Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ah, family. A beautiful thing.

Well, darlingest of all darling imaginary friends, here we are again. You must be as thrilled as I, to be sure, to be meeting again, so soon. My spicy Cuban friend may fall over in a dead faint upon seeing this, but we'll keep our fingers crossed that there are pillows or something else soft in her landing zone.

You might be asking yourself, "Self, what the heck is Lisa Marie doing, blogging again so soon? Isn't she supposed to be working on her current Work In Progress?" And of course, the answer to that is YES. Yes, I am supposed to be working on my WIP. Unfortunately, I feel the need to vent first.

As some know, I do not get on with my brother. What's that? Oh! Yes. I have a sibling. No, really. I do. It is, in fact, one of the Omnipotent Comedian's greatest jokes that there is no one on the planet with whom I have a closer genetic tie. And that if one of us needed a kidney, we'd have really only each other to call. Well...let's be honest. If I needed a kidney from this man, I'd be S.O.L. And of course, no one would fault him if he turned me down flat; he is VERY IMPORTANT and has a wife and children. Naturally, if the tables were turned, I would be expected to rip out my own kidney and offer it up with bloody hands, trembling in gratitude. I am, after all, of no particular significance, I'm not married and I'm barren. Really, what else am I good for?

Anyway. Twenty years ago this Memorial Day, I'd had enough. The story of the Last Straw is long and involved and too much for this post. Suffice to say, I was done. And really, after all of that was over, I was okay with it. I didn't enjoy the meddling of others, mostly relatives, telling me to get over it and speak to my brother the pig, but I held fast and didn't really even think about the whole thing much.

Until the meddling started again. Last night.

My blessed mother decided to call me and let me know that the friends I wanted to invite to the lake cabin over the holiday weekend probably shouldn't come. Why, you may ask? Well, evidently, she felt it would be uncomfortable not to invite my friends to the communal family meals at the neighboring lake house, that's partly owned by my brother and his wife. Where my parents will be for dinners and such. Where, for some wackadoodle reason, my mother seemed to think I would be.

Nothing, nothing could be further from the truth.

If I'm at the lake and for some reason, I manage to be there when the other offspring of my parents is there, I really, really want nothing to do with him. Or his wife. Or even their children. They're all incredibly perfect and delighted with themselves; I can't imagine they'd even notice if I did or did not attend their functions. Well, other than the fact that my hideous form would despoil the perfection of their arrangements. But other than that...who'd care?

May I also say that, in my family, anyone who puts on a dinner or an event or offers a meal should be able to feed twenty. If the perfect princess of a sister-in-law can't do that, wtf is she doing in my family? God knows the sibling can't, but he's male and too delighted with the fact that he has a penis to be bothered with the care, feeding or comfort of others. That's women's work, after all.

My mother seems to think she's going to get her way on this. To quote a fabulous line from one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride,

"Get used to disappointment."

Monday, June 28, 2010

I hear you knocking...

Hearing is a funny thing, my dear imaginary friend. My ex said I had ears like a bat, mostly because I could hear him doing things like spilling large amounts of water on the kitchen floor and would ask if he planned on cleaning it up. I wasn't asking to be snotty--okay, not hugely snotty--mostly I was asking because he'd done enough damage to his hearing that I honestly didn't know if he could hear the same spill.

Now, the roommate would probably tell you a completely different story about my hearing. I can't hear a lot of what she says. Granted, her voice isn't bell-clear and enunciation is not always her gift; this may play a role in this circumstantial deafness. But sometimes, the roommate will say things from another room. Like the living room. While I'm in the kitchen. And she's watching television. And I have the fan going. And the stand mixer is on high. Yes, yes. This is the perfect time to ask if I've paid the water bill. Excellent.


Some of the time, I can't hear what people say to me because I'm not listening. Isn't that awful to admit? I just stop listening. It's the weirdest thing. If only I could do that at work, during staff meetings. Next to liquor, this might be the best way to get me to endure those delightful islands of time with any good grace at all. [Liquor's still number one, don't worry. If only they'd let me drink on the job.]

