For a couple years now, I've been writing every week for this website called Purple Clover, which is aimed at women who are long in the tooth, shall we say. Not in the bloom anymore. Rounding the bend. I am one of those women, as I know all too well.
The writing has been going well--at first it was hard to sound funny, because I can't drone on as I do here, in case you hadn't picked up my drone, but now I feel more like my real voice is coming out, although I'm still not as funny there as I am here.
I mean, look how much you're laughing so far, here. It's like Jerry Lewis has entered my soul or something. I DON'T FEEL FUNNY RIGHT NOW, okay? My clown shoes are put up.
Last week, I wrote an article on being grateful for what one has, and I included a photo of my legs crossed on my porch railing. I enjoyed writing this particular article, and was glad when they not only ran it on Purple Clover's site on Monday, but then they also posted it on Facebook last night. I just happened to see it as soon as it went up, and it had 59 Likes immediately. I refreshed the page, and it had 70 Likes. "Oooo!" I thought, because sometimes those stories sit there for 24 hours and get a measly 200 Likes. There are 1.5 million people who follow Purple Clover on Facebook, so 200 Likes is sort of similar to when you post a photo of your breakfast and get, you know, 4 Likes out of your 500 friends.
Shut up about my maths. Also, why do people post pictures of their breakfast? I have never really understood. Mostly because my breakfast is sad flax oatmeal every day.
My point is this. When I woke up today, I checked Facebook and remembered to check my article. It had 3,600 Likes, which, yay!
Then I read the comments.
"Oh my god, cankles," wrote one commentor. It got a few Likes.
"Be grateful for what you have? How can you when you have those cankles?" wrote another.
See. A healthy person would have gotten off that site right away. Maybe meditated or gotten the whittling knife, started carving away on m'legs. That's what a healthy person would have done. Me? I kept reading.
One person even spelled it "Kankles."
By the time Ned emerged from the shower, my chin was quivering. "Am I fat?" I asked Ned. "Of course not," lied Ned, who fears the reaper.
"No, you can tell me," I said.
"Sweetheart, you're beautiful," he said. "What's going on?"
"THE INTERNET SAYS I'M FAT!" I wailed, and threw myself on the bed, causing it to crash through to the dining room with my considerable girth.
Oh, I sobbed. Then I cried. Then I turned my cankles this way and that. I really DO look cankle-y in the photo I submitted to Purple Clover. Truthfully, even when I weighed 30 pounds less than this, I never had a tapered ankle.
Once we had drinks with one of Ned's exes, and I noted how delicate her ankles were. She was like a little fawn.
I sobbed harder. I wanted to never write another thing that would be read by the public again. Certainly I wanted to never submit another photo to the Internet again. Would it be weird to wear boots year-round? Maybe I could bring back leg warmers.
Ned sat on the bed. "Should I take a personal day?" he asked me and my deformed legs. My mother is coming here today and I have cleaning to do, plus that is insane, so I told him no.
"Look," he said, warming to the subject. "If you really feel bad about yourself, go to the gym. You have that free membership that you won. But you really need to do cardio. You can do Tracy Chapman and yoga--
[I'd like to interrupt here to say I did an HOUR of Tracy Chapman last night, an hour of her the night before, and an hour of yoga on Monday. Thank you.]
"--but to really lose weight you have to do cardio. And you can't eat the horrible things you eat, either," he said, not noticing the look of horror growing on my face. "There's no avoiding it. Cardio. And eat better."
I swear to god if he'd said his signature line about eating less and exercising more I'd be blogging at you from the county jail right now.
So here is my dating tip for all you men out there. The many, many men who read my blog: The Canklebury Tales. If your woman is sobbing because the entire Internet has told her she's fat? What she wants to hear is that she's charming. She's sexy. She has curves for miles. A sobbing woman asking you if she's fat DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR THAT SHE'S FAT.
Maybe offer to go walking with her later that day. Then the next day. Maybe mention that gym in a few days.
