Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Very Grimm Tale

(Caution: Explicit Language)

“Yo, bitch!” He had to lean over his friends to yell through the passenger side window. “Gimme my fuckin’ money!” He hadn’t seen her for days although it had happened before. But now it was getting worse.

She couldn’t hear anything over the music radiating from his car: rhythmic, unintelligible words, the beats so heavy she could feel them thumping in her chest. The car was longer than she thought possible even though it was only a two-door. It was a bright cherry red with long tail fins painted with orange and yellow flames on either side of the trunk. The chrome dazzled in the sunlight as the back end of the car bounced in approximate time to the thumping rhythms.

She thought she heard the word, “bitch,” but wasn’t sure who had said it. She tried to focus on the driver and wondered, not for the first time, how he even operated the car. His sycophants were with him – his regular entourage. Two shared the front bench seat with him and there were four more in the back. As many as there were, they didn't appear crowded in the pristine white interior.

The music shut off abruptly and the car stopped bouncing. She watched, lazily, as the entire car hydraulically lowered itself to the street. The driver got out, walked around the back of the car, and stood directly in front of where she was slumped on the sidewalk in front of the boarded up doorway of yet another out-of-business storefront. They were face to face.

“What are you looking at, you old witch?” he shouted to a homeless woman that appeared to take an interest in what was going on. He started toward the old woman, who quickly turned away and disappeared around the corner.

His voice was softer now but no less harsh. “Bitch, what did you do with my money?”

She smiled dreamily and said, “Snow.” She let out a weak laugh. “White, white, snow.” The laugh became a smirk of satisfaction.

“Fuckin’ high ‘ho,” he said to himself. It was a shame really. She was the most beautiful girl he had. She had fair skin, the fairest he’d ever seen. Her ebony hair had been done up in a white ribbon but now the ribbon lazed around her neck with no purpose. She was still in her working clothes – a dress with a blue bodice and capped sleeves, and short white skirt under which she wore petticoats and not much else. She wore white stockings that came up over her knees but left enough of a gap below her hem through which he could catch glimpses of her smooth white thighs. Her shoes were black patent leather and the ensemble, in total, gave her the look of a young school-age girl.

She was young, of course, but no stranger to the streets. Like most of his girls, she was a runaway with no one who cared enough to come looking for her. Discarded by her family as worthless, or a refugee from a bad situation, he didn’t know and didn't much care. When he found her she was scared and lonely and he was the one to take her in. He was the one to provide her with food and shelter. Didn't she know he had saved her?

He knew he had feelings for her but he also knew she would never want him, that she was waiting for someone else. He softened and tried to lift her to her feet even though he knew it wasn't going to happen unless she participated. “C’mon, now. It’s off to work we go,” he encouraged but she would have none of it.

“Fuck you,” she managed with stale breath.

“Fuck you, bitch!” His earlier demeanor returned in full force. He picked up an apple that was beside her, incongruous in the filthy doorway, and hurled it at her head. It hit here squarely and he hoped it wouldn’t leave a mark. He still needed her to go back to work.

She was too stoned to flinch. She picked up the apple and took a defiant bite. Suddenly, her eyes went wide as she immediately started to choke.

He thought about helping her – he loved her so much – but he just stood there and watched. His entourage was silent as they stared from the car, unmoved and unmoving.

Her eyes begged for help as her face turned red, then blue. She pounded on her chest as the remaining discarded apple rolled to the gutter. They stared into each other’s eyes as they both recognized what was going to happen next.

She leaned against the door’s splintered wood as her struggles ceased. Her face regained its normal color - fair as ever with rosy cheeks and succulent ruby red lips. She was beautiful, even in in death. Maybe even more so. He wanted to kiss her but instead gazed upon her as if she were only in peaceful slumber.

"All I had to do was squeeze her," he thought to himself. He considered trying to dump her body somewhere - he had the help - but he changed his mind. "Fuck it," he said as he turned back to his little friends. "Why get rid of something this beautiful? Why not let everyone see her?"

He got back into his car and pulled away from the curb. “Let’s see someone else save her now,” he said  without ever looking back.

(Thank you to Vancouver Community Library for help with research for this story.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Bedtime Story

"OMG, Cindy, that looks painful. How did you get those blisters?"

"I went dancing half the night," she sighed. "It was magical - I may have met my true prince!"

"Shut up! What does he look like?”

“Seriously? You sound like my evil stepsisters right now.”

“Whatever! How come you only have blisters on one foot?”

“I was only wearing one shoe.”

Cindy’s friend gave her an exasperated look and motioned for her to continue.

