November 29, 2006 · bedtime stories

A couple weeks ago. I bought a little bottle of Somnea Bedroom Mist from Fruits & Passion restfully titled “Essence of Dreams”. All tucked up in bed later that night, I pulled it out of my bedside table drawer and gesturing with the spray bottle, I motioned to Johnny Snoozefest to lift his pillow.

“Ack!” he shrieked. “What is that?!!”

Me: It’s bedroom mist. Lift your pillow.

He: (flailing his limbs defensively) Don’t spray me in the eyes! Ack! Ack!

Me: (rolling eyes) I’m not going to spray it in your eyes. It’s bedroom mist, not bedroom mace.

He: (eyeing me distrustfully) But what’s it for?

Me: It’s suppose to help you sleep better. It has essential oils. Look, it’s Essence of Dreams.

He: (snatching the bottle from me and reading from the label with archly raised eyebrows) The active fragrance of this mist combines the relaxing properties of Siam benzoin and sandalwood and lavendar essential oils to create ambience that’s highly condusive to your restful sleep…

Me: (smugly) that’s right. Restful abience. Says so right on the label.

He: Yeah, but it also says Siam Benzoin. What’s that? That can’t be good for you. It sounds all toxic. Like one of those chemicals that causes the evacuation of small towns and class action suits when a truckload of it overturns on the highway.

Me: (not willing to admit I have no clue what Siam Benzoin is) It’s not toxic. It’s restful. Sandalwood…mmmm. Restful! Essence of Lavendar…ooohh, my eyes are getting heavy! ooo.. essence of dreams, so nice!

dramatic pause while he blinks at me in that worried fashion that clearly indicates he is contemplating calling his brother the pharmacist and pressing him into immediately securing some kind of major medication to ward off the mental illness that has obviously seized me

Me: (exasperated) Just lift your damn pillow and let me spray this stuff so we can go to sleep!

He: (grudgingly lifting his pillow) Okay, but I really think the bedroom mist marketing geniuses made a mistake leading off with the benzonoid chemical crap.

Editor’s Note: he totally has a point there. I googled Siam benzoin the next day and it is apparently “a modern herbal with an agreeable odor recalling the scent of vanilla”, but it does sound kinda alarming and toxic. I think leading off with the lavendar and the sandalwood would have been more enticing.

But the next night, Johnny obliging lifted his pillow for his nightly mist without a word of complaint and by the third night, the little bottle of bedroom mist was residing in HIS nightstand drawer and he was doing the misting. It’s totally become our nightly ritual, the spritzing of the pillows and the grateful inhaling of restful ambience, ranking right up there with Finny’s midnight snack (three pieces of kibble which you better have on hand before you attempt to cajole her off your pillow and to the foot of the bed otherwise there is no way you are gaining access to your spot).

But up until last night, it was a completely silent ritual with no commentary from either of us. It was all bribe the dog, scoot into bed, switch the channel to Jon Stewart, lift the pillow, mist, mist and good night.

But last night as I lay blinking at the ceiling (Jon Stewart was in commercial) it suddenly occurred to me that Johnny Reluctant was totally enamoured with the bedroom ambience.

Me: Wow, you really love that stuff, huh?

He: (largely asleep) huh?

Me: the bedroom mist. You love it.

He: It’s okay.

Me: No, no you LOVE it! You have totally taken over the misting duties. You’re all about the misting! And after all that moaning and groaning and scoffing.

He: I did not moan and groan and scoff.

Me: You did! You were all Scoffy McScofferson. You were Sir Scoffsalot. You were all like “Toxic! eww eww! Don’t spray it in my eyes!!! eww eww!” (in shrill girly tones)

He: I was not like “eww eww!”

Me: You were too! You were totally shrieking.

He: I do NOT shriek, thank you very much.

Me: You were totally shrieking! Like a leeeeeetle girl!

He: yeah, right. Whatever. Go to sleep.

Me: Admit it! You like it! You like the bedroom mist! You love the bedroom mist!

He: It’s okay. I like it fine.

Me: No! You LOVE it! You totally love it!

He: It’s nice.

