The Oval Mirror
The Oval Mirror
A reflective medium
for mental selfies.
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Pinned: Profile & Beyond
Posted:Jun 27, 2018 12:03 pm
Last Updated:Aug 10, 2018 4:28 pm

Profile & Beyond
Hopping off the wagon and looking to meet new people again!

The t.ext of my profile, along with supplementary information about my circumstances and availability is here, however, for those who cannot view it through other means.

Posted:Jul 30, 2018 10:12 pm
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Picture Portfolio
Updated 8.19.18 - New just-for-the-blog pics, getting my Red on for the Cleavage contest!.
A small selection of pictures for the Standard members who are unable to view profiles and profile pictures, yet who have enough of an interest to make the effort to find me here. It is an incomplete collection, but I will keep it updated as new pictures are taken and uploaded.

Pinned: Private Mailbox
Posted:Jun 27, 2018 12:22 pm
Last Updated:Aug 19, 2018 6:54 pm

Private Mailbox
For those who are unable to send messages through the normal means, either for technical reasons or limited membership, please leave a private message here. It will not be viewable by anyone else.

2 Comments , 6 Pending
Bound & Paged Adventures
Posted:Aug 20, 2018 3:24 pm
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2018 9:53 pm

Okay sexy friends, I think it's about time that I acknowledge the elephant in the room, er... the blog.

I have been calling myself a "word geek" and have offered several commentaries and silly games centering on language and vocabulary, and yet I have not spoken at all about books.

I know what you're all saying: "Whaddup wit dat, GG? Where's the literary love, huh, huh?" Well, calm your tits, peeps- I am getting to it. In fact, I will be more than getting to it, I will be getting down with it. To make up for my negligence, I'll be dedicating most of this week to talking about my lifelong love affair with the written word.

It started early for me. Some of my oldest memories contain flashes of picture books and early readers, and every memory of every bedroom that I had while growing up had a bookshelf filled with the likes of good old Dick and Jane, as well as the childhood staples of Dr. Seuss, Bill Peet, and Eric Carle.

I reached the point of being an avid reader when I was a little younger than my girl is now, around 7-8 , and my advanced reading comprehension was of the reasons why I was recommended to skip second grade (for the younger folks here, they used to do that- let kids pass over a grade if their performance level was exceptionally high). My father had skipped third grade, however, and he had a very negative opinion of it, convincing my mother to leave me on the standard track. Yet I was often given "accelerated" classwork, different from what was assigned to my classmates, to keep me, presumably, from becoming bored and unchallenged.

From about the age of 7 until I hit my teen y.ears, I was a voracious reader, devouring books for pleasure just as much as- if not moreso- than for academic purposes. I tried to drag my little brother along with me in my love for reading, but he would, for the most part, have none of it.

The only books that I could entice him into diving into along with me were the Choose Your Own Adventure books. For those unfamiliar with them, they were stories that took pauses at certain points and allowed/required you to select the next path for the story to take. At the prompt, you'd be given choices for how to proceed, then would skip to the appropriate page to continue on your chosen journey. I always read everything, of course, going back over and over again to follow every possible path, explore every eventuality.

They were, by and large, adventures of mystery and suspense, and that became my genre-of-choice. Thankfully, there was no shortage of books of that type out there for juvenile and young adult readers. Like most girls of my generation, the Nancy Drew Mysteries series were cornerstone reading, and with the help of librarians and teachers, I branched out to other mystery books, most of which I cannot recall.

There was one that I favored and re-read multiple times, though- one called the The Secret of the Seven Crows by Wylly Folk St. John. It introduced me to the nursery rhyme that, as I understand it, served as the influence for the naming of the music band, "The Counting Crows" : crow means sorrow
Two crows mean joy
Three crows, a wedding
Four crows, a boy
Five crows means silver
Six crows means gold
Seven's a secret that's never been told...

(And I admit that the superstition is so deeply rooted that I still, to this day, take a count when I see those back-winged birds, calculating their potential implication to my luck!)

By the time I was Squinkie's age, I no longer felt satisfied with juvenile and young adult fiction, and I decided to pick up one of the grown-up horror books that my mother, also an avid reader, always seemed to have lying around. It was The Amityville Horror, the purportedly true story of a haunted house in Long Island, NY (my mother's interest in it being largely motivated by the fact that she was from there).

I imagine most of us immediately visualize the distinctive profile of the house, particularly the windows, made familiar from the movie version of the book. It was a story that made houseflies frightening, instead of simply annoying. And pigs, too- there was an imaginary friend of the young girl who lived in the house, a pig by the name of "Jodie" who had visible glowing red eyes.

Just as I was reluctant to let my daughter get on the grown-up ride at the fair on Saturday, my mother was reluctant to let me read the book, concerned that it might be just a little too much for me. But I battled for the right to read it, thinking myself Hot Shit for being able to hang with an adult novel. So she agreed to let me read it.

Then one evening, while I was sitting on the couch and close to the end of the book, my mother, in her bedroom upstairs, called me up to get ready for sleep. I climbed the steps, book in hand, telling her that I wanted to read in bed for awhile first. The hallway to my room, in the opposite direction of my mother's, was dark, and the lights were out in my bedroom. I started down the dim hallway towards the gaping black opening of my doorway when Mom, a hint of teasing in her voice, said, "Okay, but just watch out for Jodie."

I stopped dead in my tracks, dropped the book, and sprinted down the hallway in the other direction, running into the well-lighted safety of Mom's room and leaping onto the bed with her, frantic with fear that I might see glowing red eyes in the darkness of my room. Ah... I wasn't such a Hot Shit after all, it seemed! And she had to walk to my room, turn on the lights, and search every nook and cranny for a porcine invader before I could settle for the night. She thought it hilarious and teased me about it for y.ears- and would probably chuckle at it even now, if she was still around to do so.

That momentary fright did nothing to curb my emerging interest in horror fiction, however, and I went on to read all of her books in that genre. Right after The Amityville Horror came a trio by Stephen King, a new author at that time- Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, and The Shining... and then a string of kind of campy, even silly, books whose titles I have trouble recalling, except for those that ended up being turned into movies, like The Fog, The Fury, and Audrey Rose.

Once Mom saw that it wasn't a passing stage, she started including me in decisions about book-buying, and we would read a scary book back-to-back, or sometimes reading our own book, then swapping for the other to read, then discussing our opinions of them... and, where appropriate, the movies that they inspired. We had similar tastes and opinions, but she enjoyed camp and pulp more than I did... and she had less patience for long works, like The Stand. I honestly don't think she ever finished it.

My love for horror books continues to this day, and just as I re-watch movies and TV shows, I regularly re-read certain books every few y.ears, most notably The Shining, The Stand, The Talisman, a joint effort between King and Peter Straub, and the latter's tragically (in my opinion) underrated Shadowland. It blows by mind that neither of those has been made into a movie, but that's a rant for another day this week.

For now... are any of my sexy friends here lifelong readers? If so, what were your first favorites, and do you find that your early tastes have persisted through your life? And is anyone else into horror stories?

As I mentioned, I a.m dedicating most of this week to talking about the bound and paged adventures that are books, and I hope that everyone will stay tuned for the full ride!

In the meantime, many wishes and hopes that everyone's Monday has been the best that a Monday can be!

At A Loss For Words
Posted:Aug 18, 2018 11:46 pm
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2018 5:38 pm

Happy early Sunday, sexy friends!

Just as with last night, tonight finds me exhausted, though without the video-driver-stress that had put the cherry of agitation on the top of my fatigue sundae. Tonight, it's a more pleasant sort of tiredness.

