The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Yearly Archives for 2015

The Sex-Ed Curriculum Meeting – Part II

Part I

I was under no illusion I was going to single handedly convince the Mesa Public School District their conservative, abstinence-based curriculum was outdated, backwards, and offensive. Especially because I’d only been appointed to a committee with the very specific (and relatively minor) job of approving new videos to be used to aid the instruction of curriculum with guidelines that were put in place 30 years ago. But, if we all stay home and say nothing, the crazies with the loudest voices win, right? So I put on my big girl pants, prepared my voice of dissent (and myself to be hated), and I went to the committee meeting.

It went both better and worse than I expected.


Committee member who is a medical doctor and grandfather of students in the district: In the first video, I’m not comfortable with the term “lips” used in place of “labia” when they are identifying the female anatomy. It’s slang. They should use the proper terminology. 

Female Sex Ed Instructor for MPS: OK, that makes sense. We can make that edit to the video. Anything else?

Me: Well, I mean if we’re talking about that video and the specific terminology, I have to say, I thought it was really strange they identified all of the anatomical external and internal parts of the female reproductive organs EXCEPT for the clitoris. Like, they just skipped over it. What was that about?

Sex Ed Lady: Oh, that was there, but we edited it out. 


Everyone else: Yeah, why would you do that?

Sex Ed Lady: We’ve never been able to get it approved before. 

Conservative Male Committee Member: It’s anatomy. I don’t know why we’d take out anatomy.

Doctor dude: As long as we use the technically correct terminology, I’m fine with it.

Me (only in my head, because it seemed to be going my way and it felt like a bad idea to go rogue so early and risk turning the conservative vote against anything I said going forward): What could possibly be offensive about that particular part of the female anatomy? Is it because it’s largely responsible for a female’s physical sexual pleasure? Why would this be a taboo concept? Are we afraid informing them sex actually feels good to women will derail the rest of the brainwashing? Have you tried not telling the boys they have a penis? Seems like the same logic.

Sex Ed Lady: So I should put it back in?

Everyone: Yeah. You definitely should.


Sex Ed Lady: What did we think about the video on The Dangers of Sexting?

Everyone: It was pretty good. 

Me: I thought it was a little female-heavy. It’s pretty much all about how girls shouldn’t send naked pics-

Sex Ed Lady: “Nudes.” The kids refer to them as “nudes.”

Me: OK, it’s about how girls shouldn’t send nudes and boys shouldn’t forward them on because everyone will go to jail and regret it for the rest of their lives. But what about unsolicited dick pics? That’s a weird kind of harassment going on right now (at least according to my friends who online date). It also needs to be addressed, if we’re talking about the pitfalls of sexting, don’t you think? Do you talk about dick pics?

Several committee ladies: *giggle at the term “dick pics”*

Sex Ed Lady: I go over that in the class discussion.

Committee member mom-type: Do you call them that? 

Sex Ed Lady: No. Let’s move on. 


Mom Lady: I liked the Flirting or Hurting video. I thought it was nice that it showed the kids examples of what is appropriate contact and what is harassment. 

Me: I thought that one was fine, except for the scene where the girl goes online and makes some kind of a Facebook page about the boy who blew her off, called Zach is a LOSER, and she writes that he’s “SO GAY!!”. This is only addressed as a “cruel insult” by the narrators. The boy’s sexuality isn’t in question, or a part of the video, and the narrators don’t label it as hate speech. As it’s used, it’s a slur and shames gay kids. It needs to go.

Super Conservative Mom who I feel like was only agreeing with me because she wanted any reference to homosexuality removed, regardless of what it was: Yeah, can’t you just take out that screen shot? Or blur it?

Conservative Dude: Well, I mean, that’s a realistic insult kids use, isn’t it?

Me: Yeah, but they aren’t addressing that it’s insensitive to gay people to use it that way. They’re actually supporting that he should feel bad about being referred to as gay.

Sex Ed Lady: Ok, so I’m going to take out the racist reference, anything else? 

School Nurse sitting next to me, under her breath: Uh, it wasn’t a racist thing, right?

Me, also under my breath: No, but I think she knows what to take out. I hope. 


Sex Ed Lady: And the final 7th grade video? The Five Essential Habits of Healthy Teens?

Doctor dude and his doctor wife: We couldn’t watch that one, our disk was corrupted.

A couple of other committee members: Us too.

Mom type: I watched it, and my problem with it is that it does a lot talking about ‘healthy eating’ and how fast food is bad, and my daughter has struggled with anorexia, and she doesn’t need to go to school and be subjected to more propaganda suggesting she should be restrictive about her eating.

Everyone else in the room: *uncomfortable and unsure silence similar to when I speak about anything*

Sex Ed Lady: Ok, I can see how that would be problematic. Does anyone else who was able to watch this one have any opinions on it?

Me: I watched it. I thought it was fine, but I don’t understand why it was included in the sex-ed curriculum. It has literally nothing to do with sex or relationships in any way. It’s mostly about eating properly, exercising, and making sure you’re hydrated. It really added to my general concern that the sex ed curriculum is less medical information and more morality training. We don’t teach that you shouldn’t overdo it on junk food in Driver’s Ed. Listen, I don’t want to take up too much time, because I know we aren’t here to debate the current guidelines, but I’m on this committee because I’m not happy with the way Sex Ed is being taught in this district, so I feel like I need to make my viewpoint clear. The concept that choosing abstinence before marriage is the ‘right’ way to live is a moral opinion; one that I do not share, and that I do not feel my kids should be subjected to in a public school setting. I am against using fear and shame to teach sex ed. 

