Monthly Archives: October 2011

those aren’t ghosts, they’re shadows….happy all hallows late afternoon


Proof of our society’s decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many.  ~Robert Kirby

why am i struggling today…on what has always been a most hallowed holiday for me? in years past, i spent hours on perfect evil pumpkins, searched for and found grownup halloween festivities where my twisted costumes would actually be recognized by equally twisted friends. in younger years, i spent months on elaborate age-appropriate costumes and laying out the trick or treat path that would fill my pillow case at least half-full of candy…in my day, there was no plastic pumpkin mold big enough to cast a container that would hold my haul. i’d prepare for hours of additional, spontaneous recon and candy-mining, to be accomplished in the dark and sometimes some darn cold weather.

now i have a haul on top of my refrigerator waiting for neighborhood kids who may never come. i spend real time plotting ways to eliminate that bowl of belly ache from my life…like dumping half of it each into the sunlit bags of my first two trick-or-treaters…or bringing a huge bag to the vultures at work who somehow carve through a whole department’s worth of leftover candy and the coming onslaught of holiday goods in seconds, leaving only a suggestion of caloric existence (thank god for scavenger birds).

of course i’m excited to see my littlebean in her cutie pirate costume tonight. it’s pink and in the sun it will gleam in all its bedazzled glory. (see what’s happening to me!!!!!??)  i got a preview yesterday before she marched in a parade and it was painfully, agonizingly adorable. and tonight we’ll do rounds of tricking and treating in my neighborhood first, then her father’s. as the parent of a 2.5 year old, i should be geekin’ with camera batteries charging (though they last longer without the flash), my own costume ready to go, giggles and tricks that work in daylight planned…(yawn).

suddenly i feel like a way less enthusiastic version of my mother…she was always so adult about things…or seemed so from my tiny-eyed perspective. but she at least took the step of making her own halloween treats, back when you could give popcorn balls away, offer cups of hot cider or make candy apples on sticks. i used to wonder why she didn’t also create a haunted house, record spooky sound effects and dress up in elaborate costumes like some neighbors. and of course i thought it would be cooler if she gave out snickers or milky way bars instead of raiding our candy bags for them later. by the way, my mom had seven kids and did LOTS for all of us on holidays. i spend most of my reminiscing time now just marveling at our survival rate…my evolving understanding of that alone exhausts me and casts my unmet expectations in a most ungrateful light.

my transition to a mommy’s halloween has not yet found an obvious path, as well-lit as the choices may be. i feel lost. my adult halloweens always centered around shock value…and nighttime. i lived in NYC for several of my best…with the freedom to be as dark, offensive or insensitive as i wanted (something about a central park jogger springs to mind, leaves in my messed up hair…ah the memories). i still have my beautiful, silky black kitty who decorates all my dreams and halloweens, the same who did humpback stretch poses next to my NYC pumpkins just for effect. but somehow my retiree neighborhood with all 5 of its kids just doesn’t inspire me. my old neighborhood of the last few years wasn’t much better. i’m definitely not as offensive (out loud) as i used to be, and i’m certainly more sensitive…all of which sounds kind and boring at the same time….yawn. maybe i could dress up as political correctness this year. hmmm. (ooh, a spark of halloween trish just flickered. granted, it’s one that’s hard to see during pre-sunset trickortreater hours).

so this year it’s my own dull demons who appear to own this halloween. no one could have told me, even 6 or 7 years ago, that i would ever outgrow my favorite holiday, and i’ll still fight you on that one most days (though nights would be cooler). today, though, my costume appears to be this bland face, this hollow stare, this whistful sigh. i really thought my daughter would inject life back into all these magical celebrations. sigh. perhaps another year, she’ll see the eerie glow in my eyes, hear a creepy laugh swallowed in a plotting throat, light the scariest pumpkin on the block and help me denigrate…er…decorate the front porch and more. or maybe once she’s grown and gone i can have some real parties again, twisted and senior style. meanwhile, there is nothing a whole lot scarier for me than feeling boring or adult. yikes. that’s the first truly scary halloween shiver i’ve had in decades.

