Suicide Blonde

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Jesus, I'm 52! My birthday weekend

It was a crazy, long freaking weekend. It actually started on Thursday last week. I took Friday off from work for two reasons. First, it was my birthday and I turned "Sweet 52." More about that later and snickering will not be tolerated. Second, my older son came home for a 96 which means he was with us for four days before going back to the Marines.

Things started out semi-normal. On Friday morning I took my boyfriend, my youngest son, and my older son's girlfriend (I'm thinking I should make a family tree here so people can keep up) to breakfast in my honor. This is the only kind of activity that I can organize in my honor which people will gladly go to, any kind of activity centering around food.

Breakfast was great. It had been a long time since I had choked down 375 grams of cholesterol in one meal like that and the three cups of coffee kept me in a manic mood till way after sundown.

After breakfast my boyfriend took me to a department store and treated me to the shower gel and perfumed talcum powder for Angel perfume (which I already have). I have to make a side comment here and explain that although I think wearing a lot of makeup or hair extensions or a fake tan will just make most women look bizarre (especially older, "mature" women), I can't stress enough how strongly I feel about smelling good! Of course, cleanliness is the first and most important thing, but a very close second is wearing a nice fragrance. In my younger years, I would follow a man wearing a great cologne for blocks, no matter how unattractive he was. I don't do that any more because I would probably scare people if I followed them at my age. Also, now there are rules against stalking and they invented restraining orders and whatnot. I am NOT talking here about people who wear so much perfume that the oxygen content in an elevator is immediately sucked out as soon as they walk in. But I love perfume, and Angel is my favorite at the moment.

To get back to my ranting about my weekend: We picked up my oldest son from the airport. We have a big poster that we painted for him when he came home from boot camp about 2-1/2 years ago that says "The Few, The Proud, The AJ." We did a great job, the huge letters on the poster are in a camouflage pattern and "AJ" is in red, white and blue. Every time he comes home, we drag it out and take it to the airport with us and hold it up when he comes walking out. For some weird reason, I never cry when my son leaves. My heart breaks every time he has to leave, especially when he gets deployed, but I can't cry. I think it has to do with not showing him that my heart is breaking because if this is difficult for me it has to be just as hard or harder on him. BUT I am Niagara Falls every time he comes home. This time, I hung around his neck for a long time bawling my eyes out and smiling. I love that guy.

My two sons went about doing guy things on Saturday, while I washed clothes and did the mom thing, happy to see them doing things together as they always used to do. It was a nice and quiet Saturday, they washed the dog, cleaned the garage a bit, took a look at my Jeep's engine and put in some gas treatment or something. My mom made lasagna and after dinner we had a little cake for my son (his b-day was May 12th) and myself.

Yeah, I'm 52! The first 18 years of my life went by painfully slow, it seemed that the days did not pass, there was time for everything and when someone told you that something would happen "next year" that meant you had to wait a loooooong time. After 18, my life became a blur and after I got married and had kids it just whizzed by.

I have to say I have enjoyed myself. I've made lots of mistakes. For example, I let Carlos Santana walk past me at the Mexico City airport in1973, we both smiled but I was too shy to approach him. Therefore, Carlos and I never shacked up, alas. Most of my mistakes have been of the "I wish I woulda" category. I have to admit I've always been chickenshit when it comes to making bold decisions or taking drastic measures. I always wanted to backpack through Europe but my mom and grandma talked me out of it because I would get raped for sure. I was hired by an airline in my early 20's but I didn't take the stewardess job (which I had always dreamed of) because my dad said I would be too far from my family. The few times I have tried to be bold and insist on doing what I want, I've had bad things happen (see my post on getting mugged).

But here I am, I've plodded through, gotten an education, planted trees, tried to write books, gotten married, had my kids, raised them, I'm still here, still breathing, doesn't hurt! So I feel that I've had a charmed life in spite of not having done a lot of things I wanted to do. If I backpack through Europe now I could probably still do it, but in a few years I'm going to need a walker. I can retire in 13 years! That last realization made my heart race a little bit but maybe it's the coffee.

The rest of my weekend was wonderful except for the fact that my two boys got into one of their horrible fights. Why are boys like that? My sister and I were raised together and we fought maybe twice (physically fight, not the screaming and crying matches, we did those all the time). My sons HAVE to fight when they have been apart a while and then get back together, like this weekend. They patched things up right away, though.

My older son left Monday morning while I stoically watched him walk away, not a single tear out of my eyes. He will be back again in a month's time for his pre-deployment leave. He and his brother will probably get into a fight again.

I'll be 53 next year...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Le Monde du Beaute

Yeah, I took a year of French in high school and it has really served me well, even though the French would probably disagree... But just in case you are not at all familiar with the language, the title of my blog is the World of Beauty.

