Relocation Blues

“Brian, dude, what’s wrong?”

“Tammy. Her job’s relocating her to the Florida office.”



“What’s wrong with the word ‘move’?”

“I don’t know. I don’t care. What’s the point of anything if Tammy isn’t here to share it with me?”

“I’ve told you a million times. Love’s a sucker’s bet. Here. Have a cerveza.”

“No. I don’t want a cerveza. I want Tammy!”

“There’s nothing holding you here, dude.”

“Whoa, that’s a good point. There’s ocean in Florida.”

“Is that your phone, dude?”

“It’s Tammy. Hey, babe. What? We need to talk? What do you mean there’s nothing in my life that matters to me more than surfing? What does that have to do with anything? You what? Wow. That’s… I can’t believe it. No. I’m… No. Don’t worry. Why would I follow you back there? The waves in Florida aren’t good enough to entice me out there, you Ho.”

“Good god, what was that?”

“She’s been two-timing me with her boss. She’s not being relocated to Florida for work. She’s marrying him. She wanted to tell me so I wouldn’t follow her out there. Bitch.”

“You want that cerveza now?”

A Good Mattress

The marriage was falling apart. Loralee sensed it, but she didn’t know it with the depth of factual knowledge many of their friends had. “Hubby” wasn’t home much. He had other “interests.” Loralee hadn’t let herself look directly at Hubby’s absences, his late nights, the fact they never shared a bed. She just drifted.

Then, it seemed out of no where, she caught the eye of one of their friends — Mike, very tall, thin, blonde hair to his waist, pale blue eyes, younger by fifteen years. He was so interesting and so beautiful!  She felt like Mrs. Robinson, but she wasn’t, not at all, not in real life and not in his eyes.

They had a few dinners together, dinners filled with amazing conversations. They began writing long letters to each other, though they lived in the same town. They took her dogs to the beach at night. A led to B and B led to C and then came the evening when they were grateful for the 1960s travel trailer parked in her driveway.

“Where’s Hubby?” asked Mike.

“No idea,” sighed Loralee.

“Will he be home soon? Will he look in here?”

“I don’t know when he’ll be home. And he won’t look in here. He’ll go right in the house to bed.”

“Will he expect you to be there?”

“Are you kidding? We haven’t shared a bed in I don’t know how long.”


“Yeah. I don’t think he likes me, actually.”

“Wow. Why not?”

Loralee sighed. “If I knew the answer to that I’d…” she stopped. She didn’t know what she’d do, think, feel. “It doesn’t matter. I sleep better alone anyway.”

“Me too,” said Mike. “C’mere.”

Then ensued the redundant always-new coupling of humans and resulting, this time for Loralee, in feelings of completion and peace.

“Wow,” said Mike. “Older women! No, not women. YOU!”

Loralee just shrugged inside. She was and that was all there was to it.

They heard a car door slam in the street in front of the house. Each was silently grateful that Loralee had driven that evening and parked in the driveway, and Mike’s car was not in front of the house.

“Oh my god,” said Mike. “What’s going to happen? I don’t like the way he treats you, but I don’t want to be caught, either.”

“Shhh,” said Loralee. “I think he’d find it a relief to discover me with you. He’d be off the hook,” she whispered.

They heard the front door of the house open and close.

“You’re going to have to take me home,” whispered Mike. “What if he comes back out and sees your car is gone?”

“Oh well,” whispered Loralee. “I guess it’s my car.”

“You sure he won’t look for you? You guys have separate bedrooms?”

“Yeah. He won’t look for me, believe me. He said sex with me was boring.”

“My God. That’s cold.”

“And unforgettable.”

“I’m sorry, Loralee. It isn’t true, by the way.”

Loralee melted. “Oh Mike, thank you. I think I should take you home, yeah?”

“I can’t spend the night here. I have work tomorrow.”


The pulled on their clothes. Very quietly, they got out of the trailer and got to Loralee’s car.

“He’ll hear the car start!” said Mike.

“No. His room is in the back. Besides, cars start on the street all the time.”

“I never thought I’d get into it with a married woman.”

Loralee spun a U-ee, silently wondering, how she had become a married woman, 40 years old, in such a situation as this.

Casting Sylvester Stallone…

“I always thought ghoulish was macaroni, tomatoes and meat,” said Stan, poking his fork at his dish of noodles, meat and spices.

