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Woman Still Standing (in front of a jazz band)

(This was supposed to be on my main blog, not my humor blog. Moving it now.)

It’s been seven years since I wrote the only blog I’ve ever had go viral. (Let’s not argue about the definition of “viral.” It was read by thousands of people on each inhabited continent, and I got comments from people who don’t know me or my friends or their friends. I’m calling it viral!) The blog was about how I went from being the lead trombone player in the California state honor high school jazz band to dropping out of jazz three years later before I finished my music degree. And it was about how I was going to start a jazz improv class for girls. It’s been seven eventful years to say the least, and I thought it was past time for an update.

As promised, I did start my jazz class in the summer of 2016. I had four sign-ups right away, and that soon turned to six. We talked about chord spelling and voice leading, we learned songs and played them along with the iRealPro app, and we listened to women jazz instrumentalists on YouTube. Some men, too. We played games like “What color was I thinking of while I soloed” and “What Marvel character was I thinking of while I soloed.” We laughed a lot. We were about to have our first woman president in the U.S., and I thought I would soon be changing the numbers in the all-state honor band and beyond. It was all happening!

The group didn’t grow bigger than that, and we were sorely disappointed about the president thing (understatement of the century) but I was proud of myself. Starting things is not in my nature. We loved our time together at Music To My Ears, the music store where most of the girls took private lessons on their instrument. I didn’t seem to be able to recruit beyond that.

I was also getting my own jazz chops back in shape after 20 years of almost all classical–not even gigs, just keeping-in-shape classical for teaching lessons. I had been mostly being a mom and not thinking about gigging. Then, totally coincidentally, in the beginning of 2017 a guy from my church asked me to play with his band. For the next two and a half years I had a blast with the jazz girls once a week and gigging with that band a couple times a month and soon a couple times a week. Five-piece soul/blues/jazz group. I was the only woman.

Even though I was the only woman, none of the men in the group caused me any problems. In fact, they made sure to tell everyone about jazz girls, including the times we were interviewed on a local radio show and on a cool podcast about local bands. I gushed about these guys. I loved the original music and I loved traipsing around the county finding venues from seedy bars to fancy wineries to rich-people yards. I sometimes hated my solos, but I felt like I was back where I was meant to be. I loved the unquenchable creative drive. I loved the guys themselves. Outside of my family, they were the people I saw the most.

If you read my 2016 blog, you may recall that when I quit college jazz so many years ago, the nail in the jazz coffin was something I couldn’t divulge because it involved very personal information about people other than me. Well here we go again, only this time I didn’t quit. I got a phone call after two and a half years of showing up on time and never having any complaints about my playing, and I was told not to show up for that night’s gig. And once again, I can’t tell the story because it involves personal information about someone else in the band. It would make a gripping novel, too. Alas… So all I will tell you is that, to a person, everyone I’ve told the details to has said, “They would not have kicked you out for that if you were a man.” Men and women alike tell me that. This was almost four years ago now and I still can’t wrap my head around it.

I was not nice in my text goodbyes to them. I was not nice on social media about them. But I did not tell the details of what happened much as I wanted to. Within weeks I was writing songs and looking for members to make up my own band. Even though I am not good at starting things. I’d had a taste of the music I wanted to be playing, and besides, I needed to channel my anger into action. I decided on an all woman band. Because I was SICK of being the only woman. It took me months to find kickass musicians (no one could think of a single woman in the county who played guitar or drums?) and I wanted to give up many times, but when I finally found everyone (I decided to have a token man and even wrote a funk feature for him called Token Man) they looked so amazing on our brand new Facebook page and I couldn’t wait to rehearse with them. One more step–the process every musician dreads–the synching of schedules. We finally started to come up with some dates that might work. It was March of 2020.

I know the pandemic affected men, too. I know it affected a lot of people more than it affected me. But [expletive deleted]. I’d had so much trouble getting over getting dumped by my band–so much trouble persevering when I wanted to give up on songwriting and finding band members, and now this?

