NOTE TO SELF COVER—excerpt

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NOTE TO SELF . . .

The day started like any other day.
My receptionist, Kristin, had buzzed me on my pager to let me know that my first patient of the day, Larry Schafer, had arrived and was waiting in my office, which is downstairs from the main part of my house. I answered her by saying that I was on my way down, but just then, my house phone began to ring, and hearing it ring made me stop dead in my tracks. I curiously glanced over to the phone and then looked at my watch, and not wanting to keep Mr. Schafer waiting, decided to let the call go into voicemail. But for some reason, the tone of the ring had a strange feel to it, and the fact that it rang at all did more than pique my curiosity. Maybe my overly suspicious defenses were triggered because my friends and family knew to call Kristin if they needed to reach me during the day and that hearing the phone ring, when it shouldn’t be ringing, almost seemed eerie.Deciding to ignore it, I walked over to the back door, just outside my kitchen, and grabbed my sneakers and began putting them on. But by the second ring, my gut was taunting me with the idea that this was no ordinary call. I couldn’t let it go and ran over to answer it.
“Hello?” I said very carefully.
After listening to what the caller had to say, I found that I was unable to move; unsure if I had heard correctly or that maybe the caller had the wrong number. She said that if I was looking for my husband, I could find him at his usual room at the Skyview Motor Lodge, right outside of JFK Airport. Suddenly, my perfect life, with its accomplishments, luxuries, and fantastic circle of friends was pulled from under me, and what I had suspected for years now proved to be more than the occasional suspicion. I buzzed Kristin and told her to reschedule Mr. Schafer and to cancel the rest of my appointments for the day. I was going to put an end to my suspicions once and for all.
As I stood outside the motel door trying to calm my pounding heart, I knew that I was about to face a pivotal moment; a truth that I had evaded for years. Would I be forced into accepting that my husband, the man I’ve known half my life, was nothing more than a con artist who’d deceived me from day one? I inhaled a deep breath and prayed that I wouldn’t fall apart, and then banged on the door several times. When it opened, I was face-to-face with the biggest liar I had ever known.
He had a white towel wrapped around his waist, and beads of sweat were trickling down his temples and chest. His expression was one of utter shock and disbelief. He never expected to see me standing at that door.
As I shoved my way past him and went into the room, I looked over to the bed. She had the sheet pulled up to her neck and was studying me through eyes that were wide with panic. I stared back at her thinking that she was stunningly beautiful—with her light green eyes, flawless complexion, and long auburn mane that flowed down and around her shoulders.
Rage and jealousy came at me all at once; dizzying me to the point where I couldn’t think or even speak. The two of them stayed where they were and just watched me. Neither offered words of explanation—nor an utterance of apology. There was only hard-core silence—the kind that makes time stand still; where admission of guilt, though not verbally expressed, was as deafening as my pounding heart. He was with her! He had sex with her! They had shared that ultimate closeness; that bond that only love making could create. They were whispering words of love, making future plans, but worst of all, they were betraying me—the one who loved him unconditionally—the one who stood by him through thick and thin—who wore the gold ring that signified my inherent place next to him. And now, as he took a step toward me, running his hands through his saturated hair, eyes filled with desperation and shame, I just shook my head not wanting to hear what he had to say. I didn’t want lies. I didn’t want excuses. There was nothing to discuss. He broke our pact—obliterated my trust—and it was a pain that permeated my flesh and etched itself into my soul.When someone cheats on you, the memory stays with you for the rest of your life, and you end up judging all your future relationships based upon that one undying memory.
from Note to Self, due out June 2012

Posted by at 12:00

What Do You Say When Someone Says They Were Struck By Lightning

It was one of those instances when I actually didn’t know how to react; and if you know me, you know those instances are rare. I almost always have some type of snappy comeback or quick retort, but not this time. This time, I was silent, but most of all, I was pensive.

As we huddled near a crackling fire, listening to a story being told by my friend’s friend, we all gave each other inconspicuous glances, wondering if the story could actually be true. You see, it all began when my friend suggested that we get together after the holidays. We hadn’t seen each other since the summer, and she felt that our getting together was long overdue. So she invited us up to her cabin in Lake George, New York for a weekend of pigging-out and dishing the dirt. Little did I know what I would soon encounter. 

Anyway, after hugging each other on the front lawn of her massive lakefront property, we went into the house and got settled into our rooms. Later, after a fattening and fabulous dinner consisting of pasta, fried chicken, and dessert, we huddled around her enormous fireplace, with five bottles of red and white wine, and played catch-up with each other. That’s when Sophie, my friend’s friend, who was invited for some unknown reason, broke into a story that left each of us speechless.

It appears that Sophie was in Oklahoma, visiting her mother, when she was in the backyard picking corn. She said that the sky had turned a hazy shade of dark gray and that the wind had begun to pick up. She claimed that normally, if the weather changed suddenly the way it did that day, usually a tornado wasn’t far behind, but this was not a tornado, she said. It was a storm brewing, just a rain storm with dots of lightning. Well, anyway. She was picking her corn when a bolt of lightning crashed in the sky, leaving her no time to run. Then bam! She was hit by lightning.

