Portrait of Sonya the Red, Manager of Hotel California

romWhen my son was little, I told him stories of Sonya the Red, who rode through the sky on a chopped 8-valve Hog with ape handlebars, picking him up at night after his parents had fallen asleep.   We lived in Alaska at the time.  Red could be relied upon to come for him when the Northern Lights were out.

Dylan had to be careful when he went on escapades with Red because she would try to talk him into things that no sensible boy should do.  For example, she offered to take him to a tattoo parlor for his sixth birthday.   Sometimes they were chased by polar bears Sonya owed money to.   The vig was in salmon, and Dylan’s job was to throw them fish until they ate their fill and went away.

Red chewed Cougar snuff and wore Chanel Number Five, Goodwill evening gowns, and Harley-Davidson steel-toed boots.  She could cuss in several languages, including Chinese and Polar Bear, which sound a lot a lot alike.  Red smoked Montecristo No. 2 Cuban cigars and chewed Double Bubble gum at the same time.  Her breath was so pungent from eating fish and smoking cigars that when she popped her bubble gum flowers would wilt and clouds of mosquitos would fall out of the sky dead.

Red was the night manager of the 25-room Hotel California. She had a lot of pretty boys she called friends.  Normally, it was impossible to leave the hotel, but Red threatened to pop her gum and kill all the plants if they didn’t let her see her pajama-clad friend.  Dylan visited the Hotel California several times with Red.  He thought the people who stayed there were weird but interesting.  He especially liked Dylan Thomas, after whom he was named, and Jean-Paul Sartre, who wrote No Exit in room 32.




Serving a Great Institution in SMA


This year, I am handling the PR for the Academia.  We have updated the logo and developed a tagline, pulling the new look and feel through their marketing materials.

A process has been put in place to manage promotional activities. Publication venues have been contacted; we know deadlines and desired formats for all of them.  In addition to email blasts and facebook, we are in now in Que Pasa, San Miguel Events, Discover San Miguel and the Civil List.  We have brochures and posters in the Tourist Office, and posters are up at the Biblioteca, Juan’s Cafe, El Pato and several other locations in SMA.

The Academia’s facebook page has been brought back from the dead.  Our stats are looking good: Visits and Reach doubled in one wekk and the number of Engaged Users was up 400%.  We had 282 likes last week, up from almost nothing since the page was brought back.

The new website design is underway.  This week, I will begin training a young woman to take over management of the PR process.

Simple Composite with Text

oshe needed a hero

When I was young, I used to fantasize about somebody saving me.  It was hardly surprising.  The film scripts in those days were dominated by damsel-in-distress plots. You know the routine: a beautiful woman finds herself in the impossible position of being captured, bound and gagged, helpless in the hands of some evil villain, in desperate need of a nick-of-time rescuing by somebody really cute.

The problem was that when the neighborhood kids played Tarzan and Jane, I wanted to be Tarzan.  Besides, damsels had to be beautiful and at twelve I was gawky and graceless,  the kind of girl who could be reliably counted upon to have messy hair, dirty fingernails, and chigger bites on her legs.  One of my friends, viewing a photograph of me as a child with racoon eyes from chronic allergies, said I looked like an Ellis Island refugee.

My home was a terrible place to live. My dad was sullen and my mom was a screamer you could hear down the block. I had more than one black eye and a patch of my hair is still missing.  I used to dream that someone would come and get me out of there.  When I was twelve, I told my teacher what was happening at home.  For a while, it looked like there would be an intervention, but when they called my sister into the office she said that everything was fine.

The guidance counselor called me in and said they couldn’t do anything without corroboration.  I remember thinking at that moment, “Nobody is coming to save me.  Well then, I will save myself.”

For three years, I saved every penny from odd jobs and babysitting. Under the pretense of creating a hope chest (anybody remember what those were?), I collected linens, pots and pans and other items in preparation of moving out on my own.

I was out of the house just shy of my 16th birthday, with my own apartment and a shared bath down the hall.  My grades shot up and I started making the honor roll.  I had a full-time job at night as a nurse’s aid at the Fountainbleu Nursing Home and saved enough money to pay for the first semester of college.  (Check out the post “The Box with the Cellophane Heart.”)

Here is to all those damsels who become their own heroes.  Here’s to the women who take charge of their own destinies.  Who slay terrifying dragons in all their many forms. Who cry and wonder where the next dime is coming from and get their hearts broken and get pregnant and cook and clean and keep going.

Here’s to all the women who save their own damn selves.


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