Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Night, 5 Years Ago

Five years ago, my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) and I were dodging Trick-or-Treaters on our way home and wishing we'd waited to set out after the Halloween festivities died down. All of a sudden, this kid dressed as kd lang from that one video where she's singing Miss Chatelaine, ingenius costume really, came running from between two houses and just about scared the horses to death. That did it. Starr Ann said we should just go to the local lesbian bar and play a few games of pool until the streets cleared off.

We were minding our own business, playing Eight Ball, drinking tea, when this band of lesbians dressed as pirates came swaggering in like they owned the place.

Starr Ann happened to be up at the bar getting refills when they arrived, and being friendly and perceptive like my Starr Ann is, she said, "Hi, do you own the place?"

According to Starr Ann, that piratey lesbian gave her a real unfriendly look and walked away. So we decided to leave them alone after that.

But you know how, in a lesbian bar, you can't really be all that unconscious of what the others are doing? Well, we spotted the leader of this bunch right away. All the others called her Cap'n, and she had this walk that left no doubt about whether you needed to be getting out of her way. You did.

So these pirate-dressed lesbians dispersed to pursue their various interests and the leader came right over to our table. She watched us take a few shots, and then she put down her fifty cents. Well, since she'd obviously be playing either Starr Ann or me, depending on who won, I thought it would be good to be friendly.

I had a three ball run, and as Starr Ann took her shot, I eased on over to the pirate, still watching Starr Ann's very nice bank into the corner. I said, "Like your costume."

This woman's height increased by about two inches as she drew herself up, and she said, "Iffin' it be Costume Compliments ye be About, Me Sweetling, then it be Me Self Who should Be Sayin' how Easy yer Own be on th'Eye." Then she looked me square in the eyes and said, "This lesbian Pirate Queen n'er plays at Dress-Up, Poppet. Have no idea what ye be talkin' about."

First of all, I had no idea what she was trying to say. Second, I did pick up that she didn't say eyes, which demonstrated how deep into her character she was, as she was wearing an eyepatch, so eye was accurate.

I said, "Oh," and was a little tempted to let Starr Ann win, just so I didn't have to play this tall, rather strappin' Cap'n person.

But I can't deliberately let Starr Ann win anything. It's just too demeaning. So, I ended up hitting a very nice stride and won big. Starr Ann high-fived me like we always do and gestured over at the pirate lesbian. She said real low, "Okay for me to go play some darts? Or do you want me to stay?"

I said, "Pfff! I'm not afraid of some lesbian dressed up like a pirate."

On her way over to the dart board, Starr Ann passed my opponent and said, "Like your costume."

The piratey one said, "Well, Th' Cap'n was just remarkin' t'yer Fine Friend here, Me Mighty Heart Rustler, that even though lesbian Pirates really don't quite go for playin' dress-up, it be fine for anyone else who desires t'be doin' so. Still, Th' Cap'n is not quite certain-sure as t'what ye an' yer friend are supposed t'be."

Starr Ann and I exchanged a half-frown, half-smile before Starr Ann replied, "You think we're wearing costumes?" Both of us tipped our hats back on our heads and laughed. This woman, fetching as she was, just made no sense.

Then she said, "Th' Cap'n has just made port here for a dram o'rum an' t'take yer money playin' this game - it be what Pirates do, y'know."

Finally, a crystal clear statement. This pretend pirate thought she had a big enough game to beat me? For money?

I put her challenge quarters in the slot and said, "Rack 'em, Cap'n. And make 'em tight."

Gotta say, I never played so well in my life. But at the end of twelve whole games, we were still dead even.

Starr Ann had been ready to leave for over an hour, so I said, "Thirteenth game, My Fine Strappin' Cap'n. Kind of a fitting number to end it on, being Halloween, don't you think? I suggest the winner of this one takes it all."

Cap'n Dyke looked at me with an upraised eyebrow. "Thirteen just happens t'be Me Lucky Number, Me Magnificent Margo, an' Th Cap'n be known for Her Game, as well as for Her Skill. As t'Winner takin' All - 'twould be Me Distinct an' Most Humble Pleasure to Do So - when Me Self beats Ye Soundly."

I said, "Well held, Cap'n." Heh, guess I'm a little impressionable. And I added, "May the best cowgirl win." There went the eyebrow again.

That had to be the longest, hardest fought game in the history of our little bar, The Velvet Tipper. We were down to the eight ball. It was my turn - one of those tricky rail hugging shots almost the whole length of the table. I called the obvious corner and just as I went for it, one of the lesbian Pirate Queen's crew flashed a tiny mirror so it glinted right in my eyes. The eight ball glanced very slightly against the rail and missed by half an inch. But the flash had also caused me to put a teensy bit too much on the cue ball itself and it proceeded to plop right into the side pocket. Scratched on the eight ball. Game over. Game to lesbian Pirate Queen.

Cap'n Dyke was as gracious a winner as you could ever ask for. And no, I didn't bring up that thing about the mirror, even though I knew it was intentional. Cap'n Dyke didn't know a thing about it and I wasn't about to squeal or be a bad loser.

Of course, Starr Ann and I ended up adoring the Cap'n. These days, she docks her ship, Th'Mound, and brings her sloop up the Ohio River once or twice a year to visit Happy Hands Ranch. Can't wait to write about her next visit, because I'm gonna beat her butt at pool. Fair and square.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Socks Suck

Starr Ann hardly ever drinks liquor. She's a kinda health nut. But when she does drink, maybe once or twice a year, she always does the same two things. She gets extra sensitive about her socks and keeps fixing them, pulling them tight and straight in her boots. Other thing she does is throw herself at me, like she's in heat bigtime and I'm the only thing moving on the whole face of the Earth.

So, the other night, our new neighbor took over at the cemetery to give us a night off. Very nice of Lori. Anyway, Jodie and Starr Ann and I thought we'd fix a simple supper and take it easy over at Jodie's place. And for some reason, Starr Ann brought along a bottle of Wild Turkey, her aphrodisiac of choice.

After Starr Ann tossed back the first one, I got a little bit on my guard, but was thinking that since she and Jodie are together now, Starr Ann's slut behavior would probably get diverted to Jodie, where it belongs. And, really, it started out like maybe that was how it was going to go.

Five minutes after the second shot, Starr Ann rubbed her breasts across my arm as she reached for the salt. Oh-oh.

Jodie was just coming back to the table with her second plate and caught sight of Starr Ann's next move - a little kiss on my neck. I saw Jodie register the gesture, glance over at the bottle, process the situation, and sit calmly down to finish the meal. Damn, she's quite the woman.

As we cleaned up Jodie's kitchen, Starr Ann outright pinned me in the corner over by the china cabinet. I twisted my thigh from between Starr Ann's and sidestepped fast enough to scoot over to the other side of Jodie. This time, Jodie gave me a look that carried the obvious question.

I said, "You haven't been around Starr Ann when she's had a little nip yet, Jodie. Been meaning to tell you how alcohol affects that girl." And I am just about sure I did this transparently nervous laugh thing I do sometime when I'm transparently nervous.

Jodie leaned to whisper to me without taking her eyes off Starr Ann, who happened to be pouring her third drink. "Margo, isn't it about time you two resolved a few things?"

I repeated that laugh. Dang. "Jodie, Starr Ann has been behaving this exact same way every time she gets looped, ever since we were ten years old."

Kinda loud, Jodie said, "Ten?"

That got Starr Ann's attention and she came over to put her arms around me. I said, "Well, yeah, we told you about the nuns and the orphanage, right?"

Jodie smirked as Starr Ann nuzzled my neck. "That's a non sequitur, Margo."

I willed my goose bumps to smoothen out as I said, "Communion wine. Stole it."

"Ah, now I get it." Jodie seemed genuinely amused by the whole thing. But she went over and got our hats anyway. "Tell you what," she said, "much as I'm tempted to ask to watch, I'm sending you two on your way and do hope you tend to this." She wiggled her finger back and forth between Starr Ann and me at pelvis level. I thought that little detail was uncalled for.

Anyway, before we knew it, Jodie had Starr Ann up on Trickster and was saying, "Get up there behind her, Margo. I don't think she should ride by herself. You okay, Starr Ann, baby?"

Starr Ann pulled up on her left sock and said, "Yep, Sweetheart. I'll get Oatmeal in the morning. Coming, Margo?"

Jodie is evil. She said, "Yeah, Margo, coming?"

I refused to answer, just nudged Trickster and gave Ms. Jodie Diamond a dirty look, which I'm actually rather proud of doing, given I was fairly knocked off balance by the whole evening.

The ride home wasn't all that comfortable for me. There was a nice moon shining down, Trickster was setting a relaxing pace, and nobody could ever accuse Starr Ann of being anything other than a good feeling woman. So, like I said, not all that comfortable.

By the time we got home, the fresh air had Starr Ann all alert and coordinated again, but she was still driving me crazy. Then I started thinking, Why not? Maybe Jodie was right. Get this resolved.

