Wednesday, December 23, 2009


TIM: Hmmmmm. The suitcase is out. Where are you going?

ME: Ohio!

TIM: Again? When are you leaving?

ME: On Christmas afternoon.

TIM: My. Why so sentimental?

ME: I know, right? Smack dab in the middle of the day. I wonder if it will be crowded at the airport?

TIM: I wonder if you considered your husband's day in any of this?

ME: Tim, he said to buy the ticket because it was so inexpensive. I have to go to Ohio for my mom's 90th birthday. You know that.

TIM: Well. Use the accessory wall thoughtfully. And I don't mean yours, I mean your mothers'. You know how tastefully she accessorizes. Just listen to her when you dress for her party.

ME: You know, Tim, Mother isn't exactly hitting on all cylinders these days.

TIM: And?

ME: Do you still trust her to dress me? Or even accessorize me?

TIM: Let me put it this way, Deborah. Are you sitting down? Even in your fifth decade, with your education and demeanor, I would prefer you to be accessorized by your 90-year-old, slightly senile, fragile mother whose sense of fashion clearly out-ranks yours and, in fact, whose 90-year-old bones are even thicker and stronger than yours. She is clearly "in".

ME: *quietly* I can take her in a race.

TIM: Of course you can, Deborah. Of course.

Monday, December 7, 2009


TIM: I saw everything.

ME: It was raining.

TIM: As if that is anywhere close to a legitimate excuse.

ME: I didn't want to get wet.

TIM: There's a handy appliance called an "umbrella" and effective, not unlike that gaudy nail polish you're fond of.

ME: Look, it rains so seldom here and our sidewalk goes downhill and gets very slippery. It's extraordinarily treacherous. Truly dangerous. And I had to walk the dog!

TIM: Don't you have an 18-year-old that can do that FOR you? Someone who can dress as a proxy?

ME: OH MY GOSH, TIM, it wasn't that bad!

TIM: Sure it was.

ME: They're my boots. They may be multicolored, but...

TIM: They're striped. That's different than "multicolored". Striped.

ME: And they might be a little high...

TIM: They go to your knees.

ME: But they're waterproof...

TIM: Because they're rubber. You're wearing stripped, knee-high rubber boots. Were you booked for some birthday party or something? You forgot your red rubber nose.

ME: Oh my gosh. All I cared about today was staying warm and dry. The boots worked. Wonderfully, I might add. And the coat? It was an old, hooded, army-type jacked that was perhaps a bit bulky, but did the trick.

TIM: Ahhhh yes, the trick. Was the trick making balloon animals?

ME: That's it. This conversation is over.

TIM: Why? Have the ponies arrived or is the cake being cut?

ME: Oh my gosh. I did not look like a clown!!!

TIM: No, you looked like a clown's assassin. The army coat? With those gaily colored rubber boots? Did children run from you? Did puppies yip? Were you followed by the police?

ME: I see how it is. Project Runway's season is over and you have no one to pick on, it that it?

TIM: No. You just give me so much to work with. Lose the coat. Better to catch pneumonia than be considered a suspect on the grassy knoll. Keep the boots. Take off that polish. Use an umbrella so you don't have that hunched over appearance. Make it work.

ME: Thank goodness I live in southern California. I couldn't take living somewhere where there's "real" weather. We'd kill each other.

TIM: Lord knows you're dressed for it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


TIM: What's that humming sound?

ME: Me. I'm humming.

TIM: Oh! I thought it was an appliance gone awry.

ME: Thanks. I'm fine. Yourself?

TIM: What are you so relatively content about? That's when you typically hum.

ME: Relatively content? What happened to "happy"? A girl can't be "happy" anymore?

TIM: It's charming that you still refer to yourself as a "girl". And the answer to your question, as far as you personally, is "not so much". You, Deborah, are a "relative"-type of person. You continually weigh balances, ponder circumstances, look at various sides of the issues. So, what may be "happy" to one person is "relatively content" on you. So. Spill. What are you relatively content about.

ME: Fine. Look at my legs.

TIM: OH! They're covered in denim!

ME: Bingo. New pair of jeans, buddy. I broke down and bought them.

TIM: No no no Deborah. You couldn't have done this on your own. Someone helped you. Those jeans fit.

ME: Hey!

TIM: What I mean is, you've never been able to purchase a pair of jeans that actually fit your body. You don't exactly have jean-friendly curves. So...what's the rest of the story. And remember, if you're not forthcoming, I'll know it....

