Olympic Spa: How’s your QUI?

I didn’t used to be so modest, back in the day. In fact, I suspect I flaunted it a bit—okay, a lot. But that’s when I had something to flaunt. Yet there I was yesterday, walking around b-b-b-bare to the bone with a bunch of other naked women in a Korean spa. Sure, we had towels and even little robes but it didn’t seem to matter; no one used them except for an occasional dry off. And wow. I forgot how varied women are, considering we all have the same equipment.

The spa asks that you come forty-five minutes early to take advantage of the pools and saunas. They like you to be smooth and supple before they give you a treatment to make you smooth and supple. There is a bathing room with an herbal hot pool, a “cool waters” pool, steam rooms, showers and four slightly partitioned areas for some of the treatments. There is also a Seaweed Soup restaurant, a dry sauna, a couple of large areas with women napping on  warm marble floors, and the Himalayan Salt sauna, my first venture. This room had about a ten person (ten women?) capacity and had towels spread over rectangled areas of small, hot pebbles.  Very hot. So hot that I doubt I lasted two minutes. I felt like I was being fried and soon to be offered up for someone’s dinner.

Since I still had forty-three minutes left, I went into the bathing room to shower before trying something else. (At this point I realized that I was supposed to shower before I went into the Himilayan hot house, but too late now.) I decided to try the steam room which of course was so steamy that I just stood there for thirty seconds trying to avoid sitting on someone’s lap. I sat down for two seconds and thought maybe I had stopped breathing. I took this as a sign to get out…if I could only find the door.

I checked out one of the pools, but it looked deep, like maybe you had to tread water, something I was never good at. The other pools were pretty full of bathers, so I went out and rested on the warm marble floor where I almost fell asleep. “Number seventy-one? Seventy-one?” That’s me, and off to my “Goddess” treatment I went with Son, my masseuse, who was dressed in a black lace bra and black high-waisted panties. She was tiny, with crinkly smiling eyes. She directed me to take off my robe (yeah, I had it on) and lie face down on the plastic table. I could see into the three other cubicles with the women in all their full nakedness being plied, kneaded, scrubbed and rubbed. Now I was one of them. For the next hour and forty-five minutes I became a Goddess, and Son now knows my body better than the husband does. No kidding.

The Goddess treatment:

  1. You are thoroughly scrubbed and exfoliated with something akin to a brillo pad, but it smells better. You will never be smoother.
  2. You are bathed in a seaweed body soap with warm water flushing over you at intervals which makes you gasp, but it’s a good gasp. You will never be cleaner.
  3. You are massaged, pressed with hot towels, pulled in various directions. Never more limber.
  4. Your scalp will be massaged with oil
  5. Your face will be “massaged with toxin releasing strokes” and brushed with something delicious to tighten your pores.
  6. Your hair will be washed with aromatic shampoo and rinsed with a potion that smells like bubble gum.
  7. Your body will be emulsified.

Just try to keep from sliding off the massage table when you’re turned over, and by all means, keep your eyes shut because you’re either looking at Son’s crotch, or the woman’s V across from you, as you’re tossed and tousled about like a rag doll, no, like a Goddess but with more QUI, “natural human energy.” And if Son is your masseuse, she will hum happily the whole time.

I’m now looking at the brochure trying to decide on my next treatment. “Does your feet ever feel like a ton of bricks?” Try the Light On My Feet reflexology. How about a Milk and Honey Smoothie or a Baby Feet Pedi? (Is that for babies or people who have baby feet?)

That’s all the news that’s fit to print folks, from the mouth of a Goddess. For today.



Tell me now

DO YOU… conserve water in the shower by rinsing, turning off the water while you soap up, then re-rinsing–like the husband does? …know what’s in a “Moscow Mule”? …how to convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade? …feel the earth move? …know anything, anything at all about Country Joe and the Fish? …still get the giggles? …know any convicted criminals? …believe in extenuating circumstances? …have an affinity for sweetbreads? …believe the chicken came first? …wanna be in show biz? …wanna bang your head against the wall when you hear headbanger music? …wish you still had your old Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme? …eat nachos with your fingers? …speak any foreign languages? …like surprises? …think people with thin lips are mean or stingy or immediately suspect? …lead a secret life? …fear bees? …embarrass easily?

