Tuesday, January 30, 2007

project 365 #30: frightful the peregrine

Frightful (of course her name is Frightful. What's frightful is how little imagination kids have when it comes to naming falcons.) the peregrine came to visit the museum where I work today. Good thing too, since I was utterly useless otherwise all day, so being called in to photograph a falcon in front of a picture of the earth was at least something good. She's very beautiful and sort of awe inspiring and grounded forever due to an injured wing, which makes me sad.

But it isn't taking much to make me sad today. I'm kind of a mess, actually, and I'm not sure how much of it is grief and shock and so on and how much is hangover from the whole intensity of my trip, also the driving, which does tend to get me the next day. I remember this feeling, though, this wide eyed inability to focus, jagged throat, numbness and exhaustion. It's always a shock to lose someone, no matter how much you expect it, or so my mother says, and she has had some practice, so I believe she knows. I do not want to know. I do not look forward to that part of getting older when this shock isn't so much a shock anymore but a perpetual creepy small thing at the small of your back: another one lost, another down.

For now, though, it's a shock and a feeling that I thought I'd forgotten, that comes back like a blow and I remember, ah yes, this is how grief feels: this is sorrow, this is that feeling that someone is missing from the world, this is that disturbance in the force.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Long, Strange Trip

I'm back.

I'm tired. It was a long, heavy, strange weekend in which I said goodbye forever to one old friend, started to see another old friend in a completely new light, saw and cried and laughed with any number of other old friends, got confused, got sad, got happy, got drunk, got sober and altogether crammed more into four days than really could possibly fit there. Forgive the resultant disjointed prose; I drove for 9 hours today; I haven't slept more than 4 hours at a stretch since last Thursday and, well, there you have it. Adrenaline is our friend. And coffee. Coffee is our other friend.

My great and good friend Michel Zeltzman died at home after Tibetan Buddhist prayers, on Friday at 12:55 pm. I was too late to say goodbye but his family was wise enough to keep him there for a day and night after his death and so, in a way, I did. I knew him for 20 years as a good friend, a father figure of sorts (I keep tearing up on one sentence that runs through my head: I've run fresh out of fathers now) an inspiration, a help - everything a close friend should be. Michel gave me books and the New Yorker every year for years, signed Uncle Vibius. He yelled at me when I needed it and poured wine for me when I needed that more than yelling. Once he told me that I should have been a kings' courtesan, which I still consider one of the nicest compliments I ever got. He introduced my son to Welsh mythology and paid my daughter $5 to learn The Jabberwock off by heart. He sat with me all one long long night in the Johns Hopkins emergency room when I panicked after my marriage and thought I was dying. He corrected my French, encouraged me to read Proust (I rebelled, but I'm thinking I'm going to try it again) and emailed me snippets from the New York Review of Books. He was the first person into the room after my son was born. His wife and daughters and son are among my closest friends; my son came very close to being born in his house; I consider myself honored and lucky to have been able to be there with them these past few days.

When my father died I thought it was the most intense few days of my life. These past four days, when my other father died, are right up there as well. I have kind of learned a lot about family, or remembered it: to wit, families are more than just the people you are related to. This is my family, up there in Baltimore, and I grieve for and with them, and love them and they love me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bad News - Notice

I'm out of here for the next few days; a close, old friend is dying in Baltimore and I'm leaving in the morning, driving up. I knew it was coming but it has arrived faster than I thought it would. So if anyone is wondering where I am or looking for me, I'm in Baltimore without a computer. Don't know when I'll be back.

My daughter may be joining me in a couple of days in which case I really need some help - can anyone take care of the dogs? Please let me know; my cel is eight two eight two four two six nine oh one. Thanks.

Project 365 #25: troll doll in hole in wall

They are finally going to get around to replacing the drywall in my effing office. It's been over a month but I have recently started pitching fits and that has sped the process up. The joys of non-profits - most people wouldn't get to have an office with freaky large giant holes in the drywall around them, behind which lurk huge noisy strange pipes. Yeeesh.

That's my actual office below, btw. This above is the hallway going into my office, with handy troll sized hole, in case you are really small and don't want to use the door.

The Problem With Project 365

By now, 25 days in, you have doubtless noticed that I am participating in this thing called Project 365 whereby I take & upload & post a picture every day. Every single day, and we're not going to go into quality control issues here, even though perhaps we should. There is another problem with this project that I didn't foresee at all and it is this: my life is boring. Really boring. Boring to the nth degree and that boring quality is showing up in my photographs.

Every damn day I wake up in the same bedroom (that's not for lack of trying, either) and then I probably walk the dogs on one of the three same possible walks, all of which have been photographed in dim early morning light to a fare thee well. Then I come home and take a shower and feed the dogs and get in the car and proceed along the same exact route (it's all on my flickr stream, taken through the car window) to my decidedly unscenic office where I spend the day looking at a computer screen or possibly going to the occasional meeting or whatever comes up. I then retrace my morning route in the opposite direction, back home, where I make dinner & do whatever for a few hours before getting into bed with a novel and then going to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's dull. It's predictable. And it's exceedingly not interesting on film.

