by, followed by black cat, followed by crazed lady holding mini-cooler out in front of her, all running in measured steps. They run by heading one way…

… and then back the other way…

…Here they come again…

Then, suddenly, the mouse changed direction. Zoom! It darted left, finding the potted fake tree.

It jumped.

What the $%^! Mice can jump?!

It leapt up onto the rim of the wicker basket the tree sat in and perched there, its beady black eyes staring at me. It might as well have stuck its tongue out, put its thumbs (?) in its ears and wiggled its fingers at me.

The cat had lost its prey and pitched a nutty. For the only time in 12 years, I saw her chase her tail. Around and around and around.

Oh, for crying out loud. Really?!

I picked up the cat. “There!” I told her, pointing at the mouse.

She zeroed in on my finger.

“Come ON!” I yelled. Then I stuck her face right in front of the mouse. “THERE! RIGHT! THERE!”

I swear to God, her legs clamored for purchase in the air like Scooby-Doo launching himself off a cliff. The mouse let out a fearful “eek!” and hopped down into the base of the potted tree.

“AUGH!” I dropped the cat and grabbed the tree. Its base is filled with straw, so I can’t see the damned mouse and who knows if it’s going to come flying out at me. Holding the tree by its skinny trunk, I carried it out of the building and flipped it upside down. All the straw in the base fluttered to the ground, and out fell the mouse. Righting itself onto its legs, it hopped once more, then scurried off into the darkness.

I think I shook my fist in the air and called “Warn the others!” after it, but I’m not sure.

But I never had another mouse.

Featured image from Not on purpose.

Music Monday #6: Wheel! Of! Fortune!

If that’s an apt way to describe Carmina Burana, then Carl Orff is Pat Sajak and the chorus is the announcer guy.

“Tell him what he’s won, Bob!”

“Iiiiiiiit’s a lifetime of struggle and miseryyyy! Interspersed with periodic excitement and falling in love with flirtatious young maidens, or at least lusting after them, you’ll endure a lifetime of hardship! mayhem! and mental anguiiiiishhh! Happiness may be fleeting, but it’s still worth the ride! And! You get to get drrrrunk!”

That is a decidedly less artistic and poetic way to sum it up… but still valid. And not altogether far off from Orff’s approach, really, come to think of it.

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is a litany of Nots: It’s not an opera. It’s not that old (Orff wrote it in the 1930s). It’s not even all in one language. Some of it is in Latin, some German (and not even just plain German… Middle High German), and allegedly, some of it’s in French, though I can’t find it identifiably in my score. Which means… it’s not all one cohesive work.

What it is is a rip-roaring good time.

Carmina is actually a conglomeration of old poetry that Orff found and cobbled together and made work in a comprehensive form. And he wrote it to showcase dancers, not singers.

Wouldn’t know it by listening, I can tell you that. Or singing. This is some exhausting stuff. It is relentlessly rhythmic. It requires a ridiculous amount of concentration. Nobody gets a break, ever. Orchestral percussionists least of all. One of the times I performed this work was on a stage too small for the full orchestra and 120 voices needed to carry the piece. I stood on the percussion section. There was a bass drum about six feet from my right ear. The little drummer boy (as I called him) kept stealing my water bottle. Thought he was funny.

He was wrong.

One of my singer friends and I once drove the percussionists crazy with questions. They have to pull out all the stops (and, seemingly, all the intstruments) for this piece, so we were loaded with inquiries.

“What’s that?”

“A cabasa.” 

“A keilbasa?”

Unamused glare. “No. A CAbasa.”

“Oh. What’s that?”

“A vibraslap.” 

(Cue giggles.) “A vibraslap?!?!”

(Another unamused glare.) “Yes.”

“C’mon (gasp) you made that up.” 

“No. I didn’t.” 

“What’s that thing that looks like an egg?”

“That’s an egg shaker.” 


I’ve been fortunate enough to perform four runs (three- to five-performance series of concerts) of Carmina, with four different conductors. The first time, it was sans dancers. Second time, mit dancers. Third and fourth time, non dancers. When I found out about the dancers the second time, I was flummoxed. Wouldn’t they just be… distracting? How would they handle the 5/4 time in the “Raia” movement? That’s a dance movement, but in 5/4 time it’s pretty damned tricky to count for dancers. It must be a nightmare for choreographers. Dancers count One-Two-Three One-Two-Three or One-Two-Three-Four One-Two-Three-Four or One-Two-Three-Four-Five-Six One-Two-Three-Four-Five-Six or the ever-popular Five Six Seven Eight!

But… One Two Three Four Five One Two Three Four Five…?

That’s just messed up.

Not the point, though, today.

The point is, Carmina features one of the most recognized but least understood pieces of music in the “classical” realm, in my opinion: “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi.”  Commonly known as “O Fortuna.”

Which I’ve always thought sounds a bit like an ode to a canned fish.

