Thursday, March 30, 2006

Leaving. . . in a 98 Saturn with 134,000 Miles On It

I'm going away. I am going to the motherfriggin' BEACH and CHARLESTON and a PARTY for the WEEKEND, yeah, and y'all will just have to manage without me. I am so excited, and also I am freaking out a little, because I am leaving my children here to cope without me. Let's all remember that my "children" are 23 and 14 years old, respectively, and thus should be able to cope without me for three days just fine. However, I raised them wrong, and as a result they like to lie about the house and have me serve them regular meals. Without me here they may starve. Although I somehow doubt it. M pretty much eats at Hot Dog King anyway (shut UP. It's not THAT bad for him. Besides, he's building up valuable immunities.) and A works at a restaurant for chrissakes, you'd think she would have picked up some pointers about where food comes from. To which she would answer pertly, "it comes from sous chefs."

Anyway. I have been running around like a proverbial headless chicken all day and now I must run out the door again to go to Drinking Liberally, then come home and pack obsess over my summer clothes - everyone downtown is wearing light frilly spring dresses which I envy intensely, and you know everyone in Charleston will be better dressed than everyone in Asheville by an enormous order of magnitude, and my summer clothes will all be a) dowdy and b) too tight. But there's nothing to be done about that. Anyway I won't be downtown much; I'll be mostly standing around a campfire drinking beer and eating incredible barbecue with a whole bunch of my oldest friends. M said, meanly, when offered the choice between going to Charleston with me or staying in Asheville with his sister, that it sounded to him like a choice between watching a bunch of old people get drunk or watching a bunch of young people get drunk, and he'd take the young people because they were more likely to do something wild and insane. God I hope not, because first of all I will put my friends, aged and frail though they apparently are, up against any group of twenty somethings for sheer drunken weirdness and second of all, I will have A's guts for garters if she throws a big party in my house while I'm gone, goddamn it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh, It's Easy to Install RAM

It's so easy to install RAM, you can totally do it yourself. Nothing could go wrong, really. Just snap it in there. No problem.

That's what all my friends said, so I blithely ordered more RAM with my lovely lovely federal tax refund money, got it in the mail in record time, and this morning I sat down to install it, although first I realized that the computer was full of dust & dog hair (well, what isn't around here?) and the can of air was empty, because number one son likes to play with it, especially since he discovered that the dog is terrified of it. I said some choice words on the subject of playing with serious tools to said son and tried to vacuum the inside of the computer, which made the case fan go around - highly entertaining. Also, probably a dumb thing to do, but back to the RAM. It was a little difficult to make it snap in, but I did it, since my friends also said, "It will be harder to snap in than you think, just push it." I did. Then I turned the computer on. Nothing. The little monitor indicator light ominously winked from green to yellow to an alarming orange.

I turned the computer off and then on again. A lovely smell of burning. Oh, no, this is not good. I went out on the back porch for a little communion with the tobacco gods and then tried again. Nothing. I have things I really need to be doing right now, because, oh be still my heart, I'm actually going out of town this weekend and I always freak out before I go out of town. So I called this very nice guy Christopher of Christopher's Computers and told him I thought I'd probably fried the video card with the vacuum or something, and he agreed, and said he'd come over this afternoon.

He did. He ran a few quick tests. Then he looked at my nice new RAM and laughed a little. I put the RAM in backwards and that's what was wrong with the goddamn computer. That's not supposed to be possible, you know - putting the RAM in backwards - but I managed it. The burning smell was one of the little stickers on the RAM melting away. Christ on a crutch. And now, because he's a really nice guy and because I needed these things anyway, he's coming back on Tuesday to put in some more fans and get my USB ports working. I could have taken that money to the beach to blow, but no. I will give it to Christopher instead, because I am too damn dumb to install RAM.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


My mom called this morning to tell me that I've been specifically not invited to my cousin's kid's wedding this summer. My mom is invited, and my kids are invited, but not me. I am kind of flabbergasted: clearly, I did something unforgivably awful the last time I saw them, which would have been at my uncle's memorial service. Huh. I don't remember getting drunk and dancing on the tables or anything like that - in fact, I thought I acquitted myself rather well, even though I did notice about halfway through the service that the slit in my skirt had decided to extend itself so that it was no longer exactly suitable for church, but I carefully put my kleenex clutching hand over it, which is an admittedly somewhat awkward posture but not one, you would think, that could offend anybody with a glimpse of decorously black tights clad thigh. I must have done or said something, though. God, and apparently my cousin, only knows. Oh well. As it stands I only see my cousins about once every three years for an hour or so, so it isn't as if I'd ticked off my best friend. Still, I'm curious in a trainwreck sort of way: what DID I do? How bad was it? I've racked my brain and I really can't come up with anything, so presumably it's a sin of omission. What didn't I do?

I hate offending people and I would never want to upset my cousins or, in fact, anyone, but I guess, in the humiliation sweepstakes, it's better to be offensive than ignored, since I'm being completely ignored on the online (free) dating service I signed up for in a fit of boredom and melancholy around 2 am the other day and that's bothering me much more than the news that I won't be attending a wedding that I had honestly forgotten was ever taking place anyway. I mean, three or four days my (if I do say so myself) witty and charming profile has been up and nothing. Not an email, not even an email from one of those weirdo Neanderthals who usually contact every single female on the dating sites - the ones that read like this: "Hey u r prtey I liv in the contry with my mama and we r good fok do u want to git married cuz I got to go to jail soon baby but u wuld keep me good an warm hunny first " or this: "We are russian brothers new to america love american women baby baby come to shoot guns with us we love to have fun with hot american girl like you." No. Not even the troglodytes or the Russian mobsters want me this go round. I haven't even gotten one wink, whatever the hell a wink is. I'm kind of glad about that though, since wink is such a creepy term anyway; it just summons up visions of one of those aforementioned Russians leering sideways from a barstool and wrenching half of his face up into a kind of demented gargoylian grimace. Flattering. So flattering, those.

And then, in a fit of emotional inner strength, I actually called up about getting therapy. The initial phone call went very well and the nice receptionist said that the therapist himself would soon call me back for details and to set up an appointment. He hasn't. Story of my life: not crazy enough for therapy, not sane enough for daily life. To top it all off, there's another dead gerbil in the backyard. Sheesh.

