happy happy birthday birthday

Today is the FABULOUS Z's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, but I will tell you this: she is older than I am. By more than a year.

(oh, yes, yes you are, don't even TRY to get out of it, baby)

I say she's fabulous, because, well, she is. She's a mom with infinite patience and boundless energy and her heart is bigger than my boobs, which, if you know anything about me, is pretty damned big. Big-chested lesbian genes and all...

She's earthy, crunchy, shiny, and just a tiny bit nutty. Like a filbert. She's freek-a-leeky and has the monkiest toes on the planet. Really. She'll kill you with 'em while you sleep.

In my unremarkable life, I have been blessed with remarkable friends, and every day I'm thankful for her friendship.

She deserves a parade.

I adore her.

Happy Birthday, darlin'. Eat cake. Lots and lots of cake. Did'ja hear me say CAKE???



far from home

I don’t know what it was about the city, but from the instant I stepped off the plane I loved it.

“You’re just infatuated with the idea of a European man falling madly in love with you,” he grumbled, crankier than usual as I gushed about the architecture racing by the windows of the taxi.

“A European man is already madly in love with me,” I teased as I grasped his fingers in mine.

Expecting a snide comment, I was surprised when all I got in return was a sad sigh. I frowned and pulled his sunglass from his face so I could see his eyes. They were dark and expressionless as they focused on the window just behind my head.

“Everything looks the same,” he said, his voice as expressionless as his eyes.

A sudden chill caused me to shudder involuntarily. I pushed his glasses back onto his nose before the cold in his eyes could seep any further into mine. The back of my hand brushed against his chin before it settled back into his grip. “You need to sleep, love,” I said softly.

“I need…” His voice trailed off, and I knew whatever he was thinking was best left unsaid. I let my fingers twist into his palm and said nothing else for the remainder of the taxi ride.

I studied the landscape intently from behind the smudged glass. I wanted to remember every dormered window and every flower-laden arbor that arched over every gate. I wanted to remember every crack in every sidewalk and every twig on every ancient tree. For whatever reason, it seemed crucial that I remember everything and I kept a silent commentary as we drove deeper into London.

...the trees are blooming…pink flowers…that window has blue curtains with yellow stripes…the sun is shining but dully…remember it all, experience it as thoroughly as possible…it’s so important…

I was overloaded with sights, sounds, and smells and desperately trying to regain my sense of where I was when I felt him tense next to me. The taxi slowed into a turn and came to a halt in front of a row of houses, each as neatly kept as the next. Green was the predominant color – touches of it showed everywhere from the trim on one house to the perfectly manicured patches of lawn growing in perfectly straight rows.

“It’s lovely,” I murmured.

“I assure you it is not,” he said.

I opened my mouth with every intention of saying something calming, but instead what came out was, “Who is that man who looks exactly like you? And why is he glowering?”

He followed my gaze and took in a deep breath as his eyes settled on the man standing in front of one of the perfectly kept houses. “My brother,” he said from between clenched teeth.

We climbed out of the taxi and he pulled our bags from the trunk. I stood on the curb staring silently at the man I knew only as “that bastard Graham” as he paid the driver. As the taxi sputtered away I heard him cursing under his breath.

“What the bloody fuck…”

Graham took a step towards us. I was the only one who noticed.

“…and that fuckwit is just standing there…”


Graham took another step towards us, and still I was the only one who noticed.

“Baby…” I said again.

“…damn him why is he here…”

“Hey!” I said as I reached behind me to grab his arm.


I gently grabbed the hair at the nape of his neck and gave it a tug, turning his head in the direction of his brother who now stood just a few feet away. He was instantly in front of me, his hand reaching back and resting protectively on my hip. Before I had a chance to utter a word of protest, Graham was practically on top of us.

“What’s this?” he said, sneering as he looked at me.

Geoff narrowed his eyes and put two fingers firmly into Graham’s chest. “You are much too close,” he snapped.

Graham turned his sneer towards his brother. “And I thought you’d greet me with a hug.”

I felt Geoff's fingers wrap themsevles around my side. His thumb dug uncomfortably into my hip as he pulled me closer to him. He didn’t say a word as Graham took another step in our direction. He just tightened his grip on me and glared back at his brother.

“No hug?” Graham said, reaching for my shoulder.

“Don’t you dare,” Geoff hissed, and I was suddenly glad for his hand on my hip.

...every detail…every blink, every challenge, every sneer…capture it…it’s important…important…important…

I shook the voice from my head and met Graham’s sneer. Stepping out from where I stood I extended my hand. “I’m...” I said, feeling grateful that my voice didn’t waver.

