Do something stupid. Again.

I just wrote an article about doing something stupid a few weeks ago. And I’m about to do another stupid thing.

Deep breath.

I have scheduled an open mic night at the local comedy club down here. No backing out. Nov. 15th.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! What have I done? I can’t not do it now. I’m weak in the knees just thinking about it. Freaking out a little.

I will try and tape it.

I’m sweating. Hard to breathe.

What am I doing??? I’m going to drive myself crazy for the next month. I was just practicing what I would say in the car on the way home.

After thinking about my bucket list (from my article this morning), I said to my husband, “I want to do an open mic night.” He found the website, dialed the number, handed me the phone. What???

OHHH! I can’t believe he did that. But thank you, Guy. I just didn’t expect you to be so spontaneous. I like it. But now I’m scared pantless.

He’s been helping me craft material this morning. EEEEK!

Wish me luck!

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Ghosts of Venice

There are ghosts here in Venice. It’s kinda spooky.

Every morning I take my daughter to school. It’s twilight and difficult to see.

BTW, high schoolers should start school at 9 am for everyone’s sake. Can we just agree on that?

They say the hardest time to see while driving is at dawn and dusk. It’s true.

Very often people (old people) will be out walking or biking at dawn with little or no reflective gear. We are by the coast, so it can get pretty foggy. I almost hit an elderly walker nearly every morning. You can’t see them until you’re right on their geriatric bones.

I almost hit a biker this morning. He was dressed all in black, going against the light.

Lilli and I have started calling them ghosts. You can barely make out their faint images wandering the lonely streets of Venice. Pale skin, white hair, gray shirts, drifting in and out of the fog. Old people are almost ghosts anyway, right? LOL Just kidding.

I think some of these people-ghosts have a death wish. It is pretty scary.

 

Bone Digger

My daughter, Lilli, had a brilliant, funny idea the other day while sunbathing at the beach. We sketched our own versions of her light bulb moment. I think hers turned out perfectly! Love her sketch and illustration abilities! Such a funny thought, Pencil Princess. And your art skills are exploding!

So the idea is based on the fact that we love to pick up shells. And she thought, “We are basically picking up old parts of sea creatures, their exoskeletons, and we don’t even think anything about it. What if there was a shell, walking around the beach, picking up human bones. That would seem weird!” LOL So Far Side of her to think of. She’s funny, talented and really smart.

Love you, Girl.

Here’s mine:

shell.JPG

Here’s Lil’s:

shell lilli.JPG

Hilarious! Love the beach bag with huge flowers on it. Nice detail!

YuleTIDE: A Very Beachy Christmas

We found this when we arrived at the beach yesterday! Love it.

beach christmas.jpg

Some vacationers must have found this washed up drift wood and fashioned this temporary art. So funny! Love the shell ornaments. It’s even got pine cones! LOL

No presents under the tree though. This beach offering is present enough, I say! What a great Christmas Labor Day on the coast.

This is what Florida Xmas looks like, I guess! LOL

Dogs in Strollers Signal the End of Times

Do you suppose that at the height of any advanced civilization, pets were carted around in small chariots and worshipped? And then the civilization collapsed due to economic and political disaster? Egyptians, Romans, Mayans. America?? The sign of the end is animal worship IMO. LOL

I don’t know if it’s Florida, old people or Wal-mart, but the amount of small dogs in strollers is increasing. I just saw two Shih Tzus being walked in a stroller on our street on the way home this morning. I saw a Yorkie in a stroller at Wal-mart last week. North Korea has missile capability. The end is nigh. (Please remind me to never go to Wal-mart ever again. Even if they have the cheapest aprons for high school ceramic students in town.)

Seriously though, why stroll a dog? Isn’t the purpose of walking a dog that the dog actually gets exercise? God have mercy on our confused nation. I mean, I love dogs, but a baby stroller?? Please euthanize your dog if they are unable to walk any more. For God’s sake. If you are offended by this advice, you might be a dog-strolling Wal-mart shopper. Or from Florida.

For years I have openly laughed at neighbors standing in small, sad patches of grass behind their dog, watching said dog poop, relaxed with total apathy except for their anxious blue-gloved hand in permanent claw pose, waiting to scoop said poop. The dog always has a smirk or a smile, “I got this human to pick up my shit for free just because I lick his face when he walks in the door.” Or the dog looks totally strained or confused. “Why do I have to poop in front of everyone??”

