Archive for 2008


Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

I am ecstatic! I have the Most Wonderful New House Cleaner In The World!

I told Isabel she didn’t have to wash windows. Today, she washed them.

I told her, ‘You don’t have to clean the cat box.’ Today, she cleaned and changed it!

She even cleared out my refrigerator!

She vacs the underside of the couch cushions. She cleans the baseboards and gets her body into the bathtub and attacks the grout.
And, she is reasonable with what she charges. Last week, I gave her double because I was so over-come with delight and delirium.

I’m almost in tears with house-happiness.

My house is spanking clean and bright. I am enraptured and enchanted by this woman. I have never, ever had such a marvelous cleaner to help me.
As you’ll recall, I do not have the house cleaning talent like several of my sisters have. It is a talent and I envy it, but most of us can’t do everything well.

“Yes!” I’m thinking. “It’s true. All the good deeds I have ever done are coming back to me now, in the body of Isabel!”

(See ‘Venus and The Dog Bones”, May 12th, 2008 for the horrifying story of when I last tried to clean my house.)
I know that many of you are concerned about me because my youngest brother Arthur erupted with a virulent leukemia several weeks ago. (See “My Brother’s Story” Aug. 2008)
Here’s what has happened, since.

Arthur is an amazing person, a deeply spiritual man with a huge heart and mighty courage. My respect for him and the way he is dealing with his ailment is large. Thanks to you and all your prayers, the saints, and all the stars and his strong will, he is doing well. He will be in the hospital for 5 weeks to 2 months but we are all hoping for a good remission or even cure. However, he is told that whatever happens, he will always need to deal with this disease the rest of his life.

He is using this extreme experience to think and brood in a productive way, over his past life and all the changes he is going to make. He plans to live differently then he has been living. He now sees life, and especially his life, in a new and positive way.
I’m at my mother’s house, intending to drive her down the mountain to see Arthur in the hospital. When I walk in the front door I look at her and my heart thumps hard.

“Oh no, Mother!” I choke out. “What’s wrong with your face!!?”

My mother’s face is bright red. Actually, she looks like the back end of a monkey’s butt, the kind of monkeys with the red rear ends.

My mom says, “Well…….. I don’t know. Skip says I don’t even look like the same woman.”
(Skip is Mom’s sort-of boyfriend. The Young One.)

“What is it?!” I gasp. “Does it hurt?”




“How long have you had this?”

“Well, Skip mentioned it, yesterday. He says I am ‘irritable.'”

I run into the back room and call my sister, Polly. She is Medical. As you may remember, all of us ‘kids’ have a different job with our mother. I am Entertainment; not Medical.

I say, “Polly, have you seen Mother’s face?! It’s alarming. Alarming.”

We both have congruent visions of Mother going down with some Horrid Disease, just like Arthur is down with a Horrid Disease.

Polly says she will be right over and slams down the phone.

When Polly arrives, I have an idea. I say to Mom,
“Mother, remember I gave you that big bottle of liquid soap the other day? Have you been using it on your face?”

She has, indeed, and she thought it was lotion! She has been slathering it on her face for two days now. And leaving it there.

Polly and I gasp and demand that she go and wash her face, right now.
Case, pretty much closed.
Mother is not collapsing with a Horrid Disease. She is collapsing with Hand Soap.

She now starts to itch and scratch. She itches and scratches madly for several days and becomes quite irritable.
A day later, I am at my computer in my Art Room. It’s really hot.

I think, “Ummm, no one is coming around today. No gardeners, no pool man, no workers of any kind. I believe I will just take my shirt and bra off.”

This room is at the back and side of my house, where no one can see me. There is a solid bank of oleander bushes which hides Odd Lee’s house.

Such relief. I am typing away, naked from the waist up. I glance to my left, toward the row of windows. The gas man is looking at me. The gas man is filling the tank under the oleanders and he is looking at me!! Why God? Why? He only comes once every several months or so…

The next day, I am in the back patio, the one off my Art Room. Once again, I am naked. Fully naked. Why? Because I’m a slow learner and I like the sun, that’s why!