Squinkie and I had a number of errands to run, including shopping for the upcoming school y.ear. That's usually a bummer of a task, a bona fide chore, but this y.ear, it was fun and interesting. She's 9 now and has very definite tastes and preferences regarding her school gear, and it was actually a blast to watch her pick out things like a mermaid scale pencil holder and folders with unicorn poop emojis on them.

Standing in Five Below, holding the goods that she'd selected, which revealed her emerging style (so very different from my own!), I struggled to grasp and define how it felt to see my baby girl becoming a more mature and individual person, with interests and ideas that did not reference me in even the least way.

It was a bittersweet sort of feeling, the kind that comes from recognizing the natural order of things... not really sad, but not exactly full of joy, either. It was a feeling akin to sunsets and family reunions and the end of summer. But there was no real word to describe it.

Then after serious business had been taken care of, we went over to the county fair to kill a couple of hours looking at horses and tractors and 4-H Club stands... and to ride the carnival rides. Well, Squinkie rode- she's old enough now to do that on her own. In fact, she is old enough now to want to try some of the more grown-up rides, things like the one this carnival called "The Sizzler," resembling an octopus that spins all of its tentacles around individually while the whole body also spins.

I had misgivings about her getting on it. Not because I was concerned for her safety in any way, but because I didn't think she'd like it; I suspected that it would be a little more than she bargained for. And it was. Not even halfway through the ride, I knew she wanted it to stop, and I stood as close to the fence as possible, letting her see that I was right there, arms open for her to rush into when the ride was done. Which she did.

We'd been in that sort of situation before, as I know all parents have- your child wants to try something new, explore- possibly break- new boundaries. And you know she isn't going to like it, that it isn't going to be what she expects... but you still have to let her go there, anyway. You have to let her make that journey of discovery, even though it's difficult to watch. And all you can do is have your arms open to her when she runs to you for comfort after the unpleasant experience.

It's such a common thing in the life of a parent, but yet again, I found myself struggling to grasp a way to define it in simple terms. Just as with the feeling that I'd had earlier in the day, it felt like there should be a word that captures those common emotions and experiences. But there isn't- there simply AREN'T words for some things, even when they represent nearly universal feelings.

Thinking about that reminded me of a two memes that I've seen before: one is a list of make-believe words that capture feelings that do not possess single-word descriptions... and the other is a list of words in other languages that cannot be easily translated into English.

Like, from the make-believe list:

Kenopsia : the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet, or

Chrysalism : the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm, or

Or, from the untranslatable list:

Komorebi (Japanese) : sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees, or

Gurfa (Arabic) : the amount of water that can be held in your hand, or

Being a word geek, I find these sorts of things fascinating and thought-provoking. It's a compelling commentary on the diversity of human languages that there are words that cannot be accurately translated from tongue to another- at least, not with an economy of words. And it is also intriguing, even a bit disappointing, I admit, to recognize that there are gaps in our already extensive vocabulary... feelings and experiences that have not been assigned words to describe them. Instead, we have to struggle with arranging clusters of words to articulate things that everyone feels and recognizes.

And so, I thought maybe I would make up my own words for the feelings that I had earlier about Squinkie's growing-up and effort to test her boundaries with new adventures.

Kinderstancholy- "Kinder" for child, matched with a bit of "distance," to indicate how children move away from the influence of parents as they age, and then the sense of "melancholy" that it can evoke.

Encouroothe- "Encouraging" a kid to to test boundaries, but being there to "soothe" when it doesn't go as well as hoped.

​Those are pretty crappy examples, I know- I'm good at working existing words, but not so good at making up new o.nes! But other people are, and we can delight in a few of them here. Or if YOU have any ideas for new words- or know of other interesting ones, hailing from other tongues, please do share!​

​May everyone be filled with Naz on this fine Sunday!​

Pay to Play
Posted:Aug 17, 2018 11:21 pm
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2018 3:38 pm

Well, it's a Friday, the launch of a new Mommy week. While I'm excited to see my girl, as always, I'll admit to being a bit exhausted and agitated. It's mostly because of the unrelenting heat- it has been really hot here for the past week. Like, a trial run for Hell sort of hot. And humidity so high that you wonder why it isn't raining. This sort of weather drains you, even under the best of circumstances.

But the other part of the agitation came from spending an hour trying to get The Sims to work correctly for Squinkie, who wanted to get her gaming groove on tonight. She isn't quite as much into games as I am, but she does love Simming. And we have the software, but the hardware on hand just isn't up to par. Hell, our computer equipment isn't up to part with anything, unless we're reckoning computing power according to the standards of the y.ear 2000.

I've long thought of my apartment as being the place in the Universe that old PCs and laptops go to die, but I've been recently informed that there is another hospice for computers up in Massachusetts. It's good to know that Squinkie and I aren't carrying the full weight of ushering terminal technology into the digital afterlife!

The reason we always have near-to-death computer equipment is nothing other than poverty. Now, don't get me wrong, if all things were equal, I'd be considered who makes a rather decent living. But all things are not equal- I'm a single mom with a young kid and no family or support network... meaning, I don't have even a single minute of free babysitting or anyone else to give gifts on holidays and birthdays or any sort of incidental help with incidentals.

Yet even more of a clincher in the poverty deal is the fact that I have an almost $100k student loan debt. Before you gasp, please understand that the original loan was only around $20k, but with a decade of fees and interest and the predatory practice of selling, buying, and reselling these permanent loans, which cannot be discharged through bankruptcy or diminished even under conditions of absolute destitution, the debt is like an aggressive weed, its growth always far outpacing all efforts to pay it down.

Student loans are a financial cancer, and maybe of these days I'll hop on my soapbox to fully rant about them, but for now, the salient point is that my debt burden of that sort, combined with single parenthood, leaves me unable to buy new- or at least only gently used- technology. I collect the things that other people are throwing away, and my IT knowledge enables me to fix or rehab dumpster-bound equipment, squeezing out the last bits of their functionality before they finally give up the ghost.

Now, anyone into gaming knows that you need decent technology to enjoy the experience, but I a.m stubborn and have been pushing the limits in trying to get The Sims to work on a shitty old PC for my girl. I struggled with a video driver conflict for an hour tonight before admitting defeat and sending Squinkie back to Roblox, making a mental note to try to introduce her to some of the vintage games that I used to adore and that would run with no problems on even an aged laptop. AND would be either free- or very nearly so- to download off of the internet.

I know she would think those old games corny at first, but I believe she would truly enjoy them, if she gave them half a chance. Maybe I a.m just a sap for the vintage, or maybe I a.m idealizing my past gaming experiences, but I truly DO believe that some of the older games are just as awesome now as they were when they were hot off of the presses and capable of getting people to shell out $60-$70 for them.

Like, take the Sierra games of the late 80s/early 90s, for instance. I don't think they had a single flop in a decade of releases. Between their Quest games ("King's Quest," "Space Quest," "Police Quest," "Heroes Quest") and "Manhunter," the line of "Hoyle's" card games, and the fabulously cheesy "Leisure Suit Larry" series, Sierra owned the niche for digital RPGs that were clever and engaging, fun AND funny.

LucasArts attempted to penetrate that niche with their "Monkey Island," "Indiana Jones," and "Star Wars" lines, but while they WERE great games in their own right, they never quite captured the irreverent playfulness of Sierra's fare with any degree of notable success. Although, upon retrospective consideration, maybe they were not even really trying to! Clearly, not everyone wanted strains of goofy humor in their games.

