I know nothing of this man but as a red-headed girl, I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Meanwhile, the photo demonstrates the most interesting thing about my Marriott hotel room in Santa Clara, CA. There I was, buttoning up my Corporate Uniform when I randomly looked up at the ceiling and came upon it, a little story just waiting to be told. I marveled at the incongruity - how exactly would a fire sprinkler and a wire hanger come together in such a dangerous way? I'm a sucker for forbidden love.
It tells me that some other biz traveler, hopelessly bored, thought about how he/she might liven things up a bit. Perhaps when it came time to shower, they pondered the usual routine and opted to (ahem) think outside the stall? Well, let this be a lesson to ya'll. (Whoa, I may need to launch a rap career on this ... )
So, I came across a quote the other day from the writer Ella Williams that I surely relate to: "Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it."
This sums up my life quite nicely. Once again, I'm over-committed with work duties, creative projects and educational jaunts and it makes me wonder - just who the hell do I think I am? Apparently, I am 32 flavors and then some. No wonder I have no love life - where the hell would I put him? My suitcase?
Oi. I need to stay still for awhile and get settled in my life. Perhaps I need to be hosed down ... or maybe just an illicit sprinkling.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Friday night, I met up with my comedy improve troupe, Rodents of Unusual Size, for a gig at an elementary gig in
Two of these kids even came up afterwards to get our autographs and a few shy ones just hovered. Best of all, a taller, lanky kid casually sauntered up and, with a soda in one hand, coolly high-fived me with the other. Best of all, we got paid. I GOT PAID FOR COMEDY. Let's let that sink in.
Then, we all went and got pie. NICE. Still, I can't believe I'm one of those wacky artsy people that now entertains children – all that's missing are my colorful mismatched socks and my rainbow suspenders.
Saturday, it was horses. After a year hiatus, I have finally found the ideal place to continue my equine education. From now on, my Saturdays and/or Sundays will be spent thus: I make the beautiful drive toward Red Rocks, past Morrison, to the Spirit of the West Ranch in Indian Hills. I'm so thrilled just to be covered in dirt and horse slobber once again. God, I've missed the smell of hay and manure - like coming home. My instructor, Beanie, is knowledgeable beyond belief and thankfully, very encouraging. I can already hear her voice in my head: "You need to RELAX!"
On the way home, I visited some friends from the past. They've got a gorgeous – and I mean jaw-dropping – home perched on some piney mid-mountain. Picture a deck with a hot tub, a long, shiny bar in the party room, an unbelievable kitchen and lots and lots of windows. Somewhat foolishly, they mentioned that if I were ever willing to bring up some fun city food – Thai? Indian? Sushi? - they would happily provide the wine and we could dine like kings. THEN, I could pass out in one of their lovely guest rooms and rise the next day to ride horses up the road. Wow, they are so going to regret ever giving me that gate code …
Saturday night, I did my volunteer debut at Swallow Hill, my beloved music school. With two scheduled performances – Ragtime Guitarist Mary Flower and acclaimed didgeridoo dude, Ash Dargan - I promptly became the CD sales girl for Ash. What a plumb assignment that was. On the same table, an amazing artist named John, set up his wares – handmade ceramic flutes of unspeakable beauty. I had two favorites, one that look like a huge copper pipe and another that evoked images of the cosmos and newborn nebulas.
Every person that came by the table seemed to be flute familiar. One by one, they took those gorgeous instruments for a test drive. I was essentially serenaded all night long as I took people's money and credit card info. Of course, I also caught snippets of both shows for free. Ash is a phenomenal story teller and a classically trained musician (it began with trumpet at age eight) so it was generally mind-blowing, even better because I didn't expect it. He performed audio magic tricks on a series of pipes, flutes, sticks and the big D. Memories and all my wonderful memories in
This morning, I slept in, made my famous Egg Burritos and read the Denver Post. I hopped on Sophia, my hybrid Bianchi (she's Italian) and sped along Cheery Creek (see photo above) to REI. My God, what a fantastic day for a ride - especially with all the blossom trees screaming PINK and WHITE. (What are these trees called? Anyone?) Good to see all my fellow citizens up and about; everybody outside, Earth Day and all that.
To honor the Great Blue Marble in my own teensy way, I pulled some weeds in the garden, an act both therapeutic and disturbing – vaguely reminiscent of ethnic cleaning, if you ask me. (Who decides which plants are 'good' and which ones must be destroyed, I ask you?) Nevertheless, I play along as I am terribly susceptible to mob mentality.
