Sunday, February 27, 2011


To begin with, let me establish my current repulsion for politics.  Although throughout the years of my secondary education I was quite the Young Republican who baked and decorated cut-out cookies in the shape of elephants for our club's fundraisers, I have long since sold both my elephant and donkey cookie-cutters at a neighborhood garage sale.  I currently am "Not-Affiliated" with any political party and have adopted the "Bobby Olm-Shipman Political Philosophy" which basically establishes that the best idea wins.  I believe that government should serve a limited role in our lives as Americans, but that personal responsibility and individual values should lie within the hearts and minds of each citizen and not be sacrificed for the benefit of others.  Bottom line, I think our government shouldn't have a say about our bodies or what we do in our bedrooms.

Over the past month there has been huge debate over federal budget cuts in spending and Planned Parenthood has been cast as a very sexy victim in the argument.  In my opinion the abortion debate is being used as a red herring to stir up the very core of women's wrath (both pro-life & pro-choice) - in order to divert our attention from the radical makeover so desperately needed in our current governing system.  Settling the debate over federal funding for any service helping women and children will certainly not even begin to dig us out of the financial abyss we are currently lost in.

Now that I have established my desire to not get caught up in the right and wrong of the abortion debate, I will tell you about my love affair with Planned Parenthood.

I was raised in such a die-hard right winged home during the Reagan/Thatcher years, that I even wrote my 8th grade essay on "Whom I Most Admire" with Pat Buchanan as my topic.  Being a member of "Teens For Life" in high school, afforded me a day off of school for the club's field trip where we visited various pregnancy support centers, Operation Rescue headquarters, and a home for unwed mothers.  Throughout my informative speech on "Safe Sex" in my Speech 101 course in college, I repeatedly said, "UNplanned Parenthood" when referencing the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider.  Needless to say no one at my Jesuit Catholic University corrected me. 

Then the spring of my 20th year rolled around and the symptoms of "vulvovaginitis" showed up for the first time in my life.  After I took the suggestion of a friend and used an over the counter Monistat treatment I began to feel better, but as soon as the treatment ended - the symptoms returned.  Cosmic Charlie had been my only sexual partner for the past year, and although I had been completely confident in his fidelity - I was beginning to re-think everything I thought I knew about him.  My Catholic guilt crept in and somehow I convinced myself that I acquired a horrible life-threatening disease because I was a horrible sinner engaging in pre-marital sex.  While guilt sang the melody, the constant voice telling me that I was stupid, fat, and ugly chimed in harmony throughout the background of my consciousness.

Although I had fabulous health insurance I was actually too embarrassed to go see my regular Internal Medicine physician for this particular ailment.  I must not have fully understood the patient/doctor confidentiality concept because I was certain Dr. Johnson would promptly call my mother and tell her what a little slut she had raised.  I decided to take my sinful body where the rest of the "bad girls" went - my local Planned Parenthood.

As I approached the two-story brick building surrounded by an eight foot high wrought-iron fence, a swarm of protesters outside of the perimeter began to approach my two-door economy car.  Holding signs with horrifying photographs and screaming, "DON'T KILL YOUR BABY!!!" to me, the angry mob banged on the hood of my car and tried to block my left turn into the parking lot.  It was such a surreal two minutes.  Don't kill my baby?  For goodness sakes people - I have an itch!  Please let me through to face my own judgement on this one. 

The second my car entered the parking lot, the protesters backed off physically but continued to scream in my direction.  Two health care workers emerged from the entrance to Planned Parenthood dressed in scrubs and ran towards my car offering to park for me while taking me by the hand and asking if I was okay.  A sweet young woman put her arm around me and led me to the lobby offering to help me check in and handing me a cup of chamomile tea.  I haven't had reception this good at any of the dozens of five star hotels I stayed at over my lifetime.

I barely spent thirty seconds in the waiting room before a nurse called me back to an exam room where she took my vital signs as I explained to her about my life threatening STD which my drug dealing philanderer of a boyfriend must have given me.  She gave me a soft cotton gown (not those horrible paper ones my own doctor uses which makes me feel like I am at the butcher), and she left the room while I changed clothes and assumed the ever so modest position on the exam table with my bare feet in the stir-ups and a blanket for cover.

As my health care provider entered the room, I shuddered for a split second as this woman was definitely NOT the Jacqueline Bisset look alike that I had in my own Dr. Johnson.  Tammy introduced herself and all 450 pounds of her topped off with a very short, gray buzzcut hairstyle sat down and gently put her hand on my leg and began softly patting it for reassurance.  My fear of being treated by a lesbian, quickly vanished as Tammy's bedside manner and sweet disposition calmed a deep fear in me which had never quite been stood up to before despite eight years of therapy.

