Friday, December 31, 2010

Five Minutes

I’d say I never dated guys I met at the clubs I worked in but that would be a lie. For the first six months or so, I’d meet some guy that seemed really cool and I’d give it a shot but it always turned out to be one of three things…

1. They thought I’d be stupid and easy. I’m neither.
2. They turned out to be married. I don’t play with other people’s toys.
3. After about the 3rd date, they’d start bitching about my job. Hello? Where’d we meet?

I pretty much just gave up on men altogether for a long time. Not like I changed teams or anything, I just realized that it wasn’t worth it to try and date someone I met at work and since all I did was work and school… I was just happier alone.

There was a firefighter I dated for a few months that seemed promising but he turned out to be a heavy drinker and I already babysat one drunk and wasn’t about to go that route again.

I started working at the clubs in April 1996 and by October 1998, I was really getting burned out on it all. The money was amazing, the hours were short but I was really starting to hate guys. I was trying to hang on until I graduated massage school the following April but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

One night, it was SUPER slow and there was a feature dancer so the money wasn’t flowing well. It was about 10p and I had another hour to go on my shift. I was walking over to the manager to see if I could leave early when this group of 6 guys came in the door. I figured I’d squeeze $50 out of them real quick, and then go. One of them had a streak of blood down the front of his knee from a cut of some sort and since he was the cutest one and had a built-in ice-breaker, I went up to him first.

I leaned over him and said, “If I promise to be careful of your knee, would you like a dance?” He looked a bit shocked (odd) and said yes. I gave my usual up sell, “Would you like it here or in VIP?” and he said VIP so up to the little bench-couches we went.

By then the song was mostly over so we decided to wait for the next song. I forgot about the feature and the next song started her next set. We aren’t forbidden to work while the feature is up but it’s strongly advised that we don’t. It’s considered rude. Whatever. So this guy and I sat in VIP and we started talking. He was crazy funny and was really crackin’ me up! We talked for nearly an hour and I finally gave him a dance.

This is where the story differs as he swears he asked me out but I know I asked him. I told him that I was getting off work and that my friend and I usually went to the 5 and Diner to get something to eat and if he and his friends wanted to meet us, that’s where we’d be.

I went upstairs and changed and when I came outside, that guy was there by himself. He said his friends didn’t want to leave but that he could use a bite to eat. We drove our separate cars to the Diner. I was really embarrassed that Mary didn’t show, like I was just giving this guy a line or something, right? But it turned out just fine! We talked for 2 more hours and Dave and I have been talking ever since!

Even at the diner he was killin’ me! After we ate, he said he’d pay and I said, “Don’t be silly! I invited you. I’ve got money. In fact, I got-ch-your money!” The waiter laughed at that but Dave insisted so he paid.

Our first official date was a double-feature Jackie Chan at the Drive-in Theater. I suggested it but Dave went for it and I thought that was cool!

I worked at the club for a few more months after we met and he was never weird about it. He knew it was just a job for me. It wasn’t until months later that he said the reason he agreed to get a dance was because I caught him off guard asking about his knee. He’d just recovered from reconstructive knee surgery recently and was shocked I could see the scar in that dark club. I told him about the blood on his knee and we had a stupid laugh over that.

I actually got fired New Year’s Eve 1998. I was dancing for one guy and his buddy kept touching my leg and I did that “I’m-smiling-but-I’m-pissed” thing and said, “Stop touching me.” and signaled the bouncer. I saw the bouncer heading our way, so I turned my back on Touchy McToucherson and continued the dance for the one guy. The Toucher one smacked my ass about as hard as he could. I turned around and clocked him right in the mouth. I hit him so hard his chair tipped over backwards! By this time the bouncer was there and stopped me from stomping that asshole with my heels.

The manager called the cops. He apologized to me for it but said for liability issues, he had to. When the cops showed up, they asked McTouchy if he wanted to press charges; the guys lip was split, puffy and bleeding and he said, “Hell yeah!” Then the cop turned to me and asked if I wanted to press charges for sexual assault. The customer was all, “Wait. WHAT?? WTF??” and the cop said, “Look, sir, you know you’re not allowed to touch anyone in here and as far as we’re concerned, she was just defending herself.” I said to forget it and I just went home. Before I left, the manager said he had to fire me (liability purposes again) but that if I wanted to come back in a month it’d be fine. I said, “You know, Mark. I think I’m done. If I can’t be diplomatic anymore….. I don’t know, man.”

I borrowed some money from my mom and finished massage school. Dave and I moved in together the following April and got married the April after that!

The thing is… I was leaving! And Dave never goes to any bar much less a strip club (a fact a friend of his confided to me a few months later). He and his crew just finished a huge 3 month job at the golf course and they talked him in to going out to celebrate. Had it been 5 minutes later, we would’ve never met.

Fortuitous five, Ruth!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friends In Low Places

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

Part Four:

I didn’t make a lot of friends at the clubs I worked in. Most of the girls that worked there were all full of drama and I don’t have the patience to put up with it. But, as I said before, I have that face that makes people tell me stuff I don’t care to know and then they ask my advice even though my advice is usually along the lines of “fix it or shut up about it already”.

There’s the tiny, young chick who was complaining to me about her boyfriend. She said to me, “You wouldn’t like him.” I said, “Why do you say that?”
Her: He’s in jail.
Me: What’s he in jail for?
Her: For putting me in the hospital. He nearly beat me to death. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks.
Me: Why do you like him?
Her: I don’t. Not really. Not anymore. We have a kid together and I think I’m pregnant with another one of his.
Me: How’d that happen? You said he’s been in jail for a few months now.
Her: He pays off the guards so we can sneak into the bathroom together. I don’t really want to even visit him anymore much less have sex in a jailhouse bathroom but I have no choice.
Me: What do you mean you have no choice?? You always have a choice.
Her: No, you see… he’s head of a gang and he sends all his little gang-banger cronies to check up on me. Last time I didn’t visit him, he had one of his boys come find me and beat me down. I’m scared to not visit and do what he says.

I gave her the name and number of a person who helps abused women get away safely. I don’t think she ever did anything with it and she was pregnant again.

There’s the girl who’s boyfriend would drop her off when the club opened at 11am and pick her up when it closed at 2a then next morning and take all her money to buy crack.

There’s many others and like I said, before and after work, I got ready in the locker room as fast as I could manage to avoid all that mess and drama.

I did have a couple of friends though.

At TD’s, we had a “customer appreciation” night and the club wouldn't have to pay the club the usual $5 an hour to work those nights because there were lots of “free” dances. I put free in quotes because if the DJ or waitresses caught a guy not tipping after a free dance, they would call them out on it and embarrass them.

On these free dances, you would give a guy about half a song and move from guy to guy. At one point Cheryl and I ended up at the same guy and we laughed and gave him a double! It turned into a very profitable gimmick for us and we would dance together for people all the time. Sometimes, after work, we’d go get something to eat together but that was about the extent of our friendship.

At Ten’s I became pretty good friends with a girl we’ll call Mary. Mary and I talked at work all the time and we hung out outside work quite a lot. She was another with man troubles though. She was dating one guy who was a complete tool and dating is a rather loose term for what they had. He mostly booty called her and she’d always go when the phone rang. She was at the end of him when we started hanging out. I remember she called me from a bar a few miles from the really crappy part of town I lived in. She was there with that guy and his buddy and they were all playing pool and did I want to meet them?

I had nothing better to do so I went. She and I were sitting by the pool table waiting our turn, she put her feet up on my knees and I asked how her ankle was doing (she’d twisted it slightly at work the previous week). Her guy came over and said, “Oh, now I know why you like her [meaning me], she’s obviously a dyke.” I said, “I’m not but with guys like you around I wish I was.” He got all up in my face and we almost threw down! What a dick! When she finally dumped him, she told her mom how much she liked him and how heartbroken she was over the break-up and her mom asked if Mary would mind if she [mom] dated him!

We actually saw them at a hockey game we went to. They were on a date! WTF?

Mary ended up dating and eventually marrying and having a kid with some other abusive asshole and we fell out of touch. Last I heard, she divorced that guy. I wonder where/how she is?

The club had Feature Dancers about once a month. These were “professionals” – either porn stars or women who made their living posing naked for magazines. The feature hangs out in the locker room and every two hours from 7p-close, she comes out and does a 4 or 5 song show. Different costume each time and lots of build-up inbetween. Then she signs pic’s of herself and sells them or sometimes, she’ll take polaroids with the guys and sign/sell those. On top of the picture sales, the clubs pay them a few thousand a night to show up and do their thing.

I remember one skinny neck bitch whose man had parked his truck practically on top of my Mustang in the parking lot. His back bumper was touching mine and had scraped some of my paint. Now the old girl's paint was bad enough without help so I asked for their insurance info. They refused to give me that info so I had to call the cops and it was this big stupid scene. It was pretty funny though when she made a run at me and the cops put her ass on the ground!

There were the twin sisters feature act and I thought that one was a bit…disturbing. They didn’t touch each other but one show they did, one sister was seated, topless, blindfolded and tied to the stage pole while the other (wearing a floor-length hooded cape and not much else) dripped candle wax on the seated sister’s tits. Ummm. Ew.