 Carmina is a powerhouse work. I mentioned it’s exhausting stuff, and it is; singers run through the vocal ringer on it. It’s more than an hour long and we almost never stop (“Raia” being the only brief movement out of 22 that doesn’t have a vocal scoring). It’s worse for the men than for the women; the men have an entire sequence (subtitled “In Taberna”) about a rousing drunken festivus of drunkenness and what happens after that.

It features a soliloquy from a black swan as he’s roasting on a spit (which is evoked by an intentionally squeaky clarinet) and a dude who’s won some sort of King For the Time Being Contest… until the people who are presently celebrating him eventually kill him.

Also there’s something about riding a horse.

Told you it was wild.

Like life. Which is, of course, Orff’s whole point.

“Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” serves as a bookend for Carmina. Not only is it sung in the beginning of the work; it’s sung at the end, too. Thereby completing the cycle. Closing the circle. Rounding out the wheel.

You’ve heard it in movies, commercials, viral videos, etc. etc. etc. But you may never have known what it was about.

A portion of they lyrics and translation:

O Fortuna O Fortune,
velut luna like the moon
statu variabilis, you are changeable,
semper crescis ever waxing
aut decrescis; and waning;
vita detestabilis hateful life
nunc obdurat first oppresses
et tunc curat and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem, as fancy takes it;
egestatem, poverty
potestatem and power
dissolvit ut glaciem. it melts them like ice.
Sors immanis Fate – monstrous
et inanis, and empty,
rota tu volubilis, you whirling wheel,
status malus, you are malevolent,
vana salus well-being is vain
semper dissolubilis, and always fades to nothing,
obumbrata shadowed
et velata and veiled
michi quoque niteris; you plague me too;
nunc per ludum now through the game
dorsum nudum I bring my bare back
fero tui sceleris. to your villainy.
Sors salutis Fate is against me
et virtutis in health
michi nunc contraria, and virtue,
est affectus driven on
et defectus and weighted down,
semper in angaria. always enslaved.

It’s intense.

There are astounding variations in dynamic (volume). That’s on purpose, to reflect both intensity and the changing winds of fate. Do not adjust your speakers… unless you want to really hear the words, which are damned difficult to articulate well sometimes. If you want to download a version, I highly recommend the Bournemouth Symphony and Chorus, Marin Alsop conducting, if you can find it. Without further ado… “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” from Carmina Burana, written by Carl Orff and performed, in this case, by Chor der Deutchen Oper Berlin, and the Orchester der Deutchen Oper Berlin. Video here is irrelevant; I try to find the best musical representation of the work, not the best visuals.

Hang on tight, close your eyes and listen. Happy Music Monday.

Featured image from Angela Sterling/

All Kindsa Rights… No Kinda Sense

Being a pseudo-wonk, I listen to a lot of nerdy radio and see a lot of nerdy television. I hear beaurocrats and politicians volley back and forth reciting tired old lines about what the American people want. And I see and hear and read lots of polls.

“Polls,” she spits with disdain.

I’ve ranted before about the “Which presidential candidate would you most like to have a beer/barbeque with?” poll. As if that’s the best way to determine the leader of the free world. Have you been to a barbeque? Was anyone there someone you would want leading the country? Didn’t think so.

(Huh. Craving ribs now.)

But there are other polls that are equally ridiculous, and politicians refer to them to make their points. Media outlets use them to demonstrate that they’re paying attention to their viewers. And we wind up thinking they somehow matter.

Polls on whether the US should raise the debt ceiling
Like 99.4% of Americans have any idea what that even really means. Oh, we know that there’s a limit to how much debt the US can accumulate. And it seems to follow that if the debt ceiling is raised, the government will just spend more money. And we don’t want that. But do we have any actual idea of what it means to raise the debt ceiling vs. not raise it? Do we know a single detail apart from pundit formulation? This is the US government; it cannot possibly be that simple.

Don’t take that poll. You can’t answer the question.

Polls on whether the US should go to war
Don’t get this confused with the President talking to Congress about it. That’s a whole different thing. I’m talking about polls asking Joe Schmoe on his couch with his beer and his cheese puffs if the US should go to war. Joe Schmoe of Cheese Puff County has no freaking clue of the dynamics of international policy and implications thereof. The government keeps a lot of that stuff on the down-low. FYI.

Polls on whether the US should get out of Afghanistan (merely) because bin Laden is dead
What makes us think we have the slightest idea of what is actually going on over there? We think that because one wackaloon is dead, the whole problem is fixed? That would be nice, but it’s sure not true. This wasn’t Hitler. Times have changed and Al Qaeda is a splinter-cell group. Bin Laden might have played a big role, literally and ceremoniously, but he’s not the only guy who can give commands and make plans. Also Al Qaeda isn’t the only game in town.

Cut to some politician: “The American people want us out of Afghanistan!” Well, sure. But the American people have no idea what they’re talking about. If the American people were trusted to run war strategy and plan attacks, we’d all live in Greenland. All those who think danger is over because bin Laden is dead: you are dismissed from future poll-taking.

Polls on whether Osama bin Laden should have been killed
Seriously? This isn’t a no-brainer?