Every now and then, I hear things no one else does. Now, I'm not talking about the voices in my head, which by the way, really get a bad rap. They're darn good company at times. No, I can hear other things that other people miss, like God laughing. It's true! If you stand really close to me and listen carefully, dear fictional pal o' mine, you could hear it, too. I'm sure of it. Just wait for those moments in life when you see me cast my gaze upward and say,

"I hope you're enjoying this!!!!"

And sure enough, you can hear God laughing.

Lately, though...lately, the loudest voice I hear is The Kitchen. Fridge is the most vocal, of course, but Cupboards have been really chatty just recently. And the worst part? They pick the most inappropriate times to start their conversations. Like 2 AM.

"Psst. Psst! Lisa. You awake?"

"Fridge, what the hell? It's two in the freaking morning! I have to work tomorrow."

"I know, I know. This is why you should get in here now. I have a surprise for you."

"You're going to have a surprise when you're hauled to the trash, you wretched appliance."

"No, come on. Come in here. I have cheese. And turkey breast. Wouldn't that make a nice sandwich?"

At this point, a Cupboard chimes in. "Oh, on a mini bagel! I have mini bagels! And roommate won't even miss a handful of Cheez-Its. Mmmmmmmmm...doesn't that sound good?"

Fridge adds, "And a nice glass of milk. It'll help you sleep."

I stomp into the kitchen. "I was sleeping, you morons."

Fridge is silent for a moment, thinking about what it's done. "Yeah. But since you're up...."

Did I mention that I hate dieting?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back to the oven.

Well, my dear invisible reader, it's been an interesting week. I received a lot of email from people who read my last post and may I say, bless you all. It's just lovely to have good friends in the world. And a particular thank you to those who comment on my blogs; you delight me beyond reason.

This time, I want to stick to a less inflammatory topic: Baking. At least, it ought to be inflammatory. Word to the wise. If you are baking and something is on fire, and it's not the gas burner on your stove, something is very, very wrong. Generally speaking, fire + baking = BAD.

Feel free to make a note of that.

But let's move on. As some of the population of the planet knows, I did the 3-Day Walk for breast cancer last year. I say some of the population because when I attempted to walk sixty freaking miles in three measly days, I complained about. Oh yes, I did. I looked around on my first day, about an hour in and said, in my soft and dulcet tones,


No one had a really good answer for me. Oh sure, "You're doing this to save lives" was pretty good, but at the time I was a biscuit shy of three hundred pounds and 300 pounds + 60 miles/3 days = AGONY.

In case you wanted to see the math.

But I digress. No, I didn't think you'd be surprised, but you didn't have to say so. Hmph.

ANYWAY. One of the things I did to raise money was bake cakes. I called it "Cakes For The Cure," and when someone would ask me for a cake or baked good, I would oblige and said person would make a donation to the 3-Day Walk in my name. I got my baking jones satisfied, they got cake and a tax deduction, the breast cancer fund got a little bit bigger. Good stuff, all the way around.

The roommate is doing the walk again this year. What was that? I? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I learned my lesson. No. I will drive her to the starting point. I will pick her up. I will cheer for her. I will even donate. But I am not doing that walk again. At least...not this year. Shut up.

And for the roommate, I will bake cakes and have people donate. I know. I know. I'm a peach, I tell you. The most recent of these cakes was a "dirt" cake for the young son of a coworker of hers. Chocolate cake soaked in caramel, topped in crushed Oreos. The ones with the chocolate filling. Then gummy worms inserted into the cake. I should have found marzipan bugs, too, but I ran out of time. Ah, well.

The roommate sent me a text this morning to let me know that the cake was well received. She wrote that her coworker said they all loved the cake. And all the worms were gone.

I think I'm going to put that on my resume.

[Donations for the roommate can be made at Her team name is (wait for it) The Ta-ta-liscious Walkers, and she is team captain. I know. I voted for "The Blister Pack."]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kind of a grown-up topic. Not for the kids.

