dumb blondWith a BioSperminator named Padraig Ryan, hailing from Tipperary Ireland, one could safely assume I am as Irish and ginger-haired as can be. Until last night that is. But suddenly, after last evening’s EPIC FAILURE, I’m left to wonder if maybe the hospital mixed up its babies? I suspect my father might really be called Thor Gundersonn from Norway, if my extremely blond behavior yesterday is any indication.

As any of you reading between the lines might have guessed by now, my long-running comedy show of Crypt Keeper dating is currently on hold, due to the appearance in my world of one Mr. Adorable, who just so happens to be celebrating his 63rd birthday.

Birthdays and Christmas can be a slippery tightrope to traverse in a budding dating situation. What is too little? Too much? Too soon? Like Goldilocks, I wanted to get this just right. Times of sunset and tides were checked, 5-star reservations were made, and a venue was primed for late-night dancing. Dresses and heels were donned and hearts were pumping. First stop…a beautiful beach with an exquisitely timed sunset accompanied by iced champagne and chilled flutes. The lovely lap of gentle waves upon the shore didn’t quite complete my romantic vision of the PURRFECT evening, so I decided to throw a Cesaria Evora CD into my car’s player. Nothing like a little Portuguese song to weave its magic. After an hour or so, and nary a drop of champagne remaining, it was time to hop in my tiny car and head for dinner. We were both starved and hadn’t eaten in anticipation of this incredible dining experience.

Giggling like children and full of our lovely birthday adventure, I turned the key in the ignition and got….nada. Immediately, I remembered a hair appointment I’d had when my kid was twelve. He opted to wait in my car during the 2-hour ordeal while listening to heavy metal music, rather than risk the humiliation of being caught dead in a salon. I tore him a new hiney hole that day because I had to buy a new battery and wait in the North Carolina heat and humidity for AAA to arrive. Mama was not a happy camper that day and I remember asking him how he could be so goofy not to realize you can’t listen to music indefinitely without your vehicle running. Tonight’s dead battery was a long-delayed return of karma, but boy, did it bite me on the butt.

No problem, we’d just pull out the jumper cables and ask one of our fellow sunset worshipers to give us a boost. Oopsie, I forgot….I don’t have jumper cables. By now, it’s growing dark and the beach is becoming increasingly deserted. Mr. Adorable walked over to the one remaining car, owned by an auto mechanic, who sheepishly admitted that, much like the cobbler’s children, he also possessed no jumper cables. Still highly amused by this slight delay to our plans, I pulled out my phone to call a tow company, only to realize their phone number was at home in my wallet. The tiny purses I carry on date nights were meant to hold only a single mosquito, so I only bring my driver’s license, insurance and Amex cards. At this moment I also realized my phone battery was almost dead. I quickly called a friend who is staying with me, who called the tow and told us that someone would be there within one hour. Phoned the restaurant and moved our ressies from 7 to 8.

Two hours later, sitting in the blackest of dark nights, with nary a tow truck in site, I came to the cosmic understanding that champagne is only for rent; you can only hang onto it for just so long before it demands to be released into the wild. But God it was DARK and the thought of being devoured by a Burmese python whilst squatting on the ground to pee in my beautiful lace cocktail dress was not part of this birthday vision. Desperate to pee and squinting through the inky ebony night, I spied what looked to be a structure, a maintenance shed perhaps, just a short walk away. Any port in the storm was better than the jungle at this point, so off I went. The heavens parted when I drew open the door, as it was an honest to God restroom, complete with running water! Two minutes later I emerged with many mutterings of  “Thank You Jesus and your lovely mother Mary too” and headed back to the car. A tow driver had called us an hour earlier to determine our precise location on this deserted beach and we were heartened to hear he would be arriving momentarily. As I slid back into the driver’s seat and reached for the keys I remarked about how lucky my timing was with the bathroom, as the doors locked automatically at 9PM, and it was now one minute til. LUCKY ME! I reached for the car keys to reinsert them into the ignition, only to realize I’d thrown them on the diaper changing table in that restroom. Oh hell no! Secretariat never ran as fast as I  did, only to twist that door handle to find it…locked. Right about then, I was pondering this. If blondes had their own theme song, what would it be?