I heart irony. (pic from


Oh, but Americans love to be asked for our opinions. We think it’s our patriotic duty to have an opinion. This is why we have bumper stickers and defend the stuff they say with our right to free speech. We believe we’re entitled to an opinion on everything, and particularly everything the government does, even if there’s no way we can understand that on which we’re forcefully stating our opinions because we’re not privy to all the information.  And then we expect the government and the world at large to act in accordance with our (largely uninformed due to laziness) opinions.

This is the same nation of people, you understand, who regularly wear tube tops and “Juicy” sweats to Walmart, and need lids on our coffee with a message explaining that the coffee is hot. If there is no warning that the coffee is hot, we have the right to sue when we dump it in our laps while we drive. And we have the right to sue if someone takes a picture of us in our trashy get-up and posts it on the internet.


And we think we’re smarter than the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

All kindsa rights. No kinda sense.

We don’t live in an actual democracy. God, that would be a hot mess. We live in a republic. We elect people to represent us. That means we don’t always get to have a say; we get to ask them nicely to do what we want them to do, and they take it into consideration. And sometimes they do what we ask (because they want to get re-elected), and other times they exercise the fact that they’re a hell of a lot more informed on the nuance then we are, and they ignore us, and that’s good.

Sure, sometimes they’re the idiots. But usually they know more than we do about the floor votes they cast, if not when we elect them, then when they walk down the hall to the chamber.

Of course, it doesn’t have to go as high as the federal government. One woman recently complained that the US Postal Service ruined her wedding day because a box – containing her dress, her flower girls’ dresses, her flowers and all the decorations for the wedding in the US Virgin Islands – was never delivered. It was supposed to arrive on May 12th. The wedding was May 14th. This woman says, “Needless to say I didn’t get the wedding of my dreams and that was due to inept postal system (sic)…. There are numerous people who have fail victim (sic) to the post offices inefficent system (sic) and lack of customer service. The government needs to be held to some accounting for their processes.”


You put everything you needed for your wedding in one box. You’re an idiot.

You shipped that box with approximately zero wiggle room for delivery. You’re an idiot.

You think you needed those items to have a dream wedding. You don’t know what a marriage is yet.

You blame the postal system instead of yourself for being inept. You’re ignorant.

One cannot “fail victim” to anything. You left the apostrophe out of “office’s” and you spelled “inefficient” wrong. And the government no longer runs the US postal service.

Question: do you vote? Because you have the right to vote. You have the right to sue the USPS, I guess, if you want. You have the right to complain to other people about it. But you ain’t got no kinda sense.

Storm Warning

So apparently we’re letting babies decide what gender they want to be these days.

Gee, can’t wait to see how this trend turns out.

Alright, I’m overstating. But there is this couple somewhere who named their kid Storm and aren’t telling anyone – anyone – what the kid’s gender is. Storm’s grandparents don’t know. Storm’s brothers do, and they’re not allowed to tell. They’re five and two, so we’ll see how that goes. Their names are Jazz and Kio. I’m not making it up; there’s a blog about it in the New York Times, so it must be true.

Baby Storm with a brother (pic from

It seems to me that a line needs to be drawn, here.

You want to name your kid something ridiculous, fine. You let your children decide when to get their hair cut or not, and let them choose what to wear… I’m going to have a tough time with that to some degree, but it’s your morning, so if you don’t mind that it takes two hours and 23 shirts before your kid settles on an outfit for the day, fine. But you want to keep the kid’s gender a secret from the world so that the kid can choose what to be for itself… I think you need your head examined.

Here’s why:

I get that there are types of people who believe that gender identification can sometimes force a child into a role that the child doesn’t necessarily naturally want to embody (no awkwardness intended with that choice of words). Personally, I think we’re a little oversensitive about that stuff. But agreed: if a girl wants to play with trucks and a boy wants to play with dolls, don’t yank the toys out of their hands. Girls don’t always have to wear pink and boys don’t always have to wear blue. But to go so far as to not identify the child by his or her gender?

We don’t think this is actually going to screw the kid up?

I’m pretty sure it’s going to screw the kid up.

Let’s play this out a bit: Storm isn’t going to go to school, because Storm’s parents practice “off-schooling,” which is a variation of “home-schooling.” In other words: no classes. The kids just learn about that which they are curious, when such curiosity strikes. (I find this infuriatingly irresponsible, if charming.) But let’s assume Storm is at least allowed to play with other kids. Some kids just sort of assume Storm’s gender. Storm apparently has no idea whether Storm is a boy or a girl, so maybe Storm doesn’t resist any kind of label. But with half the kids thinking Storm is a boy and the other half thinking Storm is a girl, the kids will get confused. And so will Storm.

It doesn’t take much to get kids to mock another child. A cowlick will do just fine; a non-specific gender is a freaking gold mine. Which means Storm is going to get tortured with the whole “You don’t even know if you’re a boy or a girl!” thing. They’ll run through the physical identifiers of how to tell. This makes Storm uncomfortable with physical features. Fast-forward to college when Storm can’t develop a healthy romantic relationship with another person (regardless of whether Storm is heterosexual or homosexual) because Storm can’t really deal with what’s going on down there, because Storm’s parents made gender identification taboo, which meant they made genital identification taboo. You can’t learn how to have healthy sexual relationships without learning about your own genitals, which you can’t learn without figuring out your gender.

