Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ain't Holding Nothing Back

This is a construction site on North Dodge where I played on Sunday afternoon.

So, I observed some things and now I'm going to document them.

1.) It seems like every year I walk to work and wonder why there are so many theater majors hanging-out on campus, and then I remember it's Halloween and all those people are wearing capes as part of their costumes.

2.) I used some lyrics from the song, "Monster Mash" to title my post yesterday and it reminded me of third grade. I had the 45 of "Monster Mash" as well as Cheech and Chong's "Sister Mary Elephant" in my brown suede purse that I swung in circles in front of me seemingly defying gravity. I took my chances and slowed it down and both 45's fell out, smashing on the ground. It was my first, true, Newtonian moment.

3.) This man I work with has had hearing problems from chronic ear infections, but he's a guy, so he also has selective hearing. Since he works with almost all women, he used to tune us all out, until I had a brainstorm. Anytime I really want his attention, I say the word football before my sentence and he can suddenly hear me. It's much like when Stinky was little and everyone thought she might be hard of hearing because she never reacted when people said things like, "Okay, your turn is over, you have to share your shiny, red truck with your cousin now," or "Let's all put away our toys." Then I would demonstrate just how sensitive her hearing was by whispering, "Hey Stinky, do you want a cookie?" and she would run right over to me.

4.) While I was walking home from work today, a guy dressed like the San Diego chicken was by some bike racks poppin' and breakin' to the song, "Brick House". He finally stopped, unlocked his bike and dramatically crossed himself before hopping on his bike and riding it one-handed in order to free his other hand so he could hold his boom box that was still blaring "Brick House". Apparently, it was so important to have his theme song going while he rode, that he would risk his own life. I always knew the San Diego Chicken was dedicated.

5.) November 1st is the 15th anniversary of the Gang Lu shootings. I can't believe it happened so long ago. We were living in Albuquerque, I was pregnant with Coadster at the time, and we were supposed to move back to Iowa City that day. CNN had really confusing coverage of the whole thing, so we didn't figure out what really happened until after we drove back. I know I've already plugged this before, but you should really read Jo Ann Beard's non-fiction story about this, "The Fourth State of Matter". It's in her collection entitled The Boys of My Youth - actually, you should read the whole book, it's very good.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Ghouls All Came From Their Humble Abodes

By the time you read this, it will probably be Halloween. So, happy creep fest one and all. Stinky is still going trick-or-treating, but Coadster and I are going to stay home and pass out candy and watch more scary movies. Coadster wanted me to see if I could rent the first Halloween, but I told her I'd tried previous years, and it was nowhere to be found. We'll check the guide to see if we can find it on TV, but I'm sure we'll be able to find something sufficiently scary, preferably from the seventies.

The scariest thing about this picture, is the Dirty Dancing album cover on Stinky's bedroom wall.

On Saturday night, Stinky went to a Halloween party with some of her girlfriends. I know I've commented on this before, but the preparation that goes into getting ready for these fetes astounds me. I'm sure some of my low-maintenance is due to not having been allowed to partake in all the dances and dates and stuff that most girls attended in high school. Until I had teenage daughters, I had no idea that it could take a group of girls almost two hours and three different houses to get ready for a party.

First Stinky and her friends went to one girl's house so her older sister could do their hair, then they came to our house so my ex-husband could come over and apply their make-up. I suppose that's one good thing about having an actor for a father, you will always have the best make-up of any of your friends. Finally, I drove all the girls to the last girl's house so they could put on their matching witch costumes. I couldn't think of more appropriate costumes for a group of thirteen year old girls - unless they wanted to all go as hormones.

Coadster has never been big on costumes, so she usually goes as something that needs explaining from her - "I'm walking around with a pretend cell phone stuck to my ear, because I'm going as a college student for Halloween." Stinky, on the other hand, is all about dressing up and puts a lot of thought into it. In general, she likes to look pretty. She's been a fairy godmother, Selena, a prom queen and a go-go dancer.

The year this picture was taken, Coady was obsessed with X-Men comic books and wanted to be Storm. It was before the movies came out, so finding a Storm costume was extremely challenging. We finally bought one the day before Halloween and it was the best $10 we ever spent. The foam hair really transformed her. We had to watch her closely, because she was so ready to kick someone's ass. Luckily, people were generous with the candy that year.

The year this was taken was the only time Stinky didn't try to look really cute. I think she was happy to settle for wearing a wedding gown covered in fake blood and sporting horrible teeth. She wanted to be a dead bride and I was really surprised that she didn't get sent home from school for scaring all the other second graders with this costume.