I had an interesting encounter with a man from one of the dating sites I visit. No, no. Not that kind of encounter. It was a phone conversation.

The whole thing started well enough. He emailed me through the website to indicate his interest in me, and as I'd been honest about my way-less-than-perfect body type, he expressed delight that I am not a thin woman. Okay. So far, not terrible. Flattering things were said. A fairly nice phone conversation ensued. When he found out that I write romance, some of the conversation got a bit more personal, but I wasn't shocked by this. Generally, conversations about sex don't shock me, and frankly, this particular website isn't really focused on helping people find Miss or Mister Right. More along the lines of Mr. Right Now. Plus, when people find out one writes romance, invariably, a discussion of sex just happens. I'm not sure why.

Anyway. We didn't pursue the conversation for long, as the roommate came home and was speaking with me, and this man ended our chat so roommate and I could talk about whatever household thing needed discussing. Again, so far, so good.

The next night, we had another conversation. I'd had a busy, productive day that ended with a cocktail and was fairly pleased with myself and life in general. When I texted this man, and he replied with something amusingly risque, I felt comfortable calling him. This is when things went south.

After telling me about his multi-orgasmic abilities [i.e., hitting a home run and still being at bat, so to speak] he worked his away around to telling me that he would not use condoms. Evidently, he has frequent STD testing, particularly HIV testing, and he doesn't feel that a fragile ply of latex should give one any false sense of security. He also relies on ovulation sensing tests for birth control. And if I insisted on condom usage, brainless as it would be, I would be missing out on his phenomenal sexual skills.

Here's the absolutely brilliant part: For a minute or two, I bought into it.

Now don't get me wrong, he seemed a perfectly decent fellow, other than this. Funny, articulate, bright. Appreciated me for the size I am, though he used the unfortunate moniker of "thick chick" to describe me. Chick? Really? I think not. And the conversation had a lot more in it than the summation I've typed here, dearest imaginary reader. But I did actually feel bad about my need to have condoms used in sexual situations for a little while.

Then, after hanging up the phone, I started to think about this. Number one, although he had input from various people in the medical field, he and I disagreed with the actual prevalence of HIV and the risks therein in today's dating pool. Second, whether or not he was correct in his assessment of those risks, I'm still the person who has the deposit left in her account. And third, while the odds of my becoming pregnant are slim to none, given my advanced age and endocrine disorders, I think we all know that God has a sick sense of humor and I am but a jester in the King's court. Can we all take a moment and imagine that delightful scenario?

While his grasp on the science of the matter was sound enough, this man has no clue how dumb luck and an omnipotent Comedian play a part in my life. And frankly, even if all I said was I really want a condom to be used here, that should have been enough.

Missing out on stellar sexual skills may be a loss in my life, but being with a man who values his own pleasure above and way the hell beyond my feelings of safety and security would be a much larger hit. If he can't treat me with courtesy and respect, if his desire isn't to please and protect me, why should I let him in the door?

After thinking this over, and recognizing my own culpability in my emotional state, I uttered the phrase that has been a huge part of my life these past few weeks. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and said out loud, "I take back my power."

And I felt much, much better.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Small Goal

No, this isn't a hockey post, my dear invisible friend. Despite the fact that tomorrow is Game Day Six of the Stanley Cup Finals and Chicago is 3-2 over Philadelphia, I'm not going to talk about that. Much. Or much right now. No, no. This is a personal goal.

I would really like to be able to get through one meal without wearing some of my food.

One meal. One FREAKING meal.

How does this happen? And not once or twice, now and then. How does this happen all the time? Okay, okay, I can see it when I'm reading as I'm eating. As I'm perched on the couch, watching the final minutes of the third period of an awesome hockey game. When one of the hideous little beasts [AKA dogs] in my home hits my elbow as I'm about to deliver a forkful of pasta and red sauce safely to my mouth. I can see it then. But come on!

I was just having my lunch, or as I like to call it, "What Little I Am Allowed To Have On This Hellish Diet," when the combination of mustard, tomato and lean lunch meat produced a slurry of sandwich juices that--you guess it--escaped the miserable, Alcatraz-like prison of whole wheat bread to land squarely on my shirt.