send me some spookiness, my readers. creep me out. make me laugh maniacally. or commiserate with my sudden lack of enthusiasm. or feel free to enjoy your own halloween night, grownup or kid-friendly, cocktails or fuzzy tails. i’ll accept the contagion, and this mood in 2011.

this halftime is show brought to you by astrazeneca and cheerwhine


on september 16th, six weeks ago today, i expounded on the wisdom of listening carefully to your body and responding promptly to his or her cries for help. omg, what a NAG! six weeks later and she’s still barkin’ at me like crazy! she wouldn’t even shut up during the world series game last night. she found something or other to chirp me about through all 11 innings.

the problem with the voice of my body…besides the shrillness of her whiney cries…is that she gets all my other voices excited too. all the demons are in there, already juiced for halloween, perfectly willing to tailgate behind body-girl’s truck and her shrieking PA.  so the debbie-downers are in there bitching and moaning about weak drinks and the wind, the carrie-carriers are watching everything i do singing a constant refrain of they’re all gonna laugh at you, and below that is the din of a competitive whining club jockeying for my attention.

i need noise cancelling headphones. that work on the inside. maybe AstraZeneca can help me if they are too expensive.

so i launched my business yesterday, i think…maybe that was a delusional vicodin dream. nope! it’s still there! yay! i even got a bite (that’s what friends and family are for, right? aren’t they at the top of every cookie, popcorn, pie or candy fundraiser form? do you really think it’s that different once you are grown?) since i published the site and actually told folks about it, the cacophony of jeers from my internal peanut gallery has been relentless…splintered only by those incessant, pervasive internal cheerleaders that somehow survived this tomboy’s mutilation efforts. thank God for them…i never really understood the point of cheerleaders, unless you were one or dated one, but i’ve caught wind of some intrinsic value…and it’s not just a breeze passing through vapid ear canals, i checked.

i don’t have much point here today other than to say that sometimes you have to acknowledge that you can’t hear shit above all the ruckus in your head and the fear in your heart…and then do it anyway, whatever “it” is. i’ve finally stopped trying to argue all the negativity away. when i hear the “what if’s” and “but your gonna’s” and “how will you’s” lately, i just say (think) say what you want, demons, reason, whoever you are…i don’t care, i’m doing it anyway.

maybe that’s practice doing its thing…i know my parents and close friends and loves have heard me bark that last part a few times. they will definitely vouch for my lifelong dedication to doing it anyway.

i need to heal today. maybe grab some new business in a few hours. take some painkillers. know that i’ll recover eventually. go get my daughter from her crib where she’s been conversing with me by monitor for the last ten minutes. in other words, life goes on (that is, if you hear the nagging for what it is and tend to it! – true for both bodies and spouses), and life is good…warts, infections and all. man that makes me sound gross. i don’t actually have any warts at the moment (and no that’s not a hint for my christmas list).

live, hurt, cry, laugh, succeed, fail, eat, drink and sleep…in no particular order…and you have a day. one at a time. fear, psychic pain and self-loathing have virtually no power in the moment…take the tomorrows and yesterdays out of their mouths and they find little to complain about. and as for physical pain…that’s what opiates are for.

happy weekends, readers. life is a dream when you walk with yours…even if it’s hard to keep up.



a first time shameless promoter announces rare moment of follow through…


i did it! i put up a website and asked for business! by God i said i’d make an example of myself in this blog and i’m doing it. i’ve absolutely NO time to comment much on this imperfectly perfect first try.  check it out, tell your friends.

and in typical actionfiguretrish style…i’m off to pee in a cup! kidneys. man-aLIVE!

expansion teams of the AL (animosity league)…and la, la, la, i can’t pass you…


i’m skatin’ by this morning…short on words…feel like i used ’em up yesterday in a verbose rant about “balance” or something unattainable like that (i’m sure i’ll find a few more lying around…i always keep a stash). meanwhile, i’ve noticed a certain season of testiness settling upon me. irritants that i can normally laugh at with a patronizing, yoda-like affect now crawl under my skin and supplant my usual optimistic outlook and relative tolerance for stupidity with grumbling admonishments akin to my father swallowing curse words and muttering “commie” as he stomped out of a room protesting all that pinko news in the 80s…and again in the aughts.

