Sunday, July 28, 2013

GG Whiz

Last week, a gent of my acquaintance turned to me and said “Pardon my language” before he used the word “boob”. Seriously, he really did.

To be fair, he is a gent. It was a hot LA night and his stylish (long-sleeved!) black button-down shirt was pristine. Everyone else was raining sweat. He made the outdoor parking lot look air-conditioned.

But I digress.

I was going to talk about boobs, and not just to confuse the search engines and rack up the hits.

Hehehehe, I said “rack”. Ahem.

In case we haven’t actually met, I have a rack appropriate to the pre-Soviet Russian peasant matriarchy whence I descended. My role model growing up was Carol Wayne in “Love, American Style”. I don’t laugh at Dolly Parton jokes because I don’t get the humor in stating the obvious.

Ok, that was a joke. The obvious is usually pretty damn funny.

And, since we’re talking about boobs, knockers, breastage – for once I’m not digressing. It doesn’t get more obvious than a good-sized pair.

Before you think I’m bragging about mine, I’m not. Along with the chichis, I also inherited arm wings that make Dumbo look aeronautically challenged. This is in spite of 30 years as a disciplined gym rat.

The genetics cancel out, believe me.

Take this afternoon. We had a visit with my charming and terrific younger cousin and his exceptionally lovely young wife and kids. She (the exceptionally lovely wife) and I were both wearing sleeveless tops. Of course we were. It’s July in California. It’s warm outside.

But I also had my lightest overshirt on, to cover my flappy flaps. My beautiful cousin-in-law got to be comfortable.

For contrast, I spent the later part of the evening with an also-lovely friend my own age. I don’t think you’ll be surprised that the conversation touched on arm flaps and other merry vicissitudes of Time.

This is where Auntie is supposed to sound all wise and talk about how everything balances out eventually. You know, karma. Harmony. Homeostasis. That kind of thing.

Who knows? It might even be true.

But if there’s an upside to menopausal arm flab, I sure haven’t found it yet.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trashed Talk

Warning: Auntie is cranky today. You might want to move the screen a little farther from your face. You know, just in case I spit or something.

Once again, someone Asked Auntie in real life for advice, and as soon as I began to answer, their eyes glazed over and I could practically hear their ears slam shut.

Don’t get me wrong, I kept going. Ask Jonah how often I talk without an audience. He doesn’t listen to me either unless I use the words “num”, “nummy” or “num num”.

Adorable little dogs with better things to do notwithstanding, nobody likes to be ignored.

Nobody likes to be bored either. I can’t help you with that.

However, in the spirit of bimbos and etiquette advisers throughout history, I can teach you how not to be rude. You just have to fake attention, at least when you're talking to me.

The symptoms to watch out for (and not let me see) are as follows: First your mouth droops. Then your eyes dart away. All your replies begin with the word “but”. You know, like you’re doing right now.

Don’t do any of that.

Eyes forward. If a smile isn’t appropriate, at least don’t sneer. And if you can say something that sounds like you understood what I meant, you’re golden.

Remember, attention simulates respect. That’s enough for me. I don’t need you to fake sincerity (like the old joke says, if you can fake that…) Just let me think you’re listening.

For the record, I never require that somebody take my advice. You’re free to discard it completely.

But whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Look at why I said what I said. At least pretend to consider it for a minute.

If you disagree, which you’re perfectly entitled and even welcome to do, well, bless your little mistaken heart. Do what you wanted to do in the first place and then come see me after.

I promise to look concerned about damage control.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Esteem Cleaning

Say you make a mistake, is your first response, “I’m an idiot”? Paraphrase however you want, we all do it.

I caught my mother doing this the other day. She said something she knew was wrong, and used “I’m so stupid” to segue into accuracy.

My mother is not stupid. She’s slowed down a bit, but come on, she’s 86. She’s still smarter than I am. Of course, being the daughter, I reacted appropriately. I yelled at her for calling herself stupid and then blamed her because I call myself stupid all the time.

That’s my job, and I take pride in doing it properly.

Now I have to yell at all of you for calling yourselves stupid, because I call myself stupid. That is a job done thoroughly.

