Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Have Kids?

A friend recently revealed to me their reason for wanting to one day have a kid - to have someone to take care of them when they get old.  A sound argument, but not convincing enough.  I mean, isn't that what hospice workers are for?   I, for one, have never imagined having kids.  Ask anyone in my life with babies, and they'll tell you I DO NOT HOLD THEM.  It's not because I'm afraid I'll break them... a rather cliche excuse if you ask me.  It's because I hate having to put on the 'look at me, I have motherly instincts after all!' song and dance by cooing at them and saying gooey things in a whiny baby voice.  I just don't have it in me.  When I hold a baby it's more like Jeremy Renner in the "Hurt Locker" carrying a bomb he's trying to diffuse.  I know it's gonna go off... but when?  So I grasp it rigidly in my arms with a look of terror on my face and try not to make any sudden moves. 

Yet despite my inherent fear of motherhood and pudgy, diaper-sporting mini people, there is one reason and one reason only I would want one of my own - to have someone to dress up for Halloween.  Yes, that's right.  Just as my mom dressed me in fabulous homemade bumblebee and Snow White costumes, I too want to take my little person and slap a pirate hook on their hand... a tiara on their head... a wart on their nose... wings on their back... a stinger on their butt... 

Perhaps more importantly, I want to raid their candy loot.  When I was little I informed my mother that the only candy off limits in my stash was the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  And every year, without fail, I'd catch her in the act.  Once she just breathed on me and, smelling the unmistakable mix of chocolate and peanut butter, I called her out with tears streaming down my face.  'How could you?!  I told you you could have all the Almond Joys and 3 Musketeers!'  Another time I found the orange and black wrappers in her bed, crinkled up and stowed away under the sheets after I caught her by surprise.  Me: 'Mom, are you eating something in bed?'  Mom: (With mouth full)  'Hmm?  No.  (Swallow)  Not me.  (Another swallow)  Why do you ask?'  Of course, as a mom I'll learn from such errors.  I will only eat my child's Halloween Reese's when they're at school and will promptly burn the wrapper in the fireplace.  Or is down the garbage disposal better?  The shredder?  Should I just eat the wrapper too? 

So there you have it.  Blackheart's reasoning for having kids.  A selfish reason?  Maybe.  But as I was getting dinner at the Subway in Flagstaff, Arizona tonight and a short, chubby Mexican boy wearing a muscle-bound Batman costume came swaggering in (after I just finished reading "Little Bee" none-the-less!) I thought to myself, 'Who cares?  Kids in masks and capes are freakin' cute.'  The best part is, when I told him, "Nice costume," and he turned to me and confessed, "This is my favorite," I saw his mom's proud grin in the corner of my eye.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breakup in Revolt

When you breakup with someone you're left with a heaping pile of nasty side effects.  For one, you have to sleep alone.  Actually, I quite like that.  More room to toss and turn, not to mention my cat appreciates the expansion of her down property.  Then there's the ache of never seeing the other's family, again.  And for a girl with a rather small family, I always feel the downsizing.  Sometimes, when the breakup is a doozy, you even lose friends as they sheepishly (or vehemently) choose battle lines.  Then, of course, when you live with the one you love you have to divide your stuff.  I actually have a friend who lost an entire hybrid car in that debacle. 

This time around, however, there is one small effect of my breakup that is nagging me above any of these more acute, life altering consequences.  Right before we moved back to California, as my ex and I were going through what to take and what to give away, I was talked into getting rid of my copy of C.D. Payne's "Youth In Revolt."  I looked at it longingly, its 499 pages and cheerful turquoise cover full of whimsical cartoons begging me not to let it go.  When I first read the book in high school I hadn't discovered something so wonderful since I tried my first chocolate croissant from La Bou.  I rarely hang onto books I've already read, but there was something special about this novel that said to me, "Blackheart, keep me on your shelf.  I'm a reflection of your inner self.  People will see me there and know instantly that you're a cool, angst ridden chick."  "OK," I would reply to my paperback friend with each and every move, from that first college dorm to my current home in Nashville.  "For you, anything.  Hop in this Pabst Blue Ribbon box I scavenged from behind the 7-Eleven and hold tight!" 

But now, its thickness and weight was creating a schism in our relationship.  It was too big.  Too bulky.  It had to go.  For the first time in 11 years, it wouldn't make the cut.  So reluctantly I compromised,  setting it delicately on the Salvation Army pile and asking Nick Twisp (the protagonist) to please forgive me.  But my heart ached.  I had told myself I would always keep it.  A book to give my fictional children one day to show them how interesting and hip their mother actually was at one time, long long ago.  I hauled it to the charity drop-off and watched as two burly men brutally tossed it into a metal cage full of yellowed, trashy romance novels and sad looking childrens' books that made "Revolt" look like a bright shining literary star. 

