Tuesday, June 14, 2016


She isn’t my dog.  Really she isn’t.  She smells like death and can barely walk.  Good thing she isn’t my dog. 

I first met her about eleven years ago.  Her coat was a shiny black and her eyes were bright.  She ran to greet me and guide me to a dinner date.  It was the first night I had dinner with Kahuna’s family at their house.  She was just a big black bouncy Labrador mix happy to greet me.  I exited my car and she immediately got up close and personal.   When I say up close and personal I mean snout in the crotch personal.  A kind of how do you do let me record your smell in my mind so that I will always know it’s you.  She was an outside dog then.  She ruled ten acres of rough Southern California desert terrain with an iron paw.  Her name was Nikki and she was the alpha dog and she isn’t my dog.
That first night I knew I liked her.  She was bright, attentive and definitely had a mind of her own.  I hoped she liked me back.  She must have because on subsequent visits to Casa de Bruno she brought me presents like squirrels, lizards, tarantulas and once a pig’s head.  Yes, a pig’s head.   We think someone must have buried a pig in the ground for a Luau and she dug it up.  What a surprise they had when they dug uptheir succulent pig and found it  uncovered and headless.   Good thing she isn’t my dog.

So began our relationship.  Pretty soon I became part of the family and she became a bigger part of my life.  She protected me when I was home alone.  This was usually done by me bringing her into the house at night because of the coyotes.  I would make her a bed of old blankets on the floor and tell her to stay.   She would wait until I was fast asleep and sneak over to the sofa where I would find her  in the morning stretched out, all four feet in the air snoring.  We played this game of no no/yes yes.  I would tell her no and she would ignore me and do whatever she pleased.  I saved scraps of meat and bones for her and she in returned gave me companionship, security and unconditional love.  Good thing she isn’t my dog.

Years have passed and we moved away from Casa de Bruno into the suburbs where she can no longer run free range.  She has become a house dog.  She has spent the last six years languishing in the cool indoors watching television and waiting for her walks where once again she is allowed to run like the wild animal she dreams she is.  She lies as close to me as she can get as she does others.  She needs human contact now.  She wants to know she is safe, secure and has a companion.  Now she struggles to go on her walks, some days she only runs in her dreams.  Good thing she isn’t my dog.
Her muzzle is grey and there is a large cancerous growth below one eye.  Her body is lumpy and she smells bad.  She is banished to a corner of the kitchen where if she has an accident it is easily cleaned.  She watches every move we make and wags her tail happily when paid the slightest of attention.  Good thing he isn’t my dog.

I know her days are numbered.  Soon she will cross the rainbow bridge where she will once again chase squirrels, antagonize bunnies and dig up pig heads.  She will be free from the constraints of her corner in the kitchen and of the pain.  My heart is breaking as I watch her hobble to her spot  and she turns those big dark eyes no longer shining up at me as if to say I’m okay right here as long as I’m close to you.  Good thing she isn’t my dog because I can’t imagine my heart breaking any more than it is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


The smell of Sulphur was strong in the room.  A faint light illuminated the doorway and outlined the shadow standing there.  A bubbling, sucking noise surrounded her and the weight on her chest was excruciating.  She was half asleep but also half awake.  She struggled to move but found herself completely paralyzed.   Eyes finally adjusting to the dim light she was able to make out the figure who sat on her chest.

She gasped for air as the grotesque figure bent low as if to kiss her.  She tried to fight but he must have put some kind of spell on her for she could not move, not one muscle.  It was a chore to breath.  The little creature moved  pinning her shoulders with its claw hands and slobbered hungrily.  He snarled and breathed his Sulphur breath on her face and made a snorting sound.
From the corner of her eye she could distinguish the other creature moving toward her.  Her panic was so intense she emitted a silent scream.   Both creatures chortled their screeching laugh and moved in closer. 

She knew what this was.  She had experienced this before.  They were here to suck the soul from her.  They would each take a turn to give her that depleting kiss of death.  They were here to take from her all she had and leave nothing but a shell.  She could not move, could not fight them off.   

They were the things that come in the night while we are in our dream world.  They creep from bed to bed looking for their next meal, their next soul to consume.  We never see them, nor do we know they are there because we are paralyzed in our sleep sinking deeper into the abyss of our dreams.  Every once in a while, though, we will be in the in-between and that is when we spot them.  We see them hanging over us, taste testing our soul to judge if it is ready for harvest.   It is at this time we are most vulnerable.   We cannot defend ourselves nor can we cry out for help, they have us captured.
She steeled herself for what would come next.  

