the things that happen when you're not looking

This? Is Lemony Teen.

She's smart. She's beautiful. She's fiercely competitive. She's fearless. She's independent and strong.

She is my heart.

And today, despite me begging her to just slow down for a second, she is fifteen.

I'm not ready.


inauspicious beginnings

It was a Sunday. I remember because I'd spent the night before at his house and I only ever did that on Saturdays. Later - like when the world turned upside down - I spent more than Saturday nights, but not then.

The first Saturday I'd just shown up at three in the morning, scared out of my mind because I'd managed to pick up a follower in the Common and didn't want to lead him to my apartment, where I lived alone. Well, I had a cat, and he had many endearing qualities, but Big Brave Serial Killer Repeller wasn't one of them.

So there I was, banging on his door in the middle of the night with god only knows who watching very closely from the bottom of the stairs, and just when I knew he wasn't home...

Oh, sure, pick TONIGHT to get a life! SURE! Hope you're having a GREAT time! Hope my dead body on your doorstep doesn't deflect too much from your FUN!

...he opened the door.

"What the fuck are you doing?" he shouted. "Are you high?!"

"No, asshole, I'm not, but I'm going to be dead if you don't let me in!"

That's when he noticed the scary, drunk man hovering at the bottom of his steps. He yanked me into his foyer while shouting as loudly as he could, knowing it would wake up everybody on his quiet street, knowing they'd all turn their lights on as they dialed 911.

The next morning he gave me a toothbrush and a key to his house, and so started a Saturday night routine; wherever I was, wherever he was, whether we had plans together or not, we'd both end up in his kitchen to share a pot of coffee before sharing a bed.

So, I know that day was a Sunday, because I woke up in his house with a hangover and his head on my shoulder.

We went for a run that morning. It was July, and it was hot. We stopped to sit on a bench in the Common...not such a scary place during the day...and watched people walk by while we caught our breath. When the man with the goofy-looking Bassett walked by, we both started laughing...mostly at the dog, but also at the man.

Hey, I never claimed we were nice.

The man, a blond-haired, blue-eyed aging hippy, must have heard us, because he looked over his shoulder and glared at us.

“Why do people always look at us like that?”

“I don't know,” I replied. "But maybe because we're not really nice to them."

“Oh. Right. As long as there's reason, then."

We watched as the dog took advantage of her owner's distraction and took off after a duck. The dog ended up in the middle of a wading pool, chasing the hysterically flapping duck in a giant circle while parents grabbed their kids and dove for cover.

We were doubled over and breathless, tears of laughter streaming down our faces, when the man turned to glare at us again.

"That's right, laugh," he shouted. "Ha, ha, it's funny!"

I'm not sure what prompted me to do it, but I got up, kicked off my running shoes, and waded out to where the dog and the duck were playing chase. I knew the dog's name, having heard the man shout it more than once, so I called to her. She promptly forgot about the duck and waddled over to me. I fished her leash out of the water and took her back to her owner.

"Go easy on her," I said as I handed him the leash. "That duck was asking for trouble."

Sighing, and maybe even smiling a little, he took his dog and introduced himself to me. I was about to share a handshake and my name with him when suddenly there was an arm across my shoulders.

"I keep telling Lemony she shouldn’t run off after every stray she finds, but she feels bad for them.”

And that's when I knew we were in trouble.

“Scout isn’t a stray," the blond hippy said, frowning.

Aw, hell, man, don't you know you're not supposed to engage him when he's like this? Shut UP...

"I wasn't talking about the dog."


I grabbed his hand before he could say anything else, squeezing until I felt his knuckles grind together. "I try to keep him away from people," I said.

"You should try harder," was all I heard as the man walked away, dragging his dog behind him.

I remember him squeezing my hand then, his way of apologizing for being, well, him.

"Do you still love me?" he asked.

"No," I said, but I was smiling. "You're an ass."

He laughed. "I love you, too, darlin'."

We made our way back to his house, and after a few hours of painting his kitchen we had both forgotten all about the blond hippy and his runaway dog.

What happened later came as a surprise to all of us.


it will grow back

I was rudely awakened this morning by snot. Yes, that's right, snot. You know, snot. Green ookie crap. Or, as Lemony Child is prone to calling it, nose glue. I'll spare you the goopity green details, but I will tell you this...when the Sinex stops working, you stop sleeping.

This all happened at 5:17 a.m. The sun isn't even up then. I was not happy. Then I realized I was on the couch. Freezing. With a dog sprawled across my knees. I was even less happy. When I remembered Mr. Lemony telling me my coughing was driving him "wonky crazy insane mad, I tell you!" and leaving bed for the couch, I was pissed. Excuse me, Mr. I Promise To Love You In Sickness and in Health, why am I the one being banished from the queen-sized, pillow-topped haven? I'm sick. I can't breathe. I have a cold! Whatever happened to, "Oh, honey, I'm so sorry you're feeling so awful and having such a hard time getting to sleep. Why don't I go downstairs so you can spread out and be comfy? Do you need anything?"

