Thursday, May 09, 2013


We're going to try this again in a WHOLE NEW PLACE! Come check it out over here at 6000 Onions, my new blog. I make no guarantees but I think it is just possible that I might be back now.

Good to see y'all.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dogs Are Stupid

toad 1
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
For years, I have been laboring under an incorrect supposition: namely, that my dogs are, if not Eal-ray Ight-bray, than at least no stupider than other members of canis domesticus. Well, that turns out to not be so true. All three of my dogs are challenged, bless their hearts. How do I know this? It's a simple question of doors.

My house has two levels. There is the upstairs level, which is elegantly decorated, immaculate - for, um, certain values of immaculate: basically, there's hardly any big chunks of rotting food around - charming and inhabited by me, the resident Middle Aged Person and the fish. Then there's downstairs, where the kids live, which is also nice. Nice as in we used to call it Teenage Wasteland when my son was the only person holding court down there but now that my daughter has moved downstairs as well, this name is no longer applicable. I refuse to give in and call it the Dungeon, as my daughter does: okay, it has certain dungeonesque qualities, namely, the lack of windows, the low ceiling, the slightly dank aroma and the overwhelming concrete but hey, it's lovely down there. Lovely, I say. The dogs and the cat move freely between levels for the most part: the dogs mostly like to sleep under my bed while the cat tries to alternate beds so as to maximize her chances of completely destroying some unwary sleepers ankles. She doesn't like it when people move in their sleep and she has ways of expressing her displeasure, oh yes.

Anyway, due to this two level construction, there are several sets of doors to my house, which is one of the reasons why we are all gonna be toast when the long anticipated zombie apocalypse comes. Is it weird that I worry about this? I actually contemplated not buying my house due to its very lack of defenseability - we are fresh out of escape tunnels, moats, barbed wire and enchanted swords, not to mention machine gun emplacements and while we may not have enough windows downstairs to bring in the desired amount of light, we have way too many to keep out your smarter run of zombies: the ones who have figured out that glass breaks.

However, I digress! The thing is that you can enter - or exit! Hail Janus! - my house any of four different ways. On the upper level, there is the front door, which comes in off the street and then there is the kitchen door which takes you out onto the porch, from which you can then descend via stairs to the backyard. Downstairs, there are two sliding glass doors on either side of the house that lead into that same backyard. There's also a door from Audrey's room to what might be called the driveway, although it isn't, really, one, but for the purposes of this narrative we'll forget about it. Anyway it's locked with a combination padlock on the outside and the combination has long since disappeared. Early in the morning it is our custom to blearily prop open one and sometimes two of these doors so that the dogs can get in and out, attend to their toilettes and keep a vigilant eye on the ever present danger of squirrel activity. The open doors also make sure that we maintain requisite levels of in house insect population - right now it's stink bugs, who are fucking everywhere, and I am using that as a verb.

The dogs cannot figure out that they can go out one door and in another.

No, seriously. They don't get it. They think that if they go out one door than that's the only door they can go back in. Or, conversely, they can't seem to grasp that if they are up on the porch and want to come in, it might be worth running down the steps to see if the downstairs door is open. They'll just lie there sorrowfully on the porch for hours even when the downstairs door is open. I have even tried leading them downstairs - there is very little, I find, that makes you feel stupider than earnestly attempting logical discourse with dogs - and explaining the whole thing to them and still, they Don't. Get. It. The cat, however, gets it just fine, which kind of reinforces those mean things that cat people on the internet are forever saying about dogs.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Recently I have been on a quest to rediscover the hotties of my youth. My youth, you understand, was so long ago that we did not even use the word hotties. We said hunks, or, well, actually I didn't, but I think it was occasionally used in magazines. However, oh youth of today, some things do not change and no matter how uncomfortable it must make you to contemplate it, we had hormones too back then. I believe my own personal hormones were first activated by the Monkees, although my great love for Davy Jones was tempered by several issues, namely, that I was nine and he was, like, a grown up who was shorter than me. This was also the problem with my adoration for Chekov on Star Trek: all the fantastic fake Russian accents in the world cannot make up for someone who is shorter than your ten year old self.