No Mother’s and Father’s Day cards for you two.

Or maybe it doesn’t get that far. Maybe other kids try to identify Storm’s gender before they’re school-aged. Once Storm realizes that Storm doesn’t know whether Storm is a boy or a girl, but that there’s this handy little way of figuring it out, Storm is dropping trou all over the place, trying to get someone to tell Storm which category Storm belongs in.

I’m sure that won’t cause any problems.

I guess Storm’s parents think it shouldn’t matter. Storm’s mother wants to know when people will stop categorizing other people by their gender. She lets her other two sons wear whatever they want, which often results in a lot of pink and sparkly things. She apparently thinks that’s a product of the children freely associating with whatever they want.

I think it’s a product of them being bright and shiny, which kids just tend to like. Girly clothes are more likely to be bright and shiny. So kids like girly clothes.

Come to think of it, I suppose I shouldn’t refer to her as Storm’s mother. Storm’s XX-chromosomed parent, then.

Storm’s parents are selfish idiots.

Of course your kids’ gender matters, you numbskulls. Kids need an identity. More than anything, they need a solid foundation on which to learn who they are. If you don’t even allow the kid to know whether he or she is a boy or a girl, it’s going to put everything else about the kid squarely in the “I’m Not Sure” category.  And not because the world assigns appropriate behaviors to the kid and then stands up-in-arms when the kid doesn’t adhere. It’s because there are fundamental truths in life, and you just have to deal with it.

I was born a girl. I remain a girl. I’m straight, but I don’t think I’m straight because the world told me I’m a girl. When I was little, you know who every single one of my playmates were? Boys. Every one of them, until I was six. That’s all we had on our block, and my sisters were too young to play outside with us, and so I dealt with being around boys. Taught me how to stand up for myself.

Except for how I was always getting tied up and left on someone’s front stoop because being the only girl apparently meant I was the one who got tied up in Cops and Robbers/Good Guys-Bad Guys/Cowboys and Indians. (Yes, yes, I know, those were all horrifically stereotypical games.) The point is not that I was the girl so I got tied up. Here’s the point: the rope was invisible. I sat there believing the boys had tied me up with invisible rope.

It was my own damned fault I didn’t have the sense to get up off the stoop.

I can tell you unquestionably that the gender differential never entered my mind. Mostly I was just happy to have a moment of peace, with two little sisters at home and five mean, rowdy, rough boys as my friends, who pushed me, hit me, and (once) stabbed me in the arm with a pencil.

I learned how to fight back.

Storm’s parents are using Storm to make a stupid sociological statement. I hate parents who do that. I hate parents who take their little kids to political rallies and make them hold signs expressing an opinion they can’t possibly have. I hate parents who decide that their children are their own miniaturized adorable pawns to promote whatever agenda or opinion they harbor.

It’s a kid. You idiot. A child. Not a posterboard.

These parents are the types of people who will wax poetic about how lovely it is that children so soon develop the ability to express themselves and form thoughts and values. But first they use them as a media-grab to make a point. And then what happens when Storm does identify with a gender? Do the parents allow Storm to do so? Or do they insist on making Storm explain why Storm is identifying with this gender? “Well, are you making that selection based on your genitalia?”

I hope Storm figures out who Storm is… and then figures out who Storm’s parents are… and then finds new ones.

Who Puts A Baby In A Pot?

You know how Facebook puts ads on the side of your page, so that one second you mention something you’re interested in (Victoria’s Secret, Brita water filters, college educations) and the next second, there’s an ad for it popping up? They’re starting to really freak me out. And I don’t mean the blatant spying on me. I mean the fact that some of the photos that go with these ads are completely unrelated to the ads themselves. I hope.

There’s the one about how President Obama is giving away free college educations or something, and the picture that goes with it is some sort of flagrant hussy practically removing her top. Stuff like that. But the one I came across today was this:

What are you doing to that kid?! (pic from
Holy crap, they’re boiling a baby! And they’ve dressed it up like a lobster! They’ve stuffed it into a pot! The little darling looks understandably concerned.
Know what this ad was for? No, not a school that teaches you how to cook children to their perfect texture and internal temperature.
Social work.
It was an ad to become a social worker.
And, let’s face it: if you’re putting a kid in a lobster outfit, stuffing the kid into a pot and carrying it around like you’re going to boil it until it stops screaming, and then dip it in drawn butter… you’re probably going to meet a social worker at some point in life.
So maybe the picture is related to the ad… but I’m thinking probably not.
Now, you’ll notice that, in my photo credit, I reference That’s just one of the many, many places I found this pic in a Google image search. That means it’s hard to know where the photo came from, for sure.
I wonder if, somewhere, a social worker is trying to trace it to its origins.
Surely, someone is looking for the parents of this child…

