Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Although that's not why I'm all sleep depped and dizzy today. I'm sleep depped and dizzy today because I have fallen prey to the cursed books of Diana Gabaldon and I went to the library yesterday to get the latest damn installment of her saga (you know, when she started this thing, one book covered 20 or so years. But then, her characters began aging in spite of herself, and now she writes 600 pages about one or two days. Gah.) and then I stayed up until 2:00 am reading it, and then, as ever when I stay up too late reading, I couldn't get to sleep because I started hearing burglars. As my aunt once told me, "Stop worrying. If they're going to come in and kill you, they'll just come in and kill you. They won't walk around the house 17 times first." This is true, and good advice, but harder, somehow, to remember at 2:00 am when you're hearing mysterious tapping noises and the peculiar disappearance of your axe from the front porch takes on very, well, sinister overtones.
But perhaps they were killing amorphous rodents with my axe. I am about to go out on a limb here and make a somewhat peculiar announcement: there are gerbils in my yard. Lots of them. Let me explain. It's incredibly warm today and I decided to clear out the vegetable garden and also stare sadly at the encroaching thorn bushes, wish I had full body armor and try to figure out some way to deal with those evil things. In the course of this hard work, I discovered those four dead bodies. Body one was the first dead vole of the season; happy spring, voles. You are no doubt the first of many. Bodies two, three and four were harder to identify. Larger than mice, yet smaller than rats. Hmmm. Light brown. Hmmm again. WTF? Furry tails. Furry tails. . . oh my god, there are gerbils in my yard. This explains a lot, although not the origin of the live rodent that the cats brought into the dining room last January, which was either a very large rat with no tail or a very small groundhog. But let's not remember that. That was awful. Let us, instead, hypothesize the existence of a colony of gerbils in West Asheville, North Carolina.
They're not my gerbils. My mom released my gerbils - that is, they mysteriously "disappeared" and on their way out considerately cleaned their cage with bleach and put it in the basement - in Connecticut when I was 9, so I am not responsible for this plague. However, I have no trouble at all envisioning a similar occurrence here, maybe even in this very house. And there's no reason they couldn't survive, and breed like, well, like gerbils, is there? They aren't tomato plants or begonias, they can survive the frost. So. I have gerbils in my yard. Careful with that ax, Eugene.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Okay, it is true that all this staying home is not exactly good for my social life, but on the other hand my friends are beginning to come to me. 2 of my friends showed up unannounced on Saturday evening for a short visit; A says she bets they were wondering if I was dead or not. And on Saturday, I grant you that the difference between death and life was a little slim. Good thing that I was wearing my velour lounging pants - not quite pajamas, but awfully damn close. Well, hell, it was only 6:00 pm or so.
Given my introverted habits, you'd think that I'd at least clean up once in a while. You would then be thinking wrong. The house is getting pretty damn bad and I need to whip out the Fabuloso, that evil, evil bright purple mexican cleaning stuff, and attack the kitchen floor before it achieves sentience and starts building temples by the stove. Then I will have to flee for a while, because Fabuloso takes its cleaning job seriously and includes an overpowering fragrance that certainly smells like it's wiping out all germs, not to mention other forms of life, like mine, in about a quarter mile vicinity. I recommend it highly. You really know, and I mean, you really know, your house has been cleaned when you use Fabuloso.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
BOOKSHOPPING: Since I couldn't get on the internet yesterday, I was forced to lazily read all day. I finished rereading Katherine Kerr's Deverry series and then, of course, I was sad, until I bethought myself of the money still left on my Christmas Barnes & Noble gift card. So I went on down there and, caught up in the madness, I bought Diana Gabaldon's book Fiery Cross because it had finally come out in paperback. I do not labor under the misapprehension, by the way, that the Outlander books are great literature, but utterly absorbing they are, and since I had this vague idea that there was a new one out, I got excited. Well. There is a new one out. It isn't Fiery Cross. Fiery Cross is old, and I think, although I'm 600 pages in and still not completely sure, that I read it before. Certainly there is a hardback copy in this house. It's A's and she dragged it out to show me, after, alas, I had already bent the cover of my new paperback, damn, damn, damn, but it's here. So I decided that I must have missed it, settled into bed to read, and read 520 pages before it started sounding ominously familiar. That just isn't a good sign. I read a lot, a tremendous amount, and when I'm seriously into it I read about 100 pages an hour, but I have an acid test for good writing: I don't forget it. I don't forget much, and while I've forgotten and reread things before, I do think 500 odd pages is a new record for getting that sinking, deja-vuish feeling that oh, you have been here before.
BOWLING: I went bowling with the bloggers on Friday night and oh my god, we had too much fun. It was great but yesterday my legs hurt all day; you know you are pathetically out of shape when bowling leaves you in pain. After the bowling everyone came over here to drink heavily and I think a good time was had by all. I would like to point out that I was not particularly hungover yesterday, although granted, somewhat disinclined to do anything but read. However, I drank way more on Friday night than I did last Monday, yet I was far, far sicker on Tuesday than I was yesterday. The ways of beer are inscrutable, yo, and mysterious.