Jazz girls shut down. Everything shut down. Members of my new band quit music. Other members moved away. I gave private lessons over Zoom, which was surreal, but I was thankful to not lose the income and thankful to see my students’ faces. No one was gigging. Easter 2020 I played “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” on my trombone on my balcony and an unknown neighbor yelled “Thank you!” I auditioned for and got accepted as the applied trombone teacher for my local junior college. I finally got vaccinated. I played an indoor gig and worried about germs the whole time. Signed up to play a musical that got shut down before it opened because Covid went around the cast during rehearsals.

Now here it is seven years after starting jazz girls and I don’t have the heart to put together another band and I don’t really feel like gigging. I have done a couple jam sessions and a couple pit shows of Cabaret, but I just don’t feel settled in my own skin. I sold my horn to a student and got a freebie small bore horn from an old friend just to give lessons on. Meanwhile every year since I wrote that blog about only one girl being in the 2016 honor band there has either been one or zero girls in that same honor band. Every year. I am not good at starting things, but…

So I reached out to the jazz director at Sonoma State University. Can I have a room for jazz girls? Yes! And I reached out to friends and a member of The Ace of Cups and an employee at Healdsburg Jazz. Can you spread the word? Yes!

And now I just need parents to know we’re here, and I need them to understand the situation. I feel like I’m talking to myself sometimes. Your concert band girl CAN be great at jazz. I can teach her! Your jazz band girl IS great at jazz, but she’s going to face extreme sexism when she goes to college and beyond, and this class will be a source of connection, reassurance, jazz theory, and extra practice time. Recently a man who was in my college jazz band with me apologized for the way women in the program were treated. That was nice, but I fear girls today have the same road ahead. Being treated like potential mates and not considered real musicians. Being dismissed. Being bullied. Being assaulted. Then being apologized to twenty-five years later when they’re a nurse or whatever career they switched to.

I am terrible at recruiting. I see women doing great things across the country, from Terri Lyne Carrington and her work with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice to Lisa Linde and Jazzhers. These women somehow got big things going, and I don’t feel like I have what it takes no matter how much I want to. But…

Who else is going to do it?

Jazz Girls begins again in the fall of 2023, this time at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State. Wednesday nights from 7-8. Junior high and high school girls. Suggested donation of $10 per week, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Come and chill with other girls, geek out on jazz, and play solos at whatever level you’re at. Whether you only know your major scales or you’ve been reading chord changes for years. I’m terrible at recruiting, but maybe we can make it happen together.

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Why You Shouldn’t Let A.I. Write Your Blogs

You’ve seen the “I made my computer read every script from Alf and then write a screenplay” posts. Hilarious. I have seen them, too, and so when I started getting ads telling me that I should let Jasper the A.I. writing whiz write my blogs for me, I thought, “Wow, computers must be getting better!”

First of all, it’s silly that I was even getting these ads on Facebook. I don’t own a business. I AM the blog writer. I’m the one Jasper is going to replace. Somehow this is still less insulting than the barrage of makeup and weight loss ads I’d previously gotten. Take note people, deep down we’d rather lose our jobs than be body shamed! I’d rather you say “Hey beautiful,” as you flip a quarter at my cardboard box sidewalk home than yell “Hey fat ugly sasquatch,” at me from the gate to my mansion driveway. Deep down.

I digress. Anyway, I clicked on the video for Jasper, and as the announcer is talking about how fast Jasper is and how you only have to rephrase and edit, there’s a computer screen in the background with text appearing rapidly. The words are much too small to read, and the visual aid is quickly replaced by another.

