How Time Flies… And So Did I

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.01.30 AMHow time flies… and so did I.

In her autobiography, Good Morning, I’m Joan Lunden, Joan wrote, “4:30am comes around very early.” I couldn’t agreed with her more. A year ago this week, I got up at the butt crack of dawn, to attend my very first Pole fitness competition. I had only been pole-ing for six months, but I say go big, or get off the pole.

I rode my bicycle to the theater, as a feint drizzle fell onto the dark city streets, and onto my freshly flat ironed hair. I wondered if rain was good luck on competition days like it was supposed to be on wedding days.

Since day one, straddling a 45mm in diameter chrome pole had agreed with me. The world outside, with its stresses, noise, and ex-boyfriends, disappeared. My laser focus was on squeezing the bejesus out of a pole between my legs, without falling on my ass, or my head, onto the hard wood floor. My inner thighs were bruised, my knees looked like I had been whacked by the mob, and the tops of my feet were scratched and red. I was in love.

It had been a challenging and sad time, but somehow it motivated me to trot out my ‘to do’ list, which included activities that I had meant to explore but that had not yet found time. Now was the time.

When I started pole-ing, it was impossible for me to climb to the top. I would get frustrated and I couldn’t wait for the class to end. I shrugged off my inability by telling myself that it wasn’t something that I wanted to do anyway, and who cared. I wasn’t in it to become a professional poler, although secretly the thought had crossed my mind.

Some of my predilection for quitting stemmed from fear; most of the time it was fear. Would I be good enough? Couldn’t the first draft be the final draft; metaphorically and literally. The pole wasn’t any different. Why couldn’t I touch the ceiling on my first try? As a Pilates instructor, did I tell my clients who struggled with a particular exercise that they sucked and that they should quit and try Yoga? No. No, I did not. Why would I expect that from myself?

The following week I attempted to climb up the pole again, and after several tries, I made it to the top of the chrome behemoth. That climb was for every karate class, piano lesson, gymnastic team, tennis club, and acting workshop that I had quit.

The over 40 category was called the Master’s group. I thought that was a tad misleading. I wasn’t a master of anything- yet. I waited in line to check in, and I nervously watched women wearing leg warmers, and not much else, stretch, kick, bend and twist, as they warmed up. Was I really going to dance on a pole, half naked, on stage, in front of strangers? Unlike stand-up comedy, where I could hide behind jokes, and self deprecating humor, the pole was too thin to hide behind.

My fellow contestants practiced on the poles on stage, under the lights, taking turns, running through their routines. The space felt a lot bigger than the one around my pole in the middle of my living room, in my apartment. It was my turn, and I hummed the music in my head, while I kicked, straddled and threw my body around.

When I finished, I walked back to the end of the line, which moved slowly. I told myself that I didn’t have to run through my routine a second time. The beauty of getting older is knowing your patterns, if you’re paying attention and the lies that you tell yourself. If I did a poor job during the competition, I had an excuse. I could blame it on not having enough practice time. What kind of crack ass logic was that?

Nothing good, or productive, had ever come from that attitude, I know. I’ve tried. The quitting that I had done in the past flashed before my eyes. I got my booty shorts-wearing- pole-ing ass back on the stage and took another spin.

As sad and disappointing as it, the Pole was not going to be a new career move. Oh, sweet lost potential. A part of the struggle for me was realizing that not everything that I did, or tried, had to have a material, or financial, pay off. Doing something for the pure joy of it, was enough. I think it’s called a hobby.

I waited in the wings. I stared at the pole. My only job was to have fun— and not fall. I took the stage and danced my Masters heiny off. My body gyrated, and I slithered on the floor, without thinking about the choreography. I may have blacked out—hard to be sure.

I skipped offstage when I was done, adrenalin pumping, and a Master grin on my face. I heard the Stage Manager say, “Keep doing this.” Yes, I think I will.

When I got home and I changed clothes, I noticed that I had been wearing my booty shorts on backwards. I suppose the up side was that they weren’t also inside out. To my humble surprise, I placed second. Maybe I will consider a career move.

I’m Talking to Myself Out Loud Again

Writing

PhotoCredit:kateey.deviantart.com

Je t’aime, moi non plus

L’amour physique est sans issue, Je vais, je vais et je viens, Entre tes reins, Je vais et je viens, Et je me retiens, Non! Maintenant viens!