After my ex-husband picked the girls up around 10:30 on Saturday night, they went for their annual drive through downtown Iowa City to check out all the college kids' costumes. The stand-out this year was a girl who was (half) dressed as a fire fighter. All she wore was a fire hat, a pair of white tights and a coat so short it left her genitalia unprotected and vulnerable with just a little, opaque nylon between them and the outside world. When I asked Coadster what she thought was up with that costume she said, "Maybe she lost the rest of it in a fire."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

October, and the Leaves Are Stripped Bare of All They Wear

We are getting to the ugly end of Fall here. I cut Hibernation Weekend 2006 short because the weather defied me and got really nice and so I went out to play. I ran my seven mile route and while I was running, I noticed all kinds of shit that absolutely had to be photographed. So, I went back and took me some pictures. I'm not too worried about missing the last part of my festival of dormancy - I'm sure in the next few months, every weekend will be Hibernation Weekend.

The main thing I felt compelled to document was this barn on North Scott (Road/Street/Place/Drive/Vista?). Every year they dress this place up with all kinds of creepy Halloween stuff. I think this giant, inflatable spider was supposed to be frightening, but then it appears to have had a seizure and now I just feel bad for it.

This little window here had to be my favorite. the green goblin is sufficiently scary and the gigantic rats gnawing on the severed foot was a really nice touch.

The hand on a stick just cracked me up. It seemed more like something that should be deep fat fried and served at the zombie State Fair.

I discovered the most disturbing thing of all when I was getting ready to leave. They actually staked this real dead raccoon to the ground with its own blood smeared on it. After seeing it, I was kind of glad the girls were too tired to come with me.

The fright didn't end just because I went home either. Oh no it didn't. Stinky and I carved pumpkins tonight. Coadster was so tired from getting up at 5:30 on Saturday morning to support her cross country teamates as they won state in Fort Dodge and then waking up around 6 this morning to participate in Kinnick Stadium clean-up to raise funds for high school athletic teams, that she went to bed at 7 pm. Or else, she was smart and knew better than to get too close to Stinky when she had a knife in her hand.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I Got a Date With the Night

We're on day two of Hibernation Weekend 2006 and it is going very, very well so far. It's been a perfect weekend for it because there's a home game and it's daylight savings time so I'm afraid to go downtown and I have another whole hour to piddle away and wonder what I did.

It's not like I haven't left my house at all - there were several trips taking the girls to and from their different events and running and tonight I ran to the noodle house to pick-up some take-out pasta for Coadster and I to eat while we watched movies apparently written for twelve year olds - I finally had to drink a beer to get through Just Friends. I may also break my shut-in vows tomorrow if the temperature actually breaks the sixty degree mark.

Is it just my computer, or has blogger been acting like a total asshole lately? At first he seems like he's going to be all nice and then when I try to post something, he gives me an error message just to fuck with me and make me repost the same thing 50 times waiting for a different answer from him. Don't worry Mr. Blogger-Fuck, I am nothing if not persistent, but I don't know why it's so funny for you to frustrate me like that.

My last item tonight is that I'm participating in that NaBloPoMo thing from Fussy's blog. Instead of making November the month to try to write a novel, Fussy has made it a little more realistic. She's having a contest to see if people can write a post a day during November. I might be able to write a novel during the month of November, but I would need a team of twenty editors working every day for the next ten years to clean it up and make it readable. I've decided to take the easy way out. I write almost every day anyway, except for certain weekend days where I skip because I'm too tired or too busy or I have a house full of teenage girls and they've rattled my brain so much that I can only wite in text message speak. So, there maybe a couple of days this month where I post only word, but don't worry, I'll make it a good one like turgid, onanism, or spooge.

Friday, October 27, 2006

On the First Part of the Journey, I Was Looking at All the Life

On Friday night we found ourselves in a shack of a bar where a bad Country and Western band played John Fogerty songs. It was the first time Kevin had taken his motorcycle out since the accident and he was drinking to calm his nerves. He had been driving down a logging road when the road underneath him just disappeared. The roads around here were tricky like that. The loggers would build them to reach the area they were clear-cutting and after they were done, they would sometimes doze over the road or else a bridge might simply deteriorate. You had to be really careful driving up here. This time out, Kevin decided to go to bars located solely on Highway 101 where it was safer.

