On Not Flying to Hawaii

I could be the waitress
in the airport restaurant
full of tired cigarette smoke and unseeing tourists.
I could turn into the never-noticed landscape
hanging identically in all the booths
or the customer behind the Chronicle
who has been giving advice
about stock portfolios for forty years. I could be his mortal weariness,
his discarded sports section, his smoldering ashtray.

I could be the 70-year-old woman who has never seen Hawaii,
touching her red lipstick and sprayed hair.
I could enter the linen dress
that poofs around her body like a bridesmaid,
or become her gay son
sitting opposite her, stirring another sugar
into his coffee for lack of something true to say.
I could be the reincarnated soul of the composer
of the Muzak that plays relentlessly overhead,
or the factory worker who wove this fake Oriental carpet,
or the hushed shoes of the busboy.

But I don't want to be the life of anything in this pitstop.
I want to go to Hawaii, the wet, hot
impossible place in my heart that knows just what it desires.
I want money, I want candy.
I want sweet ukelele music and birds who drop from the sky.
I want to be the volcano who lavishes
her boiling rock soup love on everyone,
and I want to be the lover
of volcanos, who loves best what burns her as it flows.

Alison Luterman


Evil Bat Boy

Coen can go from sweet to evil in five seconds. Poor thing with his huge ears. I don't think he'll ever grow into them. But he sure does like showing off his new teeth. This is actually him smiling, not snarling.

Spa Day

For my birthday this year my brother bought me a day at "the spa." I was floored. It was such a nice present. I had never been to this hotel as a guest, so I was very excited for the entire experience. I got to choose from a massage, a pedicure, manicure, or facial. I decided to wait until after volleyball season, because I knew that I would definitely need the massage then. This past Friday I took off from school to have my massage.

Ben didn't tell me what to really expect. All I knew is that I would get an hour long massage, there would be a whirlpool, a steam room, and a sauna. When the time came to go, I wasn't really sure what I should expect. Do I bring a bathing suit? Should I put on makeup? Do my hair? What do you wear to the spa? I opted to do my hair, minimal makeup, and skip the bathing suit. I was sure I would just enjoy the massage and sitting in a quiet room.

When I got there I was greeted by an attendant. She brought me down a darkly lit, quiet hallway, into a large changing room. The changing room was what all women imagine as the perfect room to get ready in, lush chairs, fragrant candles, marble vanities, etc. She gave me a robe, a locker, and told me to put the robe on and take everything off. Everything? Like as in naked? "Surely not," I thought to myself. I'm not going to be prancing around here in nothing but a robe. I mean, I'm not too modest, but there were a lot of people walking around.
When I left the dressing room, I went up to my attendant.

I whispered to her, "Am I supposed to take off EVERYTHING?"
"Yes, so you'll be ready for the whirlpool and sauna." I choked a little.
"Oh, okay." I went back to the dressing room and stripped it all off.
A little liberating I must say, but my stomach was rolling a bit.

My attendant then led me down a hall. She pointed out the showers with the tolietries, the steam room with eucaliptus water to spray into the air, cold washclothes to put on your face when you're done, and the sauna. Then she opened the door to the quiet room. THIS is what I had been waiting for.

The quiet room had soft music playing, candles burning around the room, fresh fruit and water, and a whirpool along the far wall. My attendant told me that I should take advantage of the whirlpool after my massage. It would be good for me.
"And all you need to do is to wrap a towel around you, and slip in. Don't worry, it's all women, and nobody's perfect. A lot of people are naked here," she said.

My stomach flipped. Great, now all I would worry about is how to enter that whirlpool without showing my white butt to all these women. I sat for awhile in the quiet room, and then my attendant came to get me. She led me down another dark hallway, and introduced me to my masseuse.
The massage was great. There were a few times that I almost fell asleep I was so relaxed. When it was over I had a hard time opening my eyes and standing up. My masseuse led me back down a hall and back into the quiet room. I sat down. There it was, the whirlpool.