Was it so bad, Oh Slurry of Lowfat Sandwichitude, that you had to break free? Is your current locale of my lavender shirt really that much better? And isn't there some profound feeling of rejection from my immediate attempts to wash you out of my shirt? You know you'll be spot-treated later. Was it worth it?

I leave it to your conscience.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And this is why...

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that many people think my roommate and I are married. I find it amusing, for the most part, that after having lived a relentlessly single existence, it would be assumed that I'm married to anyone. There haven't even been any near misses on that score. And really, if I were going explore my Sapphic side, I'd probably have done this while at the women's college I attended. Lovely women there. Truly.

Not saying that my roommate isn't a lovely person, too. Bryn Mawr was just a different range of opportunity.

But, almost sadly, my roommate and I are both heterosexual. We're pro-boner, if you will. And I say "almost sadly," my dear imaginary friend, because I am in a nearly penis-free zone. Sigh. That's not even almost sad, now that I see it in print. It's downright depressing. And please don't suggest the do-it-yourself route. It's not the same. Sure, sometimes it's better, but one misses the inherent cheerfulness of the penis. Such a happy little organ.

Moving on.

I understand why many people think the roommate and I are a couple, I do. We do a lot of things that married people do. I'm in charge of the yardwork in the household. She does the vast majority of the housework. If someone asks me to babysit [human puppy or furry child] I've found it behooves me to "check" with her, first. [It's not that she would say no, she just likes to feel like she has some say in the matter.] If I [or we] are invited to do something, I usually end up asking if we have something else going on that day, or if I can accept the invitation without consequences. We grocery shop together. We plan meals together. We refer to the dogs of the household as "your dogs" when they've been naughty. I've been known to take her car to have work done on it, fill it with gas and have it washed. When I come home from work, there's often a bag of garbage on the porch, that I put into the garbage cans before entering the house. I'm in charge of putting out the garbage and the recycling as well as putting the receptacles for said garbage and recycling away on Monday nights, after they've been emptied. If there's something I particularly like, such as mushrooms, she will add it to sauces or casseroles for me and pick them out of the food on her plate. She buys allergen-free cleaning supplies so my skin doesn't get irritated.

I know. I know!

The funniest one happened a while back. The roommate and I were going to meet her mother for dinner out one Sunday evening. It had been a lazy day, bad weather, movie on tv. About fifteen minutes before the time we were to drive to her mother's place, the roommate stood up and turned off the television and looked at me.

"Is that what you're wearing?" she asked.

It took me five minutes to stop shrieking with laughter. Later that evening, I told her mother that the roommate MUST start dating men. Immediately.

To be fair, I understood that she wasn't critiquing my ensemble. She was letting me know that I had a limited window of time if I wanted to change or primp. I got that. It was still pretty funny.

So I understand why people think we're married. We take care of each other. We work as a team. We balance each other's moods and generally, we're on each other's side.

We're certainly not having sex.

Hell, maybe we are married.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Diet Failure. Epic.

I made it through most of the day. I had Cream of Wheat for breakfast. I had strawberries. Steamed salmon with pico de gallo, mushrooms and cukes on the side. Carrots. A low fat granola cookie. One. That's right. One. Then Greek yogurt and Grape Nuts with flax seed.

And then came El Paraiso. Dammit.

See, I just went there to meet Nina and other X-ray people for a cocktail. I could have had plain iced tea, maybe with artificial sweetener. If necessary, I could have ordered a small salad with chicken. I could have. I didn't.

I blew my diet like a prostitute does a sailor on his first shore leave: quickly, completely and with absolutely no fanfare or foreplay. The margarita would have been bad enough but throw in an entire basket of tortilla chips, two fish tacos, a wedge of quesadilla with sour cream and guacamole, and oh hell, let's have another margarita...

Diet Failure.

I must stop this. The fact that my butt has its own zip code is never going to change unless I do.