*more uncomfortable silence*

Conservative dude: Legally, kids aren’t allowed to have sex, you know.

Doctor dude: Also, if we’ve decided, as a community that teaching abstinence is the safest thing for them, then that’s what-

Me: You know there are studies that show abstinence based sex ed DOESN’T result in fewer-

Sex Ed Lady: OK! Well, why don’t we just take this video completely out. I mostly just had it in because sometimes we go to schools and they have an assembly day and we have extra time to kill with the kids. And just having them do study hall usually doesn’t go that well… so let’s just take it out. 

(Stay tuned for Part III. I promise it’s the finale.)

The Sex-Ed Curriculum Meeting – Part I

Last year I wrote an open letter to the Mesa Public School District expressing my dismay over the decision to teach abstinence-based sex ed. Because of the blog post, a girl I went to high school with, whose husband sits on the board for MPS, reached out to me asking if I would be willing to be appointed to a committee being formed to review and update the videos shown in the sex ed curriculum. Apparently the videos they are currently using haven’t been updated in decades, and in order to do so, a committee must be formed, and a quorum achieved, before they are sent to the board for approval.

Obviously, this did not sound like a party. It seems pretty evident the only people who offer to sit on a committees like this have strong opinions about sex ed. And seeing as how we live in good old Mesa, AZ, home of the largest population of LDS outside of Salt Lake City, my guess was this committee was going to be comprised of mostly people who would disagree with everything about my sex-positive, sailor-mouthed, blue-haired, refusing to wear my wedding ring even though I’m married, persona. I was clearly being sent as a sacrificial lamb to slaughter. Unfortunately, I’d put my big mouth out there, so I had little choice but to agree.

The first meeting was about a month ago. I was a couple of minutes late and felt like a jackass. The organizers, a man and woman who travel around and teach all of the sex ed classes for the entire district, distributed two folders to each of us, one with the guidelines and videos for 7th graders, and one for the 9th graders.

Briefly, we discussed the fact that the guidelines are not up for debate, our job was simply to watch the videos (about 3 and a half hours worth, in total) that have been proposed for use to replace the old ones, and hopefully approve them at the next meeting, so they could be delivered to the board for final approval and be used in the schools as soon as possible. The videos had already been edited to remove anything the instructors thought was over the top (keep in mind these are videos made for the expressed purpose of educating children about sex), but we were instructed to make note of anything we found to be inappropriate or offensive.

I glanced through the MPS official guidelines, and stopped short at number 9:

The terms abortion, birth control (contraceptives), homosexuality, and masturbation may be defined but not discussed.

Me: Uh, who set these guidelines?

Instructor: The guidelines have been around for about 30 years.

Blonde lady also on the committee: Most of the guidelines are state mandated.

Instructor: *Nods*

Off we were sent, with instructions to watch all the videos and reconvene in three weeks. I drove home convinced this was going to be nothing but an exercise in frustration and futility.

Two weeks and five days later, I popped the videos into the DVD player. These are some of the notes I took:

  • The florescent plastic blow-up furniture in this video really makes me feel like it’s hip to be abstinent. 
  • Sexting will destroy any possible hope you have at happiness in the future, if you even have a future, you miserable, godless wretch. Got it. 
  • Wait, 80% of teen pregnancies are “unintended”?? So… then 20% are intended?!
  • Maybe if “Matt” had ever been taught how to use birth control he wouldn’t have been SO SHOCKED his girlfriend got pregnant. (Dear Matt, you’re not a genius.)
  • Everything about teenagers’ bodies and hormones are saying “We want to have sex,” and everything the school, their teachers, and parents are saying is, “This is the worst thing for you ever.” How can that not be completely confusing for them? 
  • This is just a poorly produced episode of 16 and Pregnant. Why can’t they watch that? At least they can find Janelle’s mug shots on TMZ and know it’s true. 
  • I seriously cannot believe there is literally no information about condoms or birth control. 
  • After watching 3+ hours of STI and pregnancy fear-mongering, and teens testifying about abusive relationships and how sexting ruined their lives, I think I’m scared abstinent, too. 
  • Aw, the blonde, perfect-skinned abstinent couple is cute. They’re like a more attractive version of Sue from The Middle and her gay BFF before he realized they should ‘just be friends’. It’s weird we know these details about their lack of sex life. Do people like this realize that announcing their ‘sexual purity’ means at some point in their lives they’ll have to publicly admit they’re ‘sexually impure’? I feel like they may not have thought this completely through. 
  • With this sex-ed program, we’re not equipping them for life, we’re just trying (and generally failing) to shield them until they’re no longer our problem. 

(Come back tomorrow for Part II…)

Quotes from the Cabaret

Notable conversations regarding my inaugural solo aerial performance this weekend-

Me: You said you thought it needed some bedazzling, so I did. See? Here, on the torso?

Monique (inspecting my leotard): Yeah… I think it needs more.

Me: But-

Monique: On the neck, and the arms.

Lindsay: Mmhmm.

Monique: I buy gems in bulk. If you don’t have time to do it, I can take it home.