Me: Nice? Nice?!! I hate that word. You can do better. Tell me why you love it. Tell me! Tell me a bedtime story about the bedroom mist and how you love it.

Ed. Note: yeah, I know. So annoying. I can be just so annoying. I am particularly annoying when I’m all hopped up on accidentally imbibed caffiene and I know that I’m annoying you

He: (punching his pillow, knowing the only way out of this is thru it) Yeah, yeah … look, it’s nice. It’s good. I like to go to sleep in nice smells. Now go to sleep.

Me: No, tell me more! I want more! Tell me the whole story! Why specifically do you like the bedroom mist!

He: sighhhhh. You’re not tired, are you?

Me: Nope. Tell me!

He: What do you want me to tell you? I have no stories to tell you about my appreciation of the bedroom mist. There are no stories to tell. It’s nice. It works. I like it. End of story.

Me: Then make something up. You can do it, Duffy Moon! Make up a story.

silence. more pillow puching. And my hand rocking his shoulder, insistent.

He: sigh
He: moan
He: grumble

Me: Tell me!

He: okay, okay. It reminds me of when I was a boy. in England. And I would fall asleep in the heather. And winds would blow. From the moors. The smell of heather in the moors. And Heathcliff. Out there. Wandering. Staggering. Drunk. Again. Hhhhheeeeeeaaaaathcliffffff…fff…ff…(tapering off to a thin ghostly wail)

I laughed for ten minutes straight. It might be one of those things that you would have to have heard to get completely, but it was HIGH-larious. Trust me. I still laugh out loud whenever I think of it and I’m not a laugh out loud laugher in general. I’m one of those freakish interior laughers.

Funnier still, is when I got up to go to the bathroom twenty minutes later (after I assumed that Johnny Stories had drifted off to sleep) and got back into bed, a very faint “Hhhhheathclifffff) drifted up from the prone form next to me.

10 Comments so far
June 14, 2006 · What Wee Saw: Post The Fourth

Another of Johnny Shutterbug’s pix. The dusk settling on the Chrysler Building.

4 Comments so far
June 8, 2006 · Love Letter #15

As I sit down to write this, there is a nervous fluttering in my stomach, a panicked butterfly battering my insides and muttering in circular, panicked butterfly fashion “You don’t have time to do this, you don’t have time to do this, work, work, work, work, work!…” We are leaving for New York in eleven days and I have so much to do before then, it’s not even funny.

But then there is the reasonable side of me, the one that takes the long view, the one that has her priorities straight. And that side of me is saying, “Fifteen years of marriage is a milestone. Fifteen years of marriage is remarkable. Remark-able. As in something to be remarked upon.”

Know what? I am listening to her. She knows where it’s at. She is, of course, the voice that led me to the Handsome Guy in the first place, the one who knew all along that he was The One. The Everything. The Best Thing. From the moment she laid eyes on him. Well, pretty much.

I know it has been said many, many times that the happiest day of your life is the day you get married. And certainly, our wedding day, fifteen years ago was a joyous, happy occasion. But it’s not my wedding day I think about as I sit here contemplating the last fifteen years. It’s not momentous occasions marked with candlelit feasts and acres of white tulle. Not at all. It’s the little every day moments, the tiny almost insignificant details that stitch together the fabric of my life.

It’s the fact that when he doesn’t think anyone is watching, he still “airplanes” around sharp corners like a four year old, arms outstretched slightly as he banks to the left, dips to the right. It’s the freckles on his arm, the warm, sunny smell on the back of his neck, the way that when he’s playing with Finn, he sticks his arm under the bed in the guest room and pretends that a monster has grabbed the ball and he valiantly wrestles with it while Finn literally bounces up and down beside herself with excitement, waiting to see who is going to emerge victorious from this battle… the monster under the bed or her darling dad.

It’s his eyelashes, his laugh, the way he just gets it. Gets me.

And that’s kind of astounding given how different we are in many respects:

He is tall and darkhaired and skinny, and well… I’m just not. We’re kind of like Bert and Ernie. Only I’m a girl and he’s not yellow or unibrowed.