Starr Ann had followed me to my room, assuming she'd just sleep in there with me, and I said, "Are you sober?"

She laughed, and it sounded like Starr Ann's normal laugh, all right. So, I said, "You're clear on what we're doing, right? I mean, if you stay here tonight, it probably won't be like when we just cuddle up."

Starr Ann nodded, real sensible.

I said, "Because, Starr Ann, I am only human, you know. And Jodie is fine with whatever happens. And goddess, Starr Ann, you are so-"

Right then, Starr Ann kinda lost the thread of the conversation because she just had to pull her boots off and straighten out her socks. Then she put her boots back on, even though we were about to get into bed.

I sat her down on the chair by the window, removed her boots properly, and helped her over to the bed. As she fell asleep, I retold her one of our favorite stories from when we were at the orphanage. The one that ends with Raymond Ormsted laughing so hard he squirted cream cheese mixed with grape juice right out his nose.

As she fell asleep, Starr Ann said, "Raymond Ormsted was such a weanie."

I said, "Yes, he was."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sixty-Nine Ways To Make A Cowgirl Smile - Numbers 61-69

Well! Some writers just have range. I mean, you'd think a lesbian Pirate Queen would find it a bit of a stretch to write about cowgirl ways and making cowgirls smile. But the inimitable Cap'n Dyke makes it look easy as pie. I'm proud to say she wrote all of these final nine ways to make a cowgirl smile. And if you happen to be one of the last four lesbians in the Cyber Sea who doesn't have a crush on My High Seas Warrior, go on over to her place and prepare to surrender.

61. Point out the Star Nursery in the sky where your love was born.

62. Gaze into her eyes and then just smile when she asks what you're thinking about.

63. Always call her bluff, but let her win once in awhile.

64. Tell her your horse is in love with her horse.

65. Take her to the forest and spend the day silently watching the birds and animals.

66. Hum to her every time you hold her in your arms.

67. Make up new words just to describe her.

68. Take her on a trail ride where you've planted surprises along the way.

69. Feed her well after tusslin', so that ye can tussle again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kids Need Hugs

Our new neighbor from California, Lori, came to see us yesterday! She's been in such demand with the local lesbians, we thought it would probably be weeks before she got around to us. So, what a pleasant surprise when she called my cell phone to just say hi, and I asked her over and she said yes. In fact, she said while she was here, we could help her name her ranch!

When I got off the phone, I must have looked delighted yet puzzled, because Starr Ann asked, "What's the matter, Margo?"

"Nothing's the matter. I'm so glad Lori's coming over! But right before saying goodbye, she said something odd. She asked how many computers we have in the house, or at least have access to on a daily basis."

Starr Ann said, "Might be some California etiquette we never heard of."

Jodie said she doubted that.

Lori was dressed real casual, in an expensive, but not show-offy way. We all drifted toward the kitchen as we said hi and everything. Guess the aroma of the pie Jodie was baking drew us in that direction.

I said, "So, we get to help you name your ranch, eh? Wow. What an honor."

Lori said, "Right. The ranch name. How many computers did you say you have here?"

Starr Ann said, "One. Do you need to borrow it? Your kids are welcome to it anytime, for homework or whatever they want."

Lori appraised Starr Ann, seemed to approve of what she saw, and said, "Thank you so much for that offer, Starr Ann. But we have several computers at our place." Then Lori swung herself around to look out the window. After a few seconds, she blurted out, "I didn't get enough hugs when I was a child."

Jodie said, "I'm so sorry."

Starr Ann said, "Maybe you'll make up for it now."

I said, "Gosh, Lori, I'm real sorry to hear that."

Lori whirled around and said, "Thank you Starr Ann, you're mighty sweet. And," Lori then put one finger to her lips, as if trying to think how to word it, "Margo, that golly-gee-willickers routine you lapse into, honey, maybe not so much, okay?"


Jodie changed the subject. "So, Lori, I hear you're looking for a name for your place."

Lori brightened. "Why yes, I am. But first, Jodie, as an academic, I'm guessing you might have multiple computers at your house. I'm thinking a couple of PCs and maybe a laptop."

Jodie nodded at that and said, "Any ideas about the ranch name yet?"

All of a sudden, Lori was more interested in Jodie. "The ranch. Yes. What do you think would make a good name, Jodie?"

Jodie said, "Well, why did you come here in the first place? What does the ranch mean to you? What does it symbolize in your life?"

"I moved here from California because I have a weakness for cowgirls. Came here to ride me some cowgirls. Get me some cowgirl." Then Lori added kinda fast, "And the school system is excellent, I understand."

Starr Ann cracked up and said, "How about Cuntented Acres?"

Lori cocked her head a second. "A bit edgy. Keep thinking. In the meantime, did I mention I didn't get enough hugs when I was a kid?"

Jodie, Starr Ann and I exchanged some nervous looks. Oh, oh. Did Lori Hahn come over here today to ride these cowgirls?

Lori went on. "A good way to get over a hug deficit is to supply yourself with victory after victory after victorious victory. Understand?" And then she did it. She raised one eyebrow, and so our lesbianic DNA kicked into high gear.

I said, "Are you pursuing a victory at this very moment, Lori? Is there some way we can help?"

Lori smiled at me so sweet. Dang, she's gonna get to ride all the cowgirls her heart desires, if she keeps that up! She said, "As a matter of fact, I am rather involved in a little contest over at BlogInterviewer right now. And I need for as many people as possible to go over there and vote for my blog. I need for you and everybody you know to use every single computer you can get your hands on to vote every single day for me. There are only 3 days left in the month and that's when this contest ends. Can you ladies rally some clicks for me? Hm? Hm?"

We all started counting the computers and the friends we could enlist, and Lori seemed to like that a lot.

Over pie and coffee a bit later, Starr Ann brought up the subject of naming Lori's place again. Starr Ann can be so logical sometime, you wouldn't believe. She said, "Lori girl, you came here to ride cowgirls. Not a thing wrong with that. How about calling your place Riding Cowgirls Ranch?"

That got us another great big Lori Hahn smile, and she said, "Perfect name! Now I'm gonna go on home to Riding Cowgirls Ranch so you ladies can saddle up and spread the word about voting for me at BlogInterviewer. Don't forget to click your own votes before you leave, though."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All Hallow Even

Starr Ann was the one who found the tombstone.

She had eased Oatmeal off the trail and over to a big hickory tree that must have just fallen in last week's storms. She said she wanted to harvest some of the bark for cooking out next summer.

From the trail, Jodie and I saw Starr Ann pull up short and dismount before she ever got to the hickory. She knelt down to examine something. It turned out to be a stone tablet, somebody's gravestone. It was so old and the carving so worn, we couldn't read the dates, or read the name properly. What we could make out was the first three letters of the name. They were F A N.

Wish you could have seen the expression on Starr Ann's face, because then I wouldn't be pressed to describe it in words. Only way to say it is she looked like her soul was holding its breath. She bent down and skimmed the flat of her hand across the stone once, then looked around at the forest floor.

Starr Ann said, "This hasn't been laying here long, or else it would be covered with leaves."

Jodie and I agreed.

Then Starr Ann removed Oatmeal's saddle and pad. She put the saddle back and used his saddle pad to insulate the headstone as she lifted it with utmost care and cradled it in her arms. She handed the stone to Jodie and mounted Oatmeal then reached out for the tablet again. We brought it to our house.

Being a history professor and all, Jodie had no trouble finding out that there's an old cemetery near where we found the tombstone. It's on the wildlife sanctuary. We knew about the wildlife preserve, but never heard about the cemetery. Jodie worked some magic and got us permission to go onto the property. The man who looks after things over there told her vandals hit the place every year around Halloween, and there's no money available to pay for security. Hard enough to keep the poachers out.

The cemetery was a holy mess! A four-foot-tall rock wall enclosed a squarish area about as big as a tennis court. But it was empty. No stones in there. Just ground cover and a single tree. All the graves were outside the rock fence. They were arranged, real haphazard, in an ill-defined area about fifty yards from the enclosure.

Again, Jodie's professional knowledge cleared things up. She found a few markers that had been protected from the elements, in one way or another, enough that you could still read the names and dates. They ranged from the early to the late 1800s. Jodie checked around some more and said, "During the Civil War, when the Yankees were on their way, a lot of families moved their cemeteries, or at least the markers, to prevent desecration of the actual graves. Looks like maybe this family only had time to move the stones, but not enough to dismantle the cemetary boundary wall."

When Jodie said that, Starr Ann, who had been standing there with us, but being real quiet, tightened her embrace of the stone she was still carrying. She said, "I need to know who this one belongs to. We need to figure out where the vandals stole it from and put it back."

Well, finding the spot wasn't difficult. This was one of the larger tablets and we soon discovered a base, firmly secured in the ground, that exactly matched up with the broken bottom part of the stone. It was a perfect fit.

So lovingly, Starr Ann laid the stone next to its broken base and began to clear away the few leaves around it. She said, "I need to know what her name is."

Jodie said, "How do you know it's a woman's."

