February 28, 2006

Just Jump

We've still got those snazzy boxes of pet ashes hanging out in our living room. Cosine and Detail are on the fireplace mantel, topped by this really cool prayer wheel my sister gave us. Figero is resting in my grandmother's secretary on a shelf behind the glass doors.

Eventually we'll release them. Those ashes. Back into the world. Did I ever share our plan for that? It's simple enough. We're gonna spread them in a park near where we used to live. The Boy and I used to take the dogs hiking and swimming there.

As a matter of fact, I used take The Boy there hiking before we even got those dogs. Eh, I'm not sure it's accurate to call what we did "hiking." Do toddlers hike? I'd say it was more like rambling, but nevertheless a great way to spend time. Fresh air. Nature. Exercise. Exploration.

Oh yeah. Exploration. One day he and I energetically set off together down a previously unexplored path through the woods. It had trailmarkers, but the markers on that particular path peetered out. But the path kept going so we did too. Then the path itself peetered out. Completely. To the point where I couldn't even simply turn us around to retrace our steps. I couldn't tell from whence we came.

Interesting sensation, that. Finding oneself lost in the woods with a four year old. How the hell did I let that happen? But hey, it was the suburbs. Sort of. I figured if we just kept walking, eventually we'd find civilization. Eventually.

Ah yes, me in my natural element: Suzanne, Suburban Woodswoman. I rallied to the occasion and employed the skills honed during my years as a Girl Scout to lead us authoritatively toward civilization. Oh sure. Truth is, we got really lucky and stumbled across a road. I vaguely recognized it as the one leading to the park entrance. I looked left. I looked right. I wondered which way we should go.

At that point we'd been hiking for about three hours. The Boy was tired. I was tired. The road, while paved, was narrow and winding with sloped shoulders and ditches, no sidewalks. Not a road I'd choose to walk on even if I didn't have a young child with me.

Alrighty then. I hoisted The Boy piggy-back style and set out to the left. He chatted observationally in my ear as I plodded. The sun shone, the breeze blew, I perspired. We stopped to rest briefly on a grassy expanse. One car passed us going the opposite direction. I still wasn't sure we were going the right way.

Then boom! A sign from above! Actually it wasn't from above at all. It was on the side of the road and indicated the entrance to the park was only a mile up the road. Miraculously I had chosen the right direction the first time! I was momentarily thrilled until I remembered I'd be walking that mile with a child on my back.

The concept of perseverance has been ruminating loudly through my head these days. Life tosses curves and leaves it to us to decide how to proceed. To dance. To flee. To stroll. To leap. To crawl when necessary.

One thing is certain: whatever a moment holds, good or bad, it, too, shall pass. It's good to absorb the view along the way.


February 26, 2006

Meltdown, Mount Vesuvius Style

My composure evaporated this weekend. In the worst possible way.

It was over a piece of paper. Well. Not really. The paper was but the trigger. Not even the paper itself, just mere mention of it.

We have a family investment club. It is the brainchild of my recently deceased stepfather. Only one of us, my stepbrother, shows any deep interest. He really gets into it. But the rest of us keep plugging along because it is supposedly good for us to learn about the stock market and it helps our geographically-challenged family maintain regular contact. That's a good thing. But mostly we participate because it makes made Hal happy.

Much work is involved. Officers have administrative assignments and everyone is supposed to contribute to stock evaluations and tracking. Since his death, the club has been in a holding pattern. We tried to have a meeting but couldn't do any real business because the Treasurer did not produce the required reports. It was decided we should take a month off to give everyone a chance adjust to our new situation.

So everyone got a month off. Except for the Treasurer, who not only needs to catch up on the reports but also must file the club's federal tax return. The members cannot file their own personal tax returns until the individual K-1 forms, part of the club's return, are provided by the Treasurer.

(You folks bored yet? Still awake? Nothing like a dull recitation about taxes to turn off an audience, that's what I always say. I should hurry and get to the good part. And I would. If there was a good part.)

If you haven't surmised by now, I will clue you in that I am our club's Treasurer. When my mother asked me for the trillionth, quadrillionth, megazillionth time if I had her K-1 done because she absolutely positively had to have it immediately, well, I lost it. "The fucking thing is not even due until March 15!" I screamed with a quavering voice as tears threatened to overwhelm me.

Verbatim. From my mouth into my mother's one good ear. I used the word "fuck" in various forms several times during my diatribe, ignoring the alarmed warnings Wendy projected as she tried to catch my eye. I ranted at my grieving mother about that damned K-1 form for fifteen minutes before running out of steam. My face got red, my nose ran, tears leaked out. I paced. I threw my arms in the air. I think I even pounded the table with my fist.