Early loves are all very well and I'm not going to get into the first R rated movie I ever saw, because Robert Redford deserves his own blog post. Still, even with 3 Days of the Condor behind me, I didn't know true love until my mother and I watched every minute of Poldark on Masterpiece Theater. My mother was an intellectual snob par excellence - she never watched TV unless it came from England, in which case it was Educational and Culturally Superior. Well, except for Beat the Clock and the Doris Day show - she liked those too. Still, she never watched soaps or sitcoms or anything like that, unless you count Upstairs, Downstairs; Mystery; and every single damn BBC production that was ever introduced to the States by the mellifluous tones of Alastair Cooke on Sunday nights. Be careful not to get mixed up! Masterpiece Theater was hosted by Alastair Cooke, not Aleister Crowley, who would have put together quite a different program, no doubt.

I was usually kind of bored by Masterpiece Theater, even when I was allowed to stay up to watch it (we were properly raised, which is to say we were put to bed hideously early) but since it came on after Mutual of Omaha and then Disney, both of which we were allowed to watch, sometimes I got to see it anyway. My boredom, however, changed with the advent of Poldark, which was basically a filmed adaptation of a slightly more literate than usual series of historical romances set in Cornwall. I have never been to Cornwall but I have read any number of novels set there and those, with the influence of Poldark, make me feel as if I know the place. It's infested with elves, holy Grails, sleeping knights, smoldering smugglers, ghosts, ladies in strategically torn white nighties, thrashing dramatic scenery and lots of cliffs that people throw themselves off on a regular basis. Excellent, in other words. Poldark was something else again and my mother and I were completely, absolutely and totally hooked. The tempetuousness of it all! The incredibly good looking Ross Poldark! Oh my god, Ross Poldark. Be still, my twelve year old heart!

I inherited my mother's beliefs on TV - if it comes from the UK, it's good; from the US, it's bad - and thus in the early 80s I was ripe for Robin Hood. Robin of Sherwood was not only one of the most beautiful men (in a specifically early 80s kind of way) I had ever seen, it also had veiled references to Celtic mythology and a kind of Enya meets the Temptations proto New Age soundtrack. I was hooked, even more than I was hooked on Excalibur, which is saying a lot, since Excalibur was apparently the only movie that the Charleston, SC infant cable company had full rights to - they played it more or less 24 / 7 and I knew every word. Still, there was nobody gorgeous in the entire cast of Excalibur while Robin. . . oh god. . . Robin.

As we age, our hormones settle down a bit and these bland young actors cannot stir them. I tried watching the new BBC Robin Hood early this summer - I have had a thing for Robin Hood my entire life, okay, I confess - but I was unmoved. My daughter, who does not have a thing for Robin Hood at all, possibly because of all the various Robin Hoods I, her mother, have made her sit through, said something cranky about how stupid Robin Hood was, really. Nonsense! I said, wait until you meet the real Robin Hood, the sexiest Robin Hood ever! And I launched myself on a quest to find my Robin Hood of memory and lo, since one of the truly all good things to come out of the 21st century is Netflix, I found it.

Huh. It's very, um, early 80s. Robin does seem to spend a lot of time sweeping his hair out of his eyes. He's kind of cute but. Well. It's just . . . just not the SAME! I can't stand it! And neither could my daughter, who said cutting things about the soundtrack - "Are they singing? They're singing! They're singing ROBIN. . . ROBIN IN THE WOODS!" and the hairdos. And then I, in some kind of defense, went online and discovered that I was not the only middle aged woman in the world who still harbored a secret crush but that at least I had not devoted my life to a fan forum. Which, all power to them, but in new pictures of Robin he's wearing kind of an alarming amount of eyeliner and, well, I just can't go there. He's aged, too. I mean, a lot. Not like me. Um. Sigh.