However, with my high tech sleuthing skills, I replayed the video and screenshotted Jasper’s blog. I zoomed in. It was about space travel. Here are some things I learned about space travel from Jasper, with his great capacity for scouring the entire internet:

One. “Elon Musk needs another job, but never fear! He has the answer to all your space travel chestnuts.” I’m learning so much already! I would never have guessed that Elon Musk needed a new job or that I even HAD any space travel chestnuts. It’s a good thing Jasper told me I needed to work out my chestnut problem before I boarded my space flight! Can you imagine being miles above the Earth and suddenly you’re surrounded by floating chestnuts with no idea what to do about it? Thanks, Jasper!

Two. “A voyage on zero-g could ruin their insides like a shaking up a soda.” Okay I’m just going to skip right past the grammar issues and right to oh my God, who are THEY and what are they going to do?! Jasper doesn’t say! Is it the chestnuts? Is it the pilot? Is there any way to avoid this? Holy shit!

Three. “Space is Black and White so will need some classics on board for those long trips…what about Hollywood classics of our time?” Jasper has not told me how far we’re going, but until now I had assumed it was just Musk’s little day trip into orbit and back. Again, grammar aside, what in the great milky way is going on? If I’m going on a day trip, I’m making the most of the window seat! I’m not watching Matt Damon go to Mars when the entire continent of Africa is out the window. If I AM going farther, then I’m going to need a much longer blog.

A.I. blogs are for one thing and one thing only. Google USED to search sites for new content as part of its ranking method. Constant fresh content would get you higher on the page when people searched. But Google has had to get smarter. These days, real clicks, reads, shares, and links are what count, and no one is going to share Jasper’s space travel blog no matter how much you edit it.

Hire real writers. We take a little longer, but we actually care about your success, and we will never confuse your customers with space travel chestnuts.

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Windshield Witch

I should start by saying that on newfangled cars, when they put in a new windshield, they have to recalibrate the safety system, and they ask you before your appointment to make sure you don’t have anything heavy in your trunk. I hate the lane assist “safety” feature, but they have to set it and if you want to turn it back off, that’s up to you. Liability and whatnot, I guess.

Anyway, the windshield place I went to was far away from my house, so I didn’t ask anyone to pick me up, I just waited there. There was a big window in the waiting room, so you could kind of see the work going on in the garage. After two hours, I noticed that they were just starting to remove my old cracked windshield. Ugh. Oh well, staring into space is one of my talents. I also had my phone.

I was surprised how the windshield cracked a hundred directions when the guy ripped it off. He had everything but one corner ripped away when it seemed to get stuck. He yanked on it for a while and then set it back in place. A few minutes later, another guy came and they ripped it off together. Shortly after that, I noticed the first guy glancing at me every few seconds. At first I thought it was a “Why is that weird woman watching us work?” look. Well, he was more interesting than the ESPN interviews on the TV up in the corner, so I just kept watching him. Later I realized he had probably already checked to see if there was anything heavy in the trunk.

Meanwhile, the office dude said I could give him my payment info if I wanted to.

Like a badass bitch, I said, “I’ll give that to you when the work is done.”

He was totally fine with that.

Not long later, the car was done, and the office guy said, “There WAS some scratching when the windshield came off, so just take it to a body shop and send us the bill. It will probably be about sixteen hundred.”

I know accidents happen, but I didn’t relish the thought of another day wasted at a car appointment. If my car weren’t leased, I would have just driven around with it scratched. But I don’t want to get charged when I return the car after three years.

I walked out of the office and into the garage, where a guy said, “Can you give us a minute?” No one’s supposed to come in the garage, of course, and they wanted to pull the car outside.

I said, “No.” I took pictures of the scratches with the wall of the shop visible in the background.

To the office guy, I said, “Could you please email me what you said about billing you?”

He said the information would be on the invoice.

I said, “Could you still email me what you said about billing you?”

He printed out the invoice. “Huh, I don’t know why it’s not on there.”

I raised my eyebrows. He handwrote the information at the bottom.

I said, “Could you also email one?”

He was not happy. “You have my signature right there.”

Meanwhile the windshield guy had come in to apologize. I said to the office guy, “An email I can just forward to someone. Could you please email it? Sorry, but I’ve been screwed TOO many times.”