i don’t even like to use the word stupid (stupidity being an obviously better choice). i didn’t realize how crappy a word it truly is until it began to fly from my 2.5 year-old’s mouth as an insult. as an insult, uttered in frustration and impatience, it’s a word that has haunted my ego and tempered my id all the days of my life. i’m trying hard to change my relationship with that word and explain to my daughter that there is just no reason to call a person stupid…especially your family or yourself or a whole class of people or ideologies.

now i have to live it, even on the roads of the DC metro, with littlebean all quiet and sponge-like in the back seat and the christmas shoppers only just now starting to filter into the usual rush hour highway accidents and gridlock. Lord help us through the silly season…she doesn’t need to realize yet the fierceness of the holiday spirit in her homeland.

until this mood passes, i must needs to put the blinders on early, develop my seasonal “la la la i can’t hear you” refrain, stop reading election bumper stickers…at least the ones that piss me off at a completely irrational level, cause cursing, and a temptation to shout the word stupid in myriad contexts. sometimes that temptation is just too great. i’ve not stopped my relapses completely yet…maybe i’ll use the ol’ white knuckle coin system, even if i’m not ready to dedicate a whole 12 steps to my success.

until this mood passes, it would help if i stopped checking the nationality of poor drivers, taking the less spectacular performances of my GPS lady personally or bitching like an involuntary martyr at nearly universal electronics and customer service issues. i will continue to root for my AL team in the World Series and do a better job blocking the fact that they are from texas. (everything is bigger in texas, and leading that list are our egos). they would be a first time winner…always cool, unless you are an expansion team who was added to the slate after my birth in 1972. i’m not sure how long it takes for a post-natal expansion team to gain credibility with me. i will let you know the first time it happens…the first time i think of the colorado rockies as a real team or tampa as more than a spring training site. and let’s face it, those fly-by-night florida marlins and arizona diamondbacks are an embarrassment to the World Series Title club…season winners or not. (does that seem like a harsh assessment?)  maybe the secret number is 30 years since i forget that the mariners and toronto were new in 1977. or maybe it’s because i was only five in 1977.

the points are, trish has got to brace herself, or start the regular meditation practice i threaten all the time, or drop some of the passion, or flee to an ashram (or the caribbean) and find all that gratitude i usually push out into the Universe to keep my own karma rolling with a smile. let’s do it – NO MOSS, NO MOSS, NO MO…oh, come ON! forty-five on the beltway? you flippin’ mossmobile…MOVE it!

how many animosity-building days til christmas?

the metaphysioball, a sarcasm sixpack and tips on mole care in the morning


i can’t keep playing my life like whac-a-mole. whac-a-mole as the daily grind is a pretty good metaphor, but so violent and adversarial in the end. and lamenting my (mostly) charmed life as sisyphean in its monotony and myself as a punished or martyred chosen one isn’t working for me either. to be me, to live my most outrageous life, i must find my gratitude for the opportunity to work through the most thankless of tasks. and upon that assertion, as is my mood this morning, my crankiest me wants to throw down some banana peels, shake out my umbrella, hide the wet floor signs, grab some popcorn and wait for optimistic me to bust ass and cry. comic relief. and fiber.

so how do we keep up with life’s most repetitive activities without straining patience tendons or irritating enthusiasm ligaments? i know that part of it for me is a regular core work out on my physioball of sarcasm. but i’m guessing at this point, the enlightened would use some insipidly simple phrase like, “you must maintain balance in your life, grasshopper,” or throw me some shit about the meditative state achieved during common chores like shoveling dog poop in rain boots. (pun intended…once i accidentally wrote it.)

