Making lesbians happy – one book at a time!

I went to Washington State to see family and friends. It was fun but I missed Layce and Em. That was the only downside. I worried that when I left them that they might discover I was extraneous to the household. When I came out with my luggage and Layce kissed me, I knew I was missed. I did not yet know I was seriously needed.

As we drove away from the airport, I noticed a glass of iced coffee sitting belligerently in the cup holder in the console. “What is this?” I said pointing at the glass. A glass! I couldn’t believe it.

A glass.”

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“We have cups with lids, they’re called travel cups because that’s what you use when you’re traveling with liquids so they don’t spill and you don’t accidentally drop a glass of which is one of a set of six—an important number to me because it’s a multiple of three. I leave for thirteen and a half days and you turn savage.”

“I didn’t spill and I didn’t break it. No harm no foul.” She entered the freeway.

I harrumphed. “Did you buy a new can opener?” It was malfunctioning when I left thirteen and a half days ago.

“Not yet. I just used a hammer and a screw driver.”

“I bet you ate straight out of the can.

“Not always, sometimes I just drank it straight out of the can.”

“Standing up?” I said, imagining her by the sink, guzzling soup.

“Why not?”

“Because at meal times we set the dining room table with place mats and linen napkins  and the glass you’re currently using.”

No comment.

“What would happen if I was gone for a whole month?” I asked.

“I’d probably turn feral.”

I smiled. “You need me.”

“I do, but you’re still kind of a pain in the ass.”

“I take that as a compliment to my strident housekeeping skills.”

“Knock yourself out.”

She reached over and squeezed my hand and I knew I was loved and needed. Ah, it was good to be home. God only knows the tangles I’d have when I got home. I couldn’t wait to resume my dharma as Keeper of the House. I sat back in the seat and sighed contentedly. I even forgot about the glass transgression–temporarily.

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Em is taking Driver’s Ed and doing well. After the first lesson, Em regaled us with student driver’s snafus. I gulped and winced a few times, but stayed relatively calm and did not quote safety statistics.

“I was so afraid he would make me parallel park. I mean I just started driving. I can’t be expected to be perfect. It’s only my first day,” Em said.

“Why’d you think he’d make you do that?” Layce asked.

“Because I was driving and had to stop and wait for a lady who was parallel parking and having a hard time. The instructor said women can’t parallel park for some reason. I was kind of insulted. I mean, you guys can parallel park.” She caught the look that passed between Layce and me. “Right?”

“I can,” Layce said.

“She’s really good at it,” I added.

“Are you good at it too?” Em asked.

“Saxon can’t even park at all,” Layce said.

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It’s true. I can’t regular park. And you can completely cross off parallel parking. I either park badly or it takes me at least three threes times with multiple openings of the door to see how close I am to the white line or I have to get out of the car, gather my bearings, and try again. Layce sits patiently until I’ve decided it’s the best I can do under the circumstances.

“What do mean she can’t park?” Em asked.

“I mean she can’t get the car into a parking space correctly to save her soul.”

“Even if there’s no other cars around her?”

“Even if.  In fact that makes it worse,” Layce said.

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“It’s genetic. I didn’t get a parking gene. My father can’t park either. One time someone left a note on his car. It said if you have sex like you park…” I left the rest off. “I’m a victim of my DNA. So, no I can’t parallel park.”

“Maybe the instructor was right. Women can’t parallel park. What if I can’t?” Em said.

“I’ll teach you, and we’ll practice a lot, so when he makes you do it, you can knock his socks off,” Layce said.

“Which would make us two for three. That’s not too bad,” I said.

“What about Saxon? Can’t you teach her too?”

“No.”

I nodded. There are some things I have to acknowledge I can’t do. We all have our limitations. Parking is mine.

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DOING THINGS BADLY

I was walking out of my Continuing Ed watercolor class with one of my classmates.  “How are you liking the class?” I asked. I was pretty stoked about it. I have this bucket list of things I wanted to do when I had more spare time. The time had come—learning to paint was on it.