And, in fact (upon further analysis), the companies that began ruling the world of interactive digital play moved away from humor almost entirely, establishing the trajectory of increasing realism- even brutal grittiness- that would culminate with games like "Grand Theft Auto" and "Red Dead Redemption."

Yet before that, and oh-so-very close to my heart, were the Origin and Maxis games. The former produced my beloved "Ultima" and "Wing Commander" series ("Privateer" STILL being one of my all-time faves), and the latter, which eventually fell under the umbrella of Electronic Arts (EA), birthed the entire "Sim" world, starting with "A-Train," which was a precursor to "SimCity," and went on to simulate play of everything from ants to towers to all of life itself... and it continues to draw gamers into playing God to little digital people with its ongoing and still vibrant The Sims line.

Really, The Sims is the only game that I continue to play with any degree of frequency (when technology allows), though I do occasionally get a bug to play one game or another from "back in the day," even going back to the old text- or ASCII-based games like Kroz or Scorched Earth. I still find the latter just as amusing and distracting as I ever did, and when something falls down or blows apart in my life, I admit that I often envision those tiny pixelated tanks with their silly final words before being fried to a crisp: "Remember the Alamo!"

If I ever get to the point where I can professionally retire, I think I would like to spend a y.ear or two just goofing around with rediscovering and re-playing all of those old games, pulling beer-drinking, Cheetos-eating gaming all-nighters, as I used to do when I was a young adult, bouncing through life without any real notion of serious responsibility or the weight of a significant debt burden.

I a.m unlikely to ever be able to retire, however. Unless I hit the Lotto or turn out to be the unexpected beneficiary of some long-lost relative, I a.m sure to be working for as long as my body and brain will allow me to do so. One of my assistants at work is 83 y.ears old, and she makes over $30 an hour to come in to pick up checks to deliver to the bank... and bitch about how much the world has changed. I hope to be her someday.

For now, though, I've been exploring different avenues for supplemental income, and have just recently submitted an application-of-sorts to be part of a site that offers financial compensation to women for engaging in adult conversation and offering intimate pictures and videos to a select clientele of paying males. It's not like the Bunny Ranch, as there's no offline interaction at all, and it's a couple of steps up from things like "Lip Service" or "Text 121 Chat"... and it FAR above the whole camgirl scene.

I have never done anything like it before, however- and I don't even know anyone who has. I imagine that at least some A.F.F. women have availed themselves of the opportunity to make money elsewhere for doing what they do here for free, however (and if not, why not??)... and if any of the female bloggers reading this are a part of such a thing, I would dearly like to hear about your impressions and experiences with it- and any helpful hints to a new girl on that scene would be more than appreciated.

And that's all for me to welcome in the weekend, sexy friends. If you have anything to offer about any of the games mentioned here- past or current- I would love to hear about it! And may everyone's Saturday start with sunshine and fun!

Swing... And a Hit!
Posted:Aug 16, 2018 3:59 pm
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2018 5:43 pm

As all of my dear sexy friends here know, I gave up on the meeting/dating thing several weeks back. Discouraged- even depressed- by a series of disappointments on that front, I decided to just give it a rest for awhile, to stop looking for and meeting new folks, to "date myself," as I termed it.

A.F.F. actually did a pretty good job of predicting how dating myself would turn out- I mean, look what the site says is my compatibility rating with me:

It was doomed from the start! Don't get me wrong- there were no conflicts or disagreements, and every intimate encounter resulted in as many orgasms as desired... but still, something was missing. I just wasn't doing it for myself. So I decided to take another shot at it, put out an APB for a new special friend on my profile and schedule three meets. Well, two were scheduled, one was a last-minute thing that popped up on Tuesday.

I wrote about Sunday's strange and costly meet; Tuesday's was so unremarkable that it's not worth doing anything other than mentioning it.

The third pitch was scheduled for last night, and it, like Sunday's, involved a bit of a commute. But I selected the venue for this, so I would be certain to at least enjoy myself and the surroundings if I didn't dig the fellow that I was meeting.

For those familiar with the area, it is of the local breweries called "The Crooked Hammock." It's a fabulously charming place, open and quirky and family friendly. It even has a "dog station" in the outdoor area, inviting people to bring their canine friends along while they hang out, munching on what I truly believe are the best hamburgers in the world and partaking in a diverse and delicious line of brews.

I knew I'd enjoy the location and a Backyard Brown Ale (or two), even if I didn't think much of the company. Yet it turns out that I DID... it's fair to say that I enjoyed the company even more than the environment and the beverages!

As everyone who has ever met anyone in-person after first meeting online knows, of the trickiest parts of connecting IRL can come in the first few moments, at the point where you have to identify and greet your meet. Up to that point, all that you know about someone's appearance comes from pics that have been shared, and unless you've done real-time vid chat, there's really no way to know if those pics are current or if they date back to the previous millennium. You're kind of flying in blind, not knowing if you're going to actually recognize your date.

It's a truly unfortunate commentary on the whole pic-accuracy thing, but I've had several meets where I was NOT able to recognize the man I was meeting with, based on the pic(s) he supplied, where I had to wait for him to identify himself to me- even when there were only two or three other men around.

It's also unfortunate that many people take the risk of misrepresenting themselves in their profiles and online exchanges. I call it "a risk" because, when you are going to meet someone in-person, everything is going to be laid bare- the truth is going to be made apparent- and for someone to plow forward into meeting after presenting fictions and peddling inaccuracies... well, he's running the risk of being called out on it, putting himself in a position where someone can point out (possibly with some degree of anger) that he was selling a false bill of goods. I truly do not get why some men do that, as well as do not understand how he thinks there can be any sort of recovery once it's clear that truths have been omitted, lies have been told.

(And for the record, I know that women also misrepresent; I only used the masculine pronoun because it's relevant to my own experiences.)

Rounding out the third of the unfortunate things associated with first meets (for me, anyway), it's a real bummer when you finally get face-to-face with someone who is presumably interested in you, only to find out that he really doesn't give a crap about you as a person. AND doesn't grasp that he should- and actually NEEDS to, in order to get anywhere. of the pitfalls of this site is the whole "hook up now!" marketing strategy, which sort of gives the impression that people here are more like items on a menu to be ordered up than regular, complex individuals with normal, complex needs. I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten messages from men who are new to the site, who seem to be under the impression that all they need to do to connect with me is to express interest and schedule a time and location.

And even those who know that more is required still too often fail to behave in an interested, courteous, and attentive manner, clinging to the misguided assumption that a woman on a site like this is "A Sure Thing." They think that we are somehow easier, that they don't have to expend the same type of energy that they do in a traditional dating context. When the reality is- sorry guys!- the severely skewed male:female ratio here allows us A.F.F. chicks to be even MORE discriminating, picky, and demanding. Any even moderately attractive woman here gets upwards of 100 offers/invitations to meet and play every week... and if a man wants to be the (or of the o.nes) she selects, he's just got to be on his game.

Some guys just don't get that. But I'm usually willing to give them a try, see how it plays out in-person. And so I got dolled up for the meet, donning a dress I hadn't worn before... adding that to the "at least, I'll..." list. At least it will be at a place I like, at least I'll give the new dress a run, in case it didn't work out well with the guy.

But oh-so-very-fortunately, the man from my meet yesterday didn't have any of the unfortunate qualities and behaviors mentioned here. YAY!