ME: Fine! I was shopping for leggings.

TIM: Oh Deborah. Haven't we had this conversation before. Puhleese. Edit edit edit.

ME: I need something warm to cover my legs when I go to Ohio. It's cold there.

TIM: You're whining. Continue.

ME: Anyway, the manager of the store...

TIM: A woman's store?

ME: Charlotte Russe.

TIM: Oh, thank goodness....I thought you went to Epidemic or something.

ME: Nice.

TIM: Go on.

ME: Anyway, the manager asked if she could get me some jeans. I explained my difficulty in sizing them to me and she accepted it as a challenge. She reminded me of my niece, Tiffany, so I had an immediate comfort level with her. She took me to the jeans section and explained all the different styles and things. She said, "just go to the dressing room and I'll bring some back". I agreed and this is what we came up with. You likey?

TIM: They're fine. Nothing can fix that gluteus minimus, but you've worked around it. Are they comfortable?

ME: Well, they're cut a little low so when I sit down they dip a little lower in the back than I would like. I think girls wear thongs with these things. And at the end of the day, sometimes I can slip them off without unbuttoning them.

TIM: Maybe because they're designed for young girls who haven't given birth yet and are waiting to be asked on their first date.

ME: Hey, I was just excited to find jeans that fit me. Hence, my humming but I think that's over for now.

TIM: *sigh* Fine. Next time bring a more critical eye to your purchase and wear a long, layering tee with these. Turn around. hmmmmm. Did you get a pair that you can dress up a bit? Maybe wear with some heels?

ME: Yes. Yes I did.

TIM: Okay. Use the accessory wall thoughtfully.

ME: Tim. I don't have an accessory wall.

TIM: You will. You'll be in Ohio. Don't get me started on your sister's and mother's eye for fashion. I can't wait!

ME: Which means I'll be hearing from you more in the near future?

TIM: Are you kidding. I wouldn't miss this trip for the world!

ME: Lucky me!

TIM: The drama alone is going to be the entertainment factor. The fashion and artistry is just the bonus! Pack those jeans, we'll take care of the rest of you when you get to the Midwest. Holla!

ME: Holla Tim.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


TIM: Talk to me.

ME: It's just a haircut, Tim.

TIM: Well! I should think it's more than "just a haircut". You don't "just" do anything regarding your looks. Something as huge as this involves hours of pondering. Nothing is "just" anything when it comes to your appearance. It's all part of some big psychological breakdown.

ME: Through, Tim. Break-THROUGH, not down.

TIM: No. I was right the first time. I'll stand by that. But talk to me.

ME: Okay. You're right. I've been doing some thinking.

TIM: Which explains me showing up.

ME: Oh yea...and hello, by the way.

TIM: Thank you.

ME: Well, you know my hair. It's so dreadfully and comically thin.

TIM: Deborah, there's nothing funny about your hair except the creative ways it attempts to escape from your scalp. I've found it in the most creative places.

ME: What???

TIM: Your hair is on the dog. That's usually reversed.

ME: Ewwwww.

TIM: It's in the lint catcher on the dryer and it's threatening all of us with a house fire. The gagging sounds you hear at night is the shower hacking up a fur ball in the shape of a "D" for desperately shedding Deborah. Did you really think your husband only had allergies at night? In bed? Next to you? Your hair flies up his nose as you toss and turn! He sneezes and coughs trying to avoid inhaling your head!

ME: OKAY! I've got it. You've painted the picture. The graphics are clear.

TIM: You don't even want to know what the neighbors below are saying when you sit on the balcony and there's a slight breeze. Don't you ever hear that choking sound?

ME: Tim!!! I have feelings!!!

TIM: Sorry. Carry on.

ME: Anyway....gosh!'s thin and frankly, it's silver. AND white. Most of the white is around my face, which is kind of cool. And the silver hair is the exact same color and texture of my Dad's hair, which is also kind of cool. So, I decided to make a big leap and just let it go. I'm got my final weave to help let the silver grow out; it's almost an inch now, and I cut off the long, strangly parts. So! I'm going tribal.

TIM: Tribal?

ME: Yep! I'm going to let it get healthy and silver and embrace my older, wise woman.

TIM: This should be interesting.

ME: Meaning?...

TIM: Exactly that.

ME: So....what do I do now?

TIM: We wait...and do exactly what your is going to do....grow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


TIM: I'm sorry Deborah.

ME: Thank you. It hurts.

TIM: He's old. You had him during his best years. You made each other very happy.