That was Robin Hood, though. He was never on Masterpiece Theatre and thus, despite his undeniable Britishness, was probably less cultural than Poldark.. Poldark must be different and so, when I saw that I could get Poldark from Netflix on demand last night, I forced Audrey to sit down and watch the first episode with me. Oh. Oh dear. It's rather slow. And Poldark's original love, Elizabeth, is really strange looking, as in, she looks and acts not unlike a standard poodle. A standard poodle made of wood, at that. And the titles are tempestuous, as is the scenery and the extras and, frankly, Ross Poldark is, as my daughter pointed out, kind of an asshole. I googled him too. He seems to have turned into a rather jovial old man and, damn, another idol has bitten the dust.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


bug and bead 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Blog people tell you sincerely that you should never apologize for not posting more often. This, apparently, is the kiss of death that will render your blog pointless, sad and alone, unvisited. Like this one is any of the opposite of those things, but still, I try occasionally to bow to the wisdom of the Blog People. However, it feels kind of weird to come back in here like, oh yeah, I took a couple of weeks off there, no big, without saying um, sorry about that, whoops, did I have a blog or what? Although, honestly, that's kind of what happened and I cannot guarantee it will not continue happening. Although it might not, too. One never knows with this roller coaster of life! ROLLER COASTER!

Over the last couple of weeks I've basically been consumed with my show at the De Soto. It is up now and it looks good and oh my god, I sold quite a few pieces at the opening and that is mindblowing and fantabulous. It's interesting - I haven't had a show in 12 years. I set out in my twenties to become a famous artist - that worked out well - and then as the years passed and I got various things like kids and real jobs and dogs and so on, the art kind of faded away. Now, though, the kids are grown, the jobs are nonexistent and the dogs, well, the dogs are okay. So I can make art again and lo, there it all is up on the wall at the De Soto, making me feel kinda weird and also thrilled. Jodi had to rehearse me before the opening - "You're going to hate this," she said, "You don't take compliments well and you don't like being the center of attention. So what are you going to say when people say they like things?"
"I don't know," I said, "Maybe something like "Can't you tell it sucks? You must suck for liking it! I suck! My art sucks! LIfe sucks!" and then I run into the bathroom to cry and do drugs?"
"Or," suggested Jodi, "Thank you. I had a lot of fun taking them."
"Hmmm," I said, "That's an interesting approach."

In other news, there are a lot of bugs around. I like bugs for the most part - unless they bite or shit in my food, in which case all bets are off and it's war, baby, war - so I like this time of year. I don't get why people are so wigged out about insects anyway: frankly, there are daddy longlegs out there I trust more than some humans. I like listening to the cicadas going nuts every night lately and I don't even mind the stink bugs who seem to live in my house. They come lurching around every early fall, flying drunkenly into things and then landing to sit in one place for hours. They're friendly, or at least I think they're friendly, so it's all good. The daddy long legs are back and so are the orb weavers, who make the giant incredible webs. A couple of weeks ago I went out on the back porch around midnight and found a small spider battling with a giant beetle by the light. My sympathies were with the spider - I don't like beetles THAT much - so I left them to it. When I came outside the next morning, some eight hours later, they were still at it. I was impressed.

beginning of an epic battle

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Well, I am busy. I have this show coming up and that means I have to frame a whole lot of stuff, which I am doing in a highly haphazard and so far mostly theoretical way. It is weird as hell to have a show: I haven't had one in, um, like twelve years. Yes. That is a long time, long enough for one to forget that one used to be, like, an artist. I certainly had mostly forgotten it except for the odd compulsion to occasionally paint things and, of course, the carrying of the camera everywhere with me. So the fruits of all of this are going to be on view at the De Soto starting, gulp, next Thursday. I promise that there will not be 12 entire years worth of stuff on the walls. Anyway, you can come to the opening and enjoy a delicious beverage and perhaps some cheese cubes and see me as well trying to be all artisty and yet not get riproaringly drunk, which is my usual response to openings. Or you can come any time during September and point and laugh to your evil little hearts' content, which is worth doing if only for the De Soto jukebox, which is a highly excellent one.

But enough of that! I will start getting all freakazoid again if I think about how much I still have to do! And I'm doing it on very little sleep, due not only to a few major non art worries I have been overthinking late, but also because the night before last, my phone went berserk. Lights began flashing and it started to emit little happy beep noises and, one thing leading to another, I woke up. I looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:20. 4:20, yes, and then I looked at my mysteriously behaving phone and saw on the screen a small picture of a present. A wrapped present with a big ribbon and stuff and so, hey, given the time, the state of my not quite awakeness and the image, can you blame me for thinking, oooh, my phone has given me a special present? Yeah, right. I tapped on the picture and the stupid phone breathlessly informed me that it had updated my operating system. Listen up, Sprint. The next time you wake me up at 4:20 it had better not just be an OS upgrade or . . or. . something. Something bad.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