I am dozing in a chair. Dozing and dreaming. Bob, my little brown dog, the one who is so allergic to bees that the next sting will kill him, is licking the patio stones beside me.
I open my eyes and glance at him. Oh my God! He’s going into anaphylactic shock! I know that look. I have seen it before. He must have licked up a bee.

I snatch him up and race naked into the house. In the refrigerator, I have a set of hypodermic needles filled with medicine, given to me by the Vet incase this happens, again. I also have a bottle of anti-histamine for Bob.

Through the months from his first sting and near death, I have wondered, ‘Can I do this if Bob gets stung, again? Can I jam the needles in the right places in his thighs? Can I miss the bone? Can I?’

I find out.

I hold Bob to the floor, grab up a needle and Bam! It goes into the meat of his left leg.
I grab the next hypo, and the needle flys out. I skimmy across the floor to grab it and put it back in it’s holder, and it’s Bam! into the other leg.

Next, the anti-histamine. I don’t have my glasses on, so I just suck up fluid in a tube and shoot it down his throat. Next, as I’ve been told, I have to run him to the Vet, immediately. This is well and good, but I am naked and unnerved.

Fortunately, I manage to get most of my clothes on, throw Bob in a cardboard box that is by the door, toss in the used needles so the vet will know what I have done, and we’re off.

Bottom line, I save Bob’s life. I am very pleased with myself and so grateful that Bob is alive and well.

There have been two terrible life threatening events in a week; my brother and now Bob. It’s a bit much for me.
He’s some more rather useless, but hopefully entertaining information:

The telephone repair man tells me today, “Elbert Bronson’s tractor…down the road from you…got loose last week and took out several telephone poles.”

My friend Connie says her sister’s husband is doing more and more unusal things. He’s now feeding the cat root beer. And a few days ago Donna found him putting root beer in the radiators of their truck and the car.
This may explain why Donna’s radiator blew up on the freeway.
I pick up my five year old granddaughter Lexi, from school. We are in her driveway and I am collecting my purse and some books when Lexi, from the back seat, says,
“My mommy’s not very smart, you know.”

This is an interesting observation and revelation. I’m dumbstruck. I think back to how her mother, my daughter Summer, was always in the gifted classes when she was a kid.

I look into the distance and say, “Oh? She isn’t very smart?”

“No,” Lexi says, “not everybody is, you know.”

I say, “Am I smart?”

Lexi says, “I don’t know. Are you?”

“Yes,” I tell her. “I’m very smart.”

Lexi ponders this then says, “… mommy must be smart?”

I can hardly wait to drop this information on Summer and I do so as soon as she gets home from work. Summer is not really pleased.

She thinks it over and then she says, “I think I know where this is coming from. Her dad is building her self esteem and he’s been saying things like, ‘You’re really smart, Lexi. You’re smarter then your Mom and Dad.”

Summer and I both look at each other and we say it at the same time, “I think he’d better can it!”
OFFER VALID THROUGH SEPT 18TH, 2008. After that, null and void.

My Brother’s Story

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

It’s late at night, at the start of the Labor Day Holiday, when a sister calls me.
Our youngest brother, Arthur, is in the emergency room at the hospital down the mountain. The situation appears grim.

It will be a week before we get a real diagnosis. The diagnosis is acute leukemia.

Our brother is dying.

My brother, Jim, drives my mother to the hospital. My mother tells me later that Jim cries all the way down the mountain and that he says “I love Arthur! I love my brother! Arthur is my favorite brother!”

Mother tells us she reaches her hand to Jim, touches his arm and says, “Jim. Arthur is your only brother.”

We all think this is hysterically funny. When I tell Art about it a day or so later, he too laughs heartily.