Oh yes, me at my finest. A proud moment indeed. I should be shot.

It wasn't about the stupid form. It was about the toll the strain of the time and emotion expended to support my mother and be there for her has had on me. How was she to know that every time she asked about the form it inspired feelings that, although I have been doing my damnedest, I'm still not doing enough?

I'll make the deadlines for filing all the forms. But there will be little satisfaction of a job well done. It will be more like a sour note of finality because no matter when I get it done, Hal still won't be here.

It's finally sinking in.
He's gone.

I miss him.


February 24, 2006

Going to the Chapel

We're going to my mom's this weekend. But Friday night, we'll be in scenic Lynchburg, Virginia. A diverse quartet of ladies is converging there to see RMWC's presentation of The Vagina Monologues. A certain senior, a young lady near and dear, is representing the Angry Vagina. Or so I'm told. While I hate to make stereotypical assumptions, odds are good that Wendy and I will not be the token lesbians in the audience at this all-women's college. Even in Virginia. Woot.

Vagina is not a word that comes up often in polite conversation. The mother of the acting Angry Vagina, my friend Tina, is a bit apprehensive. I think it's safe to say the V-word had never passed between us prior to this event. But we both have one, so what's the big deal? I dunno. But it is. Silly me.

The real kicker to this outing, the thing that makes me chuckle inside because I find it ironic, outrageous and fitting all at the same time, is that the performance is being held in the campus chapel.

Wendy and I have never seen The VM. (See? I'm not really even comfortable typing the V-word. I need to grow up and be more like Kristina. She's fine writing such words and oh, oh so many more.) I'm looking forward to the show. Breaking a barrier. Bonding with friends. Girl power and such.

Vagina vagina vagina.
Vagina vagina vagina.
Vagina vagina vagina.

I'm more comfortable already.


February 23, 2006

Teach Your Children Well

There are many things my mother taught me. There are many things my mother did not teach me. One thing she never taught me is the how when where why and what of cleaning dust from a lampshade. I had to learn that for myself.

You may exclaim, "Ridiculous! The how when where why and what of cleaning dust from a lampshade is always one of the first skills taught to a daughter by her mother!"

Or perhaps you may snicker, wondering why I think special training is required for such a simple task as cleaning lampshades. Is that pity in your eyes? Good. Because I kid you not. For the longest time I did not even realize lampshades were something that could be effectively cleaned.

Don't get me wrong. My mother's lampshades have always been immaculate. It's mine that were a mess. I lived for years in ignorance. I'd watch the dust and dog hairs collect as three dimensional sculptures emerged, angelic and fluffy yet with a diabolical air. The lamplight grew ever dimmer despite higher wattage bulbs. Oh sure, I'd dab at it here and there with the duster (not effective), apply a damp sponge (really not effective), I even tossed them in the tub with a splash of Woolite (seemed like a good idea at the time). Out of sheer apathy frustration, I learned to live with those layers, opting to call it part of my decorating scheme.

But I didn't like it. I mean, who would? I'm not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy dust-free surfaces.

As an empty-nester, I finally had enough free time on my hands to address this important issue. I wrapped my logical mind around it and figured out how to effectively keep our lampshades looking presentable. No no, the solution was not to eliminate them from our abode. It also wasn't to wrap them in plastic. The technique I now employ has been deemed, by me of course, a family secret. It is simple and effective, perhaps the same technique passed down by mothers to daughters everywhere. Just not by my mother to me.

Now if I could just get a handle on practical upkeep for venetian blinds. Can anyone pass me a clue?


February 22, 2006

Pimpin' for Trish

One of my regular reads, Trish at Busted Stuff, won $200 for submitting what was judged as the best Rant of the Day to Everyday Hogwash. Sweet! $200 for ranting. I heart America.

By virtue of that win, she's now in their weekly contest with a prize of $1,000. One thousand American dollars. Sweeter!

Let's help her win! Cast a vote for her rant entitled "Frustration in 18 Easy Steps". It'll only take a second. Voting ends at midnight on February 24. There's no time to waste!

Thank you and have a nice day.


February 21, 2006

Intimacy Simplified

"Love doesn't always necessitate intimacy, and those we are the most intimate with are not always our partners. What does intimacy mean to you, and who do you find you are the most intimate with?"

Such a question is cause for pause and thoughtful rumination. Or is it? Perhaps it is as simple as the first thing that popped into my head upon reading it: if you've seen me cry, we're intimate.