The day was capped off by a special phone call. One my of my childhood friends is marrying another one of my childhood friends in September. Neither had dated anyone for the last 10 years before they became reacquainted again by chance. They have paid their dues and by god, they've earned it. I've been released from bridesmaid duties this time but I'm told my general hovering skills will be needed prior to the event. Noted.
All in all, my life is pretty damn joyful these days. I marvel at how much I do whatever the hell I want. I don't think it will always be this way and, a la Fang, I see this entry as a note to my harried future self – a record of gratitude. No matter how little I end up with in this world, at least I didn't waste any of the Nows.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
There I was, quietly eating my oatmeal this morning, when a small phrase I read in the Wall Street Journal sent me into a full blown rage. Of course, I knew it was coming. As feared, W's fancy new conservative Supreme Court is quietly chipping away at Roe v. Wade. With yesterday's ruling that bans certain late-term abortions, I saw that things were going according to their plan. It wasn't a huge surprise but as a pro-choice citizen, it still hurt.
I sighed. I shook my head. I felt a pang of fear. HOWEVER, all this quiet whimpering resignation dissolved and the much-feared Angry Heather emerged when I came across this:
" …and Bush said it affirmed his administration's defense of the 'sanctity of life.'"
This is when just fucking lost it. (Again, see photo.) I simply could no longer choke down this rotting hogwash from a man who starts illegal wars by misleading the American public about ties to 9/11 and imaginary weapons of mass destruction. All so he can bring down an old man who once thought about hurting his Daddy. The American blood continues to spill and that of Iraqi citizens, many of whom are children. As of today, 3,357 American men and women have now given their lives for Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Not to mention the over 23,000 soldiers who have been wounded and in many cases, maimed forever.)
Don't tell me they are fighting for our freedom, that is utter bullshit. As we face a major healthcare crisis, our country is being led deeper into an impossibly deadly war by a 'man' who completely phoned in his brief military career. A short-sighted frat boy who likes to dress up as a fighter pilot and strut in front of "Mission Accomplished" banners and dream about U.S. soldiers being greeted with candy and flowers.
In reality, our precious soldiers are being blown up with IEDs and we are now deeply involved in a holy war that will not end in a joyous VE Day Parade. There will be no LIFE photos of unidentified Navy sailors kissing unidentified nurses in Times Square, celebrating the war's conclusion with a nice, tidy bow. How could that asshole NOT know that? Did he skip history class too? His father certainly knew it, which is why he never took Saddam out in the Persian Gulf War. I mean, do 41 and 43 not talk at Thanksgiving????? My God.
So now, Bush's great Disneyland plan has killed more Americans than Osama Bin Laden ever did on 9/11. Oh yeah! Osama! Hey, where is that wascally wabbit? He's such a rogue! Always on the go! We keep forgetting about him, too busy protecting the sanctity of life, I guess.
Meanwhile, somewhere between 62,000-68,000 Iraqi citizens have died since we landed in March of '03. It's like we're an idiot nine-year-old boy who knocks down a bee hive from a tree and tries to clean it out with a stick, thinking he can just grab the honey and go - maybe make a nice trophy out of it. Wtf? What's with all the buzzing anger? Hey, wait … these little fuckers will sting me even knowing they'll die?!? What's up with that? Gosh, the Middle East, a hot bed of angry religious extremism – who knew?
And, while I'm up and frothing, let's not forget this gem: While giving a press interview as the Governor of Texas, Bush made fun of a woman the state had recently executed. Just before her execution date, there was an appeal for clemency on the grounds that she had become a born-again Christian. Bush's reply: "`Please,' he whimpered, his lips pursed in mock desperation, `don't kill me,' " This begs the question, who would Jesus mock?
Apparently, this moron - the governor of a major state running for president - thought it was acceptable to mock a woman he put to death, thus revealing his evil inner playground bully. Apparently, the whole 'sanctity of life' spin is a seasonal hat this guy can take on and off at whim. Must be so handy.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
And so, there were no major issues today. However, my dentist, who is the perfect mix of grumpy and concerned, retains some weird aesthetic standard for my mouth,, hence, this conversation, amidst the process:
Dentist: Your two front teeth are still bugging me. One is longer than the other.
Dentist: I wish you'd let me shave one down.
Dentist: What? (He exits my mouth.)
Me: You mention that every time I see you.