If you ask me, the so-called beauty industry is whack! On TV, on one channel you have a woman bemoaning the fact that her hair is too curly and frizzy so she bought the thingamajig that irons her hair (and btw if you order now, you get the nose hair clipper with automatic defroster in a corinthian leather holder that clips to your belt). If you flick the channel you will see another woman saying that her hair is too straight and flat and Esteban (or is that the guy that sells guitar lessons?) is selling her a product that will get her hair looking like Slash from Guns'n'Roses except you can see her eyes.

I confess that I cannot come across one of those beauty informercials because I will sit there transfixed for hours, staring at the before-and-after pictures and listening to their crap and wondering how, just how, I have managed to live for 52 years without hair extensions for $29.99. How have I managed to get by?

One of my favorites is Adrianne Arpel, who must be like 80 years old by now but still wears mini-skirts, has collagen (fish) lips and sells her line of products for the Mature Woman (read: women who need to spackle their faces before they even put foundation on). She sells a kit, and I'm kidding you not here, that has well over 20 assorted creams, cremes, balms, spackles, lotions, gels, and "treatments." Actually, instead of investing in all that stuff (which comes with a cute woven raffia tote and weekend bag, hmmmm???) what would help some women would be electroshock treatments. That would really straighten us out. Then we wouldn't even watch these dumb infomercials. We would snap out of it, we would.

I'm a mature woman, but I can't see myself wearing all that stuff or paying beaucoup bucks for it (see my French kicking in again? It just flows out of me....). Most of the time, when I look at the before and after pics I feel badly for the woman in the "after" picture. In the before picture, she looked like a normal, nice person with maybe some dark shadows under her eyes. In the after picture she looks like someone from the old tv show "Dark Shadows." She doesn't even LOOK LIKE HERSELF and Adrianne has colored in her lips all crooked and stuff! Pathetic.

Ladies, ladies, the best thing is to be natural, which does not mean to look like you have a half-inch of putty on your face and to wear a lip color of such fuschia tone that does not exist in nature, or it does but only on exotic orchids, not on real lips. Which brings me to another related subject: If I was a man, I would not want to kiss a chick with gobs of gloss on her lips, that is just icky (well, just the thought of kissing a chick would be icky for me). And yet women spend a lot of dough on gloss and stuff like that... It's not kissable, it's YUCKY.

If you think about it, people are just big gobs of cells and hair with some nail thrown in. We are not meant to be artificial, we are meant to be gobs of cells and hair. We are not meant to be attractive, we are meant to imbibe enough alcohol to forget the fact that we are gobs of cells and hair and find the other person temporarily "do-able" so we can reproduce, have babies and raise them and be done with it. But unless you are horribly disfigured, and even if you are, whoever loves you will love you whether or not your hair looks like Axl Rose, or in spite of the fact that it does. You can't HIDE behind the microns of Bare Essentuals (they really spell it that way), or behind the creams and the horrible royal blue eye shadow that is supposed to make you look "dramatic" but instead winds up making you look like "crap warmed over."

AND being a mature woman, I don't think women my age or older (Yeah, Adrianne, that totally includes YOU) should aspire to look or act "young." We should act and yes, look, our ages. Maybe brush our hair neatly, maybe use a little lipstick in a natural color, maybe use some mascara, you know, accent whatever we have left that looks ok, always be clean and neat and smell good (that is always a big plus), but not the gobs of makeup or the collagen lips that makes all the women that have had the procedure look like they belong to the same genus of fish.

Wysiwyg, that is always the best way...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


What can I say about Cynthia? That her eyes were blue (not red, that was the camera), bluer than the Caribbean, bluer than the Miami sky just before Hurricane Katrina, bluer than this font...

Cynthia was the cat I most loved in the world. She was a blue-point persian. At least that's what her papers said. She had class, she had style, she had pedigree papers. She was the creamiest ivory color with blue-gray on the tips of her ears and on her face (which my sons always said looked like someone had hit her head on with a frying pan) and on her paws.

I got Cynthia when my then-boyfriend (long gone, thank gods) brought her home to placate me after another one of our fights. He had come upon her in a pet store. She had been kept in a cage with one of her sisters and it seemed that no one had noticed how beautiful, how sweet, how perfect she was. So he bought her and brought her home, to me.

When I saw her I promptly told him "The last thing I needed was another cat" (ok, I'm a bitch, I admit it). I told him that I would NOT keep her, as I was already struggling with a huge golden retriever (Yeller, which my mother calls "Yellow") and the cat we all call Mama even though her name is Oreo and her legal name is Jinx, but that's another story. I told him that he could have gotten me any of a number of things that I really wanted and needed (like a new air conditioning unit to replace the one we have that keeps us awake at night clunking, drawing its last breaths). I said a bunch of (mean) things to him, and then I really looked at her. I fell in love with her and she became part of our lives.