Friday, February 24, 2006
There were no less than three people who did that sudden "Oh wait, I want to turn left here, so I will, never mind that I'm in the right lane and haven't turned my blinker on" and there was their cohort, a lady stopped in the left lane with her blinker on who suddenly decided that the direction she really needed to go was right and so, you know, she did. Grandma and Grandpa and all their friends were out on the highway, zipping on by at a highly dangerous 40 mph, accompanied by a minivan from Indiana who apparently missed that day in drivers' ed where they covered merging off the exit ramp and/or looking out your windows.
Seriously. All this and more happened in 2 10 to 15 minute drives, from my house to Zen and back. It's amazing that I'm still alive, but I guess I should track these federal holidays more closely. I'm supposed to go out tonight, Bowling with Bloggers, but even though the bowling alley is not far from here, I'm a-skeered, y'all. It's wild out there, and the spring Running of the Tourists hasn't even begun yet. Whether I make it or not, I would like at this point to offer you this song but I haven't figured out how to link an .mp3 to a blog entry. Yet. So you will have to be satisfied with this small sampling.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
So my mother has taken up knitting again, inspired, no doubt, by my continuing stream of bizarre-o hat confections. Except of course, this is my mother, who has more in common with Martha Stewart than the hipster queens of stitch n' bitch, and she views it as an exercise in, among other things, applied mathematics. She has books and books of Aran sweater patterns and cardigans with sheep on them, which, I must admit, are looking cuter and cuter to me as I grow in age yet not, apparently, in wisdom. She makes swatches and figures out how many stitches she has per inch. She unravels stuff if it isn't working out. She knits whole sweaters and she has a box full of nifty knitting gadgets that I don't understand. If that is not enough to impress you, how about this? She can make buttonholes and she has an elderly paperbound book called the Applied Knitting Architect which has, gulp, no pictures and lots of math. She called me this morning at 8:30 to tell me that my fear of the hat pattern in one of her knitting books was silly and misplaced, because all I needed to do was transfer the whole thing onto four needles and then whizzyfooop the perled stitch under slip, kazumpwuggle, run the yarn through and there you have it, Felicity, honestly, it's the simplest thing. Mmmm hmmm. Whatever you say, Mom.
Other than that, I have no news at all. I could wax politically furious about South Dakota's plan to outlaw abortion, and I might yet, but not right now. Right now I'm going to clean up the kitchen, keep on cooking a big pot of chicken chili verde which I really hope is done before I leave for DL, and, well, that's about it.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I have really been kind of working, people, be still your hearts. I've been using my newly acquired mad dreamweaver skillz to update a local website and in actual fact it's been a lot of fun. Look for a hideous new template on this blog, coming your way soon, or whenever I get around to creating one. Now that I know how to do this stuff, oh boy oh boy. I could have me some reeeeeealll fun. Heh.
Sunday night we watched this amazing movie: Silver Hawk. This movie is so amazing that it can erase the memory of a Herzog/Kurosawa film festival like that. It is so amazing that it has Michelle Yeoh fighting bungee jumping ninjas, which turns out to be a fairly inefficient way to fight, given that the cords keep bouncing you the wrong way, and also the protective gear you have to wear kind of destroys your sleek ninja coolness, but whatever. Michelle Yeoh, people. Fighting bungee jumping ninjas. And leaping onto her motorcycle in a way that made me cringe and thank god she isn't a boy, but even as a girl, um, ow. All this takes place in a crazed futuristic universe where everything is made of silver and glass, go go boots are back in a big way, as are technicolor wigs, and, almost best of all, her house is, apparently, 4 stories tall but only 10 feet wide. Rent this movie. It's like the Power Rangers grown up, only even more awesomely silly.
But, okay, enough stalling - the terrible truth is: I've been hungover. I was so hungover yesterday that I barely got out of bed, and then only to worship the porcelain god, if you get my drift. This is not good. I recognize the general not-goodness of this, thanks, and have plans to radically restructure my lifestyle and all that good shit. Namely, I think I'm allergic to microbrews. My friend J points out that whenever this happens to me it involves microbrews. The kicker is, I really didn't drink all that much on Monday night. I mean, okay, I obviously drank more than I should have, but no more than I've drunk on many another occasion and been fine, or at any rate fine-r, the next day. I even drank a bunch of water and took an alka seltzer before bed. But, no matter, all day yesterday I languished and barfed. I hate this. I think I'm too old to drink. I think I have learned all that beer had to teach me, or something, or perhaps my liver has finally kicked it. But I'm back now. Yes. I am back.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Knitting without really having a clue what you're doing has it's drawbacks, it is true, but I kind of like the randomness factor. Also, fuck reading directions.