Starr Ann never shrugs. She shrugged then, though, and said, "It just is."

Jodie put her arm around Starr Ann's shoulder and said, "One technique is to place fine paper over the stone and rub gently with a soft, fat charcoal pencil. Sometimes, you can lift the figures by doing that."

The sun was getting low, and the shadows were getting long in the woods. Starr Ann picked up the marker and stood it upright, supporting it carefully. She angled it so that the setting sun hit it edgewise, causing the shadows across the face of the stone to deepen dramatically. We saw the whole thing. Here's what was on the stone.

Her name was Fannie. I won't say the last name, because family descendents still live around here. Fannie was born in 1852. She died in 1873. She was 21 when she died, and still bore the surname she was born to. She was 21, and not married, in a time and place where females nearly always married in their mid to late teens. The other tombstones, the ones we could read, bore this out. Jodie agreed it was rare to reach Fannie's age and not be a mother yet. In fact, the other stones we found for women Fannie's age gave testament that they'd died giving birth.

Fannie's stone had something unique carved into it. At least, unique among all the markers we could find in this graveyard. Someone had quite artfully engraved a single perfect rosebud, snapped and broken in the middle of the stem, on Fannie's gravestone. Someone loved her. Someone felt her loss sharply. Someone felt that her death was the loss of something perfect and beautiful in this world.

Starr Ann stared at that image for the longest time. Finally, she said, "Neither of you would ever think I'm crazy, so I'm going to just tell you. This is no coincidence. Fannie and I, maybe Fannie and all of us, are connected. We've been connected for the longest, longest time. We have loved each other in lots of ways. And I have the strongest feeling Fannie was lesbian." Starr Ann took her eyes off the broken rose for the first time and looked up at us. "I want to put this graveyard back together and come here to protect it at night until Halloween is over."

Fannie's stone rests just beside the broken base now. We have no way of knowing whether that's the actual site above her remains. But it is all we have. And we intend to protect and honor that spot from now on.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Gone Wild

Well, it's one of those Cowgirls Gone Wild Fridays! Sometimes cowgirls just can't stay in the corral long enough to blog. Ain't that great?

Be back tomorrow to tell you what kind of trouble Starr Ann gets us into today.

Here's a nice song - a good trap to not fall into.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Radio Nights

My best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) can work miracles when it comes to slowing life down and savoring the good stuff.

Like tonight. Tonight at 10pm EST, one of our sheros will be interviewed on Blogtalk Radio and Starr Ann has it all planned out how we're going to make it a real occasion.

That's right! Mimi Lenox, creator of Peace Globes and Blogging for Peace, will be on Doctor Anonymous Live. And we get to call in questions and everything.

So here's what Starr Ann has planned. Of course Jodie will be there. And at this very moment, Starr Ann is riding over to Lori Hahn's ranch (wonder what Lori's gonna call her place?) to invite her over to listen with us. Starr Ann says we'll make a nice fire in the fireplace, bake a cake and have a big pot of chili, rev up the PC, and sit back to hear Mimi discuss Blog For Peace Day (November 7) and all the great people she has met since coming up with her stunning idea.

Starr Ann says she's going to cover the PC with the beautiful abaya a friend stationed in Iraq sent to us. Starr Ann thinks the PC will ruin the ambience created by the fire and covering it might make things more cozy. I agree with that. And Starr Ann is kinda unerring when it comes to setting a mood.

We really hope Lori comes over. It's going to be almost like an L-Word party. Without the pathos. Or the too-skinny ladies acting all disinterestedly cool and aloof, yet urgent and edgy. And without the slithery love scenes, which I tend to close my eyes during, since I happen to think that if sex were really like that, I might just pass. And before you tell me I'm crazy, I'll just say I've already been told that. By most of the other people at the real L-Word parties. I get a lot of, "But just loooook at Bette." And this: "Do NOT tell me you'd kick Carmen out of bed." And, "If you don't find Alice hot, well, then I just don't know about you." Okay, so here's my take on the whole thing. They're too skinny, damn it. And they're shallow, in a deeply angsty sort of way. Plus, don't even mention that blonde one, the one marinated in semen, what's her name, Tina. Then once the other L-Word partiers back me into a corner and I blurt out that I have fantasies about Shane, they step back one step to give me room to expand on that. So, since I refuse to lie, I tell them. It goes like this. I like to imagine Shane and me just hanging out. Drinking beer. Playing pool. Roaming around, finding fun stuff to do. And we're at this one bar, listening to this really good band, and we hook up with Tina Fey. And she decides to hang with us. Right about then, all the L-Word partiers think the scenario is getting to the good part. That's when I have to tell them that nothing sexual happens. We just hang out. Ride around (Tina Fey drives, because she isn't having any of the beer). At that point, I have disgusted everybody to the point that they back away from me and begin the After L-Word festivities. You know what they are. Endless replays of that black underpants dance Carmen did for Shane a coupla seasons ago.

Anyway, I hope a whole lot of us lefty bloggers end up listening to Mimi tonight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rain and Fire

So here we sit, rain pouring down outside, viewing the Southern California inferno. Usually, Starr Ann and I have little patience with spectator news. And we didn't quite understand why keeping up with this was so compelling.

As Starr Ann clicked around to various sites, I noticed she paused real often to hug and kiss on Bates. I knew she was thinking about all the animals getting left behind.

Starr Ann pulled up one story and snickered. "Help's on the way, Margo. President Bush is going to fly out there today."

"What's he gonna do, pee out of the plane? Because he surely doesn't have the will or the smarts to actually manage a crisis."

Starr Ann said, "Actually, these are rich people caught in the middle this time. They'll get all the help they need. Not like they're mostly black. Not like they're mostly poor." She clicked again. "Check out this blog."

I read that and, yeah, it made sense. I said, "But I still wonder why we're sitting here following this so closely."

Starr Ann navigated away from that page and landed on another one that made here swivel around to face me. "Here's why."

I took a look, and had to admit, "Maybe so."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Lesbian From California

Well, the brand new neighbor from California got here yesterday. Rumor mill cranked out some spot on information this time. She's a lesbian all right.

Jodie heard about it first. She rushed to our house and said we should ride over there right away and make sure the poor woman wasn't overwhelmed by a kinda reverse Beverly Hillbillies dynamic. Have I blogged about Ellie Mae and her rope belt yet? Maybe later. Better get back to telling you about the California lesbian who moved here to Kentucky.

So there we were, Jodie, Starr Ann and me, on a mission of mercy, hurrying to the aid of our new neighbor and hoping she wasn't sitting on her porch crying over the lack of smog, the abundant room to maneuver on our roads, and general slower pace here in the land of fast horses and fine whiskey. We figured the poor thing would be about hysterical by the time we got there.

We quick got together a few tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches, thinking that since she had kids and all, and probably didn't have any dishes unpacked yet, they were probably getting pretty hungry.

Anyway, about half a mile from the New Lesbian From California's (NLFC) place, we met up with a few girls from the softball team! Seems they had gone over to NLFC's place for a little meet and greet of their own. That was nice.

They all had these real far-off looks on their faces. I said to one of them, "Hey, Carly, what's the New Lesbian From California like?"

Carly's shoulders squeezed up close to her ears, and she said, real enthusiastic, "I don't think words could really tell you what she's like. Go on over and see for yourself." Carly, I have noticed before, is given to hyperbole and is quite impressionable.

Starr Ann said, "Whatcha got there in that covered dish, Mona? Did you take food over to the NLFC and she didn't want it, or something?"

Mona flushed a little pink. And Mona don't do that. She's the shortstop, for Goddess sake! Mona said, "No, this is something Lori, we get to call her Lori, whipped up to give out in case anybody dropped by. It's a chicken dish. Smells heavenly."

As they all floated off toward the softball field, the three of us looked from one to the other and applied the lesbian eyebrow raise liberally.

About another quarter mile closer, we encountered a few of the Saloon Ladies. They were carrying covered dishes, too. Angelique waved excitedly as they rushed toward us. She said, "No poker game up over the saloon this Sunday, ladies. Lori's having a big Texas Hold'em party at her place. Promises to be some night, I'll tell you that." The other Saloon Ladies nodded, and then they said they needed to get on back to the saloon before that fancy soufflé Lori had given them got cold.

Dang! We just hid the tomato sandwiches by a rock and figured we'd pick them back up on the way home.

Approaching from the hill to the north of her place, we could see there was a crowd gathered around the NLFC's paddock. Going up close, we saw why. The NLFC was putting on a little barrel racing clinic for a few of the lesbians who'd ridden over from the next county. One of the Next County Lesbians had a camera and gave us this shot of the NLFC riding her horse, Rusty.


Once we finally got to meet the NLFC a little later, while she cleaned her tack, we found out she's awful nice, in a way-too-capable and threatening kind of way. It's hard to explain. Anyway, she's letting us call her Lori!

We never did pick up those tomato sandwiches. Some raccoon will have a nice dinner of them tonight. We were too full from the four course lunch Lori served after she finished showing us how to fashion a makeshift halter out of barn twine.