He likes routine and structure and is frankly freaked by the idea of running his own business. Not me.

He’s a capital “T” team player while all I’m interested in is the individual events.

He knows how to do math and what our bank balance is and how much stuff costs. I couldn’t care less.

His weakness is salty starches, chips and french fries and stuff. Mine is sweets, chocolate and cupcakes.

He’s much better at city driving, but when it comes to highway driving, I take the wheel.

He is more self-conscious, more reserved, markedly less chatty. I will yak your ear right off your head if you let me.

But the secret thing that no one knows, but I am telling you now, is that underneath all that, we are exactly the same in all the ways that matter. We share the same world view. We share the same heart. And the fact that I know this about him, and that he know this about me, and no one on the outside would ever really get how completely identical we really are, never fails to delight me.

Back in our college days before we were married, or more precisely during one particular three month span when we were back at our seperate family homes for the summer break, we clipped out and sent each other the exact same editorial cartoon and mailed it to each other on the exact same day. And this happened not once, but TWICE.

We both have little round brown moles on the soles of our feet. Mine is on my left foot, his is on the right. A matching set, more or less. Except that his feet are ten times bigger than mine and (I’m sorry, honeyhead) but his feet are quite a bit hairier than mine.

We find the same things outrageously funny. Like a couple weeks ago, laying in bed watching Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, Ricky Gervais talked about how the British press has dubbed him the “Chubby Funster.” We laughed about that for a good solid thirty minutes, laughing so hard I was actually in danger of wetting the bed.

I can’t think of a single movie that we didn’t agree on completely. We may be the only two people on the planet who hated Shrek 2 so much, we turned it off. We may be the only people in the world who truly despised Old School.

We may be the only people in the world who remember an old British kids’ show called “Chico the Rainmaker” which was about this severed Mexican head named Chico who bounced around in the bike basket of his kid companions, all wrapped up in a red bandanna whilst (whilst!) they pedalled around from adventure to adventure and occasionally made it rain.

Years ago, I sent him a card which said, “Do not walk in front of me, I may not follow. Do not walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and tell me how cute I am.” That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. And pretty much what I plan to do for the next 15 years, walk beside the man I love, prompting him to tell me how cute I am.

and LaLaLaLaLa means I love you…. my heart, my all is yours. Now, then, forever… always. Happy anniversary, Johnny Handsome. You are the everything.

always, M

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February 21, 2006 · Tuneful Tuesdays: Love Letters

Yesterday, the lovely Liz got me to pondering music and it’s place it my life. See, she always, always posts a little “listening to” blurb at the bottom of her posts and I never fail to notice it, admire her taste and muse (at least momentarily) what her choice says about her (besides the fact she’s all spangly and wonderous and her smile could thaw glaciers). Because I’m certain that an individual’s musical choice says plenty about who they are, where they’ve been and what they long for.

I can barely express how incredibly important music is to me. In fact, true musical talent and the ability to sing might be the only thing I would gladly swap for my artistic gifts.. Of course, it would be best to have both, but if I had to choose… well, it would be a toss up.

But oddly, I don’t write much about music. In fact, I write about it barely at all. I’ve decided it’s time for that to change. I am instituting “Tuneful Tuesdays” which is kind of a take off of that ever popular iTunes Shuffle meme. every tuesday, I will try to provide you with a particular song list… a snippet from my own personal soundtrack… and hope that it offers somekind of keen insight into my being.

I urge you to play along! Post your own soundtrack snippet (i’ll let you determine the number of songs you would like to include) and a brief backstory explaining your particular affinity for that playlist and pop a link into my comments.

The single most important song in my life is probably “You’re the Best Thing” by the Style Council. It is “our song”, the one the Handsome Guy and I danced to at our wedding, the one that almost fifteen years later still informs so much about our relationship and who we are to each other and has yet to wear itself too thin. In fact, it would be the rare Valentine’s Day or birthday card between us that doesn’t directly reference this song or R.E.M’s “You Are The Everything”.