Monday, March 27, 2006


I got a really good fortune cookie message last Sunday. It said, more or less, that opportunity would knock soon - next Monday. Well, like I said, that was Sunday, and so the next day was Monday, and I waited for opportunity to come a-knockin'. It didn't, or if it did, I didn't recognize it and turned it away. I wasn't worried, though, because, you know, it did say next Monday, and that could certainly be interpreted as meaning Monday a week later. Which would be today. It's almost 7:00 pm and opportunity hasn't knocked. The only thing that's knocked, in fact, is an overweight young guy desperately trying to sell home repairs and replacement windows door to door. He said I had a nice house and a pretty dog. I do. I also already have replacement windows, which you would think he could have seen, being as how I was speaking to him next to one. I sent him away and wondered if he thought it was odd that I was wearing gnome pajama bottoms and martini slippers at 5:00 in the afternoon. That was it for the knocking today, though. Maybe it meant next Monday?

My other oracle is the small battery operated electronic solitaire machine I keep in the bathroom. I know, that's way TMI, but there you have it. I have, over the years that it's lived in my bathroom, gotten rather frighteningly good at solitaire, and I use it as to foretell the course of the day. I am not moved from this course by the fact that not once have I observed any correlation whatsoever between my solitaire score and the way any given day has gone. Clinging foolishly to hard facts like that is what separates the silly and resolutely rational from people like me, who know that the world works in mysterious ways, signs and portents are all around us, and time, dude, time is, like, circular, so, okay. I know that one of these days, I will get 745, which is a perfect score, and my day will also be perfect and fabulous. It must work. Eventually. Possibly next Monday.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's All Fixed

I fixed the bed.

I took the kids out to dinner.

I sent them off to get a movie and I twirled around in my blessedly silent kitchen. There is nothing but quiet around me now and my shoulders are finally beginning to completely relax. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

My Bed

Yesterday, as you may recall, I had to move my bed around so that I could get thoroughly clawed by my cat. (One thing I like about my family is that we all know enough to break into a bar or two of Cat Scratch Fever whenever this occurs.) My bed originally came from Ikea, but over the years it's been, uh, modified a bit here and there by me and my mad carpentry skillz. It's hard to keep track of those allan wrenches and after four or five moves, I at least tend to lose all the special little pegs and screws too. Not to mention that we had another Ikea bed or two and, after the last move, the bed pieces and bits all came together and I ended up with a kind of Frankenstein Ikea bed which has needed my mad carpentry skillz on more than one occasion. A couple years ago I basically rebuilt the entire thing with some two by fours, a cordless screwdriver and a lot of swearing. So I didn't get all the screws in all the way ~ so it was a little lopsided ~ so it squeaked oddly - I'm a great carpenter. I can't believe how people get so anal about these things.

This morning I woke up in a crevasse. The damn bed collapsed again and now, even as I type, the two futons which go on top of the bed are jumbled into the edges of my small room and the pitiful remnants of the frame are on display. I'm waiting for the screwdriver/drill to charge. But it doesn't look good. I don't know if I can make it all come back together this time. I'm worried. And there's one hell of a lot of dust and dog hair under my bed.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's Snowing, oh yay

daffodils in snow
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
It's snowing like the proverbial mofo out there, as it has been doing off and on all day, and the daffodils are bearing up bravely. I know, I know, a couple weeks ago I was complaining about how hot it was, but all this snow and grayness just seems, well, a little beyond the pale.

The Shot Clinic

I just got back from the SPCA rabies shot clinic down on Banks Avenue, and I really, really need a long stiff drink, but I'm just going to have coffee and hope the tremors slow down and that soon I'll be able to grasp a cigarette in my trembling fingers. I wonder if it's true that animals reflect the personalities of their owners, because if it is I'm sorry, everyone. Mr. Bill, despite the fact that he is now almost 2 and has lived here since he was about 7 weeks old, where noone has ever been even slightly mean to him, is terrified of all people except me. He will tolerate - barely - A and M, but he views all other humans with complete loathng and distrust. Theo, on the other hand, is far too fond of all people. It's other dogs he's not crazy about: with other dogs he has a touchy and perilous sense of honor. He's like one of those cartoon characters who's always ready to fight for his honor, or maybe he's like a redneck drunk in a biker bar: totally friendly unless he feels that he's been insulted in any way, at which point he turns into a psychopath. It's difficult to tell what constitutes an insult in Theo's eyes, which makes any outing with him a little chancy.

My fingers are all bandaged, because before we could even leave for the clinic M & I had to get Mr. Bill into a cat carrier. He was asleep on my pillow and I thought maybe we could just slip him into the carrier. He's much stronger than I thought - really terrible strength that cat has in his back legs, I must say, not to mention the claws. The first and naive attempt was thus a failure, and he fled into the living room, under the record player. I dragged him out of there by the scruff of his neck and tried to put him into a Digimon pillowcase on the theory that that would make it easier to hold him. That didn't work worth a damn. Mr. Bill was having none of this pillowcase stuff. He rematerialized under my bed and Theo kindly licked my bleeding hands while M and I discussed possible strategies. We locked the door and moved the bed and most of the furniture in my room while Mr. Bill wailed at us menacingly, but we finally got him in his box - upside down and backwards. He ended up with the soft towel on top of him, but at that point this didn't worry me much.

The Buncombe County SPCA insulted the weather gods most terribly at some point in their past, because every shot clinic is held in the worst weather possible. Today, it was snowing. Cherry blossoms, white snow flakes on the back of a black dog - it was all very Japanese, except for the howling cats in their carriers and the owners trying to hold their dogs in check and the desolate apparently abandoned cinder block building where the clinic was being held. Sort of post apocalyptic haiku scenery:

Cherry blossoms and hypodermics
Does your dog bite? Aaaaiiiieeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

But all this would have been bearable if it hadn't been for the large burly family with the four killer dogs in the back of their beat up pickup. They delegated a son to stand in line while they held the dogs in the back of the truck, although other members of the family came back and forth to say things like, "I wish Mama had thought to bring a muzzle!" and "Hell, I cain't hold him much more." This isn't really what you need to hear when you're in line with about 15 dogs, several howling cats in boxes and your own dog, who is on the thin edge of hysteria anyway.

Then some lady's cat got away, because in their wisdom the SPCA had arranged things so that the cats had to go into a truck to get their shots: a truck with an open door. There was lamentation and wailing and long explanations of how the lost cat was an abused cat and would never return. I understand the lamentation, because if it had been Mr. Bill I probably would have shot the guy in the truck myself, but it was still unnerving. The people with the death dogs grinned and shifted their chaw from one cheek to another and said it was a damn good thing their dogs hadn't of got loose to kill that cat, y'hear, because them dogs is cat killers every one, and their teenage daughter bummed cigarettes from the people in line.