Last night M and I watched Grizzly Man, which you've no doubt heard of, and Kurosawa's take on King Lear: Ran. It was kind of a strange combination, but they're both such insanely good movies that it didn't much matter. Grizzly Man is amazing; the footage of the bears and foxes alone is worth the rental, and then you get Werner Herzog saying in that inimitable German accent "Nature is about chaos and cruelty" or something like that, which is just, um, indescribably delicious. I also nearly lost it when he talked about Timothy Treadwell losing it on the beach: "I have seen this on a film set" and, since even I have heard insane stories of the filming of Aguirre, I bet he has. Celebrity name drop! When I was a dissolute teenager living on Mallorca, I used to babysit for Del Negro's son Aureliano. Del was Brother Gaspar de Carvajal in Aguirre. Also, when I was a dissolute twenty something living in Baltimore, in the phase we like to call Felicity In the Land of the Lost Boys, my lost boy roommates became completely obsessed with that movie and as a result I have seen it approximately 70 times, but never all the way nonstop from beginning to end.
M is obsessed with Kurosawa films and so we are slowly working our way through them one by one, with Ran being the latest entry. There isn't much I can say about it that hasn't already been said, unless you're going to watch it thinking it's a lighthearted uplifting trifle, in which case you are in deep, deep shit, my friend. It is dark, depressing and incredible - indelible, too: I doubt I'll ever forget it.
And now, let us pause for a moment to consider the peculiar life cycle of disposable lighters, a subject on which I am well qualified to pontificate, as I have spent much of my life observing them in their natural habitat, namely, pockets and the local bar. Lighters are herd animals, and if you allow them to range freely they will breed and bring more lighters home to you. Alas, the natural antithesis of this simple fact is that if you have only one lighter in your possession it will be lonely and leave you. That's why today I have 3 lighters in my pocket, whereas yesterday I didn't even have one.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Here's what you missed:
1. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
2. Robbie Fulks - She Took A Lot Of Pills (And Died)
3. The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Breaking the Girl
4. Harry Nilsson - Me And My Arrow
5. Everything But The Girl - Corcovado
6. David Bowie - Oh! You Pretty Things
7. Werner Hass - Oh-ee-oh-ah-ah
8. Big Head Todd And The Monsters - Brother John
9. Talking Heads - Burning Down the House
10. Police - Every Breath You Take
11. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - The Tears Of A Clown
12. Elizabeth Cotten - Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
13. Iggy and the Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog
14. The Kinks - Lola
15. Men Without Hats - Safety Dance
16. Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
17. The Band - Acadian Driftwood
18. Alvin & The Chipmunks - Wooly Bully
19. Wall of Voodoo - Ring of Fire (Creepy version)
20. Partridge Family - I Think I Love You
21. Violent Femmes - Gone Daddy Gone
22. Young Ones - youngones
23. Monty Python - Spam
24. Cracker - Take The Skinheads Bowling
25. Robert Earl Keen - Think It Over One Time
26. The Electric Prunes - I Had To Much To Dream (Last Night)
27. Dictators - Pussy and Money
I can only afford to go there once a year ~ you don't want to know how much a martini costs there, you really don't, and even a pint of Gaelic will set you back $5.50, gulp ~ but it's so damn beautiful. The view is beautiful, the bar is beautiful, the objects in the Arts & Crafts vitrines in the lobby for the weekend are beautiful. Why are the people not beautiful?
It drives me crazy. I dress up to go to the Grove Park. I like to imagine myself as Zelda Fitzgerald, or Tallulah Bankhead, or someone, anyone, really, more glamourous than me. I waft elegantly down the halls glancing at the pictures of celebrities; I admire the giant stone fireplace; I hope in vain to see the Pink Lady; I wait in vain for a mysterious, dashing, handsome millionaire to see me and fall madly in the kind of romantic 1940s love that has vanished from the world. Fat people in sweats at the bar wrecks my illusion. I disapprove. This is the Grove Park Inn, people, for gods' sake can we have one place in the world where sweat suits are not okay?
Friday, February 17, 2006
(known to self and others)
caring, independent, intelligent, kind, witty
(known only to others)
able, bold, cheerful, clever, confident, dependable, extroverted, friendly, giving, ingenious, loving, mature, proud, responsive, self-conscious, sensible, silly, warm, wise
(known only to self)
(known to nobody)
accepting, adaptable, brave, calm, dignified, energetic, happy, helpful, idealistic, introverted, knowledgable, logical, modest, nervous, observant, organised, patient, powerful, quiet, reflective, relaxed, religious, searching, self-assertive, sentimental, shy, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, trustworthy
71% of people agree that mygothlaundry is independent
57% of people think that mygothlaundry is mature
57% of people think that mygothlaundry is warm
57% of people agree that mygothlaundry is witty
able (14%) accepting (0%) adaptable (0%) bold (14%) brave (0%) calm (0%) caring (28%) cheerful (14%) clever (14%) complex (0%) confident (14%) dependable (14%) dignified (0%) energetic (0%) extroverted (14%) friendly (14%) giving (14%) happy (0%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (71%) ingenious (14%) intelligent (42%) introverted (0%) kind (14%) knowledgable (0%) logical (0%) loving (14%) mature (57%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (0%) organised (0%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (14%) quiet (0%) reflective (0%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (14%) searching (0%) self-assertive (0%) self-conscious (14%) sensible (14%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (28%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (0%) warm (57%) wise (14%) witty (57%)
If you want to add to this, feel free. I'm glad that we all agree on how totally independent I am (pity that doesn't come in adverb form with the word wealthy tacked on to it) but why does everyone think I'm so mature? You mean old, don't you? Old. Old, gray, wrinkled, geezeresque. Antique. Because otherwise mature means responsible and dependable and stuff, and god, if I was those things I'd be at the laundromat right now with a copy of my old Dreamweaver textbook.
