Friday, October 28, 2005

candied apples, malls, and rape

It's my fault and I admit that. But it has been a long time since I have been near a mall and I forgot the rabid look of a crazed queen next to a woman whose face looks clean and unvarnished by paint or tan, a blank canvas begging to be used. It's my fault.

Yesterday a couple of friends (I almost wrote fiends and that would have been right had I known what was going to happen) called and asked me to meet them at Wendy's on 30th and Colorado. I needed a break after 14 hours of nonstop work and even fast food sounded good when I did not have a single piece of organic fruit or a carton of Boulder Mexican Chocolate ice cream in the house. I needed to run errands and go to the co-op to stock up on fruit, vegetables, free range chicken, and 7 grain cereal, so I said yes. As I finished the last job in my queue, they called again. "How about we pick you up?" they asked, innocent voices hiding their nefarious plans.

Against my better judgment (the voice in my head screaming, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" I said yes and sealed my doom.

"We might be a few minutes late," they said. "We have a stop to make on the way."

"No problem," I responded, thinking I'd have enough time to finish the last dictation, wash up, and change clothes before they arrived. Besides, I owed them one. I had been late two days before when going to meet them at the theater because the landlady took a little longer than usual to candle my ears. "See you there," they chorused and were gone.

I finished work, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on some clothes, finishing just in time as they rang the doorbell. Grabbing my bag, swatting away the buzzing NOOOOOOOOOOOOO in my head, I went downstairs and got into the car.

We went inside Wendy's, ordered our food, and both B & B took their food back a couple times because the counter clerk didn't understand "no tomatoes, no mayo, and extra sour cream." The guy even tried to scrape the mayo off the buns and hand them back, but B stuck to his guns and demanded new sandwiches. Obviously something more than a trip to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was not going to be enough to soothe their rattled nerves. They needed something more-- a LOT more.

It was as if the god/dess conspired against me yesterday. Mountain Mama's did not have another copy of the magazine with the 30-day colon cleanse diet in it and RMCF did not have candied apples. They had lots of caramel apples in various flavors with a myriad of toppings, designs, and extras, but no candied apples. Oh, well, time to take me home, I thought, but that wasn't in the cards either. B asked if one of their other stores had them and would not be dissuaded because B had never in all his young life ever had a candied apple, one of the symbols of Americana youth.

I still don't know how it is possible to go through childhood and teen years without even a taste of a candied apple at a fair, circus, or carnival or never having the sugar rush of cotton candy melting on your tongue and spangling your face with liquid crystal gems of food coloring-laden sugar. Even kids in poor families have tasted the airy spun sugar confection and felt the gluey sugar cement coating lips, tongue, teeth, fingers, and face from a candied apple, but not B.

The only RMCF that had candied apples -- the only one in the city that was also in the process of making them at that moment-- was the one at Citadel Mall. A mall. A MALL!

I don't like malls. I like to go to a store, get what I want, and get out of there as quickly as possible. The idea of mall crawling is like being caught in a George Romero zombie horror flick and knowing you're the next to die and neither brains nor brawn will keep you safe.

I forced the fear like a molten lump of bile rising into my throat back down into the pit of my stomach, clenched my sphincter muscles tight, and held on to my pentacle for safety, mumbling prayers and promises. B told B, as he broke out into a cold sweat, that the RMCF was right inside the door. We'd go in, get the candied apples, and get right back out before the mall riptide could take hold of us. It was a quick snatch and run -- or so I still naively believed.

The RMCF was right where B said it was. They had candied apples still warm and gooey ready to be sold. We ordered three and I waited impatiently, ready to run at the first sign of weakening and being carried deeper into the bowels of the mall, while the clerk put each candied apple in a separate bag, took the money, and handed us our purchases. Free! I thought as I looked hopefully at the door.

"There's Foley's," B said.

"What's Foley's?" I asked, unaware of the riptide swirling hungrily at my feet.

Too late.

"You don't know what Foley's is?" he asked. He turned to B, "She doesn't know what Foley's is," he gasped in shocked amazement at B.

