Archive for the ‘society’ Category

Is a Plane Crash the Worst Way to Die?

July 5, 2019

My mother died in June 1979.  She died just a few days after United airelines flight #191 just fell out of the air  shortly after take-off from O’Hare Airport in Chicago.  279 people died.  It was believed one of the engines  came loose & fell off and cause the  plane to  lose balance.  It just happend so fast—-as the plane was gaining altitude, it nosedived and crashed into a motor home park.

Boom, just like that.  Meanwhile, my mother had been in and out of the hospital since about March that year. She had brain tumors which had been giving her headaches, and  the brain tumors were from lung cancer that had mestastized.   It was stage four lung cancer.  Yes, my mother smoked.  As a teenager, she weighed a 145 pound, and in the 1940s, that’s what girls did to lose weight:  they started smoking.  She was very proud that after she lost the weight, she never gained it back, and was a steady 122 pound for years…until she got cancer. Obviously, she had been sick  for several years, but  she wasn’t going to get a chest x-ray.  She coughed because she smoked, right?

So, the last about  six weeks of her life, she was in the hospital, not being able to breath, barely able to move, She went down to about  80 pounds, She wanted to come home, but my father wouldn’t hear of it.  I said we could set up a hospital bed in the living room.  He didn’t want that, because then she’d know she was going to die.  What is worse:  knowing you are going to die, and dying at home, or knowing you are going to die and dying in the hospital?

 

Well, now my father is 92.  It is 2019…. 40 years later.  he’s not dying…but you can’t really say he’s living, either. For the past year or so he’s been falling. Losing his balance, I  guess. It’s what happens if you live too long.  Women get osteoarthritis and break their hips because they lose bone density.  Men just fall.  He broke his neck and his femur at the end of November.  He had to be immoble for weeks.  He had to shit in a diaper, and that was the worst part.  Second to worst?  We daughters had to figure out  how to get his long-term care insurance to  pay for it. They kept changing the rules as w went along.

We girls also wanted to find a way to keep him at home, but my stepmother couldn’t handle him anymore.  He needed help going to the bathroom, and  he  would not use his walker.  He was in ‘rehab’ for about  six weeks, but then when he reached a plateau, he had to transfer to a nursing home.. The first day there, he fell and broke his neck again, which meant the cervical collar for another  eight weekis.

He’s ‘ok’ now…but is he?  He’s very lucid.  He knows what day it is.  He also knows he’s not going home. He knows he needs help. but he is not dying.  He really can’t go outside.  He can just go within the home.  It’s not a bad place. they do their best. I’ve seen worse.  If he was indigent, he’s be in a crappy place, but it is not home.

How do you want to die?

 

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book review: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by Chris Kenry

June 29, 2019

I found this book in a neighborhood book bin.  The main  character, raised  upper middle class,  was the ‘boy toy’of an older gay man who was killed in a freak accident. Suddenly Jack is destitute. His college major was art history.  He never had a plan.  Meanwhile, due to self-indulgence, he got himself into massive credit card debt.  He had no idea what to do, but  because of a gay friend, he, by chance, met  Ray. He also had to apply for public aid, but since he  was not a good waiter,and could brely manage ‘custoner serive’,  he  signed up for an entrepreneurship program .  One thing led to another, and he  found he and Ray were into what we’d euphemistically call the ‘escort’ business.

I  found this book (published in 2001:  https://books.google.com/books/about/Can_t_Buy_Me_Love.html?id=Q0ATjNjLMdMC&hl=en),  very funny and well written.  I’d suggest it to anyone with an open mind who  might be interested in starting a business.  They guys do get caught…but they couldn’t ber nailed on tax evasion!

How this On-line Dating Thing Works

June 16, 2019

I haven’t had an actual date in over 40 years. Let’s start with that.  Why?  The guy I was with was not just a cheapskate…he didn’t want anyone seeing him with a white woman in public.  He won’t admit it, and things have changed…but too late.  He had his chance  and blew it royally.

I really don’t know why his mindset changed, but I know why  my mindset did.  I’ve been living with a man for  almost  20 years.  We do not have a physical relationship.  I am not his ‘cup of tea’.  Because I’m a woman, I accept that, and I accept that we get along well as roommates.  He’s the most reliable man I ever met.  He gives me stability.  I incorporated  aspects of our relationship into my book, ‘Polyandress’, which should be  published aroung the end of 2019.

I was lucky to have  a couple of  good, adventurous, tender, giving lovers in my  younger days.  Are any of those men still out there at the age I am?

Pickings are slim.  As my sister says, we’re lucky to have a gene which keeps our skin looking good.  We’ve aged relatively well.  I am finding men even younger than I am  often look old enough to be my father.  Appearances don’t matter to a lot of guys,  they matter to me.

