Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Little Self-Awareness Never Hurt Anyone

It’s not every single day, or maybe it is, when a moment presents itself to us that just stinks of importance. That is, if one is interested in taking their human experience to the next level. It is in these moments that people could benefit greatly from a little reflection, and time to allow the words, “I think I could use a little adjustment here” to bubble up.

For all you lovers of remaining exactly the way you are, consider this: Unless you are seriously deranged, you are not the same person with the same beliefs that you were at the age of six; you no longer want to marry your mommy, or have an imaginary friend. These ideas have been discarded and replaced because you’ve spent time really thinking about them: You’re actually not that attracted to your mom and/or you could probably do better, and imaginary friends don’t have private parts.

Why should it be any different when one is 40, 50, 60, or even 70, for that matter? There is no magic age that we get to when the universe suddenly makes complete sense and as a result, so do all of our thoughts and actions. One has to be willing to shed old beliefs and make room for new ones that help society. And by society, I mean me.

By practicing a little self-awareness, we can achieve new levels of understanding, about ourselves and others. What better place for a person to start than with grammar.

Specifically, I’m referring to pronoun usage.  

As a refresher, pronouns take the place of (rename) nouns: I, me, he, she, it, that, this, etc. Overuse of pronouns, a.k.a., pronounarrhea, results in vague sentences that require even more talking.  And if there is one thing the world doesn’t need more of, it’s talking. The irony of this statement is not lost on me.

Allow me to illustrate. Recently, my husband and I were carrying a high-backed loveseat down our staircase. Halfway down, our stairs split and go in two directions toward the first floor; there is a small, 4 x 5 foot landing at the split, where one can go left, toward the front entryway, or right, toward the family room. So there we were, on either side of the cumbersome couch, which prevented the sharing of non-verbal clues of any kind. And then, this happened:

Husband: Okay, you can lower it a little and go this way.

Wife: Which way?

Husband: THIS way, THIS way!

Need I say more?

The relative pronoun, “THIS,” even in its all-capped glory, really didn’t tell me a friggin’ thing. So I guessed left. Turns out, I was correct, which is why I said this:

Wife: Just a note for future reference: it’s ok to be specific and say, “my left” or “your right.”

Husband:  (silence)

Had I guessed wrong, and zigged when he zagged, we’d have probably dropped it, which would have resulted in this long-winded conversation:

Husband: I said THIS way!

Wife: This staircase has two THIS ways, Einstein!

Parking lots are another location where one can experience messy bouts of pronounarrhea.

“There! That one!”



Now I ask you: Would it be so hard to say, “to the right,” or “on the left?”  I mean, I see frantic pointing going on out of my peripheral vision, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to glance over and see exactly where my passengers are pointing. I don’t know about you, but when I have an important decision to make, for example, whether to take my eyes off the road while I’m driving, I think ahead to when I might have to explain my decision to another human being who is not in a coma.

“Well, the reason I just rolled into your car going 15 mph is because despite the fact that the State of California has allowed me to possess a valid driver’s license for thirty years, I was unable to find an open parking space without the help of my co-pilot(s), who are fond of pronouns. Can I go now?”

Have a crazy grammar story of your own to share? Email it to me at

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nine Things You Don't Need to Know About Me

Lately, Facebook has been deluged with a “game” in which participants are tasked with divulging some random number of things about themselves that others might not be aware of. If you click “like” on someone’s list, you get a number assigned and you are supposed to play. I have not participated in the Facebook version of the game, mainly because I don’t have time for such silliness—I’m too busy snooping.

Recently, I saw a list of things posted by someone I knew quite well. There was not a single thing on the list that I knew, prior to reading it, which told me that I really didn’t know this person as well as I thought I did. I felt sort of bad for a minute. But then the feeling passed.  

I got to thinking: How well do we know the people who we think we know? How well do we need to know the people we think we know? The answer is, I don’t know. But just for the sake of absolutely nothing, here is my list of things you may not know about the Surreal Housewife.

Did you know…

1. I can drop five F-bombs in one sentence when I’m looking for my pen that I know I just set down on my desk three seconds ago. (Hint: insert an F-bomb immediately before each noun in the previous sentence. There are five. Yes, “F-bomb” counts as a noun. Insert it. It’s fun.)

2. I can do four hours worth of housework in 20 minutes when my back is up against the wall. And by wall, I mean my aunt, mother or mother-in-law just called to say they are stopping by. I call this the “ax-murder-clean.” I pretend that I am cleaning up after an ax murder and the forensics team is on the way.

3. I once ate an entire sandwich sprinkled with dead ants, which I think perished in the tub of mayo sitting out on the counter of the restaurant where I was working at the time. I was hungry and it was a really good sandwich. I picked them out as I ate. I can pick hair out of my food and keep on eating, too, providing I am at home and not in a restaurant.