It was so much easier hanging out and boozing it up with Kevin now that we knew nothing romantic would ever come of it. I had first seen pictures of him at the training academy during a slideshow presentation about trail building in the backcountry in King’s Canyon. I thought he was beautiful back then. It was the first time I had realized that I was attracted to a physical type. He was tall and lanky with dark curly hair and blue eyes and a self-deprecating smile. It just so happened, that he worked on the Salmon Restoration Project and would be my boss for the next nine months. I tried to woo him when I first met him, but he wasn’t biting. I eventually got over him and started dating someone else.

After we were better acquainted, I was glad that our initial flirtation didn’t take. Although I was physically attracted to him, our personality differences would surely have driven us both crazy. He had been a strong Christian at one point in his life, and though he was reformed, he still couldn’t get over some of the teachings. Which isn’t to say that he didn’t still party and have casual sex, he would just beat himself up about it later and judge other people for exhibiting similar behavior. I found that tedious about him and I’m sure he thought me a little too harsh for his tastes as well. We made great friends, however. I encouraged him to relax and paint and act like an idiot from time to time and he got me thinking about my future and other practical matters.

By the time we left the bar, Kevin had had quite a bit to drink. (he needed it to calm himself, remember) He expressed regret over not dating me when he had the chance. I didn’t take him too seriously. Even at nineteen, I was very aware of how pretty I got after everyone else was drunk.

The sky was clear that night, but it was still hard to see the stars through the Redwoods towering over us. Out on the road, Kevin turned his headlight off and we flew down the highway in the dark, with only the overwhelming pine smell and the trees fencing us in on both sides of the road as witnesses. Being so young, it felt completely natural to taunt our own dumb luck.

On this Friday afternoon, as I sit in my cubicle staring at the words on my computer screen and watching them turn into bold, but broken lines, I happily anticipate going home and putting my pajamas on by eight o’clock. I still remember (mostly) how I used to spend my weekend nights and I don’t feel like I’m missing much. Now, I’m just glad that I don’t have to worry about traveling on roads that could suddenly open up underneath me.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Those Who Feel Me Near, Pull the Blinds and Change Their Minds

Here are some random observations I've Made Today:

Railroad tracks are inherently lonely.

Railroad tracks set to the backdrop of an October sunset can turn me all Emo.

2.) When I am very tired, I mean really, really tired and I am forced to sit in a cubicle doing tedious processing kinds of tasks, I can feel like I did when I used to eat acid. My head gets all itchy and I keep seeing sudden movements in my peripheral vision. It's almost painful to sit at my desk amongst the beige and the more beige. Then the cheesy internet radio station I listen to at work because I need something that showcases songs I know all the words to in order to stay awake, plays David Bowie's "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" and in my exhaustion haze, I am certain that he is quite pointedly singing that song for me and I am extremely grateful.

3.) When I am sleep deprived, I can be forgetful about just how adorable I am when I'm crabby and spaced-out. Coadster, who is sometimes so much like me that I want to write her a twenty page apology letter, isn't always the best sleeper either. After I see her adorable, sleep deprived, crabby, spaciness mirrored back to me, I vow to go to bed at eight every night whether the shit gets done in my house or not.

4.) The man sitting next to me at Coadster's orchestra concert tonight, smelled exactly like my grandmother. He was rugged and swarthy so I thought it odd that he was wearing old lady perfume. I'm not sure if I find that disturbing, or kind of hot.

5.) I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that I'm a smidge pre-menstrual right now.

Kicking in Chairs and Knocking Down Tables

I didn’t really want to move to San Francisco at first. I had lived in the Redwoods and then in the San Bernadino Mountains and the city scared me. The problem was that we couldn’t work at the ski resort anymore. It was a bad winter for snow and they were cutting jobs. When Neal’s mom called to see if we’d housesit while she went to Paris to study, he talked me into it. His powerful argument was that we didn’t have anywhere else to go.

I got a job in Berkley as the assistant manager of a newly opened shoe store on Shattuck Avenue. The pay was shit, but I was already twenty years old and the only jobs I’d ever had were either food service or in the Conservation Corps. It felt so grown-up to dress-up for work and walk down to the J Church and then transfer to the BART every morning. I went out to lunch, and read the Chronicle like all the other adults. Then I came back to work and put up with tons of bullshit from my bosses.