Finally, finally we got to enter the blessedly warm, if really grungy & creepy, green cinderblock building, where volunteers slowly and laboriously wrote down all our information, one painful letter at a time. The evil dog family held breathless discussions with the volunteers. M (thank GOD I was able to bribe M to come along and help me) took Mr. Bill to the cat truck and I took Theo into the dog shot room.

The volunteer behind me said "Just bring your dogs in here" to the evil dog family.
"NO." I said. "My dog will fight too." The nice people in front of me with the lovely basset hound moved away and I felt guilty. "I'm sorry." I said, "Really he's mostly friendly!" They moved away further. "But" I said desperately, trying to make Theo, who had decided that this would be a good time to get vocal, shut up, "if he gets growled or snapped at he goes nuts." The volunteer shrugged, and they brought the dogs in anyway. Fortunately the whole large family covered them with their bodies, so all I had to do was listen to them talk about how tough and mean their dogs were while I covered Theo - he didn't actually bite the vet, per se - and I got him back in the car in one piece, where M was waiting. The cat vaccination had gone fine and Mr. Bill, safe in the car, was announcing loudly that he would never, no never, speak to me again, and in fact he thought perhaps he would take a large shit on my bed when he got home.

It's a good thing that they took Cujo & his littermates to get vaccinated, I know. I just don't understand entirely why the vet guy couldn't go and give them their shots in the back of the truck, although, I do see his point, since I wouldn't get in the back of that truck myself for anything on earth. At least it's over for another year, or, in Theo's case, three years, and now I can stop worrying about Mr. Bill getting rabies and turning into a vampire demon cat from an old horror movie. Although he says he might do that anyway, just to spite me for his long ordeal.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Another Boring Blog Post

Well, it's about 6:00 and I'm still in my pajamas. How's that for a new laziness record? This kind of behavior takes dedication, you know. Not everyone can spend a Friday doing not one blessed thing and not even have a hangover to blame it on. It's incredibly bad, I know. But it's cold and gray outside and I just haven't felt like doing anything except read Jo Walton. If you haven't ever heard of Jo Walton, and I hadn't until I scooped her up at the library out of simple desperation (that oh god it's finally happened and I've read all the good books in the world and now I will have to start reading books I hate, what about this one, well, nice cover, okay I'll get it feeling) then you should. And you should go and get her books and read them, because she is good, yes, very very good, and she has actually done something new and interesting with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, which no one else has managed since Terry Gilliam et al.

Drinking Liberally was particularly fun last night, as it generally is (even though, god, those people have, like, politics on the brain, don't you just hate it when people talk about politics all night? I mean, sheesh.)partly because certain local concerned genius citizens have come up with this ne plus ultra of political satire which is, as I'm sure you'll agree, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I am particularly fond of the kids' page and the links are informative and useful as well. Read it early. Read it often. And email it to your friends. Getting Charles Taylor out of office is vital, because I have to live here at least until M graduates from high school (o frabjous day that will be) and I would prefer to do so with woods & mountains & the vague possiblity of making a living around me, which is all unlikely to be here should our current congressman remain.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Overheard in My Kitchen This Morning

Well, technically we'd still be brother and sister, see, it's just we'd be zombies too.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Legend of Zorro

The Legend of Zorro, I am happy to report, is truly the stuff of which legends are made - terrible, dark legends that haunt the dreams of children, legends which come to life with enormous fangs and black secrets, legends of doom! In short, it is lengendarily bad. So unbelievably awful that it is, in fact, really great. I have rarely laughed so hard: the accents alone are worth it.

I always have trouble with movies that are supposed to be about people for whom English is not a first language, yet who persist in speaking English to one another, and not just any English, either. No. They speak grammatically correct, idiomatic English with peculiar, hideous, mutating accents. In Zorro, the majority of the characters are supposed to be Hispanic. Therefore, you would think that they would speak Spanish when alone with each other. Alas, you would be wrong. Apparently Spanish dialects in 1850 were so widely diverse that they could only understand each other in English, and no doubt it's that difference in dialects that makes their accents so hilariously widely divergent. So divergent that there is no way, no way on the planet that any of them have the same native tongue. And the evil French count's accent? Wow. It goes from mangled French to mangled Irish to mangled Spanish - I laughed, I cried.

And then, just when the movie couldn't get any funnier, there were mysterious explosions. We thought that probably the Martians had landed to add their accents to the mix. That would have been perfect. So, so perfect. If they ever make another Zorro movie, and they should, oh they should, then they must have Martians. Only Martians could make this movie better.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ghost Photography In My Living Room

So it has come to my attention that there are ghosts in my living room, as evidenced by digital photography, which is to say, by SCIENCE! Observe, if you will, the following photographs. I have heard that Orbs - these sort of glowing spheres that make no sense - are actually pictures of ghosts. I have gotten them on film cameras and now on my digital - but in this house they only show up in the living room. M was sceptical, but then he experimented, and lo, there they were. He thinks they are coming from the African mask on the wall. This first picture is one I took a couple of weeks ago. The orbs, as you can see, are over by the fireplace. The second picture is a bad one of my daughter A kidding around in St. Patrick's Day green, with ghostly orbs. I took two - this one had orbs, the other did not.

Now, below is the one that M took this morning. He took like six pictures in a row; this is the only one with an orb, although nothing else was different - i.e., no lights were turned on or off, the flash didn't go off on this one & not the others, etc. The orb is a very bright one, right there to the right of the doorway into the dining room, half on the wood & half on the wall.

This is the orb from the picture above, cropped and enlarged.

I don't know. I basically do believe in ghosts, mostly because it makes sense to me that energy hangs around, but also because I have seen them. So yeah, I confess to being less than a strict rationalist. (oooooooh, big shock! /irony) But, on the other hand, I'm not so sure that I believe in ghost photography, maybe particularly not in the orbs. Yet, on the third hand (these subjects always make me grow extra limbs) why would they show up so reliably in pictures of the living room and not elsewhere in the house? In my old house in Maryland I had weird orb pictures (from my film camera) including a really strange sequence of two pictures which I, alas, no longer have. The kids were carving pumpkins at the kitchen table. I took two pictures, from the same angle, with the same flash, about 20 seconds apart. In the first picture, there are two kids, the kitchen, the stove, the window, etc. In the second picture, all the same things are there - and so is a large glowing orb hovering over the stove. I've never been able to explain that one away, and I'm not sure I can explain the pictures above away either.