He was unmistakably recognizable from the pics that he posted and shared- and he looked even better in-person, in full motion! And appearances aside, he was just as he'd presented himself in our online and phone exchanges- there were no unpleasant surprises, no "I wanted to wait to meet to tell you..." bombs, no inconsistencies in his character, nature, and the specifics of his life. He was exactly who he'd said he was; the things that had attracted me to him were accurate, true, and really real. YAY!

Also fortunately- and even better- his personality and manner were even more attractive in person than they had been in our at-a-distance communications. If anything, he had under-represented himself, something that came from what was clearly a genuine modesty and a sincere determination to have our meet actually involve getting-to-know-each-other. He was polite and considerate, friendly and open, authentic in spirit and clearly conveying an understanding that I am a real woman, a real person, deserving of attention and communication and respect.

And man, was it refreshing! Where meets for me often feel like weird job interviews or like being stuck in a broken elevator with someone who feels forced to make conversation to avoid a sense of awkwardness, our exchange was smooth and natural and authentic... it truly felt like- and was- two people who were honestly interested in each other, getting together to get to know another.

It was not just refreshing- it was exciting. And later, when we ended up in a more private location to take the first steps towards REALLY getting to know each other (and NO, there was no sex- I am absolutely committed to my rule of not playing on a first meet), it went from exciting to thrilling... the chemistry was there in all ways, and let's just say that, on the ride back home, I kind of kicked myself for that rule! Stupid fucking rule! What was I thinking of when I came up with it?!?

Ahhhh. But it's all okay. Because a promising connection has been made, and a new free week will be here before I know it, and unless I read things wrong- or unless something goes horribly awry at some point over the next eight days- there is some delightful fun on the horizon for me, of both the regular and the naughty variety. And I can't wait!

So, to wrap this up... things are looking up for me, sexy friends. WAY up. It has been rough lately, but things seem to have turned a corner... and if all goes well, I may have to change my name from GratefulGirl to LuckyGirl. Wouldn't that be more than fine?

Many thanks for reading my blatherings, and I hope that everyone is having a truly excellent Little Friday... and that lovely dirty things are on your horizon, too.

Such a Tart!
Posted:Aug 15, 2018 9:35 pm
Last Updated:Aug 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Happy Wednesday, sexy friends! It's particularly happy evening for me, but y'all are going to have to wait until tomorrow to find out why! Sorry to be a tease, but tonight, I want to share some food porn and some props to the special person who inspired it.

As I think everyone in the blogosphere knows, the lovely Ms. Pocogato12 is a font of information and inspiration for all things relating to food, beverages, and the beautiful growing things in the natural world. Her blog is informative and fascinating- it is of my favorites, as it should be of yours!

The other day, she posted about the dish, ratatouille ( Absent Due to Cookery Ratatouille ) , which was of those right-time-right-place things for me, as I had all of those ingredients on hand, freshly picked from my landlady's farm, but I'd had no idea what I was going to do with them. Her post lighted the bulb over my head, and I decided to take my first shot at making ratatouille.

As I was getting everything together to do some slicing and dicing, I pulled out a big vintage tart pan that I'd gotten at an auction to simply keep some of the veggies on as I did prep work. But once I had it out, the bulb over my head burned even brighter... and I decided to try to make a ratatouille tart. I'd seen things like it on the internet (particularly on Pinterest), and thought I might be able to pull it off.

For the crust, I used the very simple oil and flour recipe that I usually use for quiche. It's not super-flaky, but it still works well for savory dishes. It's basically just flour, oil, salt, sugar, and a dash of milk, and instead of rolling it, it's pressed into the pin or tart pan (or muffin tins- I make mini quiches most times, which are great for a quick and easy breakfast).

The slicing was the most time-consuming part of the prep work, trying to get everything fairly consistent. And then it took a bit of time to layer all of the slices just right. I wouldn't exactly call it a "labor of love," not as much as something like, say, baklava, but it was a little fussier than usual for me. Yet I knew I'd want to share a picture of it- and I knew I'd be eating on it for a few days- so I gave it some care.

After pressing the dough into the pan, I rubbed a layer of roasted garlic onto it, then layered the veggies. I used zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant (sliced, salted, and drained), perfectly ripe full-sized and cherry tomatoes, and an anaheim pepper from the community garden. I topped it with some fresh thyme leaves, a tiny bit of fresh lemon verbena (both from the community garden), and a healthy sprinkling of grated parmesan.

Right before putting it in the oven, I brushed it with a bit of oil and balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar has of my favorite flavors in the world. It's of those things that people tend to either love or hate, and it's definitely in the Love column for me! My favorite lamb dish is Moroccan spiced chops served with a fresh cherry and balsamic reduction- it's the thing I make when I REALLY want to treat myself. Those flavors go so well with the earthy flavor of lamb... warm and sharp and tiny bit sweet. Kind of like me!

But anyway, I cooked the tart until the crust was crisp and the veggies were tender, and the finished product was... well, abso-freaking-lutely scrumptious! Or as the Great British Bake-Off's Mary Berry likes to say, "scrummy!" It's fresh and healthy and truly an homage to the produce of the season, yet a little bit more special than everyday fare.

I a.m really pleased that I gave it a shot, and I wanted to share it here, along with a thanks to the blogger who inspired it. Thank you, lovely lady!

I wish I could share this with you all! But whatever was on your plate today, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Wednesday!

Posted:Aug 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Last Updated:Aug 18, 2018 7:22 pm

As everyone who read my over-emotional, over-sharing post this weekend knows, my daughter turned 9 on Saturday, entering the last of her single-digit y.ears. It kind of freaks me out a bit, for all of the reasons cited often enough to sound like cliches or platitudes: "The time goes by so quickly!" and "They grow up so fast!"

It seems like she was a baby just yesterday, in her near-constant position of "riding my hip," as I called it, almost always in physical contact, our heads close together as we made our way through daily routines... me pointing out and naming and defining all of the things around us, her following my finger and observing and repeating.

The entire world is a classroom and every activity is an experience of learning in those early y.ears, with that close and constant exchange between mother and child providing the identification of and fundamental knowledge about the stuff of life. "That's a cloud," "Look at the bird," "That lady is tall," "See her green dress"... almost every word uttered is instructional, a lesson in recognition and vocabulary and grammar.

For the first couple of years, infants mostly just take it all in, soak it all up, absorb the information that lays the groundwork of basic understanding. But then they hit a point, which all parents know- and some bemoan!- where they want to go beyond the fundamentals, when they start asking questions to acquire a deeper knowledge about things. "Where do clouds come from?," "How does a bird fly?," "Can I decide how tall I want to be?," "Why don't boys wear dresses?"... and all of a sudden, the scope of instruction expands, the lessons are about science and psychology and culture.

Having a background as an educator, I don't imagine that it's a surprise to hear that I have not simply enjoyed the teaching part of parenting, I have delighted in it. Where there's some degree of bittersweetness in my daughter's diminishing need for my constant, hands-on attention and care, it is soothed and smoothed by her increasing need for detailed and accurate information to allow her to develop a more nuanced and complex understanding of life and the world.

Being the excessively word-oriented and over-analytical person that I a.m, I find it particularly enjoyable to try to help her to grasp some of the more subtle and sophisticated concepts in language and communication... things like sarcasm, irony, and puns.

I think there's either a genetic predisposition towards sarcasm in my bloodline or that Squinkie just has a natural talent for it (or maybe ALL kids do, gearing up for those sullen teen-aged years!), because she not only grasped, but mastered, it early on and with ease. She can be bitingly sarcastic to a degree that seems well ahead of her y.ears, a skill that increases my personal admiration of her, though afraid not everyone appreciates it as much as M.ommy does.