…possess excessive amounts of empathy? …play mahjong? …change your own oil? …use hair tonic? …drink gin and tonic? …like it when someone whispers in your ear, “Meet me over by the koi pond at eight. Bring Gin.”? …own an electric can opener? …refer to the restroom as “the can”? …refer to a woman’s bottom in a like manner, as “a really sweet can”? (Updike) …remember how to flirt?  …feel sorry for Bruce Jenner?

Tell me now.





White Out

Living in southern California, if someone mentions “white out,” you pass that little jar of sticky white paste that  covers up  misspelled words in the crossword puzzle; not so on the east coast where I once lived for a short time. It was the early 80’s and my then husband took a job in Stamford, Connecticut. Having spent my whole life in soCal, I found the weather exciting for its unpredictability and certainly its wide variance. Sun in the morning, rain in the afternoon; blustering billowing clouds, sometimes angry and at other times meandering with time to spare and no particular destination; snow, sleet, slush, blizzard, hurricane. Not boring. But as it turns out, it was a mild winter the year I lived in Greenwich, and I wasn’t at all familiar with the term “white out.” Yes it snowed, and I remember one morning finding an animal at the front stoop of my carriage house. It looked like a mole and was standing near the welcome mat completely frozen. Yes, standing, as if getting ready to knock on the door. But there was no blizzard. No “white out.”

I began wondering, if in the storm, what I would do if I had battened down the hatches, shopped for necessary supplies like food, batteries, water, malomars, Hendrick’s and was now ensconced in my home. And then I began to wonder about my friends. It didn’t take long for me to become concerned about my east coast buddies because the news knows how to scare us, right? So here are some ideas for the next “white out.”

1. Watch 62 episodes of “Breaking Bad” since you never got around to it and have to blindly listen to interminable banter about something of which you know nothing.

eda yard

(Purchase, NY)


2. Frequently check the anenometer to gage the wind velocity, knowing that it’ll conk out when the wind reaches 45 MPH. Take the snowplow/truck to visit your nearby relatives as it’s impossible to get the car out. Plow snow for your neighbors. Dig plow out when it becomes stuck. Take a hot bath as darkness falls, its 15 degrees outside and you wrenched your back digging out the friggin plow. Plug up the leak in the window where snow is drifting in. Go to bed listening to the howling wind and picturing all the whirligigs in the neighborhood “going crazy.” (Little Deer Isle, ME)

3. Eat scallop chowder your daughter-in-law kindly brought over before the onset of the storm. Maybe drink gin which you’ve decided could be akin to anti-freeze. Continually light pilot of propane stove that the swirling wind continually blows out; it’s your only source of heat if the power goes out. Take pictures on your front porch to show your grandchildren and your friends in California.


lou's photo

(Little Deer Isle, ME)


4. Light the fire in your fireplace and then engage in a new sexual maneuver known as “the toboggan.”  It was not described but suggested that I use my imagination. (Manhattan, NY)


New Year’s Resolutions

This is how you figure out how many New Year’s resolutions you have made: Take your age and subtract 20. Voila! There is, of course, a slight margin for error. For example, if you know for a fact that you started making resolutions in your teens, but hey, who can remember? (There’s actually an article in today’s NYT about dementia that says, “Some wonder if a directive to hasten death should apply to a person who can’t remember it.”) So, I have made nearly fifty resolutions. How many have I kept? Zero, I’m pretty sure. So, why do we make them?

It’s simple. We make them to set our sights on greater personal achievements. To better ourselves. Can’t we all be better? But what happens if we resolve to lose weight, to stop nagging the husband about his abhorrent color combinations, or to not give the finger to maniacal assholes on the freeway, and we do this every year? Year in and year out. The same resolutions, I mean. By January 10th, maybe you’ve lost three pounds, let the husband go to a friend’s dinner party wearing camouflage pants and an orange tee shirt with citrus fruit on it and smiled when that Range Rover cut you off (causing only the tiniest of a whiplash), but where are you today?  Did you not have pizza for breakfast? Screw up your face so it looked like a tightly rolled cinnamon bun when the husband left today in white chinos (it’s winter for heaven sakes, I don’t care if this is California) and a purple tee that says, “Los Angeles Poultry Co. Inc.” on the back? And you don’t even want to get into the car because you’ve already blown two out of three. And guess what? There’s more pizza in the fridge.