image from

…because how can you be allowed to put a kid in a lobster costume, in a pot, on top of the stove?
Doesn’t this teach bad safety lessons? Aren’t parents always trying to get their kids to stay away from things like stoves and ovens and fire and natural gas and combinations of those things?
You know… maybe that ad does work. Because the photo is certainly making me care about the well-being of lobster-babies all over the world.
Incidentally– or related to absolutely nothing I”ve been talking about– my blogging friend over at Older Eyes has bestowed upon me another honor. I promised him I wouldn’t whine about it this time, because I truly am grateful that he’s practically my best-good blogging friend (I’m still trying to come up with a term to combine those words: blend? No… Frogger? No…) I’m now charged with the assignment of awarding the Versatile Blogger Award to 15 bloggers.  And I’m to share seven things about myself.
I don’t know that I can honestly give you 15 solid, versatile bloggers, but I’m going to give you my list:
It’s a short list, but they’re the folks I read regularly who I feel embody what it means to be versatile.
Now, seven things you probably didn’t care to know about me:
1. I’ve moved around a lot, mostly in my childhood, because my father worked for a railroad and got transferred a fair bit. That moving has helped me A) shed a decidedly unattractive accent; and 2) learn how to adjust to changes in life. I wrote my college essay about the second thing. My dad read it and felt totally awful about the whole thing. Poor guy. But it’s also made me realize the value of choosing a hometown for myself, and that’s where I am now.
2. Most of my posts are snarky, but I’m really a total sap. Sometimes the dumbest things make me choke up. Yesterday, it was President Obama’s speech in Dublin, Ireland. What? I’m half Irish.
3.  I once saved my sister’s life by performing the Heimlich Maneuver on her while my other sister ran around the stairs a few times and then poured some milk down the drain, having forgotten to get a cup to pour it into so that the choking sister could take a drink. Both those sisters have children now. I don’t.
4. I have this bizzare dichotomous personality that allows me to over-share in some situations and be intensely private in others. Which is how you end up with this list of things.
5. I harbor a secret (or, apparently, not secret) desire to become a speechwriter for a really inspiring politician. Of course, this will never happen, since there are so few really inspiring politicians. In which case, I’ll settle for writing speeches for fictional President Josiah Bartlet.
6. Nothing makes me happier than spending a day in the kitchen, cooking up yumminess and baking batches of happiness. Well… almost nothing makes me happier than that.
7. I’m fiercely loyal. And that includes loyalty to blogging friends. Flogs? Briends? Ugh. This is going to take a while.
Featured image from Not that that has anything to do with anything.

A Certain Article of Clothing In a Wad (Or… My Dirty Little Secret)

I couldn’t decide on a title.

I work weekends. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is right now. In order to balance out the injustice of having spent 14 years (I started halfway through college) in a career that has rewarded me with the brilliant opportunity to return to the point where I was 13 years ago and work on the days and hours during which I should be doing fun things, I tend not to dress up on weekends. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have an attitude problem. I just do that for the writing (though I am rather pissed about being relegated back to this particular schedule). But I am not a representative of anything or anyone in my position, and I never leave the building. We don’t even have windows. So to hell with the dressy clothes on Saturdays and Sundays.

It is because of this that I was walking around at work in jeans, with some serious holes ripped in the knees and a little one starting at the top of my right leg. They came by their condition honestly; I didn’t buy them like this or anything. They’re really soft and I’ve got them broken in just right, and I sort of like that they’re damaged.

None of this matters, except the part about the holes in the knees. I just felt like I had to explain.

I was walking around work shortly after I arrived when I suddenly felt a strange wad at the back of my right knee. What the…? Naturally, I stopped in the middle of the hallway and reached into the gaping tear in the knee to investigate.

Scene of the discovery

It’s a pair of unmentionables.

Lord, that was almost a nightmare.

I thought of the scene from an episode of “The West Wing,” wherein Josh questions Donna about whether she had worn the same pants two days in a row, because she managed to drop her panties at an event while talking to a high-profile mover/shaker type. There were no movers or shakers in the building at the time that I made my discovery, thank God. And I had not worn these the day before. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have sucked to have traipsed a pair of little pink things right out the leg of my jeans.

How did I not feel them there while I was driving in? Or before I left home? While walking down the steps from my place to the car? While walking from my car into the building? Down the steps there? Was I wandering about the world with a bulge in the back of my leg that I didn’t feel, but others could see?

OMG. I could have left them lying in the parking lot, next to my car. Or right outside the door to the building, for all to see.

As I pulled the bit of fabric out of the hole in my jeans, I suddenly became aware that I was on surveillance camera. Awesome. Hi, dirty old security man. Any chance you might think I’m spontaneously performing a magic trick? How high-def is that camera?

Now… what does one do when one finds a pair of teensy underthings in the wrong area of one’s pants at work? I looked around.

Why did I look around now, instead of before I pulled them out the hole in my knee?

Why did I think someone or something nearby would advise me on what to do at this point?