Dentist: So, obviously we have discussed it and you don't want to. (He goes back in.) That's fine. Really.
Dentist: What? (He exits my mouth.)
Me: I said how much does that cost?
Dentist: What do you mean how much does it cost??? It's FREE! Geez ... (He dives back in.)
Dentist: Yes, I suppose it is a viable question but still .. (he reaches for an instrument.)
Me: Of course, it's a worthwhile question! Christ! Do you think I come here for the social banter?
Dentist: Why, yes. Yes, I do. (He goes back to work.) I mean, if you are going out into the world and telling everyone that you are my patient, I want your teeth to look as nice as they can, y'know?
Dentist: What? (He exits my mouth.)
Me: I said, does it hurt?
Dentist: Oh, for the love of Pete ... No! Of course it doesn't hurt! Geez!
Me: Again, a totally legitimate question here ...
Dentist: It. Does. Not. Hurt. I. Swear.
Me: I'm just picturing you tossing and turning at night, 'God, that uneven tooth on that one patient is KILLING me!'
Dentist: Exactly! I need peace of mind.
Me: Will it make me more attractive and irresistible to men and children?
Me: Will it make me a more effective carnivore?
Me: Will my life suddenly be filled with true love, fortune and fame?
Me: Oh, brother. (Pause.) Fine! Do it! Make it quick!
Then, Dr. CrazyMan gets out the sandblaster or whatever and grinds 'em down so they match. It feels weird but he was right, it didn't hurt.
Dentist: (Victoriously) There!
Me: Happy now?
Dentist: I am! I can finally get a good night's sleep ...
He was right. My new even-steven fangs are going to change everything.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
People have always found ways to kill one another - with poison, knives, pillowcases and airplanes - and I wonder if removing one weapon (albeit, the most efficient) will cure this sickness at all. (Looking for a more educated, hopeful write-up on this topic? Go here.) Some might say I'm a cynic but I prefer the term realist - I think it lies within each of us an ability to kill as well as an ability to love.
Meanwhile, come Friday - regardless of this latest incident - the media will mark the 8th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Now that I am living just down the road from Littleton (noted locally for its adorable historic downtown) I can see why the locals dread the annual scab-picking event that it has become.
It was barely a year after Klebold and Harris had done their deed and I was meeting a new colleague in San Francisco. We were discussing where we had grown up when I noticed her sudden discomfort. Finally, she blurted, "Littleton, Colorado" and looked at the floor. There was some uncomfortable silence and finally somebody (God, I hope it was me) said, "Oh, I'll bet it's pretty there" and the conversation resumed. Of course we wanted to know what it was like, how she felt about it, etc. but what is there to say?
This is the challenge I face today: What is there left to say? What can we learn from this? Are we capable of learning at all? Is this just an invitable part of modern society? An out-facing boil that reveals an inner sickness?
Tom Mauser became a national advocate of gun control after his 15-year-old son, Daniel, was slain at Columbine High School. Even today, he admits: "I am not going to just say gun laws are going to take care of this." Instead, he wonders what precipitates such heinous events. "I think my primary thought is about anger. Anger and suicide. Why do we have so many people who think they have to take others' (lives) with them when they take their own?"
Brooks Brown, a former Columbine student who knew the gunmen and repeatedly tried to warn authorities about threats they had made, said the Virginia slayings didn't surprise him. "Once you've reached the point where you have lost everything it is not hard to be pushed in any direction," he said.
What disturbs me personally is my own feeling of distance. In the early hours of the story, before the number of victims were confirmed, another blogger and I sheepishly admitted our first reaction - annoyance.
"Tell me I'm an asshole," they said, "All I can think of in light of this school shooting is 'The Gonzales hearing won't be televised tomorrow! Nobody will carry it, they'll be 'working' this bleeds-it-leads story all week. It'll probably ruin Larry King's annversary week plans too."
My friend then asked me to rate their 'asshole-ish-ness' on a scale of 1 to 10. I found myself unable to pass judgement since my first thought was, "Another school shooting? Wait, didn't we just have one? Is this a different one?" As if this was some kind of parade protest or scheduled event. I then went back to work, not quite ready to attempt the impossible - to get a grasp on what has happened, understand the grief, ask who has done this and why.
I can only hope this is the last time I write about this - it is certainly not the first.