The regional manager was just hanging out until the store was set-up and running. My direct boss was an old school, condescending asshole from Los Angeles named Hank. He called me "Honey" and thought he was smarter than me because he had a penis. Hank wasn’t at the store much. He took money out of the drawer to gamble on the horses and usually left right after lunch for that purpose. While he was around, however, he was unbearable and temperamental. Most of our clientele, as well as the employees were African American and Hank seemed to take great pleasure in telling racist jokes. All of this I experienced to the soundtrack of the ten most popular songs from that winter of 1986, including “Manic Monday”, “Rock Me Amadeus”, “West End Girls” and “Conga”.

Things at home were just as bad. Neal hadn’t even looked for a job. He was back hooking-up with his high school friends and apparently didn’t have time. He took trips to Tahoe to ski and spent most of his days smoking pot and watching videos at his friend Charles’ house.

His mother came back from France after a month because she didn’t like it there. She was full-blown crazy and would leave notes to herself on the fridge that said, “Come soon. Please, come soon.” It was never clear what she was waiting for. On her bad days, she’d keep a rant going for hours about what fuck-ups her children were. No wonder Neal hid out at his friend’s house smoking weed.

I quit my job on a Monday. That weekend, Neal had ditched out to Santa Rosa with a friend. I came home from work to find a dozen roses he bought for me with my own money and a note saying he had to get some space and think about whether he was still in love with me.

He came back on Sunday all apologetic, but I was a mess. I had no money, a shitty job, a boyfriend who wasn’t sure if he was still in love with me and I didn’t want any of it.

At some point, I found clarity in the mire. I could just quit. I’d leave my job and find something in the city. I would stop trying to be the kind of adult I had never understood and go back to waiting tables where the money was better and the bullshit was different, but familiar.

When I put in my notice, the regional manager pulled me aside and tried to guilt me into staying.

“You do know that if you quit, Hank will lose his job. He has a family to support. You are the only one keeping things together for him here. Do you have any idea what will happen once the home office finds out about him taking money from the drawer? They will shit.” And when that didn’t work, he took a different approach. “It’s because of your boyfriend, isn’t it? You’re just freaking out about him. You should dump him and stay here. You’ll be a lot happier in the end.”

I quit anyway and found out that right after I left, the company fired Hank and everyone who had worked under him. I felt bad for my co-workers, but it wasn’t my job to save Hank.

I’d like to say that I broke-up with Neal, but I didn’t for at least another year and a half. I got a job at a nice cafĂ© on 24th Street in San Francisco and moved in with some of the women I worked with there. I had my own room and best of all, nobody screamed at me through the door.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You Say It's Easy, Just a Natural Thing

I know I already posted this photo on my other blog, but I still haven't painted it, and thats' what I want to talk about tonight. Last Winter I did some research on what kind of painting I wanted to make from it. Now I think I have that down, I need to work on the logistics of completing it.

I've decided to paint the dryers their original 70's alternating harvest gold and autmn rust colors, and then draw Coadster on white paper with black ink, all comic book style and adhere her to the painting.

To that end, my friend S. was nice enough to go on an ink and kick-ass Japanese paper buying expedition to Dick Blick this past Saturday. When Stinky was little, she mistakenly called it Dink Blink and then Dick Blink and I was hesitant to correct her because it was cute and wrong - an adorable combination coming from a four year old. I also didn't want to correct her when she called Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lezbo or pepperoni, peckeroni. Don't worry, by the time she went to kindergarten, I fixed it and she dropped her PG rating.

Where was I again? Oh yeah, at Dick Blick, my friend S. helped me figure out what kind of ink and brushes to use and then we went through drawers of paper that was more like fabric and she taught me that I should put my tongue on the paper to make sure it wasn't sticky. But then told me to lick my fingers and touch the paper with them. I'm still not sure if that was a real concern, or if she just thought it would be fun to watch me make an ass out of myself in public - again.

To help me figure out all the possiblities of working with ink, I cooked up a bunch of food and my friend S. and I went to my friend A.'s house on Saturday night. We ate and drank wine and played with ink and paper. I wish I had S. and A.'s drawings because they were a million times better than mine. These two were my experiments after much wine and a full belly.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Down Where Your Paint is Cracking

One of these is my house...

This weekend I was obsessively reading Illiterati's blog, and on it she wrote a post about the fact that it had been six months since the tornado. It threw me for a minute, because I realized that it had been a while since I'd even thought about the storm. That whole first week after, I couldn't believe that I wouldn't be eternally fixated with it and it pissed me off that other people were walking around town laughing and drinking and actually enjoying things like nothing had happened. I can't really remember the day or the week or the month that it ceased being right at the fore of my thoughts.

...And this is my house on drugs.