birthday girl
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It's hard to leave a zit alone, isn't it? I have a zit on my upper lip and all indications are that if I leave it the hell alone, it will fade and go gently into that good night without anyone except me ever noticing it.. My friends, like me, are just not all that observant. Besides, we're old. We can't see tiny things like lip zits anymore - it's one of the few, the far between, compensations for aging. On the other hand, if I pick at it, as I am oh so driven to do, it will become a massive weeping sore that will make me look like I'm actually an 18th century prostitute in the last stages of syphilis and that will be hard for even the blind to ignore. So of course I'm fucking with it. Of course.

In other news, August is a month of my friends' birthdays. Last night we went to Kathmandu (the restaurant, not, alas, the city, although Krista, who has been there, says that it is kind of a horrible place anyway - the city, not the restaurant.) to celebrate Jodi's and Charles' birthdays. The food was fantastic; the service was utterly inept but at least good natured; an excellent time was had by all and because Annie has discovered the wonders of the dollar store, we all got bamboo back scratchers as unexpected party favors. Eating great Indian food in a companionable, if damn near unphotographable, bright orange room (yes, India, there can be too much heart chakra for lenses) with awesome friends and getting a back scratcher! Things do not, really, get much better than this: I have been wanting a back scratcher for months. I was even toying with putting one on my Christmas list.

As it is the month of birthdays - I get along well with Leos, apparently, and when you realize that in my lifetime I have dated FIVE left handed Leo musicians named Michael, it all becomes opaque - I also ended up at a birthday party last Saturday night. It was a cool party although I knew basically nobody and was therefore kind of nervous, which is probably why I was texting my daughter from the bathroom. Therefore, in the inimitable spirit of Texts From Last Night, or, okay, last weekend to be pedantic, let me offer the following, with the caveat that actually it was a very lovely party.

Me: Am trapped at sorta weirdass birthday party in n. asheville w/ bunch of 20 somethings. Every time I go to leave everybody's like but the stripper will be here soon!
Auds: Oh no. How did that happen? that is crazy as hell.
Me: Dillon & Jodi lured me out. Stripper is on her way out now. Am not allowed to take pix. Yikes. Stripper looks like Wiccan. Me I feel I have seen enough skinny naked wiccans for one lifetime.
Auds: Dear lord. I wish I was there!
Me: Yeah me too!

The stripper did a kind of belly dance routine, very elegant. She never did get naked, the people were really nice and as far as I know there was no black magic going on at all. And after that we went to the DeSoto where I ran into several friends I hadn't seen for a while and watched the people from the LaZoom bus polka tour. I had never thought of Asheville as exactly a sort of Polka Mecca but apparently there's more polka here than you would think. This is fine by me and if only these two things could be combined so that we had wicca polka, well, then that might be Asheville and August in a nutshell: the Wicca Polka Mecca.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lazy Sundays - Featuring Twilight Spoiler So Don't Read It If You Are One of Those People Who Get Freaked Out By Spoilers, OK?

cat and green
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Last week I went to Mr. K's used books. For once I had the intelligence to bring a list of possibly decent authors with me so I was spared the usual total blankness that overtakes me whenever I walk into a book or video store. I swear, when I'm just sitting around I can remember the names of dozens of authors I want to read and all the titles of the movies I want to see but the minute I walk through the doors, poof, it's all gone. I react more or less the same way I did when I wandered into TJ Maxx recently for the first time in years: I turn into Goggling Fool Just Down the Mountain From the Cave Where She Has Spent Her Whole Life. "Ooooh," I say, "Shiny! Lookee there! Wowee! What's that?" and bam, my entire long term memory has vanished and been replaced by pure bemusement. This is how I end up leaving used book stores with paranormal romances featuring alien talking dog lawyers and movies about more or less the same thing. This time, though, I had a list and so I have been pretty happily working my way through a pile of relatively decent books, even if one of them was just a lengthy paean to the joys of dying in battle, preferably with a silver axe by your side.