In other news, M is home and I'm not allowed to blog about him, of course, but let me just say that he is the. coolest. kid. ever. I think, because of course he's off at the Sword & Grail and I haven't seen him all day. He eats at the Hot Dog King when he's down there, which worries me, but the stomach of a healthy 14 year old boy is a near indestructible thing, so he will probably survive. I wouldn't. One Hot Dog King meal would, I imagine, be the end of me.
A friend of mine in Tennessee is already talking about his garden, which drove me outdoors to look at the ruins and remnants of mine. God I let it get out of hand last year as is chillingly evident. It's still too early to do anything this year, right? Thank the gods. But I swear, when I do get out there? This year, DEATH to morning glories, no mercy, I don't care how beautiful they are. And I'm moving the gourds waaaaay the hell down to the other end of the yard. And maybe this is the year I finally get the effing grape arbor out. Oh boy. Here we go again.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The objective facts:
Around 11:30 Monday night an engine type noise started up and it seemed to be coming from behind the Taj Mahal next door, way in the back. It sounded like a car engine, but higher, different. A thought it was a generator; I thought it was someone working on a car. At any rate it was loud and annoying and after about 20 minutes I went out to see just WTF was going on. I couldn't find a flashlight but the moon was full. I went to the end of my yard and tried to see. The old blue volvo was parked way in the back, which was odd, since it's usually on the street, and the noise seemed to be coming from it, or maybe from behind it. The windows of the volvo were opaque.
I thought, oh my god, someone has run a hose from the exhaust and is committing suicide in that car. Then I thought, oh, don't be ridiculous, it's got to be some kind of broken machinery coming from the pool in the yard of the house behind here, that you can't see. I thought, you watch too much Six Feet Under, nobody really commits suicide, certainly not next door to you, certainly not in an old blue volvo. I went back inside and wondered if I should call the police but I don't like to call in noise complaints - I have parties, occasionally, after all, and a favor is a favor.
The noise stopped. The police came, and an ambulance, and a fire engine. A & I watched from our windows as somebody was put on a stretcher & then a gurney & then into the ambulance. At first it looked like that person was sitting up, then I thought that no, it was just a trick of the light, it was one of the four police/EMTs clustered around. The ambulance left, slowly, without a siren.
An hour or so later a fire engine and a tow truck came and took the volvo away.
Conjecture: What happened?
My assumption is that the owner of the blue volvo did in fact commit suicide in it.
I assume that it was this one neighbor I have seen around a bit, who I mentally categorized as recently divorced father although it wasn't all that recently, since he's lived there since last summer.
But it's also possible that he was working on his car and hurt himself somehow.
It's possible that the pool machinery went kaflooie and electrocuted someone, next to the blue volvo. I suppose, in the elastic realms of possibility, it all could have been an elaborate anti terrorist training game, or aliens, or some kind of complex white collar crime. I don't know. I didn't go outside and ask anyone; that felt uncomfortable, like rubbernecking, nosy in a particularly ghoulish and unpleasant way.
I don't know my neighbors at all. I'm shy, I keep to myself and as a result there's only one neighbor on this street where I have lived for 5 years who I talk to regularly and that's because he is also a painter and a dog freak. And then, the apartments, are, well, apartments: the only apartments on this street of small 1920s bungalows. The man I think was Blue Volvo Guy - and, it is possible that Blue Volvo Guy is not even the owner of Blue Volvo, who could have been someone else entirely, someone I've never even seen - is/was about my age and had the look of someone who is not accustomed to apartments. He has/had two kids who come every other weekend. This is why I always thought of him as Recently Divorced Man. I spoke with him briefly once or twice, over the fence, about the dogs: he seemed nice enough. His apartment is visible from my house in the winter; his window was sometimes open which made me think, aha, he's a stoner. This is Asheville, you know.
Assumptions are interesting. They say more about me than they do about Blue Volvo Man; I can already tell that simply by writing them down and not just keeping them shuffling about in the back of my head. He may well be alive over there right now, opening his window because he likes fresh air. He may be at work. He may not be divorced; those kids might be his nephew and niece. I know nothing real about him.