Okay, okay, I'll admit it- I egg her on, sometimes high-five and congratulate her when she makes an especially clever snarky comment... even when it's directed at and intended to bite ME. But I a.m the sort who appreciates pointed cleverness on an objective level, and if someone offers a witty and/or creative insult, I can absolutely admire and applaud it, even when I a.m the one being insulted. And even when it's spilling out of the mouth of my kid. Yeah, I may be creating a monster!

Irony has been a tough one to teach, in large part because I have some baggage associated with the concept from earlier in life. I a.m sure that most of the people reading this remember Alanis Morrisette and her uber-popular "Ironic" song that dug burrows in our collective ear for what seemed like far too long of a stretch in the 90s. And I a.m equally sure that the overwhelming majority of us didn't make a really big deal out of the song, beyond either loving, hating, or tolerating it. It was just a song.

Well, not to my ex-husband. He liked the song musically, but he took issue- very serious issue- with the lyrics, due to his belief that Ms. Morrisette's definition and examples of irony were grossly, profoundly inaccurate. Every time it came on the radio or popped up somewhere on TV or at a social event, he would launch into a commentary, criticism, and correction of the scenarios presented in the song.

"That's NOT irony," he'd protest, "it's coincidence!" Or, "Please! That's just bad luck, NOT irony!" And so on, verse by verse, as the painfully long song unfolded. He'd even bring it up as a topic of what he believed was "intellectually stimulating conversation " at parties and barbecues with our groups of couples-friends. He latched onto it like a little yip-yip dog who catches a bit of your pants hem in his jaw, and it was impossible to shake him off... you'd just have to walk away from the conversation, dragging him along at your heels until he eventually found something else to sink his pointy little teeth into.

The basic point being: my ex kind of ruined irony for me. He subjected the definition of it to such a high level of scrutiny- and inflicted that micro-analysis on everyone (with his wife, me, holding the front-and-center seat in the agonizingly tedious audience of his exactitude) - to such an extent that all possible fun was entirely sucked out of any possible understanding of the word and the concept that it represented.

I can occasionally muster a chuckle for a joke or a meme centering on irony, but it has to be as simple and silly as Napoleon's armies and sleevies for me to do anything other than cringe. I kind of feel bad for this gap in Squinkie's word education, and very much hope she can find someone or something else in her life to help her to know and appreciate the value of a non-obsessive (or defensive) embrace of irony.

But there are no such obstacles in the way of teaching my girl about the grandly hilarious verbal phenomenon of puns. And it's just as well, really, as they ARE the fodder of the juvenile. Much of the comedy of childhood is punny, appreciated far in advance of the ability to define it as an a structured form of humor.

Like, two of Squinkie's favorite jokes:

What do you call cheese that doesn't belong to you?
Nacho cheese.

and... Why don't cats like trees?
They're afraid of their bark.

I love puns, undoubtedly because I love words and wordplay, love how only slight shifts in tone and context can cast the meaning of a word in an entirely different light. And I love puns because they seem so fundamental and childish... and yes, of course, sometimes they truly ARE... but other times, they capture and reflect a genuinely sophisticated understanding of not just vocabulary, but also culture and the human experience at large.

But rather than verbally dissect further, I'll share some examples and leave it for you sexy friends to analyze or disregard, to contemplate intellectually or simply to laugh. And if you have any punny favorites, I'd love to hear them!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Tuesday... catch you on the hump!

Meme-y Monday - Men v. Women
Posted:Aug 13, 2018 12:56 pm
Last Updated:Aug 18, 2018 7:12 pm
Oh sexy friends, I'm WAY behind on blog reading, email, and messaging, so just a short one today with a light-hearted look at the so-called "Battle of the Sexes."

Agree/disagree? Have any others to add?

Whatever your sex or gender, I hope everyone is having the best of all possible Mondays!

Pandora's Winky Vid & the $40 Meet
Posted:Aug 12, 2018 7:52 pm
Last Updated:Aug 15, 2018 7:53 am
As I think everyone knows, I a.m a pretty huge music fan- even my member name here is an homage to tunage. My tastes at this point in life are varied and eclectic, which is the product of a long evolution... and a great deal of exposure to a great many genres and artists, often introduced to me by the people in my life. Some of my first favorites were discovered by listening to the radio, but the primary musical influence in my young life was my parents and their album collections.

My range of taste sort of exploded when I hit my teens, as friends, acquaintances, and schoolmates turned me on to the things that they favored. While I have never had much in the way of female friends, always being more comfortable hanging out with guys than other chicks, I did have one close girl friend when I was 14, a chick who was y.ear older than me and lived in my neighborhood. She was an absolute Stevie Nicks fanatic, and she helped to turn me into, too.

For most of my teens, I was sort of a Stevie-Wannabe, imitating her style of dress, trying to mimic her writing in my own poetry and songs, and becoming deeply familiar with all of her work- from the songs that everyone would know upon hearing to the obscure tracks on Fleetwood Mac albums and bootlegs of unreleased/limited release cuts. Songs like "The Forest of Black Roses," "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You," and (early on- it was eventually released) "Silver Spring" representing the latter, and the former including songs like "Storms," "Beautiful Child," and "Angel."

I don't believe I've ever heard any of those songs on the radio- until just tonight, while I was driving home from my first meet since deciding to get back off the meeting/dating wagon. And it was "Angel," from the "Tusk" album, one of my favorites. It has a catchy, almost jaunty, rhythm serving as a backdrop for Nicks' signature whimsy-meets-mysticism lyrical imagery, belted out with her inimitable lusty, vulnerable, and intensely powerful voice...

... and it was JUST what I needed to hear, because my first back in the saddle meet hadn't gone particularly well.

It had involved a commute, for one thing- the fellow lived right on the far fringe of what I consider to be "local," really pushing the envelope where distance is concerned, but I was interested enough to give it a shot. He WAS within my range, after all, even if just barely. But wait, oh no- actually he WASN'T. He didn't really live in the beach town where we met, in spite of his claim of doing so- and in spite of his profile citing that as his location of residence. He lives in PA, is considering moving to the area, is staying in a hotel for the week.

Uh, okay.

And the place where he wanted us to meet- a beach bar... when coordinating the meet, he said we'd have to connect via phone when I arrived so I would know at which of the 11 bars that were in the place he'd be. I thought it was a joke- 11 bars in one place? But no, it was no joke, there actually were 11 bars there, and it was like a huge keg party- insanely loud and crowded, filled with very young drunk people behaving just as you'd expect very young drunk people to behave. Not my sort of place at all, under any circumstances, and certainly not the sort of place I'd think of to have a first meet with a potential intimate friend or playmate. There was no privacy anywhere in the place- even the ladies room was crammed with screaming, puking co-eds.

I should have known that there would be trouble from the moment that I arrived, when I couldn't find a place nearby to park. I finally found a spot a few blocks away and was downloading the app to buy a digital parking permit when he called me and told me to drive back to park in a spot right next to the bar. It had three big "No Parking" signs posted, but he pointed at yellow lines on the road and told me that I was absolutely permitted to park there. I questioned that, explaining that mine was a company vehicle and that I couldn't afford to either get into trouble at my job with a ticket- or afford to pay for one- but he totally insisted that I could park there, assured me that it would be okay.

It wasn't, of course. When I left, there was a ticket on my windshield- a $30 fine. And when I texted him with the equivalent of a "gee, thanks" message, he lamely insisted that I shouldn't have gotten a ticket, and after I mentioned the fact of the "No Parking" signs to him... well, sound of crickets. I haven't heard a word from him since.