Audrey, meanwhile, has been reading the Twilight series. I have avoided this thing like the plague, because I've read all too much about it on the internet and know that I would be immediately hooked, absorbed and unable to come to until I crawl out the other side feeling vaguely disgusted with myself. I know enough about Twilight from reading the online mockery, actually, that I was able to completely spoil the plot for Audrey by saying, innocently enough, "So, has she had the vampire baby yet?"
"MOM!" screamed my daughter, "She does not! Vampire baby?"
"Oh I'm sorry," I apologized insincerely, "I'm totally making that up."
"You are not," said Audrey, looking at me closely. "Vampire baby?"
"Well," I said, "It's not like it claws its way out of her or anything."

Now whenever she walks in the room, bemused from another six hour session of straight Twilight, I raise my hands above my shoulders, hook my fingers like claws, stick my teeth out and say "RAR, RAR! Vampire Baby! Rar!" I find this endlessly amusing. It breaks the monotony of trying to cure Theo of his obsessive barking disorder by using positive reinforcement and lengthy calm lecturing. "Use your tail, not your bark." I say in my best Romper Room voice. "Remember, use your tail and ears! We're not going to bark today! You'll get a gold star for using your tail!" and then I pet him. It is easier said than done to pet a dog continuously when he isn't barking. Rar! Rar!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Another Day, Another Interview

bottle tree
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I had another job interview today. This one is notable for the fact that it is actually for a job that I really want, as opposed to an interview for a job that I don't really want but think would possibly be bearable oh god. And by bearable I mean perhaps I could stand it for six months before starting to think about Dorothy Parker couplets involving pills and razor blades. So this is a rarity and it meant a lot to me. And even after the interview I still want the job, which is even more of a rarity.

It is damn lucky that I even made it to this interview, because as of yesterday I was still in the throes of believing that it was happening Thursday, which is to say, tomorrow. I was so convinced that it was happening on Thursday, actually, that I ignored all evidence to the contrary, including the correct date written on the kitchen calendar, the email with the correct date in the subject line and my own memory of the phone conversation setting the interview date and time. I was so convinced of this that I went ahead and scheduled a hair appointment for today at noon so that I would look excellent and professional for the interview tomorrow. This was a serious hair appointment at a real salon, too, not just my usual haphazard wander, hoping for the best, into the salon where it is cheap and they give away free beer . That strategy sometimes works - and sometimes it does not. Yeah, and like the little girl with the little curl, when it is bad it is horrid.

The reason I was so convinced was that I knew it was going to happen on my old friend Ray's birthday. As it turns out, yes, it did: today is his birthday and we can all wish him a happy birthday and point out that after his two months of being two years younger than me he is again now only one year younger than me, so there. How I managed to convince myself that August 4 was on a Thursday, I don't know, but I did it and if Ray had not called me yesterday to taunt me with his youth I probably would have been sitting in a hairdresser's chair this afternoon instead of in the throes of academia talking seriously to a search committee. This would have been bad.

Men, I suspect, can go off to interviews without much preparation. They put on a suit - their good suit, the interview suit that they bought in 1988 that still is in fashion and still fits and maybe pay $20 to get a trim (or, for my peer group, a head wax - I kid because I love) and then there they are, ready to interview. It is maddening. For those of us with the double x chromosomes, it is different. I had to go shopping - three hours at the Dillard's clearance center, oh lord - and buy interview clothes and then make an expensive hair appointment . I had to plan, actually, to spend my entire weekly unemployment stipend on a chance to get a job. Oh well. LIfe is unfair and gender inequities are beyond the scope of this blog. Besides, it is rough to be a guy. I would not trade even for the twenty year old suit and the ability to write my name in the snow. And now I have a couple of pairs of interview pants - neither of which, naturally, I wore today. Although I did wear the shell and jacket.

However. After straightening my calendar out and canceling the hair appointment and indulging in the obligatory freak out, I decided that something had to be done about my hair anyway. Therefore, I talked my daughter into accompanying me to Sally Beauty Supply, a comforting shop of which I am fond. They have styrofoam heads there for $4.99, after all, and black rubber gloves and mysterious hair products and the whole place smells nicely of aesthetic chemicals. Audrey and I debated colors and finally settled on one that we thought might be too edgy but was not insanely boring and yet was close enough to what remained of my last color job so that it would not require complete bleaching of my much abused follicles first. We got the developer - at Sally Beauty you do not get the convenient little box like you do at the drugstore; oh no, you have to buy each bit separate and they assume that you know what you are doing - and the gloves and a couple teeny bottles of nail polish just because and then I came on home to do my hair.

