Oneiromancy and Proctology

Standing at the kitchen counter, I suddenly recalled only one fleeting fragment of last night’s dream: a high school girl, very Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer, dodging into the restroom while everyone else was in class to apply hemorrhoid cream.

Can anyone parse this for me?

Spa Lady Called. They Want You Back.

Please. Just go.

I’d say you know who you are, but obviously you don’t, since you didn’t when we crossed paths this morning. You’re the one with the practical ponytail of charcoal-greying hair and the cute little workout Capris who was sitting across two middle sections of an eight-section mat next to the dumbbell racks. You had your dumbphone out. The two sections of the mat nearer to the wall would have accommodated you, but they were occupied by your handbag.

You fiddled with that phone through my first couple of chest and back sets, and then took a call. There is a sign up front asking people to refrain from phone calls in the equipment area, but you doubtless knew that request was meant for someone else. I finished my last set of dumbbell rows, after which I usually take a stability ball over to the mat and knock out some two-handed dumbbell pullovers and reverse flyes. You were still yackety-yacking. I parked the ball on the sections of mat that were left, so that my feet stuck out onto the workout floor when I positioned myself in a way that avoided dropping the dumbbell right on your little ponytailed head. I don’t know why. I guess you finally saw me in the mirror; that was when you turned your head and said “Am I in your way?”

I mildly suggested we could distribute ourselves across the mat a little more evenly. You scooched over a whole six inches and began to do some stretches. Well at long last and least you were actually doing something.

As I wrapped up you waved to a passing friend and began telling her all about what was so goddam interesting on the phone. It had something to do with your son watching a dog. Stop the presses.

One of these days, Alice. Pow. Straight to the Moon.

Oh, Twitter, Don’t Get Me Started

For some reason my eye strayed across one of those hash tag Twitter trending things that asked you to #DescribeBabiesin3Words. Oh, the possibilities. I get grumpy for a lot of reasons but most recently it’s been the goddam Kidquarium at the gym. People drop their kids there to bash each other and scream while Mom or Dad is working out. I’ve already laid the word on the kids and their hapless caretaker once for fire-siren screeches occurring while I was doing a Death March with a couple 20-pound kettlebells held aloft, something you don’t want to be startled into dropping. But there’s no shelter from it. The room has big plate glass windows so the parents can presumably see the infants, or vice versa, so you can’t shut down the sound, and of course it does nothing to curb the din and hazard from the uncontrolled little shits who run back and forth while Mom or Dad is doing business at the desk or feel the need to express themselves with that pointless squeal that children think is fun to make. There is nothing endearing about it, or them. They know the only power they have is the power to annoy people, they aren’t made to stifle it by their indulgent parents whom you can see thinking THISISMINEIMADEITARENTWEWONDERFUL, and so they take it and run with it.

An old Net buddy of mine once told me how his Native American nanny nipped that kind of shit in the bud: she would cover his mouth and pinch his nostrils shut as soon as he started screaming, right from stroller age. After a a few occasions of realizing that screaming would get his air supply shut off, he dropped the habit. He grew up to be a blazingly intelligent, thoughtful man who was an early success in computer languages and remains a sought-after lecturer in semi-retirement, so I can’t think it damaged him.

No one has the guts to do this. I’ve toyed with the idea of suggesting it but people would get all bent out of shape. I hope I can restrain myself from shot-putting one of the little bastards; everyone would make me the bad guy and I don’t need the grief. I came so close yesterday when some little toddle-scum in a pink dress set up an endless squalling because It didn’t want to go in the Kid Room and be left by Its mother. The last I saw, the mother and the brat were both sitting at the front desk talking to the manager. I had already said Fuck under my breath so many times that I sounded like a porn script.

Infants DO NOT BELONG IN GYMS. There presence is hateful and hazardous and I can’t begin to pity enough the poor staff who have to watch them. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for the parents. This is the USA in 2015 and they had a choice. So I looked at that Twitter hashtag and typed: “Annoying screaming snotballs.”

It fair set my brain on fire for a moment. No more needed; stop having them; useless fuck trophies; worthless screeching nuisances; repulsive little grubs; wasted dog food. I caught myself before going on a binge. I could have been here all afternoon.

Oh, David, You Bitch!

This is a picture of David Frum. (He’s the one on the left.)


David makes his living by running his mouth. I could find only one picture of him anywhere on the Interwebs that wasn’t either a thoughtful head shot or fully suit-clad. It is possible David has seen the inside of a gym since high school, but really, you couldn’t prove it to look at him.