Me: No, it’s ok. *sigh* I’ll get the glue back out tonight. I finally have the process down.

Monique: Don’t worry, in time you’ll come to love it. 


Lindsay: OK, so the last thing I want to demo I’m going to do on Coco. Coco, come here and we’ll do some glitter lips on you.

Coco: OH MY GOD, GLITTER LIPS??! My mind is blown.

Me: No seriously, I love everything about this. Also, if I need to have a stage name, I think it’s going to be Glitter Lips. 

Glitter lips


Owner of the club we performed at, during rigging rehearsal, to my 15 year old son: Hey there, kid, can I get you something to drink? Red Bull? Sugarless Red Bull? Soda? Water? Vodka tonic?

Me: He’s kidding, Ben. You know you can’t have Red Bull. 

Owner: Of course, of course. I’m kidding. But really, if you want to bring him back tonight for the show, you can. You’re his guardian, so it’s fine with me.

Me: Thank you, but he’s going to babysit the other kids.

Ben: Maybe I should come back. It would be a really good story to tell the kids at school. 

Me: Uh, no. 

Owner: OK, well it’s fine with me! I’m just saying.  


Me, to Jason when he arrived at the club before the show: Hi! You’re here! I’m having a glass of wine. Right before I perform. Because… it’s who I am as a person.

Nic, sitting next to me at the table, applying flash tats to his perfectly sculpted torso: And I’m having a glass of wine, with a straw, before I perform. Because that’s who I am as a person.


Rebekah: Your makeup looks good.

Me: Thanks! I watched a lot of Youtube tutorials. And practiced a whole bunch.

Rebekah: Wait, you did it yourself?

Me: Yeah.

Rebekah: I totally thought Monique did it for you! It looks really good. Not terrible like when I did it for you that other time.

Me: …thanks…

Rebekah: You know I’m honest with you. I’m just saying it wasn’t great that time.

Me: I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Matt Finish, the MC of the show to the crowd: I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but burlesque and aerial performers make 10s of dollars a week. Sometimes, dozens. So if you like what you see, please feel encouraged to throw tips down on stage and our stage minion will gather them for our performers. They probably won’t appreciate it if you throw the money directly AT them. Unless it’s a 20. Then feel free to nail them in the forehead.

Some aren't even ones! They liked me, they really liked me!

Some aren’t even ones! They liked me, they really liked me! At least 4 or 5 people!


Vis a Vee, boylesque performer, upstairs in the minuscule DJ booth-turned-dressing room: Does anyone have any safety pins? The problem with these tearaway pants is they just aren’t well constructed. And then they actually rip with they rip off.


Debbie, burlesque show virgin: Oh my god, did you see that?

Danielle: She was looking RIGHT AT YOU.

Debbie: I know, right?! She locked eyes with me! And I didn’t know what to do, so I just stared back. But then she held contact. AND THEN SHE KEPT HOLDING IT. I was dying!

Me: She’s really good, right? They told me she did a thing with her eyes.

Debbie: But she did it TO ME!

Performance Anxiety

You: So are you excited? Performing a self-choreographed solo piece on silks at a nightclub in a variety show? I mean that is some high-level shit.

Me: Yeah. And I’m actually feeling mostly prepared.

You: Really? Not freaking out??

Me: Well, I mean, the routine is pretty solid, as long as I get the drops in the right place for the music. And I’ve been practicing makeup, which seems to be going better. I’m happy with my costume, and it seems low-risk for a wardrobe malfunction. And I even taught myself how to do retro-pin curls by watching YouTube videos.

pin curls

You: Wow. You’ve been busy. Not working, but certainly busy.

Me: Hey! I’ve been working, too! In between visiting various Fascination shops and Castle Boutique locations around town. They have the best aerial costumes, you know.

You: I didn’t. But now I do. So wow, you’re really going into this cool as a cucumber? That’s a change. I mean, usually at 48 hours out from any of the ridiculous events/performances/gigs/races you’ve gotten yourself into, you’re in a corner rocking and weeping, repeating, Why did I agree to do this? Why did I agree to do this?

Me: That’s true…

You: But in the end it always goes well and you’re glad you did it.

Me: Yes, generally, except for a couple of minor hiccups. Like my hands shaking through my Ignite presentation. And when my mind went blank and I forgot the end.

You: And your make-up at the Desoto gig. You’re mother is still horrified about that one.

Me: Yeah. And that ridiculous blister I got on the first Ragnar I ever did. Or the dent in the van from the hit and run in the parking lot at the Ragnar I headed.

You: But the point is, you were such a mess with worry over all of those things beforehand, but they all ended up going well. And look at you now. You’ve learned from your crazy behavior and mellowed out. I’m so proud of you!

Me: Well… I mean, now that you mention all of that, what if the worrying was part of the process? Like, what if by not stressing until sick, I’m jinxing myself and this show is going to be a total fucking disaster?

You: But you just described how well-prepared you are. What could go wrong?

Me: Oh there’s plenty that could go wrong. Like, I could fart in the middle of the routine. That could definitely happen.

You: Ok. So now we’re going to go down this road? Fine. Let’s say you fart. The music and crowd are going to be too loud to hear it. Not a big deal. Next?

Me: What if I can’t get my eyelashes on right?