Or perhaps it is even simpler, such as the second thing that popped into my head: if you and I are comfortable passing gas around each other, we're intimate.

Ayup. That's it. Farting and crying. It takes both. Preferably not at the same time. By that measure, I can count on one hand the people with whom I'm intimate.

They know who they are.
I'm damned fortunate they share my world.


February 20, 2006

It's a Word Thing

I'm a bit late to the blogging bandwagon of the Johari window. But here it is, the Johari window of this Suburban Lesbian.

The concept is simple enough. Presented with a chart of descriptive words, I chose a handful of those I feel best describe me. Now it's up to you to do the same. Then we get to compare and contrast: who has the same perception of my personal qualities that I do? Or better yet, do you see something I do not?

The interesting part to me and why I'm asking you to play along, is that most of you know me exclusively through this blog. I am curious how much of what I consider the Real Me comes through.

So humor me please.
Click and pick.
It'll only take a minute or two.
No registration required.

Tip o'the hat to Jennifer and Cris, who almost simultaneously introduced me to this activity. Yeah baby. I hope it was good for you two, too.


February 16, 2006

My Shallow Side

Allow me to present the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models.

Of note, every single one of these women has long hair.
Why of note?
I dunno.
You know me.
I never think about hair.


February 15, 2006

Mellifluous Baritone

The Boy's voice never fails to awe me. His songs in Urinetown showed off his low range, much to my delight. There is just something about a smooth rich baritone that sends shivers up my spine. Not to say I don't appreciate his upper range also, but I adore the low stuff. The Boy can sing. The show, brimming with social commentary and delicious satire, amused and delighted on many levels.

Performances ran for one weekend only which meant The Boy's father and stepmother would be in town the same time we were. That is only a problem because I am selfish. Wendy and I resolved that by arriving Friday night so we could have The Boy all to ourselves for a bit.

I've bemoaned the relationship "issues" The Boy and his father have had. So when my son informed me his father was taking him grocery shopping Saturday instead of us taking him, only a brief flash of envy washed over me. And the old man could foot the bill this time! It occurred to me grocery shopping with his father would be a bonding experience. The Boy's love of cooking mostly came from him. I don't know if they know it, but I do: they share culinary styles. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the Harris Teeter.

After the show Saturday evening, we saw his father in the theatre lobby. Surprisingly (why that is surprising is a tale for another day perhaps), he left his wife's side and came toward us. And there it was. The thing that had been missing the last few times we'd seen each other. Excited, his face was aglow with an open smile, pride and delight shining in his eyes as he exclaimed, "He was amazing!"

Not to say his father has not always been proud of him. He has. How could he not? The Boy is incredible. But pride is a multi-lane highway. It's easy to take the wrong exit and get lost on a side street.

But it seems they are both back on the freeway now. Maybe even travelling in the same automobile. That pleases me more than I can say.


February 14, 2006

Nothing Says Love ...

... like a heart-shaped ribeye.

February 10, 2006

Heading South

Our weather forecast finally has a hint of snow in it. So what do we do? Do we do what we've been wanting to do since winter began? Do we hang around and wait with bated breath for the fluffy flakes to arrive? Do we anticipate with great joy staying snuggled in our living room with our pups and a roaring fire in the fireplace? Do we inspect our snowshovels to ensure they are ready for their first use this season?

Oh no no no. Not this time. Instead we'll get in the car and head south. It's show time for The Boy again.

He is appearing as Officer Lockstock in Urinetown, a musical comedy. Urinetown. Who came up with such a name? It's the first musical in which he has performed that the music will be unfamiliar to us. He burned us a CD over Christmas, but it promptly got scratched. One of life's mysteries.

With song titles like "It's a Privilege to Pee," I sense the humor will appeal to me.

Has anyone reading ever seen the show? For that matter, how many of you enjoy and attend live theatre?

We'll be back before the snow melts. Hopefully.
Maybe we'll even get to shovel!


February 9, 2006

Hair Validation at the DMV

Hello and welcome to yet another edition of Suburban Lesbian Talks About Her Driver's License and Her Hair. We'll wrap up this week's theme by discussing how the individual threads running amok through my life, and therefore my brain and my keyboard, merged together into the same lane. They bumped, albeit briefly.

Wait! No! Don't run away! I promise this is the last post about my hair. Well. At least until the next time. Some people feel I'm a bit hair-obsessed these days.

This story starts at the DMV. That's the Division of Motor Vehicles for those unaware. No one I know looks forward to going to the DMV, but Virginia's DMV is fairly efficient considering the number of people it serves. That doesn't stop my whining about having to go.