4.  I have a minor in Italian Studies and spent a semester living in Italy. Twenty years ago I was fluent in Italian, but now I’m not. It was fun while it lasted. So was Guido.

5. I have worked at more than 30 jobs in my lifetime. I have only been fired once, when I was 20. It was a blessing. No further details available.

6. Occasionally, I tell my children “I’m going upstairs to take a shower” and then instead, I climb into bed for a nap. An hour later, when they see me walk out of my room in my pajamas, they say, “I thought you were going to take a shower?” And then I say, “Oh right, I forgot,” and the cycle continues until I get busted in bed.

7. I failed at being the tooth fairy so many nights in a row once that I finally told my child, “It sometimes takes a week for the tooth fairy to come by. She’s very busy. Keep checking back.”

8. When my kids were really little, I sometimes skipped pages in books when I read to them at bedtime. I had a harder time getting this past one of them. Have you ever had a four year-old give you the squinty-eyed “Are you sure that was an accident” look? It’s unnerving.

9. I am a Real Housewives of ... addict. I recently binge-watched the entire season of Real Housewives of Melbourne in the course of one week and it was awesome. In fact, some of my kids watch them with me and we’ve had many frank conversations about how not to behave. It’s a virtual cornucopia of teaching moments.

And there you have it: Nine things you probably didn’t know about me and are no better off now that you do know. Sorry not sorry.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Women to Match My Mountains, Part 2

When last we met, I had just spent the first night of my weekend alone in my mountain cabin, mostly reading, writing, and trying to keep up with my hound’s extreme neediness, including sleeping in the exact center of the bed and needing to go outside in the pitch blackness to pee.

8:00 a.m., second day: Determined to stick with my new workout regimen even at the cabin, I scavenge around looking for something to serve as a dumbbell. I settle for a cast-iron Dutch oven. After my lunges, tricep raises and bicep curls, I make a mental note to brag to my friends about how dedicated I am. And so here that is.

9:00: I decide to see what my faux beau, Kit Carson is up to, and so I grab “Blood and Thunder” and saddle up my horse (press the start button on the quad).

9:10: Down at the lakeside, I stretch out on a rock as my thoughts drift back to a simpler time and place, though by now I am pretty convinced that it doesn’t get much simpler than the edge of the lake on a warm summer morning with a book, a dog and a motorized vehicle.

11:30: After traipsing across the Rocky Mountains with Kit, and making our way down to Monterey to see what the Mexicans are up to, I grow weary of his vagabond ways and decide to take my leave of him and the horse he rode in on. Plus, I’m thirsty. I decide to ride back to camp and tend to my afternoon chores (find a shady spot on the deck). Mountain woman life is exhausting.

Noon: After much strenuous activity (hosing off the deck of pollen and errant pine needles), I find that my sarsaparilla (beer) rations are depleted, so I make a plan to go the store to replenish my provisions. Glancing in the mirror before leaving, it comes as a bit of surprise to me that despite my morning beauty routine of rolling out of bed and slapping on a ball cap, and then sweating in the sun for two hours, my hair is, in fact, “pert’ near” perfect, as Kit is fond of saying.

12:30: Back at the cabin, I’m feeling just right about my negotiations with the proprietor of the trading post, and lay out my haul of beer and pistachios. I’ll miss those fine beaver pelts, but that four-pack of tallboys was just too good of a deal to pass up.

1:00: A neighbor from over yonder stops by for a spell, and I am obliged to share with her the chuck wagon special that I am enjoying. We catch up on the hectic weekend we’ve had so far and lament the distance between ourselves and our loved ones back home. Not really.

1:30: The neighbor, before taking her leave, invites me to visit her camp come nightfall, for some fellowship. I kindly accept her gracious invitation and turn back to my writing to catch up on this here blog. But first, a muse. Flipping through my CDs, I take care not to select something too upbeat, which could encourage another beer, or too sad, which could encourage a tenth. I opt for Willie Nelson.

1:35: Alas, my trusty companion (laptop) is dead. Scouring the cabin for artifacts that might help me with my plight, I locate a bundle of thin, flat, dry white material and a tubular tool that appears to contain a reservoir of black liquid. I commence the ancient art of handwriting.

4:30: Three hours, two beers and one nap later, I prepare to call on my neighbor. But first, I must assess my countenance. Upon close inspection, I confirm an earlier suspicion that one side of my hair around my face is longer than the other. Finding a pair of utility shears, I commence self-barbering.

10:30: Six hours, two bottles of wine and zero food later, I return to my cabin for the night. Before retiring, I pack my belongings in order to get an early start. In the morning, I must bid my summer encampment farewell…at least for now.

Day 3:
7 a.m.: Westward, ho!