Of course, I'm not sure that I want to. But, if you are good at debunking such stuff, please comment below. Is it ghosts? Or not?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lambs Eating Grass

I just drove up to Celo and back so that young M could retrieve all of his forgotten possessions. There are many baby animals out in the fields, including lambs, and one gray lamb was grazing by himself. This sight made me happy although my son, who 12 short years ago would have been beyond thrilled by a lamb eating grass, told me I was weird. On the highway on the way back we were behind a red truck. In the back of the red truck was a little plastic house, and in the house was a huge and happy Rottweiler. The Rottweiler stood up and moved his head into the wind until his ears blew back and barked at the passing cars. He did this over and over until finally he gave up and sat down in his house with the air of one who has completed an important task. The barking windblown dog and the truck with the doghouse filled us both with glee and M turned on Switched On Bach, which has not aged well and sounds hideously like a bad demo from a cheap synthesizer from Radio Shack, but at sufficient volume and speed, with wind and a barking dog, can be a good thing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Clean Gourds

Through a miscommunication, I ended up doing nothing all day waiting for a phone call, which didn't make me happy. It made me, in fact, so unhappy that I had to go to Target for some retail therapy, and is thus responsible for the fact that I'm now the proud owner of a $6 bright kermit green hooded fleece pullover. Also, some chocolate. Quite a lot of chocolate, actually. It was that kind of day. I cleaned the house. I shaved my legs for this. Grrrrrr. And, in a fit of desperation and on the pretense that it was a creative activity, I scrubbed the mold off the dried gourds with bleach and steel wool, because that's how bloody bored I was.

When I went to pick up M this evening therefore, I had been nursing my grievances most of the day with no one to tell them to. I told him how miserable I was and how useless my day was and he said perkily, "Yay! Clean gourds!!"

So I laughed for a long time and then A & her boyfriend came on over to watch Rock N' Roll High School and I feel better now. Also, I have clean gourds all over the dining room table and maybe I'll get inspired to make something interestingly crafty hideous with them.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Sounds of Spring

I took Theo to the park on Thursday morning and the river, which is low, was absolutely still, so I took this picture. In an interesting note on Blogger, I'm posting this on Saturday, March 18 but I did start writing it yesterday, which would account for the date & time stamp. Hmmm. Ah well.

I am probably insane, but the birds around here are talking. I don't know whether it's one of those functions of the odd human brain, like the one that makes you see the man in the moon or think that a particular cloud is shaped like a horse, or Satan, or a cow, or, let's be honest, a penis, but when the birds wake me up at 6:00 am or so, I hear their comments in plain American English. They're not great conversationalists; in fact, they're repetitive as hell, since they say the same phrase over and over. There's one bird who says Right ch'ere! like a Brooklyn native, or at least an enthusiastic Brooklyn transplant, and there's one who says. . .

Well. I wrote that yesterday and went outside to listen to the birds and they refused to say anything and somehow, I can't remember what they usually say in the morning, even though I know that I've heard them say stuff like Robert DeNiro! and so on, but over the past 24 hours, nothing. So this post is fairly worthless, ah well.

There are other sounds of spring, though, and they're centered around young M (he who shall not be blogged about) who is back from his school's 3 week field trip, in which he visited Tennessee & Kentucky & West Virginia & Pennsylvania and, last and apparently best, Assateague Island, where a pony stole an apple out of his hand and, as he said, "I was just about to wrangle a deer when this teacher stopped me." He came home on Thursday night, bedecked with beads and a green head piece with sequins that says Irish! on the antennae and said he was rediscovering his Irish heritage and wanted to listen to the Pogues and dye his hair green. And paint himself blue, which he always wants to do, even though it is a Pictish tradition and we are not, so far as I know, Picts. All we have is purple hair dye, alas, and while he was up for purple, he balked at the hour it would take. So M is home and he and A have been chasing each other around the house with pillows and I am happy in the middle of the chaos. I even made corned beef & potatos & cabbage & carrots - that heinous traditional boiled dinner - and it was good. Well, maybe good is too strong a word. Edible. Comforting. And leaving of pink blobs of gruesome fat on the plate with which one can taunt a sibling.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Well, I'm still in a vile mood, and I'm still blue and the dishes are still not washed - but thank you all for your nice thoughts and kind wishes. I will snap out of it; I always do - it's just a little grisly in the trenches sometimes.

In the meantime, I would like to note that I played Bookworm for something like three hours tonight (I am the Queen of Wasting Time. Also the Queen of Bookworm) and I got well over 150,000 points and the rank of Grand Dictionarian. I am good at something, anyway. In another piece of good news a friend of mine sent me Neutral Milk Hotel In The Aeroplane Over the Sea and I think it is perhaps one of the most brilliant things ever. Among it's other great qualities, it drove A, who is not into slightly discordant odd music, completely nuts. Here are some mp3s for your delectation.

Other than that, nothing to report. I started a new hat. I went to the library and the laundromat and I got all sad and angry and bent out of shape on the internets, so I think I will be taking a bit of a break from some of my regular hangouts for a while. I need to work on my real life and step the hell away from this screen once in a while. Easier, I know, said than done. But worth, I think, a try.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I'm PMSing, I'm bored, the kitchen is a mess, I can't remember what on earth possessed me to ask Blockbuster online to send 12 Monkeys, which I didn't much like the first time around but lo and behold it's in the living room, I don't want to watch a movie, especially that one, I don't want to knit, I don't have anything to read, I definitely don't want to clean the kitchen, I don't want to go to a networking lunch tomorrow but I know I have to because I need to jumpstart my life even though I'm afraid, my feelings got hurt by something ridiculous online and I nearly cried even though I know it's stupid, I'm fat but I still want to eat cookies, I'm smoking too much, I'm broke, I'm lonely, I have no love life and probably never will, I have no friends, nobody loves me, everybody hates me, and the worms around here are not delicious.

New Hats!

In which I launch yet another doomed cottage industry, soon to be entitled "HATS FOR SALE GODDAMNIT ALSO GOURDS AND WEBSITE DESIGN" and coming soon to a pathetic roadside stand near you. Meanwhile, here are the two new hats I finished. Hat Three, which is yet another in the pinky purply orangy yarn, is here modeled by my daughter A, caught unfortunately at the moment of transformation into an elf. Hat Three is a great hat, but it needs to belong to someone with a small head. A very small head. Perhaps even a pointy small head, due to certain fascinating creative leaps taken by the designer.

Hat Four is an attempt to fix the known bug in Hat Three - the size issue - but overcompensated slightly and thus Hat Four, the first hat in this attractive greeny blacky purply yarn, is quite large. It is, in fact, a genuine bargain hat, because it is big enough for two people. Or, and this is great for the Asheville market, there's totally room for your dreads up in there. Also, possibly, a small dog. Actually it is a really cute hat that looks fantastic and as long as it isn't windy, you'll be fine.