A few days later, we get the final, final diagnosis. It’s a leukemia that is actually better then some; more amenable to a possible remission or cure.

Our brother begins chemo. If he hadn’t he would have died, most likely within the week.

Art is my dear brother; a man with a sweet soul.

This is the brother that could have been a major movie star, but turned the offer down because he wanted a normal life with his wife and two boys.

After Art grew up, became a jeweler, married and had two children, he changed from the little boy I had known.

That little kid walked miles over the fields every day collecting arrowheads.
He ate my father’s fishing worms and enjoyed them.
He attracted money. He would find it, everywhere.
He ate our blue glass Christmas tree balls when my mother walked down the lane to get the mail.

My sister Candy almost killed him one day.
The two of them had dragged a mattress off somebody’s bed and put it on the hard ground, below a two story window in our house.

They took turns jumping out the window and onto the mattress.

Before Art made his last jump, Candy waited on the ground below as Art faced away from her and the mattress, leaned back and dropped through the air.
Candy, quick, snatched the mattress away.
Art landed with a great Fwampt! and Splat, on his back on the hard dirt.

Candy always says, “I don’t know why I did that.”

One day when we were kids, Art and I were biking down the paved road that ran into the fields and mountains across from our home.
We were still rather close to our house, chugging and puffing our small legs on old clunky bikes; the kind of old bikes that used to build muscle.

I hit a little bump in the road and flew off my bike, rolling on my side on the pavement. I lay there and screamed, “I’m hurt! I’m hurt! Run home and tell Mother and Daddy!”

Art took off running, his little legs going whippity, whippity.

I lay on the road and waited. And waited. Stared up at the sky and waited. I sat up and assessed my knees and lay down, again. And waited.

Eventually I heard, “Whippity, whippity.”
I closed my eyes and waited for my folks to save me. My rescue and sympathy was at hand.

“Here,” I heard my brother say. I opened my eyes. Art was gently placing a bed pillow under my head!”

This is my brother who now lies in a hospital bed. He’s covered with bruises and red spots. His color is a mix of gray, green and yellow.
He pees blood. Blood runs down his throat. He hurts all over. With the chemo, he can’t stop peeing and that hurts. He can’t sleep. He’s horribly nauseous. He doesn’t complain, but he worries that his predicament is upsetting us!

He looks at me and says as he has said the day before, “Are you alright, Venus? Do you feel OK?”

Well, I am as OK as a sister can be, I suppose, when their brother is deathly ill and is being tortured.

My sister Polly looks over at me, grabs my arm and says, “What’s that red spot on your arm!?”

It’s a bug bite, but I know what she’s thinking. We’re all of us getting strange; looking for our brother’s symptoms in ourselves and in and on each other.

A few days ago we were laughing because Art was having an odd spell.

He said, “I dreamed that I had sex with our sixty year old, lesbian cousin who looks like a man! What is wrong with me? Why would I dream that?”

He asks everyone. He asks us, he asks our mother, he asks the nurses.
He tells us the nurses look really good to him, “even the really old ones!” and that when the TV showed nursing mothers he got excited about that! He wants to know what the heck is going on.

I think, “This man is dying? Maybe not.”

Most likely it is something in his treatment that brought this on.

Art tells me about four days into his hospital stay and before the chemo starts, “You know Venus, I wasn’t taking all of this seriously. Then, one night I woke up and I thought, ‘I’m dying. I could lose everyone I love. I have to change my life.'”

Art went from his perfectly attuned childhood, from his mystical connections with the earth, to laboring for years in the back of his jewelry shop, hunched over a small work table, fixing and designing jewelry. He was out of the beneficent sun and away from the earth and its rich dirt, it’s hearty trees and variable winds.

As he tells me now, “I missed every Holiday. I worked every day, trying to support my family. I didn’t eat right, or sleep right, or live in balance. I worried all the time. I let things from years ago eat at me.”

Being desperately ill gives a person a lot of time to think.