Giving in, he looked at the computer. “Your email address is… Witchy warrior?”

Okay, it’s not exactly that because I don’t want to blog my email address, but it’s very similar.

I told the apologetic windshield guy that I wasn’t mad at him and that I wouldn’t even care about the scratch if the car weren’t leased. He apologized again anyway.

The office guy emailed me and I waited for it to come through to my inbox. Then I tried to hand him my card. He said, “Oh no, we’re waiving the fee since we scratched it.”

Witches’ money is no good there.

After I left, I was thinking how surprised I was that they told me about the scratch instead of hoping I didn’t notice it until it was too late to blame them. Then I realized that the look on the windshield guy’s face hadn’t been, “Why is that weirdo watching me work?” It had been, “Oh shit I think the woman with the giant neon pink ‘EACH YEAR 30,000 PREGNANCIES A YEAR RESULT FROM RAPE IN AMERICA’ Women’s March sign in her trunk saw me scratch her car.”

And then he came in and heard my email address.

Not how I would choose to spend a day again, but at least it ended with a cackle–er–laugh.

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Little Old Ladies

Well, I met them. The two little old ladies responsible for the stereotype of little old white-haired ladies being timid and helpless. They were at Bodega Head.

I’ve been cooped up in my house because everything indoors is closed due to Covid, and it’s too smoky to walk from your parking spot into the grocery store without bringing your own oxygen tank. But I’ve been watching purple air dot com to see when the air cleared at the coast, and it happened at noon today. I changed from my pajamas into better pajamas and hopped in my car, well aware that half the county was probably doing the same thing.

I’m an old enough woman that at the end of the forty minute drive I had to pee. This has made the pandemic a bummer because a lot of public bathrooms have been closed. When the coastal parks first opened back up, the bathrooms remained closed for a while, and I didn’t bother going then. But they’re open now, and I knew about the secret bathrooms on the inland side of Bodega Head and went to that parking lot first. Only three cars! I got my toilet paper out of the back seat (can’t be too careful) and walked through the glorious 20 AQI air to the bathrooms.

“Closed for repair.”

Mother of… I’d have to go to the crowded parking lot. Hopefully THOSE were open, or I’d be going right back home. The main lot was almost full, but I did find a spot and could see that the door to one of the two bathrooms was wide open. Thank the Creator! I got my toilet paper and put on my mask.

About six feet away from the doors stood two frail-looking white-haired ladies with no masks on. I looked at them like “Are you going in there?”

One of them said timidly, “The note says not to use the lock or you’ll get stuck in there forever.”

Sure enough, there was a big hand-written note taped to the inside of the door that said, “Do NOT use this lock unless you want to be stuck in there FOREVER.” I said a silent prayer for the person who necessitated the use of that sign and looked incredulously at the faces of the women, who looked like they truly believed they might get stuck in there FOREVER. Like their friend wouldn’t go get help if they got locked in.

When I was younger, I didn’t think much about this stereotype, but now I know enough to know that those women MUST have faced scarier situations than getting stuck in a bathroom with your friend right outside. If they had children they certainly had during childbirth. And they appeared to be there with husbands, so even if they hadn’t had kids, you know they’ve spent a night or two in a fart box.

I said, “Oh it looks like they duct taped the door so it can’t latch.” Because they had. It didn’t look like the women were going to go in anyway, so I went in myself, figuring they’d be there to tell someone not to barge in through my unlatched door while they waited for the other bathroom.

I used my toilet paper in one hand to open the door and my toilet paper from my other hand while I was in there, and when I went to push the door open with my foot, the door opened on its own. An old man looked at me with surprise. I looked at the old ladies with disgust. Apparently they don’t know that rule where you tell someone not to go in a bathroom when you know someone is in there.