One feature was really nice to me. She was a tiny, curvy blonde and her claim to fame was getting the cover of Swank magazine more times then any other model. She took a shine to me and we talked for a long time in the locker room, when I was getting ready to leave. I told her how cool it was that she could be so sexy and never wear stilettos in her shows! (One outfit was a construction worker’s costume w/timberlane boots). The conversation went from there. When I mentioned her impressive number of Swank covers she said, “It’s not as impressive as it sounds, my dad owns the magazine.”
Ummmm. Ewwwwwww. I went home shaking my head the whole way. One of those things you can never unknown, right?

One of the best features I saw involved a shower. I thought it was her own set-up but turns out it was a new thing that Ten’s had purchased for the club and she was just the first one that got to use it.

They put a kiddy pool at one end of the barbell stage and she stripped her way over. At the top of the pole, they had a shower set up and when they hit the strobe light, she crawled over to the kiddy pool, dipped her long hair into it and flipped her head back. With that strobe light? Mesmerizing!

I used that shower set-up a few times myself. Ten’s had a couple of “Best Dancer” competitions and I entered them all. I didn’t actually care about being voted best, it’s just that the prize money was pretty great. I got second place ($250) when I wore the chaps, stripped out of them and did that same thing with my hair, that strobe light and that pool!

Still flipping my hair flirtatiously, Ruth!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Regular Crowd Shuffles In

Part Three:

I wanted to finish this story that I started before the year ends so here’s the next bit about how Dave and I met….

Working at the clubs, we would have “regulars”. I think being a regular at a strip club is not a very good thing. I mean it’s not so bad if you come once a month with the guys or once every few months; but I’m talking about the guys we’d see once or twice a week and a couple that would come nearly every day. That’s just sad.

Of course, most of the regulars had nicknames that they didn’t know about and I’m going to tell you about them here. This isn’t for the eyes of minors or the delicate of composition – it’s a strip club, people! Nothing too disgusting, most of them actually made me laugh but I guess most “decent folk” may find it a bit gross.

At TD’s West, there was this older guy (had to be late 60’s/early 70’s) that we called The Flinker. He’d wear these khaki shorts that were mid-length (not super-short but not to his knees, sort of in-between). The whole time you were dancing for him (whether it was one song or 10 – 3 minutes each, mind you), he would be flinking his junk. That means he would flex his keigels (do men have those?) and just slightly bounce his peen the whole time. He got air dances from even the dirtiest of dancers (“air dancing” is dancing a good foot away from the customer). Flink, flink, flink…. the WHOLE time! It was actually a bit impressive but also super-gross. He never tried to touch anyone and he looked you in the face the entire time but it was probably to make sure you were looking and seeing what was going on in the groin area. Blech.

Another guy with a shorts problem was The Cyclist. He always showed up in his cycling outfit - the tiny hat, the skintight shirt, the special shoes that click into the pedals, the cycling shorts with padded bottom - and he'd get dances. Those shorts are too tight to be getting lap dances from sexy women. Ew.

There was another guy the girls called ShitMan. He carried a baggie and $100 cash. I’ll let you take it from there. Far as I know, no one ever took him up on his offer. (Gross!)

Then there was The Fisherman. When I started working the clubs, Regina warned me about him, even pointing him out to me so I’d know exactly who he was. He was this harmless looking, skinny guy who would get dances from all the girls he was attracted to and eventually would make them an offer – if he brought in a fish, would she slap him with it for $300. At this point the dancer would turn him down and he’d stop getting dances from her (and when I say he’d stop, I don’t mean just that day… he’d NEVER get another dance from her. I think maybe he was too embarrassed after he reveals his kink and gets turned down?). Regina said it was pretty easy money since it usually took him awhile to build up the courage to make his request and he paid for every dance after each song ended, tipping quite well along the way. He never got dances from me (not his type I guess) but I always ask anyway. [Aside: The thing about strip clubs, you ask everyone, every time you go ‘round the room. Enough beer, they all say yes eventually.] One day, he said yes! Regina was right; it took him nearly TWO HOURS to get the courage to make his request. I leaned over, gently gathered the front of his shirt in my hand, pulled him close and whispered in his ear, “Baby, for $300, I’ll beat the shit out of you with a Bass.” I was just joking, of course, but when I let him go, his mouth was agape, his eyes were agog and he sat back in silence. When he’d collected himself, he handed me a $100 dollar bill and left the building. Now, I didn’t work every day but I never saw him again!

The Painter was this morbidly obese guy who would come straight from work to the club. He always wore a white chambray shirt and jeans and it was covered in dried paint, like a house painter or something. He never showered (and from the smell of it, “never” is a little more literal then I care to remember) and he always looked super-pissed and never spoke a word. I’m a jokester so I’d always try to make him laugh or even crack a smile but it never worked. I always wondered what in his life made him look so angry all the time and I always wondered when I’d see him in the news after he snapped and went all postal somewhere, killing everyone around him…hoping it was never going to happen at the club because it’d be a bitch to try to run in those 6” stilettos!

Santa Claus would show up about every 3 months or so. He was a long-haul trucker and looked just like Santa on his time off. And he never came around during December. Hmmmm. (just kidding)

The Widower was just that. He never got dances but would pay you to just sit there and talk with him. Most of the girls hated it and wouldn’t sit with him; they don’t want to get to know you, they want to give you a dance (or 10) and leave. I didn’t mind, it was a nice break from standing in those heels and he was a nice, seemingly-normal guy (which probably means he killed his wife, right?). He’d talk to you for about 30-60 minutes, pay you the regular rate of the dances you would’ve done in that time, plus a healthy tip and he’d leave. He showed up about once every 3 months or so. He was lonely and sad and just wanted to chat.

Foot Guy would always take his sandals off and try to put his feet on your feet or lower legs. Gross! I would remind him that he wasn’t allowed to touch us and that touching with feet was still touching. I told him this diplomatically at first then I looked at him with a big smile but a voice that indicated I was about to kick his ass and said, “Don’t touch me.” I also put my stiletto on his foot and told him that if he stepped on me, I was going to step on him. He put his shoes back on and never tried that again with me. I would see him do the same to other girls and they’d never say anything to him but…. GAH, that’s so nasty!

Most of the other regulars were just normal guys that didn’t seem to have much of a life outside the club.

There was a gay guy who came with some friends and he was a sweet, flamer who would always compliment you on your outfit and say even though he was gay, he still loved “the boobies”. He always made me laugh!

One guy I remember that wasn’t a regular but I’ll never forget him…
He was there with an older man and the older man said, “Come give my nephew a dance!” So I did and halfway through the dance, the man said, “Make it an extra good one, girlie, he just got released from prison after a ten year stint.” I was a bit shocked at that and thought the man was kidding since the guy looked too young to have been in prison that long but then I took a look at the kid. He had a bunch of prison-like tattoos and a sort of dead look in his eyes. The part about his eyes may sound like I’m just being dramatic but I actually noticed that when I started dancing for him. His eyes reminded me of The Painter and it was a bit creepy. When his uncle told me about his prison time he got pissed, “Why do you have to tell people that? I served my time and I just want to forget about it.” He got about 5 dances from me and was polite and quiet and that was that. But I’ll never forget the hurt look in his eyes when his uncle laughed at him for getting mad about telling me.

There was a deaf kid (about 21 years old) who would come with his cousins. His cousins would get drunk and act like jerks (trying to touch and being rude) but he was always sweet and since I was taking a lot of ASL classes back then, he and I would sign to each other from across the room (or at the same table) and have a good laugh about his asshole cousins.

I guess that’s about all I remember of the regular crowd. Like I said, most guys that came to the clubs weren’t regulars and were just there to have some fun and blow off steam. It wasn’t a bad job and oftentimes was actually quite fun. But there were times/days that you just wanted to start smackin’ people. I guess in that respect, it was like any other job!

Remembering regularly, Ruth!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Several months ago, my friend Donna had a great idea for a WIP Cup to coincide with the World Cup. We started a Ravelry group and I actually got quite a few WIP's finished but I don't think I ever posted about them. Here they are...

The Chevron Scarf - started 3 years ago and never finished is now done. I adore the way Feather and Fan looks but I discovered I hate making it. It's not even hard, just boring.
I also discovered if you're going to take a pic of a blue-ish scarf, best not to take it on blue sheets.

This picture is much more true to color.

Way back in 2003 when I first started knitting, my LYS had two lone skeins of koigu on sale because they were different colors and not enough to make a pair of socks each. I bought both with no clue what I'd ever do with them. I didn't even knit socks back then! This scarf was perfect for them and I love it!

Next up, we have my Odessa hat. About 2 years ago, I received a luscious ball of this yarn in a swap, found the perfect beads, cast on for this, did the ribbing edge and tossed it in a bin. I have no idea why but maybe I was intimidated by the beads and the fact that I didn't understand how the swirlyness happened without moving stitch markers and such but it does! It just does and it's amazing!

I wore it all day when I finished it and am still waiting for it to actually be cold enough to wear it again.

