Stop pulling my hair

It’s an odd thing, living in Idaho. No where else can I attend a hockey game and have a relative stranger tug my hair. I’m serious. Actually reach out and give my hair tug, like it’s not real.

“Are these extensions?” she asks.

Before I can give an audible reply, I somewhat automatically pull away, but it’s hard. She’s sitting right next to me. I do the next best thing; I attempt to show some grace by laughing it off.

“Yes, as you can probably tell by now,” I say, expecting her to stop pulling. Instead, she moves her hand a little deeper into my hair.

At this point, I’m having an out of body experience. I mean, over the years, I’ve been told I’m rather intimidating, on the phone or in person. Here, in a hockey rink, watching my husband play and with my two girls, I’m suddenly like the pregnant woman who has unwanted foreign fingers touching her belly.

But back to the hair. I realize that my look of “get your hands out of my hair,” is not doing the trick, and I physically take her hand, hold it still and lift up my hair to the roots.

“See? No glue ons.”

Here again, I expect this to suffice. Nope. I must explain the concept of glue ons to this gal, who has a profession that will not be named, but rest assure you, it took an undergrad and graduate degree to get her where she is today, thereby confirming that not all book smart people are street smart, or have class.

All this to say I’m still a bit unsettled by the whole experience, two days later. I like to say it’s a North Idaho thing, where people have no filter, and no sense of boundaries. At least that’s the way I justify these types of situations, which are becoming more normal, not less so (the last time this happened I had a woman at a checkout counter peer at my face, and specifically my eyelashes. Thanks mom and dad. You gave me great eyelashes).

Rog says this is our new normal. Blunt of question and freedom to feel and touch as one chooses. Come visit, if you’d like. Just make sure those extensions are glued in and on real tight.

Video books…the latest thing

I

wish I could sit back like a lot of authors I know and write all day, but I can’t just set aside twenty years of talking. It was what I did for a living…on stage or to the press or to business partners. The writing aspect only happened when I was stuck on bedrest and blessedly received a book deal. So perhaps it’s only fitting that I try to emulate the songwriters who put their music out for all to enjoy on youtube. While authors can’t quite do a music video to a chapter (wouldn’t that be hysterical though?) I did set up my fav chair by my fireplace over the frigid winter months and recorded the unabridged author reading of Made for Me.

So let’s be honest. It was a bit hard, especially when I’m reading sensual parts that are meant to get you a bit hot. When I wrote them, I got hot. ha. But not overly so, because I’m in the genre that’s roasty but not burnt, if you catch my meaning. For the book rating system, that means moderate/adult, less than 10 swear words and not bad ones at that, and no open door sex (you prob didn’t even know this existed, did you? But it does, and it means all the difference between getting into certain channels of bookstores or not). Besides, I may thing about sex in a way that’s normal and nature, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to write it down. I do have daughters after all, and friends….and relatives….

It was also hard when I read emotional/sad parts. When a beloved character dies, I cry, and yes, as a person with feelings, I admit to fearing what commentators might say when seeing/listening to my reading of a scene. But isn’t that the fun part of life? Seeing someone’s raw emotions?

Oh! and if you read my previous blog on cleansing…you are going to notice I was downright Oprah-like. I started out reading when I was a bit pudgy from way too much great winter food. When I looked at the replays, I was mortified. As a woman who still has a bit of vanity and lacking in facelifts or botox, my Swiss/Swedish sharpei tendencies were on full display. Thus, I had a bit of motivation to drop some poundage. As my comfort levels for crying and putting my emotions out there for all to see, the videos became easier to watch (at least in my mind). As a consequence, I like the last 20 chapters (and particularly the last 10) infinitely more so than the first.

Made for Me, recorded in my living room

The audio book version of Made for Me on youtube. Click on the M4M playlist and listen to all 57 chapters.

Because I started the Q & A videos with Chuck on Author Straight Talk at the same time, it’s like this progression of comfort.