But it's actually a relief, to be honest, because the whole scene was just not right. It was the absolutely wrong kind of location and scenario for someone like me, which he didn't know because he hadn't taken any time to really see who I am before he pushed to meet. He wore sunglasses for the first hour of our meet, almost like a glaring joke (or jab) in reference to my comments here about men who do that for their profile pics. And he did review my kinks, but not my blog. And it seems that he scanned my Q&A, but failed to note things like the fact that I've been in the Lifestyle for 20+ years. He cited a possible openness to that sort of play, but had no experience with it. I guess I was expected to teach or guide him through it...? I suppose he thought I would take the lead, even though my profile expresses a preference for self-assured, Dom-tilting lovers?

I don't know. He was nice enough, friendly enough- the sort of guy I would like to have as a friend- but, while he was quite handsy and happy to keep pushing into my personal space, he didn't have the self-assured flirtatiousness and sexy attentiveness that sparks and feeds chemistry for me. There was nothing wrong with him at all, he just wasn't right for me. And I think that, if he had taken just a little time to look at all of the info- the absolute wealth of info that I have on my profile- he would have easily recognized that we're not a good match.

But he didn't, and it was ultimately a flop. A $40 flop, between the cost of the gas for the 3-hour drive back and forth and the parking ticket. Well, at least he picked up the tab for my two draft beers. And I DID get to hear that rare Stevie song, "Angel," on my way home, driving through a thunderstorm and belting it out along with her...

So I close my eyes softly
'til I become that part of the wind
that we all long for sometimes...
and to those that I love
like a ghost through the fog
like a charmed hour and a haunted song
and the angel of my dreams...

My dream of a special connection with someone- someone close enough to touch- still remains a dream.

But I will tell you... something that ALSO seems like a dream, at least in terms of the bizarre, surreal factor, is what's been going on with my profile today! I don't know if any of my sexy blog friends pay any attention to what I do on my profile, but I did my usual free-weekend taking/uploading of pics, keeping my collection fresh.

This time, I also took and uploaded a short video. Nothing provocative- not even any boob- just a smile and a wink. But I swear you'd think there was a pussy or a gaping ass in it, for the response that it's getting me- it's like Pandora's Box has been opened up on my profile. As of this moment, and since about 5 am this morning, I've gotten 3k+ profile views, a jump of about 40k views on my pics overall, 70 friend requests and counting... I don't know how many messages because messaging isn't working for me today... and the silly little 5-second vid has almost 300 likes and just about 50 comments.

After I posted it, one of my friends mentioned that it was going to get a lot of attention for me, but I didn't see how or why. And frankly, I still don't. It's a wink, for goodness' sake! Are all of the men here so inundated and saturated with vids of pussies and fucking and cum shots that a wink somehow seems special?? I Just Do Not Get It. And if anyone can explain it to me, I would surely appreciate it.

This place just seems so bizarre sometimes.

But anyway, that's the wrap-up on my weekend: an inexplicably popular winky vid and a disproportionately expensive meet. I do have another planned for Wednesday, though- a meet, not a winky vid. Here's hoping that won't put me in the red.

Hope everyone had a super-fabulous weekend and that your Mondays start out swimmingly!

Pop's-at-the-Go-Go Saturday Night Laughs
Posted:Aug 11, 2018 7:46 pm
Last Updated:Aug 13, 2018 11:04 pm

Okay, then! After last night's intense post, I'd like to lighten things up a bit. I will move towards the shallower side of the pool, though I may dwell a bit longer on diving board end. Bear with me, if you will.

As everyone knows, I've been riding the Nostalgia Train lately, thinking a great deal about my younger life and the past in general. It's an unusual thing for me, as I a.m characteristically an extremely (almost neurotically) forward-facing person. To be honest, I've actually long been the sort of person who finds expressions of nostalgia more-than-a-little tedious. So, I feel a little hypocritical- and I can't help but wonder if this recent mood is the Universe's payback for all of the times I've rolled my eyes and thought "yeah, yeah, yeah, the past is gone- get over it!" when someone rambled to me about The Good Old Days of their youth. The Universe seems to be good at doing things like that. Helping us to maintain perspective, I suppose.

When talking about cartoons the other day, my mind fixed on an old TV that my father had, spinning out in a ton of different directions of memory. It's weird that I'd remember his TV the most, though, because for almost all of my growing-up, I lived with my mother.

My folks had one of those "love at first sight" things. In San Juan, of all places. My mother was from Long Island and my father was from Pensacola, but they both ended up in Puerto Rico in the spring of 68. Mom was with her then-fiance, and Pop on leave in his service in the Merchant Marines for the Viet Nam war. They ran into each other at a party, and lightning stuck. They ended up getting married only 6 weeks after first laying eyes on each other.

They were not together for very long, however. Gee, what a shocker, eh? It was four or five years altogether, I guess, with three of them spent apart while my Pop was abroad. He had a couple of brief stays at home with Mom, long enough to conceive me and the older of my two younger brothers, but they were married for a few years before they actually lived together. And once he came back and they settled in under the same roof... well, let's just say that it didn't work. The only recollection that I have of the two of them as a couple are memories of fights- screaming, throwing things against walls kinds of fights. And then there's the memory of the day he moved out- I was about four, I guess, and recall standing in the yard, watching his Pinto drive away.

The man who would become my step-father came along about two y.ears later, and from that time until the day that he drove away from us (in an LTD- funny that I remember the cars), that was my family and home: he and Mom and my bro, wherever we roamed. My bro and I saw our father only on weekends, occasionally for longer stretches over the summer or holiday breaks. Whereas custody courts now favor- even force- equal time with both parents, in those days, the mother got the kids pretty much by default. Only special circumstances- or personal agreements- allowed for anything else.

"Special circumstances" cropped up one y.ear for us, when my mother had a third child, my step-father's son. My baby bro's birth coincided with their effort to open a business, a store that sold brass beds, and because there was so much going on on their lives, everyone came to an agreement that my brother and I would go to live with our father for a year.

Or maybe forever. That's what we hoped for, anyway, because Pop was a MUCH better parent than Mom ever even dreamed of being. He did things like help with homework, show up for parent-teacher conferences, and enroll us in after-school programs. He took us places, played games with us, steadily engaged and interacted with us, treating us like mature and interesting little people... whereas Mom was the sort to wave us away with a directive to "Go play outside" so that she could do her own thing, and she studiously avoided any form of interaction with "The Authority" that schools and organized programs represented. Mom was into herself, Pop was into us.

So, I guess it's really no surprise that I remember the TV that he had during the year that we lived with him, as it was kind of the Best Year Ever in my young life. It was a little thing, his TV. About 17" and with rabbit ear antennae on the top, dials on bottom front, below the screen. And when I think about watching cartoons as a kid, I think about that TV, my brother and I flopped on the floor in front of the bookcase that housed it, spilling cereal milk on the carpet as we pushed and punched each other, squabbling over conflicts too petty to be remembered now.

Where the memory of Saturday morning cartoons is clear and special, what is even better is the memory of night-time TV watching. As kids, we didn't get to experience a lot at night because of the whole early bedtime thing. When living with Mom, that was a pretty rigid rule- the night belonged to the grown-ups. It was mostly the same at my father's, though there was an exception once a week, on Saturdays, when he went out to the Go-Go bar down the street, taking one night of freedom for himself- and offering the same to us.