YOU’RE THE BEST THING by The Style Council

I could be discontent and chase the rainbows end
I might win much more but lose all that is mine
I could be a lot but I know I’m not
I’m content just with the riches that you bring
I might shoot to win and commit the sin
Of wanting more than I’ve already got
I could run away but I’d rather stay
In the warmth of your smile lighting up my day
The one that makes me say, heh

‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me or my world
You’re the best thing that ever happened – so don’t go away

I might be a king and steal my people’s things
But I don’t go for that power crazy way
All that I could rule but I don’t check for fools
All that I need is to be left to live my way
(say listen what I say)

‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me or my world
You’re the best thing that ever happened – so don’t go away

You’ve got the soul I need
Baby, you’re the best for me
Gonna rock my dreams and take this chance from me?

‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me or my world
You’re the best thing that ever happened – so don’t go away

I could chase around for nothing to be found
But why look for something that is never there
I may get it wrong sometimes but I’ll come back in style
For I realise your love means more than anything
The song you make me sing – yea

‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me or my world
You’re the best thing that ever happened – so don’t go away

Of course, there are eight bazillion more significant songs, musical missives that tie us to each other and different periods in our life together. In fact, more than any other relationship I’ve ever had, music provides the cement, the glue of our friendship, our relationship, the way we communicate. In the early years, the “formative years” back when we were “just friends” and both dating other people, we were obsessive (uh… tellingly so) about sending mixed tapes back and forth to each other over the summer separations that punctuated our college days. I remember one mixed tape in particular “Take With Food” that I plugged into my walkman and listened to (both sides, at least once), in the dark, ever single night for three months straight the summer of 1988 and for many, many nights after that. That tape probably has as much to do with my utter devoution to him as his long, lovely black eyelashes and arm freckles and penchant for british soap operas and chocolate orange creams.

I remember even earlier in our relationship stealing into his dorm room with my much beloved and battered copy of X’s Under the Big Black Sun and making him listen to it in the green glow of the stero light all the way thru three times, lifting the needle after every song to ask breathlessly “wasn’t that amazing? don’t you just LOVE them?”one Thursday night when I was suppose to be writing a paper for my Fourteenth Century Literature class. And watching our stockinged feet beat over the pilling blue dorm-issue coverlet of his bed in unison to Jam album after Jam album (we were both die hard Jam fans) and arguing endlessly over who discovered R.E.M first (it was me by the way. Indubitably.)

To that end, here’s a songlist from the formative years… the kindling of real romance sparking and sputtering then flaring to full flame. In many cases, they were actually the songs playing in the background, but not all of them. Some simply hold the memory of that particular time and space and never fail to produce for me a stirring of emotion and nostalgia. I hope, at very least, they capture a mood, a spirit, a time and a place that speaks to you as much as it speaks to me.

The Brit and the Blonde part the first

1) Catch by The Cure
2) Punk Rock Girl by the Dead Milkmen
3) London Girl by the Pogues
4) Everyday I Write The Book by Elvis Costello
5) That’s Entertainment by The Jam
6) You Woke Up My Neighbourhood by Billy Bragg
7) Tempted by Squeeze
8) Pretty Persuasion by R.E.M.
9) You Are The Everything by R.E.M
10) Black Coffee in Bed by Squeeze
11) So You Think You’re in Love by Robyn Hitchcock and the Eygptians
12) The Mayor of Simpleton by XTC
13) I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen
14) Come Back to Me by X
15) These Days by Nico
16) You’re the Best Thing by the Style Council

I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen

If you want a lover
I’ll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I’ll wear a mask for you
If you want a partner, hold my hand
If you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I’m your man

If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I’ll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver, climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
I’m your man

The moon’s too bright
The chain’s too tight
The beast won’t go to sleep
I’ve been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep

But a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I’d crawl to you, baby
I’d fall at your feet
And I’d howl at your beauty
Like a dog in heat
And I’d claw at your heart
And I’d tear at your sheet
I’d say please
I’m your man

And if you gotta sleep a moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I’ll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while
Across the sand
I’m your man
I’m your man

If you want a lover, I’m your man
If you want a boxer, I’m your man
If you want a doctor, I’m your man

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