Ten episodes of Author Straight Talk, each video focusing on a chapter of the book. Click here for playlist options, select AST and it will loop through continue to each episode. I also included a look for the free ebook on each video commentary. Subscribers get a notification of new videos…

Otherwise, the direct episodes are:

Intro
Episode 1: The Money & Motivation
Episode 2: Finding Inspiration & Dealing with Writer’s Block
Episode 3: Genres & Trends
Episode 4: Social Media
Episode 5: Copyrights & Ownership
Episode 6: The Critical Role of Editing
Episode 7: Getting an Agent
Episode 8: Overcoming Fear
Episode 9: Tools & Time Management
Episode 10: The Process Start to Finish

Getting over it, Literally

There I am, lying in my bed (alone) staring straight up at the ceiling, trying to feel the vibes from my Himalayan salt rock to my left, and all I can think of the report I read on the bar in the Midwest that prominently featured a sign that read something to the effect of: any patron using the word “literally,” will be escorted from the premises, and that they would have no Kardashian here.

In the depth of my recent despair (death of a loved one) you would think I’d have better things to occupy myself with than this, but that’s the irony. Until you have lost a loved one (or two), you can’t guess at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wringer that’s going to occur. After a while, the body gives, then the mind, and not necessarily in that order.

So, I’m ruminating on girls and a word apparently used in a show (and real life) that I’ve never watched even once, literally. How could this obsession gone so far and wide and deep in to the fiber of middle America to cause a bar owner to literally put up a sign on the window?

This, then, gives way to my own rumination on the word itself. The more I start to think about the word, the more I literally think it’s valid for many things:

  • a comma, used for a pause in a sense (literally)
  • a period. He’s an idiot, literally
  • a question. You think I want you, literally?
  • an exclamation. I’m so pumped, literally!

Come down to it, those dark-haired, big-bossomed LA gals referenced in the media have it right. Literally is about the only non-offensive word that is used at the White House and an outhouse, what’s more Americana than that, I wonder, trying to will myself to sleep.

Literally.

 

Free videos on the biz of authoring

Keeping a promise I made to myself years ago, I’m nearing completion of Author Straight Talk, a book on the ins and outs of the business of authoring. In support of the book, I partnered up with the amazing Chuck Pryor, the exec producer and director of Joel Osteen’s SiriusXM stations, to shoot a series of videos that I’ve posted on YouTube. About 10 min each, each episode is a highlight of the associated chapters. The Intro Piece and the Episode One: The Money and Motivation behind authoring is up as well. Posts will appear every Tuesday, unless I can’t help myself and post Monday night.

Comment at will. I’ve never been much of a comment-responder (I just made that phrase up because it fits me), but I’m changing my evil ways. Yesterday, I couldn’t help myself and actually started answering questions on some other guy’s page on self-publishing. Since he wasn’t bothering to do it (that’s what happens when you get KK’s of views), I figured I’d help him out.

Subscribe to be notified for new posts and other such stuff, and check out the schedule below.

Post Date Video
Nov 21

Intro Video

Nov 28

Video 1- Money and motivation

Dec 1

Video 2- Inspiration & writer’s block

Dec 8

Video 3- Genres, trends, writing for yourself

Dec 15

Video 4-Copyrights, ownership, lawsuits

Dec 21

Video 5- Sales & social media

Dec 28

Video 6- Editing

Jan 12

Video 7- Getting an agent

Jan 19

Video 8- Overcoming insecurity, fears

Jan 26

Video 9- Tools & Time management

Feb 2

Video 10- Process, start to finish

Feb 16

Video 11-Getting the facts right

Feb 23

Video 12-anything goes- ask Sarah

 

Living Life without a Nose

Every so often, I meet or see a person that serves to remind me a) how good I got it, b) how we’ve all had crap happen in our lives and c) how the will and desire to overcome is present in some people and not in others.
***
“Let’s not do 12 days of Christmas,” Rog announced last Thursday night. “How about the 37 days of Christmas?” As I stare at him, completely mystified at his meaning. “I mean, why not put the tree tomorrow?” My jaw drops. Saliva drips from the corner of my mouth and he recants…a little. “This…weekend?” he suggests.