Another issues is that these guys  are…lonely.  I am not lonely.  I want ‘romance’.  Is that a euphemeism for  an interesting sex life? Guilty.  But, as my grandmother told us over 50 years ago…these guys are looking for a cook and a nurse.

I bet a lot of women over 50 , particularly those who have no retirement plan except Social Security, are looking for a guy to improve their ‘quality of life’ in an economic way.  Spreading costs between  2 Social Securuty checks is a good plan if you have nothijng. That’s not me.

I own property, I have a retirement plan I built via research and  investing.  I am, if a  guy  pushes, looking for a guy to keep me in the style to which I would like to become accostomed.  I am accustomed to the style I live in already.  Both my grandmothers  told us girls that this was what we should aim fior.

Crass?  You can be stupid when you are young and think you are in love. I am not looking to make my economic situation more precarious.

Unfortunately….these dating sites leave a lot to be desired.    No matter what parameters you put in, they suggest  guys who don’t meet your criteria. Proximity is important. They ‘match’ you with guys way too far away.  Maybe some women don’t care &  are willing to move. I’ve had long distance relationships and I am not interested. I say in my profile, I am not looking  for a guy  obesessed with spectator sports. They send  profiles of guys who love a sports team or love to watch them on TV.  I say I am not looking for a Christian guy. They send Christians.  Not guys under or over a certain age. Too many. Or, the guy is in my age range, but you look at his profile, and HE wants someone younger.  I say I am a progressive. Do I have to spell it out?  Trump supporters respond, Ugh.  On one site, I get responses from men  overseas, 30 years younger.  Please…

On ‘Plenty of Fish’,, in the past two months:   A guy who wanted to know my bra size (I am busty…you don’t need to know  that until you are prepared to buy me a bra); two Christian guy who go to churche every week (&  they wondered why that should matter); and 3 guys who said ‘Let’s Meet’, and I said, “Great!  Pick a time and a date’ and they didn’t follow through.  So much for taking a risk.

Both Match  and  JDate want you to pay extra to actually be put in touch. so, you really don’t know who, like me, put up a profile, then didn’t actually pay.  So you can’t meet.

On all sites,  a few—I’d say less than 5%—-seem really good looking, fun, and interesting—-but are over 40 miles away. We’re too old to deal with that distance.

I bet these sites work if you are under the age of 40, or if you are willing to give up your life and  move to a strange place for  what you hope to be a romance and marriage..  I may be interested in moving after I’ve actuly formed a relatioship with a man, but not now.

So, this has beenmy experience.

 

Mayor Lightfoot: Here’s Your Chance!

June 3, 2019

I am sure most people in the rest of the country, let alone Chicagoans, wonder “What the f**k happened?” A true long shot whom hardly anyone knew, got elected mayor.

Let me give this a bit of context. Our mayor, Rahm, who sold himself as a ‘progressive’ (after all, he was Obama’s Chief of Staff…). made things worse, if that was at all possible. Our biggest problem was and is paying for running the city. Shootings? Please. Yes, there are a few pockets of neighborhoods that are totally out of control, but there is no mystery about why this is: absentee landlords who don’t do credit checks on landlords, lots of poorly educated adults who can’t make a living wage bearing children they can barely parent, no jobs for the unskilled… a true lack of both literacy and numeracy…and police designating that, since they will never eliminate crime, ‘containing’ it to certain neighborhoods.  Yes…that’s right:  the police know who the problems are…they  just don’t  make arrests because they do a poor job of collecting evidence & they  know  too many judges give probabtion (meanwhile, we have  non-violent people taking up space for drug violations…,.go figure…)

We had about 14—yes—14 candidates running for mayor, and virtually all had either (Democratic) machine ties, or were outliers: Not funded well, unlikable supporters (Amara Enyia— Kanye West and Dorothy Brown. Dorothy has been under indictment…Amara, you blew it…). Where had Gery Chico been all these years? Bill Daley? Totally clueless. He felt there would be enough white people votes, and that everyone would forget his father and brother. I had voted for Susana Mendoza for comptroller, but she really offered nothing new. I was leaning towards former school teacher Toni Preckwinkle. I was almost ready to forgive her support for corrupt assessor Joe Berrios, and then it came out she put Alderman Ed Burke’s totally useless son on her payroll at $100,000 for doing virtually notnhing but harass and annoy people (while cutting other county jobs).

So, essentially, due to so many candidates running (Unless you went online and looked at their platforms, you wouldn’t know what their actual platforms were), and a very low voter turnout, Lori won by default.

We all know what the problems are, and many of us know the solutions, In fact, Ken Dunn, of Resource Center, who started out as a Peace Corps Volunteer, then developed a reputation as a community-based recycler, has helped to create more income generating projects for marginally employable people than just about anybody in Chicago. Yet, because he’s not an elite and doesn’t contribute to political causes, he’s virtually ignored.