If you weren't a regular reader at that time, you can read a post about it here. Most of the people in my neighborhood are close to finishing the clean-up and repair. Luckily we don't live in a historical district, where in order to repair your building, you would have to follow codes for things insurance wouldn't cover in a million years.

Here is my neighbor's house before rehab...

Depending on who they were insured by, some neighbors received more money than others. You can tell who had the the better insurance coverage by the size of each homeowner's rebuilt garage. If you're currently shopping around, it might be worth your while to check out who on our street is building a mini resort in their backyard and then knock on the door and ask for their insurance agent's name.

...And this is the place after its proverbial, twenty-eight day stint.

Even six months later, I still feel the repercussions from the storm. I'm still trying to cover financially and all summer long, the sound of helicopters or tornado sirens could spike my blood pressure close to stroke levels. Once in May, I was walking downtown on my break and someone's car alarm was going off. An international student ran up to me in a panic and asked me if what she was hearing was a tornado siren. A year ago, I would have chuckled and explained to her that it was just a car alarm in a way too patronizing tone. But right after the storm, I understood the fear and explained to her the difference between the sound of a car alarm and a tornado siren. I had to try really, really hard to restrain myself from saying, "Listen, if you even hear a loud noise that may just be someone yelling, don't wait. Break into the nearest building and run down to the basement... And whatever you do, don't take a bath!"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends

Here is a picture of the Bloom County house on Summit Street in case anyone is feeling nostalgic for a certain comic strip.

I finally took the plunge and signed up for Myspace this weekend. I've been hesitant for so many reasons, but a lot of my friends are musicians and it's a good way to keep up with when they'll be playing around town. Plus, it's so quick and easy to send messages, but most importantly, both of my daughters are on Myspace and this way I can check in and possibly get to know some of the 65 year old men they're befriending over the internets.

There are so many observations I have about the whole bizarre process of setting up my profile page. The strangest part for me was trying to garner friends. Collecting friends on Myspace is a bit like cultivating Sea Monkeys. At first you troll around to your friends' sites looking for people you knew a while ago who may have moved and you send in your friend requests. It's fun when people start to respond and your Sea Monkeys are all cute and contained. Then you go to sleep and when you wake up, you see all these new requests from scary men you've never met before with names like Monkey Love and Big Tony and the requesting takes on a life of its own and goes out of control and you feel a little sick for even starting it. But unlike Sea Monkeys, you can just easily delete out all the hairy backed, swinger scum from your inbox and it's so much easier than cleaning the scum out of your fishbowl.

The bigger problem comes with trying to keep the creeps from forming in your Myspace fishbowl at all. At first, I decided to pretend that I was married. All my friends know better and it wouldn't be a total lie if you think about all the things and ideas I feel married to. For instance, I have a deep emotional and spiritual commitment with my American Heritage dictionary and while it will never go anywhere, I also have a really unhealthy relationship with Bad Grammar and I can't seem to quit him no matter how many times he disappoints and embarrasses me in front of my friends.

Now, if you thought saying you were married on your Myspace profile would keep Monkey Love away, you were very, very wrong. It turns out that the creepy guys could care less about your marital status, and to prove it, they will inform you that they too are married or in a relationship - just so you know that you're both on the same philandering page. So, my next plan for staying under the radar of the swingers was to post a little kid picture of me for my profile. Which, in combination with declaring myself married and listing C. W. McCall as one of my favorite musicians, has seemed to lessen the number of creepy requests I've received. I just hope naming John Denver as a favorite as well, won't keep my real friends away.

Images of Broken Light Which Dance Before Me Like a Million Eyes

Hey kids, guess what time it is? That's right. It's time for an old timey photo post. My brother just sent me a link to one of my uncle's sites with some pictures of my grandparents on my dad's side.

This is my grandfather with some neighbor kids. This is the first time I've ever seen a picture of him. I think his name was John. Every man on my dad's side of the family seems to be named, Robert, John or William. My grandpa died when my dad was really young. I have no idea what killed him though.

Here is my grandmother and grandfather. My grandma was a six foot tall red head - that had to be kind of crazy at the beginning of the century. She was from Petaluma and was six months old during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Her dad had some money and owned a hotel on Lombard Street in San Francisco that he had to sell to the city so they could build the Golden Gate Bridge on that land.

Here they are again standing next to their really sweet ride. The story goes that my great grandfather didn't like my grandpa and never spoke to my grandmother again after she married him. There is a street in Petaluma named after us because my grandpa built all the houses on it.