But I lay awake on Monday night for quite some time and I thought about all this. I thought, I should have called the cops right away, I should trust my instincts more. That one, I think, is valid. I thought, oh, I should have talked to him more, I should have reached out, invited him over for a beer, or dinner, brought over a casserole, met his children. That's probably true too but it's unlikely that I will ever change that much. I thought, well, am I my brother's keeper? and I thought, yes, you know, you are. That is true, we are all supposed to keep each other but we don't, too often we forget that simple fact and a neighborhood, this neighborhood, is not really a community anymore. These are conclusions, you see, assumptions, ideas. They could be wrong. But I don't think they are.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Until, that is, today. Today I am having the best Valentines ever. First off, I found $10 on the floor of my closet. Yeah. Then I went shopping and to lunch with my mother, and she got me some wonderful stuff which was incredibly sweet of her and we had a really lovely time together, and that made me very happy. Then I went and bought some balloons and I tied balloons to A's car antenna in the parking lot of where she works, and I went and secretly tied a balloon on each of my girlfriend J's doors to surprise them. Then I came home and discovered that I had received a ton of cyber valentines via Metachat and I am just so happy and overwhelmed with warm happy glowy feelings, it's not like me at all. This me is vastly preferable.
so Happy Valentines everyone, it really is about the love.
Monday, February 13, 2006
So I sent my commenter a long email detailing my experiences with this whole thing and then, about 10 minutes ago, I got a very long email from someone else and I will give you a synopsis: the whole thing is a total scam, go down to the local police and report it so that the Las Vegas police have enough leverage to go seize the scammer's computer which contains personal information about you. It is true, the scammer has my name, address, DOB and social security number. So I should be concerned, and I am. It is also, however, true that I filed for bankruptcy last summer and thus it is unlikely that anyone is going to issue a credit card in my name: let's face it, my identity is kind of useless. My question, though, to you my loyal readers is this: should I go down to the cops anyway? Just in case?
Damn. I feel like such a total idiot.
Update: I forwarded the email to a friend of mine who is a retired cop. He told me not to bother going to the Asheville police, because there is enough information out there now where my adding to it won't make any difference. I called Equifax & put a fraud alert on my credit record, as was suggested by yet another email I got. This has all been very exciting but I could probably have lived without it.
Ganesh: A few days before that at BJs I had run in late to get cigarettes and while I fumbled for change in my coat pocket I dropped my keys on the counter. I have a little Ganesh charm on my keys and one of the BJs guys, with an exclamation, picked them up and showed them to the other guy. "Ganesh!" they said happily, and the first guy, whose English is good, showed me the Ganesh medal he was wearing around his neck. Then the second guy rolled up his sleeve and showed me his Ganesh tattoo. His English is not so good, but he slowly explained that he was born on Ganesh's birthday, and so Ganesh was special to him. I smiled and said, "Well, you must be very lucky then" and they smiled back at me. I felt a little awkward, because, after all, I wasn't born with an exciting god like Ganesh in my heritage: the exciting gods in my heritage, Bride and Herne and so on, were exorcised thousands of years ago by St. Patrick. But I like gods who come in plural; I prefer a populated pantheon; I don't want just one monotheistic deity. I like specialist gods: I want a lot around.
Neighborhood: I just heard a strange buzzing noise outside and went to the window to see if it was a late snowplow. It was a big man with a long red beard, smoking a cigarette and riding up and down the street on a lawn tractor. Then I went out back to smoke a cigarette myself and heard a dog crying and crying. It's snowing, and I felt bad for the dog. I heard a door slam open and a woman's voice yelled, in tones of pure exasperation, "Broooownie! Quuuuiiiiiiiieeeeeaaaaaatttt" and she made the word quit have at least six syllables.
Blood of Jesus: There are two churches within 4 blocks of my house, the Vineyard Fellowship, which is a strange building down at the end of my street, and the Fruit of Labor Worship Center, which is obviously somewhat better funded and is on the corner of Haywood and Swannanoa. The current sign on the Vineyard Fellowship has been there for months now; I wish they'd change it, because I am bored with it and also that hyphen in the word Away "A-Way" gives me the serious creeps. It's better, though, than the sign they had up for a while a year or so ago, which said "Vineyard Fellowship: Time for the Pruning!" and conjured up Stephen King images every time I passed it.
Art History: A friend of mine has a photo up on Flickr that immediately made me think of a painting. I couldn't remember the artists name or anything about it but it's been bothering me since yesterday. I googled as best I could but no luck, until this morning, when I started googling again, and found it. It's Charles Sheeler, American Landscape, and so I commented about that on her flickr post, which made me think, you know, you can take the woman out of art history, but you can't take the art history out of the woman.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Thank the gods for the snow because when I woke up this morning I was all depressed, thinking about my hopeless future, my hopeless past, my hopeless present - you know, the works, the entire (if I may steal from Beck) Soy Un Perdidor baby, so why don't you kill me shtick. But then I realized that it had actually seriously snowed over night and decades of conditioning sprang into play and I was joyously happy and I jumped out of bed in my horrible grubby red plaid fleece pajama bottoms & pulled on my boots & went out and took pictures of the snow.