Because if you piss her off enough, she might throw her weight around. And in my case, that's a considerable threat.
Hi, everyone!!! How's everyone's day going!!?? Sure have missed you all since yesterday!! : )
God, wouldn't it be awful if I were cheerful like that?
I do know some cheerful people who I like. The guy who works in our mailroom is always happy, but not in a Hey, what'd'yaknow, whatd'yasay point-his-finger-at-you kind of way. He's just kind of always quietly happy. We were talking at work the other day about how if you don't like that guy, there's gotta be something wrong with you.
But I am not happy that way. I wonder if people don't like me because I'm Oscar the Crab, or if it's somehow endearing? I must be endearing, right?
Okay, maybe not.
In other news, I feel bad for Joni Mitchell. She's in a coma. The summer I lived in England, I'd get up in the morning really early and run, and who WAS I? I know I was inevitably hung over each day. But I lived in the same park that held the London Zoo, not that they put me up in the zoo for the summer, which I'd have been totally down with. But I'd run from my dorm to the zoo, look at all the animals who were already out. The wolves would run from one end of their cage to the other, looking at me the whole time.
Those wolves were not subtle. They'd have literally eaten my shorts.
MY POINT IS, I had no device, no Walkman or iPod or any headphones whatsoever, and for some reason this song was often in my head while I ran:
I lived there in July and August of 1990. I have no idea why I was singing that. You know what I did? I made a lot of money, and I quit this crazy scene.
Anyway, the point is, I like Joni Mitchell. I'm like Emma Thompson's character in Love, Actually. Except for the likable, stoic part.
Stoic. There's another thing I'm not. Let's have a day where we say all the things we're not.
At a loss for words. I never understand it when someone says, "I didn't know what to say." HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHAT TO SAY? Say the first thing that pops into your head, that's what you say.
On time. It's already 8:31. GodDAMMIT.
I abhor the people across the street with every fiber of my being. I have an abhorrence for them that I usually reserve for celebrities who bow in front of you with their hands in prayer position like they're saying namaste.
Namaste my ass, you nincompoop.
For six months, we had these kids living across the street and they were lovely. One of them even helped me when Edsel ran off early on, when the gate got left open--and yes, I actually did try to find Edsel, who by the way had run off...to the rest of the yard, and I couldn't see him. That young guy and I traversed my whole neighborhood, asking "Have you seen a medium-sized yellow dog who looks like he might be soft in the head?" to everyone we saw. When we finally turned down my driveway to call the authorities, the proper authorities, there was Edsel, smiling at the end of the drive.
The point is, they were nice kids, and then they left, and now in this past month these
have moved in, and they regularly--regularly!!--sit on their porch at 3 a.m., scream-laughing and talking at the tops of their lungs, playing music, their devil music, without a care in the world.
The other night I called the police on them, just like I'm my old neighbor Alicia, who used to threaten everyone with "call[ing] the police on your ass."
But did they care? Clearly no, because last night was another scream-laugh night, and it woke me up, and it disturbs Tallulah, who needs everything just so, and have I mentioned she's figured out the dog gate? They're gated in the dining room at night, with their dog beds, and the other morning I opened the bedroom door expecting to see the usual cacophony of cats, which I did, but there among the three meowing, purring, rolly amoeba cats was a big smiling dog. o hullo...
Usually Ned puts the fear of death into her and she skulks downstairs, and now in the morning when she's up here with me being my blog muse, when Ned comes out of the shower she crosses the bed and gets on my lap. Just in case he's gonna get mad, and I guess what we've done is confuse that dog, but anyway, she's figured out the gate.
So not only was I awakened by Screaming Trees over there across the street, old Down By The Old Mill Scream, by Sabrina the Screamage Witches, but now I had Talu scratching at the door and moaning.