Seriously. Halloween just ended.

After wiping said drool from my mouth, I listened to Rog’s argument that we were hardly going to have a Christmas with all the travel and commitments.

“I’m also gone so much I don’t get to enjoy the decorations.” Nothing shows how truly-Christmas deprived he was as a child more than his plaintive wail. Of course I relented.

The next day, I find myself at my super-secret, cowboy ornament store that happens to have a killer sale going on. Standing a line 10 people deep, I take odds on what checker I’m going to get. When I see her, my stomach clenched and I felt a little queesy. Her, you see, is a woman with no nose.

It has only been in the last year that I’ve seen Her, a thin woman, mid-thirties, medium-height, five foot eight or so, thick, dark, shoulder-length, olive skin, and a graceful set of hands that move quickly from counter to terminal, referring to co-workings as “honey” and customers as “hon.”

The first time I’d seen her, I was a bit taken aback, and didn’t stare (thanks mom, you taught me right), and looked around her missing attribute– her forehead, her hair–easy to do when in the waiting line and looking at her from the side. But that Friday, I had a feeling it was going to be my turn in front of her.

Soon I was invited to her counter, called Hon and we started talking. That’s what I do: I get others talking. I’m genuinely curious and it’s helped by the fact others usually are more than happy to answer.

The conversation centered on our mutual love and appreciation of cowboy ornaments and she did her job and tried to sell me on an in-house charge card. When I declined, she went for the hard sell.

Let me tell you, she was good. She tried every angle, and I sparred with her like only a fellow sales-person would. It was becoming fun. As this went on, I noticed how gloriously green her emerald-colored eyes were, framed by long lashes and thick brows. Her lips were full, and her face a mask of flawless skin that actually moved, removing all doubt that she was in fact, a natural beauty, no botox or restilyn present. I didn’t even notice her nose, which was actually a reconstruction of two side-pieces of skin, folded together like a vertical seem.

“No in-house credit for me,” I was saying. “My twenties were for getting in debt. My thirties were for getting out of debt and my forties are for staying out.” She smiled. Then it was her turn.

“Tell me about it Hon,” she started, talking as rapidly as her hands moved my stack of cowboy ornaments across the beeping scanner. “I was flipping houses in my twenties, making eight thousand dollars a shot, had savings and a husband and credit with Lloyds of London. Then my husband left me with one hundred thousand dollars in debt and my identity got stolen. I had no money, no credit and no home.” She continued to ring and I was dead silent, captivated in one of those horrible yet fascinated ways.

“I’ve here working to get back to where I was, and at least I have decent credit now, I’m single, and I’m getting ready to start flipping house again. Nothing as small as that is going to stop me from getting back to where I was.”

Whoa. As the horse ornament whizzed over the beeper and she folded up the catcus and peppers, I was struck not by what she said (I’ve heard lots of stories of men and women being taken for rides by their former spouses, yours truly included), but what she left out. Nothing about the nose, and I wasn’t going to ask. By that time, I didn’t even notice it.

Then she took out a card from behind the counter, swiped that as well, and I saw the register remove another 15% from the total price.

“You can do that?” I asked, pleased and amazed.

She winked. “Of course Hon. Happy Friday.”

I told her I’d see her again soon, and left the building. Tonight, I hung the ornaments, taking extra care with the cactus and peppers, my thoughts on what one has to go through to not let something as small as being left physically, and encumbered with $100K of debt not diminish one’s determination to have a  fulfilling life.

 

The Safe Friend

It was 1:30 in the morning.

“Can you talk?” My friend asks me. Well, I’d answered the phone I think to myself.

When someone calls at 1:30 a.m., they don’t want to hear me talk. They want to talk. They need to talk.

“Of course. What’s up?”

“You are never going to believe…” she starts, telling me about the trainwreck that has become her life. I put my hand to my mouth, close my eyes, ignore the wave of judgment that passes through me and think of the right words to say to the person who has said these things to me more than once.