I have always had pets all my life. I've had countless and unforgettable dogs, cats, birds, turtles, hermit crabs (yes, hermit crabs), fish, etc. Once I even had a pair of mussels of some sort, that had beautiful orange lining on their shells, in a salt-water tank. But nothing prepared me for this cat. She took over our lives as if nothing, as if we had been waiting for her all this time. As if our lives necessarily revolved around her.

As soon as we met her we adored her. Cynthia was a cat that, as my sons said, "Loved love." She didn't want anything from anyone except love. She craved love more than anything else. If we were eating at the table she would hop on it and pester us until we held her and scratched her little chinny chin-chin. She never went after the food, all she wanted was our attention and our love. If we didn't immediately cater to her she would sit there and stare at us with her little mad-sad face until someone was caught up with her loveliness/sweetness/cuteness and scratched her pink belly. It never took very long for this to happen.

She had a chin that a plastic surgeon could have done liposuction on, it was that chubby. And it had a harlequin pattern to it, half of it light cream-colored and the other half gray. Like my boys called it: "Fucked up, but so cute."

I had never nor since seen big teenage boys talking baby talk to a kitty. The picture above, left is one we call "Dominic Eating Pussy" in which Cynthia is allowing him to kiss and adore her in the way that she was accustomed to. My sons even made up songs for her. "Twenty Padded Fingers and Toes" comes to mind. Another one was "I Second that Emiaowtion." They were smitten with her. Sometimes we would sit around the table thinking up hypotheses as to why she was the perfect cat. What had made her that way? Was it the months of cage living in the pet shop? Would our black cat, Mama, be reformed if we put her in a cage for a few months? Would that make her as sweet and friendly and loving as Cynthia? We would have tried it except that we didn't think it would work. And Mama would probably have scratched the hell out of us if we had tried to do it.

Cynthia loved it when we rolled up paper into a ball and threw it down the hall. She would skid on the tile until she could get some traction and then she would be off after it. Sometimes she crashed into the door at the end of the hall but as my boys said, that could only fix her face, it couldn't bash it in any more than it was. She loved playing that game and she would never tire of it. She would bring the wadded up paper ball back to whoever had thrown it, over and over until you had to hide from her because your arm was tired.

We had Cynthia for about a year. She slept with us, she lived on top of the dining room table (which I had never allowed a cat to do, even Mama would look at me like saying "You don't let ME on top of the table and I'm the senior cat and yet look at HER? What the hell?"). She would take turns sleeping with one or the other, whoever had the warmest bed that night. When we got home, she would be waiting for us with one of those rolled up paper balls, begging for us to play with her. She was totally adorable and good and sweet.

She died about a year ago. My youngest son and I were bathing her as we did every so often, and she must have had a massive heart attack. She started having convulsions in the bathtub and we quickly wrapped her in a towel and tried to revive her but it was no good, she died in my arms. My son and I cried like little kids and we buried her outside in the yard and marked her grave with a huge coral rock for eternity. We all went around mourning her for a long time. We will never forget her, the best cat in the world.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I saw Bigfoot

One thing you must know about me: I am not crazy. Ok, you may laugh...that's ok. I may look crazy, sometimes act in ways that may seem crazy. But I am not in any way, shape or form a crazy person.

Why this preamble, you may ask? Well, what I am about to say (and the title of this blog) may make you think that I am crazy or maybe if you are a bit on the sensitive, understanding side, that I am not "all there" or that I may have been dropped as a baby. No, none of that is true. I am very practical and rational (don't judge me on the basis of my blog), and am not crazy at all.

Now for the story, and please keep in mind that this is a true story. If you don't believe me you can go to and you can read my report there as well.

When I was nine years old (and may I remind you that I was a perfectlly normal 9-year old girl, not enrolled in learning disabled classes even though they didn't exist then), we lived in Fort Myers, Florida. Our house was next to a canal in a nice little neighborhood of middle-class houses near a very densely wooded area.

In the ways of yesteryear, my younger sister and I shared a room with my grandmother. My bed lay along a big, picture window with frosted glass and there was a streetlight outside that shone in all night. I had gone to bed and lay there thinking God knows what (the spelling bee the next day, whether or not a little boy named Marshall liked me or Janet better, whether they would have mashed potatoes in the cafeteria tomorrow...).

All of a sudden, I felt heavy footsteps outside. It's weird, but it was like in Jurassic Park when T. Rex is coming at them and the water in the glass moves with every step. I remember that I froze, I was so scared that I could not move my body. I lay there as the footsteps came closer to my window. I heard a low, painful moan. It wasn't human, it was like the sound a hurt animal would make. Whatever it was walked past my window casting a huge shadow in my room. I remember calling out to my sister in a low whisper, "Elena?" My first thought was that she had heard and seen all this and was probably scared shitless. I sat up in my bed, she was asleep. So was my grandmother. I remember sitting there a few seconds, and then I got up and ran into my parents' room.

