Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rain and the Fair's Coming Up

It's raining, which is

DAMNIT! I was going to write a nice post about the rain, and the fair, and reminisce a little about the hurricanes of two years ago and then, if you got really fucking lucky, I was going to talk about this cardinal family in the Rhino Courtyard I've been watching. I mean, imagine that shit. Cute Birds, OMG LOLZORS!

BUT INSTEAD, my phone just rang and it looks like young M has missed the school bus AGAIN which AGAIN fouls up my plans for a useful and a leisurely morning. This is getting really old, this driving frantically to Asheville High School every morning and then frantically back home and then frantically getting ready to work where, of course, everything is set on high frantic. And I'm TIRED, DAMN IT, and oh yeah, I have also just discovered the work of John Cheever, which I know is pathetic, but I was supposed to read him in high school or college and somehow took umbrage at the

JEEZUS! Now he says he's taking the city bus and that means he'll be fucking late again and the new draconian attendance policies at Asheville High make that not good.

AAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! Imagine a cogent and delightful essay here, musing on Cheever and nature, the changing tides of 50 years and a little more, illustrated perhaps with a thoughtful metaphor or two. Imagine words like little jewels, prose that twinkles and fizzes with intelligence and wit. Okay, good. I'm going to try to fucking track down my errant son and drive him to school AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Non Humans I Have Spoken With Recently

1. The coffee machine at work.
"You can do it. You're a good, good machine. Yeah, I love you."
2. A very large daddy long legs spider
"Wow! You're a huge one. You're a marvel, you are. A freak of nature. Do you know that?"
3. My dog
"Why is it that you want to eat that grass? Is it better than the grass at home? What makes it so tasty?"
4. A baby cardinal
"Aw! You're so cute! Look, your dad is coming - yeah, you can fly. I know you can fly."
5. A three legged cricket
"Hold still now. Just hold on a minute and we'll have you out of there - hey! Come on! Do you want to get out of this bathtub or not? Because I'm telling you, the bathtub is just not where you really want to be. Now calm down and we'll get you out of there."
6. Photoshop
"Geeze-us. How hard would it be to have a crop tool? Come ON. Okay. This isn't rocket science - just open the image, it'll be alright."

Felicity's ReAssure'O'Rama - being upbeat and affirming to the non sentient world since 1970.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What Kind of Dog Are You?

End of August

It's the end of August and the orb weavers are busy on both porches, building huge webs of unestimable beauty and waiting in them, flinching a little when the dog barks but staying put. They weave at night and my best efforts can't seem to take a picture of how fantastically elegant their webs are; they're very elegant spiders in general, golden, bulbous, patient.

My friend J and I and Theo the dog went out to Douglas Falls near Barnardsville today. It was awesome & totally beautiful - should be some pictures up on Flickr momentarily. It's a long and gorgeous drive up a dirt road up the mountain to get there and then a short hike down to the falls. I'm so glad I found it again; it had been years since I'd been there. Then we went and had dinner and a beer at the Lucky Otter. It's days like this (except for the morning, when not one but TWO carefully set alarm clocks failed to go off and so I was late all day) when I'm glad I live here, when a lovely drive through the country can take you to a (more or less) pristine waterfall with noone else around, and then 45 minutes drive again, past the same bucolic cows, and you're having a beer on the porch of the Otter, watching West Asheville go by. It's perfect here sometimes, in late August, under the sunset.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dimensional Time Slippage

I feel better, if a bit transparent, as you can see from this lovely self portrait. It took exactly 24 hours and some Chinese food to cure me; the ghost of the chicken salad is forever exorcised, thank the gods. And another simple pleasure is removed from my life: fuck chicken salad. I am never eating chicken salad again. That part of my existence, the I think I'll treat myself to some chicken salad for lunch today part is fini, kaput and ended. Chicken salad turns out to be treacherous stuff, not to be trifled with. Or eaten. God, not eaten.