“I threw it at some asshole. He whistled at me from his car and asked if I wanted a ride.”

“Shut up!”

“Yeah, like it was happening all day. I tell you, if you want to feel like a rock star just go to Vancouver.”

“When were you in Canada?”

“Not that Vancouver, the other one. By Portland, you know?”


“I don’t know what came over me. It was like someone cast a spell on me, you know? One minute I’m invisible, the next I’m Paris Hilton or whatever. I mean, that NEVER happens at home. In Bellevue, I’m practically invisible, you know?”

“But you’re beautiful! What are you talking about?”

“Compared to what? No one sees me if I’m even in the same county as my stepsisters. They have long, perfect hair - all shiny and blowing away from their faces from some perpetual, invisible wind machine or something. I mean, I can’t make my hair do anything. If I straighten it, it’s frizzy. If I curl it, it falls flat. The boobs my stepmother paid for didn’t hurt any either.

“Everywhere they go, boys are bumping into things trying to get an eyeful. I’m the one that has to help them into their size-freaking-two jeans, you know. It’s not fair. And, it’s not just when I’m with them. It’s like I’m just invisible.”

“Not to me.”

“Whatever, you’re my friend. That doesn’t count.”

Cindy’s friend rolled her eyes.

“It’s gets old, you know? Sometimes, I just go up to my special place in the attic and just cry myself to sleep. Pathetic, right? Well, I had this dream about a week ago. There was a woman all dressed in white and she was sort of sparkly and floating. She kinda looked like my mom but it wasn’t, if that makes any sense. Somehow, she's the one that gave me  the idea to go to Vancouver. So the next morning, I got up and snuck out of the house and took the train.”

“Get out!”

“It was weird. The second I got off the train it was like I was on another planet. People kept looking at me. At first, I thought maybe I had something hanging out of my nose or I’d left my zipper undone. I kept checking my pants and looking for my reflection everywhere. I couldn’t figure it out. I bought a cheap pair of sunglasses the first chance I got but that seemed to make it worse. I got even more attention but I started to like it. I started walking like maybe I was somebody really famous but I was in Vancouver and slumming it because I was trying to be incognito, right? Like, ‘I’m famous but I hope you don’t recognize me.’”

“I can’t decide if you sound like a retard right now or if that was totally awesome.”

“Totally awesome. Well, at first it was. Then the looks became whistles and guys were shouting things out their cars. I mean, does that ever work? Like, ‘Oooh, baby, the way you just shouted at me makes me want to do you’? Does anybody ever hook up that way or are guys all just stupid?”


“Finally, this dude rolled up in some fancy car. What’s the car with the horse on the front?”

“Um, Porche?” Cindy’s friend offered.

“I don’t know but it looked expensive. I don’t know why you’d have a car like that in orange. Yellow, maybe, or red but not orange. Anyway, he slows way down and sort of pulls over and rolls down his window and he was, like, totally gorgeous. I totally forgot my rock star act because I thought maybe he was a rock star. As if.

“So he says, ‘C’mon, baby, you know you want to get in my pumpkin shell’ and then I don’t know what happened. Like, that was the stupidest thing to say EVER and it totally erased everything.” Cindy made a motion like she was erasing a whiteboard.

“So then, what?”

“So then I threw my shoe at him.”

“OMG! He must have been pissed!”

“I don’t know. I heard glass breaking and I took off running. I ducked into a place just to get away from him but there was a crowd in there and I thought it might be a good place to hide.”

“Did he follow you?”

“I never saw him again. Or, my shoe for that matter.”

“So then what happened?” Cindy’s friend was breathless.

“I thought, ‘Screw it!’ and got out on the dance floor and danced until my feet bled. Well, one of them anyway. It was incredible.”

“Where does Mr. Wonderful come in?”

“I’m not exactly sure. There were a bunch of us out there all dancing together. He was just one of the guys and he looked at me like he appreciated me. There’s a difference, you know, between being appreciated and being ogled. I don’t know how to explain it but I think I like being appreciated better.

“And, then it was midnight and the band took a break and everything got quiet. Like just for a second, it was totally silent and it was like we just saw each other for the first time but like we’ve known each other forever at the same time.”

“Did you kiss him?”

“No,” Cindy sighed, “I didn’t kiss him.”

“What’s wrong with you? Why the hell not?”

“I was afraid it would break whatever spell I was in. Anyway, I never saw him again either.”

“You didn’t get his phone number? What’s his name?”

“No, and I don’t know. All I know is he sells shoes.”