Before anyone is tempted to cry "neglect!"- I was old enough at that point to earn a few bucks here and there babysitting other people's youngsters, and I was certainly old enough to watch my brother for a handful of hours while Pop went out to play. We were fine, I promise- no one was neglected. In fact, we were more than fine- we loved those free nights! They gave us an exciting feeling of freedom and autonomy, a sense of being grown-up, as we could do what we wanted, eat what we wanted, watch what we wanted, and choose our own bedtimes. We'd mostly watch TV and eat cereal (seriously, we were addicted to the stuff back then), sometimes bake things and play games... and occasionally, if we were feeling like outlaws, make crank calls (did anyone else ever do that?)... basically just bask in the feeling of freedom of being alone for a night.

It was during those Pop's-at-the-Go-Go nights that I/we discovered late-night TV programs, like Second City and Saturday Night Live. And Pop splurged and got the still-quite-new HBO, which often ran comedy or musical specials on Saturday nights, and from those programs, I discovered the larger comic genius of some of the folks who'd started out on SNL.

And "genius" is definitely the right word for some of those comedians. They were right on point during that time, and even to this day, I can re-watch some of the skits and full-length programs and acknowledge and admire just HOW good they them were. I don't know if comedy itself has taken a nosedive since the 70s, or if maybe I just lost some of my humor somewhere along the line, but there are very few comedians and comedies these days that can get me truly laughing. Like, really busting-a-gut, rolling-on-the-floor, eyes-watering laughing.

I have had plenty of experiences like that in the past, though, and many of them came on those Saturday nights, alone at Pop's, watching SNL or HBO comedy specials. And as we got older, even when we were back with Mom, we earned the right to stay up later on weekends, and Saturday continued to be The Night for comedy, most definitely because of the tone set by SNL.

During my late teen years on my own, when I almost always had roommates, we did Letterman during the week and SNL on Saturday. And in the early years of my marriage, my ex and I regularly sat up to watch it, though we eventually lost interest- it just hit a point of not being very funny to us anymore. And most of the people that I know say the same, except for my on-again/off-again friend, CB (Crazy Bob) - he watches it every Saturday, come hell or high water- and brags that he hasn't missed an episode in over 30 y.ears. Bless his heart.

I've watched it a few times with him over the past few y.ears, but it just didn't do it for me. Not like Key and Peele do (they're the only ones I can think of who have made me fall out of my chair in recent years). And not like it did in earlier days. But it's no wonder! SNL set the bar pretty high for itself, set the standard for comedy overall, really... to the point that it couldn't keep living up to itself. In my opinion, anyway. Or maybe it stopped taking wild chances in the selection of its regular cast members. Or maybe there just haven't been many comedic greats to select. I don't know.

But I do know that it used to have people and skits that were funny and clever to Epic Proportions. The cast during the mid/late 70s was iconic, of course. John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, Steve Martin, and Bill Murray for the guys- talk about a Dream Team! And the ladies- the classic trio of Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner... Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! Being outnumbered in gender and existing in the tricky position of being females in a field dominated by men made them seem even more incredible and admirable. Even inspiring.

I particularly loved Gilda Radner, who I'd discovered on an HBO special, instead of SNL. One of her live stand-up shows played one Saturday night while my bro and I were kicking around by ourselves, and we were captivated, totally enthralled, by her. She was just SO funny- and she always seemed like she was having fun, genuinely enjoying what she was doing- and there was also a true sweetness about her, a sense of emotion, vulnerability, and poignancy in her humor, particularly her standup material.

The 80s were sort of hit-or-miss for SNL, I thought. There were some great moments and cast members- Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Martin Short, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the other Belushi brother... but it wasn't until late in the decade that it really started picking up steam again, invigorated by strong and innovative comedians like Dennis Miller, Jan Hooks, Mike Meyers, Ben Stiller, and the incredible Dana Carvey.

I think of broccoli-chopping Carvey as the sort of captain of the ship of the SNL Renaissance that started in the late 80s and carried over into the 90s, during the time and me and the ex-hub made it part of our regular viewing fare. They had close to a Dream Team then, too, with Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Chris Elliott, Tim Meadows, David Spade, Adam Sandler, and eventually Will Ferrell... and finally more-than-token female talent again in Molly Shannon, Ellen Cleghorne, and Janeane Garofalo.

Those were great years, with the Church Lady, the Ambiguously Gay Duo, the Roxbury Guys (the best duo since the "Two Wild and Crazy Guys" of the 70s), the Ladies Man, Superstar! Mary Katherine Gallagher of the armpit-smelling fame, Wayne's World, Coffee Talk, and the introduction of Celebrity Jeopardy, which had some of my favorite all-time SNL moments with Darrell Hammond playing an absolutely absurd Sean Connery, intent on finding pervy meanings in rather innocent words and phrases.

But as I mentioned, my interest fell off as the 90s progressed, with the last of my all-time fave skits being right on the cusp of the millennium, featuring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken. You know which one I'm talking about! One word- it's what you need, what we all need... more cowbell!

​So, how about you, sexy friends? Are any of you SNL fans, either past or present? If so, which have been your favorite years? And who have been some of your favorite cast members? Which are your favorite skits? ​

And what are your feelings about comedy in general these days? Who/what makes you laugh? I need recommendations!

Hoping everyone is smiling, even if not laughing, on this fine Saturday night!

Homage to Squinkie (Not For the Squeamish)
Posted:Aug 10, 2018 9:50 pm
Last Updated:Aug 15, 2018 9:03 am
*Warning: This gets a bit gruesome and hard at points- it's not something for the squeamish. If you're not up to something a bit intense, it's probably better to wait for my next post.*

It's the evening of August 10th, 2018. There are not many days that I can say this about, but I know exactly where I was- and exactly what I was thinking and feeling- nine y.ears ago. Almost down to the minute.

It was August 10th, 2009... and it was the night before my daughter's birth day. It was the night before I was scheduled to go into the hospital for labor inducement to give birth to an unexpected late-in-life miracle baby. Being what is called a "DES Daughter," I was not supposed to be able to produce offspring. Doctors never used the word "impossible," they simply said it was "highly improbable." And as I took a lackadaisical approach to birth control in the almost two decades of a sexually active marriage, and as I still never had occasion to buy a pregnancy test... well... I- and everyone- believed that I wasn't capable of being a mother, until biology proved otherwise about 18 months after my divorce.

And it was August 10th, 2009... and I was giving birth the following day. And I was very pregnant, very huge, veryuncomfortable. It was August, and so miserably hot, and I was gigantic. Always prone towards slenderness and expected to carry light at the beginning, my 80-pound pregnancy weight gain was a shocker. Especially since there were no indications that the baby was anything other than of typical size.

Extensive testing revealed that there was nothing wrong overall. Over and over throughout those 41 weeks, high-risk was declared, then eventually downgraded. My age, medical history, and personal situation made it a high-risk pregnancy at the start, but endless testing and fastidious self-care had caused it to devolve to normal-risk by about the eighth month. The only remaining uncertainty- the fact of my unexpected hugeness- was determined to be no cause for alarm. Tests revealed that everything was fine. They also revealed that fears of a secret twin were unfounded, but still I worried about that. Worried a lot.

Because it was August 10th, 2009... and I would be having a baby the next day. And I was alone. Not just for the moment or for the night, but as a parent and For Good. I had gone through the pregnancy alone and without a partner, a companion, or even a friend. The man that the Universe had paired me up with for this unexpected conception was not a man that I could be with. I couldn't be with him, and he couldn't handle the situation. He was hostile in the face of something that threatened his freedom and lifestyle, and his conduct had led me to view him as a threat- even as a danger- to me and my unborn child.