Yes, decades of conditioning: snow day means no school means a long vacation day of playing in the snow & sipping coffee with whiskey and making a long and slow and elaborate dinner to warm up the kitchen. It's holiday in the purest sense, complete freedom not only from responsibility but also from any guilt attendant on not taking care of said responsibilities. See, yeah, okay, I don't do anything any day. But usually I feel guilty about it. On a snow day? I can do nothing guilt free. I might be a perdidor baby, but today I have a get out of jail free card.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Still no snow.
Still no snow.
A whole lot of loathesome rain, though, and as usual Theo and Mr. Bill think I should change the weather. I think so too and I'm wondering about my chances in a lawsuit against the national weather service for causing me undue pain and suffering, not to mention the $23 I spent on good bourbon that I would never have bought without the threat of blizzards. I still feel a little gruesome, by the way, but I now accept it as my natural state. Also, just to brag, I got over 400,000 points on Bookworm and the rank of Wordhoarder, which may or may not beat my previous high score of Lexicographer.
Anyway, driven by rainy day boredom I googled around to see if it was snowing anywhere, and found some nifty local webcams, including this unlovely one from the corner of Haywood Rd. and Patton Ave., which is one of our less scenic local intersections, although according to the webcam people it is the 2nd busiest in Buncombe County. For the record, I do not believe this, and I drive through it several times a week at least. Then there is this view of Mt. Mitchell, note the acid rain decimated pine tree, and a really cute one of a birdfeeder in Blowing Rock.
Friday, February 10, 2006
That's pretty much all I have to say before I creep back off to bed with my echinacea tea. That and I have now read my way through the majority of the oeuvre of Steven Brust and while I love him madly, I am utterly furious that I don't have a copy of Sethra Lavode because I thought that The Lord of Castle Black was the last book in the series, and now, sick as I am, I have to go find a copy. Damn you, Steven Brust.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Oh, and it snowed last night, and you know I was feeling creepy, because I woke up at about 7:30 and there was thick snow on the ground and thick fog in the air and it was just a photo op waiting to happen, but instead of going out with my trusty camera and cluttering up Flickr with more pictures, I looked out the window, said fuck it, and went back to bed. That was probably it for our snow this winter too. Drat. It's my own fault, because last night I made the terrible mistake of saying brightly, when someone mentioned that everyone had been sick lately, that I hadn't been sick all winter! Saying stuff like that is just asking for trouble, and I know better, but there you have it. Anyway, this is a longwinded way of saying that I have not got a good goddamn thing to say, and therefore I will give you this extremely cute lengthy role playing puzzle game which is kind of fun for a while anyway. Read the directions, though.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Meanwhile, the ladybugs who live in my bathroom are experiencing something of a population explosion. I think they think it's spring, but I feel like I'm constantly rescuing them from certain death in the toilet and bathtub and, since they've branched out into my room, my water glass. I like ladybugs. When I lived in a collapsing farmhouse in rural Maryland we had literally thousands of them in the kitchen. My son's kindergarten teacher called to complain because they went to school with him: in his hair, in his lunchbox and so on. I thought this was rather charming, she, less so.
Therefore I've decided that what I need to do is create a perfect ladybug habitat. I have every intention of researching this any minute, or, well, after I get home from lunch with my friend C that I see I am going to be a bit late to - ah well - but in the meantime let me describe my vision. I have a trifle bowl. A trifle bowl is a footed glass bowl with straight sides - it sort of looks like a big ass wine glass. I want to plant grass in it. Not that kind of grass, you unregenerate hippie, the kind of grass that people walk on, and lay on in the spring until the ants get to them. I will put dirt in my trifle bowl, and grass seed, and when the grass looks good I will transport my rescued ladybugs to their new and happy home. The only thing is I don't have a clue what ladybugs eat, besides aphids, and the gardener in me rebels at the thought of buying aphids from Carolina Biological Supply (the bastion of mail order creepy critters, famed in my high school days; I'm glad to see they're still around) assuming they even have them, but they probably do. I'm wondering if ladybugs would abandon aphids and eat bacon or something instead. More research is needed. Shit! I have 10 minutes to get dressed & get on over to C's shop! Gah!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I was so proud of myself last night upon completion of the hat that I had to do a little dance, and say, "I am a hat making girl!" Yes. Yes I am. I have joined the ranks of the hatmakers, at last. I think I might even be ready for Stitch N Bitch, now that I have become a bonafide knitting freak.
Of course, being a crazed craftster is a slippery slope. The scarves were clearly a gateway drug. And now, I have moved on to hats. Can socks be far behind? Or vests? Actually, more hats are coming. Perhaps hats with brims. I can purl now too. The world is my knitted oyster.