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“I’m so bad at it,” she said discouragingly. “I thought it would be fun but it’s a lot harder than it looks.”

“No worries, I do a lot of things badly but that doesn’t stop me,” I told her.  I refrained from saying that very few things stop me if I’d decided upon doing them.  Not all the choices have been good ones, but I have reached my fifth decade so that’s saying something.

I knew in kindergarten being a great artist was not in the cards for me. It may have been my uniquely ugly, crayon creations that tipped me off. They were perfect eyesores.  They didn’t even warrant a place on the fridge, but I wished I’d archived them for kicks and giggle later.

My classmate sighed heavily, walked to her car and I never saw her again. I finished the course and thoroughly enjoyed it. My professor would often shake his head, bite his lip, and make a few suggestions. I’m pretty sure he pitied me, but I was enthusiastic and I made it to the end—six out of fifteen of us did. I felt sorry for him then. He’d given up his time to teach others about his passion and the badness factor had kept the rest of the students away.

The point here—yes, there is one— is that I’m all about the means, the journey,  the interesting stuff I learn along the way when I take up a new hobby. So far, I sew badly, I play the guitar super-badly, and I paint badly. I also park badly, but that’s a whole other blog.  It seems such a shame that people insist that they have to do whatever they do first rate, top of the class, must be the best at it, or the thing isn’t worth doing.

Can’t we just do it without the judgment of “bestness?” It’s being the best, doing the thing well or not at all, that cripples us. I’m not saying it hasn’t taken me years to get to this philosophical oneness with my badness, but once I did, I’ve had a lot of fun trying out new things and not worrying whether it’s good or bad. It just is. Isn’t that what having fun is all about?

So embrace your inner badness (the kind that goes with hobbies) and go out and have fun. If you’ve already reached this place—major kudos to you.  I won’t subject you to my watercolors, that would be cruel but I’ve archived them this time—you know, for posterity.

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YOGA NECK

Layce and I were going into Lowes to get paint. As we walked across the parking lot toward the entrance, I asked Layce about the state of my neck. “Do you think I have a yoga neck?”

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“A what?” she asked, not looking up as she studied the list of supplies we needed for painting the porch, the dining room floor, and a beautiful old rocking chair. Emma was out of town so we decided to go on a painting frenzy. Emma’s not fond of change so we do things while she’s away, take a photo, and send it to her so she has time to adjust before she experiences the change up close and personal.

“Yoga neck, you know, with the muscular cords on the side of your neck that ‘scream look at me I am super fit because I do yoga twelve hours a day.’ I do a lot of warrior, tree, and chair poses. I think I deserve a yoga neck. I’m asking for your honest opinion—do I have a yoga neck?”

She looked up from her list. “It’s got some chord action going on.”

That wasn’t an outstanding response but it was better than nothing at all. I’d have to do more yoga. “You know the other thing I want?”

“I can only imagine.”

We reached the swooshing doors. I didn’t have long before we were sucked into “paint” world. “Do you think I’m metro-sexual?” Before she could say anything, I said, “Because I think I’m very put together, my clothes match, and I’m really clean. I even clean my cross-trainers so the white sidewalls always gleam. I spend a lot of time grooming, too. In fact, I’d say I’m an excessive groomer.”

“I wondered about your clothes. You used to come downstairs wearing the weirdest stuff and I’d have to send you back up to change.”

“And sometimes you’d have to come with me because I couldn’t manage. Now look at me.” I spread my arms wide.

“How’d you manage to change?” Layce asked, eyeing me suspiciously.

“I organized my clothes so each outfit is perfectly coordinated.”

“Like toddlers with their Garanimal  outfits?”

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“Precisely,” I said enthusiastically.  “I definitely think I’m a metro-sexual with a yoga neck.”

“If you say so,” Layce said. “Now go find a paint roller and some tape.”