It is not really a good idea to dye your hair a complete new color with a brand new product the night before a job interview.

Particularly when the color your hair turns is purple.

I woke up this morning and went to the mirror and LO! I was rocking me some purple hair. Now, I love purple hair. I often have purple hair. Purple hair is the shizz and it is most excellent and rather becoming if I do say so myself but it is not, perchance, exactly appropriate for interviews unless it is 1989 and you are applying to work at CBGBs or an extremely poor yet intellectual gallery on the Lower East Side. You can get away with purple hair on the job after you've worked somewhere for six months or more, usually, but at an interview? It is kind of the kiss of death. I hied myself back to the shower and shampooed it vigorously and while this did eliminate the fuchsia scalp side effect - unsettling at the part! - it only muted the hair a little bit.

Oh well. When there is nothing you can do there is nothing you can do. I put my purple hair in a ponytail and I put on my Dillard's clearance conservative, classy yet slightly edgy shell and swingy jacket and my favorite striped linen pants for luck and I went off and, oh man, I hope, I dream, I think that I may have aced the hell out of that interview. Purple hair and all.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tofu of Despair

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Yesterday I ate an entire pound of tofu. No, wait, actually it was only 14 ounces - hardly anything, as I pointed out to my daughter who was laughing hysterically at this revelation. "That's a lotta fermented bean curd, Mom." "Yeah," I said direly, "My stomach hurts." No kidding, right?

Well. I'm back deep in the land of despair again, living the mother's lament, hanging around in the darkness, darkness, no color no contrast that Joni Mitchell sang about in the early 70s. Things are not good. Things were already not good and they got rather dramatically worse on Saturday night and that's pretty much all there is to that. Kids get into trouble. Then you as the parent feel that you have failed miserably with your entire life but, actually, it is not really your drama here. It is their drama and sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is step back and away and just hope against hope. And cry a lot. There's always that. The kid is still, after all, alive and healthy and we will leave it there, because this is not a mommy blog. Take it from me, mommy blogging is just not as much fun when the youngest is, supposedly, an adult.

So, enough of that! Life sucks - really sucks - but in a mighty feat I have eaten a pound of tofu and lived to tell the tale! Yesterday, hungover (I suspect there is a healthier way to deal with trauma than many bloody marys but I don't really want to know about it and anyway, think of the vitamins) and depressed, I turned for solace to the refrigerator. I'm on a diet and it seems I will be on a diet forever so the contents of my refrigerator are disgustingly low fat, low cal and low joy. But there was the tofu. I only planned to have a little tofu, you know, but it skyrocketed and it turns out that going on a tofu binge is deceptively simple. Be warned!

It started with tofu salad, to which I am addicted - take tofu, squeeze it mightily in your hands until the water all drains out, crumble the dry tofu into a bowl, add tamari, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, grated carrots and fresh grated garlic and ginger and eat it on crackers. It is good even without the carrots. You can skip the ginger, too, if you wish, but why would you wish? If you get bored while you are squeezing the tofu - it is admittedly kind of gross - then you can slice up the rest of it and soak it in tamari and rice vinegar and then bake it for a while in the toaster oven so as not to heat up the house. Make a sauce with garlic and ginger and tamari and lemon juice and just a little tiny bit of peanut butter and then, having finished the tofu salad, you can eat the chunks of baked tofu moodily with your fingers as you discover that your great plan to reread all your Terry Pratchett books is just not cutting through the malaise and sorrow. After your tofu orgy you will feel kind of peculiar, to put it mildly, but, hey, it's okay: you will actually not have gained any weight. Tofu, freakily enough, is allowed.