Meanwhile, there is a ghost ship in Italy and my son has a theory that it's all due to seismic activity. He thinks that tectonic plate collisions under the Bermuda Triangle may occasionally cause interdimensional time slippage, small vortices of time, and that's where the ship came from. It thrills me beyond measure to have someone in the family at last with whom I can carry on these sorts of conversations, I must say. I am very fond of this boy. Last night we went over to get the aforementioned Chinese food at the Golden Dragon, our favorite takeout, and he was lamenting the fact that we don't live in NYC, which he perceives as a mystical wonderland where noone could ever get bored and they have Thai takeout on every corner. He cheered up, though, when we got to the strange little strip mall which houses Golden Dragon (this strip mall was apparently dumped there by a Bermuda Triangle time slip itself, because its location is vastly peculiar, its architecture unlikely, and its tenants ill assorted) and discovered that a shop calling itself the Euro Grocery had opened next door. Euro Grocery apparently caters to displaced Russians and Greeks (in Asheville? Who knew?) and it contains a treasure trove of strange Russian candy, whole smoked herrings, and soda with improbable labels. We promptly bought some mysterious chocolates, a jar of taramosalata and a 2 liter bottle of soda which was billed as pear flavored and turns out to be a little too obscure, not to mention sweet, for our lame American palates.

Then we came home and watched a vintage Dr. Who episode, City of Death, and he actually got into it right along with me. It turns out that my deep love for Tom Baker remains, which may, now that I think about it, be one of the reasons I can never date, because, you know, who can live up to Tom Baker in the 70s? That hair. . that scarf. . . those deadpan jokes. . . god, I love him so. M did not, of course, understand this true love, and to protect his adolescent sensitivities I tried not to mention it more than 50 times or so, but he did get into the whole Dr. Who ethos: that "Oh my god this is SO bad. . no, wait, wait. . this is awesome!" thing that you either understand or you do not, and I am happy to report that in at least this instance the apple has not fallen far from the tree, and he gets it. Gets it totally, just as his sister, who sometimes seems to be not a bit like me, still managed to greet the arrival of the hand chair, seen above, with something approximating my own glee and delight. Yay. It is good when your kids like the same things you do.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


So, finally I have experienced something that I had only ever heard about before: food poisoning. Mild food poisoning, at least I guess it was mild - I certainly don't ever, ever want to try out the severe kind, even for purposes of scientific comparison. The strange thing about it is that I knew, immediately, when the symptoms started, what it was: the chicken salad. The dastardly chicken salad, from a place I used to love to go for lunch but where I will never go again. It hadn't tasted quite the same, but oh well and I scarfed it down and was fine - until six hours later, when I began to feel not so good, and then, of course, about 4 hours after that all my insides decided that they needed to become outsides, right then.

Eeeeurgh. I think perhaps I will creep pitifully back to bed now. I hate being sick.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wish Me Luck

I am about to turn off the computer and install a new CD-R drive. Yes, all by my techie little self. Remember, I'm the woman who successfully installed RAM - upside down. Which is supposed to be impossible, but I managed it. Now, I'm about to install a CD drive, because the vast number of photos on the hard drive is making World of Warcraft slow, and we cannot have that, boys and girls, because then our fire breathing horse will get cranky and we cannot gallop seamlessly through the desert for ages and ages while insisting we are doing something much more important than homework or sleep. So the photos will go onto CDs and be stored away to be forgotten, and the horse will gallop on.

It's a bit worrisome, because I can't back up my data first, because. . . wait for it. . I don't have a CD drive to back it up onto! That's why I'm installing one! Actually, that isn't strictly true. I have not one but TWO CD burners in my computer; problem is, neither one of them really work. Each of them works just a teensy bit, now and then, when they aren't busy making thwacka thwacka flop noises, refusing to release my CDs or being snubbed by the rest of the computer. I always feel bad for snubbed hardware; it seems so mean to say "Computer does not recognize the CD drive", or, even more cutting, "there is no CD drive." There was a CD drive there two weeks ago, asshole, and you were perfectly friendly then. What happened? Someone let their bar tab get out of control?

At any rate, I decided not to go out tonight so I could complete this vital task, and I had better hop to it. I also printed out a rasterbation of a sunflower that I made and I'm going to hang in my office. It's going to look fabulous, but, having now done one rasterbation, I would recommend, if you are going to do one, to pick a very clear, very graphic image with very few colors. The rasterbater is just not so good at color and my sunflower is kind of washed out looking. Still, it's cool. Supair cooo-ul, as the French radio announcer said of Augustus Pablo. And it will help my concrete dungeon of an office, as will the betta I'm going to install there at some point in the near future, at least, until it dies (she said cheerfully.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Apologies and the Traffic Report