Mercy dictates that I spare you the rest of the gory delays and the LONG hours we sat waiting for rescue from this grueling evening, but the good news is that Mr. Adorable remained calm and affable throughout, which is a pretty good test of character, when faced with plummeting blood sugar levels and loss of that intricate Napa Valley wine you were counting on. Jumper cables have been purchased and stowed to avert future disasters, bar food was eaten at an extremely late hour, the birthday dinner was rescheduled, and yours truly escaped being a python’s dinner entrée.

All  in all, not a bad date, despite my incredible blondness. I did warn y’all that this boy is sooo appealing I am semi-comatose and non-functioning throughout most of my waking hours. This night was incontrovertible proof.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JPS…if you’re still speaking to me!!

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Sweet Tarts, a French Kiss, and the Nickel Pickle

This is a reblog of a post from 2 1/2 years ago…when my life was unrecognizable from where it stands today. Relationships are in the forefront of my mind recently, probably due to that meddling Cupid…once again. Can’t write, can’t think, can’t function, can only smile…


sweet tartsOnce upon a time, those three silly things could transport me to paradise.

Once upon a time, the little girl that I was couldn’t wait to be all grown up and on her own out in the wondrous universe. A universe without parents and their arcane rules and values. One without bedtimes or restrictions. I couldn’t wait to catapult into the picture-perfect adult world I knew awaited me.

Today I would gladly mortgage my only son in order to crawl back to the safety and security of my childhood world. I want to curl into a fetal position and retreat into a womb of innocence and dreams not yet crushed and hearts still unbroken.

I am envious of friends who have been married to the same person for years, friends who think their lives are boring and dull compared to mine. “You’ve had such an exciting life, and been through so much. You really should write…

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spongebobI am firmly convinced that all the wackadoodle things that tumble through my life exist for the sole purpose of providing me with blog fodder. What other explanation could there possibly be (cue the ghostly music)? Case in point….

When I headed to Texas, following the interlude of the Monster Madness, and fell headlong into the protective arms of my crazy ranching relatives, sure that this would be my final watering hole, I crossed paths with a gentleman who resembled a geometric building block more than a homo sapien. Turns out he was our family’s accountant. He stumbled through our kitchen a few times while doing some tax work for my uncle. Imagine a man, probably no more than 5’6″, weighing roughly 300 lbs., who was completely formed in the shape of a square. Now envision only about 14″ of this critter being legs. Think SpongeBob SquarePants on steroids. His beefeater arms hug to his hirsute knees, as did his capris. Suffice it to say that after a few sightings of SquarePants, you would never mistake him for anyone else, even with multiple shots of tequila coursing through your veins.

I overheard snippets of whispers from my cousins, Laredo Porter Wagoner and Austin Johnny Cash, hinting at our accountant’s murky past, something about New York or Jersey, and a scandal, possibly involving a family named Gotti. So loyal and secretive was SquarePants towards his former affililates that my family had nicknamed him Jimmy Tightlips. Call me crazy but I think the ability to keep closely guarded secrets of the clients who provide your livelihood is an exemplary trait in a CPA.

You can only imagine my shock some months later when I walked into my friend’s house for brunch, and there, nearly crumbling the dining room chair he was perched on, sat Jimmy Tightlips. He seemed to recognize me, yet couldn’t quite place the face, after all, we were in a world far removed from Texas. From the little that my friend, Sleuthing Susie, has been able to deduce from Jimmy and his equally taciturn wife, is that they are here in the tropics in the witness protection program. The couple rarely speak or proffer information, while they both watch you furtively from beneath downcast eyes, perpetually processing and assessing everything around them, whilst never revealing any details of their lives, past or present. Sleuthing Susie is ruthless in her pursuit of the true origins of Jimmy and his wife, and therefore eagerly agreed to housesit their five Pomeranians whenever they leave Paradise. To date, her exhaustive efforts have been fruitless, no photos, no old letters, nada. The place is as sterile as a Holiday Inn, and none of the Five Pomegranates are talking barking. Which causes me to ponder…Can I turn in someone in witness protection? And if so, to whom? And would there possibly be a reward involved? Would I become the mascot and poster child of the FBI or America’s Most Wanted? Or would I fare better by approaching the mob directly? I do so passionately adore both Italian food and Italian men, so that route holds delicious potential.

