Thursday, January 31, 2013

Potty Humor

When I was about four or five, I went to North Carolina for the first time to visit my grandmother and Grandfather.  They lived in Greenville, where you could sit on the porch swing and watch hot summer storms blow down the street with rain in sheets like it was coming out of pipes in a car washeteria.  We could walk to the corner market and buy bubble gum cigarets that blew powdered sugar smoke and eat fresh corn off the cob picked from my grandmother's back yard.  But before all that fun experience, was the rest.  We had traveled from LA to Chicago (where I saw my enormous Uncle and his equally loving and enormous wife) and then on to Raleigh and lastly an interminable ride to the two bedroom tiny family home that had at one time housed ten children and two adults, and I was beat.   Though my grandparent's home was not lacking in love, what it did lack was central air-- or even a wall unit of any kind-- and for a California kid, I was melting.  I was tired and only too happy to climb into bed-- but not to happy that it was going to be hot and sticky.  The solution-- to claim the space near the wall.  After wrestling my little sister away from the coveted place-- where the cool of the wall would provide at least a little comfort, I draped my leg over the bed, between the wall and the mattress and settled down for some welcome sleep.


The door opened, and someone peered it-- I can't remember who. was it my grandma, or grandpa-- but I remember their words as if they were saying them to me right now.

"Baby, don't put your feet behind the bed, the rats will eat your toes" 

forget the monsters under the bed that may or may not have been real-- what was real was RATS... my kindly old grandparent-- whichever one it was, would NEVER lie about them!

Over the years other things joined me under the bed.  Jaws. The Creature of the Black Lagoon, And a  Revelle model T Rex with glow in the dark teeth, claws and eyes.. (though i could put the actual model in the closet-- his spirit would haunt my under the bed) And I was ever fearful that hanging any part of my body over the bed would result in it most assuredly being eaten or snatched off without mercy.  

In fact, the fear lasted until I went away to college and was only defeated after I became a Christian and one night I turned off the lights, dashed to the bed, drew the covers up to my neck and reminded myself "I know the Creator of the universe, and there is no reason to be afraid." and at that, the rats, shark, creature and Dinosaur vanished in a puff of faith. 

I have often heard parents make the statement that they are giving their child something about which they can talk to their therapist, when they make some parental executive decision-- as if being a human parent was going to be the child's later adult neurosis... but in thinking about what became my demon from childhood-- an idle phrase of love and protection combined with my overactive imagination was my undoing-- NOT my grandparents.

so-- yeah, to my friends who are parents-- you may give your child things to discuss with their counselors in later life-- but it may not be because of what you think, so my advice to you (having no kids of my own)  lighten up on yourselves,  and don't second guess so much.  Just make all of your choices in love like my grand parents did-- and let God sort out and heal the missteps. if your family  life is characterized by care and warmth, even though there be rats under the bed, they will remember you when you're long gone with joy and a smile. (the way my grandparents are forever cemented in my mind)

Besides, who knows-- your child may not go to a therapist after all... they may start a blog.

My friend Julie posted on her wall about her child "I don't want to get on the potty train!!!!!!!!"  and I thought it was hilarious.  When I mentioned it to her she said that she had told her daughter that they were going to start potty training and that were her child's response... Who knows how long it will take THAT to get undone-- but then again, it always comes back to the potty now doesn't it?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oprah Winfrey Has Cracked

People have things of which they are not ashamed to trumpet. I know a man who routinely jokingly says he's handsome while another person I know goes on for time without end about how much history he has stored in his head at ready access-- not by telling you he's fantastically gifted in memorizing historical data, but by regaling you with said data at the drop of a hat.

I'm ashamed to admit-- I'm proud of my skin.

okay, maybe not so ashamed.

It doesn't help that some of those closest to me encourage my lack of facial humility... 
I had a friend say to a mutual acquaintance was hawking Airbonne, "I want whatever you're sellin' that will make my skin look like Carole's.

Eventually what started as a joke response to their observation of my face "You look so young..."

"Black don't crack.

