I had a conversation, this morning, with my loves on the prairie that went something like this: Them: Well, Kansas won’t be nearly as exciting as hanging out in the PNW being a stripper……
I had a conversation, this morning, with my loves on the prairie that went something like this: Them: Well, Kansas won’t be nearly as exciting as hanging out in the PNW being a stripper……
I had a conversation, this morning, with my loves on the prairie that went something like this:
Them: Well, Kansas won’t be nearly as exciting as hanging out in the PNW being a stripper….
Me: WTF did you just say?!?! I’m not a stripper, for godsake! I’m a trimmer. I am a contract trimmer who works with clippers. I am not a stripper! Have you told anybody else that that is what I’m doing? Jesus! I get paid extra to leave my clothes ON! I trim with all my clothes on.. shit. I wear extra clothes. Oh lord, you guys….
Them: Oohhh man, stripper… trimmer… same same.
And, I’m still laughing about it. Oh how groovy the way wording can make such a difference.
One time when I was at my sister’s house, my back was killing me and I was whining. She was walking towards the fridge finishing up a sentence about spaghetti and I could swear she said, “Oh. I’ve been gay.”
My mind had whole long seconds to ask so many questions … WHEN had she had time to be gay? She’d been married forever and she was raising four high-maintenance sons. Why would she tell me that, now? I don’t need to know that shit, it’s way above my pay grade. Was I the first person that she came out to? Did mom know?
When I could breath again, I said “Why the fuck would you tell me that?” She turned around and said, “You said your back hurt and sometimes I use Ben Gay on my back. I was just trying to be nice.”
Oooohhhh, I’m pretty sure I said.
Another time, she was standing at the freezer, getting ice and I was pretty sure she said, “Man I hate it when I’ve had Brian in the house, it smells greasy for days.” We have an estranged brother with that name, whom I have not seen in many years and again – what I thought she said was not easy to process.
“When was Brian in this house?!?” I asked. I’d been there for a hot minute and I sure hadn’t seen him.
She turned to look at me with a slightly exhausted face and said “In THIS house?!? He hasn’t been here for over a year.”
“But the house still smells greasy?” I asked.
“What the hell are you talkin’bout, Willis?” She asked with less humor and more exasperation.
I repeated back the sentence I thought I’d heard and she burst into laughter.
She said this: “Man, I hate it when I’ve been frying in the house. It smells greasy for days.”
About 30 years ago, I was walking into a marriage counseling appointment with a human I had yet to marry. Nobody was in a great mood and not a lot of talking had been done in the hours leading up to this date. As we walked by a fat strand of Yew bushes, I said “Ug. Yews smell like cat piss.”
That was all I said and I didn’t say to anybody in particular, but my companion heard “You smell like cat piss.” He stopped dead in his tracks so I did too. He turned to look at me and said, “What did you just say?” Not in the mood for any bullshit, I squared off and said, maybe a little too loudly “Yews smell like cat piss.”
I was able to clear up that little misunderstanding but it wasn’t nearly as funny at the time as it is now, after all these years.
maureenmasters © 2016
Dear Love. Yo.
I know that you know I dig you because I’ve proven it on a kabillion levels and I do so wish I’d been by sooner to say Hey, but I wasn’t so “Hey” now. You look super-great with that tan and all the muscles you found in your body and brain. I dig that about you so much. If I put my hand on the middle of your chest, I’m pretty sure I’d feel your heart beating sound and strong. If I were there, I’d confirm this first-hand and all, but I’m not. I’m here.
And, just for the record: OMG. It is so beautiful here. This is the first really cool and breezy morning we’ve had on the prairie for a couple weeks so I don’t even mind the flies that much. I’m going to fill the pool as soon as the sun gets high enough and then I’ll float and try to do nothing. Of all the things that there are to do, I am the worst at doing nothing. I just don’t get it.