It gives his family a lot of time to think, too.

I think of Art all day long. Before I sleep he’s in my mind. He’s there when I wake in the night, and again when I wake in the morning.

I look around me and I think, “Am I living my life the way I want to be living it? Am I taking good care of myself?”

Death or the possibility of death can snatch you up at any time. The coffee is left un-drunk on the table, the cut grapefruit sits on the plate.

And, then there is love.

A few days ago while his sisters, his mother and his wife were all gathered around his bedside, Art looked at his wife, MaryEllen and said, “I can feel her with me. When I go to sleep at night, I can feel her in my arms. During the day, I feel her in the bed with me and I hug her. When I go off on trips without her, I take her with me. We’re attached. Wherever we are, we’re attached.”

Art tells us all the time now, that he loves us. We tell him the same. And, we tell each other.

But, you say, you don’t have love in your life like Arthur has?
If you only had love like Art has, (you say,) or the money you want, or the career or the friends or the good health, well, then you could be happy?

Don’t whine about what you don’t have. Embrace what you do have.

There’s always somebody who dearly wishes they had what you dismiss as not enough.
And, remember…no matter how long a life may be, life is always shorter then you think.
Offer good through Sept. 12th, 2008. Null and void after that.

The Goddess of Good Hair

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

When I call to confirm the appointment with my hairdresser, she tells me her house has been foreclosed and sold at auction. She has to be out by Monday.

“And, I have all my feral cats and the wild skunks and opossums that I feed and my five indoor cats and my house is crammed with all my dead mother’s treasures and what am I going to do? My water has been shut off and I have to get out and I may have to move to Oklahoma the day after tomorrow!”

This is not good news for either of us.

My hairdresser has been losing her house for years, long before the current explosion of house disasters. She is not good with money. I am very sorry about her current disaster but I am not surprised.

She has trouble with money and with men but she is an artist of the highest magnitude and she is the only hairdresser I have ever had who does not cut my hair to make me look like a standard size poodle with a great ruff on it’s head.

My hairdresser is on the phone with me crying, and I am moaning right along with her. Because I have been at the coast, baby-sitting for fifteen days, it has been six weeks since I have had a cut and color.

If K. leaves the state, my beauty goes with her. She is The Goddess of Good Hair.

All of K.’s clients feel the same way. She has people who fly in every month from other states to have her do their hair. As it is, I give up a full day to her ministrations every four weeks.

My hair appointments are loose and go like this:

“Ring, ring. Hi K., Are we still on for today? No? You’re in the hospital?”

“Your cat is in the hospital?”

“The water pipe to your washer broke and your house is flooded?”

“The neighbor rammed his water truck into your pine tree and brought it down on your garage?”

With luck, after the ‘Ring, ring,” it’s “Oh, good! We’re still on! What time do you think? Noon? Two is better? Well, I’ll call before I drive down the mountain because you know how you are.”

Generally, the appointment actually starts about 3:30 or 4:00PM. Maybe. And from there it’s 3 1/2 to five 1/2 hours, depending…and a long drive home for me in the dark. But, hey, I look spectacular. I look beautiful and I do not look like a Standard Poodle who has had it’s head soaked in prune juice for a fortnight.

So, here I sit tonight, a number of weeks past my hair cut and color date and I will let your imagination decide how I may look. I have just called K., again, a week since our last frantic call and she says, ‘yes,’ she is still in town and ‘yes,’ she can see me, tomorrow.

Hurrah! Well, that’s another full day that I will give up (and thank God for it) and the day should be interesting.

Where is K. living, I wonder? She has told me she had no place to go. Is she moving to Oklahoma or have we, her clients, all been saved by the Big Bell in The Sky?
K. has told me that many of her clients have said she can stay with them. Maybe she has moved in with one or some of them? Maybe so as her clients are that desperate.