It has come to my (admittedly fleeting) attention that I haven't been a very good friend lately. Many emails have gone unanswered; many phone messages have gone unlistenedto and worst of all, I totally forgot to go to a birthday celebration on Sunday night. So, friends, I'm sorry and I suck. Don't worry, it's not just you: I'm also busily being a bad daughter, bad sister and bad dog owner. I am, however, being a really goddamn good museum employee and also, I think I might be being a good parent, but it's difficult to tell, because my children are pretty much never home. When they are, though, I'm doing a lot of shouting from the kitchen about things like homework and responsibility and duty and good citizenship and, naturally, the dishes, and while it's just vaguely possible that they aren't listening to me, deeply absorbed as they are in such vital occupations as World of Warcraft and watching Fun with Dick and Jane, still, according to the 1952 Dr. Spock, quantity shouting = quality parenting. Things will shake down soon and perhaps I can resume what tattered remnants of my family and social life remain. At least I hope so.

Either that or I'll die of being too busy and in that case I want whatever eventual mythical inheritances are coming my way to go to my kids, because I saw some street kids walking depressedly from the Rescue Mission towards the park, and it put me in a tizzy of worrying about my children, who may yet wake up one day and discover that achieving Level 40 and the resultant fire breathing horse in World of Warcraft does not a useful job resume make. Then I thought about how I had nothing to leave them if I fell over and just died, as sometimes seems likely, particularly in heavy traffic on the Smoky Park Highway Bridge (which bounces alarmingly when you're sitting there at the red light) and I nearly sobbed at the thought of the two poor waifs with noone to buy their frozen junk food or wash their dishes or hear their sadness over the clothes that they must have that their evil parent will not buy. That proceeded into a small Shakespearian frenzy over who would be more likely to kill me for some mythical inheritance: my brothers or my kids? Ah, the time honored question that all mad tyrants are prone to - it is a poser.

I have come to the conclusion, by the way, that there is no good way to leave downtown Asheville at 5:00. No matter which way you go, you will sit there in hot traffic, trying to take blog notes and discovering that stopping and then going 10 feet and then stopping again in a standard shift car is really, and I do mean really, not conducive to taking blog notes. Or much of anything else, really, except wondering what the hell Ms. S.D.A. means on the vanity license plate on the white minivan in front of you and hoping that the rapture comes within the next four minutes. When the rapture comes, the traffic will improve. In the meantime, it's probably better to go have a beer at 5:00 than try to go home.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Giant Mushroooooms! Oh, and Class Structure in America

I went and picked up my friend D on Saturday and brought her down off the mountain where she had been trapped for 10 days without a car and with a crazy, deeply crazy, neighbor. On the way up to her house I stopped my car on her twisty narrow dirt road to take pictures of these amazing mushrooms. I swear when I saw them out the window I thought they were fake: twee little ceramic or resin thingies from the Kountry Shoppe in Chimney Rock Village or something, but no, they are quite real, and the biggest one was easily a foot across. One of these days there are going to be two cars going opposite directions on that road, and I'm not sure what's going to happen then. It's too narrow to pass, there's nowhere, not even a driveway, to turn around, and it's over a mile long; I was thinking about this the other day and even briefly wondered if I should google it, because I want to know if there is some kind of etiquette to cover such a situation, like, does the uphill car start reversing? Or the downhill one?

Poor D got immediately submerged in the city, as I promptly dragged her along on the Drinking Liberally/BlogAsheville blog slog pub crawl, which was huge fun. I was reluctant initially to take place, feeling like a)I would be a slumming yuppie and b)that was exploitative of me and c)besides, if I was going to be the only girl I was SO not going (there turned out to be more girls than guys, actually, which just goes to show you, uh, something.) It's terrible, when you think about it, how segregated "old" West Asheville and "new" West Asheville are. We "new" people - never mind that some of us have been here for a long damn time now - go to the Westville Pub and Burgermeister, the Lucky Otter and the Gray Eagle, while "old" West Asheville goes to Cowboy's Nite Life and the B&D Bar, Mike's Side Pocket and the Burger Barn. Separate but equal? Not really. The new places are all spruced up; someone spent time designing them; they have light and windows, plants and funky paintings and, perhaps most striking, they're clean, which you can't say about the old places. The old places hew to the design ethos of the original local bar'n'grill which just got that way without anyone thinking about it: panelling (why, oh lord, is panelling?) darkness, a beer mirror or two, some neon and one helluvalot of good old fashioned dirt on the theory that the darkness and the smoke covers it up.