First stop is at the info desk. There you state your needs, are provided with appropriate paperwork and issued a number. You take a seat in the vast waiting area, fill out the paperwork, and wait for your number to be called.

The info lady manning the desk smiled as I approached.

I confidently looked her right in the eye, smiled back and, like it was not something either shameful or embarrassing, boldly said, "My license was suspended and I'm here to get it back." I tried not to cringe as the words rolled out of my mouth. They didn't taste very good.

The smile melted off her face like ice on asphalt in August. She looked down her nose with a sneer and flung the appropriate paper and my number at me. I slunk off to join the other sheep in the waiting area.

Along one wall are stations which each have a display above them that flashes the number of the customer being served. A calm female voice periodically calls out a number and station assignment: "Now serving E606 at window number 10." It's almost soothing. For the first 10 minutes or so.

My number was called 45 minutes after I arrived. I hastened to my assigned station, sizing up the woman behind the counter as I approached. Would she sneer at me too?

She was of grandmotherly age, overweight with long gray hair. Except for her bun. The bun on top of her head was tawny. Yes, she had a bun and long hair hanging down. Her expression screamed "attitude" but exactly what attitude remained to be seen. She lackadasically applied her Neutrogena hand lotion and recapped the tube as she read her computer screen. Glancing up, she gave me the once over and said, "So what kind of trouble did you get yourself into, young lady?" Her wry sense of humor made the whole humiliating process more bearable.

The paperwork with my old license and passport clipped to it made its way to the lady at the photo station. She called my name and as I approached, she was looking at my old license. Then she looked at me.

"Wow," she said. "Your hair is so much prettier now than it was when this old photo was taken."

As I departed the DMV, I sported a large grin. Not only because I was legal again but because some stranger complimented my hair.

I am such a simple woman. A simple woman who is now done talking about her hair. Until the next time. You have been warned.


February 8, 2006

Sports Void

We've arrived again.
Arrived at that time of the year.
That time of the year with no football and no baseball.

Damn I wish we enjoyed basketball.
*heavy, deep, long drawn-out dramatic sigh*

No, the upcoming Winter Olympics and that World Baseball Classic, while potentially entertaining, don't count. They're not what I want.

I'm cranky.
Just leave me alone to pout.


February 6, 2006


Bet you didn't realize you're reading the blog of a Suburban Outlaw. But you are. Since December 7, 2005, I've been a renegade.

But I'm legal again so I will share the shame tale of my Outlaw Days. It's been a deep dark secret I've kept to myself. Well. Wendy knew. But I swore her to secrecy. We spit on our palms and shook hands to seal the deal. Swapping spit with Wendy is a favorite pasttime.

It all started back in November 2005. On my birthday. Remember the present I received from a kindly stranger? I did what I thought I was supposed to do: paid the fine by the due date.

Perhaps I should have been alerted my violation was special upon receipt of a letter advertising attorneys local to the county where I had been ticketed. Didn't tip me off, oh no it didn't. See I'm not really up on how legal things work. I had not had a traffic violation or even been pulled over for at least seventeen years. Seventeen years! I fly low on the radar.

Imagine my dismay when I received a notice from the court that I owed another $185 on top of the $181 I had already paid and if they didn't receive it by December 22, my driver's license would be suspended! What what what! But I'd paid my fine! I read all the fine print on the notice but it explained nothing.

It's important to note this was right after my stepfather died. I had no time or energy to question it. I quickly scribbled a check and mailed it posthaste, writing it off as a very expensive lesson.

Then came the notice from the Virginia DMV dated December 28. It was in our stack of mail when we returned from the beach.

"Suzanne, you dumbshit!" it announced. "As of December 7, 2005, your driver's license was suspended due to blah blah blah that damned ticket blah blah blah. The suspension runs through midnight February 4, 2006. After that date, you must present yourself at the DMV. Bring documentation proving you have a legal presence in the United States and Virginia. We will at that time gladly issue you a new license after we keep you waiting in a large loud room for at least an hour and take a horrible photo of you. As a bonus, you must pay a $115 license reinstatement fee."

Wow. After having held a Virginia driver's license for 26 years, I had to prove I have a legal presence in the United States and Virginia. Over a speeding ticket. Alrighty then.

So I was caught speeding. It's not good to speed. People should just slow the fuck down, especially me. The first check I wrote reminded me of that. The second check reaffirmed it. I know already, I know. My years of not getting caught adhering to the letter of the law and being a safe driver are evidently meaningless. One infraction brought the wrath of the system down on my head. Here in Virginia, we live in The Now. Sure we do.