If we aim high and shoot low, should we still bother to aim? Whenever I ask friends if they made New Year’s Resolutions and they answer no, I’m disheartened. Can’t you be better at something? Are you perfect?  Is the whole world your oyster? (Whatever that means.) I want people to cop to their imperfections and own up to the responsibility they have to themselves to be better– more compliant, more loving, kinder, gentler, more healthy, more friendly, bearers of good karma, helpful scouts and hearty friends. At least for two and a half weeks, anyway.

New years resolution

No Pets Allowed; Emotional Support Pigs O.K.

The October 20 edition of The New Yorker has a hilarious article, “Pets Allowed,” by Patricia Marx about the rising use of “Emotional Support” animals in places where they don’t belong, like restaurants and grocery stores. (There are really only two places your support pet can access legally: housing that usually doesn’t accept pets and the airlines.) Marx likens the misuse as similar to those who have handicapped parking signs hanging on their rear view mirrors but no handicap, or people who lie about where they live so their kids can attend school in, say, Beverly Hills. But there are plenty of citizens who are claiming their pets are essential 24/7 as a buttress to all the woes of a wearying world. Or maybe it’s just fun to get away with something. Ya think?

Turns out it easy to get an E.S.A. paper stating your pet is needed for emotional support, a verification letter from a health professional, and this you can obtain on line–for a fee, of course.  (You may have to claim you’re a little nutty, prone to depression, the Xanax isn’t working etc., whatev. With some imagination, or perhaps a little truth you can find a niche in one of the DSM categories.) Then you’re pretty much home free. The reason for this is even the restaurateurs, shop keepers and museum guides don’t know the difference between a bona fide service dog and a blankie dog.

As a research experiment, Marx obtained an E.S.A. credential and used it for five pretty far out animals, traipsing around NYC in places where pets don’t belong. Her first foray was to the Frick Collection with a foot long turtle. The guards called security, she produced her letter (which is quite detailed, using words like “foster improved psychological adjustment and amelioration of the severity of psychological issues”), and voila! A turtle gets a peek at Renoir and Rembrandt. Turtle (his name) and Marx also went to Christian Louboutin, a deli where Turtle was given water, a hair salon where he was offered a manicure and a funeral chapel. As Marx so succinctly puts it, “Why didn’t anybody do the sensible thing, and tell me and my turtle to get lost?”

Next came Augustus, a Mexican milk snake that Marx described as an “emotional-support accessory” because it coiled all thirty inches of itself around her neck. She visited Chanel where she asked for a purse to match her snake (and they found one for $9000), Balthazar, a film center and a Nespresso coffee bar (which turned out to be too chilly for Augustus).

Can you imagine taking a turkey on a bus? Marx did. Henry, a twenty-six pound “Royal Palm” turkey that “angrily flapped his wings” and sent Marx into the aisle, cowering. As she put it, “I was a bit emotional around my emotional-support animal.” Hahaha Henry made a stop at Katz’s deli where he was psychologically and physically pooped and sat in a chair “as if he’d conked out on the sofa, watching T.V.” Henry began exhibiting major stress symptoms evinced by his purple neck, and had to go home. “Did my emotional-support animal need a support animal?” Marx asked.

Then there was Sorpressa, the one hundred pound alpaca with a “Don King” hairdo who was allowed on an Amtrak, that is Marx acquired a ticket, but Sopressa began to bray and express all manner of indignation, so Marx settled for just taking her to CVS (for sedatives?).

But my favorite is Daphne:

daphne pig

Here she is (in her stroller) having tea at The Four Seasons after flying on JetBlue from New York to Boston. As I have often said, there’s nothing like a few grunts, oinks and snorts to make a person feel like they really matter.

Germs on a Plane

Call me naive, but I was appalled that both the US and Liberia were considering filing criminal charges against Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, for lying on his airport health form. What would you have done? (What would Jesus do?) He knew that he had been exposed to the disease because he had assisted a pregnant relative to an Ebola clinic, and she was sent home because there was no room (at the inn?). This tells us a few things, one of which is that he was a good guy. Foolish? Maybe, but he did do a good deed, right?

