Post Traumatic Panty Syndrome

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a bona fide fiancé, must be in want of a shower. Or ten.

Not sure how your weekend went, but unless you had panties hanging from your curtain-rods, mine is the clear winner.

One of my nieces threw a lingerie shower for another one of my nieces and as my daughters’ generation moves inevitably onward with the business of growing up, I am lucky to still be considered cool enough to play hostess to some touchstone moments.

An awful lot of time goes by when you blink.

This shower being only one in a series of events which must be marked with squeals, sighs, and rolling of eyes, was an opportunity to set a precedent for myself.

Whoopsie. Was that out loud?

It was a real crisis.

“Exactly, specifically, how naughty can I be for this?” I texted my daughter.

I wandered the store, drifting through piles of pink and lace and puffs and perfume.

Considering I carry thirty-ish years of boudoir under my belt, it was a bit anti-climactic.

“She likes baby-doll styles,” came the reply.

My daughter knows with whom she is texting and in her wisdom, tried to mitigate the estrogen war within her mother.

I couldn’t decide which generation I was allowed to represent. I was torn between Queen Victoria’s bloomers and Madonna’s cone bra.

Between minding my own business or sharing it at the party.

The reality is that, while everyone agrees that a bridal shower is about rallying around the bride’s bedroom, no one is willing to enter it with her.

Not while your mom is watching.

Or – dear Lord – when your kid is watching.

I was pouting in the general direction of the garterbelts and suddenly had a flash-back to 1988…

I’m a 19 year old bride, and my tribe throws me a shower.

There is no internet, there is no registry, and purchasing anything naughtier than a thong requires ID and shadowy, shifty stores with neon lights in the windows.

Considering sex ed was something you picked up reading bathroom stalls or from magazines found under your friend’s parent’s mattress (because everyone knows that your own parents do NOT have marital relations…they adopted you, and that is why your mother doesn’t understand you), it’s no surprise that my bridal shower was traumatizing.

Not because I missed the thorough education that my wild single girlfriends went on to acquire, but because my grandmother was hosting, and my mother and aunts and all their generation were mingling with them in the room.

Keep in mind, everything was pastels in the 80s. Peach, padded lingerie hangers, a crystal makeup brush, a little yellow lace teddy and a satiny rose kimono. It all made me blush.

Dusty blue, dusty rose, dusty sage…I’m surprised I didn’t receive an ostrich-feather duster. My grandmother was a neat freak (big shock) but had she gifted me with one, she would have given me the only risqué thing at the party.

Everyone, regardless of age, nodded vaguely in the direction of the rumpus-room, but no one stood up and reached for the doorknob.

And so, this weekend, we gathered around and squealed over tiny packages of little jammies, potpourri and wine, flowers and folderols, and maintained our delicacy.

I am still calling a win on account of the panty-lined curtain-rods and three teapots that were dispensing happiness.

In honor of my blushing bride memories, I gave her a generation-proof gift card.

‘Cause girls just wanna have fun…just not while their aunt is watching.

Disclaimer: the shower was last month, the wedding is next weekend, and I apologize for going postless so often. I will be more faithful this month!

Get Thee Behind Me Satan, But Don’t Touch My Back

I slept deeply, dreamlessly, a void in the black hole of my room.

When the pain dragged me slowly to the surface, my subconscious fought back at a primal level.

I did not want to wake up.

My hip throbbed from bearing most of my weight, the touchpoint between my roaring body and a bed that offered no comfort. I wanted to stretch out my leg and relieve it, but I remained frozen, knees tucked up, shoulders bolstered by limp pillows.

The beast was crouched and ready to spring. 

It’s claws flexing, waiting for me in the silence.

There are some choices we make in life that we know, going in, are going to end badly. We weigh our options, survey our desires, glance in a mirror and forgo the internal argument. We simply jump.

Perhaps I am getting too old to jump so far, but a week ago, I swear I was 18. Okay, maybe 31. Plenty awesome enough for a night out at a big party full of firefighters in a casino where my new workmates were going to put on the ritz and dance until dawn.

A girl has to fit in.

Her dress.

A girl has to fit in her dress. The one she has to shop for, one that says “Hey, I’ve still got it” but doesn’t show, explicitly, where she put it.

This is when my shoulder angel and my shoulder devil had it out, because if the dress is merely suggesting, then your shoes should take over and shout it from the rafters. Those beauty little black stilettos gave me some serious game. They had narrow ankle straps held by tiny buckles and wrapped my toes in svelteness.

“You’ll have to get a pedi,” said the shoulder angel, “you look like a Hobbit.”