My daughter A, a.k.a. HATS FOR SALE GODDAMNIT's top hat model, and I had fun taking these pictures last night. We took another one that could be called Hats N' Hooters, but decided that publication thereof would be, you know, just wrong. It's probably up on her Myspace page; ah, the younger generation. I told her I was going to have to sacrifice her to the Elder Gods since she was now younger (well, I guess she's always been younger, huh? Crazy.) and prettier than me, and I felt my eternal youth and beauty slipping away, aaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeegggggghhhhhh!!!!!!! and she took it fairly well. "Uh huh." she said indulgently, patting my arm. "Whatever you say, Mother."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Relics from the Car

relics from the car
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
My friend E practically went into my hysterics when she got into my car and discovered these relics of a vanished age, sitting quietly between the seats. Nobody still has such things in their car, I know. Nobody but me. The real thing, the genuine article - and they still play, if you're not picky. Really not picky. Not picky as in it doesn't bother you that much when Morrissey sounds like a chipmunk or the bass line from Jeanette becomes eerily detached from the rest of the song.

I am not picky. And I know all the words.

Spring and Color and, Whoa, Dude, Global Warming

Spring, or possibly summer, is here. The yellow of the forsythia is exactly the same yellow as the plastic tops of the sawhorses my brother generously gave me this weekend, so that when or if I ever have another big yard party, there can be many tables. The daffodils, whose yellow is more confrontational than the forsythia or the sawhorses, are out in full; there's a pretty little purple trumpety thing in my front garden that I have no clue what it is; and Fish is alive. Yes. The creatively named Fish, in his orange glory, is still alive in his sunken bathtub choked with drowned oak leaves and paint chips (I picked that tub up off the side of the road. The previous owner apparently had decided that painting it with latex house paint was a Good Idea. They were Wrong.) in a spring miracle of his own. Fish must be nearly 3 now; a 25 cent goldfish from Wal Mart that I dropped in the bathtub to keep the mosquito population down. God knows what he eats; I think I've fed him maybe twice in these years, but he lives on, growing to incredible size and lazily lurking under the surface.

The windows are open all day and all night; I retired a quilt or two off the bed and hauled out some T-shirts. I shaved my legs, twice, which means that yeah, summer is icumin in, loud sing cuckoo, also robin, hawk, assorted cardinals, a particularly vociferous mockingbird and god knows what all else outside my bedroom window. That would be one of the windows with a screen that Barbieri (RIP) and Mr. Bill chewed a hole in last summer. I would have been very happy if they had never figured out that nylon screen is no match for cat teeth, but alas, there's a hole in the screen by my head. This is unnerving, since I can occasionally read Mr. Bill's mind, and his mind has been known to say things like, "There's a nice fat mouse! I'll bring it to Mom! I'll just drop it on her head while she's sleeping and she'll be sooooooooo happy!"

All this would be just peachy keen-o, even despite the mouse possibility, except for the small yet worrisome fact that these lovely 75 and 80 degree days and balmy nights are taking place in the first two weeks of March. That just seems wrong. I can't quite bring myself to clear the leaves out of the flower garden (I am an economical and lazy gardener; why mulch your flower bed in the fall when the helpful oak tree overhead will do it for you for free?) or even take the plastic off the front windows. I can't believe that summer's here already, because this is not, after all, the deep South. This is the mountains, and we've been known to get killing frosts right up to Mother's Day. I looked in my garden journal to see when things bloomed last year, but unfortunately all that was noted was that I put in beans and tomato seedlings last year on April 24. Honestly there are times when I need a time machine just to go back a year or so and whap myself upside the head. Why would I ever even care when I put in tomatos last year? The blight kills them all every year anyway; it is impossible to grow decent tomatos in these here hills without a greenhouse. And last year I even did them in containers with sterile soil! They still sucked.

My gut is that we're about 2 weeks ahead of ourselves, and that the temperatures are unheard of. But, you know, that's not because of global warming! God no! Nothing we have done has altered the weather! Ignore Science and Pray, Motherfuckers! Also, build yourself a biodome that can withstand some serious ass kicking storms, because this stuff is cute & funny for only a very little while.

Internet Vacations & The Nature of the Real

So, I took a self imposed weekend long unannounced and unplanned internet vacation. It was a good thing. I needed to take a hard serious look at my life, the way the virtual and the real do or don't interact, and the fact that I've been spending way. too. much. time. online lately. There are other issues in there, like the ugly one of substances used and abused, and the fact that the two things I seem to have managed to hold onto from my semi Catholic upbringing are this terrible urge to confess and then concomitant guilt and shame over it all. In layman's terms, that means that there are times, and there've been too many of them lately, where I get drunk & decide to say more than I should - or really want to - online. And then the next day I'm overwhelmed with embarrassment and shame and I want to go back and delete everything but the archivist in me (I worked in art museums for 11 years. Some of it rubbed off.) says I'm not allowed to do that.

Some of this has to do with a conscious decision on my part, about a year ago, to move from a very anonymous online persona to a much more onymous one; to allow the virtual & the real, for lack of better terms, to intersect more. I wanted to take responsibility for my words; to take ownership and not hide behind a screen name. The fallout from that has been that now everyone knows who I am and my real life friends and my e-friends are all one and the same. Which in turn means that when I get tempted by a bottle of bourbon to spill the uglier parts of my guts there's real life fallout. I haven't quite figured out how to deal with any of that (yeah, eliminating bourbon would be a damn good first step, and one that's been done) yet and so sometimes I end up with these crushing guilt hangovers. Like this weekend, although spending 2 days and nights not drinking and not going near the computer was really good for me. Among other things, I mopped all the floors.

So, if there are a few less posts forthcoming, that's why. I need to get outside more, to get inside my own head more, to read less and create more, to make more real art and less digital. I need to step away from the keyboard now and then. And I'm going to, particularly on the weekends. Of course, this means that some days, like for example today, there are going to be LOTS of posts while I just go ahead and write down EVERYTHING that occurred to me all weekend. But no system is infallible.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Requiem for John Pyle

I just found out that an old friend died in January. Godspeed, John Pyle.

He was the ex husband of a close friend, a tall skinny dark haired welshman, soft spoken, smart, funny. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, he used to come over now and then, when I was in an unhappy marriage and he was too. Our children played and we had a glass of wine. His politics and mine clashed harshly, but he laughed and listened.

He was on my lifetime want to fuck list.