The song is on my iTunes rotation on my iPhone. I put it there a long time ago. However, when it blared through my earbuds, at 6:30am in the morning, on my way to work, it got my attention. I was on my bike, and so as not to become roadkill on the path, like how so many New York City rodents had met their maker, I was unable to reach my phone and hit fast forward.

I did not especially want to hear the song; not because it’s a bad song, it’s not. It’s romantic, and sex-errific. I didn’t want to hear it because it was our song, one of them anyway. And although there hasn’t been an our for nearly two years— whoa, where did that time go, it was too much to hear before sunup.

Time. The healer. The answer to most questions, problems and teenage acne. While time has passed, and people have moved on, (some actually on to people), a part of me seems to be frozen in time, and I have not, “Let it go.” Please don’t start singing that song, it give me hives.

In a certain, sort of essential way, I’m still in a pseudo- ish- relationship with my ex. Before you judge, or think me pathetic; first of all, do not judge lest ye, or she, be judged, and second, I have a good excuse.

I’m writing a book, The Girlfriend MomHow I Got Sucked into a Life with Children, And How I Learned to Love Every Sucky Part. (working title) It’s a real hoot and a holler, (at least I hope it will be) except when I have to relive the past, which is pretty much the whole time, since it takes place in the past. The point is, I’ve had to live in that world while I write, and it has not always been funsy and neat.

It’s still emotional, and there are connections, but what I’m not entirely sure about is why. Maybe it’s because I am straddling the two worlds; one where everyone, and everything, (relationships, clothes, cars), have remained the same, and one where every goddamn thing has changed, including, but not limited to, bedfellows, friends, family and footwear? Is the connected feeling because there’s still a connection? Oy.

To say that I’ve been a bit schizo during this process, would not be saying enough, nor would it paint the entire picture. I have had more imaginary conversations than an actual schizophrenic. No offense. Perhaps this is the plight of the creative. Perhaps when I type, The End, the voices and the dialogue will stop, and I’ll be able to buy a new pair of jeans.

Only that lady of the night, Time, will tell.

All Roads Lead to The Vagina

All Roads Lead To the Vagina

PhotoCredit:uartsy.com

I was at my dermatologist recently for my semi-annual skin check—don’t judge, I’ve had things.

I waited in the room for the doctor, wearing my poly blend gown, and browsed through the many pamphlets that were prominently displayed on the countertop. It looked like a friggin’ library.

Suck this out, laser that, freeze those and fill this. I hadn’t seen my doctor in, yes, six months, (that is the definition of semi-annually after all), and when my lady doctor entered the room, it was clear that she had taken a page, or three, from her own library of procedures. She looked as if she personally tested the products, and had been sucked, frozen and filled. I had a completely new doctor.

I have written about shooting up Botox, and one day soon, (very soon I’m guessing) I might write about fillers. At the same time, I think cosmetic altering is getting a wee ridiculous. I am speaking solely aesthetics here.

I give you vulva cosmetic surgery; not to be confused with vaginal rejuvenation. Although maybe it’s the same thing, I’m still trying to figure out what the hell the vulva is.

Some women want to make their vulva’s pretty, so they seek out corrective surgery, as if there’s something wrong with their vulva. What, like it’s keeping them up at night, like a deviated septum, so they get rhinoplasty? Is there actually a gold standard for the vulva? Is it supposed to be symmetrical?

Is mine symmetrical? Now I have to contort my body into a pretzel to see if my vulva veers slightly off to the right, like my nose does. After dinner, I’m going to throw my legs up around my head, sit on the floor in front of the mirror in my boudoir, while I watch America Ninja Warrior. I don’t want to miss the qualifying round.

Didn’t we just learn about the Clitoris? Can we take a moment to process the 411, before we get into (pun intended) the Vulva? Can we please give the vagina a day off?

Medical reasons are one thing, but those that want some manufactured vulva ideal are probably the same people, and I’m just spit balling here, that would seek out anal bleaching and taint (perineum) tightening, if given half a chance.