But I digress. Rahm declined to run. He would have won based on inertia, But he bowed out, leaving us with a bigger mess in terms of debt & the proverbially underfunded pension funds than he came in with. He had the intelligernce and the means to fix this. He just chose to enrich elites. Several great examples of this are:

  1. His predessor, Richard M. Daley, bought a shuttered hospital for….? Oh, right… the city was acquiring land for the Olympics before we got the bid to host (we didn’t—-dodged a bullet there! Ask any city that has hosted since the 1970s if they made or lost money on hosting!). So with taxpayer money, Daley bought Michel Reese Hospital for way more than it would have sold for. It sits there, akin to a shuttered nuclear power plant. Then, Rahm decides that the city needs a $9 million training center for the police—-way across town. Why? Why couldn’t this site be reconfigured? Nobody gives a clear answer. I partly blame the press in Chicago for pandering. In fact, Georg Lucas wanted a site for a Star Wars museum. This site would have been perfect! Very easily accessible by public transportation. No, Lucas and his wife, who don’t live in Chicago, wanted a site on the lakefront. It was the lakefront or nothing. So, it turned out to be nothing. They took their toys and went home because the lakefront belongs to all of us. Rahm tried to get his way for them, but a fluke, democracy prevailed.
  2. By having an appointed rather than elected school board, Rahm got us Barbara Byrd Bennet, a military veteran who had been a school administrator with no apparent record for improving educational outcomes anywhere. Worse, she committed massive fraud. She cost the citizens a huge amount of money (she was convicted) and closed down many schools instead of improving them. We had implemented Local School Councils over 20years ago, which never got enough support from CPS, but no matter. Rahm should be held as accountable as BBB, and we need an elected school board.
  3. The pension fund shortfall. What sense does it make to have about half a billion dollars (according to journalist Ben Joravsky and a few others who have analyzed the budget) sitting there in a Tax Increment Financing Account, and then issue bond funds to pay for what this TIF $$$ should be paying for?
  4. In fact—- did nobody in city government at all DO THE MATH of giving $900,000,000 to Lincoln Yards developers? Forget about the traffic, and that any jobs to be created for our proverbially ‘low income/unskilled’ citizens would be temporary in nature. How much does this actually add to the cost of each housing & business unit…and how do we get paid back? The reason for TAX INCREMENT FINANCING is to support a project that—but for the lack of money—-would not be built. This complex only benefits elites. If the developers could not get financing from the private sector, it should not have been approved. That’s how capitalism works. For our aldermen to approve this project shows that they are grossly overpaid…. and arrogant, and innumerate. I don’t know if we will be able to overcome this because we also have…
  5. The pension funds being underfunded…hello! Wasn’t Tony Rezko, the politically connected fundraiser for both political parties, for some reason on the committees that approved pension plans for public employees? No matter. Karen Lewis, Chicago Teachers Union members and teacher had a great idea: tax trades at the Chicago Board of Trades. I know from working for elites that they’d never miss the money. they may ultimately move out of the city but until then… what’s the alternative? To continue adding to the hotel tax?

 

Mayor Lightfoot— embarass the incumbents who got re-elected—for being arrogant, innumerate, and failing their constituents. They waste money and reward their friends. They pander.You really have nothing to lose!

Negotiating a ‘Relationship’

May 20, 2019

Am I a bitter feminist, or what? Maybe just too particular? Is it a self-esteem thing? Or, curiosity unsatisfied?

I’ve written a blog about what a sexual hook-up is worth, in terms of friendship, sexual pleasure, or the remote possibility of a relationship. My theory is that if you won’t or can’t ask questions about anything, or you can’t get answers, what are you really getting?

A friend, and I use the term loosely, has wanted to get together with me after many years of us not seeing each other. When I first met him, I thought there was at least a possibility of ‘friends with benefits’, but it didn’t take long to realize, because he let me know by saying so and how he addressed our ‘friendship’, that he didn’t want that.

It wasn’t just that he had other priorities. He’d cancel plans with me at the last minute, or stand me up. Yet, when we were together, he presumed an intimacy we did not have. I was really attracted to him, but he was ambivalent about me. At least that was the vibe he gave off. Sex did not lead to emotional intimacy, and it did not lead to greater physical intimacy. It didn’t lead to better, more satisfying sex.  it couldn’t. He had an emotional barrier.He was clearly alienated.

He was not the first man I was with who behaved this way, but he was one I let get away with it. To me, if you don’t want to go out with me, if you don’t want to meet my friends and don’t want me to meet your friends, you’ve made it so we are not becoming friends. We are people who know each other, and just barely.

I imagined many reasons why he wanted to keep an emotional distance. Since we didn’t really talk, I never knew. I was a different race, he really didn’t like me as a person that much—but I was available for furtive sex, he had sexual kinks he didn’t want me to know about (or maybe he was bisexual…I have no idea…). Whatever the reasons were, he held them ‘closely to the vest’, and it was emotionally exhausting.