I walked back past the cars and down a 20-foot path through iceplant to a little ledge where I like to do tai chi. I’m usually there around 7 AM and have the place to myself, but I forced myself to do it even with people right behind and above me. The old ladies and their men were up there looking out at the crashing waves beyond me. I stood in wu chi (good energy) and practiced snake creeps down and some circling exercises, and as I half squatted in wide wu chi I thought to myself, “I bet they’re jealous I can hold this for 90 seconds,” a less than “good energy” thought for which I will probably be struck with Covid from their stupid old maskless mouths.

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Traditional Vows Renewed

Let’s face it. After a few years of marriage, you realize those vows were a little vague. Here’s a more airtight version you might consider for your first vows or your renewal vows. You can thank me later.

I ______, take you ______, to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife/spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward except on the days when one of us fucking just needs some space, not to exceed three days a week. For better, for worse, unless you purposely caused the “worse,” in which case we’re going to have a serious talk, and even if it wasn’t purposeful but you just keep making the same blunder over and over and my friends are starting to shake their heads in pity. For richer, for poorer, as long as the poorer isn’t caused by a gambling or shopping addiction. In sickness and in health, because I’m not a monster, but you better not be faking it in order to get out of cleaning before your mom comes over. To love and to cherish, including but not limited to one back rub and three compliments per day, and they don’t count if you’re doing them to make up for some dumbass comment you made about me when you thought I was still outside watering the plants. Forsaking all others, which does not mean I’m not going to leave for “sibling weekend,” and obviously I will still have lunch dates with Taylor, you know our relationship is totally platonic and I’ve known them longer than I’ve known you. Til death or breaching of this contract do us part.

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Shelter in Place Standup

Do you like my shelter in place mullet? I cut it myself. I actually have a secret about my mullet. I started cutting my hair myself seven months before the shelter in place. Everyone’s posting pictures of their terrible quarantine haircuts and I’m posting mine like “OMG you guys isn’t it horrible how we can’t go to the salon?” I fit in for once. But no, what really happened was that last August my hairdresser moved away at the same time I happened to lose some income and I decided that no sane hairdresser would give me the mullet I’d wanted for a while and so I decided to do it myself. I’d had a really nice pixie cut. And it was just getting to mullet status when the salons all had to close. My friends on social media all knew about my mullet. I was proud of it. I posted pics asking whether it was long enough to be called a mullet yet. And finally, finally my friends declared it a mullet, and the coronavirus hit. Mere coincidence? Anyway, now I fit in, in this world of bad haircuts. Miley Cyrus got a mullet a couple months ago and she got an article about her calling her a trendsetter. I beg your pardon. I saw it coming two years ago. You can search my Facebook memories. I called it, and I started growing it out. I didn’t get an article.
There are some nice things about not feeling like you’re pretty. You can grow a mullet and not feel like you might be ruining anything. You can not shave your legs. I mean what the hell. I say it’s because I think it’s a part of infantalizing women, and it is,  but if I thought I were pretty, would I really choose that hill to die on? One good thing about knowing you’re not pretty is that you will never be catfished. The other day I got a comment on a post by a guy whose last name, according to his page, is Phish. P H I S H. And I’m ready for him. If he starts in telling me I’m pretty, I will see right through it. If he says “Hey I noticed your profile pic,” I’ll say “Sure you did.” It’s right in his name.  I mean, his first name wasn’t  cat-related or anything. Like Tom, or mean little a-hole. I have a pretty friend who fell for one of these fakers. They started an online “relationship,” and after a while, he asked for nudes. The next day he was blackmailing her. Since she’s a badass she told him to go to hell. See, it never would have gone that far with me because the guy would have given me a line about how I was beautiful and I would have laughed him all the way back to MySpace. Anyway this guy’s last name is supposedly phish, and I’m ready for him.
I never had a MySpace. I’m so behind on technology that by the time I joined the social media world MySpace was a thing of the past. I’m still on Facebook. I figure I might as well ride it all the way down and join whatever is happening then instead of jumping from newest thing to newest thing. Facebook is my jam. There are some great, innovative shelter in place videos out there. I don’t know how to do any of that. People are playing multiple characters and splicing the videos together somehow. They LOOK like regular people, but it seems like they must be some sort of geniuses to me. I’m writing a standup routine in a free version of a WordPress blog with no pictures because I can never get them where I want them, to be performed in my living room in one spot. One take. One outfit. No magical wardrobe changes. I was thinking of wearing a powder blue tux. Or shoulder pads. They’d go with my mullet.
My mullet which may or may not have brought about the whole Covid19 debacle. Actually, if I did start the pandemic, it wasn’t because of the mullet, it was because of a wish I made. Last August i got kicked out of a band, and I was mad, and I wished that no one would ever hire them again. I expected the whole Bay Area to be mad on my behalf. I mean is that too much to ask? A couple million people can’t hold a simple grudge for someone they barely know? What is the world coming to? Anyway, I got kicked out and lost that income and started cutting my own hair, and I wished for them to never get hired, and I started putting together my own band. And it was going to be better than my old band. I took my time assembling it like a bunch of superheroes. It wasn’t easy because I wanted all women. I was done with being the only woman in bands. I found the singer based on the recommendation of a trusted guru of a voice teacher. Hired her voice unheard. I called one old friend from college and one old friend from teaching. I asked around about a woman drummer and the woman I knew as a woodwind teacher at the music school I teach at turned out to be primarily a percussionist. She was like that one member of the superhero team who’s trying to hide the fact that she has a superpower. It took me a couple months,  but finally we started trying to nail down a date for our first rehearsal, and the coronavirus hit and the county closed down. I moped for a long time before realizing with horror that my wish had come true. My old band wouldn’t be getting hired, and neither would I. It’s like that old episode of Fantasy Island when some dipshit wishes to be Marie Antoinette without realizing what happens to her in the end. Those who don’t know their history are doomed if they ever visit Fantasy Island.
So yes I’m writing this in an antiquated blog while random families of five in the outskirts of some Kansas town I’ve never heard of are recreating Hamilton, with the baby playing King George or some shit. I’ll be lucky if I remember to hit record.
Thank you, I hope you’ve enjoyed the mullet in all its homegrown glory. You’ve  been a great audience!