Graham reached for my hand, but before I could grasp his, Geoff knocked my hand out of the way. “I said don’t you dare,” he said to his brother.

I protested, but he ignored me.

“Where’s Charlotte?”

“Inside making tea for that one,” Graham said, nodding his chin in my direction.

Geoff picked up two bags and shoved them at me. Still off balance from the taxi ride and the bizarre greeting we’d received from his brother, I didn’t complain when Geoff wrapped his arm tightly around my waist and pulled me along with him.

“Darlin'…I…why haven’t you spoken to him in five years?” I whispered when there was distance between the two of them.

“Don’t let him near enough to touch you,” Geoff replied in a short voice.

“That’s not an answer to my question, damn it.”

His hand tightened on my waist, his thumb again digging uncomfortably into my hip. “Do not. Let him near enough. To touch you. I mean it. Do you hear me?”

“Everybody living within a two mile radius can hear you,” I said, trying to make light of the situation. What I didn’t say, and what I hoped my body language didn’t betray, was that a sudden sense of impending doom had settled over me.

“I feel it, too,” Geoff said quietly, startling me.

“Feel what?”

“I shouldn’t have brought you here,” he said sadly.

I stopped walking and turned to face him. “You absolutely should have brought me here,” I whispered as I kissed his chin. “I’ll remind you of why later.”

“You’ve just reminded me,” he replied, breaking into the first smile I’d seen since we’d boarded a plane half a day earlier. “But I’m still sorry I brought you here.”

I kissed his chin one last time and then continued along the path to the house. I stopped at the front door and took a deep breath, bracing myself for…


…Charlotte. I plastered on a smile, but it was wasted effort; Charlotte was too busy pressing my face into her shoulder to see it. The smell of cigarettes and perfume overwhelmed the more subtle scent of the flowers that bloomed in big pots on either side of the front door. I gagged and tried to find a pocket of fresh air.

In an instant Geoff’s hands were on my shoulders. Relief washed over me as he carefully extricated me from her grasp and she turned her attention to him, but it was short-lived when I saw his face go pale and his back stiffen at her touch.

“Darling,” she said.

He leaned down to brush his lips against her cheek. “Mother.”

She ushered us into her tidy kitchen and placed a tray laden with biscuits and fruit buns in front of us. I watched cautiously as she poured tea into delicate cups and wondered why she was bothering to pour for Geoff...he hated tea.

“Surely she knows…?” I murmured.

“Surely she doesn’t care,” Geoff said out of the corner of his mouth.

Charlotte stopped pouring and straightened up to her full height. “I’m sorry?”

“Nothing,” Geoff muttered. “Thank you.”

Charlotte nodded and went back to pouring. We sat for an hour, the uncomfortable silence broken only by intermittent, forced conversation. Graham sat in the next room, fully visible but silent.

“Hey, baby?” I said softly when Charlotte turned her attention from us briefly. “Maybe we should stay in a hotel…?”

The rest of his family arrived just then. Small children burst through the front door and galloped towards him. I stood when he did and backed out of the way.

“Uncle!” a little girl shrieked as she leapt into his arms.

“Hello, Anne,” Geoff replied, smiling warmly. “Where’s your mum?”

“She’s getting Sean from the buggy,” Anne said. She was a strikingly pretty girl with dark hair and eyes the exact shade of green as her uncle's. “Must you leave again?"

“Eventually, yes, but not today. Now turn around,” he said as he placed her back on the floor. “Say hello to my friend.”

“Mim says you’re going to marry him,” Anne said to me.

“Mim?” I said, confused.

“Charlotte,” Geoff whispered.

“Oh," I replied. “Well. Of course."

“Are you going to marry him?” Anne asked me.

I stared at her, unsure of how to respond. “He hasn’t asked me yet,” I finally said, and thankfully, that seemed good enough. She nodded, snatched a biscuit from the table, and started chattering at Charlotte.

I could see by the tenseness of his jaw as he spoke to his sister that he wanted to leave, and I wondered how much time would have to pass for our exit to be considered graceful. When he stood abruptly and announced, “I’m done, damn it,” I knew that there would be nothing graceful about our exit.

He wove through screaming children and grasped my wrist gently. I knew better than to protest then, so I allowed him to pull me from the house. His mother followed us out, badgering us the entire way to the taxi he'd called for without my knowledge.