Monday, February 06, 2006
He also put in a ridiculously pretentious gate with two fake stone pillars, and turned the back yard into a parking lot that noone ever uses, and we dubbed it the Taj Mahal and, except for the normal neighborly annoyances of recycling and brush left in front of MY house and the time that one of the tenants had yet another high volume fight with his girlfriend which ended with her driving off at high speed with him on the hood of her car cursing at her and holding on for dear life (who needs TV?) things have been pretty much quiet. Until this morning, when large construction machines have mysteriously appeared and started making large construction noises. I don't know what they're doing. The workers are all parked in front of my house - only in Asheville do construction workers drive old blue Volvos. I feel weird going out on my porch in my gnome pajama bottoms and martini slippers to smoke a cigarette. I can't lazily go back to sleep since whatever they're doing makes approximately as much noise as a pile driver. And I really, really hope he isn't putting in more goddamn apartments, because this neighborhood has already, in the past year, suddenly morphed into party central and there are fucking drum circles and shrieking drunks all around me every weekend night anyway. Yes, I do see the irony in this complaint coming from me, and yes, it's mostly that I'm jealous that all these young people are having so much goddamn fun! But hey, I'm getting old, and what's the fun in that unless you also get to complain about the youth of today? And there's so much to complain about: damn kids are clearly not doing the right drugs. Why, when I was 22 we lived on good old fashioned LSD and we had a right to purple hair.
Also, the dogs next door are barking more or less continuously again. There was a loose dog around, and that always sets them off, which reminds them that they can and should bark, and then they get mad at each other and fight loudly for a while, and then, if we're all really, really lucky, a siren will go by and Theo will join them in a harmonic howling session that has to be heard to be believed. God. It's a terrible thing when a woman can't just be a complete and utter lazy slob in her own quiet house anymore.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Then, then, I found (via metafilter) of course, this page. THESE are cute animals I can get behind. They're not all tiny & squashable for one thing ~ I just hate squashing cute animals, but you know, sometimes it's unavoidable. Let's face it, hamsters get stepped on. These guys, while my GOD they're cute, are so not going to get stepped on.
The case of missing gatorade! No, not a whole case of gatorade, that would be just wrong; one missing bottle of gatorade, or, actually, the contents of one bottle of orange gatorade. On the way out to Bent Creek we stopped at the Gas Up (the Gas Up is a kwikee-mart more or less across the street from BJs, which is my local kwikee-mart, and I always feel weirdly guilty when I go to the Gas Up instead of BJs, go figure) and J got an orange gatorade and I got a bottle of water. I carried my water with me on the hike; J left her gatorade, which was missing maybe one sip, in the car. Specifically, on the floor of the passenger seat of the car.
When we got back to the car, the gatorade was almost empty. "Oh shit," said J, "I must not have screwed the top on and I bet it spilled all over your car." It didn't. There was no dampness anywhere at all. Either aliens came down from the sky and sucked up the gatorade with their super alien orange liquid sucking powers or, and this may be somewhat more likely, somebody looked in my car window, spotted the gatorade, opened the car door, took the gatorade, almost drained it, and left the bottle in the car. Which is, let's face it, a pretty fucking weird thing to do. A really really weird fucking thing to do. Nothing else was stolen - and there's a lot to steal in my car, particularly if you are fond of slightly fuzzy Ricola coughdrops, bad sci fi paperbacks, broken umbrellas, fossilized french fries or outdated maps of Maryland.
I have been trying to get the mindset of the gatorade thief. Okay, they were thirsty, and I understand that. Apparently very thirsty, and you know, we don't begrudge them the gatorade. It's the putting the bottle back with just that one swallow left that is creepy. Why not just take the whole thing? Why not just take the bottle with you when you go, oh very thirsty mountain biker who can't even wait the 12 minutes or so it would take to get from the trail head in Bent Creek to Brevard Road and the nearest store? Or, hell, you could sneak in to the soda machines at the arboretum in like 4 minutes, probably. It just seems - odd. Creepy. But interesting. I'll give you interesting. Whoever you are, you owe J a gatorade. You might be able to run into her at the Gas Up.
The Case of the Missing Blog Post
Well, shit. Before I left today for this lunch I went to, I posted a post entitled Seven Minutes or something like that. It was here. I saw it. And I've just made sure that I didn't post it on any other blog where I have posting rights, so that's not it, but it is now gone, baby gone. Damn. It wasn't brilliant or even particularly interesting but fuck, it was here this afternoon (I know the time on this says Sunday - it's still Saturday night to me) and now it is gone. Hmmmmm.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
But I digress. Faced with my usual state of impending financial doom, last week I cooked the wolf, or decided that the thing to do was make huge amounts of cheap food that would last. First I made a big pot of hippie lentils. A hates lentils, so that lasted and lasted, until I too had to admit defeat. Then I made chicken soup from scratch, with egg noodles. That was really good, and only lasted 3 days. Then I decided to make two quiches: a broccoli, walnut, mushroom one and my old standby, spinach feta. This is a good idea in theory but in actual fact it hasn't worked very well. The problem with quiche is that it's great the first day and still pretty good on the second day and on the third day you basically never want to see quiche again. By the third day, quiches unfortunate resemblance to cold scrambled eggs is pronounced, and really, the ramen is looking better and better, god, quiche is just so, so - I mean, yuck. Also, note to self, while buying large bags of frozen chopped spinach and using it a bit at time may seem like a good idea, it doesn't keep forever. The spinach quiche was not an unqualified success.