Finally, I leave you with a poem written by Norman Mailer in 1967 immediately after he stabbed his second wife with a pen knife. He missed her heart by chance:
Friday, April 13, 2007
Ya'll may have already heard about this but it tickles me to no end. Wu Ping, who lives in Chongquing, China, remains steadfast in her resolve not to give up her home despite aggressive business/political intimidation to relocate. And so, developers have been left with no choice but to start construction on their large-scale project, quite literally, AROUND her home.
See that little box in the middle of the pit? That's where Wu lives, or used to. They won't let her inside so she occasionally stands outside the gates of the construction site and crowds gather to hear her story. She's become a cause-celeb for millions who have faced the same situation with no success.
Locals refer to it as "the nail house", a reference to Wu's tenacity. Apparently, uprooting citizens has long been standard practice in China. If citizens protest, authorities simply beat them up or raze the home while they are at work. Wu won't stand for it, however, and has single-handedly stirred the debate in a country that is suddenly awash in new media and, at the same time, trying to scrub up its global image for the Olympics.
In the end, the home will probably be demolished and Wu will move somewhere else but her bravery is a timely reminder that sometimes, it only takes one citizen (Rosa Parks? Gandhi? Unknown Rebel of Tienanmen Square?) to stand up and say: "This is wrong."
Thursday, April 12, 2007
For one thing, Johnny Cash's house burned down. The moment I heard, I could already see the 'Ring of Fire' headlines. I'm so grateful he's not alive to see this and even more pleased he wasn't in it. Still, it's just a place and places come and go. An optimistic soul remarked that at least the place will never get turned into a gaudy overrun
Then, Vonnegut dies. Again, not a full-bore tragedy because, despite his best efforts, the man had a great life. He saw action, found success as an artist, married well - twice - and enjoyed a happy family life with seven children. He was loved, lauded and in demand up to the end. As a writer, he adored being "gloomy and tragic" and leaned toward dark comedy. His own son, Mark (named for Vonnegut's hero, Mark Twain), said in a Boston Globe interview, "It's a loss to him that his life has mostly gone so well. He envies Twain and
Although Mark's sister did do her part – she married Geraldo Rivera, a union that vexed Vonnegut to no end. My good pal, Lindee, a flight attendant, once told me a great story about this. V was on one of her flights years ago and she recognized him. The seat next to V-gut (hey! I like that!) was empty so they chatted the entire flight – LA to Philly, I believe. He raged on and on about Geraldo and how much he despised his tabloidian son-in-law. Lindee giggled and, knowing her, prodded him along for her amusement. I can picture V, fully charmed, but not letting on.
Meanwhile, Papa Clisby was promoted right on out of the hospital in
Dad was a "Frogman", an early version of Navy SEALS He specialized in underwater demolition (yes, that's blowing shit up underwater) and saw action in the Korean War. These days, he tells me about how he'd always grumbled about the small wages he was got for his Navy duties and how much he feels financially redeemed after this latest experience. "You wouldn't believe the level of care I am getting," he brags. "They are so thorough and so careful and everything is free! You're paying for it! Ha ha!" Then he laughs for awhile.
"Um, you're welcome," I say. I advise him to order all the Hospital Root Beer Floats he can stand and put it on my IRS tab. I also tell him about all the bad press the military is getting for the shoddy medical treatment they are giving the soldiers. I let him know about the neglect at Walter Reed and how the head of
So, there, I'm letting ya'll know. Decades later, some old soldiers are finally cashing in and quite pleased with the exchange rate.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Bob Clisby came out of his surgery just fine. They went in for a double but once they got underway, a triple bypass looked like a better option. I don't understand it, all those tiny maneuverings through arteries and veins, but he's still kicking so that's all that matters.
Yesterday, he was moved to a real room with a phone in it so I was able to speak to him. What a relief! It was kinda hard to hear him sound so groggy and tired when he is known for his peppy, cheery voice. He sounded older. Something like this really takes a lot out of you but I'm hoping it put something back in too.
Today, he sounded more like himself. He talked about "a couple'a Godsellers that came 'round ... " I guess there were some Bible thumpers that paid him a visit. Makes sense, plenty of folks up for deathbed conversions and all that. Not Pops. He'll go down a staunch individualist who always lived by the Golden Rule without some do-gooders getting in his business.
Bob usually rolls his eyes at these folks, lights a cigar and quietly puffs in their general direction. This time, he just let them ramble on about saving his soul. "Besides," he said, "one of 'em was a nice lady with a cute figure so ..." And there you have the Clisby Religious perspective pretty much summed up.