Then there are the nights that I go out and take long exposure pictures of drinks. Those are getting dull too, as well as reinforcing certain beliefs about me (namely, that I drink too much and hang out in cheesy bars - I grant you these beliefs have a certain, well, truth to them, but that doesn't mean I want anyone to believe them) that I don't want reinforced or cast in concrete or, you know, whatever large solid building metaphor you have lying around. Because I could become virtuous and healthy at any given moment! Yes! It could happen! And I need that hope to sustain me.

So I thought today that I would carry a troll doll around all day and take pictures of it in various places. I'm not sure that that's going to be much more interesting - "Hey look! It's a troll doll next to a computer monitor in an office! Wowza! I don't know how much more of this my heart can stand!" - but it's something. Maybe. Maybe it's something. It's either that or it's going to be blurry, out of focus pictures of my dogs lying down or blurry, out of focus dark pictures of my friends hoisting beers for the foreseeable future. This is harder than I thought it was going to be.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

project 365 #24

project 365 #24
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
A quiet, blurry, out of focus evening at home. It was a long day at work & I didn't really take any pictures - ah well. They can't all be winners.

Oh yeah, that's the X-Files on the screen behind Theo. I never saw them on TV and so now we're working our way through the DVDs. They're okay, although the opening credits have not aged well: oooooh, spooooky - one of those plasma light things from Spencer Gifts!

project 365 #23: chessmen watching the SOTU

This was kind of an accidental picture and I wish that different people had been behind the chessmen, instead of close friends of mine who are passionately involved liberals and thoroughly like the farthest thing from pawns that you can imagine. That said, damn! Is this a cool shot or what? The state of the union. . . the pawn. . . the entire fucking thing. Taken tonight at the Drinking Liberally Asheville State of the Union Party, whereby we all knocked it back at the mention of certain words, like Evil and Terror and Nucular, like Iraq (we had to retire that one) and Troops and Surge.

I hate watching stuff like this - partly because I have no immunity to TV, since I haven't had one since 2000 - and partly because the whole giant farce of evil and cruelty becomes so fucking horribly apparent whenever the entire power structure is gathered together in one room, as in the State of the Union address. There they all are, in hideous ties, our representative government: apparently our country consists pretty much of old white men with a few old white women scattered around and 8 African-Americans, looking a bit uneasy. It's the 21st century and those are our representatives, including a president who has personally done more to eliminate womens' rights than the last six presidents combined, standing up like he's all pro female, welcoming Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker - something that should have happened a fucking generation ago.

And when I see all of them, in their power pastel ties, women carefully dressed in suits of red or white or blue, I'm so reminded of the beginning of a Robert Anton Wilson book, probably Cosmic Trigger, where he talks about all the various leaders - high on speed and downers and power, paranoid and crazy and so fucking hyped full of wacked out chemicals, natural and otherwise, that they've long since abdicated from the human race. This is what I think when I look at rooms full of politicians and it scares the fuck out of me and makes me a little sick.

And so we drink heavily, because you have to laugh, right, when the "leader" of the "free world" says nucular instead of nuclear and when he seems to earnestly believe that our health care "system" is working just fine, in need only of expansion, instead of the sick fucking joke to the rest of the world that it actually is. It's kind of like our war in Iraq, going so swimmingly well that it needs only some 95,000 soldiers - apparently mercenaries - to come in and fix it. French foreign legion? 95,000 contract laborers, maybe the 2nd class citizens he proposes to create to fix immigration, will fix this war. Drink heavily, children. It's all that's left.

Monday, January 22, 2007

project 365 #22: 2nd floor of hannah flanagans

Another gray & gloomy day in ashevegas.


I'm in a pissy, miserable, cranky and awful mood this morning and it makes me want to smoke, or throw myself off a bridge or something. This mood was brought to you by a) stupid knee, still injured and making my life difficult; b) puppy, who has apparently decided that if I'm not walking him, well, he's not housetrained anymore, so that for the second morning in a row I began the day by stepping into a large puddle of piss on the kitchen floor and c) my son, who missed the bus and then presented me with the worst report card I have ever personally seen. If I had given a report card like that to my father in 9th grade I probably wouldn't be here typing this for you now, because it would be difficult to type missing my arms, if, that is, I was alive, which would be doubtful. I said this to my son who said that he was sorry I'd had such a rotten childhood and I said that that wasn't what was bothering me at all, that instead I was upset since I didn't have a man handy to beat the crap out of him. At moments like this I become unexpectedly Republican and feel that all my problems could be solved by the application of a little old fashioned military discipline, god damn it, whereby I would throw away everything, leaving only perhaps a shield and a gun or two and some bare boards to sleep on, and everyone would be beaten regularly and fed corned beef hash. Unfortunately I am soft and weak and not a member of the superior anything and so I always cave in and there's no discipline of any kind, really, around our house, except inasmuch as the dogs have us trained to feed them.