While they talked over my shocking ignorance, I wandered over to the calendars keeping a sharp eye on any break in the ghostly zombie cordon gathering in the shadows to push me deeper into the mall. But they found me, linked arms with me, and drug me moaning, crying, and begging to be let go toward Foley's. Once inside it was obvious I wouldn't get free without a fight, damaging something I'd be forced to pay for, something really useful like battery operated socks or crystal faceted vials of smell water with fancy French names and even fancier price tags. But I never suspected I would be raped in front of the salespeople and that they would even stop to offer helpful tips and suggestions. Never in my wildest nightmares, but I didn't know the intoxicating, overwhelming, and biologically imperative lure of the makeup counter to queens with a blank canvas of a woman like me.

Yes, it was my fault I was makeup raped. I know that now.

From the Shiseido counter where they attacked me with brushes, sponges, mascara wands, tissues, lipsticks, glosses, and makeup to hide my natural protective coloring amid taunts and criticisms of my minimalist look, I hung onto a high stool while they assaulted me again and again and again until the fresh, clean, naked canvas of my face was obliterated behind a wall of artfully applied color and contrast. Not content with painting me, they bombed me from behind with noxious smell water and yanked, twisted, combed, and pulled my hair into something less simple and more fashionable -- or at least as fashionable as it could get without the tools of their trade and a borrowed hairpin more suitable to picking locks than holding my hair in a twisted but fashionable rope snaking up from the nape of my neck to the crown of my head.

Thinking they were done with me, I wandered dazed and confused toward what I thought was an exit, but they forced me over to the Lancome counter to continue their assault, unhappy with the first five layers of paint and gloss. Dazed and overwhelmed by color, scent, and shock I purchased a tube of lip gloss and a lip pencil, but my feint did not work. B bombed me from behind with more smell water and they drug me past jewelry arguing about class and style versus big, gaudy and glittering (the kind of jewelry my mother loves so very much and keeps in plastic bags she carries in her suitcase of a purse wherever she goes), on through purses (same arguments and offerings), and on into shoes. "What do you prefer?" they asked in chorus. "Beauty and style or comfort?"

Silly me. "Comfort," I said boldly and loudly.

"You are a Lesbian," they said, giggling. "We knew it."

"No," I argued. "I believe that a shoe should fit me not the other way around. I can have both," I said, chin out in defiance.

They tittered and giggled and pointed and laughed as I worked my way slowly and carefully, so as not to arouse their suspicions, towards the exit and closer to the doors that led out of the mall from hell. "I need to get back to work," I explained as I bolted for the door.

They were disappointed, but finally agreed to follow me, fingering the goods and trying to tempt me with shoes, purses, more makeup and whatever else was close to hand. I needed to get outside. The noxious fumes of the commingled smelly over priced waters had given me a headache and my stomach felt like it was swirling between Scylla and Charybdis.

I finally made it to the car, got inside, and stuck my head out the window breathing fresh city air while they drove me home, wondering how fast I could get up the stairs and into my apartment to the bathroom to wash the French whore stench off my neck.

When I got home, washing didn't help. I ended up having to change clothes. I left on the paint because I realize that despite their makeup rape they did do a creditable job of turning me into the BBW version of America's Top Model, even though I could barely keep my eyes open from the weight of the mascara on my lashes. I didn't take it off until just before I went to bed -- and it took two cotton patties and lots of eye makeup remover, washing twice in my homemade natural castile soap and essential oil concoction, 20 minutes behind an egg yolk mask, and another washing and application of moisturizer before I felt back to the glowing naked canvas of my every day face smiling back at me.

But you can be sure that next time I will remember not to be in the vicinity when rabid queens crazed for candied apples see a mall where the cosmetic counters wait like baited traps for clean faced females who just want to be girls in comfortable shoes.

Quick notes

Just something quick for now since there is work coming down the virtual pipeline and I need to make my pages before it all fizzles out.

Anne Rice is at it again. After her public diatribe against an reviewer trashed her latest Vampire Chronicles novel, Blood Canticle. Rice went over the top and down into the land of foaming, word-toting, postal workers. It may have been at this point -- or not so long afterward -- that she decided to change her life and move into the world of "doing violence to [her] career."

Even noticed. What will they have to say about this latest trend?