Deciding there was no other possible solution, I bunched them up in my hand and shoved them into the hip pocket of my jeans. Casual-like. La-la-la… nothing to see here…

They're in there. See that little bulge? Toward the crotch? It's okay to look.

And that’s where they remained for the rest of my shift.

Once, while talking to a co-worker in the break room, I put my hand in my pocket just because. Finding them there, I jerked my hand out. They got caught on a finger and I nearly upset them from their hiding place. “Oh, hey Dave, how are you? How are the twins? Good, good. Say, would you like a pair of panties?”


For the rest of the shift, I was keenly aware of what I was hiding, and all the ways I could wind up, I don’t know, accidentally throwing them across the room. Thank God they weren’t in my right pocket, or I could have revealed them while shaking the hand of an esteemed and well-connected guest. (Alright, so sometimes I sort of represent the place, but only once these people get in the door.) “Hi, thanks so much for coming in. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Soda? Something from Victoria’s Secret?” I worried that they would wiggle up and peek out at the world while I went about my work, walking around and bending over desks and chairs and such.

Please, stay in there...

 Right about now, you might be wondering how I got away with taking pictures of my jeans pockets while I was at work. I’ll be honest. A lot of weird stuff goes down at work. Nobody even looked at me funny. Fortunately, I work with a lot of pretty off-color folks with great senses of humor. If the undies had worked their way out of my jeans in front of most of the women I work with, it would have been hilarious.

Wait, no. That’s a lie. It still would have been mortifying.

Of course, if it had happened in front of one of the guys, I would either have completely embarrassed us both or become the most popular woman in the place.

Music Monday #5: Nice Place You Got Here

I always nearly forget about my Music Monday post, and then I always freak out a little trying to decide what piece to give you. But this time, I remembered early enough to keep both things from happening. I was sitting in church yesterday, between song-leadings, listening to the readings while trying to keep my bra from peeking out of the neckline of my dress, and one of the readings was about the many rooms in God’s house, and that led me to this week’s post.

It’s one of the better-known movements in the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. It’s called “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen.” Translation: “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place.” Though it was composed in German, it is often sung in English, so you might recognize the piece and not the words. The scripture is quite familiar to Christian singers and classical composers alike; it is taken from the book of Psalms. But the reason for the piece is much more touching.

Brahms lost his mother in 1865, and it was a loss so devastating that he needed to write an entire work to help him cope. Ein deutsches Requiem is a requiem in the emotional sense, but not in the literal sense. As I think I mentioned in last week’s Music Monday post, a requiem is a traditional Catholic funeral mass, using the rites of Christian burial as prayers, imploring God for the forgiveness of sins. But Brahms defied tradition when he wrote this work in a way that would have scandalized Vienna, where it was premiered, movement by movement, over the course of a couple of years.

First, he wrote the thing in German.

That’s not right.

It’s supposed to be in Latin.

Second, he wrote it in the wrong key. Requiems are written in the morbid and sad D minor. He wrote his in the more uplifted and hopeful D major. By the second note of the first movement (“Selig sind, die da Leid tragen”), the audience would have realized his folly. Ornate fans would have stopped flapping so people in powdered wigs could mutter to each other in shock over his defiance and sacrilege.

But it wasn’t folly at all. Brahms wasn’t writing the traditional requiem, because the traditional requiem focuses on the dead, and his or her supplications and appeals for forgiveness, as well as the appeal for eternal rest.

Brahms wanted to focus on the living, those left behind.

(Apparently, the Rapture would have made this selection apropos, as well, if it had happened. There’s wifi in heaven, right?)

When I performed this work with the chorus I belonged to, our director gave us a great little piece of history for reference. Brahms was writing Ein deutches Requiem while the Civil War was ending here. Not so long ago, really. Our director also shared this incredible tidbit: Ein deutsches Requiem ends with a sentiment about one’s works living on after they’re gone. As Brahms was nearing the end of his life, he one night sat in his kitchen with a friend, throwing manuscripts into his wood-burning stove.

Throwing manuscripts into the fire.

Because he didn’t think they were good enough, and didn’t want them to be found after his death.

Um, Hey, Johannes... you've LOST YOUR MIND! STOP IT!

I’m sure they would have sucked. Seeing as how they were Brahms.

Killin’ me, Johannes. Killin’ me.

Here (linked with the word “listen” below) is a recording of the Philharmonia Orchestra and chorus, under the direction of Otto Klemperer. It was digitally remastered in 1997, but originally recorded in 1961. It is generally regarded as one of the best and most faithful recordings of the work. (Apparently, Brahms is hard to conduct; my own director calls himself “Brahms-impaired,” though I can’t understand why.)

Close your eyes and listen. Happy Music Monday.