What happened was I started living with a man, a foreigner, who didn’t speak that much English, but who was responsible and reliable. We didn’t have a sexual relationship, but he gave me stability, and I was mature enough emotionally to understand that that kind of dynamic was very important to me. We’ve been together almost 20 years. He’s very generous and helpful. His barrier is physical intimacy, which I know is partly cultural, and this is how it is.

So, sort of out of the blue, this guy wants to ‘reconnect’. There is no possibility of a romance here. He is not a dog lover, and I live with dogs and I’m very involved with the pet industry and people who work with dogs. But is there even a possibility of a friendship? Have his views changed at all? Or is it still the way it was? Where we don’t know anything about each other and he doesn’t want to know anything about me or continue to assume a lot about me? Who else is he seeing socially, or are all his relationships with barriers? I have no idea.

What I do know is that for me, to get together to go out to lunch every few weeks, and pay for it, like a meeting…is bullshit. It’s like unfinished business every time, and I no longer do that with anyone who is not part of my social circle.

 

“Must Love dogs”

May 17, 2019

Realizing that this is my last chance for romance (who am I kidding….a sex life…) and knowing several friends who met their mates online, I decided to try online matching.

There are many problems to this approach if you are picky and not desperate.

One is; that the companies that offer the databases have a lot of trouble with SAVING your information. They ask for the same information every time.

Another is: men don’t tread profiles. They look at your photos and decide you are the one. Their profiles are vague as well. It’s as thought they don’t know themselves.

Another issue is that the website owners do ‘bait & switch’. You can look for free, but if you try to respond, you must pay; worse, they make it so the fee automatically renews to your credit cared if you don’t stop it. I have written in my calendar when to stop payment, but still…

Yet another issue is…proximity. So many guys respond and think that we both should travel an hour or more to get to know each other. I don’t think so. I have turned down jobs because I have to be in traffic. I know how important proximity is to intimacy. I guess most men either don’t think about this or don’t care, but I’ve been in long distance relationships and I am looking for a guy to be with physically. You want phone sex? Pay me.

I don’t want to jump into any more missionary position sex, nor do I want to wear high heels, a garter belt & stockings, be tied up, you get the gist.

The other issues is that I don’t want to be with a Christian man (unless he’s from southern India—part of another long story…) I don’t care if these guys don’t think they are religious, it’s a cultural thing. It’s part of being part of the dominant culture, a culture I can barely wrap my tiny brain around.

We Jews acquiese a lot. In an urban area, you don’t find many people who ar overtly anti-semetic, or do you? So many people think Moslems, Hindus, and Sikhs are all the same, and ‘godless’.

I am exotic, and I am a really good lay, and I won’t compromise on this. To go to all this bother and have to get used to accomodating another personality is exhausting to me.

I admit it. The character I’ve been writing about: the perfect, handsome, sexy young man, has been taking up a lot of real estate in my head and I am comparing prospects to the imaginary lover. It’s a problem I created porn myself, but it’s something early on I don’t care to discuss with strange men. One guy actualy asked me my bra cup size. It’s apparent from my photos that I’m built like a Khajuraho statue. Why would you think it appropriate to ask about my underwear before anything else? I think it would be inappropriate to ask if you need Viagra to get it up, but I am dealing with old men here.

What keeps coming to mind is something my widowed grandmother told me about why she wasn’t dating at age 50. She said these guys are looking for a cook and a nurse. She didn’t say sex, but I got the gist. Both of my grandmothers told me to look for a man to keep me in the style to which I want to become accstomed.

I have to consider all this. Usually, what I first reveal, other than the fact that I own my own home, is that I live with a man, and we’ve lived together for 18 years. It’s my most successful relationship. I know little about him except his persona.

I tel them I am a dog trainer, but apparently that means nothing.

I don’t want to talk to men I don’t know about being a figure model or writing erotica. I’ve got questions of my own.

We all want someone we can share a life with and be ourselves. I just wonder how many frogs I have to kiss?

What’s it Worth?

April 27, 2019

I’ve been amusing myself writing erotica. If you had told me even six months ago I would be doing this, I would have laughed at you and said, “Hardly likely.” Sometimes I embarrass myself and I have to stop before I begin typing. It’s not that my imagination is that vivid. It’s that my memory is.

I think a lot of us who write in the genre have something to say aside from the fact that we know what good sex is. I know I put up with some crappy behavior from the men who provided me with good sex. But nobody wants to read about the reality of that.

Then just about everybody got a cell phone, and…

In the December 2018 issue of The Atlantic ( https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/the-sex-recession/573949), writer Kate Julian explored why younger people are having fewer sexual encounters and relationships than in the past. At least that’s how it is in the developed world. In the less developed world, men are still exploiting women, and women are still acquiescing. In the post-industrial countries, not just due to AIDS, but also due to how much time people are now glued to their phones and devices, people are having less physical contact.