Now we come to a new Rice sans vampires, sans guilt, sans "spiritual unease" over her evil-doing vampires to announce and confirm her return to the Catholic fold with Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the beginning of a four-book series about Christ from the point of Christ. Kirkus Reviews said: CHRIST THE LORD
A riveting, reverent imagining of the hidden years of the child Jesus. Attacked by a vicious bully, seven-year-old Yeshua employs uncanny powers to drop his assailant onto the sand and then to bring him back to life. It's the remarkable beginning of the 26th novel by an author whose pulpy vampire chronicles hardly prepare us for a book so spiritually potent as this. . . . Joins Nikos Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ and Shusaku Endo's A Life of Jesus as one of the bolder re-tellings.
Oct 15, 2005 - Kirkus Reviews

At least she has Kirkus, that most notoriously difficult to please of all reviewers, in her back pocket now that she has turned over a new leaf and rededicated her life to the Catholic church. Gone is the gothic black clothing and look and in its place is an earth mother who has put her multimillions, Lestat and his evil vampire friends, New Orleans, and her fans behind her for a much different future.

I wonder if Stan's death affected her at all.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pre-turkey day cheer

Beanie sent this to me this morning and I think it's hilarious. I know Samhain/Halloween isn't here yet, but if turkeys are going to be this difficult, maybe it's time to start chasing them down NOW!

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


This morning, out my window as I worked through another long night into the day, the sky flared with Easter egg streamers of purple, pink, and orange. The craggy face of the mountain looked like molten hammered copper jutting out against the deep purple and black veins of darkness. The deeply fissured bark of the squirrels' favorite tree bled reddish-gold as if on fire, despite the blackened skeletal fingers reaching toward the sky and ground. As the light became brighter, ghostly mists turned to crisped brown leaves shifting and swirling with the rising breezes. Birds darted across the pale blue like cut-out silhouettes racing for worms sluggish with cold and damp. Just another Colorado morning lost to those whose eyes are heavy with sleep and eager to snuggle deeper into the warmth of comforter and covers.

It seems as though mornings like this are my reward for nights of fractured and lost sleep while I continue to scurry for work. I've been told numerous times that it will get better, but the signs are not there. Instead I work in sporadic bursts throughout the days and nights, alienating new friends who do not understand the nature and vagaries of my life right now. At times I seem distant and depressed when in fact I am simply stressed and angling for whatever work is available. I am at the mercy of my task mistresses on the east coast who view the world in time at their disposal and are not flexible to my needs and wants. It is always so.

C'est la vie -- or so they say.

Now it's on to another day of naps and appointments and chasing work until the sky bleeds and darkens towards night before spinning around towards the dawn of another sleepless, work filled day and further alienation of those I care about. Supposedly next week ends this frustrating quest for sufficient work to keep body and soul together and find enough left over for the holidays and time to spend with friends. I guess I'll soon see.

Next week also begins my quest for the elusive novel written in one month's time for National Novel Writing Month

I wonder if my friends can hold out long enough for the road to smooth out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's coming...

Every year about this time I start thinking of the holidays. There's Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Year's. My favorite holiday is Halloween/Samhain. It's that time of the year I think of costumes and masks and dressing up. When my boys were little I made their costumes, painted their faces, and took them out begging. Yes, I'm old fashioned and I still think of the little rhyme my father had us say when I was a child:

Tonight, tonight is beggar's night
Don't be stingy and give me a bite.

That little poem has a few different connotations for me these days and bite means many different things. However, the excitement and dreams of costumes, makeup, masks, and treats remains with me still. At heart I am still a little girl playing dress up and concocting costumes and making plans.

This year I am dragging a few of my friends (or they're dragging me, I'm not certain which) to a costume party on Saturday the 29th. I may have to change my plans if I don't get my new card in the mail soon, but I want to go as the Corpse Bride. A little blue yarn for hair, a lace curtain or two for bride gown and veil, a flower wreath of desiccated flowers, a little paint, some ingenuity and blue makeup and I will be the corpse of the ball. Nelo, my next door neighbor, said Michael, who used to live in her apartment when she lived in mine, wouldn't be interested in a party, but she was wrong. When they hijacked me last week to walk under and celebrate the blood moon Michael said he'd love to go. I wonder if he'll wear his new hooded cape.

Then on Monday, Halloween/Samhain night, my friends, Nelo and Michael are gathering here for a little celebration under the nearly skeletal trees in our yard. The moon will be half gone (or half there) but it will be a special night for new friends, old friends, and a celebration of the thinning of the veils between the living and the dead.