The Rapture vs. State Emissions Inspection

My car did not pass its emissions inspection. For reasons having precisely zero to do with emissions or environmental unfriendliness. It’s a Honda, people. It gets 32 miles per gallon on a bad day. And it’s not even a hybrid. What problem could there possibly be, here? Well, as the state sees it, the problem is that the Check Engine light is on. The Check Engine light is on because there’s something wrong with the oxygen sensor, which means only that I’m running a bit more fuel-rich than I need. And I’m still getting 32 miles per gallon. But still, the state says that has to be fixed or I don’t pass, which means they suspend my registration, which means I get arrested for driving with a suspended registration and spend some quality time in the pokey.

So I called the folks at my preferred automotive service shop (who are the ones who told me the reason the Check Engine light was on in the first place), and they told me that it would take “at least half a day” to fix this non-problematic problem that they already told me I didn’t need to have fixed.

Which I figure translates to “about half a paycheck” in labor costs. Oh, and also a day without a car.

Here’s what I want to know: If the world is ending Saturday, do I really have to get this done? And wondering that led me to categorize my to-do list.

Things I Absolutely Will Not Do If the World Is Ending Saturday

1. Laundry
2. Clean (I don’t care if cleanliness is next to godliness. Jesus walked around on dirt floors. Know what I’m sayin’?)
3. Fill up gas tank
4. Wash face – use all that anti-aging crap (Apparently psychic medium Sylvia Brown is right: we do all look like we’re about 33 in heaven)
5. Drop $150 on cut and highlight
6. Make bed
7. Learn tricky few measures on Faure’ piece (already know plenty of classical stuff to sing with the cherubim and seraphim)
8. Buy more flowering plants (btw: Jesus, could you have a chat with Mother Nature while you’re packing for your visit? We’re on day six of rain after I water the plants and day six of no sun, which I can’t produce. Who peed in her Wheaties? Was it Father Time again? He’s such a jerk.)

Things I Really Have To Do If the World Is Ending On Saturday

1. Bathe
2. Brush teeth (furry teeth and bad breath at the pearly gates? Not a good first impression.)
3.  Lose at least five pounds to get back to pre-apocalyptic weight (must be thinner than high school nemesis in case we run into each other)
4. Hide liquor
5. Shave
6. Call mom
7. Then hide liquor (wine’s okay)
8. Seek forgiveness for all transgressions
9.  Read Bible
10. Empty fridge

Things I Probably Should Do, Just In Case

1. Avoid physical pleasure
2. Tell truth, all times
3. Resist urge to roll eyes while on phone with mom (Commandment #4)
4. Avoid voting – wrong candidate could have serious repercussions this time
5. Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s (pay bills – haha)
6. Call financial advisor – cut losses if market opens Monday?
7. Be nice to everybody
8. Drive at speed limit

Does anybody know the next Rapture date if this one is a hoax? I have til September 21st to get the damned car fixed.

I mean darned.

"All this smog! Gabriel can barely get a breath to blow the horn!"

Wisdom of the Olives

Jack and I have these kind of amazing conversations once in a while. It’s usually really late at night and it’s usually after a drink or two, when our natural protections are a bit on the wobbly side. (For we are both mad protective of our emotional selves. Promoters of logic are we.) And sometimes, they occur via text message, since getting together in person often requires him not having to work in the morning (he has two full-time jobs, not because he needs them, but because he wants them) and men are usually not phone talkers.

Apparently, I am at my very wisest between 1:00 and 2:00am, after a martini. The garlic-stuffed olives may or may not contribute. Are olives brain food?

I blame you. (pic from

Last night’s exchange began just before 1am when he finished up his second job (later than usual due to a baseball game going stupid long). It had been predated by his message earlier in the evening saying he wished he could blow off work and hang out with me and have a cocktail. So, when he checked in at 1am, I confessed to my buzz, which was caused by a mishap with the Dirty in my dirty martini, which had to be evened out with more vodka so I wouldn’t swell up like a balloon and die of a heart attack in my sleep from sodium intake. It was my Friday, and I was okay with it. It was only his Wednesday (as it was for most normal people), but he told me he was tending to his mental health with a shot of whiskey and a beer back. Normally I would let this go, but as I was buzzed, I went in for the analysis and asked if he had something on his mind.

“Nah. Feel I’m doing too much work – consumed by obligation. Self-created. Need to breathe. Smell the roses, as we say. :-)”

Which means “I have stuff on my mind.” In promoter-of-logic speak.

The next message brought a “by the way” that carried quite a bit of significance in Jack’s language: “My dad’s 75th bday is today, and it’s the 25th anniv of my college graduation.”

Aha. I think I know where this is going. But aware that we haven’t gotten there yet, I wished his dad (whom I’ve never met, and who lives a thousand miles from us) a happy birthday and congratulated Jack on all the things he has to be proud of since he graduated. And I meant that. But I was waiting.

Next message revealed that he’d been doing a lot of reflection. “I get caught up in milestones. Guilty.”

I see… we’re struggling a bit with the emotion vs. logic tonight, are we, love? Emboldened, I invited him to tell me more, at which time he said that his father was 50 when Jack graduated from college, the second of five kids to do so, after his mother died of cancer. Jack is 47 and has no kids. No regrets.