Became the light hearted banner I whip out like a giant foam finger on an exuberant Redsock's fan's hand.

Poink, poink poink, don't I look young?

"Black don't Crack," is not mine, Oprah Winfrey is reputed to have first used it, but it doesn't stop me from embracing it with all my might,

"Black don't crack"

 the statement usually elicits a shocked and stifled giggle from my Caucasian friends, and a knowing head nod from my African American ones (and my Asian friends as well-- they too are ageless, but they have no rhyme to support it)  

it is both an colloquial explanation for my youthful look, as joking way to say I was proud-- without saying "Hey, I'n proud!"

One day it was going to be my downfall... this pride in something over which I have no control.  I mean, I didn't choose my parents?  They didn't choose their genes.  

That day was today...

The book of proverbs says "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" and eventually my fall did come.  Was it a winkle?  No, something much much worse...

It was the presumption of a wrinkle

Tonight someone sent me a message which said

"Hi Carole, I just started using and now selling this product called_________. If you curious or interested on knowing more about the product or want to buy?:) 
P.S. I have posted pictures of real testimonies on my Facebook wall"

I had seen her posting pictures but didn't remember what they were.  At the moment I assumed they were about weight. At either rate I wasn't interested, but I wanted to be encouraging.
So I replied 

"I love that you're always looking for new ways to supplement your income... but nope, I'm not interested..."  

and proceded to go on about my business--
but first I decided to stop by her page to refresh my memory as to what this product might be.
Pictures of insanely old and wrinkly people!!!!!!  
Oh dear heavens!  SirensAlarms!The sound of insane appall (if there is such a thing.
So i added to my message

"besides, hello-- have you seen my face lately? three words. Black. don't. crack. Im just saying"
she was confused at first but then replied momentarily

Beat... then a response
I know you do have a very nice skin:)"
And I in turn said
"selling skin cream to me would be like selling ice to eskimos..."
Ring ring, this is your character calling-- and it needs a little work.  

I had to think about it-- even though i made a joke about it,  there really was no reason to be proud-- what do I have that God has not given me?  my talent,  my intelligence-- my skin?  its all on loan and all subject to the passage of time.  I will become addled one day, and my hands won't draw, nor my voice do more than croak -- though that is not this day. 
I have to face the fact that one day, this face, like everything else on me, will fall. I hope on that day I will be gracious enough to not be offended if someone offers me a glass full of refreshing ice cubes because they want to help. 

Age, and wrinkles are inevitable-- but graciousness is not always.  
So for now I joke, and inside I think--and am thankful for the message that though my face may not need work, my character could always use a little tightening. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Giving up the IN Crowd for Lint

I was always the one who had one at a time friend.  But that one friend was always a good friend.  The one who protected me from bullies, or who baptized me an honorary Jew in the drinking water fountain or who fed my imaginary horse sugar cubes-- at age 17... 

but I always longed for something more-- I longed to be in with them... The IN crowd.

You know those people. the handsome and they know it, smart and they relish in it, clever and they flaunt it, dashing always on it, life of the party people.  The ones who gathered crowds like candles gathered moths.  And they could care less, because when one moth got too close and was singed, there was always another moth only too happy to take the empty space.  

I looked at them with my zebra dirt streaked socks and my uncombed hair, with the slight but detectable  aroma of desperation that hung on my wrinkly clothes, not even having the courage to drift into the periphery of the moths.  

so off I would shuffle to my one but dutiful friend to eat a Godfather taco pizza...

But today I had a revelation.  Somewhere my vision had changed... Well, actually it was something else  that changed--

it was my in crowd.  

I realized that fact when I saw I was delighted that I had become friends of of one of my delightfully creative and imaginative but quirky friends (who's gorgeous but doesn't know it.)  I wrote to the new friend
"now I am finally in with the in crowd"
to which he replied
"We are the most in that you will get! More than innie belly buttons!"
which led me to say
"hopefully not covered with lint though..."
and he said
"No guarantee" 

It made me smile... Had I just inferred that someone was covered with lint like an old bellie button?  Further more-- had they actually humored me?