In the late 1980’s, I read an essay written by an architect about how interaction between people was becoming more fleeting and trivialized. His solution was making housing in communities more structured in a way that your neighbors could see you if you were at home, and visit you if you were in your public rooms—like a living room. They’d see you through your windows. No privacy unless you went to some length to achieve it—like going into private rooms. His solution was architectural, not really social. In fact, the essay was written in the decades before social media was even a thought.

Fleeting social encounters? In China now, there are internet stars that do nothing other than live stream their lives doing mundane things…and they have fans. I was sort of bemused that people would watch shows like the Osbornes or Keeping up with the Kardashians. Didn’t anyone learn anything when TV cameras followed the Loud family ( Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_American_Family ) around in the 1970s? Is your life that boring that you think watching other people do nothing that it’s better than…actually living your own life? I am also amazed that people think it’s cool to have Alexas or Siri in their homes spying on them. Well… according to the Atlantic, they aren’t having sex. I’m not sure I understand.

What got me thinking was an incident I recalled a good friend telling me about over four decades ago. Her roommate had started seeing this guy she had met (where ever…it was in a public place. She was not introduced by mutual friends). The roommate complained to my friend that she was seeing so much of this guy that she wasn’t able to get her laundry done.

My friend asked her roommate, “Doesn’t he have a laundry room in his building?” and the roommate responded, “I’m sure he must, but I don’t know him well enough to ask if I can use his washing machine.”

My friend responded to the roommate, “If he knows you well enough to have sex, then you should know him well enough to use his washing machine.”

When she relayed this story to me, I laughed and said, “Tell her to ask if she can drive his car. If he doesn’t know her well enough to let her drive his car, she doesn’t know him well enough to have sex with him.” Frankly, if she doesn’t know how to ask to use his washing maching, how is she going to be brave enough to ask for the sex she wants? It’s not like none of us hooked up with guys we barely knew into the early 1980s. Didn’t we girls all hope a romance would emerge? What per centage resulted in any kind of relationship? We all saw the movie “About Last Night.” Anyone hook up with Rob Lowe and have mind blowing sex? All that sex that wasn’t mind blowing…was it worth it?.

It’s just a fact that women still have a different expectation of sexual encounters and the vulnerability we risk. It’s way different from what most men expect or want.

This is what’s really good about the erotic romance genre: girls have great sex, and it is described, so you don’t have to guess if you’ve never had it. We tell you what the guys want, and what we want. But I digress….

I’ve written about this in my book, “Polyandress” (not published yet—but hopefully by the end of 2019). My main male character tells the polyandress (a woman with multiple sexual, economic, and/or emotional partners ) that he wanted a relationship with the woman he has sex with. Someone he could interact with regularly. He wanted that because of what he had had with the polyandress. He actually wanted what most women want. He didn’t want what his male friends wanted, to have what we’d call casual sex. He wanted a woman to take time with him, and he wanted to take time with a woman.

So, in addressing teenagers who aren’t happy with their sexual relationships because they aren’t getting the type, duration. or frequency of the sex they want, and they are not interested in the other aspects of the interactions they are having with their sex partners, I’d have to ask: if the sex isn’t worth it, why are you still thinking this is a relationship? If you can’t talk about it, or come to an understanding that you are both happy with, why bother?

As an aside, this wonderful song that Bobby Caldwell sings: What you won’t Do For Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8GhXtfthgk


The Coton de Tulear

April 18, 2019

3 Coton de Tulear in Specials coat.

About three years ago, I responded to a Craigslist post for a groomer to come to a home and groom five small dogs. I’m thinking Yorkies or Maltese. So, since the distance was not far from where I lieve, I responded.

The guy who placed the ad said they were Cotons. My gut reaction was, “Oh.”

For those who don’t know, Cotons are from the island of Madagascar. Off Africa—that’s right. Now, how would small, fluffy white dogs get there? Dig this: the ‘explorers’ and their crews from Spain and Portugal, where the generic (at the time—this is the ‘breed’ that all those who don’t know anything about dogs say ‘they all were at one time…and so it was…) small white dogs that later turned out to be Maltese, Bichon Frise, and white Toy Poodles, came from. The Teneriffes, and those that came from the Canary Islands. The Coton de Tulear are the ”National Dog of Madagascar ( http://caninechronicle.com/current-articles/royal-dog-of-madagascar-the-history-of-the-coton-de-tulear ).