We have to get out of this rut. We should become instant Zen masters all, and live in the moment without judging ourselves or the people around us, many of whom are idiots.

Strike that.


Let me start over.

You are not stupid. You made a silly mistake, that’s all. It doesn’t make you a silly person, or a bad one. It takes a much bigger mistake to do that. This was nothing.

We need to feed that monster of the 1990s, self-esteem. You remember self-esteem. We need to give ourselves trophies for showing up and participating at all. With patience, tolerance and humor we need to forgive our lapses.

Not to mention, forgive those who lapse against us when they sound stupid.

Oops. Om.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Concession Stand

In the last few weeks I’ve watched a few couples around us fall apart for a variety of reasons, many of which don’t apply to this discussion. It’s sad, but there’s nothing anyone outside the bedroom can do to help.

Of course Auntie still wants to help, so I’m going to give you the best relationship wisdom I’ve ever run across.

Remember the second “Newhart” show? Peter Scolari had a brilliant line in that one. Referring to how they solved problems in his relationship, he said they “count the really’s.”

I loved that. I kept it since then. We live by it. It means that if one person really wants Thai but the other really really wants pizza, we go to the Italian restaurant. Or maybe we get both to go and eat at home.

You get the idea.

There’s something that needs pointing out and elucidating, to wit:

“Compromise” does NOT mean “concession”.

Don’t say duh, and don’t skim past this. It’s bigger than you realize. Both compromise and concession have value in a relationship, but they’re not the same thing at all.

Compromise means neither person gets their own way. Everyone has to give up something, not necessarily in equal measure, but they each have to ante into the relationship kitty.

It works when both people are willing to make an effort, to change or even forfeit something they wanted because they value the other person (or the relationship) more than their own stuff.

Ok, that’s compromise. Let’s move on to the other thing.

Concession works on basically the same principle (i.e. that the relationship or other person is more important than either individual’s wants) but concession means one person pays the whole tab.

It has to be given freely or it’s not concession, it’s a problem bigger than a blog post.

Auntie really really really wants you to be happy. So please stand up for yourself when it matters and concede graciously when it doesn’t. I wish you the wisdom to tell the difference.

Now let’s get some pizza, unless you really want Thai. I’m fine with that too.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dinosaur Daze

True story:

After reading (ok, ok, skimming) three newspapers this morning…

I wrote a letter with a pen (Ballpoint! On paper!) Which then went into an envelope! Stamped with a newfangled (sic) adhesive postage stamp!…

Then I hopped onto AOL (yes, really, AOL!) to tweet.

Apparently the rumors are true; there is an exodus of cool kids from Twitter. A friend of a friend is shutting hers down. She is what would have been called “totally cool” back in my day, so Q.E.D.

It’s only fair, I suppose. There is balance in the universe, and my gym has been overrun with irritating ersatz coolness. I guess it had to go somewhere.

Well, this dinosaur isn’t gonna budge. (See above about AOL for proof.) Do your cool-hunting elsewhere. Oh, wait, nobody says that anymore either. Feh.

I will tweet into my dotage, probably about the crazy assholes at the same gym. Let’s face it, they say nobody reads blogs anymore, and you’re reading this. (Thank you, you darling young person! Hug!)

And now I have to take my letter to a real honest-to-god (IRL) mailbox.

Back in a jiffy, probably before you can Google “jiffy”. Hint: Like me, it’s practically been around since the Mesozoic.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Everybody is good at something. I really believe that. I do. Even that useless dickface where you work is good at something, but it’s probably something annoying.

Hey, I didn’t promise we’d all be good at something good. This post was born when I realized that I’m really good at chitchat.

No, that’s not some prudish Internet euphemism. It used to be called “small talk” or “light conversation”. You might not know what that is -- at least a lot of people out there don’t -- because of, well, the Internet.

Once upon a time, people would speak to each other in gracious generalities instead of stating a series of facts (a la Facebook) or snark (as per Twitter). Traditionally, most of these comments revolved around the weather, but that wasn’t mandatory.

You know when you’re standing in a long line for what seems like forever and after a while you kinda-sorta temporarily bond with the person next to you? Well, I can talk pleasantly about meaningless yet mildly amusing nothings to pass the time so we don’t get all worked up and irritated by having to wait.