Holy sugar cubes to my imaginary horse batman-- had my new friend not run away scratching his head at my random quirk comment, but joined in like it was normal?

That's the thing-- it WAS normal...

normal for us

it also made me write the most random poem  which in turn made me think.

When had I gone from longing to be with the hip cool kids to being with the even hipper because their weirder cool kids?  When had I become content to love the one kid who would defend me instead of running after the one who would ignore me?

I have spent most of my life wishing I had something that was right under my nose.  But before I could see it, I had to first decide I was worth it.  Groucho Marks is reported to have said, "I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member"  which is funny if said by a comedian, but tragic if lived by a person.  When I made the conscious choice to walk away from the IN crowd and be okay with the crowd I was in, I saw two things-- one, my freaky peeps, were actually amazing and colorful and fun and delightful-- and further more-- so was I.  

They would eat my cookies, and share my burdens, and none of them would laugh at me when I told them I wanted to be a clown... well, no, actually they did-- in fact one of them told me i would have to leave his office-- but I didn't listen to him because he thinks he's a ninja, and hah, since he's scared of clowns its like rock paper scissors and no matter what he does, Im always fire!

So the lesson here? I don't know if there's a lesson. but for me an observation.  Im happy my friends are who they are and do what they do.  There's no silence among us only laughter, and above all,  there is no singed wings among us-- only love.

So forgive my random poem drawing-- its for all of us in our respective IN crowds... 
And thank you to my two new followers
Catherine Grayson

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I have an extremely talented friend named Paul who also happens to be very good looking.  As is the case with many good looking people, he has found something to obsess on about his looks in order to deny the truth that he is indeed a good looking man.  Years ago he confessed to me in a moment of vulnerability that he had thought his head was getting larger.  look, said he, pointing to his early twenties photograph on his drivers license while comparing it to his early thirties work id photo.  "My head is getting wider.  I had at that moment the two choices to make:  the sympathetic conciliatory "oh no, Paul, you're head's not getting wider, that's just a trick of the lens" or the other which would be to take that moment of vulnerability and make him pay through his ever widening nose for it (after all, the nose does have to widen to keep up with his broadening face...

He informed me today that while cleaning out his office he found a stack of drawings about four inches thick of various Paul head drawings from over the years (I disagree,  it can't be that many, when would I have gotten my work done?-- two inches maybe, but not four)  At any rate, to that pile I add yet another.

Paul for his job is going to Japan for research.  For some reason a group of us started talking about the fact that the Japanese sell various things in vending machines (underwear) Things  that you couldn't imagine .  Of course I mentioned Paul heads.

now before you feel badly for poor Paul and his enormous head (not quite as bit as a mardi gras walk around--yet)  Let me add that for the same amount of time Paul has drawn me in various cartoons depicting me in hapless situations.

this is what cartoonists do when they love and respect each other.

So for my lovely talented friend Paul.

Have a nice trip to Japan

おもちゃの自動販売機 means toy vending machine

ポールヘッド (Pōruheddo) means Paul head

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He's Not Heavy, He's My Ninja

Joe is the big brother I didn't know I needed.  He also claims he's a ninja.  That not withstanding, words fail me at how thankful to God I am for him... So thankful in fact that I actually drew a MULTI panel cartoon in honor of his birthday...  

Thank you Joe for all the great advice and pointing me to God that you have done over the last year.  So many of the adventures I've had of late have been as a result of your advice to pray to our big God, "God I'm yours-- use me where you will"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Whats a Gazelle Gotta do to Get Eaten Around Here?

I was recently invited to a party where a married someone said to me, "I heard there was going to be one single person here and I had hoped it was you!"


Welcome to 2013!

