"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One is a wanderer

We live in a ranch-style house, four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, about 2600 square feet. Having grown up in a cracker box of possibly 1100 square feet, this is plenty big for me and my family, with one exception.

I have no office.

When we moved in, I didn't need an office. I worked at Raytheon. Dale and I had a bedroom, Marcus had one, we had a guest bedroom, and we had something we call "The Computer Room." This is a misnomer. It's actually the Computer Graveyard, where all computers go to die. It's also where stray paperwork piles up, along with horse show clothes, boxes of books, and things we don't know what to do with but can't yet discard.

It is not an office. 

So where do I write? In the living room, at the antique table. In the dining room. At the kitchen table. On the living room couch. In the recliner in the family room. I'm all over the place. 

Maybe that's just the way it's going to be. Perhaps my muse likes to be on the move. "Come along, Gayle," she snaps. "We're in the living room today."

My muse does not purr. She's a barking drill instructor.

Today, I decided I would spend more time at the dining room table. I put some motivational hangings on the wall, where I could look at them and try harder. These were presents, from my son at Christmas, and from my gal pal Tameri for my birthday. I hung them around the shelf with my homemade angel and my Welsh wedding spoon. 



Not a bad grouping, eh?

For Christmas, Marcus spent a goodly amount of time pulling all of my four- and five-star reviews for FREEZER BURN and arranging them, in a colorful display. Then he framed it. I'm not sure what I love more, the constant reminder that I wrote something people like, or the constant reminder that my son crafted me a gift from love.



These two are from Tameri. I love them because they speak to me of bravery and friendship. I've never felt particularly brave, but people tell me I am. Mostly, I think I'm just stubborn. Perhaps I confuse the two, courage and hard-headedness. 



And when I'm not brave, it's nice to know I have a tribe of friends who've got my back.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Diversions.

Last week's post, in honor of August McLaughlin's Beauty of a Woman 2015 BlogFest, was the biggest, most personal, most frightening post I've ever done. Quite frankly, I'm blog-exhausted.

So here are a few YouTube clips that I find amusing.

Because every girl needs her unicorn:




And she needs to win her own hand.




And everyone - EVERYONE - should have a dream.




Later, Peeps.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bringing Sexy Back... to Sixty

CAUTION: I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT SEX TODAY. It may get uncomfortable. It will certainly get graphic, at least as graphic as I'm comfortable with. 

I know a few of my readers would rather not read about sex, and that's okay. You don't need to read any further. Go read Snoopy's blog instead, http://thatsmysnoopy.blogspot.com/2015/02/glasses-half-empty-glasses-half-full.html

NOW THAT THE DISCLAIMER IS OVER:

When I first read August McLaughlin's invitation to the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest, I saw that if I got to participate I could pick the original blog, about beauty and how I see it, or I could talk about the beauty of female sexuality. (Note: Please do check out all the blogs on the blogfest. Go to http://www.augustmclaughlin.com/boaw15/ for more info - they're giving out prizes!) 

I'm more comfortable with talking about beauty, but a little voice in my head double-dog-dared me to talk about sex.



How can I refuse a double-dog-dare?

I was raised in your typical Puritan household, sexuality-wise. Good girls didn't think about sex, explore sex, acknowledge it in any way, until marriage. And then they "went along with it" in a passive kind of way, to please their husbands.

When I was little, my grandmother gave me The Talk, which included everything about babies and how they were born. She omitted the part about how they get there. When I was about to be married, my mother told me I'd have to buy a douche bag. I asked her why.

"Because it's messy and it smells, and you don't want to smell, too."

It's a miracle I had sex at all. 

But not only did I have it, I found out I liked it. I liked the physical contact, the intimacy of it all. I loved the buildup and release of an orgasm. And afterward, I loved that feeling of having shared something so wonderful with someone I loved.

As time marched on, I figured that's the way it would always work. Even more so, I looked forward to the days when my husband and I were no longer caught up in working and taking care of our son, and we could spend more time together doing whatever we wanted. Wherever we wanted. Whenever... well, you get the picture.

What I didn't realize was what time would do to my body. I was happy to not have to go through a monthly cycle, although the hot flashes nearly did me in. Then my doctor prescribed synthetic hormone replacement therapy, which made me feel better. 

After 55, I noticed that my skin was drier and had more wrinkles. I figured I was joining the club, of people who get old and look their age. Imagine my surprise as I turned 60, when my hubby and I were enjoying a romantic getaway and I found out that the dryness was inside as well!

Nobody told me about this part of growing older. I love my husband. I love our sex life. I don't love feeling like someone is sticking a rasp inside me and scraping me raw. Not only did it hurt, I felt badly for him, and I felt less sexy. A lot less sexy. Kind of like a shell of a person, not even a woman. I enjoyed my life, writing and riding and being with friends. But I didn't feel whole.