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A Trip to the Store for Toilet Paper (Pandemic Edition!)

I didn’t hoard. “The shelves will get restocked before we finish our twelve rolls,” I told myself.
Eight rolls later, I started getting a little nervous, so this morning I got up after three hours of sleep to get to the grocery store at opening. Well, not opening, but opening for non seniors. I was the first non senior in the door.
Donning my stylish latex gloves on my hands and forest green long sleeved tee around my face, I pushed my cart directly to the paper aisles.
No, don’t shit! Don’t have your period! One square for pee!
Fairly sure my “mask” wasn’t doing anything other than threatening to slip and rub against my eyeball, I headed for the bakery and scored the dessert my daughter wanted.
Next on my list was soup. Technically they did have some cans, but nothing anyone in my family would eat if they weren’t starving. I skipped the soup.
“I’m definitely going to need my tai chi today,” I thought.
You see, I have gone from tai chi once or twice a week to every day without fail. I might not be able to control the virus or the government or the idiots still going to church, but I can fucking caress the moon. I can snake creeps down, and I can hug the fucking imaginary tree.
They didn’t have fake butter for my lactose sensitive husband or pedialyte pops for my daughter. Real butter and pedialyte juice it is. A different brand of peas. A lesser flavor of ice cream.
As I was walking out the door, a man yelled “Ma’am?” He was trying to tell an older woman that she had forgotten her groceries. She looked embarrassed and said “I was trying to get out so fast.” I think she called herself an idiot. I should have told her that I’ve done that even in normal times. Because I totally have.
At home, I washed my hands, threw my jacket, sweatshirt, jeans, and “mask” directly into the washer, and put away the groceries in my tee shirt and underwear.
And that’s when I noticed. My legs look fucking amazing from all the stress tai chi. And isn’t that what life is all about?