“What are you talking about?” Tammy had spent time on this dinner, Stan’s first at her apartment. It was her grandmother’s recipe. Stan was gorgeous, had a good job, took her nice places, sometimes was funny. “I’m not getting any younger,” she’d thought when she decided to take this step in what might be a relationship. “I’ll invite him over.”

“How is this ghoulish? What’s with the sour cream?”


“Yeah. I don’t see how this is ghoulish.”

“GOULASH you illiterate dweeb! GOULASH!”


“Not ‘ghoulish’. Gou-LASH!”

“OK, but this still isn’t it.”

“You’ve just never had the real thing before. You’ve just had the school lunch version.”

“We didn’t have school lunches.”

“OK, whatever. You had what your MOM had for school lunch. Do you like this?”

“It’s OK. I’m a little disappointed, though.”


“Yeah. I miss my mom’s cooking, and I was looking forward to ghoulish the way she made  it.”

Tammy looked up toward the ceiling and saw the handwriting. “Not this one, sweet cheeks,” it said. “Find someone who can read.”

At Sea

“You’re getting married? Have you set a date?”

“Tentative. June 14.”

“Wonderful. I’ll put it on the calendar.”

“Don’t you want to know the year?”

“Seriously? Isn’t it the first June, like next year?”

“We don’t know. I told you. Tentative.”

“So the wedding itself and, one supposes, the marriage is tentative?”

“The wedding. I don’t suppose the marriage will be tentative. How can you have a ‘tentative’ marriage?”

“Oh, plenty of people have done that. I have a friend who did that but it lasted twelve years. That’s something to think about. There’s regular tentative and longterm tentative.”

“But I love her. I want to spend my life with her.”

“Starting when? That’s the question right now. Doesn’t she want to spend the rest of her life with you?”

“She’s not ready to settle down. She says there are things she wants to do, and she wants to do them on her own, by herself, before…”

“Ah. Well, take it from me, kid. If she is that upfront with you about not being ready, that’s a good thing. But I don’t think you’re getting married.”

“Oh c’mon. There’s a June every year.”

“If I were you I’d just get a job on a container ship and see the world. Then when that magical June rolls around, she’ll come looking for you. Don’t wait around.”

“But what if she’s ready and I’m not here?”

“If she loves you…”

“Are you saying she doesn’t love me?”

“No. I’m just saying that if she loves you, she’ll find you. But you don’t want to miss out on your life in the meantime, right? Carpe Diem and all that is real, son.”

“She’s my life.”

“Time and tide wait for no man — or woman. Sorry you’re going to find out the hard way. I have to go to the store. Anything you need?”

The Love Sorcerer

“Two tickets. The Dean’s box. You want to come?”

“What’s the music?”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s not on the tickets?”

“No. I mean I don’t know. I don’t have them. They’re at the theater.”

And so we went. El Amor Brujo. My first symphony. I wore my best dress. He wore his interview suit.

We didn’t look all that out of place.


Young People! do NOT keep a journal!!!

I have twenty-four journals, books, with keepsakes, letters, cards, photos, quotes, hiking stories; worst of all, my own stupid personal conundrums written in convoluted and (apparently) infinite redundancy. I thought I’d found all the damned things but no; in the process of cleaning out the garage, I opened the LAST box. Guess what? A dozen more of the dumbass things.

You do not want to know when you’re 65 what an idiot you were at any point in your past life. Write the shit if it helps, then delete it. Do NOT commit it to paper or share it online. Do NOT buy one of those beautiful blank books that seems designed to embrace your every sacred thought because someday you’ll have to throw it all out. Save your money. Take a trip to some exotic locale you’ve always dreamed of and get out of your head.

And as I write this, my iPod plays…



“Bison, honey. They’re not buffalo. Bison.”

“God you make me tired with your semantic bullshit. Who cares?”

“It’s important to be precise and accurate. I’m a scientist and correctly naming things matters to me.”

“OK then, more than actually LOOKING at the goddamned buffalo out there? Did you imagine in our lifetime that there would be so many in so many places? Remember when we were kids…wait, I don’t think you ever were a kid.” He took a long pull from the thermos of coffee.

“Oh stop. You know I’m just not the rugged, outdoor individualist you are, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think this is beautiful. Amazing.”