There's a lot no one tells you about growing older. Vaginal dryness is just one thing. I have a friend who has an autoimmune disorder that resulted in her labia drying out and sloughing off like dead cells. She's now on treatment, but what's lost is lost. 

Who knew that was a thing?

The sad part has been that, prior to talking to my friend about her disorder, I hadn't disclosed my problem to anyone else. Sex isn't embarrassing to me, but this dryness was. We definitely need to be talking about the changes as we grow older. Young women need to know this is not abnormal, it happens, and there are medicines and creams and oils to solve it. They need to know what to watch for, and to see someone as soon as something feels wrong.

As for me, I told my doctor about my problem and am now on a medication to plump everything back up. I've only been on it a few days, but my body is starting to feel like its old self. 

Soon I will be whole again. Sex will be beautiful, and I will be beautiful in it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 Reasons I Adore Neil deGrasse Tyson Even More Than Before I Saw Him in Person

On Monday, I ventured past the Orange Curtain, into Hollywood with hubby Dale and good friend Kelly, to see Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Pantages Theater. I had gotten the tickets last summer. Marcus wanted to go, and we took a chance that his semester schedule wouldn't prevent him from attending. We took a chance and lost.

This is why I never buy lottery tickets. 

So Kelly used his ticket and off we schlepped. Dale asked me numerous times what Dr. Tyson would be doing, and I answered numerous times plus one that I had no idea. We took our seats (really good ones) and waited to see what the evening would hold. 

What we were treated to, in honor of being in Hollywood, was NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON PRESENTS SCIENCE GOES TO THE MOVIES. Think of it - an entire evening of Dr. Tyson telling you that the movie TITANIC used the wrong sky in its night scenes, and the movie TED actually called him to get the night scene correct, and more. He had them in alphabetical order, and had to leave some out to make it all fit in two-and-a-half hours.

After that, he answered about 10 questions from the audience, and read Pale Blue Dot (see http://youtu.be/p86BPM1GV8M). He was not just brilliant. He was wise. For three hours.

So much muchness! I'd admired NdGT from his YouTube snippets, his appearances on talk shows, and of course, his reboot of COSMOS. But now that I've spent three hours listening to him speak live, I admire and adore him. 

You could say I admore him. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. Once he gets his teeth in a subject, he wrings every bit of energy from it. He spent two-and-a-half hours taking us through at least 15 films and discussing what they got wrong and what they got right.

2. He can talk for hours without any notes. This, people, is a mad skill.

3. Either he has the softest, most pliable shoes ever made, or he likes to give his talks in socks.

4. He has no problem dancing with joy, or falling to his knees in frustration. It's a good thing he wore jeans because he would have torn holes in nicer slacks.

5. He watches all kinds of movies, and he can't help but be impressed/dismayed by ANY science in them. (Example: he loves the line in FROZEN'S Let It Go, "My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around.")

6. On the one hand, the entire world seems to come at him as scientific theories and equations and physical laws. On the other hand, he can connect to his audience as a guy who could sit down and have a beer with you. (Of course, he'd probably treat you to a discourse on carbonation and surface tension, but at least it would be entertaining.)

7. He did his own charts for the evening talk. How do I know? Because there were typos on several (which he apologized for). Hey, Dr. Tyson, need a proofreader? My rates are reasonable.

8. He actually got mad at the movie GRAVITY because Sandra Bullock is supposed to be playing a medical doctor, but she's messing with "his" Hubble telescope. "Hey, I'm an astrophysicist, but I'll bet I can do brain surgery. Stand back and let me at it."

9. Every question from the audience was taken seriously, answered thoughtfully, and proclaimed "a good question" by him. Graciousness squared.

10. He is happily and unapologetically a nerd, and thinks everyone else should be, too.

I enjoyed the evening to the nth degree, but more importantly, I had several "aha" moments. In the end, Dr. Tyson made me want to be smarter.


Monday, February 9, 2015

So much excitement! So much muchness!

This is a week chock full 'o' fun stuff for me, and I don't know what's more exciting.

First, tonight, I get to see Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Pantages Theater. I have no idea what the program will look like. I mean, it's not like he'll sing and dance - at least I don't think he will. My expectation is that he will talk for a long time about important, scientific, nerd-loving ideas.

I'll try not to scream and faint in the aisle.




Then on Friday, I head down to San Diego for a weekend of writer bonding at the Southern California Writer's Conference. I've extolled their virtues every year, twice a year, ever since I began attending. The past couple of years, I've been teaching workshops. These are my people.



This is my tribe.

I'm teaching a workshop on self-publishing, which I've done before, and leading a read and critique group, which I've also done before. But this year, I'm adding a workshop I've never tried before, about public speaking. So many writers are solitary beings who'd rather not go out to the masses and put on a gregarious face. I used to be one of them. Hopefully, I can share some of my wisdom and let people practice in a safe environment.

In between these two days are riding lessons, writing, and life in general, but I find myself more cheerful with each task when I know there's something fun around the corner.

What's around your corner to get your pulse racing?

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