I think it’s because I heard, “Make yourself useful!” for so many years, or because I’m living with the most ambitious, driven 85-year-old ever in the history of time. I dunno, but it’s curiously delicious most days.
And, some of the other days – not so delicious. Today is the day I’ve decided I’ll hit “Publish” no matter what. I’ve been having a hella hard time listening to my voice sing or reading the words I write. I have no idea why this happens, but sometimes my resolve and my brand … .they get broken.
I believe you are capable of any and every.single.thing and I stand as support while I sit on about 5948 pages of words that I don’t think should get elected. The only way I can talk to you is to pretend that I’m just writing another letter, (probably my oldest good habit) and you’re not going to be shitty about it. (Please don’t be shitty.)
To that end, I gotta spend a minute on my Annual PSA to let you know that this fiasco of an election we’re staring at in America, has superseded my wildest expectations for what the Stupidification of a Nation would look like and I can’t burn one more precious calorie or give one more itsy-bitsy darling fuck on this low-hanging faux-political hatred. Not anymore.
The real problem isn’t the Democrats or the Republicans or the men or women or the rainbows or cauldrons or.or..or.. the real problem is that “Speaking Your Mind” has become a valued tick to be rewarded and applauded and supported and endorsed. I have, personally, thought some viciously wicked things and never said them out loud because I have some degree of social decorum and respect for our well-being as a tribe. (In your defense, I know that the only weapon I carry is my tongue and it’s ability to diminish you to ash in a heartbeat and I’m still not sorry because you’re taller than me. And, in my defense: I’ve never raised a hand to you.)
My will to go on living and not get shot or stabbed or bone-broke is much greater than my need to have the last word on something that I might just know nothing about, I may only know what I’ve been able to read or hear and dang if that’s not some compromised business, baby. People lie. Media is owned. It’s super complicated and requires your time in research, and I know research is totally uncool at cocktail parties. I know that you know ignorance is a choice and we all get to choose. I know you choose to trade your spirit, time and spark for trips to Walmart to buy plastic things that your kids will totally resent you for when you leave them behind after your departure, but we all gotta job to do. I’m not being all-judgey, just real.
That all notwithstanding, It’s been an epic twist to go from Kansas to the world, with you in my pocket. I’ve seen what I’m talkin’bout baby…. and I would encourage you to just learn to walk softly and move quick. I am pretty sure that moving quick is the secret to a long life.
Get out. Go. Go wherever you must go once you’ve met your obligations and weighed out the consequences and consulted the star charts. Believe nobody and hedge your bets. It’s a crazy time to be alive on this big blue ball. You don’t have to suffer. Go fast without hesitation and write me when you get there.
So, yea. I put in a year with cannabis and all things related and I’ve now returned to taking care. Mostly of me, but that’s only through the care I take of you and us. I got your back and I have a current DNR & POA …. I’ve been donated to science at universities all over the globe. I think we’re good here. You should write me sometime.
About 20 years ago we had a home that also served as home to a sweet variety of musicians and artists who needed a home when none (other than ours*) was available. Me and Mine had the downstairs and Wayne was upstairs, for the telling of this story.
Wayne played in a band called Technicolor Headrush. While I loved Wayne and Kirk and the other boys in that band (like little brothers,) it wasn’t so much my cup of tea. I still went to the shows and supported local music and all, but it was way more love than actual enjoyment.
It was a Wednesday night and it wasn’t full-frontal Winter anymore. I remember both of these things only because I still notice that so many bands I love all practice on Wednesday nights (that’s why I call it “Band Practice Night” instead of hump day) and I was barefoot. (For record keeping purposes -I wore two pairs of socks from post-Winfield until the daffodils bloomed. aka: leg shaving offseason.)