“You know I don’t approve of you two sharing a room. I don’t know why you’d disregard my feelings like this…”

He was impressive in his restraint as she continued to yell at him, ignoring her as he tossed luggage into the trunk of the waiting taxi. When she grabbed his elbow, though, he yanked his arm away and spun to face her.

“You should not touch me,” he hissed, the rage I’d been watching build all day finally breaking surface.

“Let's just go," I pleaded, tugging on his sleeve. “You’re on a big cliff, baby…come back here, okay? I'm right here…"

"I beg your pardon,” Charlotte sniffed at me, but I ignored her and concentrated on getting out of there.

"I don’t care the door is still open!” I yelled at the taxi driver when he refused to move the car. “Go, just go, JUST BLOODY GO!"

I pulled Geoff into the car and reached across him to close the door. “What was that?” I asked him as the car finally surged forward.

He shook his head and stared stonily ahead. His breath was coming in short, ragged gasps. "Not now."

I sighed. “Yeah, okay.”

He looked at me, the anger flashing in his eyes disappearing when I met his gaze. He sighed and reached for my hand. "Just bloody go?" he said, and I heard the hint of a smile in his voice.

"I really need to stop spending so much time with you."

"Don't you dare."

We found a hotel with a vacancy near the American Embassy and checked in. When we were showered and lying across the bed in our pajama pants and sweatshirts, I started to laugh.

“Nothing can possibly be that funny,” Geoff snapped.

“The embassy is across the street,” I giggled.

“What’s funny about that?”

“It’s very convenient, don't you think? I mean, when you kill her...”

"Sod off, love."

“And just a few hours ago you were madly in love with me,” I said, still giggling. “Such a fickle boy..."

“Sod. Off. Love.”

I turned off the light and crawled under the blanket. I heard him yawn and soon he was crawling under the blanket next to me. I searched out his hand and held it tightly.

"I'm sorry," I heard him whisper.

"Let's just go home," I whispered back. "We'll send an announcement about our very private wedding. It doesn't matter what they know and don't know..."

"No," he replied, sighing, and I knew he was right.

“What happened five years ago?” I asked softly.

He was silent for a long time and finally he said, “I can’t, darlin'.”

“You know I'm not going away, right?"

"Promise?" he whispered, and I swore I heard tears in his voice.

"How long have you been awake?" I asked.

When I heard him take a breath to answer, I shushed him, knowing he'd lie to keep me from worrying. And when he finally started sinking into sleep, I whispered, "I promise."

I worry every day that I didn't do enough to keep my word.


next time...

...I say I'm going to blog every week day, I'll try not to get sick and end up spending entire days on my couch watching reruns of ER and Without A Trace on TNT while slurping on a giant mug of lemon tea.



migraines suck

And that's all I really have to say about that.



late night blogging

I went out after the volunteer thing I do every week with some people I love to bits, so it's all good, but I'm tired, and that means my brain is no longer functioning. I have a post about rituals floating around in my head, and the ugly chair story still needs telling, but right now the energy and brain-power needed to write those things just isn't there.

I don't even have a meme. Besides, it's after midnight. I have already failed my post every weekday challenge to myself. If I post twice today, does that count?

Ugh. I'm going to bed.


shut up, muffy

Her name isn't really Muffy, but it might as well be.

She shows up at the bus stop with her make-up on, wearing fashionable shoes that match her fashionable outfit perfectly. She has a sleek, blonde bob, complete with bangs, and a perfectly placed Burberry headbead to complete the look. Her nails are shiny, her jewelry shinier, and her kid's jeans have creases ironed into them.

As if all that wasn't bad enough (i mean, really, Burberry headbands? it's 7:45 a.m. and we're talking first-graders here), she's that mother. The one who volunteers for everything at the school from organizing the book fair to planting flowers around the flag pole. Now, let me say that I think volunteering at your kid's school is wonderful and fabulous. I even do it myself sometimes. But this woman is there all the time, and I mean all the time. More power to her, I say, and I wouldn't even blink an eye, but she's also that mother who says things like -

"You know, I don't understand you mothers who don't spend more time volunteering at the school. I mean, don't you want to be involved in your precious little one's education?"

-and -

"Well, I helped organize the book fair this year, as well as last year, and I've already signed up for next year. What are you doing?"

She tsks at pre-packaged snacks..."oh, we bake our own snacks..." and stares at you with wide, horrified eyes when your kid announces, with obvious glee, that she had COUNT CHOCULA FOR BREAKFAST!!!!

"Why did you have to have that for breakfast, honey? What was your Mommy doing that was more important than making breakfast?"

