Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Our Second Anniversary!

And it has been quite a two years. The happiest of my life, and among the saddest. I've learned big thick lessons about how you have to love life and soak up all the joy as though you are a piece of dry cat food in water, even when family tragedy comes and splashes you out of the water bowl.

Today has been very laid back. We napped, ate some really good pasta that Scott cooked, and are anticipating the return of my visiting sister, niece, and grand-nephew from up around the Grand Canyon. All of us went there on Sunday. Scott and I came home yesterday, incoherently tired but full of Grand Canyon afterglow.

The Grand Canyon. That thing will just shut you up.

A post about our dreadful but memorable honeymoon is here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Avian Randiness

It's happening again. Bird sex. This time it is the huge pigeons that live in the palm tree behind our house. I have always been leery of these birds. Ever since I got in the habit of going outside at night and shining a flashlight into the tree. The first time was July 4th, 2006. I was visiting Scott before we were married and it was way too hot to drive over to see the fireworks. Who gives a rat's sphincter about fireworks when it's 112 degrees at night? So we went outside, sat with our feet in the pool, and it was really peaceful except for the flutter of the creepy birds in the palm tree. I got a flashlight and shot it up there at them and they just hung there like big obnoxious fruit. Juicy, fat feather-berries, blinking their eyes like "Do you friggin' MIND?" It was their accusatory look that got me. The nerve.

So today, when there were FOUR of them in the tree having such vicious sex that my sister and niece and I could not hear our own conversation, I took action. I got the garden hose and held it as high over my head as I could, and put my thumb on the end of it to make it spray really hard, and water-blasted their crude behavior right out of the tree. They took off for parts unknown and stray feathers floated to the ground like cigarette ashes. I felt empowered.

I sat down and enjoyed the quiet and wholesomeness.
Then they zipped back into the tree, wet but unfettered, and resumed their positions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Calling All Bird Experts

For the last couple of days there has been an abundance of bird sex in our backyard. There are two doves that are especially into it. For the first time in my life, I saw two birds having sex. (And then a second time, and then a third.) Most people have probably seen this by the time they're middle-aged. I was on the phone with my mom, looking outside, when the two birds were banging like there was no tomorrow. I didn't know they were doves, and only found this out when I described them to Mom. She knows her birds.

"And I do have a bird book, you know," she says.

Here's the question for the experts:

After the doves finished with their jackhammering, they did this little ring-around-the-rosie dance, all wings and speed, only it was more of a "Oh-my-gosh-we-just-had-sex-I-canNOT-believe-it!" dance. It was at lightning speed, around and around in circles, so that I lost track of which bird had been on top during the freak show.

Normally I would not be very concerned with which bird was which. But I was this time. Why? Because as soon as they stopped and shook off their dizziness, one of the birds pecked the HELL out of the other's neck. The back of the neck. Peckpeckpeckpeckpeckpeckpeck. Really hard. And I want to know, bird experts, was it the female pecking the male? Or the male pecking the female? My mom's theory is that it was the male telling the female the bird equivalent of "Slam bam thank you m'am" or just "Good girl!" But I'm not convinced. Could it have been the female pummeling the male in a "You never buy me jewelry!" kind of way?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today Dad is 91. Our favorite CNA at the nursing home, Marlene, brought him a cake and a balloon. An extra-sweet thing to do, especially considering that she doesn't get paid nearly enough.

It's not easy to think of a gift for someone in a nursing home. The residents there are surrounded by things that were given by well-intentioned people, but that go unused. Scented powders and crossword puzzle books and way too many extra pairs of slippers and lap robes. People only have so many feet and laps.

Mom got out a red Sharpie and drew a reminder for Dad, on a pillowcase, that she's thinking of him when she's not there. I just love that she did that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Candy Indulges in a Treat

Today I finally went to get a massage. Scott gave me a gift certificate (almost a year ago) for a day at a spa and at long last I scheduled it and went.

Every time I get a full body massage, I come back to one thought: If I could get one of these every week, my life would be transformed. I don't care about having a boatload of money or fame or a mansion or trips around the world. I just want a weekly massage. But still, I only go about once a year.

My appointment was at 2:00. I put on the satiny robe and the black rubbery sandals ("Candy! You look simply rubbery today!) that went slapslapslap as I walked across the Italian tile floor.

For the next hour, Christina, an angel from a far corner of heaven, worked my muscles with her angelic hands. Little golden harps burst out of her hands, so angelic were they. I could feel the stress stubbornly marching out of my body, resentfully carrying its duffel bag of rage grenades, now defused.

Here is a sample of what went through my head during the massage:

I remember now. I LIVE inside this body. It's like a case for my brain and my thoughts and my freak-outs and my memories...pheasant under glass. My body is the glass and my brain is the pheasant. Dude.