I walked off happy in the knowledge that I had become just who I should be—sort of.  I’d found comfort in a good neck, excessive grooming habits, and well-coordinated outfits with clean shoes—except for that one pair with the gum on the bottom, but I was working on those. Out of chaos I had found control.  It was a perfect day—until I picked out the wrong paint roller but what the hell.  A person can’t be everything. I mean how many yoga-necked metro-sexuals are handy people? Don’t answer that.

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Saxon Bennett delivers another delightful tale of true love among madcap lesbians!

This is one funny little book. The thing I liked most about this book was its diversity in its cast. How often do you have a broody Amazon, a hippy artist, a butch, a super feminine dog lover, and a midget as your main group of characters? Seriously, this book is laugh-out-loud funny and full of playful witty banter. If you’re looking for a stress-free laugh-inducing read, look no further.

LITTLE MISS FIDGET

The story of little Miss Fidget begins as a young girl with unflattering hair is forced into the educational system. This known fidgeter is moi. I tried to convince my mother that after having tried kindergarten for half a day that I had decided it wasn’t a good fit for me so I wouldn’t be going back. Imagine the shock and awe of this revelation when she told me I had no choice. It was prison or kindergarten. (Just kidding.) The fidgeter was born.

I did my best to keep my fidgeting discreet after I got called out and told to “Sit still or I will dip your toes into a pool of alligators.” (My kindergarten teacher believed in tough love.) By the second grade and all through college I figured out a way to fidget without detection.

The method to this is to sit in the third row from the front next to an innocuous student. They’re not difficult to find  You’ll be virtually invisible because the good students are in front, bad in back. In between—not memorable. Thus, I would fidget—barely perceptive toe tapping, leg crossing, and other yoga like positions, running my hands up and down on the desk tabletop, the smoothness soothing. Over the years I must have come up with 1,001 different ways to fidget unnoticed.

I have recently created another fidget. I rub the fabric of my pants between my thumb and index finger. This repetitive motion is referred to as “self-comforting.” I do it when I’m in the car because of the high rate of automobile accidents. If I’m not driving, I self-comfort.

I was caught in the act by the All Seeing Eye—Layce. “What are you doing? Did you know you do it all the time—like whenever we’re in the car,” Layce said, looking over at me while waiting at the stop light.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, looking down at my right hand, which was frantically stroking my pant leg.

She gave me the “hairy eyeball,” but said nothing, waiting for my confession. I knew she knew. She knew I knew she knew about my fidgeting issue.

“Okay, I admit to being a fidgeter. I can’t believe you haven’t noticed before.”

“I have noticed before and this latest fidget is creepy. You have to stop, now, before it requires therapy.”

She was making me nervous so I rubbed harder. “I need help.”

“Stop, you’ll wear your pants out.”

When we got home, I researched fidgeting. There’s a whole lot of info out there and a whole lot of “people who fidget.” Fortunately, I found the solution on Amazon. It’s a small cube, each side with a different activity for you fingers. Six sides with seven different stress relieving features: click, flick, roll, and spin.

I ordered it and paid extra for two day shipping.

The Fidget Toy

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This thing is awesome for fidgeters. Word of advice: Don’t use it when it’s in your pocket because it will look like you’re playing pocket pool.

So you fidgeters out there take heart. There is hope. Fidget away!

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Imaginary Pets

I woke up this morning, eyes wide. “I forgot all about Rascal.”

“Rascal?” Layce asked, setting down my coffee. We have coffee in bed on the weekends. Then we read the online New York Times because we’re liberal elite snowflakes.

“Yeah, remember the dog in 2nd book of our new True Heart series.”

“Oh, him. I like Rascal. I like that he’s pit bull mix from the shelter. And Parker saves him.”

“I know, me too. I’m on page 47 and I haven’t mentioned him once. Where is he all that time?”

“You need to fix that,” Layce said, sipping her coffee and checking out the New York Times to see what fresh hell the powers-that-be are unleashing on us this morning. “You know, if you didn’t put animals in our books we wouldn’t have to worry about tracking them.”