Here is my grandma's wedding photo. During the Depression, my Grandpa lost his contracting business and moved the family to Chicago to learn how to be a mortician from his uncle. It was one of the few jobs with any kind of security in the 1930's. After my grandpa died, my grandmother took it over. She was one of the strongest women I've ever met.

By the time I was born, she had broken her hip and was on crutches for the rest of her life. When would act up, she would threaten to hit us with her crutch. Once when I was nineteen, I told my grandma how scared I was when she said that.

"You knew I was kidding, didn't you?" She asked.

"No. I thought you were serious. Why did you think I straightened up so fast?"

"Oh my. You must have thought I was a monster..." But I didn't. My siblings and I didn't have much structure or discipline when we were younger, so our grandmother's more stern and regal presence always seemed so novel.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Brain is Hanging Upside Down

Tonight we were all filled with the holiday spirit - that holiday being Halloween. Coadster had some friends over watching scary movies. I haven't seen Scream in several years. Coadster's friends kept asking when it was made because it seemed so old to them. I guess 1997 was a long time ago, even if it does seems like just yesterday to me...

Stinky went to The Field of Screams with her friends. She originally told me she had a ride there and back, but then called me later and asked if I could pick up all the kids. I know I've said this before, but when you fill your car full of junior high students, you will notice that they exude a pungent odor. It can be quite distracting when paired with five or six cell phones going off sporadically and conversations like this:

Friend 1: Hey, see that gas station? I once gave a homeless guy a high five there.

Friend 2: My great aunt stopped to give a homeless guy some money and he stabbed her in the neck.

Friend 3: Did she die?

Friend 2: Yeah, He hit an artery.

Friend 4: Hey, you know what word is hard to say? Orange.

Friend 1: You know what's another weird word? Spatula. Spaaa-tuuul-laaa

Friend 3: I can't say the word, econonomy...economomy...

Stinky: Economy?

Friend 3: Yeah, that. When I have to give a report for global studies, I practice saying it over and over at lunch.

Stinky: It is a weird word. Hey, you know who I think looks totally hot now that he got his hair cut? Nate.

All The Other Friends in Unison: Oh my god. He totally does.

Jeez, and I thought I had ADD...

I Can See Your Face Still Shining Through the Window On the Other Side

The other night, I was walking with a friend to my car after drinking a smidge of wine. It was raining, so I offered her a ride home.

"Oh, I can walk. I have an umbrella, " She said. As we got closer to where my car was parked, she changed her mind. "Maybe I'll take a ride part of the way home."

"No," I said. "I'll take you all the way."

"Who do you think I am, Rosanna Arquette?" She asked.

"What? Oh, I'm sorry. I was speaking in Toto lyrics." Except, I was off a bit. The actual lyric was "Meet you all the way." The fact that I didn't catch that right away, was probably an indication that I might have been too tipsy to drive.

Sorry kids, that's all I got tonight. Unless you want my migraine, which you are all welcome to. I would be happy to e-mail it to you or hand it off in the comments of this here post.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No One's Got To Listen To The Words In My Head

Here is a man we saw when we went to the orchard last week.

I went to the Michael Chabon reading tonight with my friend K. and found him very entertaining. At first I wasn't sure if he was going to lecture or read. I was hoping he would read because I was interested in hearing some of his soon to be released novel, and because I love to hear authors read their own work.

There were many good things that happened at this reading. First, I was happy that Ethan Canin introduced him instead of the other person who normally announces readings in this town. I won't mention her name since she or some of her henchmen have Googled her and found my blog in the past. It made me feel a little guilty because although what I wrote wasn't really mean, it was a little snarky.

I've decided that from now on, I want Ethan Canin to introduce me whenever I enter a room because he is so gushy and sweet and he would make everyone really excited to meet me. On second thought, it would be too much for me to live up to. Plus, he would want to use writing passages and if he quoted my blog, people would run screaming out of the room I was about to enter.

I thought Michael Chabon was an awesome reader. He was very personable and he didn't use that singsong voice that a lot of authors use when they read publicly. He didn't try to get all cheesy and over-act it while he read either. The parts of the story he presented were perfect for this forum as they were full of dialogue and dialect and when I finally read the novel, I'm sure I'll be disappointed that I won't do it justice in my head.

He answered questions when he was finished reading, and after seeing how funny, charmingly self-deprecating and how well he thought on his feet, I was almost disappointed that he didn't lecture instead. He had a great bit about trying to restrain himself from using simile and metaphor. He said it was like a plague, and then realized that he was using it again.