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How to Look Great at 73

It all started when I was watching Big Bang Theory and I saw Sheldon in his 73 shirt.

I was born in 1973, so I ordered myself a copy of Sheldon’s, just for fun. It is reminiscent of Dr, Seuss’s Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts, so when I wear it to a gig, the bass player calls me Thing 73.

Well, last week was my mom’s 73rd birthday. I thought it would be cute if I was wearing the 73 shirt when I picked her up for brunch. She chuckled. When I got home I snapped a selfie of just me. Now I don’t wear makeup, but I took one look at that thing, slapped some concealer on the dark circles under my eyes, and retook the selfie.

I posted the selfie on Facebook with the following text: “Went to Acre with Mom for her 73rd birthday.”

I thought all my Facebook friends knew me well enough to recognize me, but there’s one woman I’ve never met in real life who commented, “Wow I never would’ve guessed her age! Hope I look that good at 73!”

Okay, folks, I’m FORTY-FIVE.

There’s a reason I don’t use a picture of myself for my Facebook profile pic, and the reason is that when I did use my photo, and when I posted my feminist comments on public pages, I’d sometimes receive a disparaging remark about my looks from a man-troll.

So I already struggled with my self-esteem, I mean what woman doesn’t in our society just a little? I mean, I don’t mind being 45 and I don’t mind looking 45, but it doesn’t feel great to be asked if I qualify for the senior discount. But no! I was going to be part of informing people! I was going to be the change!

So I went to Twitter. Twitter, for those who don’t know, is where you can fix society with one tweet.

I wisely posted my picture again with the following text. “Took this of me for my mom’s 73rd. Someone said she looked great for 73. I want to hide away, but no. This is what 45 looks like. #NoMakeup #NoDye #NoBotox.”

I realized the #NoMakeup part wasn’t strictly true, but with only so many characters allowed on Twitter, why quibble?

There. Fixed society.

Logged in the next morning. Someone retweeted me! Here we go! I clicked to watch society changing! I clicked to see history in the making! I clicked for real women everywhere!

There was my tweet. There was my picture. There was the retweeter’s quote. “This is what a no-makeup person looks like at 73!”

I give up. I’m just going to tell people I’m 73. Don’t I look amazing?

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What to Worry About A to Z

There’s always something to worry about. I’m an expert. But how can I use my expertise to help others? I know! Here’s a list for those times you feel disconcertingly at ease. One of these things is sure to strike a chord and get you back to your usual panicky self.


Did you know that you can develop life-threatening allergies at any time? I had a friend who wasn’t allergic to bees, and then she was. She almost died. Next time you get stung, you probably will, too.


Falling trees kill a hundred Americans a year. Okay, that’s not as many as I thought it would be, but still, one of those hundred could be you. Tread carefully.


But if you don’t use those trees for shade, thereby avoiding the branches, you’ll probably get melanoma and die.

Car Accidents 

So you probably won’t get stung by a bee today, and you might not walk under trees, and melanoma won’t get you immediately, but chances are you’ll get in a car very soon. And you’ll probably die.

E. Coli

Did you eat today? Anything at all? It probably had E. coli on it. You’ll probably die.


Did you unplug the toaster? Are you sure? Did your neighbors unplug their toasters?

Global Climate Change

Hope you can swim.


You don’t even have to be near one. A stray bullet could come through your living room wall right now.


Breathe near the wrong mouse’s poop, and bam.


Is it supposed to turn that color around a cut? You know, some infections are resistant to antibiotics. This one probably is.


”Lisa, stay away from that jazz man!” When was Marge Simpson ever wrong?


I see you smirking at this list, Superman. Not so funny now, is it?

Legionnaires’ Disease 

Breathe while digging in the wrong soil or standing near the wrong water mister, and bam.