ME: I think so. It still hurts.

TIM: I can see that. What are your immediate plans?

ME: Well. It's difficult. He's still so very much "with" us. He smiles. He wags his tail. His hearing has improved. He barks at people that walk under our balcony to "protect" us. He does this adorable thing with his paw when I'm petting him. If I pull away too soon, he puts his paw on my arm so that I have to keep petting him. It's heart-breakingly sweet. And his eyes. That's the hardest thing. They're so soulful. They communicate everything. I think he knows he's on the way out. He knows how much he's loved. He knows we're constantly here for him. He's never ever alone. He sleeps on our beds with us. He's always in front of one of us. He watches me do the dishes, the laundry, and work on the computer. He watches Eli play the piano. We carry him downstairs to be outside. Peter sits with him on the balcony to get fresh air. I prepare his food twice a day. He gets fresh rice and turkey. I cook one or two eggs. I give him two baby aspirins a day and I put a Xanax in his food bowl twice a day as well.

TIM: So, his food has a street value?

ME: Basically, yea. I've made "the call" and found a place that will help us out when the time comes to take him in. I think that's going to be pretty soon. I'm comforted by the knowledge that he knows that we love him. He really knows it. We've been privileged to care for him and demonstrate to him our love. We've been blessed to be able to serve him. Really blessed. you have anything to say?...any advice?...any words?...

TIM: This was a tough challenge. He's a masterpiece. He's ready for the runway.

Friday, October 16, 2009


TIM: Designers? Gather round please.

ME: Tim? It's just me.

TIM: I realize that. I just wanted to make you feel like you were a part of something. Did it work?

ME: Not so much. But thanks for the effort.

TIM: Well...that's what I'm here for.

ME: What's the deal? Am I appearing extra needy? Extra lonely? Extra something?

TIM: Well Deborah, you're always a little "extra" something, but that something is seldom good. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you know better than anyone that if I'M showing up, the "needy factor" is extra high. to me...

ME: Oh...yea...well...let's see. Actually, things are pretty good. I moved, which you probably know, right? And my new town is really nice. I live close to my youngest daughter and that's nice.

TIM: Yes, I've looked through her closet. Listen to her when she talks about fashion. Please.

ME: Got it.

TIM: No really. I mean it. Really LISTEN to her.

ME: I got it Tim. I hear you.

TIM: And the hair thing...listen to her about your hair...all twelve of them...


TIM: Carry on.

ME: School's going okay. As always, there are papers to write, and research to conduct. *sigh* I'm trying to fit into my new ward at church, but there's so many people and it's tough to remember names. You know, just moving stuff...I guess that's it...

TIM: Edit.

ME: What?

TIM: Edit, Deborah. You have all of these "issues" on your table. Handle each one. Get a feel for each one. Does one seem more problematic than another? Your school work, has that really changed from quarter to quarter or does that seem consistent? Your church. Same consistency, but new faces? Is that the challenge there? What's the really good part? Your daughter's proximity, which was quite lacking in your last location? Am I right about that?

ME: Well, yea! All of those things. School is school, no matter where I live. Church is really the same, it's more just learning the people's names and faces, and that's really a matter of time and patience. Living closer to my daughter is a real bonus, so that's a good thing.

TIM: can make this work, am I right? Hmmmm?

ME: Of course you're right. That's why you're here. Hey! Holla at cha girl!

TIM: Holla at your daughter's closet!

ME: Whatever.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


TIM: You look.....interesting.

ME: I know, right?

TIM: What is that? What's that dialect? Why are you responding to me with a question?

ME: I know, right? *cough* What?

TIM: I just mentioned that you look "interesting". Obviously you're thinking of something and that means I show up. But then you turned into Jessica Simpson or something...

ME: Oh, yea. They've been showing commercials for that movie she did with Dane Cook and it stuck in my brain....

TIM: Shake it off. That's not good for anyone. And don't even think about a tank top with high-waisted jeans. You might be able to get away with the jeans but that belt, puhleese, edit edit edit.

ME: No Tim, this isn't a fashion crisis.

TIM: Deborah, you're always in a fashion crisis, you just don't want to face it. I'm a walking intervention practicing restraint. I'm earning all kinds of patience awards being with you! I am a veritable Mother Theresa of the fashion-impoverished when I walk through your closet.

ME: Why Tim? Why does it devolve to this when you and I start a conversation? I have much bigger issues.

TIM: Do you Deborah? Do you really?

ME: Wow.