So anyway, I was walking with a group of colleagues on break today and as it happens I was speaking with one of the men in the crowd. An older fellow who was telling me about his weekend which involved a great deal of toing and froing for his elderly mother.  "How awesome!" I said, "that you're doing that. a lot of guys I know wouldn't be so attentive to their moms its usually left to the daughters.:"

"Well Im an only child so I'm it." he replied with a less than enthusiastic tired smile.
We fell on silence for a moment as I tired to find something else to say. It was still a good thing he was doing, but well, it seemed cloying to point that out.  after a few steps he added
"I heard that women like guys who take care of their moms."

well that answered that question I had wondered off and on over the years-- he was interested in women--

"Why yes they do!"

"...but I haven't met one of those women yet..."
"You know you have the power over that-- you have to ask them!"
"Oh but its scarrrry out there."
which led to a brief conversation about him being the hunter gatherer and that he needed to hunt and gather. That the deers can't serve themselves up for him

adding --

"get out there! A gazelle who prances into a pride and says eat me eat me!  the lions all look at and turn up their noses, saying there's something wrong with that one I don't want it-- and says to the gazelle lets just be friends"

He laughed nervously at that and didn't continue.

poor little lion. all he wanted was a walk and Im sure he was thrilled that in just a hundred yards it would be done.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cartoons and Pancakes

We celebrate so many firsts:  First steps, first days at school, first dates, first drinks, first jobs...  There seem to be an endless progression of seemingly mostly universal things (depending on the culture)-- but so many common every day firsts go unnoticed.  I guess thats why when a young lady I just met rejoiced:

I have successfully flipped a pancake!”

I smiled.  While I have never successfully flipped a pancake (nor even tried for that matter)—I couldn’t help but think that for that young lady, her world had broadened a little in some way today and she would not look at her life quite the same again. 

As much as we would like to think to the contrary, It’s the little things that make us, us as much as the big things. You can only learn to ride your bike without training wheels once, or get your first kiss one time (who has ever heard of a second first kiss?)—but everyone does those things—not everyone will learn to flip a pancake.  We should celebrate our unique firsts in our lives even if its just us—because it IS us.  Any time we make a conscious choice to dare a little in something makes us as brave as those who’ve dared a lot in a grand thing.  And I think… if we are faithful to dare often enough in the little things, eventually we will find the courage to dare in something greater.  So until then, my young friends—and even my old ones,

Celebrate your pancakes!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

James Cook and the Puffer Fish

James Cook: adventurer, explorer, convincer of Englanders that Australia was a great place to put convicts was almost done in by eating a puffer fish.

That being said--

I am a reasonably adventurous eater... once-- well there was that time in France that I ate cous cous on three separate occasions to prove that yes indeed it made me sick each time.  But all that to say, I am not afraid to eat anything set in front of me.  Rarely do I have any regrets (France notwithstanding)  and often I find that I have now discovered a new food to eat and enjoy.

Well, last night I found I had a huge yen for some Korean food, unfortunately the place where first I discovered it had long been closed and was now replaced with a brightly colored Mexican restaurant that looked like they would put a skeevy sombrero on your head if it was your birthday.  The only other place I could think to find it was in my father's neighborhood of Korea Town, but that was far to far to travel after work. I wanted to eat sooner than later.

I decided to be adventurous. The local Korean market had a small restaurant in it, and I had often wondered how it would taste.  Not one for Grocery store restaurant food, I thought, hey you only live once, why not be adventurous.

"Its spicy" said the the humorless hostess.
I smiled broadly, thinking "Im African America, Tobasco is a food group in my home"
"Bring it on!"  said I.

I really don't know what it was that did it.
was it the spice?
Was it the fact that they were a B?
or was it that I ate Pomegranates with it...

all I know is

I'm fairly certain I wont need to perform my French science lesson again to know I don't need to return...

Well, they say any meal you can live to walk away from and write a poem is a good meal...

They don't?  well they should.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Viking's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

Yesterday was a very strange day in my head.  It started with the last dream I had before I woke being one where I had an enormous afro.  I don't know why... maybe it was a subconscious wish that I could look like Cleopatra Jones-- I don't know,  but of course posting a drawing of it on FB evoked many comments-- especially because I included my now trademark eyepatch.  Even when I tried to allude to the idea I looked like a dangerous spy, it just came back to me being a pirate all over again.  I finally conceded and said "I should succumb to it and just get a parrot"  one friend went so far as to offer to join me in a life of Piracy, suggesting we could dress the part--"and pillaging would be top notch  we can raid the local trader joes for pirate booty .. the snacks!"