Although my feet were firmly settled in the stir-ups, my knees were rigidly locked together and I didn't think I would be able to relax my inner thigh muscles long enough to conform to the examination.  Tammy took the time to talk to me some more about non-clinical issues and without even realizing it, I naturally relaxed in order for her to take a good look.

"Oh Honey!  You have a HORRIBLE yeast infection!" Tammy exclaimed within the first split second of examining me.  She hadn't even put her hands on me yet and I burst into tears.

"Are you sure?" I said, "I used the over-the-counter cream and since it didn't go completely away, I was certain I had some type of exotic HIV/Hepatitis/Herpes/Syphilis infection only known in circles of Grateful Dead following hippies like my boyfriend."

Tammy assured me that not all yeast infections can be cured with over-the-counter agents and how I needed a prescription for this one.  Instead of just writing me a script where I would then need to take it to a pharmacy and wait for it to be filled, delaying my treatment by several hours - Tammy immediately handed me a tube of cream and told me to administer it immediately, get dressed, and meet her out front.  The feeling of relief was greater than any absolution I had ever received by my priest during Saturday confession. 

I met Tammy at check out where she handed me a paper bag with my treatment and she gave me the hugest, warmest, most healing hug I have ever felt.  When I asked the receptionist what I owed, she just smiled and said whatever I could pay would be great.  Whatever I could pay?  I didn't get it.  I pressed her for a detailed account of the charges which amounted to $65 including the prescription.  I had more than that amount in my purse in the form of cash.  So I paid the entire bill and confidently (and quite more comfortably) walked to my car and drove past the protesters thinking of how they have NO IDEA what they are missing.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Nowadays when my girlfriend's call to tell me that they recently became happily engaged, I congratulate them and politely inquire about the details of the proposal, ring, man, etc., followed by a somewhat unusual plea.  I do not end the conversation until I make it clear that, although I am happy to lend a hand in any way, please, please, please don't ask me to be a bride's maid.  Having majorly failed at the job four out of the six times I have taken on the challenge, I have finally accepted the fact that I am the worst bride's maid of all time.

The one time I actually kept it together through the preparation and ceremony with grace and confidence, I ended up spiraling midway into Dante's seventh circle of Hell by the reception's end.  Although I initially felt shame and embarrassment over my behavior, twelve years later I find myself laughing with everyone else who witnessed my descent.  Here is the story of one of my most embarrassing moments of all time:

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by my childhood friend, Doris, if I would travel back home and be one of her five bride's maids at her wedding.  Since the second grade, Doris's "Leave It To Beaver" family was my second home just around the corner where I could retreat to when my own dysfunctional homelife made it too painful to breath without crying.  Doris's mom always had fresh baked cookies baking, calming candles lit, decorative candy dishes overflowing with with REAL candy, and  "Andy Griffith" reruns constantly looping through the television for family entertainment.  It was Pleasantville at its finest.

My first mistake as Doris's bride's maid was forgetting to pack my panties in my "getting ready bag" which I took with me to the church where the bridal party was getting dressed.  I distinctly remember undressing and thinking that I should really change my underwear because my current pair wasn't the right style for the satin dress I would be wearing, and visible pantie lines were not my style.  When I realized I had failed to pack a second pair, I just figured my pantie hose would be sufficient enough even though they were of the "sheer to the waist" variety.

My second, third, fourth, and twenty-fifth mistake that celebratory evening all had to do with wine.  Doris's happy day was something of a high-school/college/family/past-life reunion of sorts for me, so I was bouncing around the ballroom like a social pinball on a wild streak.  Every time I set my glass of wine down to access my camera from my purse, a roving server would hand me a fresh glass and I would start my usual "4 count" all over again (not that I typically stop drinking at 4 - I just stop counting).  With so much social overload, the evening flew by and when I saw the DJ starting to pack up his equipment I started to run across the dance floor on a very energetic mission to resurrect the dance party and make it last all night.

The transition into the next part of the night is still absent from my memory.  Somehow after pleading with the 400 pound, acne scarred, cartoon-characterish DJ to play some more Donna Summer - I found myself midway through a very intense make-out session while locked in his embrace and feeling his extended roving hands all over my body.  I "came to" for a moment, and open my eyes long enough to see Doris's grandmother staring straight at me with a look of pure shock and disgust.  I pushed away from DJ Dork long enough to gain my balance and saw him pointing his two fingers at me saying, "You're coming home with me tonight!  YOU'RE COMING HOME WITH ME TONIGHT!"  He looked like he had just won the lottery.