“Oh girl,” said the shoulder devil, “You’re not going in there without getting a mani too! You may as well have a spa day.”

I checked my stubby, broken to the quick fingernails and frowned.

“You know we don’t do that anymore,” said shoulder angel, “It costs a fortune, ruins our real nails for a solid six months, and you can’t even type without them getting in the way.”

Shoulder devil turned a blind eye when, not two hours after our spa trip, I reached into the washing machine and jammed my lacquered acrylic into a wet towel, lifting the nail bed.

It went back down of course.

But it’s the only pink nail in a flock of french tips.

When Hubby and I arrived, the party was warming up.  A casino is not a casino without a fabulous buffet, and the first hour was spent sampling salmon, chicken cordon bleu and prime rib.  We sat around elegant tables with elegant people and got to know each other over artichoke hearts.

Tickets were handed out at the door for a raffle and free drinks at our personal bar.

I had a Lemon Drop, an Apple-tini, and a Cosmo, and I won a gift card for Starbucks coffee. This should have brought balance to my shoulder patrons, but in retrospect, we had a clear winner.

I distinctly remember shoulder angel screaming over the rocking 80s music to take off my shoes on the dance floor. Broken ankles were imminent.

Then I heard shoulder Beelzebub remind me that I had ten acrylic nails, three drinks, and two tiny shoe buckles between me and that suggestion.

And also, without the shoes I was obviously nothing. The artwork on my Cinderella toes demanded a frame and public display.

“Honey,” he crooned, “You’ve still got it.”

The shoulder angel stomped off to the dessert buffet and binged on cream puffs and tiny blueberry tartlets. My other shoulder sashayed back out to the dance floor and we proceeded to cheerfully destroy my entire back, starting with his perch.

They both declared a win, win.

What was left of me dragged home, hours late for bedtime, and spent the next week in misery. My aching back forced me to move slowly, with a hunch, like an 80-something-year-old. Adding insult to injury, it demanded I wear sensible shoes.  I could lift nothing heavier than a pencil.

I believe in future, I will pay more attention to the nod of common sense and keep the writhing demons away from my back.

Was it worth it?

My shoulders are still debating.

And my hips, my spine, my legs, my feet….

Party Like It’s 1986

I haven’t had a hangover this bad since the August I had a newborn, a toddler, and a kindergartner start school.

There comes a time when you know you’ve gone around the bend and maybe you should admit it.

It’s the first step.

My 30th high school reunion was Saturday night and it was fabulous.

It was, I am compelled to publish, a better turn-out than Hubby’s was, three weeks ago.

Yes, we graduated the same year on the same day at the same time from rival high schools and I am also compelled to explain that his was the one on the wrong side of the tracks, I don’t care what was yelled by a certain young lady wearing face paint and a pompon on her head and throwing all dignity to the wind, screamed herself silly over a football game that she never bothered learning the rules to.

My brain only has so much space in it.

Football games were for showing up with your girlfriends and letting the other side know how badly they were about to lose. Even if we lost, we had to insist we won. All about that attitude, baby.

The reunion was on point.

I showed up, jumped into a pile of girlfriends and turned up the volume.

The face paint is slightly more mature, but as you can see from the photos, I still have a pompon on my head.

Something I noticed that all future reunion organizers might want to write down:

  1. By the 30th reunion, people are flying in from all over the world to attend.
  2. They are fighting jet lag just to see their bestie from second grade.
  3. Skip the dance floor.

Both reunions tried, and I was one of six girls up there attempting to lure the party into the multi-colored strobe-lit, Van Halen pumping, fog machine mood-enhancing, MTV 80s love fest.

Perhaps everyone already has this at home. I should’ve asked.

The poor DJ was killing herself trying to earn her paycheck and the crowds would have none of it. She pumped up the volume, she pulled out classics and party tunes, she drove them up against the back wall of the building and out the door as they desperately tried to hear each other talk about little Timmy.

If only the DJ had taken the hint and dropped the beat, literally, so we could hear ourselves think.

I lost my voice and my hearing, which is always a good day-after football game sign, it means you took it seriously. But the headache is from drinking the wine poured under the table by my lawyer girlfriend who smuggled it in in a big fancy purse because open bars are for sissies.

The part where I’m staggering around is from doing the Electric Slide in high heels that should never, under any circumstances, slide.

I’m squinting because the daylight in SoCal in August does not take pity on a morning-after face that’s not be used to photo-boothing until all hours. I need a nap.

I’m pretty sure I made some new wrinkles, and I hope I made some new friends.