Very cute, very smart, very sweet and outgoing. The problem is…their coats. Clearly, from the historical photos, one can see that the ‘foundation’ dogs (that is, the dogs everyone used 40 or so years ago to establish the breed in Europe and the Americas) had a coat texture that was a mix of silky and cottony . The coat draped. But the foundation breeders, for some reason (I think they really didn’t have any idea how this would play out) decided the ideal coat was a COTTONY COAT. A coat that is dry and stands off from the body.Certainly, the Cotons you see at the dog shows are magnificent as presented. They have big bushy coats. But it is not a coat you can scissor like a Bichon or a Poodle. It mats. The breed standard says that no clipping is allowed….not even ‘sanitary’ trims. You wash it, you brush it…& that’s what you get.

I know the handlers showing dogs for clients have their assistants bathe and brush the dogs out every other day. Othewise, just the static and dirt from living would cause them to mat. I know what causes matting. I’ve been grooming long haired dogs for over 50 years myself.

To their credit, these clients of mine with the Cotons do not have any carpets, and all their furniture is leather. That cuts static. But, the dogs still live. When I started working for them, they had just two dogs in specials coat, and one had an improper (meaning silky) coat. But they had a litter and kept one, and bought another bitch (she became the top winning Coton, (in terms of dogs she bested in the ring in 2018), had another litter and kept two, and are now up to seven dogs, with three in specials coat.

I am an experienced dog groomer, but I can see, now that these younger—just about one year of age—are going through the coat change, that it is overwhelming. In fact, both young dogs are AKC champions and ‘finished’ (as we say in the fancy—once the dog gets a title, it has finished) their titles in record time due to excellent structure underneath the coats, and good grooming/training/handling. There were several buyers who wanted the young male. Unfortunately, my client—the breeder—-thinks that none of these buyers who are willing to pay several thousand dollars for this dog, can handle the coat.

It’s an issue. Like I said—I’ve groomed long haired dogs for about 50 years, and these Cotons are challenge for me. My solution would be for anyone who wants the dog to come stay for a couple of days and help us groom. They then can decide if they really want to get into this. If not, no harm, no foul. After all, how are you going to get new fanciers into your breed?

This is the problem. The Coton de Tulear is one of those ‘low registration’ (AKC statistics) breeds actually in danger of dying out. Considering the low number of fanciers, and the genetic tests that those with the most integrity do, and the number of breeds anyone who might want to show a dog would consider for ‘getting into’, how are the current fanciers going to attract new fanciers to the breed?

The pragmatic thing to do—if they want to save the breed from extinction, is to either change the breed standard to allow a different kind of coat texture or allow the dogs to be shown styled like a Bichon.

Another thing that might help would be to offer grooming symposiums whenever the parent club has a specialty show. However, ther is so much arguing within the club that it is amazing they are able as a collective fancy, to maintain a gene pool. & that’s the fancy in a nutshell.

Two book Revues: Erotic Romance

April 11, 2019

This blog is a review of two books I’ve read recently: “Pretty Boy Problems,” by Michele Grant, and “Huntsman and Eve: Joining Forces Security Series Book 1” by Annette Stephenson.

These books are both of the ‘Erotic Romance’ genre. It goes without saying that both stories are contrived fantasies—but what fiction isn’t contrived? In reading drafts of my own book, the issue my early readers had was that this is fantasy. No man could be this good. That is romance: the guy meets all the heroine’s needs and desires. He’s always perfect. Rarely, if ever, does the main female character give a described blow job. She is always the receiver.

Our guys are always handsome with great smiles. We never fall in love with alcoholics, drug addicts, deadbeats, two timers, trouble makers, guys who are in debt, guys who turn out to be gay, or, of course, guys who aren’t experienced lovers.

In addition, the guys are always masculine and self-assured, have money, clean up after themselves, and will do whatever they can to please the heroine. If this is not for you, move on. However, if you’ve never had mind blowing sex, and aren’t aroused by visual pornography, but want a description of what it is…and want a good story to go with it, consider the genre.

Michele’s book is of the ‘urban erotic romance’ genre. Her main characters work in the fashion industry and are former models. Her main male character, Beau, is known as a player, and her main female character, Belle is very cautious. But Beau turns out to be a talented guy in many ways. Lots of white Americans don’t know there is a black middle class, and this is a realistic story. Beau is Cajun, and Michele includes a glossary at the back of the book.

Annette’s book is about a young widow, Eve, traveling around the country. She starts a blog, writing under the nom de plume ‘Dawn Early’, and a print magazine with a girlfriend. It turns out her blog is read widely by currently serving military personnel and is very popular. Eve sort of stumbles into Dean’s arms, and there is an interesting side plot. Women who are particularly patriotic will like this series.

I know who I want to read my book, but are they the same people who read the genre? I started doing some research, and according to Sources: Nielsen, Bookstats, PEW Research Center, RWA, Entertainment Weekly: Author Earnings’ (July 2014 Author Earnings Report, Harlequin )
Top 10 Fiction Genres.1 $1.09 billion, Thrillers 2.$1.08 billion, Romance 3.$811 million, General4.$548 million, Literary5.$442 million, Mystery & Detective6.$377 million, Fantasy7.$185 million, Comics & Graphic Novels8.$156 million, Historical 9.$143 million, Contemporary Women10.$113 million, Action & Adventure Reading.