You: Monique promised she wouldn’t let you go out looking like a weirdo. She PROMISED. I think fucked-up eyelashes fall under that umbrella. She’ll help you.

Me: The backs of my knees could be too slippery from the thigh-high socks I’m wearing that I can’t do the knee climb at the beginning of my routine.

You: You still have time to test that out. You should bring them in to rehearsal tomorrow and see. You can always spray the shit out of them with spray rosin if they’re a problem, or ditch them altogether. That wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Me: What if I don’t hit my drops at the right spots?

You: Like 3 people will notice and no one will care.

Me: What if the rigging isn’t secure and I do my first drop and it falls out of the ceiling and I hit the ground?

You: The people who did the rigging for this venue are professionals and have as much at stake for it being done properly as you-

Me: Not “as much” as I do!

You: Alright, not “as much”, but they have a lot at stake, too. It’s definitely not in their best interest for you to go crashing to the ground during a performance. It would speak unfavorably of their skills. Also, you’re just worried about the rigging because it’s new. It’s a fallacy of logic to think that the rigging is more likely to fail because it’s untested. It’s actually probably statistically more likely to fail at some point while you’re on it at the gym, because it’s been used a million times and will eventually wear out.

Me: I’m not sure that made me feel better.

You: Sorry, it’s true.

Me: What if I miss the 360 like I did that time I was rehearsing and almost hung myself?

You: That was a fluke. It’s already happened once, and it won’t again. You’ve done it a dozen times flawlessly since then.

Me: What if I do my shooting star and as I’m flipping down, I swing too far wide and smack my head on the metal railing surrounding the performance area? And my skull bursts like a watermelon at a Gallagher show, and that’s how I die, hanging from a white silk, blood pooling on the floor from my crushed skull, my limbs still automatically holding the landing position of the star, in front of an audience of a hundred people?

murdery railing

You: …well that would be a dramatic way to die.

Me: True.

You: That can’t really happen, right?

Me: I mean… I don’t think so.

You: Luckily, you seem to have worked yourself up sufficiently do avoid the ‘no nerves’ jinx.

Me: Usually I’m just worried about humiliating myself or letting people down. This time I’m equally nervous about looking fat in my leotard and death. So that’s new.

You: Break a leg?

Me: I’m gonna go rock and weep for awhile.

You: Yeah. It’s your process.

To My “Friend” Who Sells the Thing

Dear “Friend”,

It’s so nice of you to reach out and reconnect with me! I can’t believe it’s been so long since we graduated/ran that Ragnar/worked together/met in the ladies room that one time when we were both super drunk and you let me borrow your lipstick and we decided to take selfies together. Time. It just keeps trucking along, doesn’t it?

As we are friends on social media, I have noticed that you’re taking on a new business venture. Good for you! I’m all for self-improvement and am happy to see my “friends” pursuing success. That said, I appreciate you taking time to send me a personal message to let me know, just in case I missed all 8 of your posts over the last 3 days about how excited you are to “be [your] own boss”, “empower other women to meet their full potential”, and in general “help others become better versions of themselves”.

You know what’s funny? Our mutual friend who also sells that product you’re selling, also sent me a message awhile back. It was nearly identical to the one you just sent me! No, like literally, most of the words were the same. The beginning was different, because she mentioned how we used to eat lunch together in Jr. High, and you talked about how fun it was when we took tap class together when we were 8, but after that, it was pretty much interchangeable. Isn’t that hilarious? I guess this thing you both are doing just elicits the exact same feelings of passion, and desire to convey it to others, in both of you.

Again, thank you for thinking of me, but at this time I’m not interested in purchasing the product you are selling. I’m also not interested in being my own boss (under you, of course, and the large, wealthy, corporation you represent) and selling your product, either. It’s not that I don’t want to help you support your family or that I don’t want to see you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. I do! And I totally get that you believe in your product. I just feel like it’s possible I could get the same results in “before” and “after” pictures without your product if I just change the lighting, smile, suck in, and flex a little better. Also, putting my hand on my hip and adding eyeliner and mascara, plus better fitting pants, seems to do the trick at my house. And the thing is, I have my own family to support, and bootstraps to pull up on. So giving you my credit card to auto-bill monthly and send me products I don’t want and won’t use, makes it harder for me to do that.

Anyway, I hope you’re well, and good luck to you! Not that you asked, but I’m well, too. I’m not sure if you use social media much, because you’ve never liked a single one of my amusing anecdotes or pictures of my happy family over the 7 or so years we’ve been “friends”, or interacted with me in any way until now, but I’d love to see more of you online or in person. Unless you’re too busy with your new business. Then I guess we’ll just continue as we were.


Your “Friend”


Hanger: A Public Service Announcement

I’d like to take a minute to highlight a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide every day, hanger.

I know we’re all familiar with hanger. Brave advocacy groups like Snickers have done enough to raise awareness in the last few years that it’s no longer a condition shrouded in secrecy and shame. Now, sufferers can take comfort in knowing their loved ones and coworkers will at least understand, if not respect their choice to respond to a question like, “Hey, Claire, how’s it going?” with “It’s 2PM, I haven’t eaten lunch yet, and your face is irritating the shit out of me.”