It’s hard to tell. Like my face, it’s a bit of a blur.

Hubby knew more people there than I did and seems to have no side effects from partying with his rival high school gang.

I’ll have to fix that.

Angels in the Backseat

Once upon a New Year’s Eve, we got it together on a bright and beautiful Sunday morning and headed across town to church.

You reckon that God is over there waiting for you and you’ll hear some lovely thoughts on scripture and practice loving your neighbor and teach the kids a thing or two about how Jesus loves them so.

And your suburban is in the shop (again) but that’s okay because another member is driving two of your kiddos and you’ve got the other three in the Lexus with you, so you make a cup of tea to go and debate just briefly whether to hassle the carseat into it because the kid is five already and it’s only across town.

So you don’t bother.

Hubby’s driven the exact same route a million times.

So when we entered the intersection and got hit by another car incoming at 3 o’clock and spun and got struck again and then spun into another car who was just minding it’s own business waiting for the light to turn and we all landed smack in the middle of Oz, it made no sense.


Hubby immediately jumped out of the car.

“What happened?” I heard him asking, “I don’t understand…what was that?”

His first thought – and all of the alternatives were just as awful – was that somehow he had run a red light. That someway he had just made a terrible mistake. But he had seen a green light.

Hadn’t he?

It never occurred to anyone that – hey – he had just jumped out of a totaled car.

And walked around trying to understand stuff.

I vividly remember sitting in my seat, wondering the same thing.

I was surrounded by deflated air bags; tea was all over the place.

There was a breath of complete silence.

And then my little one started to cry.

“Kids!” I shrieked, “Kids! Are you okay? Somebody talk to me!”

“Yeah mom,” said my eldest. He was sitting directly behind me. “I think so.”

I heard glass shifting in sharp little ice cube sounds. I heard the car door open behind me. I heard my daughter in the far left seat groan very quietly. My baby was still crying.

I must’ve lost it just a little.

Over and over, I screamed at the kids to tell me they were okay until my eldest opened my car door.

He got right up in my face.

He made eye contact until I was quiet.

“Mom,” he said, “we’re okay. We’re all three out of the car and standing here. I’ve got the kid, he’s just scared. Look, he stopped crying.”

And that’s when it occurred to me that I couldn’t move.

My brain told my head to turn and look out of the car, but my head didn’t want to.


That was it, weird.

And I just didn’t care because my babies were standing in the middle of the road and promised that they weren’t hurt and they were okay and everyone was going to wait for the emergency vehicles and stay together and take care of each other until everything was okay again.

That’s what I needed to do. Fix stuff. Make it okay pronto.

I sat there and called my mother.

I know.

I told her where we were and could she come and collect us and that we were all okay but obviously without a vehicle.

Oh, and I couldn’t really move yet but it was all the same to me to sit there in the comfortable car and wait for her. I was fine. I called her, didn’t I, to tell her so. I must be.

I sat in the car, hearing voices that seemed jumbled and far away and looking at nothing much in particular, feeling tired and thankful and completely sure that we were all fine.

Which makes no sense.

But I didn’t need it to.

I just knew.

I was very surprised when a strange man popped his head into my personal space.

“Hi there,” said Mr Handsome.

“Hi.” Mental eye roll. Surely I could’ve come back with anything more clever.

“How are you feeling?”

“You know,” I said, “I’m fine, thank you. I just felt like I didn’t want to stand up yet. I’ll get out now, if you need me to.”

“Have you moved at all since the crash?”

I didn’t like his insinuation.

“No, but I was just pulling myself together. Look, I can turn my head, it just hurts to do it, but I’m sure it’s fine.”

I had barely shifted my chin to the right when he and the entire firefighting crew around him exclaimed, “STOP! No! Don’t move!”

Well. I didn’t know I was so popular.

I gave Mr Handsome the stink eye.

“I can wiggle my fingers and my toes. I can move my arms and make phone calls. I’m fine!”

“Look,” he said very calmly, “we don’t know if you have a hairline fracture anywhere in your spine. If you turn anything at all…you could pop it.”

And that’s when I went a little to jelly.

I let strapping young men strap me into a hard stretcher. I forgave them for lying me smack in the middle of the street in broad daylight with a crowd of onlookers who will remain forever anonymous, as my neck was in the cone of shame.

It was a bit much though, (paramedics take note here) that I was on an incline with my head lower.

I had a head rush, but I was glad I was wearing my nice skirt and top.

Someone else was put into the ambulance with me, and the paramedic asked me questions all the way to the hospital.