“That must be have been hard,” I say.

Friendship is like the sun thawing an emotional chill.

“Yes!” my friend wails. I keep going, saying phrases designed to help my friend get her emotions out. It’s what my mom (a shrink) did with us around the dining room table after school. Of course, we had no idea we were being shrunk out. We just felt understood, heard and validated.

“Let it out,” I tell my friend, all the while thinking I was a safe environment, and that’s what friends need: a safe environment to emote. Friends aren’t always looking for advice. That’s what spouses are for (wanted or not). Friends want compassion. A listening, non-judgmental ear that is all for them and no one else. Taking sides isn’t even a question.

Here’s a few affirming statements I learned from mom. For a:

  • Breakup…..”It sounds like it really hurt you….” (“Yes!”)
  • Loss of a job…”That must have been discouraging…” (“It was!!”)
  • Rejection…. “It’s like it’s never going to get better…” …. (“That’s right!!”)

So my friend continued like a young child, until she finally got it all out, her energy spent. The dark fumes of hurt, anger, anxiety gone. She then cried again, but this time happy, relieved and able to sleep. The gift of a safe spot for a friend the only thing I could offer but precisely what she needed.

A fashion turnabout…what men really think of those boots

In between books I’m taking a completely unnecessary and full-on break of slovenly proportions to write this piece on boots. Well, it started with boots but quickly digressed into a full-on relevatory experience about thighs, ankles and what makes a woman attractive.

As the caveat, I will say I was so disturbed by this conversation which I had with my husband, I had to validate it with other men. Acquaintances, friends, you name it–short of the man at the grocery store. Well, actually I did that too, but it was Home Depot. Does that count?

It started like this. Over the summer, I start planting the seeds about buying new boots (you see, I must do this so I can later justify that I’d brought up the notion that I “need” new boots. When one has a closet full of boots, one must start early). I invariably point out that the boots are too pointy, too straight, too high, low, old, hurt my feet, out of style. Whatever. What really happened is that in July I saw the fashions in Europe where styles always precede the US by about 6 months. Thus, I’m all about fringe boots at the ankle height but also love the over-the-knee look.

Skip forward to September. The boots are out in full force (I didn’t buy any in Europe. That’s another story about a fight we had on the streets of St. Moritz, which I’ll save for the right time) and so I am on the scout. I start dropping hints that get less and less subtle, hoping he’ll pick me up a pair. You see, when he goes shopping, he always does a better job than me. He’s very metro that way.

Days, weeks go by, and he’s avoiding the task. Always some excuse. Subtle goes out the window. I show him pictures. I use my index finger to point out items in the window. Nothing works. October comes and goes and now we are at the tail end of November. The leaves have fallen, the temperature has dropped along with the first snowflakes and I’m irritated I am still lacking some new boots and worried I’ll miss out. Finally, I call him out.

“What is up with you and no boots?” He shakes his head, grimaces like he recognizes the sound of an inevitable fight and says this:

“The ones you want are so ugly!” I start to dispute this of course, because I like my taste. Then he pours a vat a salt in my wound by adding: “Knee high boots and over the knee boots make a woman look fat–even skinny women.” My mouth falls open, because in 18 years, I swear I have never heard this from him before. He continues to rapid-fire all the reasons why women of any size, shape or sense of style should avoid boots over the calf like the plague.

“It cuts a woman’s legs in two,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in a skirt, which you want to see the leg by definition, or in jeans, which is worse because women tuck their pants in and then bulges come out.” I protest that a thin leg or even a woman with a pear-shaped curve can wear boots well.” Rog simply shakes his head. “No. It’s not good. Ever. Ask any guy that’s straight.”

Ok, I tell myself. I will, so I do. I ask church-going men, those in grocery stores when we are stuck in line, my dad. Sure enough, the comments start.

“I prefer low cut,” says one. “I can see the calve that way.”