So what makes the difference? Why does one group go to one set of watering holes and the other go to the other? We all know, even though as Americans we're wildly uncomfortable talking about class. We try to cover it up by talking about education, and opportunities, and "old" versus "new" in much the same way that we try to cover up racism (that's not an issue in these bars, btw, I mean, it IS, of course, but this is a pretty damn white neighborhood and these are all white bars.) But it is, of course, a class issue, this segregation of my neighborhood. Because we the crawlers are the "educated" "new" people, I think we were all a little worried about our reception: we thought it was possible that those rednecks were going to kick our yuppie asses. We are chickenshits, and clearly prejudiced to boot. The people in the "old" bars were uniformly pleasant and funny and welcoming and thought our pub crawl idea was great. See what unfamiliarity can do? Scare you silly - for nothing.

The pathetic thing about this - okay, one of the many, many pathetic things about this - is I'm not sure when I made this transition to group A: for years I hung out in redneck bars by choice. Well, on the other hand, for years those were pretty much the only kinds of bars there were where I lived. Being as how I have a liking for bars in general and have always lived in a state of complete and dire poverty which lends me a certain low class dollar store shopping cred with The Working Classes, I became and remained a redneck bar habitue for many years. Redneck bars or art bars: it is also true that I always have gone to the art bars but then sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference and yes, I'm thinking about you, Mount Royal Tavern. Then I got older and discovered a fondness deep within myself for a real beer selection, the occasional fern and the ability to see what it is I'm drinking and I moved away from what are blithely called Holes in the Wall, although usually they stand alone and are made of either cinderblock or panelling and duct tape.

I doubt I'm going to suddenly switch back to the group B bars, although it's cool to feel like at least I know my neighborhood options now. And, people? The jukebox at Mike's Side Pocket? Awesome.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mirror Mysteries

I am, right now, at this very moment, engaged in that occasional ritual which we at Hangover Headquarters like to refer to as "Cleaning The Bathroom." Yes. Cleaning the bathroom, always an enjoyable treat, particularly this bathroom, where the "baseboards" are actually apparently made of thousands of layers of highly toxic lead paint which constantly chip and flake and drift lazily around, plgaslk;djrfurosmrod. . me think so. Me think hard now. Look, shiny!

I'm tougher than lead paint, though: hell, I used to live in East Baltimore, where you die young and alone if you can't adapt to a constant high lead level. So I ignore it and mop it up and, you know, eat something with my unwashed hands later. However, forget the lead paint. The chips of lead paint are incidental to my story, which is this: Someone has been kissing the mirror!

Yes. There were grotty lip smudges all over the bathroom mirror. Now, who could be doing that? I assure you it's not me - my days of mirror kissing are long past. I'm more likely to burn a cross into the mirror than kiss it; some mornings it seems the only sane reaction to the horrible crone in the medicine cabinet. So it's either my son or my daughter who love themselves so, and I'm not sure which is more disturbing. The only question is when to bring it up? I think it would be keen to say brightly (preferably at a formal dinner with a lot of relatives around,) "Hey! Which of you two minions has been kissing the bathroom mirror?" That should go over well - because, GOD, MOM, it wasn't ME! I know it wasn't, darlings. I know that as you are earnestly explaining, the same stranger who snuck into the house, went into the bathroom and broke the trash can (and I loved that trash can. It was shiny, and the lid went up when you pushed the pedal, and now it is no more, because no one in this house has any mechanical ingenuity at all) apparently kissed the mirror while he was in there. Fiend! Heedless bathroom vandalizer! Is there no end to this madness? Oh well. These internet stalkers, what can you do?

No, the picture has nothing to do with the post. Blame it on the lead paint. It's a picture of my friend D's cat and a red ball, and it's up here because it's not getting enough love on Flickr. I think it's a work of goddamn photographic GENIUS, so appreciate it. Appreciate it hard, because it is ART. Yes, yes it is.