The other option that occurred to me this morning is more feasible, though: leaving. Packing up the dog, a few clothes, some CDs, my camera and my tent and moving on, preferably to some kind of slow country western lament about drunks and jukeboxes and the rain. Divorcing my kids and the puppy and starting a new life somewhere else, somewhere bleak, somewhere with a lonely aluminum diner and one flickering streetlamp. Somewhere I could wear red lipstick without looking like a crazy bag lady. Somewhere where I wouldn't know what the hell a report card is and they don't have puppies. I can just imagine my kids, left behind, almost like the Rapture came - they'd be delighted. They'd let the puppy shred the couch into tiny bits all over the floor and they'd all lie in them and have a generally great time until the canned food ran out and the water got turned off (they like long showers.) It's not good when I am the only civilizing influence in a household because we might as well face it: I am not particularly civilized at all.

Alas, though, I 'm not quite able to tear myself away, even if some of it is just an unholy fascination at this point, like, how bad can it possibly get? Pretty damn bad, I'm afraid, pretty damn bad. The house just gets nastier and my knee keeps on hurting and the report cards. . . jesus, the report card. I try to reassure myself on that point since even if he is doing terribly academically, at least he has a lot of friends (mumbling friends with long hair, who smoke cigarettes and have bottle rockets behind their backs) and is socially quite adept (do they honestly think I don't know a high school FREAK when I see one? What the hell do they think I did in high school? ) and, well, hell, he's just like the president. Except, of course, for the money and the family connections and the frat boy attitude and, thank god, the apparent callousness, although M does seem to think he's both immortal and always right. He is 15, it is true. Possibly M will make it to the White House yet - we can only hope that it's not with high level explosives strapped to his body.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

project 365 #21

project 365 #21
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Today all I've done is rest my knee. Actually, it feels a lot better after a day in bed and hardly any time in the car - it's the car that's killing it most. Standard shift, left knee, ow, ow, ow. So since I just spent this rainy miserable day reading in bed (Terry Pratchett, Simon R. Green) I took a kind of lame ass myspace worthy self portrait of me in my messy room to commemorate it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

project 365 #20: refrigerator junkyard

I was supposed to stay in bed today with my stupid knee but that got horribly boring. It's partly awesome, like, hey! I get to stay in bed and let the dishes pile up: I have a doctor's note, suckers! Yet it's also a drag, like pretending to be sick when you're a kid and then finding out that actually being in bed gets really damn lame by 3:00 pm, particularly when it's a beautiful day outside.

So around 5:30 I could stand it no more and went off and ran some errands and stopped on the way to photograph these refrigerators, which I have been eying for weeks since they are just so damn desolate and photogenic and stuff. Then I went on to Wal Mart, which is also desolate yet less photogenic and then I just barely managed to get my lame ass to the Blogasheville meetup at Jolie Rouge, where they were having $4 rum drinks and 20s Night and a good time was had by all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Project 365 #19: Broadways Evening Two

I went on over to Broadways tonight with my friend J, as is my wont, and it was really a great evening, even though it was a great evening in very odd ways. It was a normal Broadways evening in that I sat there indulging my unrequited crush, which is actually quite pleasant in a kind of Proustian melancholic way and then I got to laugh hysterically with J, which has nothing Proustian whatsoever about it but is great fun and cathartic to boot. Particularly when we realized how totally weird we really both are, and that neither one of us has anything that any normal person might consider as even a faint grasp on reality. Gods, it's good to have friends. And then later, for some odd reason, several people came over and sat down and told us their problems and we attempted to help. I think we need a sign like Lucy's - Psychiatric Help, 5 cents. Or perhaps we could get a profitable business going called Smart Old Chicks. Some of the problems were huge and insurmountable and all we could do was send out good vibes and hope, and some were surmountable but difficult and we could actually give advice, which was nice and felt good. I think we helped a little bit tonight and for the first time in my life I can kind of see the allure of psychology.

I went to the doctor this morning about my knee. It's not broken: I should have just listened to M, who told me firmly that it wasn't broken and I needed just to stay off it. M is often right, as he often reminds me.

The doctor (he seemed nice. It's a terrible personal fault that I look around at a crummy for profit clinic in a borderline neighborhood and then at an older doctor and think, jesus, please tell me that you're not here because you suck so bad. I invented a couple of scenarios whereby a 60-something doctor would be there - besides sucking so bad - like, maybe he went bankrupt for being so altruistic and all and possibly he was married to an evil shrew who took him for all he had and his family cast him out and, well, so on. Not like he's been disbarred or is just imitating a doctor, no, not at all.) Anyway, the older, not particularly involved doctor, moved my knee around a bit and looked at the x-rays (is it because I'm old that they didn't put the lead apron on me for the xrays? Have I passed some kind of terrible Old Woman test now? Used to be they'd put the lead apron on me even if my teeth were getting checked and I swore on a stack of Bibles that there was no baby in my future, and my knee is closer to my (barren, stony) womb than my teeth and nobody asked me a damn thing about babies today. Shit. Just bring on the fucking ice floe, already.) and told me that it wasn't broken. That's good, but on the other hand there may be something else wrong with it and if it isn't better by Tuesday I should go see an orthopedist. Also, they offered me crutches and painkillers, both of which I refused, which is how I got to this paragraph, because as I explained, at Broadways tonight to my friend J: I won't use crutches because I'm no good at them and also they hurt my armpits and make me feel stupid and vulnerable and frankly I'd rather just limp and be in pain, and I won't take prescription drugs because they scare me and make me think I might turn into a weird ass prescription junkie and/or destroy my liver because I am, as we know, a semi unrepentant drinker who prefers to treat broken bones with massive amounts of over the counter ibuprofen and liquor. I am just a medical weirdo, or, I guess, a weirdo period.