A gym rat says: “Mid calf is as high as I like. Most calves bulge out and are gross.”

A professional in a suit offers: “Heels are the best. No boots at all.”

Lurking from under a cowboy had, a man at the local grange intones: “Unless it’s under jeans or in the mud, I don’t like boots on a girl. Too manly.”

And so it went on. What about over the knee? Isn’t that sexy?

“Not to me,” said a mid-twenties wearing skinny jeans and a leather jacket, the type I imagined at a dance club on a Saturday night. “A short skirt and low ankled boots. The kind with fringe, you know what I’m talking about?”

Uh, yeah, I do.

I decide it’s too early to tell Rog he’s right. I don’t want that vibe as I’m eating my turkey dinner. I’ll save that piece of information and pull it out just before I’m ready to go shopping for much needed calve-baring, ankle concealing, form-fitting leather shoes with a slight heal. I suggest you do that same. We’ll have a legion of women on black Friday descending on the stores with a singular mission, since now of course, we know what men really think of our boots!

Save the drama. Back up your data

It’s not sexy. It’s safe. I’m talking storage, not condoms.

Three days ago, my main computer goes blue screen. Even non-techies know that this is the sign of immediate death. 13 hours later (that means Rog was working through the night, giving up at 6 am), the blue screen was still blue, but the data was transferring off onto a back-up drive. That process had taken hours (for he had to tap into who-knows-what). Only a former Microsoft guy with mad, Jedi-skills could even make this happen.

Still, the computer was dead, the culprit a bug in the Microsoft OS software. As Rog mutters to himself, red-eyed and hair sticking up like a slee-stack from Planet of the Apes, I divine the computer is going back to the manufacturer (thank you extended warranty). Me, on the other hand…I silently slip out of the room, retrieve my external hard drive and create a new folder backing up everything on my computer. I recall the time 2 yrs back when my entire system went blue, and unlike my desktop, was unable to EVER get the files back. In a panic, I contacted every editor, friend etc. for the files I might have sent.

New Year’s Resolution for sanity…

First of all, use the cloud for documents if you feel comfortable doing so. I use Dropbox–or rather, my clients and companies I work with use dropbox and I access the information. Personally, I’m ultra paranoid about hacking and never put a thing in the cloud that I’m going to regret, from pictures to documents. If others want to do that, fine. Just not me. (Think Sony, Facebook and just about every other system that’s been penetrated).

If you don’t know what a cloud  is, fuggetaboutit. Go for an external drive, either in small or large form. I have both- a USB for my word documents that are tiny files by comparison to pics. I use my drive for a complete transfer of my desktop folder. It’s solid state (no moving parts), safe and sits in my safe that is fire proof. It’s not real expensive either, but obviously more than a $10 USB stick.

I used to do make a full back up once a month, but now do USB backups once a week and only have a full backup if I’ve had major file changes.

For my sanity, it’s worth the time and effort. In my latest case, it was worth at least 12 hours of my husband’s life.

My new method of being:

  1. backup drive. once a week. for primary files, after every major upgrade or version
  2. in the cloud. for non-sensitive documents that if hacked, or not going to bring me down in a critical way
  3. outlook. I will send my other computer (desktop) a final file and archive it. because I’m now terribly paranoid, I send major files to my husband’s computer as well, stick it in my file folder and archive it.
  4. a USB. just to be ultra safe, I have a wonderfully happy Minion USB that I have my word files on. It’s tiny and portable, which is ideal only for my most critical documents, but I have it nonetheless.

Is this all redundant? Absolutely. And that’s the point. I will never, ever, be caught without my information again.

As a side note, an associate I work with on a frequent basis (he’s an attorney at a land development firm and is always calling me for language and ideas on creative land, manufacturing and investment partnership strategies), recently suffered from a complete technology breakdown. Apparently, the company was hacked, the IT critically compromised. All. Data. Gone. Was the info supposed to be in the cloud? Yes. Was it compromised (e.g. wiped out). Yes. All bad.

