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Friday, September 26, 2003

And the winner is....The High Priestess!

Ok, so I have an illness. I need help. But YOU just have to deal...

Another debriefing night with "the guys." I used to complain about being the only female in the tribe. But after having met some of the choices that Charlie's friends make in the way of women, I must say that I rather like it that they've decided that confirmed bachelorhood is the way to go...for now. I've spent 20 some years in the company of the aforementioned bachelors. It's always been that way, me and the guys, with a few blips in between where one or the other of them had women. I now find that I have no complaints. It's good to be "the girl."

After all these years of fielding questions from them about women in general; what we think about men, dating, love, relationships, family, raising kids, sex, etc. (mind you, I DO NOT give out unsolicited advice, but if they ask me, they're gonna get my answer! That's just the way I work.), I believe they know exactly how I feel. So it brings me a great sense of comfort to know that they still seek our company, at least one night a week.

The sociology lesson doesn't begin and end at our table. We watch the scenery around the pub. The "meat market", the leachers at the bar, the "OC" Barbie Girls of Babylon. It's a veritable schmorgasbord of anthropological delights. There is much to talk about. And all the while, in our 40 something way, we think, "oh my God, I'm so glad to not have to be there again."
Well, at least Charlie and I think that. The guys are still the guys. And I guess, in a sense, when I'm with them. I'm one of the guys too. Except I don't wanna go to a strip club.

One of the great joys of my life, on my debriefing nights at least, is to play NTN Trivia at the pub. You see, as I've mentioned, I'm an XX rose amongst the XY thorns. No matter how they say they aren't competitive...they are. Now, remember, I'm a middle-aged, unemployed, non-degreed (but fucking intelligent and sexy as hell) woman sitting at a table with three middle-aged, highly professional, ultra educated men. And we're playing NTN Trivia along with however many people in the pub are playing as well. If the topic is sports, other than hockey, I pretty much suck. There's no getting around that. But bring on the "Potpourri", or "General Knowledge" and don't EVEN think you're going to leave me in dust if the topic is "Entertainment" of ANY form. I will be a female mantis and you will lose your head without the benefit of mating.

As it turns out, the topic to begin with is Astronomy. Ok, so Charlie is the friggin Galileo of the table, and my point values remain at a sedentary ZERO. And yeah, Ron knows a lot about Geography. Gordon is the king of computers. And Bob, whoever the hell he is somewhere in the pub, is kicking our digital asses. The guys are done with dinner and they are ready to leave without having smoked their usual Cohibas. What the hell???? No dammit, we are not going ANYWHERE until I get on the damn scoreboard. Light up boys! The High Priestess is determined to play this damn game. So now the topic of music comes up...woohooo! Now we're talking.

Time passes, Broadway comes up, then Retro Trivia (my specialty), then Metal, then TV, I am SO kicking ass. Question 15, the last question, I'm down by 325 points. I need this. Bad. I want this. Here we go; "In the Danny DeVito movie "Drowning Mona," the plot revolves around a family whose every member drives what kind of vehicle?" BAM! My nimble fingers enter the answer before these guys are even able to get through the word "Danny." Ron rolls his eyes, Gordon says "oh brother," Charlie looks at me blankly. I smugly smile. Now my only foe is Bob, somewhere in the bar. Here comes the answer...wait for it...wait for it... YES! YES! Victory is Mine! THE WINNER IS.....PUA! The crowd goes wild. Ok, I go wild. Bite me.

After making them wait. After my name is flashed on the screen for all the world (at least this little world) to see. And not only that, my score was the high score of the day, beating out the high scorer at "Champps" in Houston. I have my victory. Me, little middle-aged, unemployed, non-degreed (but fucking intelligent and sexy as hell) Me. So there. We can go now. Bow as you exit my presence.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The High Priestess is.........ambivalent...

Damn that Dr. Phil. Just when I got to the point that I'm ok with myself, and mind you, it took me forty years to get here, Dr. Phil says that I shouldn't be. I should not be comfortable in my own skin. Because my skin is too large. Well, that just sucks. I wonder out loud if he just wants to sell books. I wonder out loud why my moments of blissful denial are so short lived. I wonder why there are no chips in the house.

Screw Dr. Phil.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The High Priestess embraces life...

