Well I’ll Be

My entire life, I have recoiled with horror when Mr. Mister’s “Take These Broken Wings” is played. This is because I associate it with a murder that I witnessed as a little girl.

It was a murder on television, but still. It scared me so much I ran out of the living room & into my bedroom, where the song was playing on my radio. I can’t hear it to this day without becoming miserable.

This is how I remembered the murder. Matt Dillon ran into a room where Natalie Wood was fighting with an albino who was cutting her with a straight razor. Then the albino was stabbed with a knitting needle.

It is now over 30 years later, & I still have nightmares about this scene, so in an effort to purge myself of this trauma, I crowd sourced Twitter. Useless. So I googled.

You want to know what horror film traumatized a nine-year-old girl so badly that she has nightmares about it at 43 years of age?

Foul Play. Starring Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase. I’m told there’s even a Burgess Meredith karate fight.

Just kill me now.

But seriously how is this horrific sight funny??! 

Copyright whatever movie studio made this hellish vision & called it a comedy.


Children are impressionable! Be careful what they’re watching!

Knowing my mum she was passed out on the settee. Or cooking. Or my brother was feeding Doritos to the cat.

High school

All y’all acting like you hate drama & you just want everything to be calm, but I have looked into your beady little souls & nearly every last one of you is high school AF…as the high schoolers say.

Don’t even; just stop. You know it. The second someone not in your group loses or messes up, schadenfraude washes over you like warm, buttery caramel down a monkey’s back in a movie I shouldn’t tell you about. 

When your group triumphs, you all high five each other like it was 3rd & goal at the end of the fourth quarter & you won! You won, damm it. You’re number one! You’re number one!

I once watched a group of approximately 40 adults learn something at a party about another person — something that was irrefutably awful enough on its own. But after an hour of discussion, they started finding other things to discuss to further drive home this person’s repugnant nature. “Oh, not only did he kill that girl, but you know I never liked him.”

“Oh, me either. He chewed with his mouth open. Who does that?”

And then the swarm. “OMG, one time? We were at lunch? And he didn’t contribute to the tip.” Stories like this continued for hours.

These were male and female adults between the ages of 37 & 68. And that wasn’t the only time. In fact I’m pretty sure I’m confusing two or three incidents.

Y’all do it online with your values signaling to other kids in your clique. Y’all do it when you tweet mean things at the Real Housewife you’ve never met, but hate (but honestly what the hell is wrong with Brandi Glanville?!). Y’all do it when you wreak havoc at the office trying to find out what happened to Clay in marketing.

And you know what? You never won’t. It’s been hard wired into your brain boxes for 40,000 years. You are tribal & are wired to be so. I can’t even talk about how awful you are to my own tribe, who are, generally speaking, thoughtful intellectuals & philosopher kings, natch. We like David Lynch & rescue cats & college radio even though we’re closer to 50 than 20. And we heart David Bowie (every era, damnit) & utterly despise gossip.

Except David Bowie said, I read somewhere, probably in Vogue or more likely Allure in the early ’90s, that gossip is how the middle classes get their news. It’s empowering. And I don’t fault it for that. In some organizations, it’s the only way anyone learns anything.

This isn’t even a treatise against gossip. If it’s not cruel & you admit your sources are not verified, gossip can be entertaining & helpful. Why yes, that chick is pregnant, & that is why she broke down & started crying in the middle of book club, then ate all the quiche.

The problem is the high school pettiness that is everything now. News, public discourse, and even presidential communication has been replaced with adolescent tomfoolery. Everybody is nasty, & don’t think it just started with President Obvious. Obama threw a whole ton of shade, but people think shade is classier. It’s certainly less obvious.

There are all kinds of mean girls. Some say awful things to your face. And some quietly ruin you from the shadows. They both go to high school, they both post on social media, they all run for office & they’re male & female of every flavour of sexuality the human imagination has recently dreamed up.

It’s popular to be high school. But I never liked high school. My core group of friends were literally the same type of people I like now: college radio listening, David Lynch liking weirdos. The difference now is that I like church people, too. Sometimes, they are also college radio listening, David Lynch liking weirdos. Sometimes they have nothing more in common with me than a love of Christ. And the cool thing about Christ is that He’s generally enough in common to break down tribal thinking.

I know a lot of you who read my stuff don’t care for religion of any kind, & the good news is, you don’t have to follow Christ to stop being a tribal high school asshat. Though I recommend Christ as a short cut through everything that blows. He’s like lemon juice; He brightens the flavour of everything.

But enough stupid cooking-oriented blasphemy. The key to letting go of high school tribalness is to find one thing in common with The Other. That’s it. And I can tell you what several things in common you have with The Other right now, even if you can’t bring yourself to do it.