Go ahead ladies, alter your coos, if it will make you happy. I just want to know when I’m going to see brochures in my doctor’s office on the latest advances in penis enlargement. Let’s give equally to the male gender, offering cosmetic surgery to straighten crooked cocks. And when is that surgeon from Oslo going to develop a procedure that lifts the ball sack, like a facelift. Better yet, what about a testicle job, to turn those B balls into double D’s.

 

 

 

Open Heart Surgery Opened My Heart

heart surgery

PhotoCredit:green-mom.com

Nobody likes to see their parent’s lying in hospital beds, hooked up to blinking, ticking, and pumping machines, with a breathing tube down their esophagus.

Such was the scene this week when my daddio had open heart surgery; double bypass yo.

We had known about the surgery for a month, and my family went about their business, doing their work, and going to work, with little discussion about the impending surgery and what it would mean. Maybe it was a good thing- no time for dwelling, minds occupied and all that jazz (hands).

On D-day, I met my parents at the hospital at a very early 6:30AM. As we waited for my dad to be admitted, my mother played scrabble on her Kindle, and I engaged my dad in a conversation about potential stocks to buy and the latest comments made by the idiots running for President; neither subjects I was especially interested in, especially at the butt crack of dawn. I had to talk, and my dad had to make suggestions and offer his opinions. It’s what we do when we’re nervous.

After 45 minutes of listening to Little People, Big World, loudly play in the background, my father’s name was called and he was brought back to a room to change his clothes. In his absence, my mother and I discussed where we were going to eat lunch, once the procedure was in full bloom, and we had four or five hours to kill.

My brother arrived a little while later, and before he even sat down, he started complaining about the traffic on the Hutchinson Parkway, wondering why there were so many people having surgery, (evidenced by the crowded waiting room), and upset that my mother didn’t stop off for her coffee (that she was now jones-ing for) on their way into the hospital; like my brother had. That’s what he did when he was nervous.

Fifteen or so minutes later, the three of us were brought in to see my father. He was sitting in a large medical recliner, which my mother said would be great for the house– just cause. He was stylishly dressed in his hospital apparel; gown, robe and grippy socks. It was quite the ensemble.

Topics were bandied about, jokes told, sarcasm, critiques and judgements about this or that, and this one and that one. My mother plucked my brother’s ear hair with tweezers that she pulled from her purse, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I snapped photos for posterity (or blackmail) and we laughed. Hard.

That was until my father brought up what I had dreaded ever hearing from him. “If anything happens, please take care of your mother, and please be kind to each another.”

My brother and my mother brushed it off, not wanting to entertain his directive; but I was different. I wanted him to have peace of mind before his chest was cracked open. I’m funny that way. I assured him that we would all be okay, and that he didn’t have anything to worry about.

Of course my brother and I would take care of our mother. In some ways, that had already begun. And as much as my brother and I never got along, and don’t have much of a relationship today, I know that I can count on him, and I hope that he feels the same about me.

There was a brief moment, lasting less than a minute, when silence permeated the room. This was it. The four of us. This was how we started, before the extended family, husbands, wives, friends, and grandchildren; and this could potentially be where it ended. And something about that calmed me. This was how it was supposed to be.

These three people, with their many, many, many, flaws, were my family… god help me.

 

A MILF MOMENT

A MILF Moment

PhotoCredit:Poundingtherock.com

I went out to dinner with my Girlfriend Mom daughter the other night. When we were done, we strolled to the front door, and exited onto the rained soaked sidewalk.

She suddenly turned to me aghast, “Did you hear what that guy said?” I didn’t know what she was talking about. “What guy?” Displeased, she continued, “The guy we passed by the door said, ‘I’d fu-k that mom.’ ” I assumed that this person was referring to me, but then again, it was New York City and you never know.

How could I not have heard that? Sometimes I’m simply oblivious to my surroundings, because I’m hanging out with the deep thoughts swirling around in my head— on this occasion, I was thinking about what a great time I just had with my dinner date.

She continued, slightly annoyed, “Geez, at least he could have waited until we were outside.” I adored her bow to respectful behavior and class.

I focused on the mom part of this stranger’s shout out. Someone thought I was a mom— her mom? The word touched me more than hearing that he would fu-k me. I suppose it might sound odd coming from someone who is child-free by choice, but am I really child-free?