So I, with my unbrushed, wild, curly/frizzy hair tied up into a watersprout thing on my head, wearing a pair of pajama pants with monkeys in Santa hats on them, an old denim jacket with a peace button and an AIDS ribbon pinned to it covering my braless boobs, my sockless feet shoved into a pair of old sneakers, and a dog tugging on my arm in a desperate attempt to get free and eat squirrel for breakfast, turned to her and said...

"I was giving my husband a blow-job."

She blinked at me. Twice.

And then it happened.

"Sometimes she lets me help!" shouted Lemony Child.*

Four other mothers, also in their pajamas, choked on their coffee.

I don't think Muffy was amused.

*sometimes I let her help me blow-dry my hair, which is what she thought I was talking about!


monday, monday

Mondays are crazy here at Lemony Villa. Every day is kind of crazy here at Lemony Villa, but Monday always seems to be the craziest. I used to think it was because it was the first day back into the real world of school/work after two mornings/days of sleeping later than usual and not being slaves to a shedule. Makes sense, right?

Sure. But that isn't it.

After much thought and even more of me going through each room of the house muttering "oh, look, an empty cup...whose sock is THIS?...what the heck is THAT doing THERE?" I've realized Mondays are only crazy for me. Why? Because I'm the one here after the rest of them are gone, and Monday happens to fall after Saturday and Sunday. You know, those days when everybody is here.ALL.the.time.

How four people (because, of course, I'm not including myself) can wreak such utter havoc on a house in two days is totally beyond me, but they do it. I'm on them to take care of their stuff, and to their credit they listen (most of the time), but damn. There's always a forgotten fruit roll-up wrapper in the family room. An errant sock on the floor in the playroom. Dishes from Sunday night snacks in the sink. Laundry I didn't find the time to keep up with thanks to gymnastics meets and soccer games.

I get home from the bus stop on Monday mornings, grab for the coffee pot and see this:

A weekend's worth of mail, stacks of paper sent home from three different schools, all needing attention and a signature, the catalogs I meant to look through wanting a head start on Christmas shopping, waivers for sports, the books I've been dying to get to...or at least put away...for weeks.

The desk doesn't look much better.

Neither does my bathroom. Do we shower more on the weekends or something? Because my bathroom looks like a hair bomb exploded in there. It's kind of gross.

So, I Swiffer. I restack things. I pick up fruit roll-up wrappers and socks. I do laundry and go grocery shopping. The dog watches me, usually with a toy in her mouth, waiting for me to play with her.
"It's Monday," I tell her.
She'll watch me for a few more minutes, but she eventually goes off to find something else to do.

Is it wrong to be jealous of my mutt?? Because after Swiffering the remnants of that hairbomb out of the bathroom, I just can't seem to help myself.



i'm gonna do it, damn it

I've made a decision. I am going to try to blog every Monday through Friday. I am. I can do it. Okay, I probably can't, but I'm going to try anyway, because I really need to get into the habit of writing something every day, even when I don't feel like it. Unfortunately, I'm not even remotely talented enough to be ENTERTAINING five days a week, so some entries might be cheats, like a meme or something. Like today.


I try to always credit the blog I borrow a meme from, but I honestly don't remember where I found this one. If you're reading, and you recognize this meme, thank you for the inspiration.

Now. Onto Day One of Writing Every Day.

Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work? - Lick it? Um. No. Ew. It might have rotavirus on it. Horrors.

What's the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated? - Twelve years. I thought I was so cool, dating somebody 12 years older than I was, but looking back now...well, ew. I was 18, he was 30. I'd probably have a heart attack if Lemony Teen dated somebody that much older when she's 18.

Ever been in a car wreck? - A few close calls, like that time it was snowing and the highway wasn't plowed or salted or sanded and we totally spun out and ended up facing north on the southbound side of Route 93 (that was scary, dudes), but I've been very lucky to avoid anything too serious.

Were you popular in high school? - I never know how to answer this question. I wasn't unpopular, I guess. I wasn't a loner, but I didn't hang with THE crowd, either. I'd say I was somewhere in the middle of the social ladder. It was a perfectly fine place to be.

Have you ever been on a blind date? - Two. They were both complete disasters, although one of them did describe me nicely when he said, "Wow. You drove right up to normal and took a left, didn't you?" It was the funniest thing he said the entire night.

Are looks important? - Eh. Not really. I'm not sixteen anymore, you know? But I will admit to being completely turned off by people who look like total catastrophes while muddling through their grocery shopping. I don't mean the damp dude who obviously just came from the gym, or the bleary-eyed woman with the screaming toddler crammed into the top of the carriage. You know the guy I'm talking about...the one with a pair of dirty sweatpants and a rumpled Red Sox tee-shirt, who doesn't smell good when he passes you in the soda aisle, with hair that obviously hasn't been brushed in days. That guy.