You, a Neo Nazi, a tranvestite dominatrix, a crochet enthusiast, those people who are into curling, Kanye West, and even people who sell Plexus & essential oils require Earth’s atmosphere to live.

Not one of you is a silicon life force that breathes lava and craps stone. But even with that being, you have one thing in common. Crap. Everybody poops.

The next time you want to plaster somebody behind a wall with your hatred &/or righteous online trolling, imagine  that person with Norovirus. Imagine yourself with Norovirus. You both live in the bathroom & want to die, right? Doesn’t that espouse just a little empathy?

See, this is why I turn to Jesus. If I don’t, it’s all going to be poop.

My Muse

David Lynch has Chrysta Bell & had Julee Cruise. I’ve been a muse at least twice that I’ve been told. And today I realized I have my own muse.
It’s the boyfriend.

My first published novel, The Method, was actually his idea. But he inspires me daily to greater & weirder heights of absurdity. He’s like a walking Lynchian Red Room.

Today we were sitting in a Denny’s. He got the Grand Slam, eggs over medium, extra crispy all-bacon as always. I had a salad. While eating my salad, I was chastising myself for not liking country music, which I knew he grew up with. His father was even in a country band.

Then it dawned on me that, in a very real way, I like England’s version of country music. Or specifically, Manchester’s. How did I not see before that pretty much any Smiths’ song would make a fantastic country track? Can you imagine Alan Jackson doing The Boy With the Thorn in His Side

Or k.d. lang doing Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now? Seriously.

Now I actually can’t stop thinking about this. Except on the ride home, he said something to me about a cock horse, which immediately brought forth this song from my lips:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady upon a white horse

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She shall have music wherever she goes

I don’t know how I know this, I don’t know why I “remember” the tune — I just do. I said I thought it was a nursery rhyme, prompting him to make fun of me for being from a country that expects children to sing “cock horse.”

Upon returning home, I brushed the cat for the 5th time today, singing to him to this tune:

H-i-m-a-l-a-y-a-n

You’ve got a fluff ass

Fur in my face

You meow like Ben Sasse

All over the place

You like Greenies

That won’t change

You’re so glamourous

Ooh the fluffy fluffy.

I don’t know if the cat likes any of the songs I sing to him, but the BF & I both do it all the time.

Anyhow, if you hate any of my creative projects, blame him.

Endless comedy

This is a terrible trait to have, especially in Los Angeles, but I find people who take themselves seriously & think of themselves as very important as inconceivably funny.

Especially if they are earnest about it. I would never survive Washington, D.C. 

If I’m in a CVS & I saw you get out of a Bentley & you are wearing Jimmy Choos & you have those nails that make it impossible to lead a pragmatic life style & you are arguing with someone who makes $11 an hour about a coupon, you are hilarious.

If you cut in front of a large Latino family trying to get a table for 10 to celebrate their kids’ graduation at a family restaurant in Woodland Hills because you were a guest star on 6 episodes of “Rockford Files,” I cannot stop laughing at you.

If you want to move your cancer surgeries around because you want to play golf on a particular day but you can’t be bothered to dictate properly so you can get your claims paid, you might as well cart me to the morgue, because I’m dead.

And then there’s the fame people. I wait until the last possible second to tell anybody anything about me, because listening to people talk at you reveals who they are. Personal information is a weapon. If you think you are a huge big deal because you once did publicity for three Nickelodeon stars, & that somehow I should be impressed by that, I see no reason to pop your delightful bubble of delusion. You are amusing forever.

Tell me you raised 3 kids, rescue cats, are the sacristan at your church, do homeless outreach, know sign language, or can bake gluten free pies? Then I’m impressed.

But, no, seriously, I want to hear more about the time you were on an elevator with Selena Gomez & she said she liked your shoes. Do go on.

#dead

A Day In The…

Created by Evening_tao - Freepik.com
I promised I would write every day. I failed. Here is a vague effort to remedy that, but these are just going to be small, almost Tweet-like bullet points.

  • My boyfriend went to Coscto in Van Nuys today. While he was getting protein bars, Paul Stanley of Kiss walked up. My boyfriend told him “I’m getting protein bars for my girlfriend,” which was a lie. Paul Stanley said “Tell her I said hi.”
  • We went to Olive Garden for dinner. There was a normal piece of pasta in my gluten free rotini. I will be sick tomorrow.
  • While at Olive Garden, the BF randomly said “We should start singing that song ‘Connected‘ so that we’ll hear it in the car, like last time.”
  • I confessed to the BF that I played Magic the Gathering a really long time ago. I showed him my deck, which I still have. It’s from 1994. I’m shocked people still play.
  • The cat has been brushed at least 6 times.
  • Knowing that you have a gluten free cranberry orange scone & mascarpone waiting for you in the morning makes it much easier to get up.