Also, I got hit on tonight. I never get hit on and so I don't know how to deal with it so it's a damn good thing J was there because she neatly averted it by telling the guy I had a boyfriend. This guy zeroed in on me and came over and told me he was in looove and bought me a drink and everything. He seemed very nice - I just wasn't interested but I was so utterly flummoxed by having someone hit on me, which never, ever, ever happens, that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. Which I think he took for a sign of interest.

It was a strange evening all around but lovely for all that. And my knee doesn't hardly hurt at all right now but then a vodka and a bunch of PBRS and yes, goddamnit, I admit it, a half a pack of cigarettes - does make everything feel better.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

project 365 #18: aston park and hilliard ave

1. My knee hurts like a . . . I don't know what the hell it hurts like. It's rapidly working its way up to the childbirth & broken rib territory.

2. On top of that, I have cramps.

So I'm going to bed now with some vodka (fuck beer; it's time for the heavy artillery) and ibuprofen and an ice pack and some arnica salve and some comfrey salve and a large novel that I know nothing about yet which I really, really hope is good. Maybe if I just don't move for 12 hours I'll feel better in the morning. Bah. Shitfire. And other appopriate exclamations.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

project 365 #17: troll dolls

I was just thinking that I had absolutely nothing to take a picture of today for project 365 and in fact I took a stiflingly boring picture of my office and then came home and did some fstop & exposure experiments of my street which were so dull that they could make pavement weep but I thought, oh well, not every day is going to have a photo opp, geeze, why am I putting myself through this? Then I went inside & noticed I had a package and LO, there were my troll dolls that I ordered off Ebay! I am so happy! There has long been a serious dearth of troll dolls in my life! Now I have something to photograph, because a troll doll makes everything immediately more interesting. I am all psyched about my troll dolls and I'm thinking of all kinds of strange projects I can do with them (and, quite honestly, my 9 year old self is calling, saying that I could so build a really awesome troll village in the roots of the big oak tree out front) and they just are making me happy. Which is good because my knee still hurts like a proverbial motherfucker.

project 365 #16: colored pencils

This was yesterday's fairly boring daily photo, by the way. It didn't get blogged until today because my old computer seems to be really on the way out now and I could only do things briefly between crashes.

Morning of Doom

I fell down when I walked the dogs this morning; stumbled on some broken pavement while they yanked me hither and thither and down I went, twisting my right ankle, crunching my left elbow, hurting my right wrist and really seriously fucking up my left knee. I lay there in all the scree and crumbled paving and whimpered for a few moments while dogs all over the neighborhood went nuts (my own unruly pair were miraculously good for once in their mangy lives and stayed right there, trying to sit on me.) Then I got up and limped home, realizing as I went that I had really done it this time.

Came home, bandaged knee, daughter said, "Whoa, Mom. . ." when she looked at the knee, which had grown a fascinating new knee on top of itself, took shower, rebandaged knee, whimpered, got dressed, drove downtown (painful), went to post office (painful) and went to pay my water bill since it's about to be shut off. It used to be fairly simple to get into the City/County building and pay your water bill. There used to be lots of 15 minute parking around there. It never was a problem. But in their infinite wisdom and the new park they're building around the Courthouse, all those parking spaces have been eliminated as has the drive by box where you could leave your water bill payment and there was nowhere - no, nowhere - to park within a 7 block radius. But, you know, the tourists are going to love the new fucking park. I went and parked at my reserved space 7 blocks away and walked it. Painful. Waaaaaaaaaay painful.

Then I hiked slowly and lopsidedly on back to work, stopping for coffee where, naturally, they were out of French roast, which is the point at which I very nearly cried but the nice, nice lady at Sisters McMullen made a new pot for me. Now I'm at work; my knee hurts like crazy and it's making me a bit dizzy and in half an hour I have to go back down some stairs and already I'm not sure if I can do it. What a fucking morning. As far as I know there's nothing that can be done for knees anyway, is there? I could go get it xrayed for a million dollars, I guess, and then what? Be told to stay off it, probably. Argh. Sheesh. And a million other expletives. I hate accidents. I hate the way you can be just walking along, zoning out and suddenly your whole day and possibly week or month or year gets all fucked up just out of the blue, like a Monty Python foot coming down.