Who’s in charge? Someone once famously said, “If aliens came to our planet, they would think dogs were in charge because we are picking up their poop!” Aliens would definitely think dogs are in charge if they saw us carting them around in a baby buggy. Gah!

Flooding in Texas. Increased earthquakes. Global climate change. Start prepping now. Actually it’s probably too late. Watch Red Dawn and buy a bottle of Tequila.

Dumb Baby

This handsome little boy. This boy being my father.

dad

My grandmother used to tell the story:

One day, just after she gave birth to one of my uncles, she caught my father in the nursery by the crib. She paused and listened just outside the door.

“You big, dumb, fat, stupid baby.”

So antagonistic toward a little baby. That baby had it coming, I tell ya!

LOL This story tickles me to no end. But it’s a little scary! My father and his brothers had a rocky relationship from the start. But boys will be boys, right?

My mom tells me that she used to find my sister hitting me when I was just a baby. I don’t remember it. I was too young. But it explains a lot!

babytina-couch.jpg
How could you hit this adorable face??

Why do siblings automatically feel competitive and angry toward each other? I never felt hostile towards my sister. Not until she would attack me. Unprovoked!

“Mom! She hit me!!” I would scream.

Or just retaliate and knock her block off. Sometimes verbally, sometimes physically, she picked at me. It was on like Donkey Kong if she ever touched me.

I remember she pushed me down the stairs one day. Almost broke my neck. Definitely sprained my toe! I let her have it for that. And we never fought again. But I moved out of the house soon after.

I’m so glad I never have to live that way again. I don’t know about most people, but my experience with brothers and sisters is the pits.

I don’t think it has to be this way. Parents play an important role in sibling relationships. Kids are naturally at odds with one another, out of the womb. The 2nd oldest story of the bible is about how brother killed brother. Competing for resources, love and attention is understandably the impetus for sibling rivalry. But parents set the tone. Parents can teach the children to love, behave and share.

Otherwise, it’s every dumb baby for himself.

Skink-a-do, Skink-a-don’t

There are little lizards all over the outside of our condo. Even a few baby ones on the inside! Eeek!

skink
Inflated neck skin and all! Adult Skink on our porch this morning

We have seen two baby skinks (that’s what we call them, IDK if that’s the scientific name) in the kitchen. There are so gosh darn cute, but not for inside cohabitation. We trap them under a cup and slide a piece of paper under the cup. Then we scoot them out the door. Then we burn the cup. (LOL JK) Did I say we? I meant, my husband. They are fast and squirrelly and lizard-y. Trap and release! No harm has come to these creatures except possible emotional trauma from being trapped by a screaming giant.

We see skinks every day here. They often inflate their neck skin like the weird little dragon dinos from Jurassic Park. Then they do a little hip-hop dance where they bob up and down. Pop and lockin’ like a dance troupe on America’s Got Talent. Go, Skink, Go, Skink, it’s ya birthday. Shiboy Skink-a-Freak!

I love these little critters, but the babies gotta stay with their mamas. They like to scurry in the space between our front door and screen, so we are on constant skink watch when we go out to the mezzanine. They change colors. They appear to be light, almost white and the older ones are sometimes black, sometimes dark greenish-brown.

Fascinating. I don’t get squeamish when I see them scamper about outside, but when the little ones wiggle in, I freak out! Housewife on the chair, like every Tom and Jerry episode with the 1950s lady in heels and an apron (WTF??! who’s doing laundry or dishes in heels??) in the kitchen or dining room, on top of some piece of furniture. “Get it, get it, get it!”

I saw a third baby skink try to wiggle in when a workman came to fix our bathroom. Thankfully, he caught him with his clipboard and scooted him out the door before he camped out underneath our sofa. Phew.

I tell you this–I’d take a baby skink over a dirty little field mouse any day! We had mice at our house in KC. NOPE! Mice are so gross. They poo and pee on everything. The world is their toilet! And buffet. I seriously considered burning the house to the ground and starting over when we had our mice problem. Gah!