This is the beauty of being a Girlfriend Mom, or any other type of mom. There isn’t one way to label, or define us; neither with generalizations nor societal conventions.

I’m still untangling, and in the process, I try not to forget, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”

I hugged my GM daughter good-bye, strapped on my bike helmut, saddled up and pedaled off down tenth avenue. At twenty-third street, I crossed over to the West Side Highway, turned onto the bike path, and said to no one in particular— mom, and smiled.

Happy Father’s Day

PhotoCredit:NewYorkerMagazine

PhotoCredit:NewYorkerMagazine

Not only is this a repost, but it’s friggin’ late.

_______________________________

When I was a little Dani, about four or five years old, my father invented a character called, the Tickle Monster, long before Josie Bissett’s, Tickle Monster Laughter Kit, which included cuddly tickling mitts. I’m not sure why you would need a kit to tickle someone, but whatever. My dad was the original.

My brother and I used to share a bedroom in a cozy two bedroom apartment in Yonkers, New York. When my parents were home, and not behaving like the 25 year-old’s that they were; that is, partying with the downstairs neighbors, and nursing Sunday morning hangovers, my dad would don a random piece of clothing to mask his true identity, and he’d become, the Tickle Monster.

We’d hear growling, monster-like noises outside of our bedroom, and as the sounds grew louder, we knew that the monster was getting close. My body would tense in anticipation of the monster’s entrance.

Our bedroom door would fly open and my dad would come barreling in, often tripping over a Tonka truck or a Dr. Seuss book, that my brother or I left in the middle of the room. With his arms flailing, and his back hunched over, he pretended to look for us, even though we were right in front of him, jumping up and down on our beds, screaming, “No, no, go away,” as we laughed. He took his time, relishing the sound of our little kid squeals.

The Tickle Monster went to my brother first because he was an easy target. The kid would freak out, at the mere suggestion of being tickled. He screamed so loud that he’d gasp for air. Watching my brother squirm and shriek like a little girl, always made me giggle.

I was never ticklish. Seeing his two kids laughing together in the same room, instead of beating the crap out of each other, was pure joy for my father. Even at the tender age of four, I was like the character Morales in, A Chorus Line, “I felt nothing.” My dad loved playing the part, so I smiled and pretended to. (best acting job to date)

This particular brand of play was out of my father’s comfort zone. He was the reading and writing type; the parent that supervised homework, exposed me to Miles Davis, quoted Rolling Stones lyrics, and read Crime and Punishment to me at bedtime. He wasn’t so much into kid games, or child-like make-believe, but he put his heart and soul into the Tickle Monster and I couldn’t bing myself to tell him that I felt nothing.

From the time that I was twelve or thirteen, my dad knew exactly who I was, and thirty years later, little has changed. I recently reread a letter that he wrote to me when I graduated from high school. At the time, I passed it off as a father being a fearful parent, but how wise that Tickle Monster was.

“Firstly, you seem to be an anxious young bird who has learned how to fly, and now is trying to examine every tree in the forest. I can assure you that you will do that but racing to them will defeat your purpose and you will not maximize your enjoyment of them. Like constructing a building with blocks, a foundation must be laid before the spire can be placed on top.

Unless you have certain experiences to call upon, you may miss out on some wonderful fun. You know that I have never stopped you from exploring some very dark places; yet I am fearful of you missing something because of a lack of patience. Sometimes it is better to sit by the ocean and look at the sea, sense it and slowly feel it come over you, slowly and with all of its feeling, comfort and awe. Oh, yes, it is great fun to dive in, but how many people who do that could tell you the color of the sea and how beautiful it smells. Most times the short term is not as fulfilling.

And yes, each day is a challenge to your moral sense. Each day you will have to make up your own mind as to what to do- (unless you want to call us). You know how much I love you as my daughter, but now as you begin to leave the nest and start to fly, I relish in the fact of how much I like you. And remember our telephone number is 238…. Love, Dad.”

Then when I graduated college, my father wrote me a poem. I returned the favor, by turning it into a song, for Father’s Day years (and years) later, mainly because I couldn’t bear to buy him one more art book, or golf shirt.

LISTEN TO IT HERE: Love Daddy