So, when it comes to having a backup, it truly is the same principle as sexual safety. One can never be too safe.

Halloween treats- Witchy Fingers

One of my two, personal favorite bite-size treats. The other is the gruesome ripped ears. Both of these are divinely gross and absolutely delicious. They are also made from the same dough. The only difference is the witchy fingers are cooked longer while the ripped ears are slightly undercooked. I might also add that these take a bit of time (about an hour and a half) but are great to do with kids. They are also big attention getters, which I also like!

Promise- people get intimidated by the nails (the almonds) and creating the actual fingers. This is super easy. My motto is: if I can do it, so can you. I’ll give you step by step pictures on this. You can do it!

img_8673

Took a picture to show what “just incorporated means.”

Requirements
Food coloring. A box will give green, yellow, red and blue. You will use all but the yellow.
A knife, rolling pin, and small paintbrush (to color on the blood and moldy ear slice).
Parchment paper

Ingredients (first, the nails)
Food coloring – you will use this last
30 blanched almonds

Directions
In boiling pot of water, dump the almonds. You may want to do more than 30, just in case a few split.
After 1 minute (exactly) remove and strain. Immediately run cold water (from the tap) is fine. Only need to do this about one minute.
Dump on a paper towel. As you start to rub the almonds, the peels will come off. Not all though–perhaps not even half. Don’t worry. With your fingertips (thumb and forefinger) you can easily rub once or twice and the shell slips off.
Place the blanched almonds on the cookie sheet (this is where you will paint them once fully dry)
At this point, stop and make the cookie dough. The reason is you will need to refrigerate the cookie dough. As this happens (about 30-40 minutes or longer) you will paint return and paint the fingers.

Ingredients- Finger Dough
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (bourbon or Madagascar are my preferred choices)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted/sweet butter (not unsalted. The taste is SO much better this way)- room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt (I tend to use Himalayan pink salt as it gives the recipe a pop), and when it says “pinch” I use my grinder, and that means 3 turns of the grinder
1 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions
Separate 1 egg. set aside the white in a bowl.

In a small bowl, which together the yolk, remaining egg and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large bowl (like a KitchenAid), use the padded attachment and combine the butter, powered sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the egg mixture and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, mixing on low speed until just incorporated (over mixing makes the end result hard).

Wrap the dough first in parchment paper if you have it, the plastic. If you have neither, an airtight Ziploc bag will work. Chill until firm, 20-30 minutes.

Tip: For rolling out, divide in half. The reason is simple. It takes time to roll, parse (or separate) the individual dough pieces for fingers. then you must roll, detail and place the finger. The remaining dough will get too soft, and become gooey. So take out only as much as you can reasonably use before it gets warm, which is about half.

At this point, place the dough in the fridge and paint the fingers.

Painting the fingers
place red, green and or blue food coloring in separate bowls. holding the almond between fingers, paint both sides. Tip: I use a rubber glove so I don’t stain my fingers. It takes several days to come off and I hate that. Then again, it is Halloween so who cares? Let stand until you are ready to roll out the dough and make the fingers.

img_8677

this is the dough, already rolled out, then cut and formed into a 2-2.5 inch piece

Making the fingers
This fun. Don’t be worried. Just put on some good chill music and go for it.

Take half the dough and place the other half back in the fridge. Roll it out to @1 cm thick. Using a cutting utensil (I use a pastry spatula), cut the pieces into a manageable size (e.g. about the length of half a real finger. It will elongate as you roll it out.

Roll the dough out into @a 3-inch piece. Then using your forefinger and third finger, depress a little, which will raise the middle (to create the middle knuckle). Adjust the end tip, to resemble the end of the finger. Adjust as necessary– e.g. raise the center, depress the in-between parts (as they will raise slightly during baking).

img_8683

depress the center. this makes the knuckles. 3 simple lines will do it

Take one of the almonds and wedge it within the end. Don’t place on top, as this will ensure it falls off after baking (I’ve done this before and ruined the whole batch). Make sure you have a bit of dough above, below and on all sides.