Through divine intervention, Doris's older brother Frank pulled me away from DJ Dork telling me that it was time to go and that I would be riding in his car with Fred and Mike.  Frank and Fred were like second brothers to me and since Doris and Clark had left the reception for their Jamaican honeymoon, I was now their responsibility.  I piled in the backseat of Frank's Ford Explorer extremely excited about taking the party down to the "Bar District" with my favorite boys from childhood.  Within less than a mile into our departure, I rolled down the window and violently puked the party poison down the side of the SUV.  My memory pretty much blacks out after this, but Frank and Fred just love to fill me in on what happened next every time our paths cross. 

Apparently after my first messy expression out of the moving car, Frank decided to pull over into a McDonald's parking lot in an attempt to avoid bringing the attention of law enforcement to us.  Next, as I was trying to gain my balance getting out of the vehicle - I hurled all down the front of my midnight purple satin bride's maid dress, which had been generously purchased for me by the bride's family.  I guess I didn't find this "puked all over look" very flattering, because I immediately unzipped the dress and wiggled out of it in the middle of the parking lot.  Now, only dressed in my long-line strapless push-up bra and sheer to the waist pantie-hose which exposed EVERYTHING below my waist, I walked straight to the McDonald's dumpster in my dyed-to-match pumps and deposited my dress without hesitation.  Next I told the boys that I was feeling much better and was now ready to hit the bars.

Thank goodness Fred was gentlemanly enough to take a break from his hysterical laughing long off to take off his undershirt and help me to get it over my head.  Mike was too busy grabbing my camera and taking pictures of the fiasco from the passenger seat to lend a helping hand of any kind.  Frank must have been taking diligent notes of my behavior from the driver's seat, because he can recall every detail of that night better than actress Marilu Henner with her "superior autobiographical memory" could have, had she been there.  Somehow Frank drove me back to his parent's house and Fred put me to bed in Doris's bedroom where she and I had spent countless sleepovers playing Barbie dolls and giggling as little girls. 

The next morning I awoke with a tremendous headache and looked around the room for the glass of sand I must have been sipping on all night, as that could be the only explanation for the taste in my mouth.  I came downstairs to find Doris's teetotalling parents, Ward and June Cleaver, standing with open arms to embrace me and offer words of forgiveness and support which included, "It's okay Sweetheart, when one has never really tasted alcohol before it can be a very tricky adversary and a real demon to contend with."  I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was twenty-four years old and had been pulling this kind of shit sporadically for the past ten years.  Doris's entire family spent the day nursing me back to health in the same way that they had been doing for me emotionally over the previous twenty-years. 

Nine years later, my husband Ken and I returned to Harper Valley County to attend Doris and Frank's younger sister's wedding.  As I reverently sat next to my husband at the Catholic Church waiting for the ceremony to begin, the bride's eighty-five year old grandmother tapped me on the shoulder from the pew directly behind to say hello.  This was the same woman who witnessed my initial descent with the DJ from Doris's wedding.  Grandma Cleaver said exactly what would be said to me for the rest of the evening by friends and other family members, "Carrie, remember what happened at Doris's wedding?  How you kissed that really gross guy and how you ran around half naked then threw your dress away!"  Like I could ever forget.  No one said, "So Carrie you have become a wife and mother since I saw you last - is this your husband?"  Now, like many other of my transgressions, Ken had not been told this story before - and he is still probably the only person in the world who has yet to see the humor.

2/22/2011 Update:  Per request from Veronica in the "comments" section, here is a before pic of me and Doris posing with DJ Dork:

Photo of me (courtesy of Mike using my camera) wearing Fred's t-shirt and puking on the curb.  I am SUCH a class act!


The Invitation
By Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

Friday, February 18, 2011


I received an email from my girlfriend Darryl not too long ago requesting my advice on how to settle a dispute in her marriage to Hugh. Many friends are currently working on remodeling projects, so I thought I would offer a piece of worthwhile advice.   
Dear Carrie, Hugh and I are having a little disagreement about a mirror that I want to buy for the (only) bathroom at our vacation home. It would be the main mirror over the sink. I love this mirror and Hugh says it would make him nauseaus. I guess it's too feminine for him.

I would appreciate any input. Do you like it? Would your husband agree to have it? Does your husband even get a choice in such matters?
I knew you'd understand, Darryl
Darryl's first mistake was asking her husband what his opinion was to begin with, and secondly hoping for an answer that would confirm her good taste.  My response was as follows:

Hi Darryl!

Thanks so much for including me in your opinion seeking:  I LOVE THIS KIND OF STUFF!!!

1.  I believe your mirror choice is tasteful, functional, fanciful, sophisticated, sassy, and could possibly be the crowning glory of your bathroom.  What I am saying is, that basically, who usually notices the bathroom mirror? And with your choice the mirror becomes a unique and subtle accent without making too bold of a statement.  I also like the versatility of changing up the ribbon with limitless possibilities through color and texture which could play a big role in Hugh's feelings toward the mirror.