How Conservatives See the NYT

This is hilarious. We know how I feel about the so called "liberal bias" - I'm totally confused by it. MMOs (major media outlets, people, get with the newspeak here) are clearly mouthpieces for the same tired wealthy corporatocracy and I'm utterly unable to understand how anyone could think the New York Times is liberal, when it's a bastion of business-as-usual right wing blather. This instructive little graphic has been very helpful! Now I understand!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

All Good

So, things are really pretty good right now, despite the fact that yes, I confess, I went to Mall Wart this evening and it was every bit as horrendous as one might think. I know that a visit to the Store of Evil is a sign of weakness and lack of resolute purpose on my pansy liberal ass but I wanted to buy a whole bunch of disparate stuff at once and still get home in time to serve dinner at the sophisticated and continental hour of 8:30 p.m. Those women's magazines that tell you never to eat after 7 have clearly never tried to juggle kids, job, dog and so forth, because there is no way, on the night before the first day of high school, that you can make it home before 7:30. Also, I ended up buying 4 quarter goldfish (they cost a quarter; I didn't buy 4 quarters of a goldfish and plan on reassembling him at home) and really, the only place where you can buy horrible frozen breakfast crap, pork chops, boy's jeans, pastel sharpies AND live goldfish is, of course, Mall Wart. And I neeeeeeeeded those things.

So it looks like I have a real and permanent job, and I'm really happy about it. Watch out, friends and acquaintances, because in my job I also look for volunteers, and volunteers make MY life easier; thus, QED, YOU need to volunteer, about which there will shortly be tons more on Blog Asheville. All this has made me realize that although I'm frantic and busy and zooming around (mental note: having 5 cups of serious black coffee is not a good idea when you can't leave the museum unattended to go to the bathroom) I'm actually enjoying myself, feeling challenged and cheerful and hey, the kids are okay, my mom is okay, the dog is okay and the cat is okay. And the new goldfish, while their lives may be short (I'm not sure if the old goldfish are still alive, and if they are, well, sayonara kids, because Uncle & Auntie are easily 4 times your size and they hongry) at least they will be interesting and fraught with the glory that is an outdoor setting as opposed to an aquarium.

I'm knocking on wood, but things are great. And I won best post of the day on Metafilter which makes me feel truly warm and fuzzy and Sally Fieldish (which you can see from my last post in that thread, oops, oh well) because it was on a subject near and dear to my heart and not designed to win a contest, which contest I had completely forgotten existed. On top of all that, my library books were not that overdue, and I rented Aguirre, the Wrath of God, which I fully plan on watching extremely soon. Or as soon as I finish the pork chops, collards and sweet potatoes that will hopefully make up for the Thai curry debacle last night.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Trip to Bat Cave

So my friend D is happily ensconced in her incredibly beautiful new house perched snugly at the top of a mountain in Bat Cave and S and N and I drove up there yesterday to visit her. On the way back we stopped to take pictures of kudzu and cows, since there were plenty of both, although not, sadly, in combination. We rejected some brown and black cows as being not photogenic enough, but these spotted cows are perfectly glamourous and in fact enough to make a Barbizon painter turn faint and green with envy. Kudzu always looks like monsters to me; as if the monsters had been ambling along through the valleys and suddenly been caught up by the vines and stuck there, helpless in a sea of green. Either monsters or fairy tale castles, vistas from another world: things we wouldn't know were there at all until the kudzu captured them for a summer.

D's house is spectacular. It's posh without being ostentatious, homey without being shabby - it reconciles all those good things effortlessly and even has a tiny, wonderful guesthouse and a vegetable garden which the previous owners left fully running along complete with mountains of tomatos and squash and greasy beans. There's a big open field above her and a tiny creek running alongside and woods all around; a dirt road, a patch of lawn and really, what more do you need? I was overcome with jealousy but only briefly; I did my country living time in Maryland and while I enjoyed it, I don't want to go back. I like living near the city, on a bus line, close enough where I can get downtown in a heartbeat and yet still have my big garden. I need people around me or I start to get way too introverted; it doesn't take much for me to forget how to talk to people (shut UP. You should see me when I've actually been alone for days and days and you could tell the difference then.) and get really strange.

Granted my garden is not as good as D's, but then clearly I am much lazier than the people who used to own D's house. I'm great in the spring, but by the time July rolls around I've kind of lost interest, and by August I really can't be bothered. Oh well, you can't change your nature, and mine is just suited to the city, I think, But I'm delighted D is here, with her parrot and guinea pigs and bunnies (the female bunny lives in a big pen with 3 or 4 male guinea pigs who are constantly humping her; she takes it with equanimity and D says so far there have been no hideous mutant guinea rabbits resulting) her salamander and cat and little dog Cookie. I have full intentions of spending a lot of time out there in the country now myself, now that she's here and I can go anytime I please, oh yeah.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another Day, Another Hangover