Frankly I don't think anyone is taking me or my eyefirmity seriously.  I could be a dangerous spy if I wanted to-- as long as it didn't involve anything that I needed to see well.

I knew my friend was not serious about a life of larcenous piratey hi-jinx, because she's insisted quite often that she's a Viking (and at times a vampire)  so truly Piracy for her is as much an out there thing as my actually growing an enormous afro.  In fact when I had visited her page on fb her status update read "There's a Viking Appliances store in Burbank I want to pillage" to which I replied "the viking wants to pillage a viking?"  My friend sensing the irony in her statement, but also seeing the sudden revelation as a chance for optimism replied "By Odin's beard! Did not think vikings might actually be there... if they are I'll trade!"

I would love one of those fancy washing machines... but Im not grown up enough for one. every time I have enough money to buy one I end up doing something childish or irresponsible like making a short film, or getting an giant art tool...

oh well, I guess I will have to content myself with going to the river and beating my jeans on the rocks... and also never looking sophisticated and sinister... as a permanent pirate,  I guess I should think about investing in a frigate next...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jersey Snow

I went to New Jersey for Christmas partly because I was hoping for snow.  The weather teased me by snowing a bit a few hours before my plane landed in Newark,  and I laid my head on my friend's lush pillows with timid expectation; however the only thing White on Christmas day were my hosts.  Even without snow, I was grateful for their wonderful hospitality, laughs, delicious meal and beautiful family  day.

The day after Christmas however it did snow for about twenty minutes and I was delighted.  It stuck for a short while before it melted into the lawn.  After standing in it a while trying to photograph it, I told my friend I was surprised that falling snow was as loud as it was.  She informed me it was because the snow was wet.

Silly me, of course the snow is wet-- after all its frozen water... I guess I shouldn't be surprised that snow does make a little noise:  its kind of like thin ice cubes falling from the sky. Every time I drop my ice tray from the fridge, the scattering ice makes noise-- so why shouldn't snow?

When I came home from my wonderful holiday and told a friend about my NJ  loud snow observation she laughed and said with a touch of confusion-- What it did the snow do?  Shout "I'm fallen' here--"  "get outta my way" 

It made me laugh to think of little snows spouting east cost phrases as it fell impotently to the ground.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

the Bridal Gauntlet

I just found out some friends of mine are getting married in March-- thankfully its a week after the wedding of my other friend who's also getting married in March. 

There are seasons in ones life where you are invited to various types of parties.  The Pony or magic Party, which graduates you to the sleep over pillow-fight party, then the go out and get your first drink party which flows naturally into the spend the rest of your life (hopefully) with the man or woman of your dreams party and then the final party of "well I hope I there are enough people to invite to my final party because most of them are already dead party"  

While the early parties seem to be many and right on top of each other as a person advances through age, the span between wedding party and the death party can be long (again hopefully).  It can be years between those who are invited to parties where they have to go search for that perfect gift which the recipient will return later for what they really wanted-- before they have to go out and find a black dress or suit to wear to the final party.

I find that am in that no man's land of party waiting.  

That is until just recently.

This last several months and into the next few, however I have been invited to a great many wedding parties which led someone to remark " really, you?  I figured you were out of that phase of your life now"  

Well, I never!

I attribute it to the fact that my friends are all quite young-- which has its hopeful trade offs, while I am finding myself having to shop for a lot more presents to be returned later, I am hoping that this will trick death into thinking that really its not time for me to plan my death party yet, because after all-- Im still in the wedding party part of my life.

Hah ha, take that non wedding party suckahs!!!

One of my wedding party friends posted this on her facebook status today

Why are people surprised when the bride is stressed?? Some parts of wedding planning are not all sunshine, rainbows, and Pinterest. Although, I do have high hopes for cake testing."