During lunch, which was all vegetarian and very tasty, Starr Ann said, real proud, "Margo has a blog. Writes in it every day."

Lori said that was very admirable. Then she added, "Writing my blog, Hahn at Home, has been such a freeing experience."

I about choked on an artichoke. "YOU'RE Lori Hahn? Of Hahn at Home?"

Lori smiled knowingly, yet indulgently.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Sixty-Nine Ways To Make A Cowgirl Smile - Numbers 51-60

This is kinda late today, but it's because my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) is such a smart aleck. Hid all my notes. Made me think up all these ways in one day. She's a little brat, but I love her anyway. Sometimes loving Starr Ann takes a lot of generosity. And patience. Sometimes, you almost have to be a saint. Hey, maybe I'm a saint!

51. Keep her guessing.

52. Touch her with love when she leasts expects it.

53. Tell her she's that one in a million who actually looks good with hat hair.

54. Did we already say hold her hand? Too bad. Do it some more.

55. Invent a Cowgirl Holiday with her in mind and celebrate it with gusto.

56. Proudly own up to the fact that Tina Fey 30 Rocks your world. (I know, Tina Fey again, but heh, it's my blog)

57. Let her see her reflection in your eyes.

58. Teach her horse a new trick without her knowing.

59. Be real pleased when she teaches your horse a new trick.

60. Make her all slidey in the saddle.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Funny How Some People Like To Gossip

Celia Susan galloped off into the sunrise this morning and we'll miss her like crazy. But sleeping again will be good.

Gosh, I didn't realize how much I'd missed all week, with my attention so focused on Celia Susan.

Starr Ann tells me Randy Sneed finally let himself get roped into getting married to Mona Floge. Starr Ann said, "Good thing Mona isn't the liberated type who'd be tempted to hyphenate her name. She'd sound just like bronchial trouble."

And for sure Mona is not your liberated woman. Been after Randy since they got out of high school and she lost all that weight and he started taking her out once in a while. Mona aspires to be Stepford.

Starr Ann predicts Randy'll be growing himself one of those man-bellies, what with the regular like clockwork sex at first, the well-stocked refrigerator, and a woman who cooks.

Starr Ann said, "Maybe I'll document the blooming of Randy's belly, from flat like now, to basketball size probably by June, right on through to beach ball next Christmas."

Jodie made a face. "Why in the world would you photograph anything so disgusting?"

Starr Ann just shrugged and said, "Art, Jodie. With my photography, I venture beyond life's beauty sometime."

Heh. I didn't know Jodie ever rolled her eyes, but she sure did right then.

I thought I should give Starr Ann a little support. "Yeah, Jodie, Starr Ann's most successful work was her roadkill series. Very popular."

"You two are joking."

We raised our right hands in unison. "Cowgirl honor."

"Shit fire and save the matches! You actually photographed roadkill?"

Starr Ann nodded. "Sold a full-color four-part display to the diner over in Gravel Switch."

I'm so proud of Starr Ann's successes. I said, "Sure did. If you want to ride over there for breakfast some morning, we can show you, Jodie."

Jodie was kinda dazed looking. "Eating eggs. Roadkill photos. Diner in a one-horse town."

Starr Ann shook her head vehemently. "Nobody over in Gravel Switch has a horse."

Never seen Jodie quite this exercised. I'm not at all sure she's going to be one hundred percent behind Starr Ann's artwork. She said, kinda fast, "No-horse town then. Jesus Christ! Well, then, documenting the development of Randy's man-belly is going to be quite the aesthetic step up, isn't it?"

Time for a subject change. Stat. I asked, "So, what else did I miss around here while Celia Susan had my attention?"

Jodie said there's a rumor we're getting a brand new neighbor. Single mom from California. 'Sposed to have teenagers.

Starr Ann said it's more than a rumor. She heard over at the tack shop that this California woman bought the old Runny Nose place on the other side of our Happy Hands Ranch, about as far West as Jodie's place is East. Then Starr Ann stopped by the softball field two afternoons ago and somebody told her this woman is a lesbian. Everybody expects her to be kinda hoity-toity because somebody says she has a maid back there in California.

I said, "Hmm. Gonna be living mighty close to us. Anybody get this woman's name yet?"

Starr Ann said, "Something like Goldie Hawn, or Honey Bun, or Lorrie Honn. I'm not real sure."

Guess we'll find out soon enough, though, because Jodie said she heard the woman's due here sometime this week. Should be innerestin.

Starr Ann agreed it should be, but really, she was already absorbed with cleaning her lenses and checking her camera batteries. She said, "People sure like to gossip, don't they? Now, Jodie, we're going into town and intercept Randy as he leaves church. What I want you to do is get him to talking and maneuver him around so's I can get a good profile of his belly. We need a "before" shot. I hear the wedding is next week, so time is of the essence."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

For Your Birthday, Starr Ann, The Sky

"Scary little bastard, when he looks directly at you, isn't he?"

I had just broken the news to Celia Susan that she would be puppy-sitting Bates while Jodie, Starr Ann and I were in the air enjoying Starr Ann's birthday present. The plane just had four seats.

Starr Ann still didn't know where we were going. She gave Bates the most loving pat on top of his tiny head and said, "You'll learn to love his evil eyes, Celia, just give him a little time to worm into your heart."

Celia Susan looked doubtful, but patted Bates real nice anyway.

When our mystery ride ended up at the airport, we could tell Starr Ann was almost afraid to hope what her gift might be. She was doing a great job of holding in her excitement, but it was time. No more suspense.

I pointed upward at the dazzling October sky and said, "You're going to be up there soaring among those clouds in a few minutes, Starr Ann. Happy Birthday."

When Starr Ann hugs you, you never know whether it's going to be the kind that almost breaks your ribs or the kind that's so tender and loving your eyes fill up with tears. This one was of the second form.

There was nobody around the office at first, then an older man rushed in from the hangar out back and asked what he could do for us. When I said we had a flight scheduled, he pointed out to the flightline and said, "Erin's finishing your pre-flight right now. She'll come in to collect you when she's done."

I hadn't even dared hope Erin London would be our pilot. Happy Birthday, Starr Ann. Happy Birthday, me.

Erin was all smiles, and when I say that about that woman, what I mean is all beautiful smiles, when she came in to get us.

On the way to the airplane, Erin focused on Starr Ann, since she was the birthday girl. Erin said, "You'll sit up front with me, Starr Ann. You're going to be my co-pilot."

Starr Ann shot us a big smile over her shoulder, then turned back to Erin and said, "I've always wanted to do this. I'm a little nervous, though, too."

Goddess, I love it when Starr Ann forgets to be audacious!

Jodie put her arm through mine and dropped us back a few paces. She said low, "You sit directly behind Erin, where you'll have a clear view of Starr Ann's face during this."

I said, "Make you a deal. I'll sit there the first half of the flight, then we trade seats, so you can watch her."

I got a kiss on my cheek for that. "Deal, Margo."

When that plane picked up speed going down the runway, it felt like it was going to shake apart. I swear I almost peed my pants. Soon as the wheels broke free from the pavement, though, everything went smooth and quiet. I got myself together by the time Erin banked us up over a bunch of trees and straightened the plane out real level. I don't think Starr Ann felt one bit of fear. It was easy to see that girl was one hundred percent living in the moment.

We were barely up high enough that roads started looking stringy and the ground colors were fuzzy, when Erin took her hands off the yoke and said, "All yours, Starr Ann. Have fun."

Starr Ann about choked. "I thought you were kidding about that."

"Not at all. Go ahead. You can't hurt us up here." Then Erin showed Starr Ann how to make the plane bank and turn, gain a little altitude, lose a little, tip the wings, and poke holes in the clouds."

Jodie and I held hands and I think we were both memorizing the moments, making them so they'd never get out of our hearts. After a while, Jodie stirred some quick circles in the air, universal symbol of switching places.

I said, "Erin, are Jodie and I allowed to change places for the rest of the flight?"
Erin said sure, that'd be fine.

Jodie lost all consciousness of my existence as she watched our Starr Ann pilot the plane, so I treated myself to the sight of Erin London sitting there, easy as all get out, letting Starr Ann fly us wherever she pleased.

At one point, Erin turned to say something and caught me looking at her. I smiled, and I swear she skipped a beat, let those beautiful brown eyes take their measure of me, and then recalibrated her gaze before turning to Starr Ann with whatever it was she was saying. After that, Erin addressed me as much as she did Starr Ann. Just when I had had her pegged for straight, something so honest and so direct came shining through and I suddenly could barely breathe, I was so hopeful. Don't remember a damn thing about the rest of the flight or the landing. I'm sure we did land, though, because we were suddenly walking back across the flightline, almost to the office.

I snapped myself out of my daze and started plotting how I'd wait until we'd left and tell Jodie and Starr Ann I'd be right back. Then I'd run back and ask Erin London if she would go to lunch with me tomorrow. No use in being opaque. Just express my profound interest and, if what I saw in those eyes was what I thought it was, life was about to get mighty innerestin.

