“The older the fiddle, the finer the tune” ~ M

Awful nightmare during an attempted mid-afternoon nap yesterday. I don’t think I was truly asleep but I was trapped. My nightmare revolved around a thought that nags me when I’m awake: I’m single with no children. My mother is all I have left and when she’s gone, I’ll truly be alone. In my nightmare, my mother had passed and I felt so alone, I killed myself.


Burned sage around the bedroom and the house to try and shake off the funk. I remember something “L” told me: talk to your past, tell it you are breaking those contracts of regret and resentment and you want to clear your name with your enemies. Bring on the peace. Slept better last night but anxiety set in again as the next day wore on and my weekend ran out.

First weekend out of the boot and I put an insane amount of pressure on myself to get out and dance. Showed up to train for Diavolo on Saturday but they were working on another piece I wasn’t in so training canceled. And next weekend because of Labor day, they decided. Too many people out of town. I should have been one of them.

Sunday, I went to an Afro Cuban dance class but it was more Bomba than Afro. I couldn’t see the footwork under the skirts, understood only every fifth word, and felt like my soul never left the bed today. I used the foot to excuse myself 40 minutes into the class.

I called a friend and said last chance to dance this weekend, let’s hit Sunday Sabrosura! But that event is crazy crowded and if you don’t get there early to make friends and find a place to throw your purse, you’ll spend the entire time painting the wall with your backside. She wasn’t up for that.

So two middle-aged, divorced dancers headed to the waterfront to drink and poke fun of the men our aged, trying to pick up on the women half our age. But truth is, around here, a drink and a box of “touch of grey” beardcolor and they get those onesie-wearing 20 somethings. Can’t really blame them. I might have had a daddy complex at that age too. But now I’m 43 and my friend is turning 60. Good dancers, decent shape for our age, career women, low-maintenance…but men around here don’t go for “age appropriate”.


What helped was calling another friend, “S”.  Divorced and in dating-hell as well but on the opposite coast. I told him he’d have much more luck fishing here. We should trade. We chatted about my birthday hiking trip which got postponed when I broke my foot. He’ll be joining me in a few weeks on a fast, exhausting trip around Mt. Ranier. Somehow we got to chatting about another friend of mine who lives a few hours away near Portland. Well, that is, I consider him a friend. We all served in the same Battalion but different Companies. Plus, “M” and I went through AIT together so I knew “M” a bit better than “S” did. Still, “S” being a good wingman mentioned: “If you told him you were coming here, he would make the drive, I’m sure of it”.

“M” was one of those people you (Okay, I) meet and think, he’s a good person, we get on well, he’s into me and he’s not hard to look at… So what’s the problem? Chemistry.

Ten years ago, I cited lack of chemistry. He poured his heart out to me and I was flattered but also crushing on a former sniper turned philanthropist and a year later, a former Jesuit priest turned sniper. You might say I have a type. M particularly hated the Priest. M also never made a move on me so who’s to say a firm hand in my hair and mouth crushing kiss wouldn’t have gotten my attention?


I vaguely recall an article based on some supposed scientific study years ago about how we are instinctually attracted to people with symmetric features.  M is asymmetric in a John Wayne meets Daniel Craig sort of mash up. It’s been more than 10 years now since I’ve seen him in person but in a recent photo, on the day of his military retirement, he is reclining, foot propped on an ammo can, thumbs hooked in his belt loops and squinting into the sun. I think “Lookin good, old man” and I know he would reply “The older the fiddle, the finer the tune”. 

I usually hike solo but I’m staying with “S” and he’s taking time off to hike with me. Would S want to share our time together? I think not but again, I assume he’s just being a dutiful wingman suggesting I mention it to “M”. But it got me thinking.

So I text M. Said it was only three days, I was staying with S, understood it was a far drive…he text back immediately “Shoot, it’s only a three hour drive. I’m down for a hike and a drink.”

I panicked a little then and laid the groundwork of expectations: “I’m fat and slow now so don’t judge.”

He replied “I’ll leave it to the Christians to do the judging.”

I said “Great! Can’t wait to pee in the woods with you next month”.

“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me” he text back.


Maybe he wont be able to make it, I think. Maybe I don’t want him to. I don’t have any mojo currently. Especially after Friday night’s costuming attempt at home that became a private humiliation, discovering I couldn’t squeeze into pre-laced corsets that I fit just two months ago. I was big then and I’m even bigger now.

So there I was: Prancing around feeling like I was caught in a giant Chinese finger trap, singing “Look ma! I’m a sausage!” and wondering if I was going to have to call for backup before I finally Hulked and ripped the zipper clean off. Fuck, that was my leather Gamora / BDSM corset too.

Meanwhile, M looks the same. And I’m obsessing “Maybe he wont come. Maybe he wont want me anymore. Maybe I wont want him. Maybe he will want me but still won’t make a move. Maybe his dick doesn’t work either, I mean, he is ten years older than me…maybe I should just stick to hiking alone. And don’t nap in the afternoon. And for g-d’s sake, don’t wear that tunic with those pants anymore…”

Another blogger I follow just posted this:

“Until the new moon in Virgo on Friday, we stand in the liminal darkness of the waning Moon, the dark of the Moon. Slowdown your pace, reflect, contemplate, clean, cleanse, purge, stretch, create space for the wisdom to enter, collect the strength from the Earth, lay low.”

