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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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12:36 a.m. - 2013-07-09
And The Cat Came Back...

I'm pretty sure there was a time when I was the only 6 year old in America who knew who Johnny Carson was. Always a night crawler. Two of the kindest things my mother ever did were buying me a cone-shaped reading light for over my bed and letting me have a TV in my bedroom. A TV I could watch long, long into the night as long as I kept the sound down and didn't keep Gidget awake. Not a prob. My dippy little sister ran around all day like a loon on crank. She bopped and bounced and tear-assed around every waking moment. By bedtime she was so zonked I could have had brass band rehearsals in our shared bedroom and she'd have still conked out the second her head hit the pillow. Neither the reading light nor the TV ever bothered Gidget. (Mercifully she slept through the predations on me by my mother's child molesting boyfriend too.) Afterward or on the nights when he wasn't around I'd read until 11:30. Actually in the earlier days I read until 11:28. TVs back then needed to warm up and I never wanted to miss a second of Johnny's monolog. So at 11:28 I'd snap my book shut, click off my reading light (always careful to reach up high enough so I wouldn't scorch the inside of my wrist on the hot brass cone), crawl to the end of my bed and turn the volume knob to 'on', make sure the TV was on channel 4, crawl back, arrange the covers and pillows and wait.

Cue the theme music. Then Ed McMahon's "Heeeere's JOHNNY!!!"...and my day was made.

I loved Johnny Carson. It was without question the kindest and most dependable relationship I've ever had with a man.

Sure, go ahead and scoff. But I mean what I say. From the first grade until I was 29 years old Johnny Carson was there. In my unpredictably upheaved world Johnny Carson's constancy meant A LOT. Not only was he there every weeknight, Johnny Carson was my hero for other reasons too. He was funny. He was good looking. He did silly skits. Hell, I saw a marmoset pee on his head and he didn't lose his cool. A girl needs a man like that in her life. And Johnny Carson was mine.

I remember wrangling with my Chanel grandmother about this. A staunch Jack Parr loyalist it was well into the 1970s before Grandma had anything good to say about that affable, slickly dressed, intellectual lightweight Johnny Carson.

*Side bar- I remember similar wrangling with my high school European History teacher about who the real James Bond was. As a true Boomer his was Sean Connery whereas my James Bond was Roger Moore. Hey, what can I say? 'The Spy Who Loved Me' came out at a very critical time in my life. To me Sean Connery was this creepy guy who wore too-tight peg-legged suits, had a Vitalis greasy pompadour, and used Q-made gadgets which were laughably prehistoric. Connery's Bond might as well have been Maxwell Smart with his shoe phone. To 15 year old me Roger Moore wore the best suits, drove the best cars, and was one cool cat. Of course now that I'm older I've revised my opinion and have come to think of James Bond as the flimsiest, most cretin-esque, sexist, useless, pathetic male fantasy figure ever and I couldn't give two shits about which actor portrays that laughable jerk. But at the time sticking up for MY Bond seemed important.

Anyway, Johnny Carson.

Netflix actually coughed up something new I wanted to watch. Tonight it was a PBS 'American Masters' episode about Johnny Carson. I laughed and wept through the whole thing.

I respect that the inside Johnny Carson was a far different guy than the public one. To some degree we all have outside and inside personas. It's akin to how we fart out loud and scratch where it itches when we're alone and how politely we conduct ourselves when with others. The man shared his outside self with 15 million people every night. He was allowed a private self. The public Johnny Carson was enough for me.

If Mrs B the Story Lady taught me how to tell a story it was Johnny Carson who tutored me in timing. The comic downbeat. In letting the laugh sink in. The power of the "You gotta be kidding me" facial expression. That downbeat, the pause, the incredulous face, oy, they've served me well. From closing a deal, to negotiating a raise, to disciplining my kids- being able to keep my peace and yet convey my thinking with a smirk or an arched eyebrow has been a lifesaver. And Johnny Carson was my teacher.

If you have streaming Netflix, watch the Johnny Carson thing. I guarantee you'll enjoy it.

What else? LA, please, you've been gone a week.

Okay, okay.

I got my goddamned period. Yeah. After six months! Oh boy, I'd been sooo happy! Done with the mess- physical and emotional. And yet back it came. Like some horrible relative, a second cousin you've always been stuck with but never, ever wanted to be there stinking up your life, clouding your holidays with their whiny, messy, needy shit.

I've spent the past week swinging between totally pissed off and defeatedly depressed.

Every trip to the toilet a horror and an imposition. My guys got the sharp edge of my tongue. Not entirely undeservedly, but you know how it is. Disappointment? No four numbers right Powerball player could be more let down than I was on July 5th. I cried. I raised my fist at the indifferent heavens. I grudgingly broke out my dusty stash of sanitary napkins and shook with fury every time I spread their super-absorbent wings and tucked them around the crotch of my underpants.

My period. My goddamn horribly unwelcome period.

The countdown clock goes back to zero. The faith and oh so peaceful calm I had at finally owning my life and my emotions is blown to bits. The only balm in my Gilead is I know how it's going to be when my fricken ovaries and uterus finally, finally let me go.

Quiet. Oh Lord how quiet it is when my shitty lady parts aren't at the helm. I can think. I can breathe. I can trust what my eyes see and my heart feels. And it's wonderful.

Because I got the whole Devil's menu this time. Biting comments I couldn't hold back. Nightmares. Restless wandering. Chocolate dipped potato chip cravings. Impatience with my friends and best beloveds. Cramps. The runs. I accidentally bumped one of my boobs into the edge of a doorway and the pain dropped me to my knees. The other day I stood in front of the fridge for 20 minutes trying to remember why I'd opened the door in the first place.

I got lost coming home from Shoprite.

Yeah. It was that bad.

The unfairness!

Why? What possible reason is there for my spiteful lady parts to make an encore? I'm FIFTY YEARS OLD!!!

I had it goin' on! I'd renegotiated our car insurance and came away with a rate that nearly halved what we'd been paying! My heart was fine! I'd upped my leafy greens and reduced my salt. I'm almost finished with the afghan and it's truly cool looking. I'd invented a new steak marinade. My kid was good. His final report card rocked! My husband is growing his hair and beard back and was kicking ass at the gym. The cars ran fine. Now that it's farmer's market season LA the Iron Chef had come back full-bore. Shit. I even shaved my legs.

Could I enjoy this well-deserved peace? Oh no, no, no! Not LA! Not that volatile fool. She's too amusing when she's being whipped around by her hormones! She cries! She says stupid things! She's an easy target for critics and trolls. She's supposed to be a water pistol clown with a target in her mouth and a balloon on her head.

So reliable in her funny, funny menstrual mess.

There now. My sole reason for being quiet for the past week. And not even Johnny Carson could help.

Humph! ~LA

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