Monday, January 15, 2007

project 365 #15: hiking with dogs

There were lots and lots of dogs out there at Bent Creek today, what with the 70 degree weather and the holiday and all. Theo & Django had a great time and so did I. One of my new years resolutions was to put in more woods time, and although it took me 15 days to make a start, I'm going to follow through on that one.

Why You Should Be Careful to Never Get Your Car Stolen

A got her car back. As we recall, her car was stolen in the waning days of 2006, which was deeply weird for a variety of reasons, chief among them the fact that her car did not actually run. It sort of worked, in that every now and then you could get it going, sometimes even into 2nd gear, but not for long. A had just sold it for parts - and for $200 - to this very nice guy, actually, when it vanished, and I'm sorry to say that we kind of even suspected Very Nice Guy. However, he was as outraged as we were and even drove around looking for it. So A reported it stolen and the matter rested until last Thursday, when the police called to say that they had found the car up at Lee Walker Heights. The car was as fine as it ever was, except the radio had been taken out, but then who cares about that, since - wait for it - the radio didn't work either! It's like it was stolen by some kind of deeply compassionate organization, a strange hospice for dying cars, isn't it?

At any rate, the cops towed the car and that's when the problems began, because if you are unlucky dumb enough to get your car stolen, it turns out that you then owe all kinds of money. They charge you $100 for the towing fees (you don't get a choice about it being towed, either, like you can't call Triple A or anything) and then they charge you $20 a day to store it. If, like A, you realize that your car isn't really worth more than $120 and you don't have that much money anyway, you may contemplate leaving it right the hell where it is, which is to say in police lock up waaaaay down in South Asheville. Unfortunately, you can't do that, because you are now legally liable for every penny of that money, which will keep on mounting up every day you don't pay it, and they will in fact come after your ass for it. We know this because we asked. So A got the money together and in a feat of strategic time planning that quite impressed me, went and picked up the damn car in the window between her two jobs and then met the Very Nice Guy (remember him?) who took the car away. So now the saga has finished, although it must be noted that all the charges for being unlucky dumb enough to get your car stolen pretty much ate all the money A got for the car.

It seems somehow wrong and unfair to me that the victim should be penalized when their car is stolen, since getting even a dying car stolen is a drag, even if it was stolen by loving expiring car hospice workers. I actually think that whoever stole it noticed that it hadn't moved in 2 or 3 months and thought that perhaps we might not miss it, which kind of makes me feel guilty. But that aside, it really rubs me the wrong way to have the victim of a crime be charged a bunch of fees. Yet in a curious way this very fact seems to be in a kind of weird accordance with a particular kind of American/Puritan/Calvinist dogma that holds that all bad luck is totally your own fault, poor people deserve to be poor because they're lazy and the rich, clearly blessed, are as gods upon the earth who deserve our respect. It's this kind of thinking that makes me the godless socialist commie bitch I am, and I don't think that Asheville's finest should be subcontracting all this towing/storage stuff to a bunch of godfearing capitalists who are leeching large chunks of money off crime victims.

cross posted to BlogAsheville

Sunday, January 14, 2007

project 365 #14: audz birthday shoe shopping

Today is A's 24th birthday. It's pretty miraculous to think that it's been 24 whole years - sometimes it seems like yesterday and sometimes, you know, it sort of seems like 124 years. Depending. We spent the whole day together and actually had a really, really nice time. I spent waaaay too much money on her, which is what your mother is supposed to do, I think, on your birthday. We did brunch at Sunny Point, with my mother and my brother and surly young M, who complained about the wait, and my friend S, who is awesomely good at handling the whole family drama thing with aplomb and grace. Then M wandered off and A & I lay on the couch and watched 3 back to back episodes of The X Files and then we went to Discount Shoes on Brevard Road where she got some adorable tennis shoes and I got some fabulous short boots and then, after driving around laughing hysterically for a while trying to find somewhere to have a drink where we wouldn't stand out in our Sunday grungies, we ended up at Cheeseburger on Paradise, which, although it is a chain, is really awesome after the second or third massive, technicolor rum drink. And we have just now had the worst pizza ever from Franks Roman Pizza and come on home and, you know, it was really a lovely day.

Much better than a certain January 14, 24 years ago, when a terrified 19 year old went through 24 long, rough hours and then was presented with a howling small girl who already possessed decided ideas about her likes and dislikes, a strong ego and a full head of black hair which stood up straight. She looked like Quinn the Eskimo and she shrieked like a banshee and I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do with this baby, since I had pretty much never been near a newborn before. Yet we all seem to have come out of that, somehow, through the grace of whatever, more or less okay and certainly able to laugh at it all, which is, you know, more than half the battle.


I would just like to note that a man in a black sedan just drove up to the front of my house, got out of his car, picked up my Christmas tree (which has been lying there in front of the house for a week) and put it into the trunk of his car. Then he drove away.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

project 365 #13 jay in his show

J & I hung out for a couple of drinks & some wings & some finger lickin' good bleu cheese dressing at Jack of the Wood this evening. It was lovely, and on the way we stopped in to see his photography show, currently up at Jubilee and well worth checking out! Or you can look at his great stuff here.