“It’s just Rascal. One dog. I can fix it.”

“I’m talking about your fixation with putting pets in our books.”

“Like what?” I inhaled the aroma of my coffee. The first cup is always the best.

“Let’s start with our very first book together with Mr. Pip (More than a Kiss), then the hedgehog and Oscar the Weiner dog in (Crazy Little Thing),  the telepathic cat (Kiss and Tell), all the dogs in Jamie Bravo’s Worst in Show. Moving on to the books you wrote solo, the Burmese Mountain dog, (Back Talk), Annie and Jane the mixed breeds (Family Affair Trilogy), the Pipster the amazing catching dog, (Date Night Club) to name a few. I’m sure I’ve missed one or two.”

“Okay, okay, so I have a soft spot for imaginary animals.” I squinted at her. “If I remember correctly you have Asshat in A Perfect Romance who kills squirrels and eats everything except their butt holes.”

“There is that,” Layce said. She went back to reading the paper. “But it’s only one cat, one time.”

I harrumph. “Don’t let me forget about Rascal.”

“I won’t, but maybe next time we could have a pet free book.”

“Sure thing.”

“You say that every time we write a book and every time an imaginary pet shows up.”

“I can’t help it that strays keep showing up at our fictional front porch,” I said.

Mister Beans, our real cat who showed up on our real porch, leapt up on my lap and nearly sent my coffee flying. “And imaginary ones don’t spill your coffee either. No offense, Mister Beans,” I said.

“None taken,” he said, stalking off, his tail in the air.

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Layce and I stared at each other. “Did he just talk?” she said.

“No, I’m pretty sure we just imagined that.”

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I told Layce that I wanted an English bull dog. (see her blog “I Just Got Played” for full explanation.) I got a cappuccino machine instead . It was my Valentine’s present. She didn’t have a gift idea so she was highly amenable to my plan B—a cappuccino machine.

Operating a cappuccino machine isn’t as easy as Starbucks makes it look.

First, we had technical difficulties with the “filter retention clip.”

“Did you read the manual?” I asked. I always read the instructions on everything, literally. You would not believe the stuff you learn from instructions. In fact, if I ever quit writing novels, I’ll become a technical writer and write instruction manuals.

“No.” She always says that. We make good partners because of our different methodologies when it comes to new kitchen appliances.

We eventually discovered that the filter retention clip was malfunctioning. With gentle twisting and turning, and a little brute force, we managed the get the clip working. Next we searched for cups to fit under the filter nozzles. I hadn’t realized that all our coffee cups were too tall.

“We’ll have to get some of those cute white porcelain cups—the elite liberal kind so we look posh,” I said.

“Yeah. I’ll add that to the stainless steel steamed milk pitcher that I had to order.”

“I’d like to start using fresh beans but we’d need a coffee grinder.”

“I thought we had one?”

“We did but something happened to it,” I said. (Em and I used it to grind up crayons for an art project. Don’t ever do this.) I changed the subject. “I want to learn to put those hearts and trees on top of the coffee.”

“And then you’ll want some of the fancy syrups to add to your frothy drink with the tree or heart shape.”

“I’d forgotten all about the syrups, thanks for reminding me. It’ll help me channel my inner barista. I might need a do-rag and green apron.”

“This is getting very involved,” Layce said.

“I need the appropriate accoutrements if I’m going to become a barista. It’ll be another one of my hobbies. Every afternoon as we read the New York Times and Vanity Fair, I’ll make us this excellent cup of perfectly brewed coffee.” I imagined myself wearing a do-rag and a green apron calling out “Layce, your amazing cappuccino is ready.”

“Your hobbies do keep you out of trouble despite the accoutrements.”

I ignored her facetious tone. “I’m going to research about becoming a barista. I’ll need to buy a couple of books.”

“I had no idea that a cappuccino machine was going to start a new obsession that requires so much stuff.”

“That’s what happens when you don’t get me a dog,” I said.

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