We’ve talked about this many times before. Despite our age difference (which we barely notice most of the time), Jack and I are in much the same place in our lives; amazed by what our parents had done with their families by the time they reached our respective ages, with no real desire to do those things ourselves… but kind of a niggling, if only curious, voice in our heads saying maybe we should have in the grand scheme of spiritual things. We admit to this niggling voice only in the most logical of conversations: we know we might have our regrets later, but we also know neither of us wants kids now. This is truly how we feel; we’re not sugar-coating or whitewashing it.

These are the conversations single people have in their 30s and 40s.

But then, the real thing that was on his mind came out. It had been a year since his break-up with a longtime on-and-off girlfriend. He wonders if he should have a new girlfriend by now, and whether work has prohibited that.

Well, I can tell you the answer to the second question is “Duh…” But he lets his work get in the way on purpose. Occasionally he admits to this. Sometimes he doesn’t. Depends on how vulnerable he’s feeling. The real 800 pound pink elephant-gorilla hybrid in the room here is that Jack and I, by all outsider perceptions and most insider account, should be together. But we’re not, and never have been.

Promoters of logic are we.

I’ve learned to live with this state of being. I’ve learned that it’s possible to love more than one person at a time. I’ve had other boyfriends since I met Jack. I don’t wait, and I don’t hold out hope. I also can’t quit him, despite my best efforts. Truth is, he makes me a better person and his friendship is so valuable, without being difficult to maintain, that I can’t imagine not having him as part of my life. And in case you’re wondering: yes, I can keep it in the proper box when there’s another man in the picture. I am aware of the reality: that despite the depth of our connection and confessed feelings and attractions, he is for whatever reason unwilling or uninterested in us being more than what we are, and that translates to  “He’s just not that into you.” So I know the deal, and I choose to stay connected to him because I believe God put us in each other’s lives for a reason. And that’s not BS. God and I have talked it over.

Jack’s only had the one longtime (and sometimes long-distance) girlfriend, and probably a series of attachments of necessity if you know what I’m saying, since we met and began this impossible-to-label relationship. But apparently he’s begun to wonder if it might be unhealthy for him to be this way. Not the first time. He usually quashed it with logic. Last night, though, he felt that he could share it with me.

We know what this means. Sometimes a valuable friendship is a real bitch.

Enter the Wisdom of 1:30am, With Martini. And Olives.

I told him only the heart can answer his questions about whether he should have a girlfriend by now and whether work has gotten in the way. Sometimes the head muddies the waters.

He said the woman who cuts his hair said the same thing today.

What? You’re talking to your hairdresser about this? Are you a girl?

Vodka urged me on, ignoring the hairdresser (wtf?). “you have a good head and a good heart. you have chosen to lead with your head, in my perception. maybe you have reasons for that.”

(Here comes the kind of brilliant part, if I do say so myself.)

“hearts often lead us to heartache. but i find heads never lead us to joy.. only practicality. there’s value there… but usually it’s not enough. :-)”

Damn, that was good. I had no idea I had all that figured out. 

(By the way, the emoticon at the end of my text was  a knowing smiley face. As in, “I know you know this… and you hate admitting it… but this is where you are right now and I’m calling you on it. Gently.”)

Buzz-buzz-buzz went my phone. “Thats what we discussed,” came back. Him and the hairdresser. “the rare opp to speak fr the heart and how the heart is real and head is safe. Im safe.”

No shit, Sherlock. Nine years, I’ve known this about you. We’re having this conversation via text message, for God’s sake.

I plunged in, telling him he has a big heart that he hides behind his head, and while both sides of him are amazing, I think he worries he’s cheating himself.

Buzz-buzz-buzz. “That’s deep and possibly accurate. Why I appreciate u!”

Ahhh… we’re girding our loins now. She’s getting too close.

Vodka thought about it, and then went for the jugular. “are you scared? (no shame in that)”

Buzz-buzz-buzz. “U can say scared or safe. Not a risk taker. My loss- I know the score.”

Oh, you suck, you know that? Shutting down and going back to your corner. Fine. I’m ignoring that. Brace yourself, baby. Here comes more.

“we all have fears of the heart, often legit and formidable. the key is to be safe with your heart open. not easy to find… but worth it, i think. or hope. :-)”

I believe that. So does Jane Seymour. She’s built a whole jewelry collection around it. Since I sometimes have trouble letting myself lead with my heart for fear that it’s going to get ripped out and danced on like a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo, I’ve wondered if I should treat myself to one of those pieces of jewelry as a reminder.

pic from

Then I decide that’s kind of gross and move on with my day.

Buzz-buzz-buzz. “I like the way you think/hope, babe. V much. :-)” 


You have no idea, pal.

“sometimes i have to take a deep breath and close my eyes first. :-)” I sent.

(Have you noticed that the emoticons came out when I started trying to lead with my heart even though I know it’s going to get danced on?)

This about sums it up.

Buzz-buzz-buzz. “Good advice! I will do that as I go to sleep. Xox! Ur the best babe.”

Yeah. I’m the best. I’m swell.

I might be going jewelry shopping today.