I definitely got my money's worth from this free reading and I really want to see Alice McDermott on Friday, if only I could afford to pay someone else to taxi my girls around to all their activities.

On a completely non-litererary note...I don't mean to spread rumors, but I hear that there is this big ball of burning gases that sits in the sky and warms things up and provides much needed vitamin D for all the good girls and boys. Anyway, there has been talk that tomorrow, said ball of burning gases might actually make an appearance here in town. I'll believe it when I see it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Your Mind Is Made Up, But Your Mouth Is Undone

You are a terrible chicken shit. You know that about yourself, but you can't seem to help it. You are also too old to still be this lame.

You've been interested in him for some time, but there's weird history. There is always weird history in these matters. You would go into more detail, but relating it to others could induce bleeding from the ears of everyone involved. It's best to just say that the history is the cause of some of your lame behavior.

You are also a little drunk. Did you mention that? Yes, you are drunk and so is he. Whoever said that there was courage in the bottle, never met you. As far as you are concerned, the bottle is only the cause of your resonance, and maybe the amplification of your voice has blown away your nerve.

Because you are enamored, you can't look directly at him. You fix your gaze on everyone else in the group but him. If he walks away to take care of something, then you can look, but otherwise he is your brand new, pet white elephant. You also can't speak to him. You spend too much energy trying to overhear his conversations. It makes you appear distracted and maybe a little stupid to others in the room. Ritalin. There's not enough Ritalin in the world when you are drunk and he is in the room.

At some point you notice that he is the only person in the group that doesn't look directly at or talk to you either. Does that mean he feels the same way about you, or is he trying to avoid you because he's worried that your very loud, attention deficit disorder might be contagious?

I Never Thought I'd Meet a Girl Like You

Okay, kids. I'm going to put it to you straight. I've been drinking wine at 126 with some friends and I'm a little loopy. It's late and I'm trying to be really careful to edit myself so I don't talk about inappropirate things. Just to be extra, special safe, I'm making this a photo post.

Here is Stinky with bright yellow goggles that make her look like she might have a little chromosonal damage. Shit, that was wrong and bad. I'm sorry. Okay - more pictures, less alcohol induced babble.

In honor of Stinky being on the junior high swim team, I thought I'd do a "Stinky wearing goggles" retrospective. Since she's always been into accessories, goggles seem to be the logical choice to dress up any of her Summer outfits. In this picture, it looks like she got the eyewear covered, but forgot to put in her teeth.

I realize that her head is cut-off in most of these, but when she was younger, she tended to walk toward the camera the minute she saw it - just to make sure we got close enough to see up her nostrils.

Now that she's older, I had to threaten to ground her in order to get her to pose. I'm still on the look-out for a book that converts my bad parenting into therapy sessions. Something that would equate it like this: making my child take self-esteem crushing photos for my amusement = twelve years of aggressive therapy.

As always, I apologize for the glaring typos and grammatical errors - my editor's drunk too.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

We Gotta Get Over Before We Go Under

Letting go of my first blog this week was tougher than I thought it would be. It is sometimes hard for me to get over stuff. So, while I'm at it, here are some more things that are over for me right now - both good and bad.

Cross country finally ended last Thursday. I would be a little more excited about having a break from my chauffer duties, if swimming didn't start tomorrow for Stinky.

With the record breaking lows last week, Summer is definitely over. And while I absolutely love Fall, I am ever wary of the coming Winter. You'd think I'd be used to it after living in Iowa on and off for the last twenty-seven years, but I'm still whiney about it every year.

When the girls were younger, this was typically the time of year we would take their Christmas pictures for the family. The days of putting the girls in velvet dresses and happily posing for holiday photos are definitely over.

From now on, this is as close as I'm going to get to the girls posing for seasonal photos. At least Stinky's not shoving that snowball in Coadster's face. I'll have to put this in with the Christmas letter where I tell the family all about the wonderful time we had at Stinky's birthday party this year. Or maybe I'll just simplify it and send a postcard to everyone that says,

"Dear Family,

We are still just as po' white trash as last year.


The Churls

I am happily over wearing bangs, braces and argyle sweater vests. I'm also pretty sure you'll never see my sister with feathered hair again either. Hell, how's about I just breathe a huge sigh of relief that the early eighties are over too. Ahhhhh.