Next up (and the thing I'm most proud of finishing) is the Bed Jacket of Doom. If you were here a couple of years ago, you know the saga behind this. Let's just keep it brief and say this pattern was kicking my ass. I finally finished the whole thing except the edging (even seamed the sleeves!) and threw it in the closet. With the WIP cup, I finished the edging. It took an entire skein of the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece plus a little extra to do it! I'm actually thinking of pulling half the edging out but for now, it's finished.
Here's a shot of the little edging I put on the sleeves. I tried the original edging called for in the book but learned that I am NOT a fan of sawtooth edging - too court jestery for my tastes. Also, you need to knit miles of edging and sew it on?!? No thank you. I crocheted this edging on and it only took about a day.
I made this specifically for wearing about the house when it's chilly and I've been wearing the hell out of it lately! I'm one of those mean moms who says, "Leave the heater off, go put on a sweatshirt!"
The WIP on my list that I didn't finish are these chunky mitts. I was following a basic chunky knit pattern but the thumb seems to be way too high up!

I was also in the Ravelry 10 in 2010 group. My list changed quite a lot during the year (perfectly allowed within the group - yay!) and I finished 8 things so far with an easy goal for the last two to be done before the year ends.
I have already joined the 11 in 2011 group and next year they are allowing WIP's so I've got these mitts on that list. My list is pretty... impressive (read: stupidly large) but I think I will still manage it! We'll see. I'll post that list here soon....
WIPing away in Margaritaville, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The boys get very definite ideas of what they want to be at Halloween. I hear tale of kids who change their minds daily until the hour is nigh, not so my little ones!
Somewhere in August, D2 decided he wanted to be a skeleton. When the time came, we got him the skeleton outfit he picked out. It came with a matching mask but at the school party, they aren't allowed to wear masks so the night before, I went on youtube and found a tutorial for the skull make-up....

Here's a close-up (although I still haven't fully figured out my camera)....
I know he looks super-pissed in these photos but he was actually trying to not crack up the whole time. He said he didn't want to smile because I drew teeth so he didn't need to! I caught him smiling once...
T decided he wanted to be a spaghetti monster. That sort of morphed into just spaghetti. I wasn't really sure what he wanted but this is what we came up with...
He made most of this himself. I rolled the masking tape meatballs and he painted them. I cut the holes in the tablecloth poncho (he painted that too with splotches of sauce, looks like blood to me, but what're you gonna do, right?). I cut the cardboard and he covered it with tin foil, 80% of a skein of Lion Brand Wool (huge skein that!) and for the sauce, part of another skein of Vanna's Choice or some other cheap acrylicrap from Michael's. We used nearly a full can of spray adhesive!
When we were trick-or-treating, T got tons of compliments. One woman even yelled in to her house, "Come here! This is the one I was telling you about from school! Get the camera!!" Too funny!
The boys and Dave also carve pumpkins every year. They pick the pumpkin, draw what they'd like and Dave carves them. If you've been here at all, it's pretty easy to tell which pumpkin belongs to which kid....

(If you're new, the happy-go-lucky vampire is T's and the disemboweled one is D2's. It's pretty odd considering D2 hates anything even remotely scary on TV or in books!)
Hope you all scored lots of candy, Ruth!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kind Children Are Kind

About a month ago, the kids' school had Field Day. Field Day is where there are a bunch of different stations and they have silly things to do at each station. One station, they loosen their shoe and see how far they can kick it, another station, they balance a bowl of water on their head and try to fill the bucket across the way... you get the idea.

This year's Field Day theme was The Amazing Race so each station was either a state or a country. (At one station, the man asked the kids, "Do you know what country this is?" and a boy yelled out, "The Suburbs!" How true!)

I got to hang out in the morning before I had to start work so I got to see D2's class play at Field Day. They all trooped out to the big field in single file and the last kid stopped at the edge of the field. I held out my hand and said, "Come on! Let's go play!" At first, he took my hand but then he looked up at me and pulled his hand back. D2 looked back to see; he and another boy came back and got the hesitant child. D2 looked at me and said, "This is E. He's never been on the field before - it scares him." D2 and the other boy (B) each took one of E's hands and coaxed him onto the field. That's when I got it (not the brightest bulb, I know) - E is a Special Needs child.

D2 and B slowly but surely got E over to the rest of the class. D2's teacher told me that D2 was always very nice to E and they usually hung out and played together with 2 other boys at recess. E's mom showed up and she was telling me how sweet D2 is to E and that at the end of the day, D2 always makes a special effort to come and say goodbye to E. She went on and on about how nice and patient D2 was with E. It was makin' me all misty!

Later, when E got a bit nervous (all the kids were all over the place and he seemed to get confused as to where to go), he found D2 and walked up behind him, putting his hand on D2's shoulder. D2 looked back at E and said, "It's OK, we're just going this way." and led E to the next station.

About a week after this, I came down from my break at work (the kids were already in bed) and Dave handed me a letter from school. It was from the Special Needs teacher. It asked us if we would be willing for D2 to participate in a group that taught social skills to Special Needs kids. The group would meet once a week and our child was chosen because his teacher said he would be good at it. Of course we said yes!

Dave handed me the envelope the letter it came in and D2's teacher had written on the outside:
To the parents of D2: If you wish D2 to participate, I know he would enjoy the group. He is so good with E and he too can benefit by interacting socially with this small group of 2nd graders. Thanks, Ms. M

Ok, so that totally made me cry! I'm such a dork! It's not like any of the kids are ever mean to E, but most of them don't play with him or anything. D2 and B always plays with him.

I was telling this to the women in my knitting group and Tina pointed out that when people talk about their kids, they say they want them to be doctors or lawyers and stuff but when it really comes down to it, what they really brag about... what's really important is that their children are kind and good. She's so right!

Proud of my kids, Ruth!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Purses! Foiled Again!

I am not a purse girl. Don't get me wrong, I love a good knitting/project bag and I have several! They are all very cool and I love them all dearly! But when it comes to my actual purse, it's like the Highlander.... there can be only one.

It takes me forEVER to pick a purse and once I find one I truly love, I buy it and use it to death over the next 2-3 years. I never got the appeal of having different bags for different outfits and having to switch all your purse contents every time you switch purses. If I did that, I'd always forget something really vital, like my wallet or something.
I tend toward smallish purses. I had a huge, overstuffed purse all through high school (as was the style in the '80's - everything was big!) and I'm convinced my left shoulder is still a bit higher then my right from those 4 years of trying to keep that giant, heavy bag from dragging on the ground.

Once I got out of high school, I ditched a purse altogether. Whenever I went out with friends, to dinner or the clubs, or whatever, I'd only take some cash and my ID, tucked neatly in my jeans pocket. If I wasn't wearing jeans (ever so rarely), I'd get a friend with pockets or a purse to carry my ID/cash for me!

Years ago, while still in Tucson, one of my favorite purses got stolen. While working at the spa, I stopped taking my purse inside with me when I caught a client going through my purse. Seriously. I finished the massage, went to get his water and while standing outside the door waiting for him to come out, I heard the cabinets being opened/closed. I opened the door and there he was, standing there with my purse in one hand and his other hand inside my bag! I looked at him incredulously and he stammered, "Um, I was just looking for something." I said, "Well, I'm pretty sure it's NOT in my purse. You can go now." So I started keeping my purse stuffed under the front passenger seat of my car. It was a small one so I could get it pretty far under there. But it had a long, skinny strap.
I had a client that requested me all week and on that Thurs. I had brought a book about stretching that I told him about. I parked, stuffed the purse under, went inside and a half hour later when my client was showing up, I remembered the book. I went out to my car and as I walked up to it, I thought, "Did I leave that window open??" and as I got closer, I saw my window.... on the ground next to the car. I went inside and called the cops.

The cops said that the same robbers had hit 4 cars in the shopping center at the bottom of the hill from the resort. They said that the thieves didn't leave any fingerprints, they pried something into the edge of the window, popped it out, reached in and stole the purse/wallet/sunglasses whatever inside without really touching anything! I guess they saw the purse strap coming from under my seat and did their thing.

I was pissed! Not only did they steal from me, they took my ID (a trip to the DMV is always fun, right?), some pictures that I didn't have other copies of and.... my purse! I was going to have to go on a hunt for another purse!

Strangest thing....
6 months later, I get a call from a cop saying they found my purse! It was in some bushes of an elementary school near the spa. He said he'd bring it by when he got off work as it was on his way. I said OK, but after I hung up, I got all freaked out thinking that the spa and my house were nowhere near each other, much less "on the way" from.... well, anywhere! Maybe that wasn't actually a cop calling me! I was pregnant and worked myself up pretty good. I called Dave but he couldn't leave work and so I called my friend John and he came over. Of course, there wasn't anything sinister, it was just a cop being nice! I got the purse back but it was ruined from being out in the elements for 6 months and EVERYTHING was still inside! Even the credit cards! The cop said the thieves were probably just looking for cash.