2.  Believe me, after having been through several room remodels with my husband I am still regretting a handful of the decisions which I finally gave into my husband over - while I know for a fact the decisions he surrendered to me he hasn't thought twice over. Bottom line in my marriage, we ask one another - "How important is it to you REALLY?" - when it is THAT important (and a bathroom mirror would be that for me) stick to your guns.

3.  If all else fails, just tell him if he surrenders to you in this decision that you promise to let him look in the controversial mirror the day it arrives and watch you giving him a blowjob (or fulfill whatever his sweet spot is!).

Good luck and I can't wait for all of us to get together soon!


P.S. In the future - just buy these kinds of things ahead of time on your own and don't ask for your husband's opinion.  Men usually won't notice interior decor unless they are asked to! :)
Growing up with my mother Joan Crawford, I was taught at a very young age that when home decor purchases are unloaded from the car - they go directly to the back of a closet.  Over the next several weeks, a new throw pillow might magically appear on the living room couch overnight - or a round end table that had once been covered with a taffeta table skirt could suddenly change to become naked and square shaped.  It always took at least six months for my father to say something like, "Where did THAT come from?" - Joan would just give him a look of confusion and say, "We have had THAT forever!  Haven't we Carrie?"  Of course I was never lying when I would assure my father that Mom bought that at last year's Macy's clearance sale. 

Darryl ended up taking my advice regarding the mirror and, in the end, her husband had a feeling quite different from the nausea he had anticipated the mirror would bring him.  Let's just say every time Hugh looks in that mirror, he can't help but see the bright reflection of his smile recalling the good times he and his previous nemesis have shared together.  Of course, like any fashionable woman, Darryl is quite bored with the mirror now and ready to change it up again.  Hopefully, this time, she will simply buy what she loves and laugh quietly to herself when Hugh ceases to ever realize the mirror is not the same one which was instrumental in tightening their marriage bond.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I love men.  God knew exactly what he was doing when he created me to be a heterosexual woman.  Despite a long run in my life of making epically poor decisions in the men I choose to share my time with; I have no regrets as to the experiences I have had - or the lessons I have learned from such experiences.  Being consistent with my desperate need to tame the distracting thoughts in my mind, I have organized men into four different categories when it comes to his performance as a lover.  The categories ranging from best to worst are as follows: 

The Artist
The Nerd
The Military Man
The Athlete

Before I go into further detail, I must first explain that EVERY man fits into one of these four categories as soon as his first substantially satisfying sexual experience takes place.  I say substantial because I operate from the "it doesn't count if it isn't any good" theory, which explains why I have lost my virginity three times and never actually cheated on my husband Ken.  The category is about who he was when he first started having sex, NOT the man he is today.  Also, my list allows for unlimited upward and downward mobility as the man matures throughout his life.  In short, The Athlete can become The Artist given the proper desire and curiosity, while The Artist can become The Athlete for reasons I still don't understand.

Let's start at the top and work our way down:

The Artist

The Artist is the man who expresses himself most comfortably through a craft which may include:  music, painting, writing, drawing, performing, or sculpture (think about the love scene in the movie "Ghost") - to name a few.  He may or may not be the best looking man in the room at first, but once his art-form is unleashed he then becomes exponentially more attractive in every possible way. Once you gain the attention of The Artist, he can make you feel as though you are the only woman in the world and he is here to delight in everything that is You. 

My best sexual experiences have always been with musicians or music aficionados.  One of my most favorite lifetime memories is when I stayed up all night with a college fling who played me his guitar while singing Jim Croce and James Taylor songs.  We drank red wine half naked in front of the fire, and built up hours of fantastic foreplay through music, talk, and touch.  Finally as the sun rose and reality began to creep back in, we made one last passionate effort to connect even further and we exploded together in a way which there are still no words for. 

Having the appreciation for the process is what, I believe, makes The Artist such a wonderful lover.  He takes his time living in the moment without being distracted by the eventual grand finale or issues of right and wrong.  There is no right or wrong in the eyes of The Artist, only the belief that any moment could be our last - so why not make the most of it in every way?  Also, The Artist is the most loving and least judgemental when it comes to adoring various female body types.  My Artist lovers have been most influential in helping me learn to love my body and divorce any old habits of self-loathing.  It was through the eyes of The Artist that I discovered that there was more to me than what modern society prefers to see.  The Artist showed me my soul. 