There was an understated, very expensive car pulled up on the grass and sitting right outside the office door. We had to walk around it to get inside. Over in the office's lounge area, a man, a different one from earlier, this one all decked out in fancy leisure clothes, was watching the Weather Channel. He broke out in a big grin when he saw us. Well, when he saw Erin.

The guy was a doctor. Apparently Erin's boyfriend or something. He was polite to us, but couldn't keep his eyes off her. Nice looking guy. Seemed plenty friendly and all. They were going to lunch. No big deal. Really.

Starr Ann and Jodie were still thrumming from the plane ride. I was kind of thrumming, too. But, listen, straightness happens. Right? Main thing was that my Starr Ann had an unforgettable time.

On the way home, we teased her about the packages she still had to open, her gifts from Jodie and Celia Susan. Later on, we would eat cake and Starr Ann's favorite hideous meal - fried potatoes, fried veggie burgers, fried zucchini, and fried banana peppers. If there were such a thing as fried birthday cake, believe me, she would have asked for it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rites and Ritual

We're about to saddle up for the long ride to Lexington this morning, so I don't have a lot of time to write.

Jodie came over early and we were all a tiny bit quiet for a change. We're heading to The Kentucky Horse Park for John Henry's memorial service. I wasn't sure what the others were thinking as we ate breakfast together, but I was thinking about rituals and rites and how when you step outside mainstream society, or are forced outside, those things tend to fall away from you.

As I was remembering what it felt like at the orphanage when the nuns would march us over to church for Mass, Starr Ann said, "Ever think about how we built all our own traditions from the ground up, Margo?"

I said, "You mean like how we decorate a healthy tree outside for Christmas?"

"Yeah, kinda."

After a few minutes, Jodie said, "I, for one, feel like I've been observing your eco-sabbath all my life, and it has only been, my goddess, is it only three months since we met?" Jodie reached over and covered Starr Ann's hand for a second.

I warned you we were oddly subdued and sentimental this morning.

Even Celia Susan didn't mention one politician, or the war, or torture. Well, she did mumble something at one point about how we need to change The War on Terror to The War on Torture, but still.

Anyway, today four lesbian cowgirls who rarely have time or attention to spare for pop culture, organized religion, or most other people, will stand amongst a crowd of people, probably mostly straight, probably at least a few homophobes, Republicans and Humvee drivers. Okay, maybe Humvee drivers takes it a little too far. But my point is, we'll be standing there with all those people, united in the deep reverence we all feel at the passing of a fellow creature. Side by side, we'll likely all share the same emotions as we watch the tribute to John Henry's strong soul, cry together as we watch replays of his stirring victories, and spend a holy moment together as we say a final goodbye.

Rites and ritual. Maybe we should think again about shedding too many of those. They may serve a purpose after all.

And speaking of which - tomorrow we celebrate the miraculous occasion of the birth of Starr Ann!

We are forever moved from sorrow to joy, and back again. Might as well learn to appreciate both with equal attentiveness.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Cowgirl Oath

There's an old saying that goes "Cowgirls stick together." And if you happen to be lesbian cowgirls, well, that old saying definitely has added dimensions. Heh.
So, you might be asking yourself right about now, "Dang, what can I do to be sticking by my lesbian cowgirl sisters today?"

Here's what you can do: Go to BlogInterviewer and click on the thumbs-up (heh) to vote on Lori Hahn's blog. She is one of our own, and a fantastic, tried and true blogger extraordinaire. She's got a real shot at winning money this month. But we all need to click our heels together and say, wait, that's not it. We all need to use this BlogInterviewer link to vote for Lori EVERY 24 HOURS for the remainder of the month. Vote at home. Vote at work. Vote on your neighbors' computers when they aren't looking. Call your mom and ask her to vote (Lori is an incredible mother). Come on, if cowgirls can't do it, nobody can.

Okay. Starr Ann, Jodie, Celia Susan and I are expecting huge numbers for our Lori girl over the next 13 days. Now, on to today's Chronicles!

Funny how you can know a person almost your whole life and still find out new things about them. Happened with Celia Susan yesterday.

The four of us were just hanging out in the morning, finishing up the easy part of chores. Starr Ann was nosing around, trying to snag a clue about her birthday presents, and we kept making her think she was on to something, then bursting her bubble. You know, just a regular day.

So Celia Susan all of a sudden sighs and says, "Sure would be fun to play croquet this afternoon."

Starr Ann and I exchanged a quizzical glance. Yes, quizzical. What's wrong with that?

Celia got real defensive. She said, "Croquet is unbelievably fun. It's like polo without the ponies."

Starr Ann opened her mouth to speak and I couldn't wait for what was going to come out, when Jodie said, "You know, I love croquet. Haven't had a good game of it in years, though."

Starr Ann and I exchanged a quizzical glance. Jodie moved closer to Celia Susan in one of those come-over-here-so-we-can-really-talk kinda ways. Starr Ann did the same toward me, and she whispered, "Sounds like we're real lucky we don't have any croquet pieces, or whatever you'd call it."

Jodie and Celia Susan both got animated and Celia Susan exclaimed, "Jodie has a croquet set! And she's going to go get it for us!"

All Starr Ann and I could do was gape at these two strangers before us.

Starr Ann finally came up with, "Why not just jog over to the retirement home and borrow theirs? It's a little closer."

Didn't faze those two. They already had the whole thing lined out in their minds.

Jodie said, "Celia Susan and I will fetch the equipment." She pointed to us. "You two stay here and cut the grass real short from," she put sticks at the corners of a big rectangle on the ground, "from here, to here, to here, to here."

They were gone before we knew it. I said, "Maybe we really could think of it like polo without the ponies."

Starr Ann said, "Us womenfolk better get things ready, I think Jodie was serious. You want to cut the grass while I fix food?"

Before they got back, Starr Ann's chase mechanism kicked in. She came outside and had me stop the mower. "Margo, we're going to pair up you and me against them. And somehow we're going to beat them."

I nodded. "That's a given."

"Cowgirl oath?"

I removed my hat and placed it over my heart. Starr Ann did the same.

Starr Ann began, "I swear by all that has been achieved for those of our kind,"

I took up my part, "for all the trails blazed by women like Bell Starr,"

"Annie Oakley,"

"Calamity Jane,"

"Dale Evans,"

"The Dixie Chicks and Tina Fey,"

Starr Ann stopped a second to ask, "Since when did Tina Fey qualify as a cowgirl?"

"Since a recurring dream I have."

Starr Ann continued, "Tina Fey,"

"and every other woman with a cowgirl heart,"

"We swear we will do all in our power to win this ungodly game today."

We ended by intoning solemnly, "Yee haa."

And then we bumped our hats together. It was done. We would be fierce warriors on the croquet court. Later, we learned it was a croquet field, but that's minor.

So that's how four able-bodied cowgirls ended up playing croquet all day. Thing was, though, it was pretty fun. Weird, huh?

Who won? Jodie and Celia Susan wiped up the damn field
with us. But that's the thing about the cowgirl oath. All it requires is doing your best. And we did our best. They were just the better women at playing a stupid game where you take sticks and hit balls that day, that's all. No big deal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Birthday Countdown

Since Starr Ann's birthday is just two days away, I thought it would be good to remind everybody to be real quiet about it, but take another look at what I'm getting her this year, just as a reminder. That way, when we end up at the airport on Saturday, you won't wonder if you've stumbled into the wrong place. Don't worry, we might defy gravity for an hour or so, but the horses will be waiting just outside the airport gate to gallop us back to the ranch!

[Originally posted as Feel Like Flying, on September 5, 2007]

Starr Ann and Jodie are in heat again. Lucky disgusting things. In about two days I expect they'll crawl out of Jodie's room and come over here looking for food. Of course, the requisite chocolate cake and Mexican beer will be on hand.
Yesterday afternoon, soon as Starr Ann left for Jodie's, I hightailed it over to the small general aviation airport not far from here. Starr Ann's birthday is at the end of October, and I had an inspired gift idea - an airplane ride for her, Jodie, and me. It's perfect!

But here's the thing. When I got there, the airport's office was empty. Nobody home. I was just about ready to venture out to the hangar and see if I could find a mechanic or somebody, when this little blue airplane, robin's egg blue, comes rolling up, right on the grass, and shuts down outside. Real cute plane.

A couple of seconds after the propeller calmed down, out steps what I have to say is the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen up close. You could have told me I was watching an old Natalie Wood movie and I'd have believed you. I had a few seconds to admire her as she leaned against that robin's egg background, which did nothing to hurt the effect of her dark brown eyes and shiny brown hair, to write something in her notebook. I really hoped she'd walk through the office on her way to wherever she was going next.

She did! When she saw me there at the empty counter, she tossed her pad onto a shelf and asked what she could do for me.