Actually, the hangover was yesterday, and was so bad that I stayed in bed all day. 24 hours on that futon and my back hurts like hell today; oh well, another lost day, it was raining anyway. This rejoining the 9 to 5 world is kicking my lazy unemployed ass, I must say, although I grant you that being utterly sober all week and getting hopelessly sloshed on a Friday night is not the healthiest way to be gainfully employed. (Wow, that rhymed! I am a po-et and I don't. . the rest was omitted in the interests of not sending all of us into a crazed axe ridden fury. This has been a public service announcement.) Let's get all angst ridden, or rather, let's not, and instead dwell on this super groovy fabulously cool art show at the LG gallery. That's my friend H in the picture there, and his stunning work along with the work of a bunch of other extremely talented people is currently on view. The opening, which I went to on Friday night, was spectacular. Some of the best work I've seen in ages and so I urge you to make tracks downtown - 63 N. Lexington, to be precise - to check it out. Finally, finally someone has taken the technology behind that cool thing, the plasma ball and turned it into art, and the results are as amazingly wonderful as you might think they would be. The gallery is only open on weekends; don't miss it.

In other news, old friends are flocking to Asheville; my good friends D & A have successfully moved to Bat Cave and after I clean up this horrifying kitchen I'm going to try to go find their new house. That should be fun, since I don't think even they have a clue where it really is. Apparently last weekend in the midnight throes of moving with kid and friend and giant piano bearing truck they came over and banged on my door at about 3 in the morning. Noone woke up - not even Theo the watchdog. If only they'd put on dog or squirrel suits: that would have done the trick. Theo is really good at alerting us to the presence of animals; humans, not so much. Other old friends L & A and their three adorable daughters appeared suddenly in town and I met them for a drink at the Brew N' View, which is where I take all Ashevegas neophytes and visitors and which I think is probably directly responsible for D&A's decision to leave Baltimore and come here.

A went off to NY for the weekend and took my car to the Charlotte airport with her, leaving me the keys to her Frankenmobile. I hate the Frankenmobile; clearly, I'm an unfit parent, since although I won't drive it, I seem to think it's fine for A to toodle around town in a car with the hood bolted on by giant bolts (hence the name,)a drivers' side door that's in imminent danger of falling off into the street and a passenger seat that wobbles alarmingly all over the car, to say nothing of the assorted thumps and bangs and unnerving clunk noises the damn thing makes constantly. She left me a long voice mail about how to get Frankenmobile into reverse: put it into all the other gears first, let up slightly on the clutch etc., but I've come up with a better plan, which is just not to drive if at all possible. Every time M leaves the house I keep telling him in a doom laden voice that I cannot, can not, will not, pick him up no matter what, especially at night or in the dark. So far, so good, but A doesn't come back until tomorrow night, eek.

Friday, August 11, 2006

My Dream House

house on the lake
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
So I finally figured out where I want to live for the rest of my life and here it is, perched in the middle of a lake, or, well, okay, more like a pond, outside Black Mountain near Camp Rockmont. I went up there today on a work field trip to a quarry which was actually a very awesome way to spend a morning and on the way I saw this fabulous and wonderful thing. I begged my kind boss to stop and let me take a picture and she obliged while I salivated all over the road. I want to live here SO bad. I want to have geraniums in a window box under that window; I want a woodstove for the winters and I will be SET. I just really can't imagine a nicer place to be.

It's a lot like the Moomin's bathing hut, where Too Ticky lives in the wintertime, but a little bigger, so there'd be room for me and a dog. Alas no room for the kids, what a terrible pity - just me and a cat and a dog. And a fishing pole and a good book. Heaven on earth.

Back to Work Blues

I have rejoined the 9-5 world, and while I genuinely like my new job (and boy howdy does it ever present some "interesting challenges." Hoooo yeah.) getting readjusted to the schedule is ridiculously hard. I mean, I did this for YEARS. I was the original underpaid overworked single mother rushing around in the nice black pumps putting the kids in the minivan with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches clutched in their chubby hands for breakfast. And yet, doing that now, when my youngest child is 14 and reminds me daily that he really no longer needs me and I am in fact an active embarrassment to his social life, seems damn near impossible. I can't seem to juggle the way I used to. By the time I get home and start making dinner (if I make dinner; we had pizza three times this past week) it seems to be like 9:00 at night. And if anything else interferes with the daily routine, like a friend's birthday or going to South Asheville to see my mom? It's all over and the whole damn thing is blown to hell in a handbasket.