Behavior : 29 percent of romance readers usually carry a romance novel with them. Romance readers typically begin and finish a romance novel within 7 days. On average, romance readers read more than one book: A Week —25.5 percent. Every Week —20.9 percent. Every 2-3 Weeks —17.8 percent —16.1 percentRomance Vs. All Adult-Fiction Purchases: PaperbackRomance: 51 percent Adult Fiction: 46 percentE-Book*Romance: 38 percent Adult Fiction: 30 percent: HardbackRomance: 10 percent Adult Fiction: 21 percent AudioRomance: 1 percent Adult Fiction: 3 percent
At A Glance: Age30-54; EducationCollege-educated; Average Income: $55K. Relationship Status :59 percent are coupled, 84 percent are women, 16 percent are men .

Since E.L. James published 50 shades of Grey, are more men reading romance?

The favorite sub genre is historical romance, but other genres are catching up. Who reads this stuff? According to Kristian Wilson:

Despite being pooh-poohed as lowbrow literature for middle-aged women, romance novels comprised nearly one-third — 29 percent — of the 2015 fiction market. In 2013, romance novel sales exceeded $1 billion, according to Romance Writers of America. There are even entire bookstores devoted to romance novels!

So why does romance — and the people who read it — have such a bad reputation? I’ll give you a hint: the answer starts with sex and ends with ism . Seriously, there’s a giant, gendered pock mark on books women write and read.

And believe me, romance is women’s fiction. Male authors who write romance novels are encouraged to publish under female psuedonyms to help their sales numbers — making romance the only corner of the industry that doesn’t have women writing under male names.

The whole erotic romance genre is relatively new. Not even 30 years old. Most books are self-published, at least at first, and the writers have a formula. Many start out writing fan fiction and evolve from there. They are able to succeed because they have a fan base, and they work to develo[p the base by encouraging interaction with fans via their blogs and on social media—-usually Facebook.

I want to encourage readers to check out these writers. Ask at local bookstores and , of course, they are on Amazon.

My own book is in production, and if you are interested in dogs, dog grooming and training, performance events, recent African history and development issues, that fantasy rock star (yes, that’s also a genre, as is the billionaire…), what it’s like to be ‘other’ in a dominant culture, good sex, and issues of integrity, I hope you will seek out my book (‘soon to be published’: ‘Polyandress) .


All in My Head

April 3, 2019

When I was a younger woman, full of the bullshit notions that if you played the game with enough guys,you would eventually click with one. Then, you’d live happily ever after.

All the stresses of adult life would be made better—ameliorated—if you will, by finding a reliable, stable guy who had no trouble making a living. A guy who shared my values, of course. He would be physically attractive and want a satisfying sexual relationship.

Well four out of five ain’t bad. At first, not getting five our of five really bothered me. It almost drove me crazy, but I got a grip because my other relationship, sexual in nature, was not satisfying, and I was too tired to not be myself.

I’m a cynical, tough, broad, and I had to be responsible for myself. By that I mean, prepare for retirement: invest, take care of my assets, and not obsess over anything unrealistic.

I’d known way too many women who trusted men and got left with debts and kids. Or worse, left with nothing at all! I could not afford to live in San Diego. I could not afford to breed dogs. Had I not taken a gamble on a business, I might have had a chance, but I did gamble, the economy changed drastically, and at least I didn’t lose my biggest asset: the house!

I was approaching retirement. I had taken a dog grooming job where I was making decent money, but the non-grooming staff I worked with created too much stress because they didn’t recognize a dangerous situation. I put up with this for about two years, and then was able to get a job at a better run kennel. I took a pay cut, but the tips made up for it. Way less stress and a lot more free time.

I’d been blogging my thoughts for several years, but what most recently compelled me…was the situation with my father and my brother. My sisters have asked me to NOT write about that, and I won’t for now, even though that is where the real story is. I instead chose a fantasy notion that had been swimming around in my head for several years.

In the early 1980’s, right after my divorce, I had a very intense, exciting sexual relationship with a guy who was a really great lover. I could say a lot about Tony, but what I want to say is that he was tall. He had terribly long legs and was very graceful and limber. Let’s leave it at that.

The relationship lasted about a year and he took a job across the country. I was devastated, even though I knew we were not moving towards emotional closeness. What I really missed was the sex. I did go on, in time, to have a couple of other good sexual relationships, but for all the real life reasons you can think of, no emotional intimacy developed. I guess I could have compromised, but for what? No guy had anything close to economic security, and for me that was always a deal breaker. Hell, I had a hard enough time as a woman getting credit to buy a home. It made no sense to ignore financial irresponsibility. In 1985, I decided to go to Africa, and I went to Tanzania on safari. I had a sexual encounter with a Chagga guy, and that was really good.