I started going back and forth in my head. Should I do it? Should I shed my robe to sit in the hot bubbly pool. It would feel nice on my back and shoulders. I would do it. I didn't want to go home and regret not having sat in the whirlpool. Besides, my brother had bought me the spa experience. I didn't want to just have the massage and not take advantage of it all. But I needed a plan.
Of course the quiet room was packed at this point. I sat for a few minutes, pretending to read a spa magazine as I formulated my plan. Wrap the towel, drop the robe, slip in the whirlpool. It couldn't be that hard. All the women were reading their magazines. No one would be looking at me.
I made a break for it,grabbed a towel, and stood beside the whirlpool. I tried to open my robe, facing a wall, and wrap a towel around me. That's when it all went bad. My robe began to slip, and fell partially into the whirlpool. As I tried to grab my robe and toss it up onto the ledge, my towel started to fall. I tried to "slip" into the whirlpool with my towel still around me, realizing there would be no slipping. More like "kersplash." Finally, I was in.

Well, as most women know, the ladies up top don't sink, they float. And apparently when you are in a whirpool, they REALLY float. Along with your entire body. There I was sitting on small ledge, my body being propelled to the surface of the water.
I gripped the ledge with my fingers, trying to push myself back under the water. It was almost futile. About this time, another woman was making an awkward entrance into the whirlpool. Could everyone in the room see me at this point? Could they notice my struggle to sit down? And the water wasn't even that hot. This was not worth it. But I couldn't just get right out. I had to endure the water for a few minutes.
I tried lying a towel behind my head and relaxing. But that only further propelled my body towards the surface. Finally, I realized that by bending a knee and placing a foot on the ledge, I could hold my body down. I bet I looked really comfortable, curled into a tight ball holding onto the ledge for dear life.
Finally, I was done. At this point, I could really care less who saw my white butt. I grabbed my towel threw it around me, grabbed my wet robe, put it on, and sat down in a chair, to try and relax again.
After awhile I decided to try something else. I went in the steam room for a few minutes, but it was so hot, I couldn't take it for that long. At this point I was oily for the massage and sweaty from the steam room. Why not take a shower? They had shampoo, conditioner, body wash, everything you needed.
So I took a shower. I made sure to rub a towel under my eyes when I got out. I didn't want to have mascara all over my face. But there was no makeup on the towel.
I went back into the main changing room to grab my clothes from the locker. One woman looked at me, made a face, and quickly looked away.
All I could think was, "Oh, she probably recognizes me as the awkward woman from the whirlpool." I went into a changing room and gasped when I saw myself in the mirror. I had mascara ALL OVER my face. Not just a little smeared under my eyes. I mean, it was dripping down to my chin. I looked like night of the living dead. I was mortified.
Quickly, I got dressed and did my best at wiping the makeup from my face. I left the changing room and found my attendant. Luckily she had some eye makeup remover to lend me. I cleaned up my face and high tailed it out of there.
So much for me at a spa. While the massage was wonderful, and the entire spa was beautiful and decadent, I don't know if I'm meant for "the spa." It was all intimidating to me. I do know that if I had a friend with me, we would probably have been kicked out for giggling too much. Who knows, maybe if I try it again I'll be a little more prepared and bring a bathing suit.


So every year before Halloween, I have all these great ideas about what I can dress up as. And then every year, I completely bail out. I don't put forth the time or effort to create the elaborate costumes that some people come up with. And I'm always jealous.
I knew this year that I had a costume party to attend, and I had to come up with some costume. I kept trying to come up with someone I could dress up as.
I finally narrowed it down two possibilities. First, Sookie, from True Blood. It would be pretty easy. Black shorts, Merlotte's shirt, Keds, a pony tail, and a bite mark.

But I thought that a lot of people might not know who I was if they didn't watch the show. My second choice was Octomom. Crazy, a hot mess, and babies. I could do that easily. I mean her hair is even nasty looking and dyed.

I wouldn't have to try too hard with this one. So, I found black hair spray color, and eight baby dolls at the dollar store. I looked up all the babies' names, wrote them across their shirts, borrowed a papoose to carry them in, and then sprayed my hair, and lined my lips. The result was a little hard to look at. I caught myself off guard a few times throughout the night when I saw myself in a mirror. A few people commented on my fantastic "wig," while others didn't recognize me at all. I guess I shouldn't go dark.