The Nerd

The Nerd is a man who is most comfortable and accomplished in technical or scientific pursuits, but unfortunately those accomplishments are overshadowed by his social ineptness.  He is typically the least physically attractive man in the room, as the hours spent at his computer leave little time for jogging and juicing.  But once you gain the attention of The Nerd, his physique will be the last thing on your mind due to his sexual skill and expertise.  Remember, this man likes to study and has spent endless hours surfing the net and fantasizing about what he will do to the female body once he can keep one around long enough to get her clothes off. 

Pleasing his girl rates very high on The Nerd's priority list.  Sometimes he is just so grateful you are giving him the time of day, that he feels compelled to wash your hair and paint your toes, then dress you up and take you out to the best restaurant in town.  His lack of sexual experience is discounted by his enthusiasm and ability to be a quick study.  Give this man enough time and he will be teaching You wild and crazy activities only known to those with access to the far reaches of sexual intensity. 

You also really can't hurt this guy's feelings.  His mind is always working so quickly to compute calculus functions and computer algorithms, that he rarely holds onto any thought or feeling which may get in the way of his "fun."  The one disadvantage with The Nerd is that they don't take heartbreak very well.  When the fling is truly over, it may actually go on for longer than you would like because you just can't stand the thought of putting this dear, sweet man right back where you found him.  Unlike The Artist, The Nerd doesn't have a pack of groupies waiting in the wings to soften the blow.  It will break your own heart just as much as it breaks his to say goodbye.

The Military Man

For now I will just say The Military Man is the second worst lover because he is everything The Athlete is, with the exception of two things.  His sexy uniform and advanced ability to protect you from danger can make the occasional romp well worthwhile, but don't invest too much in this man because you will always be left unsatisfied and possibly the subject of a federal investigation.  I will tell you that story later.

The Athlete

I believe I can assign the category of worst lover to The Athlete because of my "too many to count on one hand" sexual exercises with such a man.  From the high school baseball star to the Iron Man in training, I have sported with them all.  The Athlete is always the best looking guy in the room, and he knows it.  It is nearly impossible to gain the full attention of The Athlete due to his constant obessions including:  full-time flexing, mirror addiction, sun-tan seeking, calorie counting (both consumed and burned), weight lifting, weekly shopping trips to GNC, and uncontrollable urge to constantly compare his body to the bodies of those around him - including women's.

He lives every moment as if the results of his upcoming athletic competition depend entirely on the choices he makes right this minute - including what he eats, drinks, or chooses to exert his energy for (including sex.)  Every thought, feeling, and action in this man's life is defined as either "good" or "bad."  This comes across when he says things like, "I really need to get to the gym today," or "I shouldn't have eaten that, because now I am going to have to bike, swim, run, etc. that much more to counter-balance the damage I did."  For a woman, this is like being around the fourteen year old version of herself and needless to say, is NOT sexy. 

Between the sheets, The Athlete treats love making in the same way he runs his training sprints.  Always focusing on the finish line, instead of the details of how he got there, is his biggest downfall.  It is also difficult to tell if your Athlete is taking satisfaction from the sexual skills and attention you are bringing to the training table - (no to mention the fact that you are a woman with ideas and a soul) - or if his pleasure is strictly derived from experiencing the mechanics of his incredible body designed by himself and God.  He considers said design a 50/50 collaboration project.  The woman's role is more of a physical receptacle for his lust rather than an an equally fascinating creation of God.  Are you getting hot for this guy yet?

Because of The Athlete's narcissism, it is unlikely there will ever be any balance of power or satisfaction in your affair.  When the overall vibe of the sex is weighted too heavily in either direction, no one can really have a good time playing tug of war.  There must be a relatively even intent for each player when it comes to pleasing their partner.  I can't tell you how many times I circled the bases all the way "home" with this type, only to realize that I wasn't really home yet.  In fact, after first base the whole encounter became something of a frantic and sweaty acrobatic endeavor full of yoga moves minus the mind and body harmony side-effect.  The Athlete was already back in his uniform on the touring bus while I lay cold and naked with my hands full.

To sum it up, I still love all kinds of men despite their shortcomings.  All four categories, although fairly assessed in terms of male lovers, rank entirely differently when it comes to choosing a husband.  I believe that the perfect life partner is a combination of great lover, solid provider, faithful companion, and loving friend.  I am lucky enough to have found the perfect balance in my husband Ken.  As for trying to categorize women as lovers - don't even try.  We are WAY too complex, unpredictable, and inconsistent to be confined by such limitations.  What is hot and sexy to us one night - is disgusting and offensive the next.  Which is why we depend on men to be so stable and uncomplicated.  Men are the solid mountain and we are the weather which brings life to it - changing everyday with the seasons while giving The Athlete something to ski down, The Nerd something to study, The Military Man a place to hide, and The Artist inspiration for his craft.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I am beginning to realize I have lived most of my life doing things I don't really want to do, only because I am trying to fulfill the perceived expectations of those around me (parents, husband, kids, etc.).  Most of the time I find myself projecting what I think others want from me, instead of actually finding the courage to ask them straight up and the patience to wait for an answer.  More than anything I need to find the courage to ask myself what I really want from my life as well as the patience with myself to wait for answer.