The last purse I bought, I thought I had it covered. I saw a seller on Etsy that can put just about anything on fabric with her fancy embroidery machine, so we pm'd back and forth a LOT and I thought I'd have the perfect, custom-made purse coming to me. It was going to be black with my 5elementknitr logo on the front in blue thread. I was really specific with the dimensions so I was pretty disappointed when it showed up wrong. It looked like a tote bag. I don't like tote bags for purses (for knitting projects, they are just fine!). I had to pay to send it back and she made adjustments. When it returned, all she did was chop 2" off the top and sew it back together. The middle pocket was stretched weird because she didn't take it out and make other adjustments. And I was never really happy with the logo - it looked.... well, not perfect for sure. I'm not really a perfectionist but it looked.... sloppy.
I bought that purse about 6 months ago and last week, the strap broke. That's another thing, when I got it back, the sewing on the straps look really crappy - haphazard and sloppy. Well, last week those crappy stitches came apart.
So I'm on the search for a perfect purse again. My dream purse would be Jordana Paige's Knitter's Satchel but about 1/3 the size. I love the shape and the pockets of that bag but it's GIANT!
I've been looking for awhile now (plowing through Etsy's vast array of purses). I like this vintage one because it kinda looks like a bowling bag and I am also rather enamored of this vintage one, but mostly because of the insides. I think the one I'm actually going to get, however, is the new Namaste bag.
It's just about perfect! It's the right size, the right price ($39 at Dreamweaver's Yarn) and I love the blue color and the fact that the strap has options (hip slung or over the shoulder!). They carry my Stitch Savers so I think I'll email and see if they want to trade.
Hate shopping for purses, Ruth!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Starting To Breathe

I have a job!

That's one of the reasons I've been a bit AWOL lately.

It's a smallish job and the hours are a bit unhappy but the job is kinda cool and fun!

I didn't want to say anything yet, as I was in training and I wanted to make sure I at least made it out of training before I said, "I have a job!" and then if I didn't make it through training, I'd be all, "Um. Never mind. le sigh."

There's a company called Alpine Access ( and they are sort of a warehouse of customer service reps for Fortune 500 companies. These are customer service reps who work from their own homes. This is a legitimate company that I found while doing job searches. They were interviewed by Newsweek magazine and also featured on's home page in an article about best at-home jobs.

I was originally interviewed for Qwest. The interviewer has you open a bunch of web pages and makes sure you can find things on these pages and navigate the web. I failed. I couldn't find the local weather on I was putting all kinds of variations of local weather into the search engine and it kept giving me articles (damn that bubble boy's parents!!) so I timed out. After I timed out, she, very kindly and gently, showed me that if I had just scrolled halfway down's home page, there's a local news and weather button!! I'm so lame.

She said not to worry, that my test scores were really high (when you first apply, there's a bit of a test to see if you can navigate things online and retain info and stuff) and that she was going to put me back in the pool of candidates and she was sure that another company would want to interview me. The very next day, I got another interview offer for a gaming company. That interview went much better (found the weather right away this time!) and I was hired!

We had about 2 1/2 weeks of training and now my class is in the "nesting phase". We are taking calls but we are rather closely supervised and after this 2 week nesting phase, we are in regular production like everyone else!

My first day went really well. I mean REALLY well! I had lovely customers who were patient and kind and I got stuck here and there but not too bad. Yesterday, my second day, was brutal! I was stuck all day and about 90% of my calls needed to be escalated for one reason or another. But everyone was still fairly nice and even though my call times are atrocious (I don't think I've had a single person that I wasn't on the line with for at least 20 minutes!), I'm working on that and since it's only been 2 days, I'm not that bunged up about it. Also, this company (has an X or two in it but not in any kind of porn way) is not as concerned with call times, they are more concerned with happy customers so that takes some of the pressure off as well.

Yesterday, it was discovered (not just by me) that when a call is escalated, it goes to Manila and if you get a man on the escalation side, they are very unpleasant and even downright mean! Our team leader says that the gaming company is in talks with Alpine to bring Tier 2 back to the states as well (they already brought Tier 1 back - that's the tier I'm on) and so people in T2 are rather on edge as they may be losing their jobs soon. Another female co-worker typed in the chat what I was thinking was that it was also a cultural gap. I mean, they aren't snippy with the guys on T1 and the females on T2 are usually quite kind. Just sayin...

Anyway, I work from 2:30p - 11:00p MST so I see the kids on my 2 10 minute breaks and my 1 30 minute lunch break. I have Thursdays and Sundays off. After 30 days, I can ask for time off but I think I'll keep this schedule as much as I can and see if I can switch a day here or there if I need to for kids' events or a night out with Dave or something.

It's not particularly high pay but it's not peanuts either and it's definitely more then I was making in the past 18 months which is zilch (except for my Stitch Saver sales!). I should at least make the rent money each month! And that means that both Dave and I can breathe a bit easier now. Takes some of the stress off.

Alpine, so far, is an excellent company!! It has opportunities for advancement and all the people I've worked with (particularly our instructor during training) have been kind, impossibly patient, knowledgeable and helpful. Oh, and when I'm taking calls, one of my team leaders.....

is a knitter.

Who could ask for anything more?!

Hello, thank you for calling, my name is Ruth, how can I help you today?, Ruth!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Time Out

The Inaugural sweater is in time out. It's banished in it's lovely carrying bag to a corner of my knitting basket. It will probably resume it's normal knitting schedule this weekend but it's been in time out for about two weeks now.

It's completely my fault but I've mucked up the whole thing. Not really, it's just not what I want and not what the pattern called for. I still have only the collar and the sleeves left to finish and this is when I actually read the pattern. See, I've always been told that in America, seed stitch and moss stitch are interchangeable terms. They are not. This American pattern clearly writes out what moss stitch is in the glossary box. I didn't read that and knit the whole thing with seed stitch front panels instead of moss stitch.

Much as I love seed stitch (and I do! lots of people hate it, I really like it!), I picked this pattern to make because I loved the look of the front panels and collar. Which are moss stitch. Moss stitch that is different from seed stitch. The whole time I was knitting it, I kept thinking, "This doesn't quite look right." and then I'd keep going. I blamed the yarn. It's that really dark black/green yarn and I just thought it didn't look right because the yarn was so dark.

And that's the other reason it's in time out. I am becoming less and less enamored of that super black "green" yarn. So it's in time out. And I know when it is finished, I will never wear it.

I'm thinking once it's finished if anyone wants to buy me some Malabrigo Twist in enough yardage (and the color of my choice) so I can make the Inaugural like it's written, I will give them this one. The hem was sewn by my knitting-award-winning-at-the-fair (blue ribbon!) friend, Tina, so that part is perfect! The rest is perfect too, it's just slightly the wrong pattern stitch. It's the 40" bust size. I know Twist is more expensive (yard for yard) then the regular Malabrigo that I used but I figure that's fair as you're getting a ready made sweater! I'll even leave the buttons off so you can pick whatever buttons suits your fancy! (I'm generous like that) I'll post pic's when it's done.

Truthfully, if Tina hadn't already sewn the hem for me, I would've ripped it all out and started over. I'm that irritated with myself over it.

This Inaugural Time-Out put me squarely in the sights of my own cast-on-itis. The flood gates are wide open people! I've started a round Minion (body, one leg and most of the second leg finished), another pair of socks (Skew from, yarn is rolled and I'm just waiting for my brain to remember how to do Judy's Magic Cast-on), and I made the mistake of starting Vivian.

Vivian is like crack cocaine to me! I was right about wanting something more challenging and her supple cables and seed stitch (for real this time) V-shaped areas are like knitting porn. I started on a sleeve and didn't put it down for two days! I'm about 2/3 done with that sleeve but the siren song of startitis called again and I also cast on for...

this Lion Brand blanket pattern called Lenox Square Throw. I bought 11 balls of beautiful cranberry colored worsted weight Encore yarn when I was a new knitter. My Tucson LYS was having one of it's 4 annual sales and I wanted to try my first sweater (Rachel from Melissa Leapman's Hot Knits - I couldn't find a picture to link to). I don't know why I thought I needed 2200 yards of worsted weight to make a sweater but either I didn't have the pattern with me and/or didn't trust my math and wanted to be sure I had enough. I never made that sweater and I'm happy about that as it would've been a mistake to make a sweater that's supposed to be form-fitting and close to the skin in that itchy acrylic! I've always loved the color of this yarn and when I saw that blanket pattern and you just use worsted held double and there's cabling? I knew I'd finally (7 years later) use that acrylic Encore!

Thinking of starting 3 more projects (and using more parentheses), Ruth!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Paint Me...

I bet y'all thought I stopped knitting. Not so! I knit everyday. I've made minions for Davis and robots for Trevor (my crochet skills are weak at best and my embroidery faces are terrible!) I've finished dishcloths and I'm plugging along on two pairs of socks. I knit all the time!

Lately, I've noticed that in the past few years I go through these color phases. About three years ago, it was all teal all the time. I was in search of the perfect teal yarn. I found several perfect teal yarns!

Two years ago, it was anything variegated - couldn't get enough of the stuff! But only in sock yarn. This year I'm in a dark charcoal grey phase. I'm loving gray! (And I love it so much that, apparently I can't decide which way to spell it.) I've got enough to make a couple of sweaters so I think I'm starting to fade on the gray/grey.

I'm also starting to fade on the sock yarn. I think I've told y'all but I've got enough that if I made a pair of socks every month, it would last me 17 years. I don't make a pair a month. I wish I knit that fast!

I'm definitely getting away from variegateds, transitioning into those gorgeous semi-solids that I'm seeing everywhere now. I'm in search of the perfect deep garnet red. I want enough to make a sweater. I have a couple of bites of that color in sock yarn and I'm swooning over it! I really want a sweater in that color.

I have enough worsted Malabrigo in Pagoda to make the ever-lovely Vivian (I also have the pattern - thank you Donna!) and I was in love with worsted Mal but now I'm over it and am slavering over Malabrigo Twist! I'm such a fickle girl!