We went to "debriefing" with Ron last night. It's always nice after a long day to just sit, relax, and chat with a friend. We were there for happy hour, so everything was half price, and since we're all on this diet bet, no one was really eating much of anything and the guys got by on a $5 pitcher of Karl Strauss Summer Gold. As always, conversation moves to life in general, birthdays, and where we thought we'd be at this time when we were in our twenties. I have to admit, there were times when those conversations brought me to tears. A sense of mourning for a lost youth. All the things I didn't do, or hadn't accomplished on my "life list." It's amazing the games your mind plays on you to make you feel less than and unworthy.

The fact of the matter is there is nothing to mourn. There may be some small regrets, but nothing that should bring me to tears. The accomplishments may be of little thought to an outsider looking in, but they are accomplishments nonetheless. To have come so far, from so far away, and indeed, to have risen like a phoenix from the great abyss is no small feat.

Sure, it would have been great to have finished school and had a degree. But we chose marriage and children instead. It would have been wonderful to have the big house that all of the peers have. Beautifully decorated material palaces with pools and "things", amazing yearly vacations to exotic locales, a new car every two years, and private school for the kids. But we chose a one-income household in order to give our kids a stay at home Mom to raise them instead of signing that duty off to strangers at daycare.

Now, twenty some years down the line, we laugh about the fun that WAS, but also dream about the WHAT WILL BE. There is so much that, is indeed, yet to be. I look forward to it. I embrace it.
Bring it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The High Priestess gets blindsided by reality...

There are days that just seem perfectly blissful. All is right with the world. Good Hair Day. Sun is shining. Then you look in your wallet, and moths fly out. Time to find a job.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The High Priestess....is blessed!

For someone who has dreaded birthdays for about 15 years now and up to this year couldn't even answer the question "So, how old are you now Pua?" without saying "Um...I'm thirty-eleven (or thirty-twelve)," I have to tell ya...I'm 43 as of last Monday, and it's been one of the very best birthdays of my life.

I have received calls from Hawaii, Texas, and Mexico. I have gotten e-cards from New York, San Francisco, and Iowa. I have been given tributes by a "pseudo-daughter", (though when she is in my presence is as real a daughter as it gets!) which made me weep. I played covert "drop off" games with Caris in the morning and we "ditched" school and went to breakfast together. There, we talked smack about stupid volleyball coaches and reminisced about Grandma Jackie and how we both missed her, while we ate pumpkin pancakes at IHOP. Then we went home and along with Averie, got ready to head out to Long Beach and pick up the aforementioned daughter from another mother.

Even though Mapquest let us down (SERIOUSLY!), we made it to Mary's place of employment, where she lavished me with beautifully handcrafted earrings by Elizabeth, and off we went to Tinseltown. The drive was somewhat stressful (LA traffic is just that way), but so much fun as we played and sang Broadway tunes. With three amazing voices in the car, how can it NOT be fun? I remember at one point in the middle of our "aria" Mary even saying.."I want everyone to know that we are now having a 'movie moment.'" And you know what? She was right!

We made it to the NBC Studios earlier (and hungrier) than expected. There were possibly thirty or so people waiting in the audience line at 3:30 when we arrived. The tickets said to be there early even though the show didn't start taping until 5:30. They weren't kidding. By the time we were searched, went through security, visited a restroom, were given a seating number, and FINALLY made it to our seats (numbers 42, 43, 44, and 45), we came to find out that half of the people in line didn't even make it into the studio, but had to watch the show from out in the "lobby." Two hours of excited anticipation. Two hours of standing in line and being "processed." Two hours of growling tummies and doing the potty dance." It was a blast, but for heaven's sake NBC, you're a Mega Power in the industry....get bigger bathrooms for crissake! Think about the audience for Ellen....yeah that's right....do something about the women's facilities!

Averie and Mary are "old hats" at this, having been "Studio Brats" at Warner Brothers, thanks to Mary's dad and the Drew Carey Show. But this was Caris's "maiden voyage," and EVERYTHING was as exciting as it could be to her. That made it all that much more exciting to me. She loved every minute. She was savoring every second. I thought to myself that this is one of the best days of my life...please never let it end.

Ellen is as effervescent in person as she seems on screen. And so damn cute it isn't even funny. She sparkles. I love her. They had told us that they tape a day ahead, so the show we were seeing would be shown the next day, on September 11th. Though Ellen would say something in tribute, the show would be an "up and lively" show celebrating life. It was just that.

