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vacation, 5th grade, mama gina 

Mark and I are flying out to Athens later. There, we'll board the Crystal Symphony and cruise to Istanbul, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Split, and Venice. I'm totally psyched to be on vacation and to be spending time alone (no kids!) with Mark. I love entering the fantasy world of vacations where you can forget all your responsibilities and just revel in the moment. No alarm clocks, no errands, no work. Yesssss! On Saturday night, Mark went out to hear some jazz very late, as he always does. I didn't go as I'm generally passed out by midnight when he leaves. But he went to a club and who was there but Chaka Khan. Mark ended up dancing away the evening with Chaka and our friend, Leslie, a 6 foot plus gorgeous black jazz singer. I told him that starting his vacation by dancing with Chaka Khan bode well for the rest of our trip. Wish I'd been there. I worship Chaka Khan. Hope I'm spelling her name right.

Earlier Saturday night, I went to Odeon with David Rubin, a friend of mine since we were in cribs. And I mean, baby cribs. He updated me on all our mutual friends from San Antonio. It was great hearing how all were doing (except for the ones who died - not so great hearing about them). An old friend, Julie Alyn sent me a copy of our fifth grade picture which was surprisingly touching to see. I was such a nerd then - cat-rimmed glasses, bobby socks. There was Howard Haring, who was already losing his hair in fifth grade, Donna Balin, my old best friend looking adorable, Caroline Haight, with her perfect posture, John Gouge, the cutest and smartest boy in class who died of a drug overdose years later, Hilton Whitehead and Linda Hefner, the two kids we teased and tortured, Mike Burns whose brother died in a car crash, Bettilynn Ford, the loud and obnoxious beauty, Jackson Diehl, the op-ed editor of the Washington Post now, Mrs. Richter looking like an old lady at fifty. David told me that his first kiss was with Krista McBee at Connie McCombs house (she's Red McCombs's daughter - owner of the San Antonio spurs - it was quite the house). I wasn't invited to that party and was miffed to hear that I was excluded even after 35 years. But I practically died when I heard that Krista was his first kiss. She was the biggest bitch west of the Mississippi. The girl treated me with such cruelty and disdain (kind of like the way we all treated Hilton and Linda in fifth grade). It took years of therapy and I still didn't get over Krista's put-downs. But finally, when I wrote "India Fudge and the Time Travel Tunnel," I called the queen mean girl, "Eva (Evil) McBee," after you-know-who. At the end of the book, India Fudge goes back in time and prevents Eva's great grandparents from meeting, so she is prevented from being born. I have finally made peace with Krista McBee. Ah, the cathartic benefits of writing.

Meanwhile, my friend Judy invited me to her graduation yesterday from Mama Gina's School of the Womanly Arts. This is a four month course that she took where Mama taught 200 women how to take pleasure in every aspect of their lives. They learned how to appreciate and love their bodies (among other things). Whatever the exercises were to accomplish this, in the end, they worked. Each woman was vamping through her graduation like she possessed the body of Raquel Welch. It was quite a sight to see. There was a movie star among the 200 women but I'm not allowed to say who it was (damn!). Many testified about what had happened to them since taking the course - several women had fallen in love, gotten engaged, the usual dream-come-true, happily ever after stuff. Anyway, I don't know how they got there, but in the end, these women had all arrived at a place where I'd love to be (who wouldn't?) so I signed up for the course. Still haven't had the guts to tell Mark that I enrolled, mainly because it's so expensive. It's not that I need Mark to approve what I do, but I've been spending a lot of money lately which always gets me nervous. Mama Gina even does Man Training, whatever that is. That's part of the course. Anyway, promise to keep you posted on the experience when class starts (in October).

Well, I'd better go. Haven't even started to pack. Bon Voyage!

Monday, July 24, 2006

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