I can't say enough about my friends who have offered some terrific support on this. It really helps a lot. I feel a bit infantile when dealing with it so it's nice to have some volunteer babysitters on the job. You all rock. Take the day off, just cuz.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Here in my San Francisco hotel room, I finish off my dinner of buffalo wings and beer while "Law & Order: SVU" is keeps me company. The giant bathtub next to the bed and the shower set-up tells me the room is designed for the handicapped. I try not to think about the next 24 hours but have given up, it is impossible.
Tomorrow, I meet with my bosses to discuss where I go from Here. Nearly everyone in their career has been to that point but I've certainly taken the long road. We'll just have to see what is said and more importantly, what is heard.
Tomorrow, my father goes under the knife. First thing in the morning, he'll have double bypass surgery at the VA in Houston. I keep hearing about how routine it all is, how thousands of these are done every year. Still, it sucks. I don't like it one bit. I'll feel much better when he back to his cigars, DQ blizzards and dispensing weird advice: "Remember, punkin, always cheat the government when you can."
I spoke with him earlier today. I didn't want to hang up but didn't want to be melodramatic. He hates that shit. I wanted to come to Houston but he was adamant. He knew how long I'd been angling for this meeting and wanted no part in my missing it.
"Okay, punkin, well good luck tomorrow. Give 'em hell," he said.
"Okay, Dad. Good luck tomorrow. Get fixed," I responded.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
Monday, April 02, 2007
'Twas a year ago yesterday – a day for Fools – when I made the decision to move to
Focus, focus, focus. That's what I'm trying to do lately. Mind you, it doesn't come naturally. My last day on Earth will probably be spent chasing a errant butterfly off a bridge. Thankfully, technology has the back of dreamers like myself …
Behold – an especially vicious alarm clock that connects your bank account to an organization of your hateful choosing. Every time you hit the snooze, your precious hard earned cash goes straight to the GOP or the ACLU or PETA or Rev. Phelps or Barbara Streisand or whomever you loathe most. Every slap of the snooze fattens the wallet of your enemies so those seven extra minutes better be worth it.
Meanwhile, my pal, Gins, came a-visiting this weekend. On Friday night, we met up with a former colleague at the schwanky tapas place, 9th Door. Very hip, very loud and very yummy. The white sangria went down quite easily as did the Aguacate (flash-fried avocado with pico de gallo) and Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos (roasted pequillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese, rosemary, and Serrano ham.) Buuuurp!
Saturday morning, we headed to Racine's to meet up with the lovely Miss Bliss and her honey, Neal – see above. A Green Chile Omelet and a Bloody Mary for me, baby! Truly, a Breakfast of Champions. While chowing down, we discussed the
Then, we were off to REI, to spend our hard-earned dividends on more rugged, outdoorsy crap. Fingerless wool mittens? Check. Two CO2 fillers for bike tires? 10-4. One black sleeveless fleece vest? Mission accomplished. Guess this all means I'll have to get off my ass soon. Dammit.
Next stop, St. Kilians Cheese Shop to pick up some yummy Parmesan. O, how I love thy cheese. We padded a few blocks down 32nd to the Denver Bread Company to pick up a fresh baguette - just to keep the cheese company, of course. Please note their bad-ass delivery van above. As Bliss might say, "M'r'fuckers are SERIOUS."
Then, we made our way to Fancy Tiger so I could pick up some naughty needlepoint. (I've now got a lovely cross-stitch project with lots of hearts, bunnies and flowers surrounding the words: "GO FUCK YOUR SELF." It will hang in my office and play a small but crucial role in my self-amusement design scheme while I appear domestically able all the while. Remember, kids, perception is reality!
We then headed downtown to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House – an odd place for a Blues & Roots Festival, if you ask me. Nevertheless, my beloved Swallow Hill organized the gig so we had to show support. The line-up included some masterful musicians (headliner was the Taj Majal Trio) but numerous sound problems put a damper on the experience. Furthermore, I realized that like my music festivals to be outdoors, with lots of sunshine, beer, weed, dirt with a smattering of hippie clothing stalls and political-cause card tables. Not to mention, endless space for dancing and an open sky for day dreaming. Certain music simply should not be contained under a roof.
Tomorrow, I hit the road again. Headed to the Bay Area for work stuff and a bit of personal too. And then, my friends, I will then face five - count 'em, FIVE - entire free weekends here at home. I cannot wait.