A great spiritual teacher once said that 98% of people spend 98% of their time doing what doesn't matter.  For me, this 98% is when my "monkey mind" obsesses over everything from having drank too much to having slept too little.  It is where all guilt, self doubt, and low self esteem is born and raised.  My best defense for combating such wastes of time is by taking a moment of peace each day to meditate and call my authentic self to take over and hush the monkey mind in order to live the life I am meant to live.  Is it any wonder I took a year off of my life to hang out with Cosmic Charlie and smoke pot everyday?

It is Confusion, Restlessness, Whimsy, Hysteria, Hopelessness, Dissatisfaction, and Constant Need For Control who seem to be the team members currently taking the field in the game of my life lately. Peace, Heart, Spirit, Balance, Non-Judgement, Silence, and Stillness have been benched for too long and I am ready to switch things up and see what happens.  While my newly discovered Type-A personality has been the loving parent of many successes in my life, it is also the wicked step-mother who gives me a shiny red apple to bite into - only then to find myself trapped in a peaceful sleep for many years.  (And I don't want to have to rely on a charming prince to wake me up from this one - I just don't think my husband Ken would go for that idea.)

My old friend the late, great, writer and "all around man extraordinaire" Chuck Saults once taught me a very valuable lesson about trying too hard to steer our own lives and the consequences involved when we do so.  Although he was talking about another topic entirely, which I will just refer to as "unmentionable," Chuck had a great analogy which I will use in reference to living a life ruled by the monkey mind:
"After the Titanic brushed the iceberg, an officer is alleged to have asked, 'Did we hit it?'  A crewman is supposed to have responded, 'No sir.  It hit us.'  As an explanation for how you get into [the things in life you really shouldn't be getting into], this is about as apt as it gets...and carrying this analogy one step further, sooner or later [you] will discover - as your [Monkey Mind] boat begins its final plunge - that there aren't enough lifeboats for everyone." - Chuck Saults
This analogy teaches me that when my ideas about how things should be get as big as the Titanic, it is probably time to back off and let go of the helm before I ram my whole life right into a giant iceberg.  Followed by leaving all the women and children in my life crying when word gets back to shore of how, this time, Carrie really went overboard for good.

Friday, February 4, 2011



My husband and I are the DUMBEST people ever to walk the face of the earth.  Today I discovered we have been nurturing an orchid plant for the past 8 YEARS with water, sunlight, and fresh air only to discover that it is FAKE!!! How can this be possible you ask?  Let me explain.

Eight years ago my husband Ken gave me the gift of a beautiful, white, orchid plant as an act of reconciliation for something he never actually did wrong.  It was after one of the countless times I pushed him past his limit to the point where he struck out against me, only then to call attention to how poorly was being treated.  Why I read so much criticism into things where it was never intended is beyond me.  I believe it must stem from my own lifelong feeling of somehow being wronged.  I think it was that Barbie Dream House Santa Claus never brought me back in 1982 that makes me sensitive to rejection and anticipate always being let down.  At least let's just go with that explanation for now.
I SINCERELY thought the plant was real.  Passively killing living items under my care is something of a pattern for me specifically limited to instances where there are no serious consequences for such action, or inaction to be precise.  I find it difficult to care for any living thing that cannot communicate it's needs to me.  Even a newborn baby can at least cry to tell me it needs something.  It's not like DHS (Department of Houseplant Services) is going to bust down my door and raid my houseplants because of an anonymous tip regarding a neglected fern that my neighbor caught sight of and felt so much concern that she was compelled to contact the state and complain.  Because of my green thumb disability, I am not at all responsible for houseplant care in the Valium Home.  Ken is.

The moment Ken gave me my beautiful orchid I returned the sentiment by giving him full responsibility for its care.  All I had to do was find the flowering family addition a suitable spot in my living room for display.  The live beauty had woken up the tired room and all was right with the world.

Fast forward eight years and two children later on a sunny day revealing how much dust had accumulated in my neglected living room.  I began very gingerly wiping the thick green leaves of the plant with a soft, damp, cotton cloth to remove a thick deposit of dust which resembled a warm fur coat wrapped around the plant.  Normally I don't touch this or any other fauna on my premises (per Ken's instructions), but seeing the dust was giving me a nervous twitch and I figured if I just wiped some leaves off I couldn't hurt anything.  Then I slowly caressed the stem with the dust cloth working my way up to the blooming finish and delicate white petals.  I was amazed at how smoothly the dust wiped away and when the plant didn't lose any petals from my fondling, I became incredibly impressed as to how hearty this plant really was.  My heart also swelled with even greater love and affection for my husband due to his incredibly strong care taking skills.  I was feeling so proud of myself for marrying such a great man.