That said, I think there’s still a lot of work to be done educating the public about the dangers of hangriness and how to care for someone in the throes of a hangry episode. Now is not the time for complacency. Complacency will only lead to rage-filled omissions of inappropriate honesty and subsequently uncomfortable relationships. Who among us hasn’t wanted to tell Fred he needs to stop constantly interrupting your work to make small talk about his weekend Netflix binge-watching? But if Judy does it when she’s nearly blind with rage over her plummeting blood sugar level, she’s also going to mention his BO and that he wasn’t invited to the potluck barbecue at Cindy’s because he always stares at Sasha’s boobs and makes her uncomfortable. And then Fred will make everyone else feel uncomfortable by asking if this is true. No one needs this sort of unbalance in the delicate ecosystem of the workplace, right? We all just want to do our stupid, ultimately meaningless jobs and go home!

My nephew, Colby, was recently involved in an unfortunate incident at his Montessori that could have easily been avoided if only his teacher had been sensitive to the needs of the hangry child and had helped him open that banana. That banana didn’t need to end up trapped, mashed beyond repair. Though she may have deserved it, the teacher could have avoided the name-calling and tears she was subjected to. Education is the key.

This is why now, more than ever, it’s important to share our stories and continue to get the word out about hanger and what we, as a community can do to help.

I, personally, have both seen and felt the ravages of hanger. This is my story.

Yesterday morning an ill-fated sequence of events led me to leave the house at noon after a 2.5 hour hike, without eating anything. I was on my way to a title company in Scottsdale to drop off an earnest money check, and I thought I’d grab something to eat on the way, or after. Unfortunately, even though I’m a 37 year old woman who has been suffering with hanger my entire life, I forgot that sometimes, with the right combination of exercise and attempted rehydration, the hanger will skip the initial symptoms of growling stomach and shaky hands, and go straight for the brain.

I pulled away from the house in a fog, and tried to formulate a plan of action. The title company was 25 minutes north and west of my house. There were lots of restaurants between here and there… where should I stop? My brain hazily struggled to come up with some possible options. A BLT sounds good. Lot’s of places have BLTs… bacon is pretty. And chips. Chips are happy things. Maybe if I just pull off at the next exit and knock on someone’s door they’ll make me a BLT?  This was when my gas light went on, snapping me back to reality and inserting a further sense of urgency into the situation.

I know, I thought, finally coming up with a solution, I’ll call Jason and ask him where I should eat. He always knows stuff like this. 

Me (slurring): Hey.

Jason: Hey, what’s up? I’m just getting back to work from lunch.

Me: Oh. Ok. Um… oh right. I need help. 

Jason: Ok? 

Me (taking a deep breath and trying to keep it together): I… am driving to Scottsdale, and I almost died with the 10 mile walk and no water and now I need to find food. I don’t feel super hungry, but I think I need to eat. I want a BLT and I don’t know where to go. So… can you tell me where to go?

Jason: Um… well, there’s this place Mandy said she was just at the other day in Tempe, it’s called Nocawich. It has lots of sandwiches and it’s supposed to be good.

Me: Yes. Sure. Where?

He texted me the address and I reset my GPS, feeling more secure about a plan in place to secure nourishment.

My relief, however, was short-lived. As I drew closer to the restaurant, I realized, with growing horror, that it was located directly on ASU’s campus. I turned down College Ave and was suddenly surrounded by meandering 20-somethings in crop-tops and on long boards. There were buses vying for a spot in my lane. Cars honked behind me. Nocawich was a storefront with no visible parking and a line out the door. This was not a situation I could possibly navigate in my current condition. My overworked, starving brain began to melt down. I forgot how to drive. I considered putting the car in park right there, turning on my hazards, and laying down to die in the front seat.

Gradually my misery shifted and I began to see red. THIS WAS JASON’S FAULT. I took a deep breath and made a U-turn in front of a service vehicle and narrowly missed flattening three jaywalking coeds. He had obviously sent me here ON PURPOSE, knowing it would be hell-on-earth, just to torture me! That bastard!!

As I sat through three cycles of a green arrow, trying to extricate myself from the congestion of the campus, still food-free and running even more low on literal gas, I let fly with a series of furious voice-text messages to my husband, beginning with, “This was a terrible fucking idea” and finishing off with the dramatic, “I really really hate my life right now”.

Jason, being well-versed in the signs of hanger, knew he could do nothing from his vantage point, and minimized provocation by only responding in sad faced emojis.

At that point, I decided just to continue on to the title company. I would stop somewhere in Scottsdale that looked empty with parking close by. And somewhere with wine.

Getting off the freeway, I remembered that Scottsdale is a landscape barren of gas stations, and if I didn’t want to run out and be forced to hitchhike to the nearest Taco Bell, I needed to stop at the first one I could find.

The Shell station on Indian Bend and Hayden was where I exited my car for the first time since the morning’s walk from hell. It was also where I discovered my leg muscles were revolting from over-use and in utter misery. I limped to and from the gas pump and cursed my life even further.

Finally, at 1:15pm I pulled up to the title company building. Of course it wasn’t in a strip mall where I could park right in front, walk 10 steps in and hand the check to the receptionist. It was in an enormous, three story office building with 8 separate entrances and no indication whatsoever which was closest to the title company I was looking for. I circled the parking lot once and wept furious tears before sucking up every ounce of will I still had to offer, and limped, miserably, toward the building.