So I slept 12 hours last night. I came home, ate a giant dinner (see yesterday's post on lack of will power, blown diet, et nauseating cetera) and lay down at about 7:00 to nap for an hour or so. Yes, an hour long nap that lasted until about 11:30, at which point my son woke me up to tell me he was going to bed. It seemed relatively futile to get up then, so I went back to sleep and dreamt like crazy for the rest of the night. I think my brain gets bored after about 6 hours of sleep and starts making dreams - the kind of dreams that are insanely real and vivid but just a little. . .off.

(Note: If you are not a mefite, the following will make no sense to you whatsoever. Feel free to proceed to the following paragraph. We apologize for any inconvenience and will return you to your regularly scheduled program shortly. This has been a public service announcement.) I also have clearly been spending WAY too much time online, because I had another anxiety producing shame filled Metafilter dream and it wasn't even a weirdly entertaining one - unlike the one I had where Mathowie yelled at me at a meetup for being stupid - but instead I dreamt that I made a bad post (a weird little graphic puzzle and I invited everyone to solve it; it was very chatty and took up half the page with ascii art) to Metatalk and it got deleted and then I couldn't post again for two weeks and I was all stricken with embarrassment and anxiety, particularly since I had a vitally important Askme question right then. When I woke up I thought it was real and I approached Meta nervously, but fortunately I had not in actual fact posted this puzzle.

Sometimes I do remember dreams as real and, probably, vice versa. It's not that I can't tell the difference (okay, maybe it is) between dreams and reality, because I can while I'm in them, or sort of, but it's the memory of dreams that gets mixed up with the memory of reality. Do you know how when you're dreaming you will have memories that are actually simply dream memories? They usually seem designed to give you a sort of dream logical explanation for something, as in, "Oh YES I do remember now, I planned to have the floor of this room in the castle turned to raspberry jello, of course." Then, months later, you may sort of stumble across this memory in your brain and for a second you're not sure if it's real or not. Once I told a friend of mine that the brakes on my old van were bad, because I had to pump them a lot to get them to work at all. A couple of days later I realized that that wasn't true - it was a dream memory or a memory of a dream and, to make it all even more unsettling, as I remember this conversation now, I'm not entirely sure that it ever took place: it may in fact be a dream memory of a dream memory of a dream memory.

The other part of my dream last night involved looking for a house with two brothers, one very good looking, the other not so much. We were somewhere in Pennsylvania where the houses were small and close to each other and I rescued a Vietnamese toddler from an oncoming tractor trailer, but her mother and all the other Vietnamese women who watched me do this were silent and watchful instead of thanking me. I went back over to my side of the street feeling oddly guilty and then the brothers and I went to eat Indian food on the second floor of a rowhouse. I had never heard of anything on the menu before but I didn't want to let anyone know that I was so unsophisticated so I kept reading it over and over, hoping vainly to come across something vaguely familiar. With a dream like that, it's unlikely that I'll remember rescuing a toddler as real - but I'm thoroughly capable of being in an Indian restaurant some time in the future, looking at the menu and feeling relieved that I know what to order, unlike that other restaurant, where was that place? It was located at the intersection, I guess - the corner of Dream and Reality.

Friday, January 12, 2007

project 365 #12

project 365 #12
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Traffic jam on Patton Avenue today and I, tired and hungover and hungry, totally blew my diet. The past couple of days have not been banner ones on the willpower front, alas.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spice Girls Drinking Liberally

Total ridiculousness, hon, but at least it's short.

project 365 #11

project 365 #11
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Drinking Liberally. So, y'all, the movie of you doing the Spice Girls hula turned out just, uh, fine. What do I do with it now? ;-) I guess I could. . . put it on Youtube. . . if, you know, I was still as poor as I am now. . .

Hehe. It was a nice DL.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

project 365 #11: django and his destruction

Here's a little documentary proof as to what Django has done to my yard. It's fairly mind boggling on several levels, including the one where, if you've ever wondered what the world would look like if dogs were the dominant species, well wonder no more. It would look like some kind of Tobacco Road caricature.

He pulls stuff out of the house through the dog door and then destroys it. He pulls stuff out of the shed and chews it up; tears down things that are hanging up, digs up the plants and vines and garden, gets into the recycling and spreads it across the yard - there is no end to it. He needs more exercise, I know, but nobody is here enough. One walk a day is obviously not cutting it. I would also just like to point out that neither Toby nore Theo - both mutts - ever created this kind of chaos as puppies, but Jackson & Django - both purebreds - both did. I think it's one of those crazy inbred overbred things. Eeeeesh.

Two Hour Delay

Asheville city schools have a two hour delay this morning. This is not as good as the snow day we always hope for, because an Asheville city schools snow day affects my work day as well, pleasantly. It's confusing, the two hour delay and it has led to sloth and general laziness around here this morning. M is still in bed. I'm in my pajamas, eating, even though the snow prompted hot chocolates & rum I consumed last night fucked up my diet totally and I should have done penance this morning. Yeah, I should have gone snow running in the pitching darkness of 6:30 and then not eaten for a day or two. And if I was one of those empowered people, that's exactly what I would have done, but, you know, I'm not. Jesus, it's 25 degrees outside.