We all snapped into attention and just stared into her face. I mean, what were the chances of surviving a lightning hit? So, my friend, Jayne, said to her, “Dear God! So what happened to you? Were you burned or knocked unconscious?”

We all waited to hear Sophie’s answer. Sophie said, and I quote, “I was knocked to the ground but got right up. That was it. Not a mark or blemish, nothing.”

“Nothing?” we all said at the same time.

“Not a thing,” Sophie said.

Now keep in mind that we didn’t know Sophie. She was invited by our friend, Joanna. So we glanced over to Joanna, waiting for a nod of approval, or a shoulder shrug, or something to validate her friend. But Joanna was so flabbergasted that she couldn’t respond.

Now, I ask you. What do you say to a person who says they walked away totally unscathed from being struck by lightning?

Do you call them out, or do you just politely nod, smile, and change the subject?

I’m turning STUPID-EEZA

When you read this, you’re either going to laugh at me, click off this blog, or maybe unfollow me, if you happen to be following me. But here goes:

I am having trouble following you guys. Now I’m not saying that I follow EVERY blog, but I do like to reciprocate when someone follows me. I like to show my support. But every time I think I’m following someone, I find out that I’m not. I don’t know about you, but when I read a person’s blog, I click the follow button on top of the blog. OR, when I get a notification that someone’s following me, I go to their blog and follow them. BUT just now, I went to look at my list of blog followers, and those whom I follow, and there’s like nobody there.  AND I know that there are. AND I know that I’ve clicked on that follow button thingy. SO, don’t think I’m a real dummy, but can someone tell me what I’m doing wrong?

Your’s truly

Val, the metaphysical, anxiety expert who can’t figure out how to click a button.

Blog Browsing Friday

This is a rerun–Please take a read while I write this week’s blog. OR just come back during the week. Catch-up with you later 🙂

 

I thought that today, Friday October 24, 2008, I would take time and read some other people’s blogs–you know, to see what’s happening and to see how they write. Hey, I’m a writer, and this is what I do. I’ve read some awesome viewpoints, and I’ve read some poorly written blogs that had great ideas and content, but were grammatical bombs.

Here’s one person’s blog which I found very note worthy, and if you have the chance, you should read it. I’m going to put the link right here where your iddy, biddy finger can just tap the mouse. This blog is written by Susan Loone. Check it out. Police arrest 6 year old

Also, a note worthy read is an article by James Pinkerton–yes, another Obama masterpiece. Talk about the existence of the devil. Wow! Check it out here FOX WORTHY READ

So I’m off now to scout more good reads. In the meantime, if you have a blog worth reading, hook me up. Hugs!

Valentine

Mustard vs. Mayo

I love mustard. I’ll put it on anything. The tangy, twang that makes my face perspire simply cannot be matched by any other condiment–not even mayo. Now I’m not saying that mayo isn’t good stuff, it is. I’m just saying that I rather have mustard on all my sandwiches. Is that a crime? Well, it seems to be around this neck of the woods. Where I come from, mayo rules. The people I know put mayo on everything–from scrambled eggs to steak sandwiches. I mean, really. That’s just gross. The heat from cooked eggs makes mayo a runny and nasty mess.

I had a male friend who put mayo on oatmeal. Can you imagine? Okay. So what’s with me talking about mayo and mustard today? There was a big thing around my house last night about which is better. I know. We’re pretty pathetic, right? But you see, the boyfriend was making a late night snack, and he put heaping spoonfuls of mayo on his sandwich. I was completely grossed out and told him so. But did he care? Nooo. He looked me right in my face as he gleefully took a monster bite of his sandwich and then laughed when the mayo squirted out from his bread and landed all over the table. AND it was all over his mouth. I don’t have to tell you what it looked like. And he knew it bothered me so he began chewing with his mouth open, displaying the most grotesque mess one could witness.

Gosh, I have so much writing to do, but I couldn’t let this go without an honorable mention–kind of like when I keep talking about nose pickers . . . Oops. Did I mention that again??

To Tweet or not to Tweet

Testing. Is this thing on?

Okay guys, I need you to please hear me out. I know Twitter started out as a hot commodity. It was just so groovy to post my thoughts and my whereabouts all week long. But can I tell you something? I don’t have the head to keep posting my thoughts and my whereabouts. It’s not that I don’t want you guys to know my whereabouts. It’s just that, well . . . do you really give a rat’s ass what I’m doing all day long? Does anyone really care about my bad hair day or that I’m meeting my gay friends for drinks? Or that I got my stiletto heal stuck in the metal groove on the escalator in the Menlo Park Mall? I don’t think so.
Why are we telling the world what we’re doing and who we’re with and what we want to aspire to when we grow up? I mean, really guys. Who has the time? But here’s what gets me.
We complain that the government knows too much of our business. We worry over identity theft. We’re afraid of being stalked. Hello? If you keep Twittering all day long, you can pretty much bet that your life is out there for the whole wide world to see.