I'm gonna say this. It was LOUD and FREEZING cold in that studio. Megan Mullaly (Karen from "Will and Grace") is funny and beautiful. Michael Vartan (from Alias) is a, as Mary says, hot, hot hottie. Ellen's puppy, (Oakland; named after the pound she got her from) is beyond cute (don't worry, you'll get to meet her soon...but WE were first!)...but no one outshines Ellen. I've loved her for years and thought she was quite possibly the funniest woman in the world BACK IN THE DAY. I remember seeing her at a small club in Newport Beach called "The Laff Stop" (which was torn down and replaced by a Burger King) and she was introduced by a guy with a whole gimmick called "Mr. Bullhorn". I think it was like the early 80's (yeah, that's right) when her claim to fame was being the sister of the masochistic "Mr. Hand" (the hands of her brother Vance) from SNL's "Mr. Bill Show" . Anyway, you get the idea, I've been an Ellen fan a long, long time. So this day was complete heaven to me.

Not only did I get to see an amazing and talented comedienne, thanks to the foresight of my beautiful Averie, but I got to spend this spectacular day with three (four) awesome young women who I just happen to love.

The High Priestess is, indeed, blessed. And if you ask her how old she is, she'll happily say "I'm 43."

Wednesday, September 10, 2003


It's off to Beautiful Downtown Burbank! The wonderful daughters and I are heading off to see Ellen. The night was full of thoughts of who will be the guests. Will it be someone we love or will it be someone we would like to see clean out litter boxes? Will Ellen let us ask her questions? Will she do "Shoop" if we ask her? It's the beginning of a really great day and more than anything, I'm looking forward to a "field trip" away from reality with a car full of really funny chicks. If Ellen's staff can't come up with talent for her show, I'm bringing them all with me. She can borrow if she likes!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

A High Priestess Looks at Forty-Something

Something happened. As a birthday present to myself, I decided yesterday that I am getting comfortable in my own skin. There is nothing wrong with me. I'm ok. In this life, I've done well. I'm loved, I have a great life with a wonderful man, and three beautiful (sometimes) kids who love (sometimes) me. As people go, I think I'm an okay kinda people. There is much to look forward to. Everything is as it should be. Everyone should give themselves the gift of self-love at least once in their lives. But please do it before you hit 43. It makes the journey so much easier.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Decisions, decisions...

I've just spent 2 hours of my morning scanning through 2,229 job listings. Guess what? Of the jobs that I'm qualified for (and that's a total of perhaps 10), I think that there's only one that I feel that I have a snowball's chance in hell of getting. Chances are, I'm going to walk over to South Coast Plaza and get a retail sales job. One that pays less than my daughter's job.

As the bank account goes lower and lower, and Charlie looks more and more stressed when he looks over the bills, and it's less and less likely that the house is going to be painted or the driveway done, I get the overall sense that it really is time to get back to work. The "luxury" of staying home (I say "luxury" very lightly) is waning into a financial clusterf*&k as we take on more responsibilities (car payments) that drain the money OUT with me not contributing to putting anything IN. But, as I sat for the one hour in between running back and forth from school drop offs and pick ups that I might possibly have had alone (didn't happen, unexpected company), I wondered to myself, as I often do.....what would they do if I weren't home to be able to do this for them?

Im stuck between a rock and a hard place. In those transitive places where you struggle between what's best for your kids, and what's best for your family, and what's best for yourself, you find the oscillation can pull you into a mass of tiny little emotional pieces. I've enjoyed the time off, I've loved being home (if you can call it that...it's been a long and busy summer), and I hope the kids have enjoyed having me home. But the down side is; the longer I stay away from the workplace, the more I feel unqualified to return. Scared. I don't want to apply for jobs anymore. Why should I? No one wants me. I don't fit the picture of the perfect candidate they want. Not only that, I don't seem to have the intestinal fortitude it takes to get that perfect picture in place. I look at these job postings and think..."Nah, you can't do THAT, Pua." The more I listen to myself, the more I believe myself. Worthlessness comes in a neat little package and I'm my own worst enemy.

For now, I have to drive Averie to work. In that sense, until she gets her license, I'm still needed.