I'm also getting a major case of startitis. I've been pretty good this year, maintaining a fair amount of monogamy to one project after another. The WIP Cup got me finishing 3 out of the 5 things I listed and even before the WIP Cup I was holding fast to my self-imposed WIP Sunday knitting. That's kind of fallen by the wayside and I've cast on a couple of extra sock projects. I've been sort of stops-and-starts with that Inaugural sweater I'm making. I think that sweater is what's giving me this startitis. I only have the collar and the sleeves left to finish it and I always get Cast-On-itis when I'm near the end of a big project. It's like I want an excuse to fling the almost-finished piece aside and start something new. I won't. I'm holding fast.

I've been putting off winding the next skein for Inaugural because that means I have to continue with it. Part of the problem is the color. I wanted a really dark green so I picked Cypress. In the photo it was a very dark forest green. When it showed up, it is black. You can only see the green in certain lights. I'm disappointed in the color. Not that pattern though! It's an excellent pattern and it's not even boring or anything! (It's a touch boring.) The body is stockinette with moss stitch panels so it's perfect for not having to think too much. Maybe that's the problem!

I want to sink my needles into Vivian's cables. I want to have to concentrate on something knitwise. Most things I've done this year are so easy that it's starting to stifle my knitting mojo. I need a challenge! Maybe I'll just cast on for a sleeve? I definitely want to do Viv's sleeves first. A sleeve's not really cheating, is it?

I'm also getting fairly obsessed with the idea of making knee-high socks. I want, like, three pair of knee-high socks. If sock yarn doesn't count as stash, do socks count as projects?


OK, enough of that nonsense.

What colors are y'all into right now and where can I find some silky-soft-garnet-red-not-too-expensive yarn? I don't even think I care what weight, just so long as it's a sweater's worth!

Attempting monogamy, Ruth!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

North Pole (or Santa Declares a Winner and Gets Change for a $20)

Part Two:

Where was I….. oh, yeah – dancing with no top on.

I once had a friend that compared something to dancing and he said I’d be really good at because I was a dancer. It took me a minute to realize he didn’t know my past college history (I was a dance major before I went into the Army) and that he was talking about my job. I said, “That’s not dancing.” He said, “What is it?” I said, “It’s walking around in impossible shoes, twisting myself into impossible positions [one of my gimmicks was that I’m really bendy], wearing improbable clothes and occasionally striking a pose.”

Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, that job was so much fun! Regina had shown me some gimmicks to make money and I eventually developed quite a few of my own. One of the easiest was to walk up sort of next to and a little behind a guy and put my stiletto clad foot on his knee. His eyes would look at the foot and follow it up and I’d say, “Would you like a dance?”. Usually, they just nod with their mouths hanging open. Or, if you think they’ll go for it, walk up to them head on, put your foot in their chest and push them back into their chair, then ask. Again, jaw-dropped nod and you’re set for the next 20 minutes of money-making. (This only backfired once. I had a guy who grabbed my stiletto heel and wouldn’t let go. My foot was on his knee and I’d gently pull away and he wouldn’t let go. I said, “Look, you’re not allowed to touch us and you should really let go of my heel before you get hurt.” He said, “Do I scare you?” I said, “No. Are you trying to?” and I signaled the bouncer who threw him out. Creepy much?)

The money was amazing! I saw how easy it was to fall into that trap and just stay in that job until your looks or your body gave out. Again, kind of like the Army! I know lots of people who joined for college money then got sucked in to the comfort and security that the military gives. But like the Army, you sell your soul for it.

When I first started, lap dances were $5 each. They eventually went up to $6 each, which seems like a nice raise but it was such a pain in the ass – we need to make change for people? Seriously?? Making change wasted time. All the songs were 3 minutes each. That’s 20 songs per hour and if you were moving and it was a good crowd, you could average about 15-18 songs per hour (that’s giving time to move from customer to customer). If you were lucky and had a guy fall in love with you, you could spend the whole hour (or more) with that one person and make even more money. I didn’t much care for dancing for the same person for too long. It was easier money but it got really boring. Also, I did basically the same dance every time so if I got stuck with someone too long, I had to start getting creative and that was always annoying (you mean I actually have to work? C’mon!).

On weeknights, I’d clear $150-$200 in about 4 or 5 hours. Cash. All cash. On weekends, I’d make between $200-$300 bucks. I never worked Sundays (only because it was terribly slow and not worth it), I never worked on my birthday (in any job I’ve ever had) and I always worked New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve I’d make at least $500 in less then 4 hours.

But you do sort of sell your soul for it. I’d have to check my brain at the door and not think too much about my job. A lot of the girls were just 21; I was 26 when I started – certainly old enough to realize how stupid the job was. But it was easy and great money and the hours were such that I had plenty of time for school and study. So check my brain at the door I did. I’d bounce around that club with a big smile on my face and act bubbly and brainless and all “I’m just a girl!” Something I always hated on the outside of that building.

Some girls showed up for work all decked out and made up and all they had to do was put on their T-bar (thong) and their nipple glue and they’d be ready for work. (Oh yea, the nipple glue – one of the more retarded parts of the job. By law, you couldn’t actually have your nipples completely uncovered so to get around that, all the dancers bought theatrical glue and covered their nipples with that, then they used blush to dust the glue so it wasn’t sticky. You could see the nipple and it was uncovered but technically it had a cover – so stupid! Also, if the glue was old (it had a shelf life of about 3 months) it would start to peel off about halfway through your shift so you looked like you had leprosy or weird scaly lizard nipples. Not a good look. And going back to the locker room to reapply wasted time which loses money.)

I showed up to work like a schlub. I’d wear baggy shorts and a big baggy T-shirt and sneakers. I’d get ready as quick as I could once I was in the locker room – slap on the make-up, put on the costume, off I’d go. When my shift was over, I’d remove the spackle on my face, put the baggy clothes back on, tie my hair up, pick up my brain at the door and leave. I remember one girl would show up with a long, wavy red-haired wig, green contacts, full make-up and she’d leave that way, too. She told she wanted to make damn sure no one recognized her outside that building.

That happened every now and then. I’d be at the mall or at some restaurant with friends and some guy would see me and he’d get that look like, “Where do I know her from?” and I’d just wait patiently…. Either they’d not remember and move on or they would remember and, if they were with their woman, get that deer-in-the-headlights look like I was going to bust them out. Why would I do that?? I didn’t want the recognition anymore then they did. I’d just smile, roll my eyes like, “Relax, dude” and move on.

I also never wore anything that would get people in trouble later. A couple years later when I was a massage therapist at that spa in Tucson, I could always tell who’d been to the club the night before – that glitter on their forehead was a bitch to wash off. It’s just bad for business. If someone gets in trouble for going to the club, they won’t be able to come back and give me their money!

Another reason I’d get ready so fast was because, apparently, I have one of those faces where people tell me ALL their drama and want my advice. I never understood that as I was never very compassionate about it. I’m usually of the mind that if you don’t do anything to fix the problem then you can’t whine about it and if you continue to whine about it to me, you get no sympathy! And, as I’ve mentioned, a lot of these women had more problems then Ally McBeal and I’m not a psychotherapist and we’re not friends so I don’t care!! If they were friends of mine or something I would understand but for the most part, I didn’t befriend anyone I worked with at these clubs. Too much drama.

I’ve seen girls throw down in the locker room and beat the shit out of each other over a guy or money or just looking at each other wrong. Whenever that happened, they’d get fired. It didn’t happen often but it would occur now and then.

What else can I tell you?

I had another decent gimmick for making money. I’d walk up to a guy and say, “Would you like a dance?” and if they said yes, I’d say, “Would you like it here or in VIP?” because, like Regina taught me, I’m all about the upsell! Usually they’d just say yes or no but sometimes they’d ask, “What’s the difference?” and then I’d lean over and whisper in their ear, “Well, here I’ll make you smile, but up there…. I’ll make you cry.” Then they follow like little puppies. The only real difference was geography and cashflow.

The VIP areas were only a different area of the club. They weren’t blocked off or private or anything! Here’s the layout of Tens…
You walk in and there’s the desk where they take your cover charge, then you pass through a doorway and to your immediate right is a staircase. At the top of the staircase and to the right is the door to the locker room. The rest of the top floor only covers the kitchen below and 1/3 of the downstairs area. There’s leather couches, some tables, a bar at the other end of the top floor and two stages. The stages are one at each end of the upper area, they each have their own pole and they’re at the edge of the balcony looking down on the lower floor. There’s a plexiglass and brass half-wall all along the upper level so drunks don’t fall to the lower part. That upper area is one of the VIP areas and it’s also for bachelor parties and such. We rarely had to dance on those upper stages only when it was super-busy or if there was a party up there.

Back downstairs….
If you don’t go upstairs but still turn right downstairs, there’s the ATM and the bathrooms. The main bar is all along that back wall and behind that wall is the kitchen and the manager’s office. The entrance to the kitchen is at the other end of the main bar – opposite the bathrooms. Yes, they had a kitchen. At 5p, they’d have a free prime rib meal. Prime rib, mashed potatoes and gravy. They also had really good burgers and other bar food available. I ate that free prime rib every time I worked! (They let us eat, they aren’t slave-drivers, remember.)