I never did anything about it. I fed him, now and then; I listened. He'd come and gone from a harsher world than any I have ever known, and the demons he struggled with were fiercer than mine. They took a long and horrible toll; the last time I saw him, 2 summers ago, he had already begun a long fall.

I always meant to take him up to bed. And I wish that I had.

I hope, John, wherever you are, which should be full of green grass, dark water, mulberry trees and not 1000 virgins, which I can't imagine you, who became quiet and shy in the presence of women, liking at all, know that. I hope you rest easy, and quiet, and have some peace that this world denied you.

I'm sorry I didn't know until now that you had left us. And I'm more sorry than I can say that on one of those gloaming afternoons as the toddlers played that I didn't just take your hand and lead you upstairs. Speed well, old friend, come back to us soon.

Ladies' Afternoon Drinking Club

So, say you're in the middle of one of those phone calls you really wish had never happened, a phone call from your ex boyfriends' recently ex girlfriend, and she's all upset, and asking you for help with a situation that you a) were never involved with in the first place and b) even if you were it was 7 odd years (very odd years) ago and you have nothing, really, to add to this conversation because, let's face it honey, the 80s are a blur, the 90s even more so and really? Last week? It's a bit fuzzzzzzy.

The phone rang and I told my caller, oops, it's a work call. The work call is sacred in America; it's like a direct line from Jesus himself; it cannot be denied. You can deny your dying mother, your brother in the throes of the LA police department, your child being killed on a playground, but the work call is sacrosanct. So I took my "work" call and thank all the gods of this or any other universe, it was my old college friend E screaming, "We're getting drunk! Join us!" Which I did. Because, you know, far be it from me to abandon a friend in need.

It's been a long time since I started drinking at 3 in the afternoon of a beautiful Friday, and now it's 8, and I can't quite figure out what to do next, but really, I recommend this afternoon thing. We started at the Flying Frog and moved on to E's beautiful West Asheville back porch. There was a lot of laughing, a lot of drinking, and apparently I have to go to a sex toy party tomorrow afternoon. "No!" I tried to say, "I grew up Catholic! We don't do that stuff!" All to no avail. "There's free wine!" they said, and before I knew it I was committed.

So, gentle readers, tomorrow evening I'm going to a sex toy party. Be afraid. God knows I am. I just called all my girlfrriends and told them they were coming with me, including my daughter, who's bringing her friends. This is verging into the realm of the seriously weird, but you know, what can one do? There's no fighting heredity, or, apparently, the friends you make at 20. I made a laughing reference this afternoon to the nerdish tendencies of my son. "Oh," said my friends, who have known me for 20+ years, "He's just like you were!"

I had been going along happily for eons in this belief that my nerdiness was internal and unviewed, that no one knew I was a closet nerd. Alas. Turns out that eveyone thought knew I was a nerd and just liked me anyway. Go figure. Some things, like obsessive rereading of the Silmarillion and the accompanying ability to speak Elvish, can't be hidden. Damn.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It Is Thursday

And here I am, enroute, courtesy of our friends at DevilDucky. You can make one too!

More Oogling Over James McMurtry; No Job For Me

I just got Childish Things, the relatively new CD from James McMurtry and I am a happy little pathetically enamoured fangirl. Yes. It is awesome and I am now listening to it for the second time in three hours.

It's windy out and I haven't really got a damn thing to say. I've been fiddling around with Dreamweaver; I can't make it do exactly what I want, but I'm getting close. I signed up to take some computer classes at ABTech over the next two months and I guess, I think, that I'm getting closer to sort of setting up my own little probably unprofitable mini business doing odd administrative thingies. Websites. Graphic Design. Writing. Editing. Event planning? Whatever comes up, I guess. I'm hoping to sort of cobble together a bunch of different little part time gigs and come up with one full time salary, although so far I haven't been able to do even that. I'm going to have to join the underground economy, obviously, because there just don't seem to be any straight jobs in Asheville. And Asheville is not a cheap place to live. Sometimes it makes me tired. I hear people (in other towns, possibly mythical towns, I grant you) talking about paying 1/4 to 1/3 of their income in rent and stuff like that - here, I pay 1/2, half of my old income when I had a real job a year ago, and my rent is low for West Asheville. I'm too old to live in a 3 bedroom house with 12 other people, and I like my garden, my yard, my fireplace and my space for cat and dog and son. But it does mean that I need to make a lot of money, a lot lot lot of money, and I obviously don't know how to do that.

I'd be thinking about leaving if it wasn't for family and friends, but I can't leave my mom, no matter what she says (she says, among other things, "Go ahead and go! I'm fine!" and - off topic but hilarious - "Why would the working classes need to learn French anyway?") and my son starts high school next year; I have friends here, and last but far from least, I don't want to leave. I love it here. And I don't want to feel like I'm being forced out, either. But sheesh, it does seem impossible to make it here anymore - and I can't find a boyfriend who lives in this godforsaken town either, there is that. James McMurtry seems inexplicably unlikely to leave his girlfriend and Austin and move here, go figure, and in all honesty I can't, at this point, recommend that anyone, whether famous singer/songwriter or not, move here and hope to make a living. God knows I can't manage it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

My Brother's New Bike

fliss bills bike 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
My brother has gone out & bought a new/old 1976 BMW and I covet it. I'm afraid of motorcycles but you know what? Fuck that. It's spring, and I'm tired of being mature and responsible (oh shut up. I was so trying) and I want to get on this baby and ride, ride into a sex n' drugs n' rock n' roll lifestyle; I want to drink too much and sleep with strange and dangerous men. I want to ride off into the sunset. I want to sit in smoky bars at 2 in the morning looking deep into someone's eyes and then I want to get up the next morning and ride on down the highway. I want to wear my motorcycle boots for something other than fashion, and while I'm at it, I wouldn't mind kicking some yuppie ass. Dangerous, baby. That's me. Ha!!!!!

The Inscrutable Inner Lives of Animals

Last weekend I went out to the backyard and picked up all the things Theo has carried out there, which is to say, 4 stuffed animals, 2 socks, 1 slipper, 2 plastic water bottles out of the recycling bin, assorted paper towels, 1 heavy garden glove (provenance unknown,) 2 tennis balls and 3 actual dog toys, including the dog toy from outer space, which is the squeaking rubbery alien looking thing that about a year ago fell at my feet on the back steps - from space, a passing airplane piloted by dogs or possibly the roof; I've never known. I gathered these unlovely things up, and unlovely they certainly are, since not only have they been gnawed but they've also been lying in the yard for unspecified amounts of time. Then I didn't quite know what to do with them, since I was seized with a terrible reluctance to bring them inside, so I put them in a milk crate on the back porch. "Look." I told Theo. "You have a toy box." He wagged his tail. Dogs, I have noticed, are not big on logical thought. Theo carries his milk bones outside and then is sad when they are gone.