I know I'll adjust eventually, but just now it's all making me a bit down. I got all depressed in the supermarket the other night, particularly when the beer buying drunk in line behind me started commisterating with me about getting old. Damn him. He was supposed to pretend like he thought I was 20, doesn't he know that? Heh. I calmed down anyway - hell, if the laundromat and the supermarket in combination didn't depress me, I wouldn't be human.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Alas, My Underwear

All day I had to struggle with a terrible truth: my underwear were about to fall down around my ankles. Yes, like the unfortunate models in the work of the immortal Art Frahm, I was in imminent danger, all day, of having my underwear drop around my ankles while I was struggling with my bag of celery. Except for the celery part. I skipped the celery part. It's a terrible feeling to be a properly dressed semi career woman: running properly late in the morning, clutching your proper plastic cup of coffee and large purse and your properly plastic grocery bagged low calorie lunch and then, suddenly, realizing that your undies are heedlessly headed southward. There's a sinking feeling that accompanies that sensation and it says: oh shit, I'm going to have to be pulling up my panties all goddamn day. This is going to suck.

Through a miracle or perhaps that utter heedlessness of proper public behavior which leads me to be completely able to stop and hitch up my undies in the middle of a public street, though, the ultimate Art Frahm sad fate did not befall me. For one thing, I avoided the post office, because you know that would have been tempting fate. I'm still sad, though, because I loved these underwear, my shiny Wal Mart pale purple with red ladybugs and improbably green vines bikini panties, and now, alas, alack, they are dead. They are no more. They are ex, departed, late, pining for the fjords and metaphorically nailed to the perch (give it up. There's no joke you can make there that I haven't already thought of and rejected.)

So raise a glass to the dearly departed, y'all, as I plan to dump them unceremoniously in the trash. Bid them farewell. And join me in my glee as I realize that this totally means I can go and buy new underwear without the slightest shred of guilt.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hi, We're From The Internet

It was the internet meetup to end all internet meetups, the ne plus ultra, the supreme, the compleat, the absolute coollest: Bunnystock. Eight people from the internets get together for an Asheville weekend: it was wild and tremendous fun. I'm exhausted today. I had all these plans and things I had to do today - did any of them get done? Hell no. I've just been sitting here obsessively looking at my photos and eating Utz crab chips which the mid Atlantic contingent kindly brought me.

It's funny getting together in Real Life with people you only know online, but not as funny as non internet people think it is. They feel like old friends; there's not much shyness; it's not at all like meeting strangers, because, well, they aren't strangers. They're friends of mine, people I know - from the internet, which to me is pretty much the same thing as knowing them from work, or a class, or wherever it is that you meet your friends. Still, it's a bit odd in the greater social context, and we were all aware of that. So we made a lot of obligatory axe murderer jokes: "Everyone get their issued axe? This is the axe murderer's convention!" and we told waitresses that we were From the Internet, which went over much better than we kind of thought it would. The stigma that used to attach to online socializing seems to be thankfully disappearing.

And now I'm going to bed. Good night!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Small and Bitter Comment

If removing and then replacing four small rusty screws is the new and improved method of changing the mop head, as touted on the nearly impenetrable plastic wrapper of said mop head, than I don't ever, ever want to know what the old and unimproved method entailed. Also, screwing a mop is an exciting exercise in logistics.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

How To Drive a 14 Year Old Boy Nuts

Wonder aloud if dogs have knees. Get up on all fours and try to see if you can walk like a dog. Demonstrate how you would lie down if you were a dog by collapsing onto your stomach. When 14 year old boy runs from room, chase him on all fours, making arf arf noises. 14 year old boy will go nuts.

Say Yup to whatever 14 year old boy says to you. Use tone of voice to indicate questions, surprise and nonchalance. When he says, "Mom is a reeee-tard," say Yup and laugh. 14 year old boy will go nuts.

Wear pink camouflage surfer board shirts and giant 80s T-shirt saying Leave Me Alone in neon pink and green letters to pick up boy. Suggest he go into store with you. 14 year old boy will go nuts.