The rest of the downstairs area/main level was surrounding the stage area. The main stage was a barbell shape with a pole in the middle of each circle that went all the way to the ceiling. The wall opposite the bar was the other VIP area with 3 or 4 steps leading up to it. If you’re facing it, the left 1/3 of it was the DJ booth and the rest of the wall was lined with little… benches? I don’t know how to describe them. They were comfortable seats, wide enough to fit about 2 ½ people. They had plexiglass table/armrests between each seat and each table/armrest had a pole at the end of it from the floor to the ceiling. Again, no “privacy” and no need for it. The only difference was the price. A VIP dance was $11 instead of $6 and for each dance we did in VIP, we had to pay the house $1. (Told you… the owners made money 6 ways from Sunday under that roof!)

This is getting long again so I’m going to tell one funny story about Tens then announce the winner and continue my topless adventures next time.

In the last post, I pasted a video of some amazing pole work. I said I could never do any of that stuff and here’s why. The only way to practice was on stage. It wasn’t like they let us in the club off-hours to try stuff out and I was never brave enough to try out new stuff in front of everyone! The only thing I did that even came close to a pole trick was to use the pole as a support and do a headstand, then the splits with my legs, then curl over to the splits on the floor. There was one girl who was very impressive – she was strong without being too muscly and she would do a handstand on the floor near the edge of the stage, do the splits with her legs, then do handstand pushups!! Loved her!

There was another girl who would take a running leap at the pole and swing around. And when I say a running leap, she would go to the inside edge of the opposite barbell circle and freakin’ all out run to her side of the stage, when she was about 3 feet away from her pole, she’d launch and then catch the pole and just swing around it until physics made her stop. There was a long-running money pool as to when she would miss and sure as shit one day she did. She launched herself, missed the pole entirely and went sailing off the edge of the stage, landing on a table and the two guys sitting there. It was sad but it was also fucking hysterical! Someone won $100 bucks off that dumb girl’s antics!

Now for a winner….
Since this contest involves Dave, I told him to pick a # between X and Y (the amount of comments in the contest blog). He picked and the lucky winner is Yarnhog! Congrats Yarnhog! Email me your mailing addy and I’ll send you your prize.

I know I promised yarn in this post but my camera and my computer(s) still aren’t talking so I’m going to have to figure that out and get back with pic’s later.

Yes, even Santa got lapdances, Ruth!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pole Position

OK, so this is the post where I reveal the winner of the contest of guessing where I was working when I met my husband. Only it’s not because it’s getting so long that I’m breaking it into two parts. It’s got a ton of back story so you might want to get a snack….

So there I was….

If you’ve been here awhile, you know that I got out of the Army kind of fast. Not in a bad way, no dishonorable discharge or anything, just that when I had a shot to leave, I fucking ran at it! (Also, if this is the first time you are meeting me, it’s probably going to be weird for you – sorry.)

Leaving like that also left me without a job. I had a little mobile home I needed to move from Sierra Vista to Tucson and my old Mustang was busted as usual. I needed money. My friend Gina (the Corporal/NCO of the Orthopedic clinic across the hall from the Eye clinic where I worked) had a girlfriend named Regina. Regina was a topless dancer. She was all, “Ruth! You should totally come to the work at the club!” I said, “Yea, maybe waitress there.” She scoffed, “The waitresses make jack. You need to come dance.” I said, “I don’t know. I just don’t think I could do it.” She said, “It’s no worse then wearing a bikini most of the time and it’s amazing money!” I said, “Right, because the guys want to see the fat girl in stripper heels.” She laughed, “You are most assuredly NOT fat and you’ve been to the club enough to know that the girls come in all sizes and they ALL make bank.”

She was right.

Being stationed at Ft. Huachuca meant being in Sierra Vista, AZ – a relatively small town. There was one nightclub – a shit-kicker bar called Texas Annie’s and that opened shortly after I arrived from Germany so I don’t know what the soldiers did in SV for entertainment before that! Mostly, even with Annie’s, we’d all head up to Tucson for our weekend fun. It was an hour drive away but still worth it. We’d go there to hit the clubs/restaurants/concerts/whatever. When I hung out with the other women that worked at the hospital, we’d often go to The Biz. Ain’t Nobody’s Business was the lesbian bar in Tucson (remember that on the Meddac Softball Team, I was one of 2 and ½ that were straight). And sometimes we’d go to the topless bars. Also, when I hung out with the guys I worked with, sometimes we’d hit the topless bars. One of the strip clubs was across the street from a regular night club so sometimes we’d do both in one night. Not saying this was a weekly event or anything but probably about a monthly event.

So, yeah, I was familiar with the topless bars and their constituents.

Still skeptical, I said, “What if I can’t make [X number of money that I needed to live off].” She said, “Ruth, that’s… if you work 4 nights a week, that’s just….like, 3 dances an HOUR. If you can’t get 3 dances an hour, then yes, you’re right, you shouldn’t be doing it. But trust me – you’ll be fine.”

Regina put me in a bunch of her different outfits to see what looked best on my shape (turns out, that’s a push-up bra and hot pants that only cover half my ass). She also taught me a bunch of the tricks of the trade. (OK, bad wording, there was no “tricking” going on.) She showed me some moves for the stage and some moves for the lap dancing. She told me that when on stage to discreetly look around and see who was really watching me, that’s the first person to hit up for a “dance” when I got off stage. Same for when I was giving someone a lap dance – she said to pay attention to the guy I was dancing for but when my back was turned to see who was watching me, flirt with them and then go take their money. She said if there was a couple (man and woman) to always ask the woman first if she wants a dance, that way it cuts down on the jealousy and drama and oftentimes they say yes! She said when you finish the first dance, you ask right away, “Would you like another?” and if they said yes, to see if they wanted to go to the VIP area. Regina was the queen of the upsell! What else…. Oh, my favorite, “Be nice. Smile. There are a lot of girls who walk around that club like Queen High Bitch and some guys are into that but honestly… most guys… they have the bitch at home and that’s why they are at the club!” Best piece of advice she gave me!

Regina said being nice was, for her, the hardest part. She started stripping when she was 18 (I think she was 24 when I met her). She had to start at the full nude place because you had to be 21 to be topless, which I just think is weird. From a law standpoint, I get it, the topless bars serve alcohol, and the full nude places are BYOB. I think that’s weird, too. BYOB at a strip joint just seems like a recipe for disaster. She told me that the VIP dances there were in these little booths with a slot to put the money in and glass between the dancer and the patron. She said for the first dance she would be really mild and not even go full nude, then usually, the guy would be all, “Um… I was hoping for something… more.” And she’d tell them, “Oh. You must want the $50 dance.” And when the guy balked at the price, she’d tell them, “Look, put the money in the slot or get the fuck out.” And they’d either pay or leave and she could move on to the next sucker.

After all this instruction and education, she took me on my “audition”. Audition. What a laugh! If you are not morbidly obese, are willing to take your top off, and can walk in those heels without falling, you have the job. I remember being nervous as hell. I remember Regina, bless her, standing at the end of the stage and walking me through the whole song, “OK, now give a butt shot. OK, walk slower. OK, breathe!!” What I remember most about that the first time I took my top off on that stage is thinking, “Well. There’s goes the Presidency.” I get off the stage and Regina hugged me and told me I did great! The manager (a woman named Christina) said I had the job. I went to work and made $60 in the next 15 minutes before Christina told me I couldn’t start right this second and had to fill out some paperwork first. (Oh. Yea. Told y’all I was nervous!) I picked a stage name (Daija which sounds like Déjà vu but is actually a Korean term of endearment that means “little pig” – already not taking this job too seriously, right?) and started the next day.

I started at TD’s West (Topless Dancers - I'm embarrassed to say how long it took me to figure out what TD's stood for). I got a great shift because of Regina. Mostly, with the new girls, they have to work the first shift for at least a couple of months. First shift rhymes with worst shift. It was from 12p-5p and it was super-slow, not a lot of guys and the guys that were there were lifers with no money. Circumstances previously stated (house and car issues) had me living with Gina and Regina and riding with Regina to work so she talked management into letting me work the same shifts she worked – 4 nights a week, from 6p-10p (or later if the crowd was good). When circumstances smoothed out a few months later and I got my house/car back, I moved over to TD’s East because it was a bit closer to my house. Then later, still, I got fired. I got fired because I took a week off to study for finals! Actually, I got permission from a manager but he quit or got fired or whatever and didn’t tell anyone he’d given me the time off, so me and three other college students got fired for no-showing. Then I went to Tens and worked there for the rest of my stripping career.

Yes, they fire strippers. There are so many misnomers about this job, I can’t even begin to tell you but, of course, I’ll try. I did that job for 2 ½ years. I never told anyone where I worked until they got to know me a bit better since there are so many stereotypes about that job. People would get all weird and judgemental about it. What are the basic stereotypes? Well, what first popped into your head? All strippers are stupid and easy and they are all drunk/drug-addicted hookers with daddy issues and fake boobs? That’s usually what people think about.

So let’s address them…
Yes, most of the women I worked with had more issues (daddy or otherwise) then Ally McBeal. Yes, a lot of them had fake boobs – the club would even pay for them sometimes if the dancer was loyal and popular and signed a contract to work there for a certain amount of time after the surgery (kind of like getting college money from the Army, right?). Some were addicted to drugs or alcohol. And yes, a majority of them treated being a stripper like a lifestyle rather then just a job.