They're all back out in the yard now. This is the problem with collies; sure, they'll herd things, and your children and most particularly your guests, but they make up their own minds where things are to be herded to. Theo believes in free range toys, although guests belong in the living room or the kitchen, but definitely in small groups. Meanwhile, Orange Cat, the bane of the neighborhood, has been making forays into my Mr. Bill's backyard. Mr. Bill will not put up with such intrusions and so he has a bump on his nose. I have been oooking and aaahking over his nose like a complete idiot or a fairly repulsive and obsessive penguin parent: I think I have made more and stupider googly noises at that cat than I ever did at my own kids.

I stand out in the backyard and smoke and look at the ruins of the grape arbor and these small lives go on around me. The squirrels make daring forays past the fence, which gets Theo barking and then sets off every single neighborhood dog. Tortoiseshell Cat, who lives next door and is by way of being a pal to both my animals, comes by to say hello and have a roll in the dust. The red cardinals are vying madly with each other for the attention of the lady cardinals. Four crows - for a boy, I guess, and that would be a good thing - fly overhead. I like spring.

In other news, my older brother is back in town and he has bought a vintage 1973 BMW motorcycle. My son will be beyond thrilled; I am filled with trepidation. Also, fear.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Too Tall and Too Smart

I was a very bad girl last night but through some kind of miracle that I fully did not deserve, I was only mildly hungover today. And embarrassed. Severely embarrassed for reasons I will not go into here (you probably, and you know who you are, already know about it anyway) so let us gloss over the details and focus on one small but telling interlude: suffice it to say that among the evenings peregrinations I was told, nicely and in a more roundabout fashion, that I was too tall and too smart. I think, should I ever have a tombstone, that these words of wisdom should adorn it. Yes. I am too tall and too smart, which explains a lot, I suppose, although I'm not feeling particularly brilliant at the moment.

This is, of course, one of those defining differences between men and women: to wit, it is just not possible for a man to be too tall or too smart unless the height and brainpower verge over into the gibbous and peculiar, like he's 8' tall and so smart that he can only cringe helplessly in a corner reciting theorems in a crabbed and deadpan voice. I am not that tall or that smart, but I am a woman, and we're supposed to be short and dumb, I guess. Also blonde. (I like the way that article so blithely predicts the birth of the last natural blonde - it's hilarious.) You would think that these attitudes had died out by now. You would be thinking wrong. This is why I have been known to play scrabble with prospective suitors: the chances are good that I'm going to beat them, and the way they take that is quite interesting, because some of them don't like it - at all. Some of them think it's great - these are the good guys. They are few, alas, and far between, as are the guys who don't have a problem with a woman who is a few inches taller than they are, perhaps more than a few inches in those delicious Steve Madden shoes that make her legs look so incredibly fantastic. These men are dumb as posts, because tall women have great legs, can get the bartender's attention even in the most crowded place and, as if that's not enough, face it: everyone is the same height lying down.

Why anyone would want to hang out with dumb people is beyond me; they bore me and make me itch. It is true that there are certain situations in which brain power is not of paramount importance, but one cannot, after all, always be in the lying down position. And we're also over 21 now and presumably less in the grip of those hormones. But it doesn't matter; this is the world, and I'm too damn smart and too damn tall. Oh well. Osteoporosis will take care of the tall in time and you would think I'd burned enough brain cells by the application of liberal amounts of alcohol to be dumb by now, but apparently not. Thank the gods. I think.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Seasonal Mania

It's warm in the sunlight outside and I've finally begun, after six years of thinking about it, to dismantle the old grape arbor. I tried and tried and tried to resurrect it, because I had these fevered dreams of sitting under my grape arbor (I'd have had to squnch down real low and sit in a teeny doll chair, since most of it's not more than 4' off the ground) sipping Chianti, maybe listening to Puccini, snacking on a little fresh mozzarella. Alas, these aren't my dreams at all. They're dream remnants from whichever vaguely Italian person put the damn thing up in the first place, probably in the 70s, when grape arbors were fashionable. I've never used the grapes, they're Concords, or Muscadines; I can't tell the difference, because I loathe them both equally. They have thick skins and huge pits and are an unpleasant mixture of bitterness and oversweet. I don't want to make grappa or grape jelly, and the birds get most of them anyway. I wonder, sometimes, what the person with Italian dreams who put the arbor in did with the grapes, if they ever even harvested them.

The grape arbor, like most of my yard, is horribly overgrown with pernicious honeysuckle. It's easy, if a little counterintuitive, to pull it out this time of year, since it's the only green thing around. And easy isn't the word, really. Is there a word that describes yes, I can find the damn stuff and cut it down to the root but it fucking comes back in a month thicker than ever as if it was thanking me for the pruning I never get around to giving the roses? This year I'm spraying the cut root ends with Round Up. So many an organic gardener has fallen: Japanese honeysuckle, poison ivy and whatever the hell those demonic thornbushes are.

The person who built the grape arbor did it with upended round landscape timbers, attached to each other with that kind of coated green wire that's more often used for clotheslines. The wire was inexpertly wound around the tops of the timbers; that makes me sad, because clutzy yet hopeful gardening strategies are familiar to me. Most of the knots had come undone in the last thirty five years. It was harder to pull the timbers out of the ground than I thought it would be but at last I got three of them out and now three large holes are sitting there by the roundup-ed stumps of honeysuckle that I hope will die on it's own. The yard looks different: bigger, wider, more yard-like. It's time to dig up the vegetable garden and haul in big bags of compost and manure. It's time to mulch. It is time to clean out old vines.

The suicide next door's apartment is up for rent and the landlord has hauled the furniture to the curb. I take the dog on a wide berth around it; I don't want any suicidal bookshelves in my house. The landlord, who looks melancholic anyway, stands by the door and smokes meditatively. We don't speak: we are not friends; I called the city on him a few years ago hoping to stop his mad construction. I wonder why he is clearing out the suicide's apartment, and what he is going to do with the cardboard boxes he is loading into the back of his blue pickup.