The last time they had visited they had both taken a taste and deemed her not quite ripe.  She tried to pull away as the second creature leapt to the head of the bed and caressed her hair.  Bending low staring into her eyes it sniffed her face, stuck a tongue in her ear.  She wanted so much to cry out and pull away but her body would not cooperate.  Was this really the end?  Was she ripe for harvest?  Was her soul ready to be drawn from her body to energize these gargoyles?  NO! Her brain screamed.  GET OFF OF ME!   LEAVE ME ALONE!

Her heart pounded and her chest ached with each labored breath.  Her eyes wide open she watched as they debated, gesturing with their long talon fingers.  The one at the head of the bed insistent the other less sure.  Little by little she could feel her body being freed.  She kicked her legs and tried to sit up to shake the creature from her but she was still bound by his weight.  She felt a spec of spit it her cheek and looked as the creature at her head shook its head and motioned to the other.  In a flash they were gone, the weight lifted from her chest and her body was returned to her.  She jumped from the bed panting and pacing.  She had been spared yet again. 

That is when Gladys swore she would never eat Mexican food after seven o’clock at night again.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gladys Gets Assy

You know those days you get dressed and you just know you look cute.  Shut up!  I know I’m old but I can still look cute.   You stand in the mirror and your make-up looks just right and not at all like a drag queen or a clown.  Not that there is anything wrong with looking like a drag queen.  I myself wish I could look that good. 

  Clowns are a different thing altogether.  Clowns are evil.  They are.  If you don’t believe me call Stephen King and ask him.  By the way, if you call Mr. King could you then call me and give me his number cause, I mean after all, he is Stephen King and who wouldn’t want to talk to him. 
  I digress.

I was talking about how cute I looked.  I looked Pinterest cute.  I looked fashion blogger cute.  You know, one of those  Fab over Fifty or Fifty something Fashionistas or some such something blogger where every day they post a picture of the cute clothes they found at J. Jill or Lord and Taylor.  I guess I could do one of those post, only I would be over here in my Target top and my Payless Shoes with my Goodwill  jeans and my EBay purse.  Can we say I am a frugal shopper? 

Love the outfit but couldn't afford the sand in her shoe.

 Again, I digress.

I was feeling all cute and sassy in my skinny jeans cuffed at the ankles with my cute little red and white polka dotted top and a cute sweater to top it all off.  I even put on jewelry and finished off the ensemble with a pair of retro Keds.  Remember when you were a kid and you got a new pair of Keds?  Oh MAN!  You were in high cotton, sporting those bright white tennis shoes all new and pretty.  Then at the end of summer they were all grey and stained with holes in the toes from stopping your bike with your feet.    Yeah those were awesome days.   Again I digress.

So here I am with this cute outfit and my hairs all done up pretty because my friend Lola had just cut them and styled them all pretty.   My make-up was looking good and I felt good.  I mean really good.  I was going out on the town in my cute outfit good.  Now let me just say that my going out on the town is probably not what you think.  My going out on the town is more I’m gonna go to the grocery store and if I’m feeling really daring maybe even stop in at the thrift store, good.  So here I am feeling all good about myself and my outfit so I hop in my little car and head out. 

Growing up we called it going to town.  My momma would grab her keys and put on her Ray Ban sunglasses, fluff up her bouffant hair and with a Virginia Slim between her lips yell “Y’all come on we’re going to town to get groceries.”  We all went with her because my brother would push the cart over while careening down the aisles at breakneck speeds making race car noises while my sister and I ran screaming at the top of our lungs “he’s trying to kill us or worse”.  My mother would beat on him with whatever she had in her hand and scream “you kids better knock this shit off or I’m gonna beat you in front of GAWD and everybody!”  This must have been relaxing for her because she continued to take us.  Again, I have gotten off the subject.  Shut up!  This is my story and I’ll tell it how I tell it.

Because I was looking so cute and feeling good; I decide to go to an estate sale that just happened to be on my way to the grocery store.  I pull in front of a very pleasant house with ten gazillion cars out front, a big sign that read ESTATE SALE, and one of those fly guy dancing things out front.  I decide this indeed must be the estate sale advertised.  I enter the front door and notice the house is full of big heavy furniture, much too big and heavy to fit in my little car, so I peruse the multitude of books on a shelf.  I determined from the look of the house and the contents of the walk-in closet, that a woman had lived in the house alone.  There were no masculine accoutrements, or where I come from acootermints, to be seen.  Her taste in clothing and furniture were different than mine so I moved on to the kitchen where one of the estate sale clerks stood making sure no one made off with the silverware or the 5000 bottles of vanilla extract.  I made polite conversation with the woman who seemed pleasant enough and told me how cute I looked, I told her it was my new favorite outfit.  I commented that the owner must have been a single woman.  When I mentioned the owner of the merchandise the clerk immediately genuflected and then spat “She was a WITCH!”  Well of course I was gob smacked. 