I have written them a letter in my mind, which I will type up and mail to them, just like I'm my grandmother who I've turned into, and then I will smoke my More cigarette and stare pointedly out the window at them from my chair, which actually is the very chair Grammy sat in when she smoked her Mores. I own that chair now.
My point is, I was gonna get on here this morning and answer some of the questions you sent me the other day, but I slept in because NO SLEEP LAST NIGHT and namaste THIS, and when I finally grumped out of bed, Ned said, "Do you hate the neighbors, then?"
"I have half a mind to write them."
"Oh, THAT'LL help." Ned has a rare talent for taking my bad mood and making it worse.
"What's on your ankle?" he asked, as I stamped angrily to the bathroom.
"I thought you HATED Jane Austen," he said.
"I don't HATE Jane Austin. I'm just not INTO Jane Austen. Someone sent me these. They're pretty." I turned my ankle about so I could admire my Jane band-aid.
"You SOUNDED like you hated her on your blog," said Ned, who all of a sudden reads my blog when for years he did not.
"I was starting my period," I said.
"You're ALWAYS starting your period."
So, because I was busy dragging the body to the river, I did not have time to answer your questions today, and for that I apologize.
I wrote an article for Purple Clover this week, about how I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. They put said article on Facebook, and it has 6,500 Likes, which is exciting, and a ton of comments that go like this:
I loved that show!
That show was my favorite!
They don't make shows like that anymore!
Goddammit. It didn't help that they used a picture FROM THE SHOW to go along with my article. Oh, you have no idea how frustrated I am. And when I was WRITING said article, I said to myself, Be sure to mention how you do NOT MEAN YOU LIKE THE SHOW, but I got so excited about writing about the books that I went on too long and never saw a good place to ramble on about NOT THE SHOW.
NOT! THE! SHOWWWW!
I also kind of suggested that Laura was like the first blogger, because she told us about her everyday, her mundane, and it's probably why I like to blog, and I like it when I turn the word blog into a verb like that. I love it when anyone does that. Let me table this discussion and spoon you some broth.
The point is, someone wrote, "No, Jane Austen was the first blogger."
JANE AUSTEN WROTE FICTION. Why do the Jane Austen people always have to get a bee in their 1700s bonnet? GOD. Must you Jane Austen all over us all the time? Keep her to yourself.
Jane Austen people can go fuck themselves. I mean, I like her books. Sure, I do. They're fine. I think I've read them all. GO AHEAD WIT'CHER LOFTY SELF AND LIKE JANE AUSTEN. Leave me alone to read about Laura. I cannot identify with rich-people intrigue. Ohhh, he took an extra lemon tart at tea! It means he loves her, but he's betrothed to EmmaJane Tropwith! Whatever shall he do?
Eat me. That's what he can do. Eat me like I'm a lemon tart, you rich fuck.
I think my period is about to start.
Plus also, my Fitbit keeps not tracking my sleep. What was the point of paying $49,000 for this thing if every day it says, No sleep tracked. I tap it at night, so to speak, and it vibrates, then I tap it again in the mornging (everybody get off Ned) and it vibrates again, then I go to the computer, and No sleep tracked.
Goddammit. It's probably Michael Landon's fault.
I think my period is about to start, did I mention that?
Oh! And another thing! Yesterday I got my teeth cleaned, which by the way is the worst torture ever to face mankind. I always think, Oh, it's juts a cleaning, and then she gets out that brick and starts sharpening her instruments, those picks of despair, and it makes such an awful sound, and I get sweaty, then she puts those PICKS on my TEETH and it HURTS and by the time I leave there, the chair is a Shroud of Turin where I've been sweatily lying.
The point is, somehow we got on the topic of Juvederm, which girlfriend could seriously use. She's 10 years older than me and had the serious marionette lines. Anyway, I told her I'd had it done, and she said, "They did a good job. How old are you?"
I told her, and she paused. "Okay," she said.
Clearly she thought I was older than that, and can you just tell me why I look older than 49? My whole LIFE people have thought I was older than I am. Is it the Michigan accent? Is it the bad hair? What?