But I’ve been “laying low” for 7 weeks while my foot healed. But if this weekend proves anything, it’s that Something or Someone is still holding my arms and trying to tell me “pace, reflect, cleanse”. Heal. Create space for wisdom to enter. These thoughts racing through my head this weekend do not come from a place of wisdom. Okay, okay…I’ll try to do better.

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“My heart belongs to da da da da da da da…” Peggy Lee

I can go decades without watching television but while recovering from parathyroid surgery a few years ago, I steamrolled through all seasons of Downton Abbey. Now with a broken foot, I’m hooked on Derry Girls on Netflix. Not only do I love the nostalgic soundtrack of being a teenager in the 90s, it delivers one-liner after one liner without feeling forced. And Im sure I’ve already mentioned that I don’t think much is funny since John Candy passed. “Erin” has an elastic face that reminds me of Jim Carrey (who I also don’t think is funny but his face is impressive the way it pulls and peels from one ridiculous expression to another). Resting, “Erin” is an ordinary looking girl until her lips peel back, eyes bug, and nose turns up. And I’m cracking up while also thinking “Good God girl, put that thing away!”

Less than two weeks until our next cabaret show, the one Ive secretly dubbed the “Boring show”. So boring that I couldn’t even come up with a better nickname than “the boring show”. I’m already missing the Halloween show part of me I wondered if I should just miss this one too. Because of my foot, they’ve left me out of almost every number. I suppose I can’t fault them for that even though it would be relatively simple for them to put me back in if MRI results come back positive. But the set list is very tame. Almost strictly Broadway. The fantastic, complicated and inappropriate crowd pleasers are not in the set list.

So I’m agonizing even more so than usual over carefully selecting my solo singing numbers. I’ve decided to try my hand at channeling Grace Slick while our contortionist gets weird. But the other number, I have no one to assist. Considering the placement of it being the last number before intermission, “Why don’t you do right” aka the Jessica rabbit “Get me some money too” song seems perfect to one of the girls come out and dance around while passing the tip hat. I was told firmly that no one was available. So then I considered Peggy Lee “Fever”. I don’t particularly like it plus it’s more played out than Greenday on commercial radio but I also know for a fact that the girls love the song and would like to sooner rather than later work a routine around it. So maybe I just sing it and give them a taste of what it would sound like with me versus a canned track. But then Peggy Lee’s version of “My heart belongs to Daddy” played. The syncopation reminded me of Copacabana and I was instinctively choreographing it in my head. Yeah, I could nail this one without any backup.

So I asked a few friends who are coming to the show for their opinion. Out of the three songs, which did they prefer to hear? Unanimously, they all chose Greenday (I mean “Fever”). I wonder if this is what bands feel like every time someone in the audience yells out “Play Freebird!”

“In the Summertime, when it’s hot outside, and the streets are bare, there’s no one there” ~Black Keys

 I skipped sitting on the sidelines of Cabaret rehearsal to follow the
excited advice of a nurse: Go to the ER now! I napped on a hospital bed
while a retired Colonel ran tests on my heart. My ticker is great to my
relief. It’s something else. What that is, no one knows yet but it’s not my
heart so that’s all I needed to hear. 
. How many times did they ask me “Do you have anyone here with you? Do you want us to call someone?” Nope. And Nope. I know in a worst case scenario, CK would come swiflty. But I don’t want him. I note the absence of a ring on my doctor’s hand as we trade a couple of war stories. He’s too old for me, complete with wooden cane, but he’s funny and his cane adds to his austere image the way a pair of glasses makes people look “smart”. HOw did you break your foot, he asked? Living like I’m still 23 instead of 43. He laughed and said “right on”.
Cabaret presses on like I’m not there and not coming back. New choreography without me. New dancers. Even a new singer to create competition in the one market I had cornered. 
Three weeks until my podiatrist follow up and I still feel the break in my
foot. But three weeks more is all you get, I silently tell No One. Then I
need to dance. I need to train. I logged back into Crackbook briefly to view
dance events coming up at the end of the month, when I hopefully get the
green light from the doctor. Nothing looks particularly inspiring. Or maybe
that’s my state of mind grumbling. 
I’ve gone from panicked “WTF do I DO with myself?!?!?!” to “I don’t want to
do anything”. 

Feverish planets, climate crisis, and the now-public sweeping under the rug
of military sex-crimes have fired up the nightmare machine again. Plus I
still think of “C” unbidden. His name popped up in a spam email this week
and I wondered if he was reaching out to me from the grave or if it was
something more malevolent and real. Times like this, I do wish I wasn’t so
isolated. 

My breath catches and chest tightens but not like “false alarm” heart attack
of yesterday. No, this is just despair. My headphones are on at work but I’m
not listening to anything. I don’t know what is more distracting: the
converastions around me or the music that I’m not feeling.