Our practice shut down by ten because we were old people, all being over 30 and all, and we were settling into the Recap Safety Meeting when Wayne knocked on the front door and asked if he could show us something. I was kinda hoping this would happen because the music I’d heard fall down the stairs all night was a huge departure from the angsty stuff we’d grown used to. Standing behind him in our funkyass mudroom foyer was Kirk with a guitar that had been punched squarely in the face, Jeff (holding what looked like the gas tank from an old Ford truck with a stick in it,) and Eric with a mandolin.
(Unless it was a banjo, which it could have been, but I’d think I’d remember that since we already had Richard, and back then we only got about one banjo player per zip code.) They shuffled in past the living room to the dining room which was completely open because it wasn’t really a dining room so much as it was the band practice room and office space for the first ISP in Kansas.
I don’t remember what they played first. I remember I was Sofa.King.Exhausted from working a 15 hour day, practicing for 4 hours and raising kids for 19 hours that I couldn’t remember where I left my shoes. I know they started out with strong clear harmonies and a completely rearranged bluegrass sensibility, but this music had teeth like The Bad Livers got involved in the build while The Pogues added a rogue chromosome to the DNA. I pretty much immediately forgot that I was tired.
It was a late schoolnight and they played 3 songs before anybody drew a breath. Even the rebellious teens hanging out in my sons room smoking my flowers (stolen from the tray under the sofa like shifty baccalaureate ninjas,) came out to see who was making this music in our house. I had a slow motion Matrix-moment where I looked around and memorized the intersection of where I came from and where I was headed.
I memorized moments like this for a living by the time this night unfolded. The moments when my mother and her sisters busted out their 5 part harmonies at 2am after a pyramid of Schlitz beers and too many Kent cigarettes. We were short enough to listen from under the kitchen table and Aunt Carol always left half of every cigarette she lit.
I remembered singing at the top of my lungs with strangers during my 16th summer, in a war-torn alley in Londonderry when my mom and I had run away from home on my fathers payroll because we could and he pissed us both all the way off (and a country under siege was an attractive option, given the choices.) We locked arms with Italians and Germans and Austrians, that night, and sang till the sun rose.
I remembered how hot my cheeks burned when I didn’t understand the difference between “Winfield Virgin” and actual, bonafide Virgin, but I was rewarded with being taught the entire John Prine catalog by a bunch of editors from the Joplin Globe.
Fast forward a million miles, three lifetimes and all the breakfasts later – I got to see a show last weekend that rolled all those perfect moments into focus. I got to meet new Family (by choice not blood) and be reminded why we do this and how defined I am by the sharing. Music makes me stronger, taller and funnier in the morning. My personal chemistry is totally addicted to the seratonin and dopamine tsunamis that allow me to stay up all night and hatch plans to overtake the earth with love and music and kindness. (And, Underground Railroads. Viva la Revolucion!)
Larry & His Flask played The Tower last weekend and I got to take in a fresh new breath of how my musical moment memory works in 2016, after the Mumfords and Avetts and Oh Brother got their fingerpints allllll over this scene. My scene. The Family scene.
By the time this night ended, I had met all of the parents, most of the best friends and at least half the getaway drivers. I enjoyed one of the best, most dynamic shows I’ve seen in ages (my bar is set CRAZY-high) and I got to be reminded of how happy I am that there are no two-tops in this world. All our tables hold everybody. We need each other to help us build the soundtracks to play in our backgrounds. Me and my people: We’re all mix-tapes and kitchen sing-alongs and I just might be six feet tall.
Meet me at the table.
*My kids might still not love this truth. They had to share at an unprecedented level and I continue to hope that they know I know this, and am grateful for their beneficence.
Hey Ninjas! It’s been a minute cuz so very much has been happening (translate: I had to write for clients and shelve my crazy blogging aspirations ferra sec.) Aaahhh, but today – I might have found my most fave part of this little revolution and it’s so cute in it’s corrective leg braces and bottle-thick glasses. I’m calling it Just Cuz You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should.
Only because the Gods of fiction are smiling so generously on the words being shared, the wealth of bullshit to wade through every single day, leaves me speechless. What I find myself most grateful is that so much of this makes me laugh. If I were writing for SNL, they would SO pay me extra.