Okay, I have to go. I have to shower, which Fitbit won't log. "No shower in 49 days." No shower logged. You know who was the first shower-er? Jane Austen.
Today at 12:45 I have to have an ultrasound to look at the ovarian cyst they found while they were looking for my kidney stone and FUCK EVERYTHING FUCK FUCK FUCK.
Ima ask them to take a gander while they're up there, see if they still see a kidney stone. I mean, they're ALREADY THERE, right? Why not move that wand a tad and see? Anyway, the good news is, I have to drink 32 ounces of water and hold it till they take the goddamn ultrasound. You know perfectly well I will get there and the middle-aged black lady at the front desk who is over me will be all, "Someone will be with you" or "We'll call you" and I will SIT there having to PEE for more than an hour.
I'm already annoyed and I haven't even gotten dressed yet.
In the meantime, can you spot the Tallulah? I get all those pillows right, then she comes in and screws them up for her nest. Every day. I let Talu sit in here while I blog, but then Ned insists she go back downstairs for the rest of the day, so she won't eat his cat. Which she wouldn't even want to do. Talu does not like white meat.
Remember when Tallulah used to be nice to cats? Somehow through the years she got over cats. Tallulah is the black lady at the front desk of the cat lobby. She mostly ignores our cats, but every once in awhile she'll stare at one of them, like, God, I forgot how much you piss me right the eff off and then she lunges at whichever cat annoyed her by living, and they run off. I mean, she doesn't try to BITE a cat, she just runs at them the way my Uncle Jim used to to make me scream from the room.
Tallulah is a dick. And you can see Iris cares deeply about Lu's bullying. And you can see Edsel is a barnacle. As always. No wonder Lu is in a cranky mood. She's had a growth since 2010.
Which brings me back to my ovary.
I'd better go. I just noticed at the bottom of this post, Typepad has suggested I create related links for the following:
The big tree outside my window up here just got little leaves on it for the first time this season, I'm just noticing it. If I had my damn phone up here I'd take a picture, as it is truly lovely. This is a great tree. Perhaps eventually I can carry my cyst and my stone over to the window to look at it.
God. Ovarian cyst. Cat.
So here I am, at the house Ned and I share. Shared. Crap. I'm packing some stuff today and taking it to the new place. I half-heartedly tried to schedule movers this week, but when no one called me back, I didn't follow up. I just kind of moped around like Eeyore.
I want to not be broken up with Ned. I want to find a way to make it work. But I feel like I wouldn't know where to begin. It's hard not to remember the guy who took care of me when I was sick, who filled the house with flowers to surprise me. It's hard to not notice he bought dog treats for my dogs while I was gone this week.
This is hard.
Sorry I didn't write earlier today; I had Botox. So far, I can frown at you just the same, but in a few days I wish to appear vapid and expressionless.
Also, you guys, I've got shit going down. Not literally. But my life is shitty right now, and I can't talk about it, but you'll forgive me if I'm suddenly the least-funny blogger ever, right? Good.
Oh, and if you know me in real life, don't do the thing. I don't wanna talk about it. If I wanted to talk about it Ida burned the phone lines getting to you. So.
Last night, two people who abhor Christmas got into the car, drove around for 47 hours to find parking, and made their way through a giant, unmoving, germ-infested crowd to see a Christmas tree being lit downtown.
"Why did we do this?" I asked Ned, as a photographer from the Greensboro News & Record shoved me out of her way to get to something Christmassy. Oh, let me just push this person while I look her right in the eye so I can show everyone the magic of Christmas.
Dear Greensboro News & Record: Your staff photographer is very rude. She was middle-aged and had dark hair. Fire her. Thank you.