If you don’t get melanoma, there are plenty of other kinds of cancer. Do you feel fatigued a lot? You probably have leukemia. You’ll probably die.


Have you SEEN the list of side effects? If you take a medication, you’re probably going to die.

No One Likes You

You’ll probably die from one of the things on this list, and you’ll probably die alone.


The one animal you thought would never attack you, right? Think again. (Seriously. Google it.)


Is it true that no one likes you? When you tried to think of something to worry about that starts with “P,” all you could think of was “pee.” Are you paranoid to worry about what people would think of that? Will people think this blog is funny? Are you paranoid because you don’t want to go inner tubing on the river anymore because of that otter thing? There’s also that dangerous bacteria in the river sometimes. You should definitely worry about whether or not people think you are paranoid.


See above.


This is a handy one because strangers are almost everywhere. If you can’t find something to worry about, you’ve always got strangers. One seems to attack someone about every week in my town. And don’t think you can stay in your house with your doors locked to avoid worry, because you’re more likely to fall in your bathroom than be hit by a falling tree branch.


See above.




Still worrying about whether people think you’re paranoid? If worry doesn’t make everyone not like you, it will at least give you a heart attack or something. You should be worried about your worry.


I put this because I said it was A to Z. But now that I think about it…





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Why You Should Never Tell Anyone Anything Ever


I answered the phone. My parents are, of course, the only people who make actual phone calls anymore.

“How is your ear?” My mom asked. “Do you feel tired in general?”

“I think it’s mostly mental,” I said. “I’m just so tired of appointments.”

“Well you have to go.”

No shit. Note to self: Always say “I’m fine,” to Mom.

I was 18 when the movie White Men Can’t Jump came out. I remember exactly one thing from that movie. Rosie Perez and Woody Harrelson are in bed and Rosie says, “Billy I’m thirsty.” Billy (Woody) says he’ll get her a drink, and she gets mad because instead of offering to get a drink he should have said “I, too, have thirsted.” At 18 I thought this was ridiculous, and it kind of is, but I didn’t understand the truth behind the circumstance. Don’t get me wrong, I accept my mom’s help a lot, but people don’t always want to hear solutions. They want to hear, “That sucks.” Or in this case, “I, too, hate having eight doctor’s appointments in one month.”

I messaged a friend with my mom irritation. No reply.


I guess there’s no pleasing me. My mom said the wrong thing, and my friend said nothing at all, leaving me to feel like I’m a needy friend who messages complaints too much. I’m a terrible friend. And I’m a terrible daughter. My mom does so much for me! She brings me food and drives my kid places and takes me clothes shopping! Why can’t I keep my mouth shut?

The next day I ditched the doctor, because no one including my mom tells me what I have to do, and also it was going to be one of the last summery days at our Northern California beach.

Someone else texted me before I left for the beach. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m going to the beach instead of the doctor, and if I die of infection, oh well.”

A minute later I received MY TEXT QUOTED BACK TO ME, followed by, “Sorry, wrong button.”

“Did you just try to send my text to my sister?”

“I’m concerned about you.”

“Well please don’t do that.”

“Well when you talk about dying…”

“Okay, I won’t say things like that to you anymore.”


That is not the first time I’ve found out someone told other people what I’ve said to them. I’m keeping some doozies of secrets, people. It is possible. But what I’ve realized, rather late in life, is that if you don’t want everyone to know, don’t tell anyone. Not one person. I have considered going to counseling for the secrecy aspect, but 1) they don’t keep EVERYthing a secret, and 2) I know what they’d recommend, and the things they’d recommend that I want to do, I’m doing, and the things they’d recommend that I don’t want to do, I don’t want to do.

It turns out I’m a pretty good person to tell my stuff to. I never ignore myself, and if I say the wrong thing, I just tell myself to shut up.

So how am I? I’m fine. My ear is fine, my relationships are peachy, and life is fucking great.

How are you?


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