A friend of mine in Hendersonville once wanted some bamboo in her yard and set out to "borrow" some from a roadside stand she had admired. The woman in the house by it came out; my friend thought, oh hell, busted. No, the woman was there to warn her: "You'll never get rid of it." she said, "I cut them down and cut them down and go out and pour bleach down their little throats, they won't die." I want some of this bamboo, the kind another friend told me would uproot the road in a year if I planted it, to shield me from the suicide next door, to replace the grape arbor, to give me a place to walk (probably bent over, I know) while I sip green tea and write short poems to an emperor far away.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tonight's The Night: Call and Response

I have been cleaning the house. When I clean, I like to listen to really loud, bad 1970s rock music. To this end, the semi functional radio in my room is currently tuned to 96.5 Asheville's Oldies Station. If someone from that station is reading, by the way, firing is probably too good for your marketing director. You might want to consider moving directly to burning at the stake. As I swept up massive amounts of collie hair, therefore, I was subjected to unspeakable horrors such as Rod Stewart's Tonight's The Night. No matter. I like to talk back to the radio, and so, although it's better done aloud, I present to you a call and response version of that classic and beloved (urp!) love song.

Stay away from my window
Not that I'm trying to hide you or anything, just, you know, step away.
Stay away from my back door too
I forgot to take out the recycling and the steps rotted.
Disconnect the telephone line
Oh right, the phone company already took care of that.
Relax baby and draw that blind
Is it broken again? Just a sec, I'll take care of . . oh. Fuck. . well, just come over here, then.

Kick off your shoes and sit right down
Better put them where the dog won't get them though.
Loosen off that pretty french gown
Wal Mart? 12.99? Really?
Let me pour you a good long drink
I have a nice cold 40 right here
Ooh baby don’t you hesitate cause

Tonights the night
It’s gonna be alright
Cause I love you girl
Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now

Except possibly your husband! Wow it's really going to suck when he shows up!

C’mon angel my hearts on fire
I'll be right back, just gotta stop in the bathroom for a minute, pepcid A/C, where are you?
Don’t deny your man’s desire
Otherwise I'll have blue balls and you know how cranky that makes me
You’d be a fool to stop this tide
Tide? Wha? Salt water? Where did that come from?
Spread your wings and let me come inside

Tonights the night
It’s gonna be alright
Cause I love you girl

at least for the moment and possibly even until midnight
Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now
Except maybe my mom, when she comes back from bingo. Step away from the window, again, would you?

Don’t say a word my virgin child
Ack! Pedophile! Please stop, Daddy.
Just let your inhibitions run wild
Okay. I don't want to do this, let's just play cards instead.
The secret is about to unfold
Upstairs before the night’s too old

It's 7:30 already? Where does the time go?

Tonights the night
It’s gonna be alright
Cause I love you woman
Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now

Except the cops. Get away from that door, copper, I have a hostage!

Getting Organized

I woke up this morning determined (once again) to finally get my life in order, clean my house, organize everything, start my own business, make a lot of money, become a paragon of efficiency and virtue and so on. Naturally, I started this crusade with a cup of coffee and the internet, where I found this really great little video which has inspired me even further. Except that somehow that link led me to this one and then, because this is me, I became wildly enthusiastic about the idea of going to the office supply store and buying a lot of nifty organizational stuff. 43 brand new manila folders in different colors, sitting up in a chrome rack, and a Moleskine notebook to be anarchistic in, and while I'm at it. . . uh oh.

So, fortunately, I stopped myself, realizing just in time that spending my carefully hoarded & meagre resources on shiny things that will make me feel like I'm organized is not a good idea. Besides, I put on my overalls this morning in order to make myself clean up, and I can't wear my overalls (nicely layered over a 30 year old holey thermal that was once my brothers, plus an antique once red flannel of my dads) to Office Depot unless I also black out one of my teeth, and I just don't have time for that right now. Look, ma, this is evidence of that wisdom which cometh with age! Over the years I've put the detritus of many a fine organizing system out on the curb. My clutter defies simple organizational techniques and probably needs nuclear fission but really, it's not the clutter in my house that's the issue: it's the clutter inside my brain that needs to be nuked away.

I've actually been thinking about looking for a life coach, who I envision as being somewhat like my old gym teacher and who will come over every day and force me to do things besides sit here in front of the computer reading Pinky & the Brain quotes, giggling and eating peanut butter & soy bacon sandwiches. Unfortunately, I obviously can't pay this poor life coach unless she's willing to work purely on commission. I could maybe bargain away my first born, although that seems a bit unfair to both parties involved - I can hear A now if I start bartering her away for a mess of pottage, my birthright or possibly some magic beans - but other than that all items of value are long gone and it probably is time to sell the children for medical experiments.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Check it out, I've made a Where Am I? slideshow of some of my flickr pix, moving from the general to the specific and I quite like it. In fact it's ridiculous how much I like it and how generally cheerful taking the pictures & assembling it has made me. And if that weren't enough, here's something else to make you giggle. At least it did me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Out In The Woods of Isengard

hope rhodie bud march 1 06
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
It is 75 degrees today and I actually got up off my lazy (and increasingly large) butt and took myself & Theo out to Bent Creek for a nice hike. I was hoping the dogwoods would be in bloom, so I took a trail I rarely take, where I knew I'd seen dogwoods in early spring some years back. Unfortunately, the dogwoods are not in bloom because there are no dogwoods left on that trail. They've been logging again out at Bent Creek - it is, after all, National Forest, "managed forest" and so they log. To log they build big gravel roads, and they leave devastated, storm tossed firewood behind. They leave the rhododendrons, too - I guess noone wants rhodie wood, or perhaps they think it is a screen to the devastation.

I understand that people need wood. I understand the concept of the managed forest, although, let's face it, a tree farm, however organic, is not a forest, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like I have wandered into Isengard when I round a corner on the mountain trail and find logging wrack, a tree graveyard, thick spongy ground that's a haven for copperheads and little else and on a very visceral level I want Ents. I want the voice of the trees to come out and say something, preferably something loud and doom laden that will scare the shit out of trespassers with chain saws and the latest tree death technology, and I mean that literally. I do not, while we're at it, want Congress to sell these lands to private developers, who are even worse than loggers. At least I know, from previous experience with Saruman and his saw wielding orcs, that the logged land will recover - at least to some extent. It sure as hell won't recover when there's a McMansion or a MallWart on top of it.

Ah, but this is sad, and we shouldn't be sad, because yeah, the logging is there, but so is this rhodie bud, hope for spring, and the very first butterfly of the season. He was black, which always worries me, because in some Moomin book or other Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden talked about the first butterfly being an omen for the summer to come, with a gold one meaning a great summer. Mine are always black. Of course. But perhaps I'll take that as either the accident of geography that it totally is, or an homage to my artsy black wearing soul. A dark sophisticated summer, that I could deal with.