while in this mood i’ll also take a moment to decry the recent proliferation and viral nature of weepy motivational speeches delivered by over-achievers touting the power and importance of “balance,” of putting your family first and always remembering and honoring what’s truly important. they like to throw the adage around, attempting to massage the cliche out of it before hurling it at the crowd…something along the lines of, “no one ever wishes on their death bed that they’d spent more time at the office.”

ra, ra. sis (yphus) boom ba. of course i believe in balance and getting your priorities in order (…blah, blah, blah)…but none of these over-achievers actually lived that life. every one of them “sweated the small stuff” they tell us to blow off. these powerpoint weilding generals, IT icons and terminally ill PhDs…all manner of folks who excel through insane dedication…they turn to their admirers in the end and say, essentially, do NOT follow the path i followed…you will be happier if you put your family and soul first, at which point you can still reach impossible professional heights and enjoy your family and personal life all in one happy, glowing snow globe of fulfillment. 

these speeches all come from recovering workaholics who spent lifetimes whac-ing important moles…usually of one specific mole species. their historically significant single-mindedness makes for biopics on the Discovery Channel or NOVA. their spouses and children admire their work and wonder what intimacy with them would look like…how it would feel to laugh their asses off together shoveling dog poop and making faces at each other, later celebrating a mole whac-ed for the weekend, even if it was of the less glorious variety. or how it would feel to see the object of their admiration bask in their attention instead of the attention of other generals, IT icons and PhDs.

the point is, i know it’s about balance…between the little things and big things, self and others, achievement versus fulfillment, the everydays and the once-in-a-whiledays. i know i’m writing this, starting from grumbly sarcasm and snark, to remind myself of that more than anything…to throw a little washer on the side of pleasantry and hope…to outweigh the bags of garbage that sit on my back deck after weeks of travel, sick kid and sick me. this little exercise, with time gifted by my over-sleeping toddler, rebalances my day’s heaviest weights…the ones i saw all around me upon waking late with belly and back aching. it’s a little fix, an attitude repair, a hit of fulfillment on yet another morning full of moles and their holes.

i’ll try today to treat them sweetly and usher them back to their abodes without my mallet or a frustrated holler. they are part of my life. they are pets, like the dog that makes so much weighty poop but gives back so much love and security…the dog who spoons as well as most humans and whose large-poop-making abilities come from the satisfying warmth inside his giant black fur coat and heart. and i’ll try to enjoy this whole balancing act…understanding that cranky balances out something (too good of a mood?). i’ll try to remember that these icons are mostly right about the happiness part, and that i’ve pretty well pushed achievement out of my top five – live with kindness, love my family, protect human life and dignity, give through service and pay my bills.

my day is slipping away now. it’s time for me to pet-a-mole, feed-a-mole and/or put-a-mole-soundly-back-to-bed-until-next-time. i’m tired of whac-ing. (take that where you feel you must, you 7th grader.)




you brought that bathrobe in a spacebag? how clever. i’m stuck with this running su…jacket.


i just want to see if i can do it. uh oh, how many times has that one burned me? didn’t i already write a post about learning things the hard way?

ahem. anyway. i want to see if i can squeak in a blog post on the road. i know, risky stuff, heart-stopping intrigue for my readers. the deal is that i fell asleep in this cute little town by about 8pm last night…a whole half inning or so into World Series Game 1. i stayed asleep all night having adventure dreams and relaxing the on-call mommy-hearing. i woke up at 4am. what am i? my dad? anyway…

i’ve got some rockin’ road plans tonight, so last night was quiet time. i strolled on into my chain hotel and unpacked, ready to make myself comfy in the kingsize. i was disoriented at first…i forgot to bring pajama pants. really? never. no way. ah well. no ice machine runs for me. thank god i have a mini-fridge in here. how many of you actually use ice machines in a hotel anyway? i mean, i think i’ve used them all of twice in 15 years of travel. most of my ice-machine usage occurred in high school and college…the bathtubs full of…shudder…wine coolers and beer, as shown in the trailer for Soccer Parties Gone Wild XXXVII. (i have a vague memory of a classmate rinsing her toothpaste out with the last bathtub beer after a righteous round of 5am puking. she was so cool and pretty. i bet she’s got good rehab recommendations.)