As I folded the thick, waxy, green leaf at the stem's trunk I observed how it did not push back with resistance thanks to to the wire running through the middle of the leaf.  The moment I saw the crafting glue which bonded the plastic stems I realized something further wasn't right with this creation straight from Mother Nature's hands.  I thought perhaps the glue was some sort of sticky sap emitting from the plant as an expression of how much life it had to give, which it just couldn't contain it any longer.  It wasn't until I got close enough to really look at the stamen that my orchid morphed from one of God's creatures into one of Target's retail products.  Then I thought again and gave my master gardening sister-in-law, Lynn, a call. 

"Hi Lynn, did you have any idea that the orchid in my living room is fake?", I inquired, "because I have been under the impression that it was alive." I was half expecting her to be just as astounded as I was.

"Yeah Carrie, that orchid plant is not real," she responded like I was asking her this as some kind of a joke.

Lynn knows me well enough to have faith that I am a reasonably intelligent person whose faculties are all firing at full speed.  I know this because she leaves her son in my care for extended periods of time.  But this phone call may have changed all of that forever.  I could tell she was trying to process how I could possibly be THAT STUPID.

"REALLY?!" I exclaimed. "Because I thought it was real!  Is your brother playing some kind of joke on me?  Because I know he thinks I believe it is real," I replied while reassessing my husband's intelligence and aptitude for pulling one over on me.  I began to also reassess my current overwhelming feeling of love and affection for him.  "Ken even intercepts any minimal attempt I have ever made to water the thing by grabbing the watering pitcher out of my hand and giving me a firm scolding about how if I water it too much it will die," I confessed, beginning to believe this must be the longest running practical joke in the history of marriage.

It wasn't until I later spoke on the phone with Ken and chastised him for lying to me all these years, that I realized that we had actually both been lying to ourselves.  My husband had no idea it was fake and no amount of trying to convince him over the phone was going to shift his perception.  He scolded me not to touch the plant, bend the leaves, or pull at the stem because I was going to kill it.  Ken had to come home at the end of his workday to see for himself and witness the tragedy of the truth.  Once he recovered from the blow to his ego, that tragedy turned into hilarity faster than the orchid turned from living to fake.  Our truth shifted, and now this plant has made us happier (content in its own current falseness) than any living beauty ever could.  It was one more of the many moments throughout my life where I realized our happiness is determined by our own design. 

I should also tell you that, based on my experience with this plant before it became fake, I had come to believe orchids are WAY more durable than people give them credit.  My confidence in the sustainability and minimal care of my gift has inspired me to always choose orchids over flowers to my post-partum girlfriends when they were still in the hospital recovering from childbirth.  I would tell the new mommies how this plant basically takes care of itself and only needed watering about once a month.  The last thing they needed was one more thing to take care of, what with the responsibility of new human life and all.  It is no wonder now, why I never found my gift in their living rooms throughout the years to come.

I get horrible headaches when my kids cut flowers from the yard for me, so I make them keep them in a vase on the back porch. Up until now, my statement for the past 8 YEARS has been, "Orchids are the only flowers which do not give me a headache." Now they will be the only flowers which make me laugh so hard I have to cry and call Ken to share.  Perception truly is the key to happiness.

The Magic Orchid:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today's Message From the Writing Vortex

I just heard Jim Croce sing my life story to me from beyond the grave over my ipod today:

I've been up and down and around and round and back again
Been so many places I can't remember where or when
And my only boss was the clock on the wall and my only friend
Never really was a friend at all

I've traded love for pennies
Sold my soul for less
Lost my ideas in that long tunnel of time
And I've turned inside out and around about and back and then
Found myself right back where I started again

Once I had myself a million, now I only got a dime
Difference don't seem quite as bad today
With a nickle or a million I was searching all the time
For something that I'd never lost or left behind


Well now I'm in my second circle and I'm heading for the top
I learned alot of things along the way
I'll be careful while I'm climbing cuz it hurts alot to drop
When your down nobody gives a damn anyway


Wow!  I couldn't have said it better myself.  But of course I will still try!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


...Or to quote the fans of The Great Darcelle XV, "That's NO Lady!"

I started off being raised to be the very typical and socially appropriate daughter of my much beloved parents John Wayne and Joan Crawford.  Although Joan was the very active parent throughout my sex education; John played what you would call the passive role.  If fact, I am not even certain my father knows I have started my period yet despite being the grandfather to my children.  I accept that the part of the brain requiring him to think of his baby girl in terms of a sexual woman doesn't exist.  That's okay with me.