That was a cue if I ever heard one, but my mojo was totally not working. This never happens, but I was entirely cut off from my supply of catchy lines. Nothing. Went through the whole transaction of arranging Starr Ann's flight without one suggestive remark, one significant look. I was visited by an attack of clumsiness, though. Dropped the pen she gave me, twice. And I know she saw my hand hover over the space for writing my address. I was blank. Where the FUCK do I live? Then, a miracle occurred, and I remembered.

Did I get her name? No. Check for a ring? No. Make one single memorable impression? Yes. She surely saw me as a chronic mumbler with the motor skills of a two-year-old.

All the way home I kept telling Trickster it was no big deal. Probably never see her again. She's more than likely straight. No big deal. I'm cool.

So, I switched my thoughts over to the purpose of going to the airport in the first place. Starr Ann has talked for ages about flying in a small plane, and I know she's going to love sharing that with Jodie and me.

The other great part about this present, the genius factor, is that Starr Ann has zero chance of finding it before the big day. That girl tears this place apart every time I have a present hidden and she usually finds it. Not this time!

Guess I'll go clean stalls, mow the pasture, maybe clean out the barn and vacuum the floors here in the house. Who am I kidding? I'm going to sit here in this stupor, dying to spend a couple of days with that airport girl working up the need for chocolate cake and Mexican beer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Well Fancy That!

If anybody ever tries to tell you there's not a little bit of cowgirl in all of us, don't believe it. Even the Most Fine Cap'n Dyke, Lesbian Pirate Queen, has found her cowgirl side.

A few nights ago, an impromptu party broke out between Happy Hands Ranch and Cap'n Dyke's pirate ship, Th'Mound. A great time was had by all, and at some point the Cap'n penned the first half of a ballad. Then Her Fine Self challenged Starr Ann to finish it.

Well, Starr Ann can't resist a dare, so she set herself to work, though she admits she's no songwriter. Anyway, Starr Ann's probably going to kill me, but I proudly post the results of that quite raucous night. It was wild, it was disorderly, it was fun!

The Ballad of Tequila Cowgirl

The night was dark, the moon was high,
The horses neighing soft nearby,
When a figure tall and lithe came down the lane,
Her fingers twirled in Oatmeal’s mane.

Her hair walnut, her eyes were blue
And all who saw her said they knew,
That no gentlewoman sat upon the merle,
It had to be Tequila Cowgirl.

Those awake ran to give the call,
That she’d come back and that’s not all,
She had a woman by her side
Whose beauty could n’er be denied.

She rode right proud into the town,
She’d gotten up when she’d been down,
Tequila was not her only vice,
Many women found her right nice.

Tequila had a pretty maid,
Whom she wished just could’ve stayed,
But her sweetie with another rode,
Tequila felt a heavy load.

She’d come to town and downed a drink,
And bought the grocer’s wife a mink,
The men, they gathered with a frown,
And went to drive her from the town.

They burned her barn, they killed her cows,
And took the piglets from the sows,
Then they performed an awful deed,
They took from her her favourite steed.

And though she cried, and mourned her loss,
It wasn’t long she bore the cost.
For to the scene her best friend rushed
With firm intent those men be crushed.

Keen-eyed and strong, Starr Ann took measure
Of what those fiends had loosed for pleasure.
And one by one she took them on,
‘til the very last was dead or gone.

Then turning to the treasured steed,
She cut his ropes and he was freed
To hasten to his cowgirl’s side
And wait steadfast for their next ride.

The night was dark, the moon was high.
Destruction lay both far and nigh.
But the power of cowgirl love
Would rebuild it all, soon enough.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sixty-Nine Ways To Make A Cowgirl Smile - Numbers 41-50

Starr Ann, Jodie and I cannot believe we're already to Way #50. But here they are. Feel free to make liberal use of them. Gotta spread those smiles around.
[The First Ten]

41. Be hard to tame.

42. Share a sunrise with her.

43. Follow her around all day and share the corresponding sunset with her.

44. On a warm day, after topping horse waters, squirt her with the hose. Sure, she'll tackle you, roll you around in the dirt, maybe get a little rough, but she'll eventually smile for you.

45. Cover her with kisses.

46. Entrust her with all your passwords.

47. Be ready. For anything.

48. Once in a while, when she asks you what you're thinking about, try not to say Tina Fey. Even if you are, which you probably will be.

49. Don't shut her out.

50. Don't fence her in. Ever.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mendin' Fences

It really was sweet of Starr Ann and Jodie to have breakfast ready for Celia Susan and me when we got up this morning.

But you know how sometimes you really love two people who haven't met yet, and you can't wait for them to know each other? That's how Starr Ann and I had been looking forward to Jodie meeting Celia Susan. Guess we forgot how Celia Susan can be a little bit of a shock at first.

So Celia Susan and I came walking in and I mentioned that the coffee smelled awful good. Celia Susan started right up with Starr Ann over Iraq, Iran, the weasel Democrats, and the fact that she thought we'd never have to look at Donald Rumsfeld's face again, but here he is.

Then Starr Ann remembered her manners. She said, "Celia, honey, you and Jodie haven't even met yet." Starr Ann put her arms around Jodie and made the introductions, in between little kisses on the back of Jodie's neck.

Jodie and Celia Susan shook hands. So far so good.

Just a few minutes later, Celia Susan was standing in the center of the kitchen, waving her arms, making some point about Blackwater, when Jodie dropped a paper towel on the floor and bent over to pick it up. Just out of reflex, because she's Celia Susan, Celia Susan took one look at Jodie's nice round butt and cracked it a good one. It was just impulse.

Jodie straightend up and looked more than perplexed, but went right on with her business.

Because she's Celia Susan, Celia Susan kept her eyes on Jodie's behind, which I don't even think Jodie realized she was still rubbing the sting from, and Celia Susan says, "If you wanted to lose those jeans and put on some chaps, only chaps, Jodie, it might be fun for you and me to spend the whole afternoon exploring how to make a cowgirl behave."

I told you Celia Susan can be a bit much at first. But I swear you learn to love her. Eventually.

Right after breakfast, as Jodie and I were waving goodbye to Starr Ann and Celia Susan (who were going off for the day to glory in Starr Ann's bunkers), Jodie said to me, "What the fuck do you and Starr Ann see in her?"

"Good question," I said.

"And you, sleeping with her, Margo. I just do not get that."

Trying to loosen Jodie up, I said, "Aw, we might doze once in a while, but with Celia Susan, you don't really sleep."

Jodie's sense of humor got left at her house, I guess, because she just went back inside and started cleaning up our kitchen. Lucky for me, Starr Ann and Celia Susan weren't gone but ten minutes before they came barreling through the front door again.

Starr Ann said, "Change of plans, ladies. There's a big piece of fence down over past the orchard. Gotta get it back up today, before we turn any of the horses out in the main pasture."

All four of us mobilized right away. Wow, it was a mess down there. We had at least ten posts down and six or seven leaning so bad, they needed to come out too.

Starr Ann said for Jodie and Celia Susan to stay there pulling the old boards and getting everything out of the way while she and I brought back new lumber from the barn. Starr Ann made sure she didn't look at Jodie or give her a chance to object to being left with Celia Susan.

As we rode away, I said to Starr Ann, "So when did you have time to come down here and knock down that fence?"

"Yesterday morning. It needed replacin' anyway." Starr Ann laughed the way you're real lucky if you ever get to hear her laugh. "By the time we go back, they'll either both be dead, or they'll be halfway in love."

"Yep. No in-betweens with Celia Susan."

Two hours later, those poor things were covered with sweat and dust and could barely move, they were so worn out. The old fence was cleared away nice, though, and everything stacked neatly to one side.

As we rode up, Jodie threw her arm across Celia Susan's shoulders and said, "Took you the fuck long enough." Then she messed up Celia Susan's hair even more than it was. "Tell you what, though, girls. When there's hard work to be done, this is the woman you want by your side."

My Starr Ann done did it again.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It Was No Dream

I must have been sleeping hard, because I never even heard Starr Ann come into my room. First I knew about her being with me was when the bed rocked.

She scooted up real close behind me and I was sure she was getting all cuddly and confidential so I'd tell her about her birthday present. Then in one smooth shift and graceful move she had us in a place we'd never been to with each other.

All those times we'd tried to get together like this, we'd done it wrong. Kissing and trying to force a mood always made us laugh or get embarrassed. Yes, we should have known to do just like this.

It was slow. It was exquisite. And it was Starr Ann.

Right before the world went perfect, the thought that this might be the only time in our whole lives we ever did this made me turn in the dark to face her.

So smooth, so easy, we got situated again. She said, "Nice to be back, Margo."

Oh. Yes, of course. I said, "Didn't expect you until tomorrow, Celia Susan."

"Well, I was kinda anxious. Starr Ann let me in. Her idea for me to surprise you."

It was slow. It was exquisite. It wasn't Starr Ann.

Friday, October 12, 2007

An Open Letter To Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore

Dear Mr. Gore,

Heartfelt and heady congratulations to you and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on winning the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Since cowgirls are always eager to cut to the chase, I'm just going to say it right up front: Please run for president in 2008. Please.