Based on the “Scientifically Backed” studies I read, Cannabis cures everything, makes you smarter, motivates you to get more things done, seriously supercharges your creativity, shuts down all your kill impulses and it probably means you are smarter, prettier and funnier than all your non-consuming buddies (assuming you have them.)
It’s just a kinda big deal that way.
One of my first days in Washington, I was essentially kidnapped by a madwoman who saw a photo of me with a paintbrush on facebook and needed me to provide all her business signage in the 3 remaining hours before she frantically and hysterically opened her new deep-fried tofu stand.
It was a subversive plot, in retrospect, but I’m glad to have been woken from a sound slumber like my bed was on fire, before I had the sense to back out. I grabbed the two brushes I had brought with me and ran towards the biggest, tallest SUV I’d ever seen in my life – Black with deeply tinted black windows. I kinda went all NCIS with the vibe and jumped in the front seat.
Like a freakin’pixiesprite, this lil’ firecracker of a madwoman throws herself up and behind the wheel, buckles her belt behind her and pulls out a 2′ bong. Yea. For real. We’re IN A CAR and she whips out a bong the size of saxophone.
Welllllllllllllll, cool beans… that’s what I thought to myself. I fought the urge to say out loud, “I’m so SO not in Kansas anymore.”
She then pulls out a neatly rolled bath towel, stashed beneath her seat, and a propane torch. I shit.you.not. Propane.TORCH. IN the car. She spreads the towel across her lap, fishes a wad of something that we’re apparently going to smoke (IN.THE.CAR!!!) and never misses a beat in the extra-loud story she is telling about her evil nefarious neighbors who trimmed her chicken’s hair WITHOUT.HER.PERMISSION!
The rest of the story is pretty fabulous, but the moral (like SO SO many others in the industry) is that you don’t HAVE to test limits so boldly. If you can’t go some number of minutes without smoking dabs (a cannabis byproduct that is magically delicious and super cool in a whole bunch of ways that DON’T involve driving around tricky mountain passes with a freakin’lit torch in the car) MAYBE, just maybe you should sit back and consider the path you’ve chosen.
Today’s nug of wisdom: Don’t Dab and go.
Hunker in. Stay put. Build a fort and dab, but no dabbing and driving.
When the squeeze gets too tight for the masses that grind the gears that keep the American engine greased, there’s a pretty great chance it will blow. But, that’s just the way it feels today and probably a bigger story for another day.
From here, 5 months into shedding all but about 100 things that I own and choosing to stop being curious and start getting some answers, I can tell you this: It’s gettin’all real up in here. I no longer stand out as the only non-traditional, unconventional American out and about doing grown-up things like a responsible adult. It’s weird. Weirder still to not be an outlaw for the first time ever. Ever, ever, like in my adult life: I am breaking no laws. I also still have no stomach for drama, career slothing and passive-aggressive manipulation, but that’s old news.
Two weeks into Washington state and I’ve formed all kinds of opinions and solidified some others.
These are my Top Three:
That’s what I got today. Nose to the grindstone. Trust no one.
I hope his note finds you and all your relations well – Sorry it’s taken me so long to write, I’ve been busy with unexpected twists in the road that required my full attention. I know I’m the last person in the world that you expected to hear from, given the liberal amounts of shit I have shot your way for the last decade or so – My bad.
I judged you harshly for selling your soul to Reality TV – and maybe some excessive breeding and questionable fashion choices. As a girl who has worn overalls, almost exclusively, for 4 decades – I am in no place to judge. And, left to my own devices, God knows I could have had 19 children, if I’d applied myself and cancer hadn’t stepped in to do it’s preventative middle-class maintenance.