Once I entered the door of roulette I’d chosen, it was clear I was in some 7th circle of real estate hell. The downstairs housed at least three different real estate sales companies, and I could see three title agencies upstairs. My poor, feeble brain could not compute. I looked down at the check in my hand to remember where I was trying to get, and hobbled over to a touchscreen directory.

Eventually it became clear I’d need to climb a set of winding stairs to get to the title company. Of course. I cursed every stupid, fucking step as I slowly, deliberately climbed it. I’m sure the other people in the building thought I was disabled or was autistic. The steps infuriated me. The receptionist was a raging twit who deserved capital punishment for her laugh. That lady who passed me on the stairs on the way down and gave me a sideways look had no idea how lucky she was she was to be just out of tripping range at that moment.

When I got back to my car, after laying my head on my steering wheel for a minute, I resolved to stop at a “pizza and wine” sign I’d seen a mile or so back toward the freeway.

The restaurant was almost empty at 1:45pm when I entered, but at that point I gave zero fucks as to whether this was an indication of the quality of food. I sat down at the bar and ordered a glass of wine, a salad and an individual pizza. I still wasn’t shaky or even traditionally starving, just sore, exhausted, and furious with all people and inanimate objects within a 2 mile radius (and my husband, of course).

Four bites into my arugula and white bean mediterranean salad my vision started to clear around the edges. Breathing became easier. I realized my husband probably wasn’t a stupid selfish asshole who didn’t care about me or my well-being at all. He was just trying to help. It was good I hadn’t told him all of the stuff I’d been thinking. Things… were going to be ok. By the time I finished the pizza, the world looked like a giant double rainbow had appeared over the horizon, and I was really, really glad I hadn’t committed homicide in the last 2 hours.

You, too, can avoid being the victim or perpetrator of hanger violence by arming yourself against this common, but dangerous condition. Carry snacks. Near mealtimes, speak in soothing tones. Make and always have on hand a list of restaurants you, or your hangry-afflicted loved one has enjoyed in the past, to refer to during cloudy-brain episodes. And always apologize to a hangry person, even if it’s not your fault.

Spread the word!

Weekend Reflections: The Burgundy and Circus Edition

I went to the mall Friday, and EVERYTHING WAS BURGUNDY. It’s apparently a whole thing for fall. I reject the trend. I’m rallying a network of support. Feel free to join our cause:

burgandy is gross text 1

burgundy is gross text 2


Or wear your stupid ankle-length, flannel, sleeveless, burgundy and black plaid, faux-boho/grunge dress all fall and look like a dumbass. I don’t care.


Facebook updated their mobile app at some point, and now the notifications sometimes say things like Jenny recently liked a photo you are tagged in. Sometimes it still just says Jenny liked a photo you are tagged in. I haven’t been able to discern the reason Facebook makes this distinction, but it means that when I open my notifications and quickly scan through, sometimes I think it says Jenny REALLY liked a photo you were tagged in, and before I can help myself I think, “Oh, that’s so nice! I wonder what made her really like that one? Like why did she like it more than the other one? Was she just liking the other one out of obligation, but this one she actually, genuinely likes? What’s wrong with the other picture? Do I look fat in it? The other picture must actually be humiliating in some way I didn’t see. I should delete it. OMG, what if all of my pictures are humiliating in some way I’m not seeing? I SHOULD DEFINITELY DELETE ALL MY PICTURES RIGHT NOW. Except the one Jenny really likes. That one’s probably OK.”

Dear Facebook, Please quit fucking with my self-esteem. It’s like really stressful for me.


I performed at an event this weekend. It was a circus-themed fundraiser for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It went well, although I’m still learning the ins and outs of aerial performance and there are still some issues I’m not sure how to handle. For instance:

1. I can get through the 15 minute sets in the air, with a general amount of grace. I feel good about my tricks and poses, things are fairly smooth, and everyone is taking lots of pictures and seems to be enjoying the show. But when it’s time for me to come down, and I’ve literally got sweat dripping into my clown makeup, my heart rate is at 200, and I just need a glass of water and a towel, apparently I still need to take pictures with people and field compliments without looking like I’m going to pass out or throw up on anyone. This level of professionalism is something I need to work on.

2. What to do when drunk people insist on engaging with you while you’re performing.

Desoto gig 1

I went with, “You’re going to need to step back now unless you want me to kick you in the face,” but I feel like there might have been a more graceful way to react.

3. I’m not sure I can do any gigs unless I have my husband assisting. So… I’m just going to go ahead and put that on my talent contract stipulations from now on. In addition to picking all the brown M&Ms out of the bowl in my dressing room, and leaving seven perfectly chilled Diet Cokes in the mini fridge (sure, you can substitute Diet Pepsi if Coke products aren’t available, IF  YOU WANT TO GET FIRED), I need you to provide my husband with an all access pass so he can:

  • Climb ladders when they look rickety and I don’t want to
  • Hold both a glass of water and a glass of wine for me at all times so I can switch off when I feel like it
  • Be in charge of the designated spray rosin and flipflop area
  • Create and hang DO NOT TOUCH signs for us when we get paranoid someone will swing on the silks when they’re not in use
  • Tell me I don’t look fat and I’m going to be awesome 12 times in the three minutes before I perform

I really can’t be expected to work without him. It’s just not optional.