That night they had to give me a tiny piece of a tranquilizer pill to make me stop shaking. Any self-respecting Cuban mother always keeps a supply of tranquilizer pills (because you never know when something like this can happen) and my mother was no exception. I finally dozed off.

This experience changed my 9-year-old life. I had been until then a happy, friendly, outside-loving little girl. Since that day I could not go outside without feeling that I had to be on the lookout for that thing that had gone by my window. I didn't feel safe anywhere, not even inside. I started biting my nails to the quick. I also threw up a lot.

One day after about two weeks, my father made me get on my bike and ride to the end of the block ALONE! I cried all the way there and back, certain that I would be attacked by Bigfoot. Nothing happened to me that day, but I was sure that the next day something would happen.

I begged my Dad on a daily basis for us to move somewhere. After about six months we moved to Buffalo, New York, thank GOD! I started behaving like my normal self there (albeit with huge fur coats, mittens and boots).

Nothing like this ever happened to me before or after that episode. I am not a sleepwalker, I do not "imagine" things or ever did for that matter. I never got night terrors before or since. I really did experience this thing.

So, believe me, Bigfoot does exist.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I'm a "bad" girl

You Are a Bad Girl

You are 30% Good and 70% Bad
You're a total bad girl, from your wild hair to tattooed toes.
But you're too badass to even care if you're labeled "bad"!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Hump Day," he he he

Wednesday... aaaaaaahhhh!!! We are almost done with the week, and it really just started. It's kind of like the calendar year, January starts the new year and before you know it, it's Christmas. Of course, it doesn't help that even before Halloween and Thanksgiving, the dreaded Christmas ornaments/stuff is already out and on store shelves, making you feel that you have (again) wasted an entire year. You didn't lose the 20+ pounds, you didn't begin a healthier lifestyle, you did not apply for a better, higher paying job, you didn't get the house painted, you didn't... catch my drift?

Wednesday is for weirdness. There are two sides to weirdness (as to anything), the good side and the bad. The good side of weirdness is any quirkiness that all of a sudden you get a glimpse of and it totally enchants you. For example, finding out that a fifty-something coworker has a piercing in a totally unexpected place. Or another coworker that I barely know sending me a beautiful and supportive email while my son was deployed in Iraq and I was not sleeping nights worrying about him. Or another example, what happened to me last week. I was sorting laundry and something moved in the pile of clothes I was holding. I shrieked and dropped everything, eyes open wide in total disgust, goose bumps all over my body. Out of the pile of clothes crawled a slightly dazed baby possum! In MY garage! It was ugly but cute, the way most babies are. It looked like a baby rat except that it had a patch of long hair on its head and a black stripe running through it. It also had a long, wide mouth and inside, rows of sharp little teeth. I sat and watched in amazement until it crawled back under the pile of clothes (which later my son had to pick up off the ground and he swore there was nothing there, as he sighed patiently, making me feel as crazy as he thinks I am).

That kind of weirdness is lovely. Unexpected, surprising, beautiful chaos that makes my day, indeed, it makes my existence.

But there is bad weirdness too. Bad weirdness is stuff that shouldn't happen, and you don't see it coming. Like when you start going out with someone new and everything is going great. You enjoy each other's company, feel like you could talk about any subject and that person would totally understand you. And then you find out that he already has a girlfriend because she calls you and tells you. And, at first you don't believe her but then she asks you whether or not he left your house at 5 am the other morning and you say "Yes, he did," and she says "Well he came over to my house when he left yours." WHAT?

Bad weirdness is when out of the blue someone calls you to tell you that you owe your neighborhood association $300 for "lawyers' fees" because your house was on foreclosure and they had to draw foreclosure papers on it. HUH? And you had no clue about this and have been paying your mortgage religiously so you have to backtrack and find out what the H*LL happened and correct it through faxing tons of copies of canceled checks, talk to 5 people at your mortgage company to get a letter stating that your house was never put on foreclosure so you can fax it to these bloodthirsty people... Ok by now you must get my drift.

So, I feel that good and bad weirdness rules our world. We can try to feel that we are "in control" of things. In fact that phrase "In control" always makes me laugh because we are all hanging on threads. If you don't believe me, look around you. The world is chaos, total coincidence and happenstance. If you are organized in one area of your life, something will go totally wrong in another, or even in that same area you are trying so hard to dominate because you cannot foresee anything, you cannot control anything, you cannot change what is coming for you. That is, at the same time, the horror and the beauty of it. And we can only try to enjoy the good weirdness, the happy little things that happen, the little possums we find, the good that somehow made its way to us.

Waxing philosophical, but don't let it scare you. I'm still as confused as ever. Perhaps more.

Happy Hump Day everyone!