But, I gotta tell you: YOU rock for bringing things to the front and center of what we, the ‘Murkan People, care about. I am super-duper impressed with your crazy-crafty ninja skillz (with a “z”) in making sexual abuse a thing that is almost as popular as bacon and Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn. Way to rock the casbah without trying.
Women in our country (and a few others) don’t know that we hold all the power. The average girl has thighs that could crush a locomotive with a sigh, but she doesn’t know it. I am hopeful that you guys are having secret meetings that emphasize your kegel strength and the power to drive change.
You guys have been put through the ringer. I’m sorry you had to endure whatever it is that you went through. From personal experience, I would guess that you were violated in ways that you never thought possible and when you confided in somebody, they urged you to pretend like it never happened. They were just doing the best they could at the time with the information they had available. Sometimes humans suggest CUH-razy things when they are wrapped up in panic, expectations and dread.
I know that you are busy with publicists and spinners who are turning your story into the Next Big Thing that feeds your insatiable need to be noticed. You guys are awesome clown-car entertainment and I hope you start using your power wisely while supporting each other in all those family ways I’ve read so much about.
It’s not okay for somebody to touch you without permission. Your legs are much stronger than you might think and if your heels hit that little sweet spot between the eyebrows, with all the force you have inside you, it will break little bones above the nose that make a difference. Like, labotomy-kinda difference. You can say that he was like that when you walked in – it’s never a spectator sport.
Hope you guys are protecting your freedoms and special lady parts – write if you get time.
If you’ve ever had to ask for a favor, or given one with no chance of reward or recognition – you are the person to whom a “kickstarter” speaks. I have to put it in quotes like that because, just like not all tissues are Kleenex, not all crowdsourcers are Kickstarters. Kickstarter is one of several platforms available for people seeking a kind-of unconventional financing for a dream, or a life-saving surgery or a funeral, or.or.or. There are as many reason to launch a kickstarter (I’m just going to keep it easy and default to the term everybody seems to know) as there are people launching them.
I don’t have the time or inclination to school you on what all is involved in these campaigns. I know you can Google the words I am using here and find the answers you’re looking for. Suffice to say, with but very few exceptions – the people who utilize these tools do not do so lightly. It’s a colossal pain in the butt and it’s humbling and difficult. (Unless you’re one of the few guys like the potato salad guy who went viral and raised almost $70k when he was looking for $10. THAT was one killer campaign and proved that crowdsourcing can be a wicked-cool way to raise money.)
A lot of people ask me why they would or should donate to a kickstarter, especially the ones that are not saving lives or seemingly promoting a greater good than one person’s well being. I only know why I donate and encourage others to do so with me. I also know, fo.sho and without doubt, that if it doesn’t make you feel good – Do NOT do it. If you’re on the fence, look into it and if you get the whole Pay it Forward vibe, on a fundamental level – we so SO should talk.
What follows are basically my top few kickstarters for this day, maybe week. I get to see and help with enough of these to know that I could share a new one every day for a year and not make all the people happy all the time.
1. My Friend Karen was a peaceful Rock Star who left too soon and her sons are trying to gather resources to recover from an unexpected and prolonged hospital stay. I’ve got a shirt from this ride, a few times over, and it’s impossible to explain to anybody how much debt can be accrued (how quickly!) when this happens to a family. I am all for lightening their load, if at all possible and Karen was important to my tapestry in my hometown.
2. My buddies Brian and Mel have a baby Rose who has presented them with extra opportunities to be strong and resilient and brave, When I was too young to process it, one of my cousins died from similar conditions and it’s made me super-sensitive to the quality of life these guys get. We take so much for granted and it seems to me that throwing a $10 bill into that mix would make way more difference than if I squandered it on candy and gum.
3. Journalism student, Scoop Nemeth has just recently entered my orbit and I am absolutely intrigued with his flavor of candor. He is On The Spectrum and speaks with a truthfulness that is pretty much unprecedented in broadcast journalism. I just want to see how far this guy goes. I think he’s got the spark inside him and my life is made better by his creativity and perspective. I paid to watch Monty Python, back in the day; Now I throw down on kickstarters to make my life more colorful. And, truthfully – I want to live in a world where people like Scoop can realize their dreams, so if I get to split my lunch with him to make it happen, it’s all good.