“You’re crazy!”

“Maybe. But I’m thinking I’ll go back to Vancouver and look for a new pair of shoes.”

Monday, July 23, 2012


I just finished the book Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It by Robert Glennon. I think the author does a better job at presenting the problem of how to allocate our water resources than its various solutions but it was the problem more than the solutions that I was interested in (as research for Now & Then: The Water Princess, coming soon). Nevertheless, it does provide much food for thought such as harvesting runoff, planting less water needy landscaping, capturing and reusing household waste water, cutting down shower times, installing instant hot water heaters, and - in the extreme - composting human waste. That’s just household use. Consider use at the municipal level and how we allocate water to parks, highway medians, the environment, households, developments, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Take, for example, coffee -  a topic near and dear to my heart. It takes a good deal more than a cup of water for me to make a cup of coffee. I know this because I put the drain plug in my kitchen sink once before I prepared my morning coffee. By the time I was finished, including clean up,  I must have had at least a gallon of water in the sink which I scooped in a pitcher and used to water a flowerbed outside.

The thing is, I do this everyday and on weekends I treat myself to a second cup. Except for the experiment mentioned above, this extra water goes down the drain which must get captured and cleaned by my local water district which then redistributes it back to me just so  that I can flush it down the toilet. (The issue of flushing potable water down the toilet is a topic in itself that warrants its own discussion.) It would be better if I could capture all the water from my “cup” of coffee and use that to flush my toilet instead, not that I necessarily want to link coffee with flushing my toilet even though that seems to be the case anyway.

If my coffee maker had indeed died the other day, I would be faced with having to replace it and I would have to consider more water efficient methods of obtaining my morning brew. Instant coffee would use only the cup of water needed to make the liquid gold plus the amount required to clean the cup but that would still be a good deal less if you don’t count the amount of water required to manufacture the crystallized substance in the first place and I have no idea how much that is. A french press would probably takes less water to clean the carafe than many pieces of an over priced extraction device (aka espresso maker).

Of course, I could give up coffee. Or, hot showers. Or, flushing my toilet. But I’m not going to and neither are you, are you? Or, are you? Are we?

It’s worth thinking about.
I was sitting in traffic when a semi-truck passed me. He was hauling a giant white tank on a flatbed truck. On the back of the tank, it read "FRONT." I concluded he must have been driving backwards.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sweet Dreams

Hubby and I were college students and we had a dorm room together. (So, now you know this is a dream, right? I really lived in an all-girls dorm and I didn't meet my husband until several years later).

The room itself was crowded with desks on opposite walls with a bed between them. Running head-to-foot was another bed that filled the floor space between the first bed and the door to the hallway, with dressers on either side.

I remember waking up and my first thoughts being about getting to the bathroom (which could have been on another floor) and getting the water to start my coffee. It was then I realized I didn’t have a coffee maker, but a french press and that I didn’t have a hot plate for my kettle.

Fortunately, hubby had a car and he offered to drive me to F&F to get one. On the way, we passed an apartment building and I remember thinking it must be nice to live in an apartment instead of having to live in the dorms. The building was was on a corner lot and was only two stories tall. It reminded me vaguely of Athens, Georgia. The building was set back from the street and had a small yard that surrounded it. There was a sidewalk and large shade trees on all sides.

I could see the kitchen inside was a massive room and featured a 18 burner stove which was really three six-burner gas stoves installed side by side. The kitchen appeared to take up a fourth of the square footage of the first floor. There was no furniture in the kitchen but it was large enough to put in long cafeteria style tables. I remember wondering if the arrangement was so that residents could share the kitchen, each cooking individual meals according to individual schedules, or if there was a cook who worked there and served them all.

As we took the corner, I could see the living quarters. It was a vast, two-story room divided into carrels, each with a bed and a desk. The carrels were all open to the center of the room which was a common space. Above each carrel was a loft that housed two drawers that each contained single beds. The beds could be pulled out for guests and had built-in recliners at the head of the bed so that guests could be propped up while reading in bed. It was communal apartment living. All the tenants appeared to be male and it reminded me more of a large cabin you might find in a large camp than an apartment building.

As we traveled on, we got to a more commercial area of town. I remember being grateful that hubby had a car because it allowed me to get off campus and see other parts of town I didn’t otherwise get to see. We approached an intersection and most of the buildings there were constructed of cinder blocks painted white. The street signs were lighted white signs with the street names written in blue script.