I know on my last blog I said I wasn't going to post anymore photos of me as an adult, but I think I was seventeen here, so I wasn't technically grown-up. Which is good, since I could have gone to prison for a long, long time had I been tried as an adult for wearing that sweater vest in public. Plus, I have such a short memory and the urgency of five days ago seems to have dissipated. So, as of right now, I'll still post photos of me as an adult if they are particularly funny and/or ridiculous and/or if I need to rely on one for a sight gag. As usual, these self-imposed rules are at the mercy of my whims.

Put Another Blog on the Fire

My friend P. e-mailed me this adorable little piece he got off Boing Boing about the evils of blogging. After setting up my second blog, I've obviously secured my place on the Concorde flying straight to hell when I die. I hear that in Hades they have internet cafes set up all over so we can write our "trashy expressions of shallowness". Maybe I'll see you there...

Here it is:

Restored Church of God says blogging is wrong (excluding their own blog, natch)
Here's a truly moronic article from the Restored Church of God Ambassador Youth site. The author, Kevin D. Denee, seems to think it's OK for him to use the Web to express his opinion, but other people -- both children and adults -- should not. Nearly every sentence in this schoolmarmish screed is funny.

Let me emphasize that no one — including adults — should have a blog or personal website.
The Internet—and more specifically blogs—has enabled everyone to have a voice on any matter. Now everyone’s thoughts are “published” for all to see. Whether or not it is effective, as soon as something is posted the person has a larger voice. It often makes the blogger feel good or makes him feel as if his opinion counts—when it is mostly mindless blather!
Blogs can be summed up as people talking about almost anything, but really nothing. There is no purpose to much of the contents — no direction. [...] The contents of blogs can often best be described as trash and the expression of shallowness. What is deemed as a higher level of communication is simply a mindless form of entertainment.
Some questions naturally arise: “Can I have a photo gallery?” For example, maybe you visited an exotic country and want to share your photos with close friends. This can be done, but certain guidelines apply. Of course, there should never be any inappropriate pictures (again, be careful of the appearance of evil); it should be private and password protected, and only shown to family and closest friends.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

I'm feeling better at my new hidden bunker, stockpiling shit and generally being all Y2K about everything. This is the first Friday in the last few little whiles or so that I haven't been funked out. Part of the badness was being all paranoid that one of my bosses had stumbled across my blog, I'm sure some of it was from lack of sleep, but the other thing was that so many people I know have been going through such bad shit lately. I have to be careful not to stress out about how shitty things can be for people or I start creating bad scenarios in my head and getting fatalistic.

Normally when I'm going through a funk, I'm prone to the "lie around and feel sad and exhausted, eat chocolate and watch movies" brand of depression. When I worked in OB/Gyn, women would present with a complaint of general malaise and it always made me picture a horribly abusive military guy running around making women unhappy. I must have met that guy at some point in my life too, because I've definitely complained about him in the past.

This other thing I've been having lately is completely different. I just start stressing about weird shit that probably won't happen and my breath might catch or my heart kind of tightens in my chest. It's something I've never really experienced before and I just finally put a name to it today - it's called anxiety. Oh right, that.

I've only ever felt anxious about real things, such as, whether we were going to have enough money for food or get evicted from our apartment or whether my five year old would live through her bout with bacterial meningitis. Is this new thing a luxury I can afford now that we don't have to worry about being homeless and we're all apparently well fed, or is it another fucked up thing that comes with age like failing eyesight, arthritis and conservatism?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Set a Spell

Come on in and welcome to my new space. You can yell and swear and drink all you want here because I've changed my name to Churlita and I'm just as obnoxious as ever. I had to think of different nicknames for the girls - my oldest will now be Coadster because that shouldn't google like her real name would and the youngest will be Stinky. Since I put their Spanish forms on the old blog, I can't really use them here now.

I'm just starting to unpack, so I don't have all my links up yet or my profile finished. I have all weekend for that. Hopefully, by Monday I'll have this fixed up better and everyone e-mailed with the new link. I wanted my first post here to be a little more substantial but with all the other stuff, I don't have tons of time. Instead, you'll have to listen to me talk about my new glasses. One of these days, I swear I'll get back to talking about handling gourds.

I got new glasses yesterday. I ordered them on Saturday and Stinky went with me to help. I'm so lame at any of that, but Stinky is all about aesthetics. I was wearing them today when Coadster came home from cross country.

Coadster: Hey, you got new glasses.

Me: Yeah, they're making me dizzy.

Coadster: They also make you look like that one character Dana Carvey played on Saturday Night Live.

Me: The Church Lady?

Coadster: Yeah, that's it.

Me: Well, good because that was exactly the look I was going for. You know you're grounded, right?