But not the other guy.

The other guy had broken ribs and a collapsed lung. But I didn’t find that out until much later.

By the time I was laid out in the ER, and my X-rays were being scrutinized, Hubby was sitting next to me again.

He told me my parents had arrived on the scene and collected the children and taken them on to church where they were surrounded for the day with instant multitudinous family.

A police officer stepped into our cubicle.

He explained that the other car had blatantly run a red light. The driver and his passenger were heading home after an all-night party. They had just stopped at a drive through for breakfast and the driver had glanced down at his wrapped McMuffin and never even saw the intersection coming.

He struck our front right car panel at full speed, crumpling it just to the edge of my door.

When we both spun, he struck the back right car panel, crumpling it just to the edge of the back door.

When we spun into the other car, we smashed out the left rear of our car.

The three kids in the back seat were leaned forward when the rear window shattered and threw parts from the other car into the seat at them, showering them in glass.

Not a scratch on them.

The officer mentioned that this was a perfect lawsuit. They had all the evidence in their report available. This negligent driver had totaled a family car, minors were involved, and here was the mom laid out in hospital.

He gave us paperwork and respectfully backed out.

Hubby and I just looked at each other as a doctor walked in.

“No fractures,” he said. “Just a full-body whiplash. Take your time starting to move. I’ll prescribe some pain killers.”

Sometimes you have “church” in the most unlikely places.

It dawns on you that God wasn’t waiting around somewhere for you to show up.

He was sitting right here with you the whole time.

With His arms around you.

Every scripture involving the concept of thanksgiving, grace, and mercy popped into my head.

And I thought they were all beyond true.

I felt nothing but sympathy and sadness for the people in the car that had hit us. They were hurt, and we weren’t. We had a loving family with multitudinous arms lifting us up.

I didn’t know what kind of family these strangers were going home to.

What would their own mothers say, running to see them in the hospital?

Were they afraid? How many ways had this morning changed their lives, maybe forever? Were they going to spend months worrying, waiting for us to hunt them down?

Because we didn’t.

When God hands you the lives of your children, you don’t ask for a single thing more.

I believe my kids learned a thing or two that day about how much Jesus loved them so, without anyone saying a thing.

Later, at home, I put on – very slowly – the sparkly top I had bought for New Year’s Eve.

I answered the constantly ringing phone to reassure everyone that, yes, our open house New Year’s party was still on. Please come.

For once, I didn’t do dishes or join the Xbox dance-off or hula hoop contest.

I just sat up very straight and soaked in the love that permeated our home.

And tried to thank the angels who had been sitting on the kids in the backseat.

Stupor Bowl Sunday

An annual highly American life-eclipsing event occurred on Sunday.

Not sure if you caught it.

It garners more attention than our President’s State of the Union Address. Probably because the commercials are better. If Mr Obama would invest more in his half time show than his constituents’ agendas, he would gain some popularity.

I really have no opinion of football.

Thanks to our president, I have that right.

The game’s about as messy as a group of warthogs rooting up truffles and the sock puppet announcers are as entertaining as watching a golf tournament.

So many words. So little to say.

Don’t get me started.

I do, however, enjoy a good party.

By “good” I mean a group of friends on my roster who don’t mind dribbling their guacamole down their shirt fronts while screaming incoherently at the TV over some pass interference by the other team. People who have no problem lounging in awkward positions around the room, cheerfully double-dipping nachos and if strongly provoked, fiercely switching loyalties three-fourths of the way through the game.

I love watching the fans. The more worked up they get, the more entertained I am. When I was in high school, my girlfriends and I formed the “Pep Club”. We were as enthusiastic as the cheerleaders, but got to wear warmer clothes and worked on a consultant basis.

If the fans weren’t doing their job, we stepped in the gap and whipped them into the proper level of frenzy. They had to care about the penalty on that play to the point of storming the astroturf.

This is why my house was set up with Patriot and Seahawk colors, a table groaning under tailgate party snacks, and a giant bingo game for prizes every quarter.

You have to set the stage just right to achieve this level of mayhem.

Turns out, this was a year I didn’t have to try too hard.

For the first time ever, I was sucked into caring, but only at the last minute. When the game began, I chose the Seahawks based on the fact their uniforms contain the color lime green. But when their player caught/fumbled/caught/touchdowned…I mean, that man worked it…I had to give a standing ovation for pure shock factor.

Followed not five minutes later with a barroom brawl that would make every cowboy in the west proud. The refs, not so much.

The game finally showed a little passion.