Despite those struggles, the event seemed to go well, and afterward I was glad I did it. Beforehand I spent the three preceding days and nights asking myself why, WHY, do I get myself into things like this because I’m obviously too old and fat and ridiculous to be an aerial performer. Why can’t I just stay home like a normal person? What is wrong with me??? I’m a goddamn idiot, and I don’t know what’s good for me, that’s what’s wrong.

But that’s just “my process”. It’s an artist thing. It’s how I do my best work.

Eliz 1

My Awkward Introduction to Stitch Fix

Dear Stitch Fix,

I think there’s been a mix-up with my box. It’s ok, though. I’m pretty sure if I explain what happened, the situation is easily remedied.

I have a bunch of friends who use your personal shopping service, and they’ve all been really pleased. I was hesitant, at first, to sign up, because I firmly believe shopping is one of the key joys in life, meant to be cherished and savored. If someone else shops for me, how will I cheer myself up when I’m having a bad day? What will I do when I have to show a house infested with spiders, the school principal calls because Jonas got into a fight on the bus, and three people unfriend me on Facebook right after I post an anti-homeopathy rant (one because she thinks I’m against gay people)?

But then I remembered there’s still wine. Also, I almost never have time anymore to indulge in any shopping that doesn’t involve Target or Kohls, and I’m pretty tired of pretending I’m shopping for my teenage daughter in the junior section so I don’t end up wearing the same wrap dress as the teacher to curriculum night. I decided it would actually be really nice to have someone mail me five cute wardrobe options once a month.

So I signed up, and when I did, I made sure to fill out the whole questionnaire about my tastes and desires. I labored over my true feelings regarding ‘statement pieces’ and crop tops. I created a Pinterest page with clothes I like (as suggested), so you’d understand my special unicorn clothing opinions. I even alienated my mother, who has always considered herself my personal shopper, in the process. (What do you need that for??)

When my first box finally came, I was beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to get it open and look super adorable in all my new clothes. I was sure this was the element of my life I’d been missing in order to truly reach my full potential. Step 1: Look fantastic without having to spend time shopping. Step 2: Secure a reality show where I sell real estate and do circus performances. Step 3: Write a best selling book about my life. Step 4: World domination.

As soon as I tore back the cardboard strip and peeled off the top of the box, I could tell something wasn’t right. These clothes… didn’t seem fabulous. But the directions had instructed me to try everything on with some of my favorite pieces already in my wardrobe, before determining whether I liked an item or not, and I’m not one to subvert the proper process, so I pushed forward.

Item 1: Gray and white sweaterish top, $48



It’s not a hideous top. I like the color gray and I guess the price is ok. The shape isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. That said, the day I got this top, the high was 112 degrees. It’s won’t be sweater weather in Phoenix for three more months. I’m pretty sure you accidentally grabbed from the pile meant for a woman named Susan who lives in Cleveland and feels nervous about color and showing her upper arms. Right? Isn’t that what happened?

Item 2: Burgundy dress, $68


This one… uh…






Ugh. Just… ugh. I tried, I really did. I mean, again, it was 112 degrees the day I got this, so the long sleeves are already an enormous problem. And the color. Can we talk for a second about the color? Who likes burgundy? Who?? Raise your hands right now, everyone who likes burgundy. See there, Stitch Fix? The only people raising their hands are that lady whose house I showed last week with the cat urine odor problem, and my 9th grade choir teacher. Those are the people who like the color burgundy. Setting both those aside, unbelted, the billowing tentness of the shape makes it look like I’m smuggling drugs in over the border under my dress. This sort of voluminous silhouette only works on models who exist on champagne and cigarettes. It makes everyone else look like they’re trying to hide a muffin top under a tent. Adding a belt helps with the illusion of a waist, but only if I’m transported back in time to 1984.

This one was meant for a 22 year old model named Chloe, who lives in NYC and has recently discovered reruns of Blossom on TVLand. Right? She’s been hot gluing plastic flowers to a floppy hat she found in a thrift store and this would go perfectly with it when it’s done.

Item 3: Sleeveless polyester top with black and white stripes, $58


Ok, I think this one is my fault, isn’t it? I just remembered I put on the questionnaire that I live in 2005, work in an office and am trying to hide a pregnancy until my promotion comes through.

No, wait… I didn’t.

Cheryl, the admin assistant who’s back to work for the first time in 20 years after raising her children called and would like to buy this top. She thinks it looks like you wouldn’t have to iron it when it comes out of the dryer and she heard vertical stripes are slimming.

Item 4: Black leggings… as pants, $78




If you were friends with me on Facebook, Stitch Fix, you’d know I’ve rallied for leggings as pants in the past. Although, mostly I like to wear wild leggings, and I mostly wear them just out in public, when I’m on my way to and from circus class. I’m actually not one of those people who understands how formal leggings as pants work. I have short legs, so long, dressy tops aren’t my go-to attire. I’m just… not sure what to do with these (besides pair them with an equally sad burgundy top).


Maybe this?


Or I could wear them to circus class. Although if I’m going to spend $80 on leggings that are probably see-thru, I’m gonna do it at Lululemon or Athletica so I can get them with a cute pattern and a matching sports bra.

I’m assuming these were meant for Caroline, an equestrian show rider from New Jersey. She wore through her last pair and specifically requested a replacement.