Okay. I feel better. I just had to get this off my chest. Maybe I should have Tweeted this. Hmmm, not such a bad idea. Heck. What’s one more Tweet for the road?

Valentine deFrancis on Twitter

when to admit that you’re no longer cool

Something very scary happened to me the other day, and I feel that it definitely deserves mentioning. While adventuring through the town of East Hampton, New York, I heard a loud, “Val? Val deFrancis?”
I swiveled my head in ten directions and then I spotted a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years, who had gotten married and moved away. As we hurried toward each other, laughing and screaming like a bunch of valley girls, two really, really, I mean really, hot guys walk past us. With one eye on them and the other on my friend, we embraced and jumped up and down as we jibbered our hellos.

“Oh my God, it’s been forever. How the hell are you?” she says.

“I’m doing great,” I say, “and you? Gosh, I cannot believe that I’m seeing you here. Are you alone? Where’s the hub?”

“No, I’m with my twin boys.”

I could actually feel my eyes stretching beyond their normal limits. “You had twins? And you never called to tell me?”

“I know, I know. I’m so bad. What can I say? Life just got in the way. Forgive me?”

“Yeah, I forgive you. It did the same for me too. So, where are your boys? Is Josh watching them?” Josh is her husband.

She waves her hand at me and laughs. “No, silly. They’re over by Babette’s. I’ll call them over.”

I turn to see where she’s looking, and I turn back. “Where?”  I’m expecting to see two little boys with their nanny or grandmother or something.

“Right there”, she says, pointing her finger. “I’ll call them over.  Cody? John?”

Remember those two hot guys that I mentioned earlier? Well they’re walking across the street and heading directly toward us. They’re now in front of me. “Val, these are my boys. This is Cody and this is John.”

Okay. This is where I have to stop. Did you ever have something so embarrassing happen that you knew your embarrassment was giving you away? I could feel my face getting really red, as though they could read my mind. These guys were so hot that warning signs should have been tattooed on their foreheads.

“Hey,” they both say in perfect unison. They’re twins, remember?

“Hey, nice to meet you,” I try to say casually.

Then one of them gets a thought. “Hey, Mom, isn’t she the one who was in those pictures you showed us a few weeks ago?”

My eyes shoot a beam of WTF into her face. “Pictures? Which ones, Donna?”

He answers for her. “She took out pictures from when you guys used to go clubbin’. Man, you used to wear your hair really high. How’dja get it to stay up like that?” His gorgeous twin laughs.

“Let’s just say that Tresemme stayed in business because of me . . . and her.” I used my head to point to his mother.

“Tresemme?” he asks, totally clueless.

Donna and I just rolled our eyes.

After exchanging a few more words, we exchange cell numbers and went on our not-so-merry ways.

Okay. I explained this to you because this little episode had an impact on me. Later that night, after coming out of a restaurant, I get the urge to call Donna. She answers the phone all bubbly. I suppose she knew it was me; caller ID. “What are you doing now?” she wails into the phone.

“Nothing, that’s why I’m calling you. Feel like company?”

“Yes, yes! Come over. I’ll make drinks and we can look at pictures and . . .”

The rest is history. After leaving Donna’s that night, I did a lot of thinking. And when Vallie thinks too much, it’s not good. I want to know one thing. When the hell did I get old? When did it happen? I used to be young, adorable, and so freakin’ cool. Did I fall asleep under a tree for a century?

Looking at Donna’s pictures, and seeing how high I wore my hair, and how freaky I used to dress, brought back so many great memories. Where did those days go? Back in my day, the song 1999, by Prince, was numero uno on the charts, and my friends and I used to say to each other, “Shit, could you imagine the year 1999? What the hell would it be like?”

And now it’s pushing into 2011! Good grief? But here’s the thing. I don’t feel old. I don’t look old. I don’t dress old. I don’t think old . . . or do I?

How do you know you’re getting, let’s say . . . mature?

1)      When you hear thumping rap music coming from the car next to you and you close your window because you find it totally annoying.

2)      When you fall asleep during Grey’s Anatomy, and it just started.

3)      When you keep referring to your younger years as ‘back in the day’.

4)      When you really dig hearing an oldie come on the radio and you crank it up.

5)      When you incorporate prunes and apples and wheat germ into your diet to keep ‘regular’.

6)      When you wear a hat, a scarf, boots, and a long quilted down coat and it’s only 50 degrees outside.

7)      When you watch someone twenty years younger than you make the same mistake that you’ve already made a hundred times and know they’re really going to pay for it.

8)      When the trip to the dentist requires taking full mouth impressions.

9)      When you’re told it’s almost time for a colonoscopy.

Guys, when did I get old? Or, is it that I’m just getting better? Oh, and one more thing; Sunsweet Pitted Prunes really do work. Just sayin’.