Who says having teenagers can't be entertaining? Sometimes it's entertaining as hell.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fliss' Day

If you were me (and a close friend has said, "That's why everyone loves your blog! They can read it and thank god their lives aren't like that!) than your day would have gone like this:

7:45 a.m. wake up out of interesting dream to sound of horrible alarm
7:45 - 8:00 a.m. deny possibility that you are waking up, vastly prefer dream life, cling hopelessly to dream in which life is sane, also, you were married to a very sexy man.
8:00 - 9:20 a.m. get up. Make coffee. Turn on computer, pay bills, discover that you are out of cheques and you've forgotten your online bill paying password, discover that car insurance people say you didn't pay last bill, snarl at daughter who meekly asks what you are doing, apologize to dog for not walking him, frantically remember that paid employment requires you to be in place at a certain time, i.e., 9:30 a.m., freak out, make lunch, take shower, run out door without lunch or cel phone.
9:30 a.m - 5:00 p.m.: The Work Day is Full of Discoveries
****1. Discover that previous people in your new position interpreted "filing" as "throwing in big heap on floor."
****2. Discover that new coworkers think you are a tool for evil management (it is true, actually, you are) and thus hate you forever.
****3. Discover that although you thought YOU were disorganized, compared to previous people in your new job you are actually Martha Stewart on crystal meth in the organization department.
****4. Discover that you can gasp a lot.
****5. Discover missing lunch. Curse. Buy turkey sandwich.
****6. Discover missing cel phone. Curse. Call son. Demand that he read first two chapters of school summer reading book before departing to adolescent happy land, a.k.a. his gang of fun friends who apparently have no parents. Son hangs up. Envision son in Dickensian land of carefree albeit tattered teenage orphans. Curse more. Get jealous.
****7. Run into one of oldest, closest friends in world, who is in town for Tom Waits concert. Remember guiltily that you had agreed to host many old friends here for said concert.
****8. Work feverishly, dash out door.
5:15 p.m. Walk to auditorium, run into plethora of old friends, walk to Jack of the Wood with them.
5:20 p.m. Call kids and apologize; it's okay, they're already gone. Feel that this is a bit unfair. Remember when they were little. Realize that they no longer need you. Thank the gods.
5:20 - 7:45 p.m. Drink heavily with old friends. Say, "Do you remember. . " way too much. Smile a lot.
7:45 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Old friends leave for concert. Run into other group of unexpected friends who are mourning dearth of Tom Waits tickets. Drink more beer with them.
9:00 p.m. Come home. House is hot as hell. Put on sexy nylon slip because it is coollest thing you own. Put on rubber clogs. Take out compost bucket in sexy nylon slip & rubber clogs. Dump it in compost pile. Water vegetable garden in sexy nylon slip and rubber clogs. Dump compost bucket full of water on gourds at bottom of garden. Think that there is something perverse in all this, but be unable to put your finger on it. Hope devoutly that neighbors can't see you, but still, kind of weirdly enjoy rinsing out compost bucket while wearing sexy nylon slip . . . and rubber clogs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Heat Wave

So, I don't have air conditioning. Big surprise, you know, since I barely have heat in the winter: obviously I'm not going to have air conditioning either. Most of the time I'm okay with this - in fact, let's be honest, I'm downright obnoxious about it, since I like to make snarky comments about pollutants, and living the simple life, and other self satisfied Asheville hippie shit like that. It's great when poverty can make you snobbish and look, we poor people have to have something to feel superior about, besides our gas efficient compact beaters. Honestly, though, the lack of AC hasn't been all that bad, for two simple reasons: 1) more or less freezing to death every day last winter makes one realize just how precious and fleeting, not to mention cheap, 85 degree heat really is, and 2) I've been "working" at home for a year and thus, you see, I'm fully acclimated. A measly window fan feels fine to me and I pull a down comforter on at midnight when the temperature drops to 70.

That is, until today. Today I started my New Job, which I'm very pleased about and enjoying already, plus feeling useful and all that, and. . . get ready. . . it's air conditioned. It's so air conditioned, in fact, that I need a sweater and possibly some long johns and maybe a parka and a sherpa guide or two. All good, right? Finally, I get to experience how the other half, the air conditioned half, lives and works. No more sitting here sweating over a computer that overheats every 15 minutes, right? Yeah, right. Except it only took a day for me to lose my acclimitization, and now, sitting in the kitchen, this 89 degree heat feels like 103. I think this is what they mean by Heat Index - it's heat labeling for the air conditioning impaired, for those who are used to icy cold indoors and sweltering outdoors. It kind of bites. No wonder everyone has been complaining so loudly.