So I still have all this quiche in the fridge and I don't know if giving it to the dog is really a very good option. Broccoli and the dog's digestive system are not (how to put this gracefully?) a very good match. The last thing in the world you want to do is be sitting on the couch knitting and watching Six Feet Under out of order (everyone in West Asheville is watching it right now, apparently, and I can not ever get the right disc at Orbit) with a dog who has recently eaten large amounts of broccoli. Really, take my word on this one. You don't need to experiment.
bag of lentils
small can tomato paste
4 or 5 potatoes
4 or so cloves garlic
a couple of carrots
Rinse the lentils & put them in with the stock, bring to a boil, simmer one hour. Let sit one hour (this is only if you have to leave the house and run errands, which I did, otherwise you can skip this step.)
Saute chopped celery, peppers, onions and garlic in olive oil. Add to lentils.
Peel & cut up potatos & carrots, add to lentils.
Add some tamari, maybe some nutritional yeast, and bring back up to a boil. Turn down, let simmer for an hour or so. Add tomato paste for color (this masks the unfortunate gray-ness of the lentils)
Make a bunch of Young Ones jokes as you serve them. They will last far longer than you really want.
Chicken Soup with Noodles
1 whole chicken cut up
garlic - lots and lots of garlic
1 can chicken broth to cheat with
half a bag of egg noodles
bay leaf, dried thyme, oregano, dill
Put the chicken in a big pot, cover with water, add salt, pepper, a bay leaf, and about 8 or 10 cloves of peeled garlic. Bring to boil, take down to simmer, leave alone for an hour or so while you either a) play games on the internet or b) watch Six Feet Under. Cool it down & make a half hearted attempt to remove the gross white foam stuff on top. Take the chicken pieces out and bone them - with your hands. Yeah, it's kind of disgusting but also oddly satisfying, don't you find? Remember that you could fucking die if you leave a bone in there. Leave a couple small bones in there anyway because you're so lame. Discard the bones (remember to take the trash out tonight or the dog will have it all over the floor by morning and then you'll have to worry about him fucking dying) and put the chicken meat back in the pot.
Chop up & saute the onion & the celery in a mixture of olive oil & butter, add to the chicken pot along with peeled chopped (largeish chunks, okay? You don't want little creepy measly carrot bits) carrots and some of the chicken broth. Bring it all back up to a boil and then down to a simmer for half an hour. Throw in the noodles and taste it for seasoning. Add hot sauce, maybe, some worcestershire, some pick a peppa, more salt, whatever. It will take about 15 minutes to half an hour for the noodles to cook through and then voila, serve. Very comforting. Refrigerate the leftovers - the noodles will swell up overnight and kind of change the nature of the dish, which is bonus.
Quiche (Only make these if you're planning on having a bunch of friends over to eat them that day. Nasty as hell by day three otherwise)
2 Laura Lynn or your supermarkets generic equivalent refrigerated rolled up pie crusts
2 boxes frozen spinach
1 container feta cheese
1 bunch broccoli
1 small bag of walnuts
about half a container of small portobello mushrooms, or regular ones, whatever
1 generic bag of grated mixed cheeses, like cheddar, jack, whatever
4 or 5 eggs
1/2 container sour cream
about 1 1/2 cups of milk (get 2% & pretend this is diet food)
1 large onion
probably half a head of garlic
Chop up and saute the onions & garlic. Put half in a bowl for the broccoli quiche and half in a bowl for the spinach one.
Defrost the spinach in the microwave.
Put the pie crusts in pie plates.
Mix the spinach, feta cheese, onion/garlic mixture, some of the grated cheese and some parmesan together and spread this all out in one of the pie plates.
Mix 2 eggs and about a cup of milk together, pour it into the spinach. This is finickier than it sounds, since the spinach wants to reject the milk. Maybe you could mix it all up together in a bowl first; that way you might skip the spilling the milk/egg mixture all over the stove and cursing part.
Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes
Chop up the broccoli until it's fairly small. Chop the shrooms to the same size. Chop the walnuts up too. Return those onions to the pan & saute the broccoli with them. You'll have to add more oil. Add the mushrooms when the broccoli is beginning to cook nicely. You'll have to add more oil again. Season - whatever you've got on hand will do nicely. Add the walnuts. Now mix the veggies up with the grated cheeses, some parmesan and the sour cream. Put it all in the pie dish, and, as with the spinach one, pour an egg & milk mixture over it. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.
Note: the egg/milk mixture should be kind of a rich eggnoggy looking yellow. If it's too pale, add another egg. If it's too yellow, either add more milk or accept the extremely rich eggy goodness of it all and decide to stop worrying about cholesterol.