TIM: Fine. We will once again turn away from the BIG PROBLEM and deal with your crisis du jour. Here. Let me get comfy and put on my interested countenance. There. Spill.

ME: Gee, I'm all warm and fuzzy now Tim.

TIM: Those are your legs Deborah. Shave. Just tell me your "issue".

ME: I don't feel the need to "act up" anymore.

TIM: uh huh....

ME: That's it.

TIM: Really. Define "act up".

ME: Well, if I'm in a crowd of people, well gosh, first off, I typically now avoid crowds of people. Isn't that weird? But unless I'm with people I know pretty well, intimately even, I just don't carry on like I used to. Is that a bad thing?

TIM: By "carry on" do you mean, like, put a lamp shade on your head? That type of thing?

ME: Well no! I've never done that?

TIM: Really? Should I ask around? Because who admits to that?

ME: *gulp*

TIM: Yea.

ME: That would be terrible! But no, I don't think I was ever THAT weird. Let's just move forward. I think that I just wish to BE entertained as opposed to BEING the entertainer. Does that make more sense? I mean, I enjoy being a part of a good, lively conversation and I love to laugh, and I love surrounding myself with funny, witty people, but I guess that's the thing. I love being SURROUNDED by them. It feels like I'm passing the torch, so to speak. I'm kind of done with the entertaining part.

TIM: And you think people are going to pick up on this? That there's going to be some kind of mass mourning?

ME: Well, no, not exactly. Especially not when you put it like that.

TIM: What about this...what if no one notices?

ME: ?

TIM: See all this pressure you're creating for yourself? What if it's all for naught? What if everyone has always been having a good time and you weren't responsible for any of it? What then? What if you were never ever expected to be the one to "carry the burden" of every one's good mood, hearty laugh, or "best night ever"? What if that piece was just your own personal fiction? You don't even read fiction that much...what would you compose it for your own life?

ME: I...I...I...

TIM: Well said. Let's try this. Go home, enjoy your family, and relax. Here's an interesting thought; when you're not in Ohio, they're still having fun. Laughter continues, giggles still erupt, and good times are had. You are NOT expected to carry on.

ME: I suppose not. That's a lot of unnecessary pressure to put myself under isn't it?

TIM: I know, right?

ME: Stop it.

TIM: Go home. Carry on, only don't.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


TIM: Nice face...

ME: Wow. It shows that much?

TIM: Yes. Unfortunately, I know you THAT well. You are pondering something and that means I step into the picture. What is going through that relatively cluttered and yet strangely vacant head of yours?

ME: My widowed, 89-year-old mother is interested in someone and I think he's interested in her also.

TIM: How old is the gentleman? It's a gentleman, right?

ME: Yea. He's 93.

TIM: All right. Your first concern?

ME: First? Tim, there are so many concerns, I don't know how to get them to line up in an orderly fashion to number them. They're like crazed, rabid cats on acid...Jackie Chan cats...

TIM: Some one's been reading Laurie Notaro...

ME: You betcha buddy...We Idiot Girls had better stick together. But anyway, there are WAY too many issues to figure out on this one.

TIM: Well, I can't help you if you aren't willing to organize your thoughts...all I have to work with are your thoughts, Ms. Braniac...

ME: What happened to "Carry on" and "Make it work"

TIM: You stopped watching television...

ME: Sorry. My bad. Okay, first, I'm totally weirded out by "date talk" coming out of my mother's mouth.

TIM: Okay. Next.

ME: She's confused. She likes the "idea" of dating but not the "mechanics" of dating. I think she is remembering being swept off her feet by my big, theatrical Dad and I don't think this situation is even remotely like that so I'm worried that my Mom is setting herself up for a big emotional disappointment kind of thing.

TIM: Well, thank goodness.

ME: What?

TIM: You redeemed yourself. For a minute, after that first concern, I almost walked. I thought it was all about YOU. YOU being "weirded out" by your mother allowing herself the indulgence of date-speak. She should be allowed to let that fly without any judgment. How many 89-year-old women get that opportunity? Rock that show, Mom!

ME: Point made, sir.

TIM: Yes. She could very well be setting herself up for a disappointment. She probably is. He's 93, for Heaven's sake. He's setting himself up also, truth be told. Your mother needs to have the risks laid out, quite clearly, before her. Write them down if you have to. Put it out there in black and white. There are problems with simply driving, interference/involvement with each of the children, either one of them may consider it "meddling" and to some extent it may feel that way. How do you juggle privacy and "I'm looking after you for your own good" and still make everyone feel adult? That would be tough, for BOTH of them. And then there is the very sensitive subject of death as the ultimate deal breaker...But they're both adults, they've both lost spouses and peers to death, they know these risks...