“C’mere punkin.”

Smooch, smooch, smooch…

Wounds all Heels

Time really does heal wounds, maybe not all, but many.

Long ago I was married to a guy I met in 9th grade. It was a terrible marriage. We were both too young, too broke, too a lot of things for what we’d taken on. His dad — one of the handsomest men I ever met — followed the Calabrese method of wife and child rearing. It was all my husband knew, though he did take it to new levels. Not dissing Italians AT ALL. It’s just that he came from a strongly paternalistic home where the husband physically enforced his role as the master of the family.

I finally extricated myself. That was an interesting process, and another blog post, maybe but probably not.

Years later I had been places. I’d been in China, married a different guy, moved to San Diego, far, far away from the scenes of my first marriage. I was with friends at a lecture at the art museum in Balboa Park. We took seats in the second row. At a certain point, I looked up and saw my ex escorting his wife into the auditorium. They sat almost directly in front of us.

I was stunned and bewildered. My ex seemed only vaguely familiar, though it had only been 10 years since our divorce. I said to my friend, “That’s my first husband.”

She knew some of the stories of the marriage.

“Oh my god,” she said, “What are you going to do?”

“Nothing unless he sees me. That’s over and done with it. In fact, I barely remember it.”

“How can you ‘barely remember’ being married to someone?”

“I don’t know, but I’m glad about it.”

He didn’t see me, so I escaped that moment in the easiest possible way, still perplexed and filled with wonderment that the intervening years and experiences had healed what had once been a gaping wound.

I’ll Tell You about Desire…

Desire is temporary insanity that can last forever.*

Charles Buckowski

and the windows opened that night
a ceiling dripped the sweat
of a tin god,
and I sat eating a watermelon,
all false red,
water like slow running of rusty
and I spit out seeds
and swallowed seeds,
and I kept thinking
I am a fool
I am a fool
to eat this watermelon
but I kept eating




Linoleum cut prints by Picasso

*This is my definition of desire. To the best of my knowledge, no one else has said this. There’s nothing rational about desire, in my experience.


I was driving east on US HWY 160 on the weekly road trip to the big city for groceries — Alamosa, Colorado. It was a semi-bleak February morning, Sunday, somewhat early. I was armed with the coupons they’d sent in the mail, a bunch of good deals, as it happened. The envelope was covered with pale pink hearts against a dark pink background. There were even free things in there; free juice — my favorite brand, other stuff. Added up to a savings of more than $40. Not bad.

I hate shopping, but it’s a 25 minute drive and I have satellite radio in my car. It’s a luxury for which I pay $6/month. I was listening to the 60s station — uncommon for me — Paul Revere and the Raiders had just regaled me with “Kicks” (but they don’t keep getting harder to find). After that? The Association, “Never My Love.” I don’t think I’ve heard that since it was on the Top 40, and, for some reason, the song filled my car even though it’s not a song I ever liked.

I looked around at the mountains all around me, the white, white fingers of fog filling a high valley in the Sangre de Cristos, layers of random clouds all negotiating the future like a bored couple on a Sunday afternoon. “Shall we rain? Shall we snow? What do YOU want to do? I dunno, what do you want to do?” I thought of my novel in progress and how much fun it was last week when I finally FOUND the story. I thought of how I could organize the vastness of the narrative and got a good idea.

The song kept playing.

The mountains right now are snow-covered, white and indigo. I thought of my piano teacher in Nebraska who consoled me when I had to move away by saying, “Just think of the mountains, how much you love them and how happy you’ll be to be there again.” The family was moving back to Colorado.

The song was still singing, a full-on love song, and I remembered the moment I realized I was a writer. I sat on the floor of my bedroom in Nebraska, probably 12 or 13. I had my dad’s portable typewriter sitting on the closed case. Not a bad desk for a kid who liked to sit on the floor. I was writing a poem. I was SO happy. It was a love poem to the fields and forest where I hiked and played, to storms and seasons, to natural features, foliage, wind and sky.

The song moved closer to the ending, and then I saw it. I have always found a way to be near any mountains, out in any nature, that happened to be around. I have always written. Life without love? No.

What makes you think love will end
When you know that my whole life depends
On you…
Meanwhile, I move we return to celebrating this egregious paper holiday of disappointment in the Roman way. Bonum Lupercalia!!