Do you have any idea how much good it would do the world to have an honorable human being in that office after the past seven insane years?

Just for starters, people like my best friend Starr Ann, our neighbor Jodie, and me could finally let go of that tight, bitter feeling that grips our stomachs every time we let ourselves face the shameful acts that have been done and are still being done in our names. Can you even begin to fathom the relief we and so many other caring Americans would feel as the bile receded and we started to feel proud of our country again?

And if you became the leader of the world, which the leader of this empire certainly is, we really think that world would breathe a sigh of relief so big, your scientist friends at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could probably pick it up on satellite images.

Remember how those cowards who stole the presidency from you said the Iraqis would greet the US with flowers and open arms? Well, I don't know how many flowers we've left alive in Iraq, but if you took charge, we'd be willing to bet anything that most of the Iraqis who still have arms would open them wide for you. If not right away, maybe a few months down the line.

If all that's not enough, please allow me to appeal to the personal benefits you'd get from agreeing to be our president.

First of all, Starr Ann points out that you've been running yourself ragged out there in your relentless quest to wake everybody up about what we are doing to Mother Earth. If you were president, you could take off at least three months a year to goof off and clear brush. Of course, with your active intellect, that might be a perquisite you choose to forgo. That would be up to you.

Then there's all that traveling. If you were living in that big white house, you'd be home a lot more and that means you'd eat better. Very gently, and with all respect, we'd like to mention that eating out every night has not been a friend to your waistline, sir, and we fret over your health on that account.

You may have noticed that we're kind of women-centered around here at The Chronicles. Come on, sir, our stats show that you hit our page every day, and we are quite honored. But anyway, don't think for one second we'd hesitate to toss Hillary overboard if you decided to run. Truly. Much as we'd love to see a woman in charge, we're not all that excited about it being that particular one. Anyway, as far as we're concerned, you're twice the woman Hillary is. That didn't come out right. Don't have any stickers made up with that on them.

Another thing Starr Ann is counting on is this. Since you're now a great friend of Melissa Etheridge, and since we have all Melissa's CDs and are so close to her ourselves, we'd feel sincerely represented for a change. Not represented in a calculated, how-can-I-get-their-votes-without-pissing-off-the-straight-people kind of way. But sincerely represented. Does that make sense? If not, don't worry, it's just how Starr Ann is.

Last, but not least, being a Nobel Peace Laureate, you can probably meet Arundhati Roy any time you want to, can't you? Wow. Awesome.

So, Mr. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Laureate, let me just say it one more time. Please run for president in 2008. Please.

Love, hope and peace,
Starr Ann, Jodie Diamond, Margo Moon

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Perfect Day For A Trail Ride

My best friend Starr Ann and I were helping out with our neighbor's trail ride. Every week, our neighbor Carol Fager donates her land and horses for a couple of hours to some girls from the local halfway house. Carol's always scrounging up adults to ride along. We weren't looking forward to it, but figured it was our turn to do our duty. At least our new puppy, Bates, would enjoy riding up on Oatmeal with Starr Ann.

Holy Goddess! Five teenaged girls can sure bicker and find fault with everything. The four who had all the makeup on could not quit griping. The loner just rode along, quiet and moody, like she couldn't care less whether she were riding a horse or sitting in a dentist's chair.

Instead of enjoying the air that had turned cool yesterday, they were trashing the English class they'd just left. One of them said, "It really pisses me off being forced to sit through an hour of some bitch going on about an old guy telling some kid about a bunch of fish." Her voice went up a notch. "Then the guy shoots himself in the head at the end, after all that."

Lane, the brooding girl, finally said something. "You stupid shit. It wasn't about real fish. Bananafish aren't real fish. They stand for something else." She urged her horse forward a little quicker. "Idiot."

Well, Starr Ann just happens to think A Perfect Day For Bananafish is a masterpiece. So she said, "Lane's right."

Goddess! Kids with problems are unpredictable. Lane gave Starr Ann the meanest look you ever saw and said, "I don't need anybody taking up for me, lady."

Starr Ann seemed surprised for a second, then she said, "I'm not concerned with what you need. I was taking up for the author, whose work I happen to respect quite a lot."

The other four girls snickered real loud, and Lane shot another dagger Starr Ann's way. She looked down at Bates and said, "Your dog needs to pee."

Starr Ann said, "He got down right before we left, I think he's fine for a while."

A brief, mutually smug and insolent glance passed between Lane and Bates. They looked like two long lost friends who used to be allies on the Dark Side. Lane shook her head and told Starr Ann, "Suit yourself, but he's getting ready to piss all over you."

Not half a minute down the trail Starr Ann let out a yelp and held Bates out at arm's length, where he continued to leak on her saddle horn and Oatmeal's mane.

When Lane dropped her permanent scowl and almost smiled, you could see the child she should be being at this time in her life. She got control of it almost immediately, but not before Starr Ann saw it too.

We all stopped so Starr Ann could clean things up, and before we got started again, Starr Ann asked Lane, "Would you like for Bates to ride with you? I think you two have something going."

Lane shrugged, but reached out to take Bates anyway.

The girls' conversation had turned into a pretty good parent bashing, and one of them, Bette I think her name was, said, "You think that's bad, Lane said she don't know if she ever saw her mom sober. Right, Lane?"

Lane squinted her eyes, but her voice was even. "Probably not. I don't know." The hand she wasn't holding the reins with was steadily stroking Bates' back.

Starr Ann asked, "What about your dad?"

Without missing one beat or stopping Bates' back rub, Lane said, real thoughtful, "My father's okay, just another tragic case of a heterosexual male trapped in a man's body."

It took a second, but Starr Ann cracked up and just about fell off Oatmeal.

That time, Lane really did let go and smiled so big even those other four sour girls joined in.

Once Starr Ann got hold of herself, she eased Oatmeal up alongside Lane and rode next to her the whole rest of the way home.

Everybody was milling around the outside of the barn after we put the horses up. I guess the girls were waiting for the van from the home to come back for them. We said we better get going, and Carol asked us when we wanted to do it again sometime.

I thought to myself, How about near the turn of the next century?, and I knew Starr Ann was on the same page.

Until she said, "We're available next week. Same time?" Then on her way to Oatmeal, she paused near Lane and said, low, "I'd like to hear your thoughts on the meaning of bananafish."

Lane's shrug showed up again, but she said, real nonchalant, "Whatever. I don't care."

Starr Ann held Bates out and Lane gave him some very light noogies on the top of his noggin.

I think maybe a whole human being who was about to slip through the cracks might have found someone in this world to look up to.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Tomorrow's post requires a little background reading. Hope nobody minds. It's an excerpt from J. D. Salinger's stunning short story, A Perfect Day For Bananafish. Think of it this way: J. D. Salinger did a guest post for me today.

"Do you like Sharon Lipschutz?" Sybil asked.

"Yes. Yes, I do," said the young man. "What I like particularly about her is that she never does anything mean to little dogs in the lobby of the hotel. That little toy bull that belongs to that lady from Canada, for instance. You probably won't believe this, but some little girls like to poke that little dog with balloon sticks. Sharon doesn't. She's never mean or unkind. That's why I like her so much."

Sybil was silent.

"I like to chew candles," she said finally.

"Who doesn't?" said the young man, getting his feet wet. "Wow! It's cold." He dropped the rubber float on its back. "No, wait just a second, Sybil. Wait'll we get out a little bit."

They waded out till the water was up to Sybil's waist. Then the young man picked her up and laid her down on her stomach on the float.

"Don't you ever wear a bathing cap or anything?" he asked.

"Don't let go," Sybil ordered. "You hold me, now."

"Miss Carpenter. Please. I know my business," the young man said. "You just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect day for bananafish."

"I don't see any," Sybil said.

"That's understandable. Their habits are very peculiar." He kept pushing the float. The water was not quite up to his chest. "They lead a very tragic life," he said. "You know what they do, Sybil?"

She shook her head.

"Well, they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas. They're very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like pigs. Why, I've known some bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas." He edged the float and its passenger a foot closer to the horizon. "Naturally, after that they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again. Can't fit through the door."

"Not too far out," Sybil said. "What happens to them?"

"What happens to who?"

"The bananafish."

"Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can't get out of the banana hole?"

"Yes," said Sybil.

"Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die."

"Why?" asked Sybil.

"Well, they get banana fever. It's a terrible disease."

"Here comes a wave," Sybil said nervously.

"We'll ignore it. We'll snub it," said the young man.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

John Henry March 9, 1975 - October 8, 2007

Simple Pleasures or Who Needs Ambien?

Starr Ann just loves to color. Always has. Coloring puts Starr Ann in this real mellow state that makes her eyes all soft, and her voice lilts very gently while she makes up the nicest stories about whatever picture she's working on. To me, it always feels like being right inside Starr Ann's mind as she meditates.