And now I'm going to be late for work, since a two hour delay doesn't mean anything to the museum. But oh well, I still have to get young M to school so he can sit there and take a Teen Living "exam" and then get out in 3 hours and have a five day weekend. Because, you know, they just didn't get enough time off at Christmas. I'm so jealous I could spit.

Monday, January 08, 2007

he went thataway

he went thataway
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Blogged just to share it because I like it. Django in action.

The Holidays Are, In Fact, Totally Over

I finally feel normal again; the holidays have left and it's back to the grindstone, return to the salt mines and/or whatever the hell that big spinning wheel thing is that Conan had to push for 20 years. Or something like that. I mean, I worked last week and the week before, but I didn't WORK work, if you get my drift. It all seemed fragile and inconsequential somehow, and then this weekend I took all the holiday decorations down and bingo: back to normal. Or what passes for normal around here, which is, I grant you, not all that goddamn normal.

In Little, Big (this is my one, my all time, my ultra favorite book, which I think we have covered about a squillion times in this blog) there's a passage about how holidays exist in a self contained time frame, essentially out there on their own. There's a lot of truth to that theory: Christmases and New Years seem to follow one upon the other without an intervening year, but the minute the holiday spell is over they seem impossibly distant. I mean New Years Eve occurred on a complete different planet, I think, but I remember the second week of December just fine. I couldn't remember it last week, when I was still in holiday mode, but now it's coming in loud and clear.

I like the idea that time can be chopped up into pieces: discrete portions of time that relate to each other but not to the surrounding time. Like a photo with only part in focus - ideally, holidays make you focus on the center while the rest just slides away for a while. Of course, if the center will not hold that's a problem and things fall apart (HA! Check out those high school reading list references! And my son claims people never use their education.)which is possibly what happened this year. But time - years, decades - have passed since Christmas and I've forgotten all the stress and I think next year, when I will do exactly the same things, will be better.

project 365 #8: early morning riverscape with dog butt

I saw (and photographed badly) a great blue heron this morning too. I have to either begin to lug a tripod with me and/or figure out how to get action shots with this camera. Still, it was nice at the park; the river's really high from all the rain, the dogs ran around like maniacs, also high from yesterday's rain and lack of exercise, and, best of all, the park was deserted.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

project 365 #7

project 365 #7
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Rainy day. Houseguests - my friend D's son N, who, despite being terribly, terribly bad (A and I think he is probably the most bad person we have ever even spoken to, which is bizarre in someone you have known since he was in diapers. Also, he has grown up quite unnervingly attractive.) is actually still really sweet and adorable and has a good heart and his friend B, who we have also known since his somewhat obnoxious childhood. B's turning out much better than we thought he would. And The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which was pretty damn good. I only left the house to take this stupid, not particularly good photograph for this project. As I was trying to focus it properly it started to rain again and blah, yuck, I had to come back inside. Now the only question tonight is beer, wine or liquor? Hmmmmm, a tough one. . .

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Smoking Thing

I was doing so well.

I went four whole weeks and a couple of days. Granted, I spent every minute of those four weeks as a seething human cesspit of furious anger, ready to explode at any minute, but I didn't smoke. Sure, I alienated my whole family and most of my friends, got complaints at work and had people recoil from my rage filled glare on the sidewalks, but I didn't smoke. I honestly didn't know I had so much anger in me - I never think of myself as particularly cranky. Eccentric & crotchety, yes, in a lovably endearing way somewhat akin to a muppet, but angry? Never. Not me. I don't get mad much. But apparently the cigarettes have been keeping it at bay all this time and I just never noticed. My friend said, "You're a Southern woman. Of course you're full of anger; you just never let it out."

Still, I went around angry and handled it but I just wasn't prepared for every single craving to come back three score and worse about 48 hours ago. I don't know what happened - I honestly thought I had beaten the demon and then kaboom, all I wanted was a smoke and the craving just didn't go away. For 48 fucking hours, at which point I gave up.

Now I'm sitting here trying not to go to BJs for a pack. I want another one so bad. Damn. Damn damn damn damn damn.

project 365 #6: Diana on the phone

It was a lovely day to sit around outside in the warm spring weather and drink bloody marys. . . wait. It's January 6. The cherry trees are not supposed to be blooming and we're not supposed to be happily out on the porch. But there you have it. I've only used 50 gallons of oil all winter, which is unheard of and it had to be nearly 70 today. Freaky. Wrong. But my evil self is enjoying the hell out of it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

project 365 #5

project 365 #5
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
This has very little to do with what my day has been about, which is mostly work and then going out drinking with J & S at Broadways where, as usual, I pined over my unrequited adoration for someone there, and drank beer, and, yeah, okay, smoked like a half a pack of cigarettes. I don't know what happened over the last coupla days - I was doing so well and then, fuck, kaboom, all I wanted was a cigarette and after 48 hours of craving, I gave in. I tried to smoke myself sick. Sheesh. This quitting shit sucks, sucks, sucks. I'm back on the cig wagon again tomorrow. I swear. And the diet and the less drinking and so on. . .