I'm so limp. Deadweight. I'm dead. She's putting that oil on me in some ancient burial ritual. I'm going into a pyramid. She's going to friggin' swaddle me and put me in a pyramid...

How could a hand massage be so amazing? I don't remember this. My hand has fireworks melting inside it. No! OUTside. Fireworks are running down my wrist. I have to try this on Scott. Pay attention. Pay attention. Remember what she's doing. I can't. I can't pay attention. I'm Smuckers. I'm jelly in a jar. I'm like a jello mold that someone took the mold off of before it set. I'm a pool of lime jello with carrot bits.

WHY don't people talk more about their feet? I cannot believe it. All those pressure points in the bottom of our feet are like buttons that open little doors to other worlds. Why isn't anyone talking about this? Why aren't people getting up out of their cubicles and stopping their cars to get out and talk about FEET?

And it went on like this. Because stress, when it is approached like the big sticky, watermelon-sized grenade that it is, and cut up into bits smaller than the end of a toothpick, frees your brain up. You can stop thinking just for a blip about the what ifs. It is sad that this mode of thought is so foreign that it feels like another galaxy.

After the massage, I went out to the pool and was thrilled to see I was the only one there. It was a small pool, only 4 feet deep, with a jacuzzi next to it. For the next hour, I floated around on a giant raft that took up about a quarter of the pool. I was in massive relaxation mode. The sun was my friend. The water was my friend. The blue of the sky was my friend. The little waterfall at the end of the pool was my very best friend. Each time my blow-up barge drifted over there, and the waterfall splashed onto my feet, I thought "Oh no, little waterfall! Don't do that!"

I decided to try the jacuzzi. As a rule, I do not like jacuzzis. They are always too hot, and there are mutated things growing in them that can make you sicker than if you ate a spoiled mayo sandwich and washed it down with a malaria smoothie. I hung my legs down into the bubbling, frothing water. Yes. Too hot. Or almost too hot. I stood in the jacuzzi. I was feeling confident. Maybe I could take this much heat. I would playfully walk across the jacuzzi and test out my tolerance for the hot water.

It had been a long time since I'd been in a jacuzzi. I forgot there was a farging DEEP part in the middle. Picture a cartoon woman walking over a manhole without the manhole cover. Down I went, water-too-hot or not. I burst up and hacked like a cat and thanked God that I was the only person in the pool area.

But because I had had a massage, I didn't really care. I still felt warm and peaceful and loose like a very cooked noodle. Cooked even more from the pasta water jacuzzi.

I drove home in a daze, listening to Pat Metheny. I ate the fancy granola bar provided by the spa. I knew I would be worthless when I got home, good for nothing. De-stressing me is like throwing a fish up onto a dock. There it is, mouthbreathing and lost and stunned, asking Where is that substance I normally live in?

Just for tonight, I'll live in the gentle scent of black cherry and almond oil on my grateful skin, which is covering my grateful muscles. Tomorrow I fall off the dock, back into the water.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Festive Decor

For Scott's party, we did not hold back on gettin' out the fancy things.

This is the plaster bust of Richard Nixon I painted when I was 13. We surrounded it with polka dots and votive candles and it looked a bit like a seance at a clown's house.

Our guests liked it, because, like their host and hostess, they can't tolerate anything that hints at chintzy.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Night-time. Pretty Lights.

The photo is nice and blurry to hide the identities of those who attended our birthday soiree tonight. Most are in some form of witness protection.

But the lights were nice. This is on our patio, looking into the back of the house.

And actually, by this hour in the evening, the birthday boy was almost certainly seeing things exactly this way. He indulged in a lotta wine. He's allowed. I gave him aspirin and sent him to bed. I'm going to write things on his face with a Sharpie now.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Happy Birthday, Scott!

My fantastic husband was born 50 years ago today.

Last night was our swan song for being in our forties together. And I'm only a few months behind him in age, so I plan to see how he handles the freak-out, and learn from it.

I gotta feeling he'll do just fine, since he still acts a lot like he's fifTEEN. We both do.

Except for those niggling little aches and pains that show up more often these days...

Happy 50th, Scott. You are the love of my life.

And to prove it, I'm going to go tape Matlock for you.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


This is the first poem in Mary Oliver's new book of poetry, Evidence.


There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.

Monday, June 01, 2009

What a Friendly Looking Creature

The desert is so very delightful all by itself during the summertime, that I could hardly believe it could also contain a little gem like this one to sweeten the deal.

You have to look closely at the sign to see that this charming creature is called a "Creeping Devil." What could be better than a giant green snake "as big as your arm" as my mom says, unless it's covered with sharp needles? Oh, wait! How about if it splits and becomes two creeping devils?