Not only was there a tree-lighting ceremony downtown yesterday, but all the shops stayed open, and bands played on the street, people wore Santa outfits and Menorah hats, and there was fake snow. We go every year, but before this, Ned has always lived downtown, so my only challenge was to get down there and then park in his guest lot. This time we were like the rest of the uncool who didn't live downtown.
PLUS, I had to get out of my sickbed, because you know I don't like to drone on, but I have a cold.
Here's the tree, all unlit. I was the only person to photograph it with a cell phone. No one else thought to do it. I wanted to take a picture of all the people taking pictures of the thing as it was being lit, but I didn't want to be not in the moment photographing everyone not being in the moment.
One woman decided to do a panoramic shot of the whole crowd, blinding each one of us with that huge flash on her camera. I hope when she reviews the film, she sees everyone shading their eyes. God, I hate people. Merry Christmas!
The best part of the night, really, was seeing a big dog dressed as Santa, taking an enormous dump on the lawn. Sleigh bells ring! Are you listenin'?
"Why don't we know any rich people to invite us up there?" I groused at Ned. That's where we need to be. Far from the maddening crowd.
Oh, and Lisa Not That Lisa, I did two good deeds despite my general hatred of everyone. At my friend Kit's store, there was a silver strappy sandal out in the aisle, and everyone kept almost tripping on it, and I put it away. Also, we went to eat, and these poor people were looking for a table, and even though Ned and I weren't quite done yet I gave them our table. God, I am amazing.
I walked all through Kit's store without seeing her, which didn't surprise me because she's opened up a new store in Winston and I figured she was there, but there she was in the doorway as I left. And she'd been looking for me! Kit had a birthday treat for Talu. So there was her good deed.
When we got home, I told Ned I was drained. I probably should have stayed in last night, and I felt achy and chilled and even a trifle nauseated after all that activity.
Ned paused. "So, no sex, then?"
In case you wondered what Ned's real name is, it's spelled C-a-s-a-n-o-v-a.
P.S. Merry Christmas!
Yesterday, I screamed downtown to get up with my friend Jo, who was making an appearance at the local bookstore. Since it was Shop Locally Saturday or whatever, she'd been asked to hang at the bookstore in the afternoon as kind of a draw: Come to our bookstore and meet local authors! Then buy a bunch of books and get the hell out. That kind of thing.
Before I went there, I just happened to find myself in Sephora, where I bought something for Ned's niece, and possibly something for myself. (My Aunt Kathy finds it physically impossible to purchase a gift for something without then getting something for herself, as well. You'll often hear, "And I bought one for me, too!")
The point is, what I got for myself was four chubby sticks, which sounds a lot dirtier than it is. They're a big fat lip pencil, by Clinque, and they're sheer and light and wonderful. Sephora was selling four of them for $19.
After that exciting purchase, I stormed into the bookstore to find Jo at a table with my friend The Poet, and a man. Naturally, I entered talking. That should be my epitaph. She entered talking. She left the same way.
"Look what I got!" I bellowed, plopping into my chair. I whipped out my chubby sticks, which again, not that dirty.
"Ooo! Are those from Clinique?" asked Jo, who despite being a celebrated author is as shallow as me.
"Yes!" I said, getting each one out so we could admire it. I looked at the man at the table and figured him for not being a cross-dresser, so I said, "Look, I know you don't know from Clinique Chubby Sticks." I framed my Carmel Curve lips with my hands. "But these lipsticks are the shit, Bub. They really are."
I went on like that for, oh, another five minutes before I finally found the wherewithal to ask the man at our table what he did. Turns out he just wrote another book of poetry, about cats.
So, okay, cool. A poet. Like my friend, The Poet.
Later, I got home and told Ned about my afternoon. "Wait," said Ned. "What was the guy's name you sat with?"
"Fred? Fred Chappell!" I was impressed with myself for remembering.
"June. He was North Carolina's poet laureate for years. I would've been so nervous and starstruck," he said, wide-eyed.
What if he writes a poem about Clinique Chubby Sticks, though? It'd be like I'm his muse.