Most of the trees in the neighborhood have shed their gold leaves, turning lime green, gold, red-gold, orange gold, and finally brown and crispy as they are blown down the winds. However, there are still several trees in the tree hating orc wench's yard that are as green as spring. The ground is littered with swishing, crunching leaves that swish, whisper, and crackle when people walk down the street. The squirrels have stopped performing porn and jump, hop, and race here and there storing up food for the winter, rustling the leaves as they plunder the fall mums and asters in the flower beds. The winds are at one moment sharp and biting and other times as warm as a spring caress. The mountains outside my window are midnight blue tinged with purple majesty and the sky is a hazy cloud-filled blue whispering promises of snow that will pass us by for now. In the distance Pike's Peak is crowned with an ermine mantle like a shimmering gift of winter to come.

Speaking of gifts, I am planning a special Xmas gift for someone close to me. I want this year to be as special as he has been to me. I have to work my tail off for a couple weeks (and may continue once I get used to the money), but he will get his gift as December begins.

Off in distance like a bright mirage is the New Year and the celebration of goals met and tasks completed, some more like Sisyphus pushing his boulder endlessly up the hill than sitting sore and glowing from the exertions of a long day, but a celebration of all things past and the bright hope of a new day, a new year.

Yes, this year has been one full of disappointment and beauty, frustration and lessons mastered, but the best is yet to come.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I have been blessed over the years with some very good friends. I won't mention the false friends I have run across because the good ones completely over shadow the false ones.

The past two weeks has been very difficult for me in many ways. Someone hacked my credit card information and luckily I found out before they could do too much damage. I am hot on the trail of a couple of them. It was a friend who told me there are many people who probably have the old information and I have become very security conscious. Strange for someone who wrote for the security industry for so many years, especially when I know that security cannot be bought. It is a state of mind, a feeling, and not a reality. Buy all the high tech equipment you want, surround yourself with bars and bells, whistles and alarms and all you end up with is putting yourself in a cage that anyone determined enough can break through. There is no such thing as security.

And yet I am determined to keep my information to myself so that I don't spent another umpteen weeks waiting for a new credit card so I can access my account. I am open to suggestions, but right now I am doing less buying online and clearing my cache, cookies, history, and form information after every transaction or site I visit. It's nice not to have to input passwords and user names, addresses and credit card information, but being online all the time with DSL makes my computer vulnerable even when I'm not online. Instead, I now disable the network when I'm not actually using it. It makes me feel safer, but I know I'm not any safer. The ones who hacked my information in the first place and sent the virus into my computer can just as easily catch me when I'm online. It's a fact of life that I will now have to live with. I am vulnerable and I know that now.

However, this little journey into the dark side of cyberspace has taught me something very valuable: I have wonderful friends.

I am still without access to the money transferred into my account until my new credit card arrives, but one friend generously made sure I could pay my bills, buy food, and still have a little financial cushion until I am back in business. Two more friends came over and took me out and brought food, movies, and themselves over to cheer me up and get me out of here. Another very good friend has been there for moral support and as a shoulder to lean on. The landlady understands I may be late with the rent due to this situation and she is being very understanding. My next door neighbor and her friend Michael hijacked me a few nights ago and we walked out under the full blood moon and over to his house to share the blessed and peaceful space he has created on the second floor of his house. I am one of three people he has honored by sharing his ritual space and altar.

As I said, I am truly blessed. It is at times like this when I realize that I have never really been alone even when I was sure I was. Friends like these and friends I've known who are no longer on this earth continue to bless me with their generosity, gifts, and wisdom.

To be sure there are times when, out of long decades of habit, I keep to myself, not wishing to burden people with my troubles, and friends like these have stormed through the battlements and dragged me back from the edge of the dark abyss to remind me that I don't have to do it alone. I know I have failed them sometimes by not letting friends get close enough, but I am learning -- I am being taught -- every single day.

I do my best to give as much as I have to give and share myself, my abilities, and my gifts with people, and yet still I don't always realize that there are people out there who wish to do the same for me. Keeps me humble, but mostly it proves that no matter how tough things get friends can be tougher and help soften the blows of outrageous fortune.