And speaking of The Now, it's February 6. I did the crime and have done the time--which equated to letting Wendy drive when we went out together and being particularly careful when I drove on my suspended license. (Note to The Boy: do not follow my example should you ever find yourself in this position. Take the bus instead.)

I'm legal again and it feels good. Every citizen of the United States can rest easier knowing another criminal has been fairly punished and at least partially rehabilitated.

I hope you all sleep easier tonight.


February 5, 2006

Long-Haired Freaky People Need Not Apply

I don't really mean that. The invitation is extended for all people---especially long-haired freaky ones---to offer me insight on hair.

See, I'm letting my hair grow. It started because this Suburban Lesbian could not find fifteen minutes to visit the Hair Cuttery. Fifteen minutes is all it takes. The same woman has been cutting my hair for years. She's one of the few people I let get away with calling me Susan. She's fast. She knows how to cut naturally curly hair. Not every hair professional understands the nuances and intricacies of natural curl. I've had the bad cuts to prove it.

Many folks spend a small fortune visiting a salon. Not me. My haircut costs $14 and I tip my stylist $8. For $22 I get a great, fast cut. Works for me.

When I was younger I wanted long, straight hair so bad I could taste it. I fought my curls with blow dryers, irons, hairbrushes. It just grew like dandelion fluff. Then I matured and my inherent laziness took over. I learned to embrace my curls and love it short. It was so easy. Quick wash in the shower, a few spritzes of gel, run my fingers through it and voila! Done for the day.

The hard part was getting it cut every six weeks. The last time I visited the Hair Cuttery was on November 7. You can do the math. Wendy has encouraged me to grow it out a bit. Merely running my fingers through it is no longer enough to style it. Luckily Wendy doesn't mind sharing her hairbrush. My usual gel is no longer enough to control it. Luckily Wendy has a penchant for hair product and gleefully allows me access to her supplies.

How's this for pathetic: I've been late for work every day for the past two weeks because I have not adapted to the additional time it takes to deal with my longer hair.

I'm not sure I'm cut out to be so high maintenance. But maybe I just need some perspective. How long do you spend doing your hair each morning?


February 2, 2006

It's February 2nd

I know someone who still has their Christmas decorations up.
Yes. Even the tree.

Our rule is everything must be down before the new year begins.
Whatever it takes.

How can that person sleep at night?


February 1, 2006

Do I ♥ Sirius Satellite Radio?

I have my stepfather to thank for my love of talk radio. I didn't always love it, oh no. Man, I hated riding in the car with him when I was a youngster because he always had a fuzzy crackly AM station tuned to some boring talker. Bah.

I have, however, developed over the years a propensity for listening to talk radio myself. It had evolved. Or more likely I had. Hal graduated to Sirius Satellite Radio. My mom passed along his Sirius hardware and subscription to us since he's not using it any longer.

I'm still familiarizing myself, wending my way through the plethora of stations, mining for gold and discarding rubble. There's gold there, but yes there is rubbish too. Plenty.

The Raw Dog Comedy channel: Have you ever heard Chris Rock's comedy skit entitled "Race Wars"? Oh my god, if I had a nut I would have busted it. Gold.

Then there is, of course, Howard. I've been a fan of his for a long time and I do enjoy listening to his show on the way to work. The rest of what is broadcast on his two channels I have not yet found of interest. Gold Minus. I reserve the right to reclass at any given moment.

The one gay station I've happened across, OutGayQ or something like that: blech, blech and triple blech. Maybe I just haven't caught it at the right time. Rubbish.

Court TV satisfys the crime junkie in me. E! broadcasting "true life" celebrity stories can be entertaining. Current event and political talkers are worthy of a pause depending on their topic. Gold.

The number of music channels in all styles, genres, eras, you name it. Bonus points for the artist and song title on the hardware display. Gold Plus.

All the sports news, talk and games a girl could want to hear: Gold. But I am quite chagrined that Sirius does not broadcast any baseball. Bah.

Not driving out of the range of any given station: Gold.

I briefly paused on the Martha Stewart Channel the other day, a gentle female voice broadcasting: "So your yams are baking in the oven but you'd really like to warm the dinner plates before serving your guests. What is a hostess to do? Take a hint from Colonial women: stack your plates on a rack by the roaring fire. Blanketing them in a soft towel will keep them clean and fresh. The towel will also serve as a tent to keep in the warmth."

On that station, my jury is still out.
Sure. Sure it is.