I’m feeling desperate, too.
Baby-sitting a two and five year old was the hardest physical and emotional labor I have done in many years. I am ready to get my hair done now and return to My Other Life.

One day, during that rough fifteen days, Lexi, the five year old says to me, ” I wish I had met you when you were young and beautiful, BaBa.”

I suck up a little air and say, “…Don’t you think I am beautiful, now?”


Oh. “Why?”

Lexi says, “Because your arms and your face are all floppy.”

Lexi trots off and I am left to snivel and ruminate.

Later, I tap on her bedroom door, and she calls me in where she is playing with a massive doll house full of barbie dolls and furniture and plastic sea creatures.

“What do you mean, I’m ‘all floppy?’ I ask.
(I am ready to get kicked, again.)

“Well…you really are beautiful, Baba,” Lexi says with some reluctance, “but your skin is squishy.”


“Yes,” she says. “Here, look.” She jumps up from the floor and grabs my arm and squeezes. “See?”
“Now, feel my arm.”

She holds out her arm and lets me give it a squeeze.

“See? It’s not squishy.”

Never ask Lexi anything unless you want the truth.

I REALLY need my hairdresser.

The kids grandfather, Bumpa, who is Summer’s dad and my ex-husband, helped me out for a few days during the Great Baby Sitting Tournament.

Loch is very verbal. He talks all the time. He tells Bumpa and me that he is “a hard working man.” He loves his fire trucks and his skip loaders, track back hoes and diggers. He especially loves his dump trucks which he calls, and I swear this is is true, ‘Dumb Fucks.’
Bumpa can’t believe he says this and tries to teach him to say, ‘Dump-Trucks.’ It doesn’t take.

Later, after a meal, Bumpa pats his stomach, leans back in a chair and says, “I’m full.”
Loch looks at him and says, “You’re a fool?”

You can’t be too careful around these kids! They pick out your weak points!

I don’t know what this means, but after dinner one evening, Lexi wanders out to the back yard, where Bumpa and I are having a glass of wine and announces that, “Barbie has a penis.” Then, she ambles off to the slide.

Neither her grandfather or I question that announcement and we are left to wonder.

A week later, I’m now recovering very nicely from the long baby-sitting job and I tell Summer that I will never do it, ever again. She immediately books me for two weeks in October when Lexi has two weeks off from school.

What is the matter with me? Didn’t I just say, ‘no?’

Then, she tells me that Lexi has year around school, now and this means she will have 2 weeks off, four times a year and she will email me Lexi’s schedule.

“I can send her to camp, Mom, but she would rather be with you.”

I immediately email her Bumpa and tell him the plan and that he needs to help me. We both know that the Lexi at five years old won’t last, that soon enough Lexi will be older and embarrassed to be seen with us, at all.

Even now, when Summer is in Australia and I have to take Lexi to her first day of Kindergarten at her new school, she won’t hold my hand in front of her classmates and runs ahead of me on the playground.
I imagine that I am a floppy-skinned embarrassment, who’s also weeks past a hair cut and color. Realistically, and understandably, (as Lexi has told me) she is just mad that I am not her mother and she wants her mother to take her to her first day of school.

But, (and I’m whining out loud, now) I can hardly wait for tomorrow and my appointment. I need my hairdresser and I need her, now. It’s kind of a matter of emotional life and death, if you know what I mean……
Maybe…maybe I can even find an extra room in my house for The Goddess…


SPECIAL FLOW DREAMING CLASS WITH SUMMER AND VENUS, SEPT 6th, 2008. The Flow with Summer and your Wish from Venus, is ‘open-ended.’ For love, prosperity, happiness, whatever your wish is. See the Class information at Venus works on your personal wish for 3-4 days before the class and during the Flowdreaming Session.
WINNER OF THE RANDOM DRAWING FOR A FREE 15 MINUTE PHONE SESSION WITH VENUS: *Sandra Phillips* Offer good through Aug. 29th, 2008. After that, null and void.

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