That’s small talk.

As superpowers go, it’s one step up from telepathy with fish. All right, all right. It’s half a step up. Geez, some people are so picky.

What are you good at? Nobody does macramé anymore, and I refuse to demean all of us with a scrap-booking joke. Philately, anyone? Or can you fold a fitted sheet?

After my remarkable performance Saturday morning (see Twitter, @scarycookies July 6th) I’d say I’m also good at parallel parking, but it only works if the mojo is right so I won’t be vainglorious here.

Oh! I know! I do have another skill. Even if it’s not a Thai, Chinese or other family-style restaurant, I can craft a perfectly harmonious shared meal for up to four people from just about any menu. Yes, with some meat even though I’m mostly vegetarian and won’t eat it. Again with the picky-pickiness. Give me a break.

So when you’re beating up on yourself for not being able to do something well enough, you picky darling, give yourself a break. Remember that you’re really good at something else.

Yes, you are.

But if the thing you’re really good at is folding fitted sheets, keep your mouth shut. I’m talking to you, @rmangaha. Nobody likes a vainglorious superhero.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Laundry In De Nile

Does this sound familiar? You make excuses not to do a thing you ought to do, the obligation/onus/problem festers and grows, and then you want to do it even less.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of denial. It’s amazing how much stuff you can ignore until it goes away or doesn’t matter anymore. So there are a few pairs of dirty socks tossed in the corner. Big deal. That’s what flip flops are for.

Denial, to put it in what I’ve been told is a passé idiom, rocks.

I’ve always called this kind of thing my “Laundry Theory of Life” – but that doesn’t mean what it used to mean when I made it up.

Once upon a time, back when I only thought I was cynical, I referred to some problems as being like laundry in that you could kick laundry away and ignore it. (This was even before the joke about denial being a river in Egypt. That’s how long ago it was.)

None of this is Bukowski-level social commentary. Moreover, in the long run it’s not even true. When you’re out of clean shirts and you have a big date or interview coming up, then what?

Like with most of our real problems, we may think we can avoid laundry, but one way or the other, ultimately we have to deal with it.

Self-delusion may be traditional simile-fodder, but I want more than that. Besides, those wet towels are getting kind of funky.

Thus, for a while, “laundry theory” applied to stuff you think you can ignore but you really can’t, because you’re going to have a sudden urgent need for whatever is wadded up and buried at the very bottom of the heap.

This didn’t last either.

Now “laundry theory” is back to meaning something you can ignore, because if you wait long enough, that stinky fabric compost pile might evolve into a creature that can walk or ooze itself into the shower.

Now, that’s cynicism, folks.

Sigh. Time to go check the dryer.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nightmare On My Street

I have a book called “100 Dreams Interpreted”. Before you go all judgmental, I also have a book called “100 Great Operas”.

Now you can go all judgmental.

Both books were gifts, separated by a couple of decades. The opera book was enormously helpful in teaching me to enjoy opera (which, in the end, I really did, just not enough to go on my own dime now.)

The dream interpretation book, however, was only, purely and completely silly. Don’t tell the person who proselytized it to me in the 80s, but it was.

Crawl with me out onto an ideological limb here: I don’t think dreams mean a damn thing.

I think dreams are random images vomited out by our unconscious minds like Dorothy’s house from the tornado.

Really, I do. And I can prove it.

Hot weather gives me nightmares. So do so many other things that I can’t make a joke here because I’m paralyzed by choice, but hot weather is one of them. My nightmares are the same as yours, surrealistic, often disturbing and largely ridiculous.

Last night’s was a doozy, with extra dollops of ridiculous and disturbing.

When I woke up, I remembered that I have that dream interpretation book around here somewhere. I also remembered the dream quite clearly.


Instead of looking for the book to pathologize the Inner Meaning Of It All…

I let out a small sigh of relief that it meant nothing and went to brush my teeth, thus proving that I don’t believe in it. So if it turns out that dreams really do have a scrap of import and/or portent, don’t tell me.

That’d be a spoiler in case I ever read the book.