Do you have any friends that you've known for 10 years or more? - Yes. Thank god for them, too.

By what age would you like to be married? - I am never getting married again. Ever. Nope.

Does the number of people a person's slept with affect your view of them? - No.

Are you a good tipper? - As somebody who once paid her rent with tips, yes, I am a very good tipper. At least 20%.

What's the most you have spent for a haircut? - I spend about $100 a month on a cut, color, highlights, and eyebrow waxing. I don't think I've ever paid more than that for anything hair related.

Have you ever had a crush on a teacher? - My sophomore English teacher, Mr. MacDonald. He was a total geek, but he was wicked funny and a uber-nice guy. I don't know if it was a crush so much as I just liked the guy.

Have you ever peed in public? - In front of people? No. I have run into the woods a few times in my life, though.

What song do you want played at your funeral? - Yeesh. I've honestly never thought about such things. Ummmmm...how about The Bitch is Back? Just to freak everybody out.

Would you tell your parents if you were gay? - In my family it was the parents giving me the "I'm gay" speech.

What would your last meal be before getting executed? - A cheeseburger with red onions, tomato, and barbeque sauce, really salty French fries, and a Sam Adams.

Beatles or Stones? - Will you still need me when I'm sixty-four? Beatles, baby.

If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who would it be? - I wouldn't. I'd feel too ookie about it.

Beer, wine or hard liquor? - Depends on the day I've had and the company I'm keeping. Kicking back with Mr. Lemony after the kids go to bed? Definitely a beer. Out with friends on a Saturday night? Bring on the Lemon Drop martinis!

Do you have any phobias? - Water. shudder Heights. Oh, and WATER. shudder

What are your plans for the future? - Writing more, stressing less, getting the Lemonettes safely into adulthood, and buying a commune.

Do you walk around the house naked? - No. Never. I don't want to frighten my dog.

If you were an animal what would you be? - A spoiled rotten house cat. Eating, napping in the sun, and getting stoned on catnip. Yeah, I could get used to that.

Do you have any special talents? - I can sing, but I'm not sure how special that is. I'm a really good dog-trainer, but, again, not so special. I make really good chili? I can bend my thumb all the way back until it touches my arm? I can make my elbows crack on command? God, I'm so boring.

What do you do as soon as you walk in the house? - Let the dog out of her crate.

Do you like horror or comedy? - I prefer a comedy if I'm looking for a movie to watch, but I enjoy me a good horror novel over funny any day.

Are you missing anyone?- Of course.

Where do you want to live when you are old? - In a condo in the city on a hill.

Who is the person you can count on the most? - Honestly? Mr. Lemony. He isn't perfect, and he screws up, but he's never let me down when it matters.

If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be? - Jay Leno. He just seems like a nice guy.

What did you dream last night? I don't remember.

What is your favorite sport to watch? - Baseball, except I'm not watching it right now because the much-loathed team from the south is visiting, and after last night, I'm in avoidance mode.

Are you named after anyone? - The nurse who assisted at my delivery. And a flower.

What is your favorite alcoholic drink? - I'm not picky. I'll drink almost anything. I do love a Lemon Drop, though.

Non alcoholic drink? - COFFEE!!!

Have you ever been in love? - Yep.

Do you sing in the shower? - Only if nobody else is home.

Have you ever been arrested? - No.

What is your favorite Holiday? - Arbor Day is fun, but it's gotta be Thanksgiving. What's not to love about stuffing and cranberry sauce??

Would you ever get plastic surgery? - You bet my stretch-marked, squishy, floppy tummy I would.

Have you ever caught a fish? - Once, when I was a teenager, I went fishing with my then-boyfriend because he thought it would be fun to torture me by taking me out on a boat that floats on WATER. I actually caught something, I don't know what it was, but it was flopping and gaping its giant fish lips and bugging those buggy little fish eyes, and I started shrieking like a girl. I refused to touch it, so my boyfriend took it off the hook for me. I made him throw it back into the water and he never took me fishing again.

Who wants to blog every weekday with me? Eh? Anyone? Come on...you know you wanna. And? I promise I won't meme every day. Really. I won't.



i am raccoon! hear me...roar?

I found this at the always-charming ccw's blog. I'm oddly fascinated by it.

What do you think? Am I a raccoon? What are you?