In 1987 I went to Kenya to work on a development project. We were the first white people the community had ever seen do physical labor, and they called us ‘Unusual Visitors.’ On that trip, I went with a bunch of other free spirits to Mombasa and Malindi, and although no sex occured, I met at least a dozen young men who were so attractive , so charming, so sweet that I would have banged any one of them in a heartbeat. They were all Indian and Arabic Swahili guys. They were friendly without being obnoxious. How rare is that?

& then…not much. I became attracted to a guy back in the US who was ambivalent. I made him miserable because, partly due to hormones, I was mentally ill. I muddled through, but looking back, from 1988 to about 1996, I don’t remember much except for school, Peace Corps, and crying a lot. I obsessed a lot and worked a lot. I was lucky Kunihiro came into my life and brought some semblance of stability. He was a stranger in a strange land.

So this is what happened. Last November (2018), I went to southern Spain and came back and saw Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie is the GP version of Freddie Mercury’s life. There is plenty online where you can learn the truth about him, but in so many words, he was a musical genius. He saw himself as a performer, and this particularly long legged guy was also—Swahili. He decided himself what he would be. I was surprised at how many Queen songs I liked that I didn’t know were Queen songs. I was also surprised at what a great musician he was, and his bandmates Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon were. You can find instrumental versions of many of their songs online because of how they recorded and produced their songs. Also, Kunihiro had told me this, but you find more evidence of this online: Queen was very popular in Japan. In fact, Freddie Mercury learned Japanese and was a collector of Japanese art. Kunihiro had a copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits, and that’s where I heard ‘Barcelona’, and all the songs Freddie Mercury wrote for Montserrat Caballe. What a body of work! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA2IRoPFIn0

In any case, partly in the movie without explanation, but more when you go online, you see the physical evolution of a man discovering himself, from what his bandmates called a ‘dandy’ to his own idea of what a gay man would be. But what I really learned was how much music which I had enjoyed was written by Freddie Mercury, particularly Barcelona ( which he produced with Mike Moran). Music so compelling that his bandmates included it on their greatest hits album. Well, this is not top 40 format stuff, so why would we hear it in America?

I didn’t intend what I was writing to be a love story. I intended it to be an essay in integrity. I wanted to address integrity —or lack thereof—in several different areas. It was a creative outlet. I didn’t have an outline, just an idea. But who wants to read about integiryt? You write what you know. I hasten to say that I wanted it to seem plausible, so I had to do some research, but these days, it’s easy enough to do this on the internet. After all, this is not a dissertation. I don’t have to compile statistics.

Now, it so happens 1 of my sisters edits fiction for self-publishers. That’s only important because she knows something about self-publishing. Most self-published books don’t even break even. So, I knew I’d have to find a way to market to my intended audience. That’s really what I have to work on.

I’ve discovered the genre is called ‘erotic romance’. What I am finding in my research is that most ‘erotic romances’ sort of gloss over the actual sex. They describe the characters involved, so you can form a vision in your head, but the sex? What did these people actually do?

The gist of my story is the characters know each other because of family connections. The male character, as a teenager, seduces the female, an older divorcee. They have an intense sexual relationship and don’t see each other for another 20 years. Their lives could not be more different. The male character is sure he’s in love, and he’s carried this fantasy around for 20 years. He goes from studying engineering to being a musician…a ‘rock star; ‘ (& that is, apparently, a very popular genre in erotic romance books). The female character has done a number of things so she doesn’t have to get a ‘real’ job, and is skeptical. Their lives have changed so much, but the sex remains good. Can they really work out having a relationship?

Who would be interested in this? I’m thinking women over a ‘certain age’, dog groomers and trainers (most of us are women, and the female character I’ve written is a dog person), people who show dogs or compete in performance, people interested in Africa, and how things are (this is where the lovers meet), people who are always others, or outsiders (Jews, Sikhs, Asians), and, I hope, people interested in issues of integrity, because I have woven a narrative addressing integrity in all the interest areas. That was my main goal: how do we address integrity as we, particularly in the United States, have elected a political administration which has made a mission of insulting anyone who has integrity?

I believe I’ve really fleshed out the characters and made the situations plausible (though it is a fantasy). What I have to do is get people to read and review it. E.L.James, who wrote ’50 Shades of Gray’, and self-published that because of her other writing (fan fiction) was able to get momentum. I’m hoping to at least break even, but I also hope readers will enjoy this and start discussing the issues.

I’ve been in touch with other writers of erotic romance, and they all use a formula. They use a formula because they write a lot and need a fan base to sell a lot. I’m interested in other topics, but depending on how this goes, I may write something else for the characters. What I do know is that I will need at least 20, if not more, reviews on Amazon to gain momentum. I’ll write more when I know more.