Item 5: Long, gold, fringy necklace, $68



This last one was obviously meant for the girl who doesn’t mind throwing away SIXTY-EIGHT DOLLARS on a necklace so poorly constructed it could have come out of quarter vending machine in a plastic bubble. I’m not sure who that girl is. I don’t know anyone like her.

See, Stitch Fix? It was just all a big (depressing) mistake. After I tried all of that on, I felt bad enough about myself and clothes in general, I dug through my closet and styled myself from shit I already own and hardly ever wear, so I could renew my faith in fashion. When you send me my real box, feel free to fill it with stuff like this:


Anxiously awaiting your next (possibly final) attempt,

Elizabeth, the 37 year old mother of three who lives in Arizona and loves to actually look cute.

To-Do List For When They’re Finally Gone

Things I fully intend to accomplish when my kids finally go back to school after summer break (8.5 MORE DAYS):

  1. Get a pedicure. The long kind where he massages your calves with the sugar scrub, and it causes you to think, for a moment, that you’ve fallen in love with an elderly asian man wearing bedazzled jeans.
  2. Nap, during the day, like I’m Mariah Carey or something.
  3. Take private lessons with my aerial coach. Finish choreographing my piece. Field calls from agents wanting to represent me.
  4. Try on swimsuits at Target without being called over the loudspeaker to come pick up my unruly offspring from the video game section.
  5. Learn to crochet and make myself a mermaid tail blanket for my Mariah Carey naps.
  6. Complete an entire thought without once having someone interrupt to ask if he’s allowed to make a bow and arrow out of a stick he found in the greenbelt, my embroidery thread, and a fork.
  7. Effortlessly lose 10 pounds because no one is constantly eating french fries or muffins within reach.
  8. Clean and organize my entire house. Unpack boxes still sealed from when we moved here 6.5 years ago. Develop personal decorating style. Maintain a home I’m not embarrassed to let the pest control guy see.
  9. Rewatch Game of Thrones. Keep track of the number of times someone should have murdered Joffrey but didn’t. Attempt to pinpoint the moment Jon Snow stopped being attractive and became insufferable. Mourn the fact that Daenerys got famous enough she was able to renegotiate her contract so she doesn’t have to do topless scenes anymore.
  10. Start a zine* called Blue and Rose’, dedicated to my cat and favorite sort of wine. Publish poems, short stories, and drawings featuring wine and cats both together and separately.
  11. Teach my back to be flexible enough so my toes can touch my head.

Things I will actually do when the kids are back in school:

  1. Read all the Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Snopes articles that were ever written.


*Are zines still a thing? If not, reestablish zines as a thing.


Committing Sudoku

Conversations with Ben while in line for the diving board at the public pool…

Me: So this time, I want you to do the approach like you did last time, but tuck your knees and then dive in head first. Also, make sure you circle your arms all the way back after you hurdle.

Ben: MOM. Do I have to? I’m really terrible at this.

Me: Yes! Just a few more times. You said you want to be on the diving team. Wouldn’t you rather have me show you the basics now than show up to the first day totally clueless?

Ben: uuuuughhhh. But I’m so bad… It’s humiliating. I’m going to commit sudoku.

Me: *eyeroll*

Ben: *elbows my side like an old-school vaudeville comic* Get it? Cause seppuku is violent ritual suicide by disembowelment, but sudoku is a math game? And they sound similar?

Me: Yes. I get it. It’s your favorite joke. I’ve heard it once or twice before.

8 or 9 year old kid who just went off the board climbs out of the pool and cuts in front of me in line. He waves his friend over to stand in front of him. Friend dumps several gummy candies into his wet hand. Kid tosses them into mouth. Neither acknowledge me, Ben, or the 6 other kids behind us.

Me: Uh, hey guys? Really? There’s a line back here.

Kid turns and appraises me, trying to decide if I’m just a bossy kid with sun damage and crows feet. He glances toward the cluster of moms on the bleachers under the shade and back at me, raising an eyebrow as if to say, “Are you lost?” and then moves directly behind me and Ben. Friend follows.

Me: Really? You’re just going to cut all those little kids now?

Kid: *points to Friend indignantly* He was there.

Me: Oh whatever.

Me (to Ben): Did you see that? Little kids are such cutters! What the hell?!

Ben: Of course they are. Have you never met a little kid before? That’s like all they ever do. Can’t we take a break for a little bit? I’m gonna decapitate myself.

Me: No, no. You can do this. Just watch me once more and do it like that.

Ben: I’m not any good. It’s embarrassing…

Me: You’re fine! It’s your first time trying it. And I’m really not a very good teacher.

Ben: You’re right, this is entirely YOUR fault. You’re an awful teacher. You just say, “Do this.” and when I try what you did you go, “Ok, good, that’s right, good job, oh wait, NO, not like that!, uh… good try, let’s do it again. but not like that next time.” 

Me: Sorry… I don’t know how to break it down. I’m old and I can’t remember how I was taught, I just know how to do it. Can’t you just watch me and do it like I do?

Ben: Do they have morphine in the lifeguard stand?

Me: Why, does your back hurt from when you landed last time?

Ben: No, that was just another suicide joke. I was trying to get as many in as possible.

Me: That one was kind of weak. Here, take my turn and just try once more.

Ben: OK.

Me: You’ve got this, I know you can do it. Yes, that’s right! Good job-wait, not like that! No! Uh… no. But that was a good try. Let’s just do it once more. But more like this, here, watch me.