ME: Yea...there's that.

TIM: Deborah. That's the ultimate deal breaker for all of us, any day, any time. None of us have ANY guarantees. Not one. When was the last time you looked at your birth certificate?

ME: Yeesh, I don't know.

TIM: Well, I can guarantee you it did not come with an expiration date. We all have the inalienable right to happiness and your mother wants one last shot at that fluttery joy that comes with new romance. Are you going to take that from her? I don't think so. And as for disappointment, yes, she may experience it. In fact, she probably will, to some degree. But as her daughter, you're going to support her, and love her, and be a resource for her as she struggles through it.

ME: So what do I do?

TIM: Exactly what you're doing right now. You're going to listen. You're going to laugh when she laughs. You're going to tell her she's pretty when she gets dressed up, mainly because she is; I've seen your mother and she's sharp! And you're going to be with her when she gets down. You're just going to be present. All the way through. All. The. Way.

ME: I am, aren't I.

TIM: You will help her carry on...while she carries on.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


ME: Aha! There it is. Look!

TIM: Where?

ME: There. See it now?

TIM: Let ME hold the magnifying mirror. Try shining the flashlight from this angle.

ME: See it?

TIM: Ohhhhh...there it is.

ME: I know, right? It's huge! The San Andreas Fault could hide in there.

TIM: Deborah, it's a line. Yes. But unless you go without moisturizer and go full on sunbathing for six months, no one is going to see it unless you duct tape a magnifying glass to your face with a cardboard arrow pointing to it!

ME: So you're admitting I have another line.

TIM: I don't think I can take another birthday with you.

ME: I don't think I can take another birthday with me.

TIM: Look, you're over 50. You have to choose between your butt or your face-that's the reality of it my dear. You're thin, you chose your butt. Your butt won. Your face lost. *pause* I've never seen eyeballs shake like that.

ME: Are you serious? That's it! You're going to say something like that to me and think it's OVER? I don't do GLIB! I may SPEAK glib. But I don't PROCESS glib. Oh ho ho ho no Mr. no no no no...I did NOT choose my butt. This is not a butt. This is a battering ram for bones trying to escape through my gluteus minimus. Jennifer Lopez has a butt. Girls with some meat have a butt. What I have is a lower back which somehow immediately becomes my thighs. This, I did NOT choose. This is a lose/lose situation, sir. I have an aging face and NO butt. It hurts to sit on a hard chair because of the bony nature of my lack of butt and it hurts to look in a mirror.

TIM: Has your husband said anything to you about the lines on your face?

ME: Really Tim? Really? My husband hasn't seen me in natural light in 5 years. Have you ever wondered why I have so many candles in my house?

TIM: Well, there does seem to be a lot of wax on the walls, now that you mention it.

ME: We are the mole people Tim. MOLE PEOPLE!!! It's not that I look especially alluring in candle light! Heck! Charles Manson looks alluring in candle light! I light candles because he can't see the fine details of the lines on my face!!! IT'S A STRATEGY!

TIM: *backing up* Okaaaayyyyyyy

ME: Get back here. You'd better talk me down from this ledge I'm getting ready to metaphorically jump off of buddy. I CANNOT afford a face lift. This had better come from within buddy boy and that is YOUR job!

TIM: I see. So, you just had a birthday and now you're having aging issues, am I getting that right?

ME: Yea Tim. Yea, aging issues. Bingo. Lines on face. Loose skin. Achy joints. The whole nine yards.

TIM: And you want to be young again?

ME: Well, I don't think it's possible to be young again. I just don't want people to judge me based on my age or appearance.

TIM: Oh! Like you do to yourself when you hold a magnifying mirror to your own face?

ME: *gulp* Is that judging?

TIM: Well, let's see. I'll hold the magnifying mirror and the flashlight. You grab the box of haircolor, the anti-wrinkle cream and the tape measure, and we'll recreate what you do in here all the time and then you tell me what you see.

ME: I'm the one doing the judging?

TIM: Looks that way to me. What would happen if your stopped judging yourself?

ME: I'd save money? Time? Sanity?

TIM: Those last two are mine.

ME: I'm the one doing the judging...

TIM: Now you're repeating yourself, old people do that.

ME: Stop it Tim.

TIM: Go outside with your husband. Have a picnic.

ME: Don't push it.