I imagine the little baby skinks crawling all over us at night. Skitting in and out of our open mouths and ears. I know. It’s probably not happening. Probably. But haven’t you heard about how spiders like to sleep in your open, gaping, snoring, moistened mouth hole at night? Like the statistic about how many spiders you actually swallow during an entire year? Have you heard about that?? LOL

Please, Skinks, just don’t.

Schpider!

spiderDon’t look, Dad!
It’s a terrible sight!
If you can’t see him,
It’ll save you a fright.

I’ll protect you.
Don’t worry now.
I can tame spiders.
Mom taught me how.


Lilli and Dad at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009. She was 6. We were being goofy and I thought this would be a funny picture for my black and white film photography class.

Hot Beach Trash

Photo credit: Guy Maggio


We recently went to Sharky’s Pier. A well-known tourist trap close to our home. Everyone goes there to look for shark teeth. It’s the shark tooth capital of the world.

It was interesting, but stinky. Dirty. Smelly. Because of all the tourists, visitors, beach-goers, fishermen, pier-walkers. It was filthy, full of cigarette butts and trash.

We arrived and walked out to the pier. The breeze way structure, where the restaurants are, is nice. Cool, shady, fountains. Boiling pots of seafood. Shops. Nice.

The beach and pier were a disaster!

First we walked on the pier. It was the end of the day so the trash bins were full! Gah. Looking down from the pier into the shallow water was cool. You could see fish and things. But it was a long way down. Me no likey looking down from any height.

Next, it was so sunny, we decided to go on the beach, check out the sand quality, look for shark teeth and see what the water was like. Cool off under the pier.

We took a picture and quickly left. Duuuurrrrty. Too busy. Old guy in a Speedo. BYE!

So, we can finally say we’ve been to Sharky’s Pier. I prefer our private beach. We can see the pier from where we are. And that’s close enough! 😀

An ode to Hot Beach Trash
(WARNING: DO NOT READ WHILE EATING OR ABOUT TO EAT!)


Dirty diaper
Rotting fish guts
Leftover hot dog on a bun of hair
Vomit
Flies
All on fire in the setting sun
Inside a hooded (wish it was sealed) trash can.

Will someone please empty me???

Oh, Beach Trash Can. I’m so sorry your life is one hot, steaming pile of mess.
If I could, I would draw wings on your sides so you could fly far from here.

Thank you for your service.

Will someone please empty HIM???

Ah, lovely day at the beach.

Let’s All Go To the Movies.

More from Vol. 2 of Present Tense


My mother and father have lost the will to parent. I am sitting in a dark movie theatre with Mom, Dad and my sister. I am five, almost six.
Alien.
Oh, God. That man’s face has just been attacked by an octopus egg.
Oh, God. The android’s head is decapitated from his body and milky fluid is shooting out from his neck.
I am screaming. I am crying. I am being ushered quickly to the lobby by my mother.

We lounge for about a minute.
“Ready to go back?”
Okay, there are no more bodiless robots. Popcorn.
I have to have my legs in my seat. I am sitting cross-legged. No aliens can possibly eat my dangling legs if they are safely tucked up, away from their snotty teeth.
Oh, God. There’s spaghetti exploding from that guy’s open stomach.
Oh, God. It’s a baby alien. I am screaming. I am crying. I am being ushered.
A minute.
“Ready to go back?”
My parents also let me watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Deliverance (ABC Presentation of the Week). Also, A Thief in the Night.
This 1972 (made before I was even born) Christian classic talks about end times. Christians are taken to heaven in the rapture and non-believers are left behind. Everyone has to take the 666-Mark of the Beast tattoo or they can’t buy eggs and butter. People who just want a little breakfast are arrested for trying to buy groceries, and a girl with a balloon gets beheaded on a guillotine. There’s a fun song at the end, too.
I wish we’d all been ready…

The synopsis of this movie may be slightly inaccurate. It’s what I remember and the impression that remains.


I lived through what seemed like a very real threat of nuclear annihilation during the height of the Cold War and was constantly worried about being microwaved to oblivion by a nuke. These movie nights and paranoid world destruction fantasies could be considered the bright, sunny moments of my childhood with an abusive father. My prayer, as I got older, became this:

If I have to die–God, just don’t let me die a virgin.