I was telling Jodie about that a few weeks ago and I guess she took note, because last night after supper she came barreling through the door with three jumbo coloring books, a 120 pack of crayolas, and a fifth of Wild Turkey 101, saying, "Clear off that kitchen table, ladies, and prepare to put your adult selves on hold."

Jodie said she made sure to get three books that were alike, so we could all be working on the same picture at one time. Very cool, Starr Ann and I thought. So we got down three glasses and took turns throwing back shots of the Wild Turkey.

Starr Ann took her time picking out the first drawing. Finally, she turned her page outward for us to see and said, "How about starting out simple on this plain house with the flowers out front?"

Jodie and I turned to the correct page. I started on the grass, because grass doesn't call for any huge decisions right away. I always go with regular green. Jodie, I could see, began with the sky. Personally, I think the blue she chose was a bit much, but that was none of my business. Starr Ann went right to work on the house itself. As the liquor hit bottom, we all fell into the nicest back and forth cadence. Really soothing.

In her soft coloring-book voice Starr Ann said, "Cozy house. Safe looking. Wonder how many people went homeless today."

It didn't call for an answer, and after a while, when Jodie had moved down from the sky and was making her house brick red, she mentioned how it reminded her of a villa she had stayed at with friends in Spain years ago. She said she wondered how those people felt about Americans right now, and if they had her grouped in with the horrible acts our country is party to these days.

My grass was totally green and I was making some buttercups yellow. I said, "Ever think about how much sexual behavior goes on in a garden? I mean, pollination, nothing but a sex act."

Jodie and Starr Ann looked at each other and they each raised both eyebrows at the same second.

Next time, it was my turn to choose what we colored. I found a great kitten-with-ball-of-yarn scene that looked fun. We took another shot and got started.

This time, a little ways on, Starr Ann said, "No telling what happens to the pets when a family loses their home."

Jodie said a day doesn't go by that she doesn't spare a thought for the animals caught amidst all our human destruction.

I think I remarked on how soft and warm and sweet pussycats are.

A theme was definitely emerging.

Before doing the final picture of the night we thought it would be a capital idea to have double shots. Very tingly.

Jodie chose her picture and quite deliberately, but with flare, then she reached over to each our books and opened to the proper page for us. We could have done it. I think.

They were working on theirs already by the time I remembered I needed to check out the picture before choosing my crayon. But the colors were so beautiful all of a sudden. Anyway, when I did look down at my book, I got a tiny surprise.

I said, "We should have been working in this section all along, you all. Dang, this lady straddling this...what is it, a Hitachi Magic Wand? A Purple Penetrator?"

Starr Ann and Jodie did their simultaneous eyebrow thing again. I remember thinking how we really must be lesbians with a capital L, super lesbians, because there had been a total of eight eyebrow raises within the past hour.

Starr Ann snatched my coloring book and took a look. "Margo, that isn't a lady straddling anything. That's the same thing Jodie and I have - a cloud formation above a shuttle launch. Then she turned my book sideways and her eyes got wide. Jodie turned hers that way too and her eyes got wide. I put mine back at the lady angle and we all colored them that way.

All in all, a great night. But look what I found for the next time. I ordered three.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sixty-Nine Ways To Make A Cowgirl Smile - Numbers 31-40

My best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) and I are really enjoying the field testing required to verify that all these ways to make a cowgirl smile do, indeed, work. We also want to make it very clear that they are, for the most part, environmentally friendly and require little money to maintain. Please feel free to try these at home. Or in the car. Or in the barn. Or on the kitchen table. Or in the woods. Or on the floor.
[The First Ten]

31. Be real glad to see her.

32. Swoop her up on your pony and RIDE!

33. Show her how to make Wintergreen lifesavers spark in the dark.

34. Call her up and ask what she's wearing. She will laugh at you at first, but do not be swayed. Ask her again, and be serious about it. Rinse. Repeat until she gets the message and tells you what she has on. If your relationship permits, do enjoy some phone sex. If it does not, enjoy a good laugh with her and hang up. Then do what you gotta do.

35. Learn her favorite song, and sing it to her. On key or off, won't make a bit of difference.

36. Don't carry a cell phone.

37. When she recommends a book, let her know if you read it.

38. Sleep with her outside in the tent.

39. Call her bluff, but first be real sure it was a bluff.

40. Admire her pickup truck.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Peace and Dreamin'

You know that song that starts out, Daughters of feminists love to wear pink and white short frilly dresses? Well Starr Ann and I kinda know what Nancy White was talking about when she wrote those words.

Yep. We raised that boy in the picture up there as a cowboy. Taught him all the good cowboy ways and were even going to give him his first pair of chaps for Christmas this year. Well, take a look at what he has decided to be.

We should have known! Neither Starr Ann nor I can resist the charms of the amazing Cap'n Dyke, Lesbian Pirate Queen and Rogue Blogger, so why should we expect our boy Dreamer to be any different?

Anyway, Starr Ann and I are cool with his choice and although we'll worry about him, especially when he's on the high seas with that Pirate Queen during her stirring Adventures, we know Cap'n Dyke will protect him.

Starr Ann and I are also excited over picking out our Peace Globe this morning. If you haven't heard about Mimi Lenox and her BlogBlast for Peace, you're in for something to smile about. Starr Ann and I chose this Peace Globe:

Now all we have to do is add the Starr Ann Chronicles signature to it and email it back to Mimi. She'll put us in with all the other Peace Globes (looks like there are billions of them) and on November 7, 2007, each and every one of us will blog about peace. An incredibly simple, lovely idea don't you think?

Well, Starr Ann's agitating to get started and Dreamer wants us to help him learn about the duties of a cabin boy. I feel a happy Sunday afternoon coming on.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Different Kind of Posting

Saturday morning around here means, of course, watching old cartoons. Everything was going real nice. Starr Ann was still a little bit sleepy, so she kept making her lip-smack noise as she ate her cereal. She has no idea she does it. I may be the only person in the world who knows about that sound, because it only comes out at her most unguarded moments. And, honestly, it's not very attractive, but because it's pure, uncut Starr Ann, I always find it utterly endearing.

We had just enjoyed a hilarious Mr. Peabody and Sherman clip from an old Rocky Bullwinkle show when a Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd one came on. Dang! I thought I had gotten rid of all those. Besides the fact that Elmer bears an uncanny resemblance to President Dick Cheney, we try to avoid the subject of hunting around here, especially this time of year as deer season approaches. I didn't even have to wait for a consult, just got up and turned the DVD player off.

Anyone who lives on or near wooded land knows what I'm going to tell you about hunters.

We've let about a fourth of our land go wild, to give the animals being driven out by development a place to run to. And we posted it right away, thinking that was all there was to keeping hunters out. Wrong.

The NRA and hunting associations like to propagandize the virtues of hunters - they don't poach, they don't kill out of season, they don't drink beer all night and make a party of killing, they do it for the sake of population control, and hunters are responsible sports enthusiasts and wildlife promoters.

Not our experience of the situation, to say the least. Hunters poach. They sneak onto clearly posted property and kill. Hunters kill out of season, which is especially easy, because game wardens are off their guard then. During hunting season, clusters of beer cans and bottles begin to appear beside ponds and around clearings. As for population control, I'd be interested to see how many of these animal lovers would turn out to help with a program to sterilize wildlife instead of kill them. Responsible? Starr Ann's nightmare in the woods a few years back put an end to that argument in our minds once and for all.

Beautiful fall foliage had been calling Starr Ann for days. One morning, she couldn't contain herself any longer, so she got up real early for a hike on our neighbor's thousand-acre preserve. We weren't quite as aware of hunting season dates then as we are now, so she had no idea she was in the middle of it. But anyway, Mrs. Bowles' property is posted like you wouldn't believe.

Starr Ann rounded a bend and almost stepped on a dying buck. He'd been shot in the stomach and a trail of blood led from his body back in the direction of Mrs. Bowles' property line. According to Starr Ann, she had sense enough to know that following her inclination to throw herself across the buck and hold him while he died would only make it worse for him. So she moved off a little ways downwind and cried her heart out until his sides stopped heaving.

Starr Ann doesn't remember much about getting back to me, but when she got here she was all scraped up and her legs were weak from thrashing and stumbling through so much heavy undergrowth.

Together, we went back to that bend, not knowing what we were going to do, but Starr Ann couldn't bear to just leave that magnificent creature in the trail like that without paying some respect or something. Like I said, we didn't have a plan, we were simply going back. Turns out a plan wasn't called for. The deer was gone. Most of him, at least. I won't go into detail about what we found.

Later, we also discovered a deer stand that had been erected just a few feet from Mrs. Bowles' property. Nice. They sat up there and waited for that boy to come along, and shot him in an unguarded moment as he browsed in a place where he'd been safe and happy all his life.

We had plans for today, too, but they're no longer relevant. Starr Ann is out checking our posted notices. And there's one other thing we do once hunting season gets closer and the good ol' boys (actually, we spotted a woman among them one year) start putting up their deer stands. What we do is not nice. It is not pretty. It's not fair. I think it is legal, but that hardly matters. We'd do it anyway.