4. Me. And, omg – for real. Hardest.Thing.Ever. Longest ever story made as short as possible: I might or might not have had a hand in relegating myself to a second-class position for maybe a decade or three. My bad. I was an early-adopter on all today’s most popular life changers: Cancer, identity theft, poverty … blah blah blah. That’s all ancient history now, but it’s about a world away from the way I saw things working out when I was a 30 year old. As luck (mostly mine) would have it: All my gear is threatening to shoot craps and either I get new seeing-eye glasses or learn Braile. Not your problem, I know. BUT, I think I fill a void in your day and, just like pledging $10 to your local public radio station, I am worth it. I’m not asking for a burger today that I pay for tomorrow, I’ll send you snail mail that will rock your day. Not like the other snail mails much at all, the mail I send falls into the “Epic” camp. You could be part of this fabulously unconventional life I’ve chosen to chart for all of us. Y’never know – if there’s a Zombie apocalypse, you’re gonna be looking for a trail guide with maps.
(just for the record: I do make money and manage to not die, week after week. I need new glasses and gear in order to do the work I do, and we’ve got such a sweet thing going here – you and me. I love how you always let me pick the music and you don’t make me go to bed too early, I was hoping we’d just see where this takes us. No pressure, y’know – just friends.)
If you’re in a position to donate to somebody who has gone through the bone-grinding and soul-searching that setting up a kickstarter requires – DO that. If it pisses you off or makes you want to pull out a soapbox and use the word “entitlement” a lot, move on. For the love of all things holy: Really. Just please.Stop. Let it go. OR, sleep more soundly knowing your $10 donation helped change a life that you care about. Your call.
I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep it brief.
In going through the million things that I’ve collected during my 3 year layover here, I’ve found a bunch of great ideas that I didn’t have time to get started. I’m going to pass them on to you because you look like you need them.
The Tiny Home movement has been growing in popularity for the last 15 years, and I think you might have missed the memo. No bigs. It’s not too late. Here’s the deal: You so SO ought to build a tiny home village (for any one of a whole bunch of reasons that I’m more than happy to outline in person over a cup of coffee.)
I worked out some of the kinks and just went ahead and chose my most fave slice of real estate that I have watched sit dormant, since my return. I know it’s all tied up in some kinda legal battle and some things happened and some people are involved, but you’re going to have to suspend disbelief and act like you can do anything that matters and you’re all in. You glow when you’re all in.
You know that corner at Rutan and Douglas, just across from the Hillcrest? There are 3 separate lots there that the right team could turn into a dream factory and sweet slice of residency. Magic, math and some sly manipulation might be involved.
Because it’s on the lower end of College Hill, you can call it LoCo Hill. LoCo Hill Something Clever. My friend Karen named this neighborhood for me, and I think it’s on the money right. I’m pretty sure this would be the perfect place for a tiny home community and surely somebody knows somebody who could help make it happen. It’s just sad that those big ol’townhomes are sitting over there gathering dust; It will rock when a developer gives a nod to reality and builds something for the people.
You’re smart, you’ll figure out the rest. It’s not like you don’t have a million maps to borrow from here. But, you seriously ought to chop chop, Princess. Daylight’s burning. This project could launch a whole bunch more like it. You could be a national leader in taking care of your homeless and vets and old people and young couples just starting out. You could. I’m sure of it, you just have to agree and wear the right shoes. We’ll see.
Stop dawdling and get on it. You’ve got everything you need.
Hope your week rocks and I look forward to hearing back from you. How are the kids, anyways?
If you and/or your company would like to sponsor the next year of incredible ideas and research, click here: MOE SPONSORSHIP!