This is the story of my derailment and eventual destination to what now, most in society consider to be a quite comfortable and bawdy approach I take in conversations regarding sex. 

As a registered nurse, my mother Joan was passionate about raising her children to be more informed on such delicate topics compared to her own experience with sexual education as an adolescent.  Like my friend Shelia, Mom was also a bright young Catholic woman who confused her religious teachings on the order of marriage, sex, and children.  But unlike my friend Shelia, in 1966 my mother didn't have as much freedom to put the motherhood horse, so to speak, before the marriage cart.  (Although, I am pretty sure even the most pious civilizations have been putting the sex horse before the marriage cart since the beginning of time while widely escaping eternal damnation.)  But Joan got lucky and married her baby's Daddy before her bump was too big for her to fit into her older sister's haute couture white gown, and walked down the isle.  Now, Joan and John have been happily (for the most part), married with four children for almost a half a century.

"Mom can we please stop talking about where babies come from?" I remember saying and thinking from a very young age.  Another idea I agree with my Mom on is taking the taboo out of the topic of sex and teach your children age appropriate sexual education from birth.  I remember trying to console Mandy McMahon on the playground in early elementary school  who was crying because she thought she was going to get pregnant from kissing a boy.  "Sit down Mandy, I need to set you straight about some things...."  I began.  Yes, I was always THAT girl.  I also credit myself for diverting potential tragedy in high school and college by interceding in my "contraception challenged" friend's lives and walking them to the door of Planned Parenthood to pick up condoms and get on the pill.

During my pre-teen years I became the victim, and later survivor, of sexual abuse.  This experience turned my whole world upside down and caused my healthy attitude about sex to jump the tracks.  Fallout from this unfortunate experience caused me to dissociate myself during healthy, normal teen sexual exploration. I define "dissociation" in psychological terms: a psychological defense mechanism in which specific, anxiety-provoking thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations are separated from the rest of the psyche.  The fallout also propelled me to match my peer's sexual escapades, act for act, while at the same time disabling the part of my brain which told me, "enough is enough" and "time to stop now."

I continued on a very salacious and clandestine path of random sexual encounters with, "the public schoolboys" throughout my adolescence.   I was working from the "never shit where you eat" principle, so I never acted out with the boys from my own private school - which in turned maintained my squeaky clean reputation during my formative formal education.  I continued in this direction until my final break and road to recovery at age 19 which re-directed me on a path of healing and living my authentic life.

Today, in spite of all my advances in re-associating my mind and integrating my life, I still hold tight to one surviving relic.  I have NO SHAME, EMBARRASSMENT, or HESITATION in talking about matters of sex.  This is especially clear when I am having a few beers in a pub with a group of drunken sailors just in port from years at sea.  I can match those foul mouthed bastards with "naughty idea" for "naughty idea" and even make a few blush.  Well eventually, they ALL blush.  Unfortunately, this proud talent of mine is still not appreciated by modern society in general because I have a vagina, instead of a penis, between my legs.  (At least while I am writing there is not a penis between my legs - yet.)  See how I am?  Smile.

Presently in my fully self-actualized, happily, faithfully married, mature, therapy junkied existence - I have evolved my attitudes regarding "sex and the good girl," married and otherwise into the following creed:

I believe God gave man and woman our sexuality as a GIFT.  The Divine wants us to have as many orgasms as possible so long as it doesn't involve animals and children AND/OR cause harm to ourselves and the world around us.  Sweet Spirit above also does not want us to spoil our healthy sexual escapades with guilt, shame, or any other fear-based  concept.  Gifts are meant to be accepted with gratitude and enjoyment, not with guilt and fear.
As a practicing Catholic I struggle with The Church's current teachings on sex and morality.  I pray and meditate daily for God's guidance about what I should put in print regarding my own personal beliefs and actions.  I continue to be open to whatever The Divine has to tell me.  I just know that deep in my soul, how can my NATURALLY bawdy and brassy style in matters of pillow-talk be "WRONG" in the eyes of an ever-loving God The Father?  It is SO much of who I am and my intentions are always coming from a place of love.  I am banking on my belief that I am just ahead of the curve in relation to Rome on this one. 

All that being said, from now on I have decided to refuse to waste energy by censoring myself in terms of sex talk.  Now, who here in Portland wants to go see "The Expert Guide to Female Orgasms with Tristan Taormino" event coming up at She Bop on Feb 13th?

It's going to be a fucking fabulous night of fun facts and I can't wait to tell you all about it!  Anyone up for carpooling?