But it wasn't just him that couldn't be counted on, it was everyone. I'd had several close friends before, but every of them turned their backs on me when I didn't terminate the pregnancy. And I get it, I DO- the man who had made me pregnant was violent and abusive and tried to kill me, and I'd lost my job- my whole profession, really- due to massive budget cuts the year before, which came only months after losing everything in divorcing my heroin-addicted, lying and cheating ex-husband.

WTF, what the fuck, REALLY- What the Fucking Fuck was I doing, having a baby under those circumstances? That's what everyone said, asked. And when I didn't bend to the pressure to abort, when I decided to trek blindly into more hardship while on an already rough path and living in an already broken life, everyone I knew pretty much threw up their arms in disgust and walked away. If I was going to be a fool, then I was going to go there alone, they said. And they kind of despised me, I know- because my situation was supposed to be what abortion rights are all about.

And if any of them had known that I had never, not even for a minuscule portion of a fraction of a second, considered NOT having the child, I am sure they would have loathed me even more. But it wasn't their business, wasn't their say- and THAT is what abortion rights are about: making your own choice, without reference to what anyone else thinks, says, or believes. And I was in for the penny of baby, but worried deeply about the possibility of twins, uncertain if I could also be in for that possible pound.

But it was August 10th, 2009... and I was going into labor in the morning. And I could not only feel, but could actually see, the elbow of my night owl baby jutting out of the side of my belly while I tried to rest up for the next day's momentous activities. I could trace most of her form from that reference point of her elbow, and I was wishfully certain that there was only one tiny human inside of me. And I marveled at that feeling of that miniature elbow, either nudging me for attention or squirming in an effort to make a break from the confines of my womb.

And I rubbed that elbow and sang "Morning Has Broken" to my restless little passenger, this person who had been living and growing in my body for 41 weeks... but who was still a stranger to me, was still someone I had not yet met. But even though I didn't know her, I still knew that she would ever be the most important person in my life, the most important person in the Universe. And I wondered what she would be like- not just how she would look and smell and sound, but what the shape and size of her nature and personality would be, what sorts of things she'd enjoy, what she would be afraid of, what she would want to be- and would eventually become- when she grew up. She was a familiar stranger stirring inside of me, someone whose life would henceforth be intertwined with mine in ways that I could not possibly even conceive of on that night... and the only thing that matched my fear was my anticipation.

Yet it was August 10th, 2009... and I was only hours away from becoming a mother. And at 10 a.m. the following morning, I reported for duty at the hospital, my overwhelmed and more-sober-than-usual mother at my side, doing her best to finally do me a solid by not making me go through the childbirth thing alone. She looked out of the window while the OB pushed an (of all things!) gout pill up against my unbudging cervix, declaring that my labor should start within 5 or 6 hours. But 20 minutes later- 5 hours ahead of schedule- my water broke... that bizarre internal wet "POP" that ushers in and accompanies the full wet mess of the whole deal.

No one ever told me that "the water" keeps coming after it breaks- I always though it broke and drained out, and that was that. But no, the nurse told me, laughing- "There are no dry births around here!" And that's one of the last things that I remember clearly before the world warped and turned sideways under the influence of absolutely unimaginable pain for about six and a half hours.

I do remember snippets from that period, tiny vignettes of awareness and clarity breaking through the cloudy haze of incredible physical agony... the OB standing beside me, studying the contraction read-out, looking at me with deep scrutiny and writing down notes before leaving my line of vision. My mother fluttering at the side of the bed, shaking and in tears, demanding of the nurses the administration of the epidural that I'd signed on for. And the man whose sperm had fertilized my egg, setting this whole thing in motion, showing up and behaving true to form- driving my mother out of the room and then turning on me, right in the middle of labor, with insults and threats, spiking up my blood pressure and setting off alarms on all of the equipment attached to my body, and the nurses rushed in with a cry of "Fetal Distress" and then he was gone, locked out of the maternity ward, and then my OB rushed in and, barely before she'd snapped her gloves on, finally said the magic word: "Push."

My water broke at 10:35 a.m., and at 4:55 p.m., alone because my mom had been scared off by the sperm donor, and required to hold up my own legs, the insides of my elbows latched into the undersides of my knees, I was instructed to "Push." And never, ever, have I NEEDED to do something as much as I needed to do THAT- and I did. Once... twice.... and the third time's a charm, baby... and moments later, at 5:02 p.m., a baby's cry, the sound moving through my ears to my soul, imprinting with a distinctness so powerful that later, while my new girl was down the hall in the nursery as I tried to rest, I could pick out her individual cry in the cacophony of collective wails.

I was damaged, badly so- torn and hemorrhaging, requiring a lot of post-birth work. But they didn't keep me from my girl because of it- she was handed to me after being cleaned and weighed, put right to the breast, where she stayed for the 45 minutes that the doc pulled unimaginable things out of my body before carefully working the 17 stitches that put me back together again, luckier than Humpty Dumpty. (The weird hugeness of my pregnancy was explained- there was a massive deformity on the side of my uterus, a big glob of goodness-only-knows-what; the OB said, wonderingly, "I've never seen anything like this!")

We had to stay in the hospital a little longer than normal for natural births because of my weirdness, and the nurses kept trying to take my baby to the nursery so I could be alone and sleep. But I didn't do that often- I couldn't get enough of my fresh, new Squinkie, wanted her to stay with me as much as possible.

And just as I'd sang to her elbow when she was inside of me, I sang again to her whole self, though a different song came to mind once she was out in the world: "The Most Beautiful Girl." And I kept singing it for years, and she knew it as the "Hey Song"... because that's how I'd roll with it- I'd stop in the middle of something and say, "Hey!"... and after a pause (which got more and more predictable as time went on), I'd continue... "Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?" Only, I changed a lot of the lyrics to be more positive, such as changing, "who walked out on me" to "who came out of me."

It was really kind of clever and cute in its own way, I suppose, though she did eventually ask me to retire it. And since then, we've had at least a half-million other things like that: M.ommy's silly endearments and goofy expressions of the true and deep love that she feels for her miracle baby, for the stranger in her belly who turned out to be The Love of Her Life.

And now it's August 10th, 2018... and, sadly, my Squinkie can't be with me for her birthday this year, as it falls during her 's week. No complaints, as I've gotten it the past 2 years through the luck of the calendar draw. But it still burns a little, hurts a little, because a kid's birthday is just as significant to the mom as it is to the kid her/himself. Perhaps even moreso, because WE actually remember it. My dad, a really progressive fellow, in spite of being a radical Pentacostal minister, Gets It- and he sends me a card every year on her birthday, usually with some little quip like, (this year's) "I heard you were there, too."

Yeah. My kid's birthday is significant to me, too. And that's why I've subjected all of you sexy friends to this TMI account- because it may be HER birthday, but it's a big deal day for me, too. In the same way that her life started on that day, mine also did, too- or rather re-started. And I have no regrets, and I wouldn't change a thing about anything... unless, maybe, to change circumstances so that I might be able to call her at 5:02 tomorrow- just as my dad has called me every year at 8 a.m., my exact time of birth, for the past 45 y.ears- just to wish her a happy birthday and let her know that I am glad that she exists.

I imagine all parents Get this, in one way or another. Though I know this is a bit harsh around the edges, and it's okay if no one says anything. If nothing else, please join me in wishing my baby girl a happy 9th birthday.

Thanks for reading!


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