I’m sorry this was poetry free. Wait, here’s a haiku:

The cat is so spoiled.

And why does my man love tapioca

Pudding?

A Point of Clarification

Heh, this stock photo actually features a deck I used.


So last Sunday I shared some changes in my life for which I am quite grateful. What I forgot to point out is that I am also grateful for the things that were there before.

Without my weekly (& sometimes more frequent) slogs to Saint Thomas, I may never have had the appropriate historical & liturgical background to recognize the worth & beauty of Saint Nicholas. I also would not have made amazing friends like Arthur. I am contractually obligated to mention Arthur in every third blog post now.

Without 7 years at The Psychic Eye, I would never have decompressed from 20 years in medicine, nor unwound after my fibromyalgia diagnosis. I would not have met the phenomenal clients I met. I would not have had some of the very moving conversations I have had. I would not have managed to connect some people to Christ.

I hadn’t actually been looking specifically for a new job. It just came, as every job I’ve ever had that’s worth a damn did. Like The Psychic Eye did. Like GVA did, my last & best medical employer.

What I’m saying is that God has gently led me like a very slow & stupid & somewhat obstinate cat to each new place to eat. And it is very good. Nothing I’m doing is “better” than what I did before in & of itself. It’s just better now.

As we always say in the psychic advising business: does that make sense?

Everything Has Changed

Stained glass at St. Nick’s OF St. Nick.


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.

There are many reasons. The most important one is that nearly every aspect of my life has changed, and I dare suspect for the better.

Also I’ve been working on a short new book that will be out soonish, so watch this space!

The first thing that changed is that my boyfriend of the past three years moved in, which is actually not something that I wanted, but made sense. It has been a blessing despite my many objections. If you’ve known me long enough, you know that things I object to frequently turn out to be blessings whether I like it or not.

The second thing that’s changed is where I attend mass. I now go to Saint Nicholas—not because there is anything particularly wrong with Saint Thomas, aside from its location.

As you know, Saint Thomas has been my spiritual home for more than four years now. I have made some of the best friends I’ve had in my life there, and I love Canon Davies. I was confirmed there & I know I am genuinely loved there. But I also have fibromyalgia, which is a fact I kept forgetting, hurling myself into projects, volunteering for every damn thing, and generally making myself physically miserable.

The discovery of another AngloCatholic parish not three minutes from my house was nothing short of a miracle. I had heard about St. Nick’s before, from not only my friend Robert, but also St. Thomas itself. Father Michael used to be assistant priest at St. Thomas, so the transition has been fairly seamless.

There are some distinct differences. St. Thomas has Dr. Jeffrey Parola as Master of Music, a 100 year old organ, and acoustics. The music is en pointe. St. Nicholas’ musical choices are both simpler and much more diverse, taking cues less from classics and more from what will resonate with the largest number of parishioners, who speak both Spanish and English.

I have found this to be as equally moving as, say, Durufle’s requiem mass. During Holy Week, St. Nicholas had a lovely singer who was mixing English, Spanish, Latin & opera (which I think was in Italian; I don’t know because I was sobbing). And there was a violinist as well as a pianist. If you want to immediately tap into someone’s heart, you play a violin!

The simplicity of some of the music at St. Nick’s makes for some rather magical spontaneous musical moments from the parishioners. During Maundy Thursday, we had a couple of chants that inspired improvised harmony from a few, including Father Michael. I can’t begin to describe how moving that was.

There are a lot of families attending St. Nick’s, too. Encino is more suburban than Hollywood, so it is delightfully common to hear little boys whisper in Spanish or English during mass, or see little girls burst into tears because they want to be crucifer this week, or hear kids running around the playground outside. 

My first visit was Ash Wednesday, and a precocious little boy who normally attends the Spanish mass said to me “You have a dark cross on your forehead!”

I replied, “Do I? Yours is very light. It’s probably because you’re young and haven’t sinned as much.” He smiled. His mother laughed.

Unsurprisingly I have already been recruited to do things. I started attending at the beginning of Lent, and by the very end, the Easter Vigil, I was already lectering. The beauty of this arrangement is that St. Nick’s is so close that attending & volunteering are no problem at all. I haven’t missed any work since attending St. Nick’s because I have not once gone into a full fibro flare.

Which brings me to change number three: my job. Quite by the grace of God, a writing gig dropped in my lap, and I now work from home following and writing up news stories. This is pretty much exactly the perfect thing for me at this time in my life. The salary, benefits, and people are amazing. Plus the clients I’ve served over the last seven years can now be my friends. It’s a win/win!

And when I’m in pain, I can still work because I don’t have to worry about driving or sitting in one position all day. And I learn something new every day. Ask me anything about the special election in Kansas’ 4th district. Go on! Ask me!

God is good, He is risen, & life doesn’t suck. I pray the same contentment for you all.