Plenty of them were married with kids or in long-term relationships. Lots of single moms, too. And lots of lesbians – by my small calculations about 40% (Regina used to joke that it was the perfect job for her/them – they already don’t even like men!) Quite a few, like me, were working their way through school but some lost their way, blinded by the money and the realization that they could go back to school anytime but their stripper looks wouldn’t last forever. Regina was a hell of a businesswoman – she squirreled money away like a…. well, like a squirrel. She used some to buy her truck but the rest she had tied up in stocks!

And the club wasn’t going to put up with any bullshit. For most of my 2.5 years, I worked at Tens. Tens was a bit strange in that it was owned by a woman and her two sons. She won the club in her divorce and her sons ran it. Does that give anyone else the creeps? But they made money hand over fucking fist and they weren’t about to lose their licensing over some triflin’ girl’s habits or issues. There was always another girl they could hire, right?

If a girl left with a different guy every night, they’d suspect her of hooking and they’d fire her. If a girl was caught high or drunk, they’d can her ass so fast it’d make her head spin. You could even get fired for wearing body oil! The oil gets on the stage and the next girl slips, falls, and sues? I don’t think so!

. There’s a two drink minimum with no bottle of beer or anything else costing less then $8 each! They have their own ATM machine which gives them $4 per transaction! Then there’s the money the club owners make from the girls and here’s where we get rid of another stereotype.

When people tell me that stripping is degrading and objectifying to women, I just smile and nod, not wanting to argue too much about a subject the speaker obviously knows nothing about. All the clubs I worked in (or heard about), the girls are “independent contractors”. We got paychecks but they were pittance checks (kind of like those states where wait-staff at restaurants get less then minimum wage because they make tips). All the girls paid to work there. We paid $5 per hour we were there. So say there’s a minimum of 10 girls per shift and 3 shifts per day, that’s $150 per day the club makes just from the girls working there. These girls who choose to work there of their own free will. We also had to give 10% of our “tips” to the bar and another 5% percent to the DJ (that part always kinda pissed me off as those people were making their actual wages plus tips anyway).

I always loved when guys would try to pull some superior bullshit or tried to act like they were in charge. I’d laugh right in their faces and take their money. The women in that bar ran shit. If we didn’t like a way a guy looked at us, they’d get kicked out.

My favorite example of this was when one day when I was working an early shift (covering that shift for a friend) and it was deadly slow. There were like 10 guys in the whole place and so you had to keep going to each guy for every song, “Would you like a dance?”. It got to be a funny game because it was actually a rule to keep moving and keep asking but there was no one to ask! There were two men in suits, one was not getting any dances but was buying all the dances for the other guy. The other guy was firmly entranced with one dancer so no money to be had there. I kept asking Paying Suit if he wanted a dance, he clearly didn’t even want to be in the building. I’d seen him before, always with a client, always buying them dances, never getting any for himself, always treating the girls like we were so beneath him. Finally it got to the point that whenever I’d ask him for a dance, I’d be laughing when I said it because I knew his answer. Finally, he had enough of me "bothering" him so he looked up at me and said, “Are you pregnant?” with this evil grin on his face. I’ve always had a little pooch-belly and it never interfered with my money-making skills so I laughed and said, “No, just fat, but thanks for asking!” Then I pulled up a chair and laid it down for him with a big smile on my face, “You know, no matter how much money, power and prestige you have outside this building, once you cross that threshold you’re just another loser who has to pay for attention. Or in your case, a loser who can’t seem to close a deal without us. You might want to think about that the next time you feel like being rude.” Then I stood up and, laughing, said, “So. Would you like a dance?” He said no but the look on his face when I called him out about using us to close deals was fucking priceless!

Jeebus this post is getting long! Man, y’all think the Army gave me some stories? This job has its own set of crazy tales, for sure! I’m going to cut out for now and finish next time. But I promise, next time, there will be yarn!

Also, here’s a video to keep you entertained. I think it’s safe for work. The women don’t wear anything less then the average bikini would show and it’s more Cirque de Sol then anything else. And in case you were wondering, I can’t do any of this shit! Never could. There was one dancer who could climb that pole to the ceiling and spin like a monkey. She was a tiny, skinny, overly-tattooed, little thing. I don’t remember her name, I always called her MonkeyGirl. I do remember the DJ couldn’t use the strobe lights whenever she worked. She told me that she had done so much crack in her life that she’d developed epilepsy! Crazy tales, man….crazy tales.

Still own the shoes, Ruth!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm essentially unemployed right now. The economy has effectively totalled my business.

For those who don't know, in August 2007, Dave and I bought a biz for me to run. We borrowed the money from his parents and bought a recruiting biz that can be run from home. It was stellar the first year we had it, I cleared over $40K working in my basement just 3 or 4 hours a day! My only concern with buying this biz (other then owing Dave's parents) was that the previous owner had taken it down to working with one company. The original owner dealt with about 20, she retired, selling the biz to her office manager - that owner took it down to 5 companies and the man that bought from her took it down to one. I didn't like having all the eggs in one basket.

That basket broke.

The company went on a hiring freeze over a year ago and it still shows no signs of thawing. They are shifting people around and promoting from within and my business is bust. I've had several of the hiring managers call me to say, "I'm not looking but if something comes up..." because they want to leave the company. The company changed their comp packages three times last year and none for the better.

I'm so depressed I can't breathe right most days and I keep thinking how we.... no. How I won't be able to EVER pay Dave's parents back. I keep having nightmares (nearly every night) of being lost or late and also of being deployed to Iraq.

During the day, I look for jobs.

Dave's business (he bought a landscaping biz last August) is doing just OK. It's not doing near the numbers the previous owner was doing but again, that's more because of the economy then anything else. People are opting to take care of their own yards and then there's the schmo's who buy a lawnmower and an edger, have no overhead and undercut our price by, like, half. (We've actually had people in both categories come back to us because Dave does a much better job!) Then there's the slave labor....

Another mom of a kid on Trev's baseball team told me that her neighbor hires a Mexican to do her lawn (that's exactly how she put it). This guy cleans up the poo from their three dogs, mows/edges/trims their front yard and their back yard for the princely sum of..... $15. Are you fuckin' kidding me? The other mom disapproved. She, like me, thinks it's cruel to hire slave labor like that. And then we went on to discuss the illegal immigrant situation and we agreed that they wouldn't be here if people like her neighbor didn't hire them. But that's a discussion for another day.

Anyway, back to me - hah! If I don't get a job soon, I'm going to self-destruct. I have panic attacks some days and meltdowns on other days. We decided in June to shut down my business. It costs money, even being run from home - extra phone, website, etc. From June to July, I lost about 12 pounds. Mostly because I pretty much quit eating. I am so stressed that every time I eat, I get super nauseous. It's not as bad now but June was ugly.

I have all this time on my hands and so I've taken to getting an ass-load of movies from the library. Sometimes I even score brand new releases. I'm on the waiting list for those but they hold back a couple of copies to put on the shelves and sometimes I get lucky.

So I'm going to start doing movie reviews here as well as the rest of the snot I write about. There will be spoilers so I'll put the movie titles at the top of the post each time. If you don't want to know, then skip it, right? Also, I have an unexplainable love for dross. I love cheesy movies and old movies and there's not much I won't watch. You've been warned!

This week:
CopOut, The Crazies, Brooklyn's Finest, Bounty Hunter, The Shield (Final Season), Nip/Tuck (Final Season), The Box, My Sister's Keeper, Adventureland, Wolfman, Armoured, Doctor Who
(Normally there won't be this many but this is what I've seen over the last two weeks or so.)

The Crazies:
This not-a-zombie zombie movie was really pretty good! I love zombie movies and my favorite part is how they explain the outbreak. This movie took steps to insure the zombies didn't look like zombies, because like 28 Days Later (besides Shaun of the Dead, one of the best zombie movies ever), these aren't the living dead. They are live people who are infected with something. The explanation The Crazies gave was entirely plausible and that makes the movie all the more frightening! The characters were likeable and real and compassionate. There was very little gore and lots of jump-out-at-you scares. That's how I prefer my horror films. Excessive gore is, well, excessive and rarely necessary.

Sucked. Don't waste your time. This movie was like a really bad buddy-cop movie from the '80's. And I'm not even sure what purpose Sean William Scott's character served. He was in it briefly to set up a scenario - he stole a baseball card Bruce Willis needed. At the end of the movie, they basically kidnap SWS so he can use his cat-burglar skills to break into the gangster's house and get the card back. So SWS is at the top of a tree about to go in a window, he looks at Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan and gives them the thumbs up, then falls out of the tree and dies. WTF? It's a shame as I really like SWS! This movie was beyond stupid and not even very funny.

Brooklyn's Finest:
Excellent movie! Amazing all-star cast and outstanding performances by all. The ending was very Hamlet in that pretty much everyone dies. It sort of reminded me of Crash in that people you thought were good, maybe not so much and people you thought were bad, also, have another side to them.

The Bounty Hunter:
Meh. It was OK. It was entertaining and Gerard Butler takes his shirt off a lot which is always nice! The storyline was predictable and the characters didn't have a lot of depth but it's worth a watch if you want something fluffy and mindless. The only thing that truly annoyed me was at the ending and it's just a petty thing.... There's a gun battle in a police evidence locker and although there's cops downstairs and there's gunfire upstairs, the place wasn't swarming with cops instantly. Also, if you are in a gun battle in a police evidence locker and you happen to find that much-needed extra shotgun in an evidence box (thank you V. Gotti), I'm fairly certain it would not be a loaded weapon. Just sayin...