So, you have your plane ticket to your new life, and you have just seen a deathly ill woman you’ve aided turned down from an Ebola hospital, you bet you’re going to hightail it outta there unless you’re friggin stupid. So, let’s cut Duncan some slack for acting like someone who wants to live. The question is, to what standard must we be held for protecting the lives of others? I don’t know. All I know is last May, the husband and I got on a plane in London that we had no business being on. We became the people you hate to travel with, the inconsiderate jerks who cough, sneeze and blow their honkers for eleven hours, spaying and spewing vermin all over the thinly covered pillows and clingy blankets. The people you want to throw off the plane, vote off the island, kick out of the club. The others.

Why did we do it? Expose people to our feverish flu? Money. That and comfort. In order to remain in London we would have to change our tickets, $400, and extend our stay for several days in our $400 a night hotel. Three nights would not have been enough, but for the sake of I don’t know what, lets call it $1200. Plus food and medicine (maybe even a doctor as I was running a fever and the husband sounded like he had the croup, or worse). Let’s call it a conservative $350. So, our grand total is almost a grand. haha So, let me ask you again, what would you do? I’ll tell you. Rush to the comfort of your own bed, doctor and dog. That’s what.

I’m ranting on about this but my comments aren’t nearly as entertaining as the comments on the DallasNews online.

Brian Lane:
 Some people is so ignorant. The person who shakes your hand on your job could br carrying a infectious disease . It could be a small cut on the the finger tip. The person cooking your food could sneeze on your food you never know.  Just be thankful it came out and he did go to the hospital rather than the grocery store.  Death is sad no matter how you die. Be thankful it’s not you or your family and pray for those who are suffering for something they can’t control  poor people never ask to be poor and sick people never ask to be sick . Instead of crictizing just be thankful it wasn’t you and pray for those who are less fortunate in the world. Jesus died for all our sins not just people who live in America 
O Z: 
Are we sure that the pregnant woman even existed?
 Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which has a board of directors bought and paid for by the Oil Bidness, simply let Eric Duncan die to assure that its Conservative backers take over Congress in November and impeach Obama in January.
That’s just the benefit the Grate State of Texas bein’ Of Bidness, By Bidness, and For Bidness.
Better Dead Than Ted and Governor Oops! will do what their Petrol Paymasters tell ’em to do and once again ours will be a land of Freedum, Liburty, and Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!!­!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!­!
The next one is my fave.
Kevin Jones:
 Another post by the moron.  Did momma drop you on your head?

Nosy People Wanna Know

Do you know who said, “Water, water, everywhere,/ Nor any drop to drink”? Are you watering your lawn less, bathing less and flushing less in order to save agua? Do you worry much about the polar bears having not much ice to light on? Do you turn off the light when you walk out of a room? Have you ever had a light bulb go off in your head? Do you believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel?

Do you ever wonder why lovely dogs get cancer when they don’t smoke or sunbathe? Do you have sunspots? Have you ever become besotted by a spotted calf? Do you have well developed calves? Do you miss the eager anticipation of having your pictures developed? Have you developed any aberrant idiosyncrasies or taken to using idiomatic expressions as a way of avoiding intimacy? Have you ever had an intimate conversation with someone you’re intimate with? Are you more open to revealing your naked body now than you were, say, ten years ago? (haha)

Have you ever spatchcocked a chicken, cold-cocked someone or harbored a spy in from the cold? Have you ever received the cold shoulder? Have you ever been so hot for someone that your faced burned? Have you ever been burnt?

Are you ever invisible? Divisible? Risible?

Nosy people wanna know…

The Deal Breaker? Wattles

Now maybe not all husbands are resistant to change, but Boomer husbands tend to be stuck in a land somewhere between Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys. Even a little change can be daunting, say, like switching from Skippy to Trader Joe’s crunchy organic, which is why the fact that we are now having to look for new digs is throwing the husband into a sizable, negative nutcase. No doubt, relocating is difficult for everyone and I, too, am sorry our landlady has decided to move back into our comfy home, after eight years. So, my plan is one of aggressive house-hunting that involves perusing pages of listings online and cruising nearby neighborhoods. The husband, however, is wading in pools of nostalgia, convinced he can talk the landlady into not moving back by simply throwing piles of cash at her. And how much will it take? I don’t wanna know. So far, he’s managed to find fault with every house we’ve seen.