“A Witch?” asked I.

“A WITCH!” she spat as she again made the sign of the cross.

“Did she turn you into a newt?” I responded skeptically. (you see where I was going with this, right?)

“What?  A newt?  NO!  Didn’t you see all those books on her book shelf?” the worker barked and again crossed herself.

I told her I had indeed seen the Edgar Cayce, MarianneWilliamson and Byron Katie books but told her that didn’t make the woman a witch.  It just made her enlightened.   Again the woman made the sign of the cross and explained that there were OTHER books.  She whispered  “books about harnessing the light and celebrating mother earth and the Goddess Within.”
I leaned over in a loud whisper  “WELL I’M NOT BUYING THAT BIG SCREEN TV, SINCE YOU SAID IT HAD A CURSE ON IT” and then walked out the door.  I had planned to go back the next day and see if the TV I wanted was still there at a reduced price because of, well, you know, the curse.  

Stay with me.  I promise this story is going somewhere.  Maybe not where you wanted it to go, but it is going somewhere.

I left the sale and headed  across town still 100% convinced I was the cutest fifty-something out on the town.  I headed to the used book store where again I perused the shelves on a quest to reacquaint myself and my granddaughter with Mr. Potter and the rest of the Hogwarts group.  I was up and down and squatting and moving, shifting and turning and finally found one of the Potter books for a dollar!  A DOLLAR!  What a coup!  I got in the car and excitedly texted Tadpole.  Then I realized, I had bought the same book the day before.  I had two of the same book!  Oh well a grandmother can never have too many Harry Potter books.   The good thing was I still had on my favorite jeans and I still looked cute. 

Why don't they keep the covers consistent?  

I entered the grocery and again there was much squatting and stretching and reaching a kvetching as I pulled the gluten free macaroni from the top shelf and fetched the dried chick peas from the bottom shelf.  Have you ever wondered why they put the chick peas on the bottom shelf?  Is it because no one really knows what to do with chick peas or in fact what they really are.  I finish my shopping and head to my favorite cashier who always has a smile on her face and a sarcastic remark.  She is my kind of happy.  Anyway the first thing she did was comment on how cute I look.  I beamed with pride and told her it is my new favorite outfit. 

I carried my groceries to the car again bending and stretching thinking how much I love my jeans that move with me.  When I returned to the cart to the store a really nice man was collecting money for homeless veterans and let me ask you is there any better cause to contribute to?  I certainly think it is a very worthy cause.  As I fished out my change from my purse the nice man commented on how cute I looked.  I beamed and told him it was my new favorite outfit.  I was feeling especially fashionable,  I strutted like a super model back to my car. 

Back at home I unloaded the bags and deposited them on the counter.  Stretching, bending and squatting I shelved the newly bought vittles and began cooking the evening meal.  I was still feeling especially spiffy in the cutest outfit in the world, when Kahuna came home.   He spun me around and gave me a kiss.  He looked me up and down and said “That is a really cute outfit, but did you know you have a big hole in your jeans?”

I immediately took stock of my jeans “where?” I cried.

Right here motioning to the ass of my jeans.  The whole right cheek of my jeans was completely gone.  I am not talking about a little pinhole or even one of those new holes that really isn’t a hole cause it’s got material underneath but looks like you’ve worn the ass out of your jeans.  I am talking the right down to your drawers hole.   

I had gone all over town with my ass hanging out all day.   Maybe that estate sale was cursed or maybe that was why I found the jeans at Goodwill.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Platform on Which to Stand

Gladys leapt from the bed and made her way to the closet she shared with Matilda.   Being the little sister she often got her older sister’s hand-me downs, but not her shoes.  Matilda was a good four sizes bigger than her foot wise.  No she wasn’t four foot taller but wore a size eight and a-half where Gladys had a little foot and barely wore a size five.  She was diminutive.   Not in personality or energy but in stature.  Gladys and Matilda would talk their older brother Buck into driving them to the most fashionable store in town, Grigsby’s Rag Doll, that’s where Matilda’s clothes were purchased.