This is Serena Williams. She is a world-class tennis player (who sometimes goes to the beach).

51385702 Tennis champion Serena Williams shows off her curvy physique in a blue bikini while enjoying the beach with friends on April 16, 2014 in Miami, Florida. FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (818) 307-4813

51385702 Tennis champion Serena Williams shows off her curvy physique in a blue bikini while enjoying the beach with friends on April 16, 2014 in Miami, Florida. FameFlynet, Inc – Beverly Hills, CA, USA – +1 (818) 307-4813

David thinks Serena must have won her multiple trophies by using steroids. I don’t know how he knows that, but he knows it, even though, as several commentators have noted, Serena Williams puts up with more drug testing than almost anyone in sports. Other mouth-runners the world around have been quick to support his view, saying that she couldn’t get muscles like that on her own, or that women shouldn’t have muscles like that anyway.

This is a picture of Bev Francis, a spectacular lifter and exhibitor who may have juiced at times in her career, just in case David needs a frame of reference for how muscular a woman can actually get. (Bev, incidentally, never quite got to first place at the Olympia — because one year the judges would say she was too muscular and the next year she would retool her physique and someone would say “not muscular enough.” She was amazingly gracious about it.)

Bev Francis

Up at the top of the page you see me (well, my delts) at the age of nearly sixty, just to round out the frame of reference — not a world-class competitor in anything, just a cranky old lady who hangs out in the gym and has never been closer to a steroid than the ones probably racing through a couple of my clients’ capillaries.

David, you are such a bitch. Will you come arm wrestle me?

I throw up my hands. This is 2015, and we are still looking at the same tired old formula — from one direction, whole squadroons of people from politics to fashion to your Aunt Sally preaching that certain behaviors and traits are “unfeminine,” youllnevergetaman nicegirlsdon’tdothat ewwwwww, and then, inevitably, assorted other bigmouths, or possibly the same ones, reminding everyone that women can’t be equal to men because they’re weaker, less ambitious, you name it.

Not least, people will ridicule women for being preoccupied with their appearance. Wonder where that came from.

Overheard In The Gym

Chunky Asian kid trying, unsuccessfully, to perpetrate an Overhead Tricep Press (two-handed) with a sixty pound dumbbell:

“I just need some spinach.”

It made me feel a little better about the alternate-arm Arnold presses I was doing with a couple of thirties.

He was actually wearing this shirt. Gotta wonder what Popeye would have thought of the combo.sriracha


Does anyone not love basil? Seriously?

One of the joys of summer hereabouts is the wealth of basil plants scattered around the yard. I stick more in every year. This year I have got African Blue Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Greek Columnar Basil, and of course large leaf Sweet Basil. I put it in salads, gimcrack Thai style stir-fries, a killer linguine Parmesan with wilted spinach, garlic, chili pepper and pine nuts, and impromptu salads that are not much more than a sliced tomato, basil and sherry vinegar. I have started keeping a water glass full of basil stems on the counter since the weather turned to daily downpour because I got tired of going to get the dinner basil and coming in drenched.

The Engineer makes a wicked ass Basil Chocolate Cake every blue moon, since I don’t really like to eat a lot of cake, but he does so love to do one for my birthday and I have to admit it is divine. Borrowing from a local wine bar, he skips the frosting and does a drizzle of raspberry syrup and a dusting of castor sugar.

Azahar thinks I am weird for tweaking her basic tortilla recipe with roasted red pepper and basil but it is very festive.

Basil means “royal,” which is something to think about the next time you meet someone named Basil and think it is a prissy name. Carl Jung had a dream after his first heart attack in which his doctor appeared to him as a Greek king, a basileus of the island of Kos. “Basilisk” is a royal serpent, and if it looks at you, you turn to stone, sort of like Medusa but backwards. Harry Potter fans know the critter.

According to Boccaccio, apparently, the best way to get a vigorous basil plant is to pot it with a severed head.

Wikipedia states that there are up to 150 species of basil, depending on how specifically you care to categorize them.

Last year I had a basil plant so vigorous that it got woody and I really, really thought it might for once winter over, but then we had a single digit winter. Sigh.

Tell me something you do with basil.

Bonus Cat Photo

Sometimes, you are sitting quietly in your chair at one end of the fireplace, and you sense something, and you slowly… look… up.


Miss Nickel Catmium, thinking…

“You would taste good with ketchup.”