Speaking of potential…I might have a little secret I’m keeping from you.

Remember that blind date my hippie friend Mentah set up for me last Saturday? Imagine if Val Kilmer (before the weight gain), Kurt Russell, and Jeff Bridges mated (now there’s a visual)…this man could be the result. He was so unrelentingly gorgeous I kept glancing over my shoulder, sure I would spy Allen Funt and his Candid Camera crew filming this. He spoke fluent Chinese and French, was impeccably dressed, with nary an ascot in sight. He was so smart and attentive and absolutely PERFECT….on paper. I spent the entirety of our three hour lunch racking my brain over which of my single girlfriends I could fix this adorable boy up with. Mon Dieu, I know what you’re thinking! After all the Crypt Keepers with their walkers and man boobs she’s gone out with, and now she wants to throw this one back in the water?!?

Well children, it isn’t only Jimmy Tightlips who can keep a secret. Yours truly has one too. Suffice it to say I’ve been walking around Paradise, Somewhere In This World, with a huge shit-eating grin on my face since early December.

And that’s all you’re getting out of this Jenny Tightlips for this blog!

Happy Weekend!


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xmas treeOther than my son, my dog, and random pieces of furniture, there is not one single element of my life as it existed on January 1, 2014, that remains standing. I often wake up in the morning and look around in awe at how this sea change occurred and how I came to be in this wondrous new life I’ve fashioned.

Since I was twelve years old the ceremony of taking down the Christmas tree and “undecorating” the house has always held great meaning for me. It forces me to pause and think back over the past year and applaud my successes and mourn my failures, which are epic. I look at the blank slate of the year lying ahead, still unwritten, like a pristine notebook on the first day of school, with a slight shudder of excitement, anticipation, and dread. Who and/or what will still be populating my world one year hence?

What tiny voice whispered in my ear one dark and sleepless night in Cary NC and caused me to jettison a man I loved so deeply, our home, my job…and move to a land where I knew no one? What invisible hand gently pushed against my back and nudged me to this place, when I had the whole wide world to choose from?

My exit from NC was the second time I have cast aside a wonderful love in order to follow my inner whisperer. Both times caused so much pain and heartbreak, and months of acid tears I thought would erode me. I have decided that personal sorrow and universal sorrow are made of the same stuff, and in their essential nature are the doorways to compassion.

Is the constant change and transience of human life essential to bringing about spiritual growth and insight? I view all events, both good and bad, as a treasure chest for the evolution of soul. Every occurrence and person crossing my path has meaning and is a result and consequence of previous choices and actions. If we are able to see our challenges as opportunities for constructive change, then hopefully our growth will be rapid. I have finally learned to stop attempting to control every element of my life and relinquish attachment to people and places, and realize there is a purposeful evolution to our lives.

Despite occasional exhaustion brought on by this voluminous life I signed up for, I wake up every morning fueled by the knowledge that my life is NOT a random walk, and that when I make my final bow and exit stage left I will look back proudly, grinning and clutching my PHD in LIFE.

Right now, with all the ornaments carefully packed away, and my sadly denuded Xmas tree in its final resting place, I plan on a long nap in the hammock. Because, unlike those years leading up to my husband’s suicide, when I could smell and sense the predatory nature of the wolf on the other side of my door, today I can’t wait to throw open that door and embrace whatever lovely gift the Universe has waiting for me on the other side.

Wishing you all the enchantment life can hold in 2015. Thanks for loyally following my foolishness.

Brace yourselves…Gracie has another blind date Saturday. One day…one of these fellas WON’T be appalling and won’t I be in for a surprise?!?

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