so i’m here this morning wearing inadequate pajamas, but alert and drinking my in-room coffee. (it’s a unique feature of road life to see myself get excited about maxwell house coffee in the little kit instead of some no-brand filterpack. go with the evil you know, right?) and since i’m on the road again (soundtrack please, willie) here are even more travel observations. (and i’m sorry if the nerd flag obstructs your view of this humor. for the record, the view is better from inside nerd stadium than from the too-cool-for-this observation platform.)

my “Guest Directory” is one of the pathetic ones…hand typed and updated once every 11 years until they stopped delivering the mimeograph ink.  in the back are “helpful travel tips.” they are all fairly obvious to a seasoned traveler…some safety stuff that’s fun like what to do if you think someone is following you to your room. it tells a solo patron to turn to a random door in the hallway, knock and say, “i forgot my key.” if the person opens the door, explain what you are doing. even if they don’t answer, it will confuse the follower. my favorite part is that it comes right after the directions to never open your hotel room door to a stranger and to call security immediately if anyone suspicious knocks or tries to enter your room. i suppose having security show up isn’t the worst thing if you are being followed, but i’ve seen too many sitcoms to see a neat outcome from this advice.

and this advice really made my humor hackles cackle: “instead of packing a bathrobe, which can be bulky, bring a jogging suit which can be used both for lounging in the room and stepping out into the hall for ice, etc.” all i can picture are the “jogging suits” from The Royal Tennenbaums and all of those american dads in line at the ice machine. that and some random travelers spacebagging bathrobes.

ah, sleep. and blogging. i still hate that word, but the act itself is like breathing salty air. mmmm.

hmmm…i can think of a few other words like that…but i’ll leave them to your imagination. these disorganized words and thoughts have cost me my morning and probably an on-time arrival for class. yikes. always the hard way, trish, always the hard way. if at all.

fist at the sky, belly full of laughter…what is up with mondays lately?


it’s a ridiculously quick stop by here to let anyone who might wonder my whereabouts or general well-being that i’m struggling to post regularly because i’m laughing too hard at life’s most dependable practical joke. consistency. HA! my outrageous life laughs threateningly with a shaking fist at all my attempts to fit myself into the routines i think i must if i’m to live well and avoid raising a sociopath. that little sociopath now has the flu. did i say HA!?**

so she’s lethargic and needy, resting comfortably and a regular two-year old in a spastic rotating circle of you’ll-never-get-close-to-a-normal-day speeds.  i’m now off to rustle up some sick food…define and select the bare minimums at my 9-5er…eek out as much work as i can on my first commercial copywriting project under HardHeadpress ( is under construction…tacky mention but i’m starting somewhere)…prepare the family, home and workplace for two more days of rather unexpected travel (not far, just far enough to be travel thanks to the twice-daily impassable monolith that is the DC area traffic spike)…and whatever else decides to join the joke.

riveting i know. oh, and i’ll squeeze in a hockey game somehow tomorrow night. it’s outrageous when i put it all on paper (screen, whatever). i’m not as lazy or as much of a slacker as i feel like i am. it’s like reading about someone else’s busier, cooler life. eye-opening. heart-opening. you should try it sometime.

so til something like a more reasonable morning, i wish you all happy, heart-filled living. and i’m not bailing…i’m not talking “haitus”…i’ve not yet earned a vacation hour at this new writing gig. i’m just announcing a high probability of an irregular smattering of thoughts and words, just enough to feed me (and maybe your curiosity)…definitely with less regularity than the irregularity i’ve already established.

there…the pressure is off…freedom on. discipline is a funny thing. maybe my best discipline is just pressing on. pressing…ha…HardHeadpress…ha again. man, i love a happy semantic accident.

** flu? no way, mundane! further inspection reveals suspected hand, foot & mouth disease or her first herpes outbreak. ah, childhood.