Christ. I'm such a fuckup.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

project 365 #4: miles haircut

M is furious that I took this picture and then that I'm blogging it. This barber did a great job though; you can find him over at the K Mart plaza off Tunnel Road, near where Tractor Supply used to be. WTF happened to Tractor Supply? I can't believe they're gone - I loved that place.

Aaaaugghhh fucking goddamn morning

This morning I woke up late. Then when I went to walk the dogs I couldn't find the front door key. My children swore that they hadn't seen it and didn't have it, although my daughter claimed to have left it in the front door the night before. Two things about my front door key make it extra special: the door will not open without it (it locks automatically) and it's very old and unique; therefore, only one locksmith in town will consent to attempt to copy it. This locksmith is approximately 112 years old and recently moved his shop from downtown to some unknown strip mall in the wilds of Emma and we haven't found him yet, although our supplies of door keys, once plentiful, have dwindled like dolphins in the Yangtze and now we're down to two. Unfortunately these two do not seem to be a breeding pair.

So the key had disappeared and I couldn't walk the dogs, who were upset, as was I, since I had locked them out of the house during the frantic key search. I snarled at them and then my son took too long a shower and missed the school bus and my daughter came home swearing it wasn't her fault the key was gone and she needed to take a shower and jesus christ mom don't get so bent out of shape. At this point I had decided that obviously some psychopath burglar stalker alien Terminator minion of ultimate evil had taken the key from the door and was just waiting until we were all gone so he could come in and steal our priceless collection of science fiction paperbacks, old magazines and seashells from Rehoboth Beach 1995. So I figured that I had to go to some giant Mart of Doom and get a sliding lock or something & install it, all before 8:45 in the morning.

Then my son found the key. So I shot him.

No, actually not. I made my weird diet breakfast and got dressed without showering since my daughter was in the shower then and got him to school just as the first bell was ringing and took myself to work where I have been listening to punk rock and screaming every time the printer jams (about every 4 minutes) for the last 3/4 of an hour. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHH FUCKING GODDAMN MORNINGS! I WISH I STILL SMOKED!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

project 365 #3

project 365 #3
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
My coworker with a big magnifying lens she found while cleaning out the hallway bookcase. I hope she doesn't mind being on the internets. Today was a total work day: work and then the laundromat and then the grocery store and now it's 10:00 pm and I need to do the dishes and sweep the floors and so I'm cranky and I'll sign off now. Gah. Work. Also, stupid diet. Blah.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Walking Django

project 365 #2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Every morning Django & Theo drag me around the neighborhood. It would be cute if it wasn't so goddamn annoying. Theo is pretty good, unless he sees another dog on a leash, but Django is impossible and, worse, he's gotten strong, so he really drags me along. Then I lose my temper and bite my lip and snarl savagely at him and swing him to me by the neck, which is unattractive at best and probably a felony at worst (although it doesn't faze Django one iota) and he apologizes abjectly without quite ever knowing what he's done wrong and we start the whole thing over again. Jesus, puppies. They're worse than babies.

A baby wouldn't have trashed my entire backyard like Django has. I need to go take pictures of that; it's awe inspiring; it looks like Red Cross photos of a natural disaster out there. You think I'm exaggerating and I wish to god I was: in actual fact it's much worse than I can describe. It's too awful to even take pictures and I really don't know how I'm ever going to clean it up. Like an acre of pure, unfettered destruction, proving once and for all that dogs actually prefer to live in squalor. Little shithead. He was hanging out on my bed chewing up some foam thing today, too. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

In other bloggish news, my virus, in its latest incarnation, has morphed into a classic head cold. I seem to have caught a mutant X men morphing virus; I've basically been sick for the whole goddamn month, but I never get the same symptom twice. It's because of the being good thing - when you smoke & drink a lot, viruses are afraid to enter your body. They know the toxicity level is too high for them to survive. Then you get healthy and lo, the viruses are all like, "Awesome! We can raise a family in this lovely, healthy, pure environment." Yet another reason why it just doesn't pay to be good.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Project 365 #1

I lay on the couch today, getting up only to eat more collards & hoppin' john and to get the camera. I did take a series of collard macro still lives which I was planning to use as today's picture, but they're too artsy fartsy and today was much more a day lived in the true spirit and nature and name of this blog, if you get my drift. Mmmmm hmmmm, nothing like 4 or 5 PBRS quickly followed by waaaaaaaay too much champagne, pink and otherwise. Happy hungover new year. Thanks to S for a lovely party and also bless her for coming by to return my cel phone this morning. She stopped by while I was watching MST3K do Teenagers from Outer Space and we both nearly died laughing: "Find me a man of surgery to extract the metal pellets from my flesh!" Ah lazy hungover days are not all bad.