We took a street which was at an angle just beyond a 45 degree right turn, and started up a steep hill that quickly became residential. The rise became steeper and steeper until we were nearly vertical. The car hubby was driving was an inexpensive small boxy model of some sort and I was sure we would never make it up the hill. The conditions were dry but the dirt road was packed to a near shine from all the cars that had slipped down the hill before us. Still, hubby was confident and undeterred. He drove just off the right side of the road where he felt he could get better traction on the sparse grass that struggled to grown there.

Sure enough, we made it to the top of the slope where the street leveled out and then came to an end in the front yard of an old, red house. There were large evergreen trees surrounding the house which made everything seem dark and damp. We walked across the small yard to a raised wooden plank-style sidewalk that led to a covered breezeway which in turn lead to the front porch. The wooden planks were sturdy but the walkways were not. They seemed to shift and sink into the earth with every footstep making an unstable pathway.

I made it to the breezeway and hubby was right behind me. As I approached the open front door, I could just see through the dusty single-pane windows into the the front hallway. There, on the dusty and worn wooden floor I saw a large white dog on a long silver chain.

“Dog!” I shouted and we both leapt from the breezeway to the yard and ran back to the car along randomly placed paving stones. Before we reached the edge of the driveway, I dropped a tan mitten and I remember wondering if it was worth stopping for. I stopped and turned around to find a big, fluffy white cat sitting on a paving stone looking up at me with blue eyes rimmed in blue. Alongside was a medium sized white/tan dog with short curly hair (a labradoodle?) who wasn’t as scary as the dog I thought I saw inside the house.

And, that's it. That’s where the dream ends. Too bad there wasn't a better ending.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Got home with the laundry and I appear to be missing a sock. Either it’s around here somewhere or one has made a successful escape.

I found it later in a pair of hubby's underwear. Last time time that happened I took a picture because I thought a sock dangling out of a pair of shorts was kind of kinky and the image was like laundry porn. (The image turned out to be funnier in my head once I saw it on my phone.) This time the sock fairly flew out of his undershorts and acted a little nervous and guilty around its mate. I decided not to tell it I already deleted the previous photo from my phone. 

Maybe that’ll keep the socks in line.


I was sitting at my “desk” in the dining room and as I glanced over one of my monitors, I could see a man with a screwdriver removing the screen outside my open bedroom window. I wasn’t afraid but I was definitely curious about what was going to happen after he got the screen off.

He closed the window and washed it. Either it's window washing day or I'm being stalked by someone with OCD.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tax Implications of the Zombie Apocalypse

On the other hand, vampires are, like zombies, undead, but unlike zombies, they retain their faculties of intelligence and dexterity. For this reason, Chodorow suggests that if Congress were to exempt zombies from income taxes for administrative reasons, that it should not make the exemption too broad as to exclude vampires from the tax as well.
Read more: here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Artist

We saw this film last night. Words cannot convey ….

(Well worth seeing.)

Magic Phone

My husband was retrieving an e-mail on his phone, one that was sent with an attachment. He clicked on the attachment and read aloud the message provided by his phone: “Fetching attachment.”

I said, “Thank you.”

Pink Mop

Both of the yacht clubs at which I am a member have “awards” for boating blunders. These would be mishaps or boating faux pas that do not result in bodily injury or property damage. One is a flag to be flown on your vessel, called the “Boo Boo Burgee.” The other club awards a pink mop. I don’t know why it’s pink - or why it’s a mop for that matter. (Someone told me once but I forget.)

I have never been awarded either of these distinctive honors, however if there is a driving equivalent (the Purple Hubcap of Shame, perhaps?) I hereby nominate myself.

On Monday, I prepared to go to work on a beautiful sunny day. I rolled out of the garage and put the car in park and prepared myself by putting up my hair, donning hat and glasses, tuning in the radio, and putting the top down. The top was halfway down when I heard a clunk and in that instant I remembered I had put my purse on the roof of my car while I was still in the garage.

I put the top back up and found my purse tumbling from the back windshield and onto the trunk lid. Thankfully, the contents hadn’t spilled and, better still, I wasn’t on the freeway when I discovered the error. A rookie mistake - one that I’m glad I didn’t suffer for. Or, that anyone saw for that matter so who’s to say it ever happened at all?

After all, I’m not going to tell anybody.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Math

f ≠ m
d = 28
when d-7 then fa and ma where a = annoyance factor
fa < ma
m should stop talking

Monday, July 9, 2012

One of These Things Just Doesn't Belong Here


I've been on vacation. The first part of the week I didn't do much. Just a lot of hanging around and reading. (The current book is Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It.)

The second half of the week, I spent on the boat floating around Lake Washington.