One month later, and I had not only lost one of my oldest, dearest books, but I'd lost my man, as well.  But the book, oh the book!  How it pains me.  So here's the possible lessons learned: 1.) Compromise sucks; 2.) The Salvation Army participates in book cruelty; and 3.) If he's the right one, the things you love will somehow find a way into the moving box.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Best Hangover Cure in Santa Fe, NM

Pops, the pups and I took a nice hike today on the Tesuque trail, ogling fall colors (yes, I took the cliche 'carpet of leaves' close-up with my BlackBerry camera phone) and the fresh powdering of snow from last night's mega storm that sent my cat running under the covers for fear of total annihilation.  On the way there dad decided he needed some fuel, so we stopped by Blake's Lotaburger  for a bacon/egg/hash brown/green chili breakfast burrito (I had the poor guy hold the cheese so I could take a few bites... selfish, I know.)  Now let me tell you, I wasn't hungover this morning.  Not in the slightest.  Not even one sip of Santa Fe Pale Ale consumed last night.  But, my god, if you're ever in Santa Fe nursing a head splitting alcoholic miasma, please do yourself a favor and get this stuffed tortilla manna from heaven.  After four days spent in Portland last weekend drinking my weight in micro-brews and reasonably priced vodka soda's (only $4?!  Are you North Westerners insane?!  Are your beards and too-tight skinny jeans stifling your Capitalistic good sense?!), it was like erasing every last sip.  Just five bites of this burrito worked like a sponge on the ole liver.  I feel reborn.  I feel replenished.  I feel sober...  I also felt a bit queasy, having just returned to occasional meat-eating.  But, man, was it worth it. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pros & Cons

Warning: This is a self serving blog entry.  Read at your own risk of boredom.

It dawned on me of late that I wasn't sure whether or not I actually liked myself.  Maybe it's a quarter life crisis (I could live until 120 right? Who am I kidding, it would have to be a 'one-third' life crisis)... or could be it has to do with my recent breakup... or maybe it's some larger existential dilemma.  Well, whatever it is, I decided to make a list of all the things that irritated me about myself and then sift through the muck and try to find some redeeming qualities underneath it all.  Let's begins with some of the cons (note: this list has been edited to protect the ego.)
  1. My fingernail polish always chips a day later.
  2. I watch too much TV.
  3. I can't cook to save my life.
  4. My bangs always curve in one direction as if by some magnetic pull.  And I could use more hair.
  5. I'm terrible at keeping in touch.
  6. My boobs are too big (and, yes, this is a con)
  7. I have never been good with authority.
  8. I prefer to read Stephen King over Yeats.
  9. My one freelance TV script was never produced.
  10. Babies frighten me.  As does marriage.  And spiders.  And failure.  And technology.  And any sport that requires balance.  
  11. I get stressed out very easily.
  12. I cannot focus enough to do yoga or Tai Chi or meditation.
  13. I don't have a literary agent, and I've been at this game for 5 years.
  14. I get my feelings hurt easily but am an expert at hiding it... which I hear is a bad thing. 
  15. I never know the appropriate amount to tip.
  16. I am quick to anger.
  17. I should have put money in an IRA about 10 years ago.
  18. I don't volunteer nearly enough.
  19. I am a horrific gardener.  Plants die at my feet.
  20. When I'm hungry I get very whiny.  And that's putting it nicely.
  21. I can't tell one bottle of wine from the next.  It's red or it's white.  Done.
  22. My feet are getting bigger from training.  WTF!!!!!
  23. I am never up enough on politics and world events.  Don't read the paper.  Avoid the nightly news.  Shameful.
  24. I find pleasure in cracking jokes about strangers.
  25. I'm afraid of heights.
  26. I am awful at romantic relationships.
  27. I have neglected my banjo.  And my Italian.  And my piles of books waiting to be read.  And this blog.  And my current screenplay.  And, often, my cat.
  28. I am extremely cynical.
  29. My teeth need whitening.
  30. Worst of all, I'm 30 and have no more answers about who I am and what I want than I did 10 years ago.
So considering this lofty list - a list that only scratches the surface - can there be anything in this Blackheart capsule I call a body/soul/personality worth celebrating?  Yes.  Two things.  There are two, count them two qualities about myself which have been there since the beginning and have only gotten better with time.   1.)  I am a strong person.  And 2.) I am an adventurer.  Both traits are very chicken-or-the-egg.  A symbiotic relationship.  To be strong in life you have to have a spirit of adventure, knowing that no matter what comes your way, there's still more to discover.  To be adventurous, you have to be strong, because you have to have the guts and courage to go beyond what's safe and secure and seek out the unknown.  Trite as this may all sound, it gives me hope to know that in the lengthy con list of life, I've got two things going for me.  And I guess, for now, that will have to do.