The Shield (Final Season):
This show has always been sort of a corrupt-cop-with-a-heart-of-gold show. It's very violent and as graphic as basic cable will allow and it's an excellent show. The last season, they made Vic (the show's lead character) and Shane (Vic's right-hand guy) sort of trade places. All along, you kind of root for Vic because he shows glimpses of these small saving graces and all along you hate Shane because he's a total shit. In the last season, Vic becomes this desperate, narcissistic animal who is only out to save his own ass. Shane, equally desperate, keeps trying and trying and failing miserably to pull his butt out of the fire. The difference is that Shane is trying to finally do right by his small family and Vic, though trying to also save his own family, is mostly out to save himself, his reputation, and make some cash. Amazing show the whole way through. The end was sad and harsh and justice was served - keeping in line with the entire series. In the end, Vic gets his just rewards in the form of a living hell for his character. A slow death, chained to a desk, with constant supervision. Perfect!

Nip/Tuck (Final Season):
I've really liked this show so far. I'm not excited about this last season. So far, it's making me just sick of these people and waiting for it to end. So why am I still watching? I hate not knowing the end of a story. So, I'm slogging through this last season but I'm so over it all.

The Box:
This movie was SO much better then I thought it would be! It was excellent! It was imaginative, well-developed, creative, touching, sad, poignant, redeeming, and outstanding. It is based on a short-story by the same man who wrote I Am Legend - Richard Matheson. It was so good, I went to the library and got an audiobook with a collection of his short stories including this one.

My Sister's Keeper:
This movie is one of those ones you rent when you want a good cry. It was well-done and had an excellent cast. I never wanted to read this book because I knew it would destroy me but I figured I could watch the movie and be only marginally wrecked. I was right. I cried through most of it and I highly recommend it.

This movie was good. It wasn't nearly as funny as the trailers made it seem but it had several funny bits and many touching moments. Totally worth the rental.

I loved this movie! It was creepy and well done! It held true to the original 50's movies without resorting to campiness or too much cheese. Anthony Hopkins was stellar as always (I'll see anything he's in just to hear him speak!) and Benicio Del Toro was a dream.

I have a confession to make. I still have the Matt Dillon Trivia book I bought with my allowance from 1984. I'll watch anything he's in! This movie was OK. It was entertaining and they didn't resort to a too-perfectly-happy ending. Most everyone dies or gets severely injured in this movie. Worth the time of you're killing time.

Doctor Who:
I got this series because I was wondering what all the hype was about. We are completely hooked! The kids would beg to see the next episode and even Dave got into it! I have a huge crush on Christopher Eccelston - such an amazing smile! I'm sad he's only in the one season. We are on hold for the next season, anxiously awaiting.....

Watching all this film, I've been doing a lot of knitting. I have a new camera and as soon as I can get his old computer and the new camera to speak to each other civilly, I'll post some knitting.

Next time I post, I'll announce the winner of the contest. The contest is still open until I post about it.

Swimming as fast as I can, Ruth!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Airport Sightings

The boys and I went to the airport this morning to pick up Dave's best friend, Ty.

We were a few minutes early and we got to see two soldiers in desert camo get their tearful, squealing, "Welcome Home" mugging from their girlfriends and their families. It was totally making me tear up seeing the sheer joy and relief on the faces of their loved ones.

We also got to see a woman in a full burka. She was with her family and the 4 year old little girl with them wore a headscarf and the 2 year old little girl with them had her head uncovered. When T saw the woman in the black burka with only her eyes and hands showing he turned to me and asked, "Is she a ninja?" When I got done laughing, I explained that her religion requires her to wear clothes so that nothing of her body can be seen. He said, "Hmm, that's cool." (which is what he says when he means, "How interesting."). I said, "No, T, it's really not cool at all. It's very repressive. But everyone is different and that's just how they have chosen to live so it works for them."

And who knows? Maybe underneath those robes, she really is a ninja!

What was evident was her delight in her daughters. The little one started to wander off and the mom held out her hand and called her back and you could see the mom's eyes light up at the sight of her smallest child! Even with nothing else showing, you could tell she was smiling.

Seeing Ninjas, Ruth!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coasters and Baseball and Skeptics - Oh My!

We had such a busy and fantastic weekend!

Dave took Friday off and we went to Elitch Gardens. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Dave and I are crazy for coasters. On our honeymoon, we went park hopping in CA. Last year, we left the kids with the grandparents and went to Elitch with our friends Dona and Daren.

This year, the library's summer reading program had an end game of Elitch tickets for the kids! They read the required amount (12 hours? 20 hours? I can't even remember) and turned in their papers for some paper tickets. The tix also had a discount for adult tickets so off we went!

We got the kids on the easier rides first then worked them up to the bigger rides. We got them on the Tower of Doom (which D2 LOVED and wouldn't stop talking about all day) and one roller coaster (the Boomerang) which they both hated. They are super-skinny guys and if you are smallish or short (like me) you know that the restraints on roller coasters only click down so far and if you are smallish or short, you get banged around in your seat pretty good.

The Tower of Doom takes you up slowly to a height of 200 feet then drops you straight down. D2 loved it and after a few more spinny rides, we figured out that he liked the spinny rides but hated the coaster because he didn't like being upside down. That combined with being flung around in his seat made him feel like he was going to fall out. T didn't like either one. He's a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to rides. There were plenty of other rides that they loved (the swing ones, the log ride was a big hit, the teacups.... yes, we actually rode the teacups!).

I took some sock knitting with me and I got about 2" done while standing in line for the rides! I knew I was going to rip it all out when I got home but I kept going anyway as it kept me entertained. How did I know I was going to frog? I set up the sock the night before - CO and ribbing cuff (it's the Conwy sock from Knitting on the Road) and when we were driving away from home on Sat, I pulled it out to work on it. I then realized just by the feel of it, that the needle was too big. I didn't pay much attention to it the night before as I was just trying to crank out a little bit so it'd be ready for Sat. I was working on a US 3/3.25mm and I wanted to have it on a US 2/2.75mm. Oh well.... good thing I like knitting! Ribbit.

We also went to Elitch's waterpark. We should've gone there first as it closes at 6p and the rest of the park is open until 9p but we still spent a good couple of hours in the wave pool and going down the kid's water slides! My glasses have these magnetic sunglass cover thing and they popped off and are lost forever in the wave pool - so that kinda sucked.

Dave and I took on a couple of the big people water slides - he went down the really fast blue one and I went down the twisty purple tube one. I hated it! I was trying to hold my head up but the centrifugal force forced my head back and the tube isn't smooth. WHAM, WHAM, WHAM every time you pass the sections of tube-seaming. It gave me a monster headache!

We left our house at 9:30a and didn't get home until 10p! We left the park at about 7:30 or 8p and went downtown to Sam's #3 for dinner. It's a great diner with really good food. The whole ride home (about a half hour or so) D2 went on and on about the Tower of Doom - "Which was your favorite part?" "Which was your least favorite part?" "Which part did you like the best?" "Which part of the Tower did you like the least?" "Which part of the Tower was the scariest?" "Which part of the Tower was the least scariest?" The same questions to each and every one of us and asked over and over and over. He really liked that Tower!

Saturday the boys both had games. D2's game was at 11a and T's was at 2p.... on one of the hottest days this summer. It was super hot at D2's game but one of the parents brought this big collapsible gazebo thingy and a couple of other parents had squirt bottle/fan thingys so the boys did OK. D2 and I didn't go to T's game - it was just too hot! I'm sorry I missed it because T finally got to play pitcher! But I'm not sorry I missed it as Dave told me there were no collapsible gazebos and no dugouts so no shade at all! It's all relative as the 100 degree weather here is a cold snap in Tucson! We have become heat wimps just like everyone else in CO and we pretty much melted at home the rest of the day.

Sunday, we went to a picnic/pot luck thing. Dave signed us up! I was so shocked that Dave signed us up for anything even resembling being social that I didn't even mind missing my knitting group! He found this Secular Parents Club (Secular Parent's Club? I guess it works with or without the apostrophe) at He actually found it right before we left Parker but we haven't had the chance to go to any of the meet-ups until now.

It was great fun! I've never seen Dave be so outgoing with strangers! The shindig was at Bear Creek Park and we had this huge wooden gazebo to ourselves and it was right next to a bathroom and also right next to a largish creek. Their were only 2 or 3 kids that were the same age as our boys, everyone else had babies or toddlers. But the kids had a great time and the adults were similarly entertained. Everyone brought food and the adults stayed in the shade and ate and shared stories of our past religious lives (or lack of) and our current state of skepticism and/or outright atheism. One of the guys was a minister and is getting his degree in religious studies! With his current beliefs/doubts, he's not sure what he's going to do when he graduates. His dissertation is on TV evangelism - I can't imagine the horror stories he must be finding!

There were about 20 people there (including the kids) and I am looking forward to spending more time with these like minded folks.

What a weekend, Ruth!

P.S. I haven't forgotten about the contest. You can still enter until I reveal. I'll tell all soon....