It's kind of scary: I've gotten way too good at this weight watchers diet thing. A whole damn brick of tofu is only 10 points, leaving me another 12 points or so worth of food I could have eaten yesterday, although once you have eaten all the tofu, honestly, you don't really care to eat again for some time. Possibly weeks. I knew that eventually I would start gaming the weight watchers system - I can't help myself - and it has happened. I have figured out how to eat basically nothing and still feel full, what with the help of freaky diet food, fruit (it's not all bad, this diet) and, thank the gods, light beer. And tofu.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nostalgia Fest 2010

yellow butterfly 4
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Over the last couple weeks I've finally gotten around to scanning in a bunch of old pictures and putting them up on Facebook. I have a surprising amount of old pictures, but I didn't get obsessive about them until the early 90s. I wish I had more from the 80s - I mean, there were outfits that should have been immortalized, not to mention such images as Ricky Fuckhead passing out on my parent's steps, Audrey's stuffed cookie monster cuddled up to his matching blue mohawk, but I didn't have a camera then. I wanted one but cameras were expensive and developing film even more so. Besides, I was too damn busy being cool to go around taking pictures - thank the gods I got over that.

So I have a very few pictures of the eighties - mostly faded polaroids - and a lot of pictures from about 1990 on up, all organized into the kind of cheap-o albums that are guaranteed, like a cyanide tooth in a spy's mouth, to destroy each cherished image bit by bit. Still I wish there were more. The advent of digital photography has spoiled me and I think everything should be documented, but it wasn't so easy back then. I remember wanting to take pictures of landscapes and rocks and bugs and suchlike artsy stuff - kind of like the butterfly there on the right - one summer in Vermont and stopping myself, thinking, Felicity, you can't afford pictures of bugs and flowers. Every picture you take should have the kids in it or at the very least the damn dog.

So I took pictures of the kids and the dogs and my friends and there we all are, in Charleston, in Baltimore, in Rock Hall, in Vermont, in New York, uncomfortable in Jackson County at my parents, looking younger and, okay, sort of embarrassing (my daughter, on hearing that there are more scanned things up on facebook, screams OH GOD NO NOT MORE HIPPIE KID PICTURES MOM.) But good, too. We look good, I think, and the kids, the kids. The kids are grown up now and some of them even have kids of their own. This makes me sad and then happy at the same time - that odd time passing ache, that nostalgia thing.

Old pictures stir up old emotions, or, rather, you sort of think they should but they don't, exactly. They stir up the ghosts of old emotions, frayed and faded remnants of what you once felt or said or did. I looked at one picture and thought, huh, what's he doing there and remembered, oh yeah, that was after that suicide attempt. Well. He's fine now, twenty years on. Oh look, I think to myself, that's when my marriage was ending and I was pretty damn suicidal myself. Hmm, wow. That's when I couldn't figure out what to do about the kids' schools and that's when I was fighting with my best friend and, huh, it all kind of worked out, didn't it? Or did it? Is there some parallel universe where I'm still married (yeah, okay, I broke out the wedding album. Jesus.) or maybe where I'm still dating so and so or what if I never met any of these people or, or - eep. Old photos are dangerous. That's one of the reasons why I'm okay with them fading.

In Baltimore for a while there was a lovely museum called the City Life Museum. It had exhibits on, basically, living in the city in the early 20th century - somebody else's nostalgia fest - and included in it were a bunch of photo albums that people had donated or that they had found at Value Village or something. These were the kind of photo albums where somebody in the early 30s had carefully written out captions - Caspar, at the Lake, 1927, with Aunt Iris - and fitted beautiful black and white worlds into photo corners. You could tell that they had been treasured for a long time and then one day long after Caspar the white dog had become a friendly ghost and Aunt Iris had also departed this earthly vale and nobody knew where the Lake was anymore, the album had ended up in the museum. So, those afternoons in the nineties, had I and while the kids, small then, played in the little fake 1920s grocery store I would sit on top of the fake fire engine and look through these old, old photo albums. It was the pictures of the dogs who usually made me cry but really, there is nothing sadder than an abandoned photo album, even if it doesn't have dogs in it.

So as to keep this fate from my pictures, I have therefore scanned a bunch and put them up on Facebook to be laughed at and then put the albums back on a shelf to molder quietly. It's been a more uncomfortable task than I thought it would be and not just because the scanner is so slow. It makes me question things, like, did this really work out? Is this really okay? What happened to us and where did we go and what, exactly, is this time thing anyway? I hate getting involved in asking those big, horrible questions that shouldn't ever really be looked at. Photos are dangerous.