One year, the Super Bowl failed us. The game was so awful that even the best fans went lukewarm, and by halftime, the party was spiraling into apathy. Not even body paint and jalepeno poppers would have resurrected the vibe.

Had I seen this coming, I would have added “pinatas in the shape of each team’s mascot” to my playbook.

I’m sure a few fans would have been delighted to take a whack at them.

Usually though, most of us are watching purely for the commercials. Which, like the Stupor Bowl, went the opposite way this year. This year, we had cute puppies…almost get eaten by wolves. And little kids…who died young. And if a giant Pac Man Game hadn’t shown up, we would have had to throw the Doritos out the window with disgust.

Seriously. They paid how much to advertise here? And this is what they came up with?

The half time shows, in my humble opinion, aren’t always up to snuff. Sure, if you’re a fan of Katy Perry and pyrotechnics you were watching, but I’m not emotionally invested.

Riding into the stadium on a gold lion: A.  Not falling off of it: A+. Dancing with sharks doing the Macarena and freaky beach balls while wearing a Hot Dog On A Stick uniform? F.

Thank you for totally topping Russia’s Olympic Ceremonies but all I’m thinking about while you’re flying around the stadium singing about fireworks is that your lyrics could easily be screams and I wouldn’t blame you. Duck!!

It’s Tuesday and I’m still finding popcorn under the couch; the sign of a great house party the world over.

My State of the Super Bowl Address:
Come for the fans, always bet on lime green, and if this particular team has to win the trophy….better deflate the top just a teensy bit, yeah?


Introvert, Party of One

Generally, people are “innies” or “outies”. Your happy place would be either in your favorite chair with a cup of tea or out wandering Comic Con, dressed as Harry Potter.

Like your belly button, introverts and extroverts are equally common and equally fun to poke.

Let’s ponder the facts for a moment. Introverts are not shy, socially awkward or Tibetan monks any more than extroverts are party animals, public speakers or Jim Carrey.

Introverts get their energy from within. They re-charge their batteries with alone time. They thrive in peace and quiet and delight in solitude. If they get their regular down time, they will be charged for anything, including being leaders of the free world.

Many presidents were introverts.

Extroverts get energized by other people. Their batteries recharge by rubbing elbows with crowds and having lots of action around them. If they get their regular “peeps” time, they are refueled to go out there and work in a cubicle 9 to 5 or stay home with the children all day.

Many nuns are extroverts.

Opposites attract as they say, so, naturally, I’m the introverted wife of an extroverted hubby. He still wonders how I can spend all day with a good book, and I can never figure out what spending hours at Costco does for him. What drains me, fuels him. What I consider the best day ever, he would think a complete waste of time.

Utterly boring.


We have learned to use our individuality to the team advantage: he does the grocery shopping, I do the dishes. He circulates when we throw big house parties, and…I do the dishes. He chats with ten people at once and I will chat with the person next to me.

But only for a few minutes. Then I go find some dishes to wash.

It’s just enough of a re-boot to jump back into the party.

He knows everybody. Probably in the whole world.

I do too. It’s just easier to know them one at a time, spread out over the week, as opposed to a stadium full simultaneously.

I have to say, though, when all is said and done, introverts have more fun. An introvert will have more parties going on in her head on any given day than an extrovert will attend in his lifetime.

And they will be polite parties involving the maintaining of personal space.

You will know who is which at the extrovert’s party because one will be shrieking and hugging and smiling and talking mile a minute with the entire group while the other will be ducking, wincing, and thinking to herself, “If she gets any louder, dogs will hear her in the next county.”

The extrovert will wonder what’s wrong with her introvert friend and give her extra hugs in case it’s something so bad, her girlfriend can’t even talk about it.

That’s what friends are for.

Extroverts have external voices. Everything is verbalized at the moment it’s thought. You can’t put too much weight into it. A problem shared is a problem halved. Silence is threatening. If you are quiet around them, they will pursue you relentlessly trying to decide if you’re hiding something.

Introverts have internal voices. Silence is golden. I work things out in my head and then say just what I need to say, if something indeed, needs saying. My problem shared would be a problem doubled.

I’m not hiding anything except an excess of verbiage.

“I love you,” says the extrovert, “talk to me!”

“I love you too,” says the introvert, “please shut up!”

If only one of these statements poked you, you just found out who you are. Neither are threats and both are revelations about the speaker’s needs.

Maybe innies collect a little dust, and maybe outies are more easily accessorized.

But now that we know who is whom, we can celebrate it with a nice cup of tea.

Um, in a flash mob.

If you need to.

I’ll understand.