Take a knife or other untensil and create the ridges for the knuckle. Walla! you have created your finger.

Tip: Create the entire batch of the fingers and then brush lightly with the egg white. If you do this too soon, you will depress the ridges on the knuckles and it won’t look that realistic.

img_8684

now you are ready place the almond as the fingertip

Tip: Err on the side of exaggeration. In other words, if the ridges and length of the fingers aren’t pronounced enough, the finger will come out basically smooth. So if you are worried, its better to have a finger that’s super bony rather than one that looks flat and normal. You don’t want normal!

For cooking
Heat the over to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats (French non stick baking mats are my preference).

Using a non-stick brush, brush lightly with egg white.

img_8674

this is what it looks like before its cooked. you can add as much dough around the edge as you want. for fun, I sometimes go back and make them scraggly, but it tends to gross people out then they won’t eat them!

img_8675

This is a row PRE- covered with egg whites. I forgot to take a picture of that, but they slightly glisten when covered with the egg white

img_8690

this is a pic of just the green-tipped ones. This year I made red, green and then black.

For the presentation, my favorite way to display for eating is sticking out from within a cauldron. That way they are reaching out to you, saying EAT ME!

 

 

 

Blissful blindness

Last night, elevenish. I should be in bed, enjoying the raptures that come with a nearly two-decade long marriage (or is that an oxymoron). Instead, I’m sitting on the couch, playing ’80’s Fun Factory (those clubbers of you know what I’m talking about), and Rog has one arm around my shoulders, the other on my waist. I feel a disturbance in the force. Something’s awry. I look down. I have a sliver of white belly fat poking out between my shirt and pants. Well, really, it’s more like an albino hotdog lying on its side, making an unscheduled appearance.

I subtly take the material between my thumb and forefinger, covering the kosher meat product. He notices. “If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist,” I say with a laugh.

Rog roars. Full body-shaking, shoulder-collapsing movement that shows just how mortifying a horizontal hot-dog on one’s stomach can be. The moment passes, I make a mental note to do more sit-ups the following morning and that program-from-Dante’s 7th ring of hell on the elyptical and forget it.

This morning, I’m at the kitchen counter writing. I’ve finished making breakfast for a legion of girls, cleaned the counters and shunted the bodies downstairs to play for two hours so I can write. Rog mosies out from his office/den, searching around like a puppy sniffing hydrants.

His random motions distract, then disturbs me. I can’t concentrate. I sense he’s nearing the sink, going to do the dishes.

“No,” I tell him. You will make noise. I’ve just gotten the kids occupied. You must leave.” He scowls.

if you don't see me being a) mad and b) freezing, it doesn't exist

this image makes my point. I’m a) mad at Rog because he wouldn’t take me to the restaurant I wanted in St. Moritz, Switzerland (we’ve come all that way, and really, I can’t eat on the lake?!) and b) I’m mad because he then made fun of me for being a spoiled brat and making me take pics while it’s freezing. I grimace, this image forever capturing the notion that if you can’t see it (my fury) it never existed.

 

“I can’t take stuff in the sink,” he replies, the grumpiness associated with me not doing my job.

I lift my fingers from the keypad, debating my response. I could fight irritation with irritation, but I am supposed to be writing something akin to romance, not reality. The next option is a reasonable conversation about the timing of acts, such as writing during the precious and the ever-elusive quiet I seek as an author, but I set that aside. I don’t have that kind of time in my life. I go for the third, most reasonable choice.

“It’s like my belly fat. If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” He pauses, on the edge of laughing and being irate. “Or, if you don’t like that option, you can just build me a bigger house where you don’t emerge from the office and see the dishes.”

Eyes narrow. Hands twitch with a frustration born of 18 yrs together, knowing that a little tiff like this will have negative consequences in the bedroom when he least wants it.

“I’ll take option number one,” he says with a painful smile. As he turns, he casts me a backward glance. “I’m not angry, because if you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.”

My thoughts exactly.

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