The Rag Doll was where all the cool girls shopped.  It was upbeat and smelled like leather and Dr. Pepper.  The sales clerks were cheerleaders and in Gladys’ eyes rivaled New York models that landed on the cover of Seventeen.  She would paw through the racks wishing something in the store would fit her, but it never did.  Matilda on the other hand could find a skirt or a top that was just perfect.  She would ask the clerk to put it on “hold” and then we would go home to beg Nurse Meme to go buy it next payday.  Matilda would use logic on Nurse Meme.  She would tell her what a good deal it was and of course she would share it with Gladys when she got big enough to wear it.  Gladys would agree and nod along with the argument Matilda made as to why said item was a good purchase.  Not thinking that she might be 50 before it would fit her.  It didn’t matter, someday she would get to wear whatever it was that was the need of the moment.  Gladys would argue that it was for both of them, that they needed said item or they would simply die of embarrassment for wearing the same old shirt, sweater, dress etc.  even though she rarely if ever got to wear the item.

This cool spring morning when Gladys made her way to the shared closet she didn’t see the green K-mart skort with the matching yellow top or the Kenny’s sandals she saw the cute outfits that were not her size.  There was no Marsha Brady jumper with the polyester wide lapel blouse hanging there, at least not in Gladys’ size.   She could live with that.  She could live with the homemade bell bottom pants Nurse Meme made her because the store didn’t sell them in her size.  She was used to things not fitting.  She would watch with envy as Matilda pulled on her Dacron blouse and her polyester pants carefully choosing a sweater vest to coordinate the pieces.  She would spray her Straw Hat cologne and then carefully apply her Maybelline mascara carefully separating each eyelash with a safety pin to get just the right starburst effect on her blue eye shadowed eyes.     She copied and imitated each movement of her older sister, trying to achieve that same look.    She would look at her unruly hair and compare it to the perfectly straight hair of her sister with just the right amount of curl on the ends.  How did she do it?  So perfect all of the time. 

She could live with all of that.  She could live with the fact that her sister was athletic, pretty and popular.  She could live with the fact that she could wear clothes from the cool stores.  She could even live with the fact that her sister was cheerleader material.  What she couldn’t live with was that her sister had a pair of Baretrap sandals.  They were all the rage.  Matilda had gotten a pair of Moxie’s  and a pair of blue suede lace up shoes that perfectly matched a blue velvet dress she wore to a banquet and though envious Gladys was okay with that.  It was the Baretraps that did her in.  Those brown three buckle wooden souled platform sandals the thing Gladys coveted. 
So on that spring morning when she went to the closet she didn’t see the plain old little girl sandals waiting for her but instead saw the Holy Grail of shoes.  She sat on the floor and slid her foot onto the cool wood sole and pulled the ankle strap as taught around her ankle as possible she grabbed the door handle and pulled herself up onto the shoes.  She stood a little straighter and a whole lot taller perched on top of the platforms.  She felt as if she were at the top of Mount Olympus.  She stood there in her shorty pajamas with her hair sticking up all over her head and decided she was going to borrow her sisters shoes and wear them to school.  She turned to tell her sister and promptly fell off of her platforms and right on to the floor. 

She landed with a thud which cause Matilda to stir from her place on the bed.  “What are you doing” she yelled at Gladys.  “Nothing” Gladys replied and again she stood and shoving her feet as far into the shoes as she could without sliding out the bottom she tried to walk toward the bathroom.  She took one step, then repositioned her foot back into the shoe and then tried to take another.  She was able to take two steps then three and then she hit the floor again.  She didn’t try to get back up this time.  Instead she removed the shoes from her feet and threw them at the closet.  Frustrated and jealous she stormed into the bathroom to get ready for school.  In her mind all she could thing was dumb old shoes.  I didn’t want to wear them anyway.  Now I have to wear my stupid little girl shoes.  I’m never gonna be cool.  I’m never gonna be glamorous like Matilda. 

Matilda appeared in the bathroom door “did you throw my shoes” she asked as she bent to brush her teeth. 

“Yes” snapped Gladys in reply

Matilda turned mouth foaming and cinnamon odor of Close-up toothpaste filling the room and said “well before you walk in someone else’s shoes you better make sure they fit.” 

Gladys learned a lesson that day and many times thereafter.  It isn’t always as glamorous as you think it’s going to be to walk in someone else’s shoes and that if the shoe doesn’t fit, it isn’t the shoe for you.