Oh, yeah, I forgot...I married a caveman.


When the clock on the DVR hit 5:47 I knew it was hopeless. I rolled off the couch, disturbing the dog in the process (you think you're crabby in the morning? ever disturb a 60 pound snoring mutt??), and crawled to the kitchen to start coffee.

There are no words to convey my utter annoyance at my head feeling six billion times its normal size without the benefit of fifth of tequila and a hangover, by the way.

I forgot to put a filter in the coffee machine. It made a mess. I didn't cry.

Now, today is St. Patrick's Day. That doesn't really mean much to me, the Brit who married the Mediterranean guy, but it means something to some dear friends of mine, and they celebrate with a party every year. We are always invited, and we are enthusiastic participants in the brisket and stout fest they put on. What's not to love about friends, food, and beer, right? So even though I felt like death on toast, I was determined to make it to the party.

I'll lay low, I said. I'll make an easy dessert instead of a six-layered green cake, and I'll make sure the Sinex doesn't get the chance to lapse and cement my nose shut again. It'll be fine. It's just a cold. You'll be FINE.

I took a shower. I got shampoo in my eye. I didn't cry.

Deciding that even an easy dessert would require a trip to the grocery store, I made a list, put on make-up, packed Lemony Child into the van and drove the whole three miles to the grocery store.

I got out of the van. I reached for my purse. It wasn't there. I didn't cry.

I drove back home, grabbed the purse from the back of the door I exited when I left the house, and drove back to the grocery store. Lemony Child and I went up and down the aisles, picking out things like eggs and bananas and Cheetos with great care. We picked the shortest line, paid $143.88 for eggs, bananas, and Cheetos, and drove the three miles back home.

I got out of the van. I reached for my purse. It wasn't there. I didn't cry.

We drove back to the grocery store, where the offending purse was found sitting exactly where I'd left it...in the top of the grocery cart, in the carriage corral, next to the giant red trash can.

Home again, Lemony Child helped me lug the eggs, bananas, and Cheetos into the house. She put the things she could away while I made her lunch. She ate while I started the easy dessert. Graham cracker crumbs. Butter. Sugar. Two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese...two 8-ounce packages...no, that's butter...and that's a banana...


Nowhere to be found. I didn't cry.

Back to the grocery store we went, and I wondered if a person could run out of gas if the only thing they ever did was drive 3 miles to the store...3 miles home...3 miles to the store...3 miles home...

With the second bloody block of cream cheese softened and in the bowl with the other bloody block of cream cheese, a cup of sugar, and some vanilla, I plugged in my handy-dandy hand mixer and started to mix it all together. Ahhhh, fattening food...which I won't even get to taste because my cemented shut nose is interfering with my taste buds. The bastard.

Whirring, stirring, humming along...but wait...


So, that's what I did. I looked. And promptly got my hair twisted into the handy-dandy little contraption.

(no, i'm not kidding)

So there I was, my hair tangled impossibly around an electrical appliance that isn't even remotely sexy, cream cheese and sugar dripping onto my shoulder. What do you do in that situation? Let me tell you...

"are you fucking kidding me? is this a joke? how do you think you're going to untwist yourself from this damned fucking machine...turn IT OFF YOU MORON!!"

That's what you do in that situation.

I had to cut my hair. My handy-dandy hand mixer is toast. I didn't cry.

I made the dessert (not so easy with just a wooden spoon), put it in the fridge, and chipped hardened cream cheese out of my hair.

So now, I have to get ready to go to this party. I hate this party. This party sucks. And my friends suck, too. Because, you know, it's their fault I had to lop a machine out of my hair. I wouldn't have been making the easy dessert if not for them. I'm out of Sinex. My car has no gas in it. I'm tired. And my head is still six billion times too big.


I didn't cry.

Lemony Child couldn't find her striped socks a few mintues ago.

She cried.


until later

I had an interesting encounter with a bug-eyed woman in the parking lot at the produce market, but since I'm currently cooking food with the stuff purchased at the above mentioned produce market, you'll have to wait until later to hear the gory details.

I know you're just frothing with anticipation.

oh stop rolling your eyes...

Until then, I'm teal. Teal. Could there be a worse shade of green?

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.


why do i watch the news?

I mean, really.

Swastikas painted on a Jewish community center.

Unspeakable and just plain horrific.

A homeless man set on fire.

Can't quite wrap my brain around that. Setting a person on fire. For sport. No, not getting it.

President Clinton heckled with "You're a WAR CRIMINAL!"

Or at least I think that's what they said. Kinda hard to tell since I was all distracted by a hat. And in case I did hear them correctly, tell me, did I miss an illegal war back there in the 90's? Maybe I was blinded by the budget surplus or something.

Temperatures falling back into the teens.

Yeah, I'm going to bed.