  • Beverly Hills charming three bedroom house, yard, one car garage, “I’m not living in a house that’s only 1550 square feet.”
  • Beverly Hills charming three bedroom, yard, two car garage, “I’m not living in a house with a knotty pine kitchen.” (Can’t say I fault him there.)
  • Culver City who knows what (since he won’t bother to even see the house), “I’m not living in Culver City; there’s no Jews there.” Huh? I think he’s reverting back to his Beverly Hills High School days when that was the general thinking. And I don’t even know where that’s coming from. It’s not like we’re observing the Sabbath and shopping at Glatt Market. Culver City is not the dark side of the moon. It’s hip.
  • Franklin Canyon “drop dead gorgeous” (the husband’s description) three bedroom, den, and view of the hillside from the master bedroom. Now this was a house to love, never-mind that it’s out of the way of every convenience known to man, except charming Coldwater Park. We looked out that master bedroom at the grassy hillside laden with flowers and became smitten. Yeah, it was way over our budget, and granted it is hotter in the canyon in summer and colder in winter, and yeah the garage could accommodate only one car (unless you drive a smart car; who does?), but those objections were not the deal breaker.

The deal breaker was the wattles. I’m not talking about turkey necks, plastic surgery, or how ducks walk; that’s waddle. I’m talking about rolls of hay-like composite that are used as a means of erosion control. Like this:

hillside wattle

And when we looked closely at the steep, lush hillside, there were wattles. Lot’s of em! I saw the husband’s gaze go all the way up the hillside and then saw him gasp as he spied a huge house at the top. (Well, semi-gasp.)” I’m not living in a house where I have to worry about wattles. To me that says landslides, earthquakes, flooding, and that McMansion up there sliding down on me. No way, Jose.”

Back to square one:                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the husband.

Chicken Glasses

For some many moons now, I have had a post-it on my desk that says “chicken glasses.” I have no idea what this means when I see it. Tumblers with little red hens painted on them that I saw at Anthropologie?  But then I remembered seeing a picture somewhere of a chicken wearing glasses. Yep, that’s right. And it turns out that this was a trend in the early 19oos. According to Wiki (which I don’t let my students use on accounta the info could be unreliable), these glasses were tinted pink and called “pick guards.”

chicken glasses

And the reason for this? Well, just your basic run-of-the-mill cannibalism, is all. Evidently chickens pick a lot. (You remember that song from The Music Man, “Pick a Little, Talk a Little.) They peck at themselves and have actually been known to peck out each other’s eyes.  If blood is drawn and the other chickens see it, it can become a chicken Lord of the Flies because as it turns out, just like you and me, they like to eat chicken too. Who knew? There are alpha chickens who get picked on the least and zeta chickens who often become dinner for the other chickens (hence the term “pecking order”). Yes, home on the range ain’t always so homey.

So, in order to prevent chickens from beaking each other bloody, someone came up with the idea of pink glasses to obscure visible blood from the blood-thirsty fowl. The weird thing is some of these glasses (creepy spoiler alert) were held on by inserting a pin through the chicken nostrils.

Primitive…Pin through the nostril…Cannibals…New Guinea…Guinea fowl…is this going somewhere? Does this mean I can’t eat chicken anymore?  I mean that chicken paillard  may have taken a pounding before the chef ever got  hold of it. I have always thought of a free range chicken as a happy chicken with just one bad day. Have I been looking at my chicken through rose-colored glasses?

Just askin…

betty glasses



Tonya’s Birthday

photo (3)


You know, I can never gauge how I’m going to feel on August 27th of any given year since 2002. Most of the time, I go through my day in a routine way, stop at the cemetery to leave flowers and murmured messages of love, and meet my little family at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We go there because Tonya loved the angel hair pasta and the bar’s lemon drop. We go there because of it’s familiarity; its become our little ritual. We go there because it feels wrong to not celebrate her, to let her birthday drift downriver because she is not here. So why can’t I go there tonight?

I’m stuck. It happens to all who have lost a child, or maybe any close loved one. I want to be home tonight, and I want Tonya to be home with me. No mingling with The Cheesecake crowd tonight.

Maybe I’ll make my own angel hair, my own lemon drop.

  1. Go to the market for pasta, tomatoes, vodka and lemons.
  2. Plan dinner for family who loves Tonya.
  3. Go to cemetery and thank Tonya for helping me figure out how to celebrate her with more joy and less sorrow.

Funny how that worked out–right here in blog space. Ain’t life sorta grand sometimes?