Friday, December 28, 2007

Ciao Again, Y'all

I'm out of town again - yes, I know, this is playing havoc with my blogging. Sorry about that. No, not really. I'm having fun, so, well, uh, tough. Y'all will just have to deal. Anyway, this afternoon I'm dashing off to Charleston and thence to Baltimore and I probably, gods willing and the creek don't rise, won't be back to Asheville and my computer until like next weekend. In the meantime, here are a few Asheville downtown notes from this morning's copious intake of coffee to keep you occupied.

Boob Cam at Asheville Savings Bank! Okay, I noticed this months ago and have never been sure exactly what to do about it - gently notify the bank or just revel in the schadenfreude? Let's go with revelling: the drive through at the downtown branch of Asheville Savings (yeah, there is one; it's in the parking lot behind the bank off the alley; it took me 7 years to find the damn thing but I swear it exists) has this nifty device whereby, since there is no window, you actually speak with a real time video image of your teller as you do your banking. This is pretty cool. What is even cooller, or possibly extremely uncool, depending on how you want to look at it, is that the camera is pointed straight at your teller's chest except when she bends down to speak directly to you. The tellers are, of course, 90% female. I can't believe they've never noticed it and I've always wondered if it was some goofy camera installer's idea of a joke but there it is: Boob Cam at the bank!

Scary Mannequin Has New Scary Clothes! There's a mannequin at Bellagio Everyday on Biltmore Avenue who scares the bejesus out of me. She is white - well, they're all white, like chalky postmodern titanium ghost white - and her feet have built in heels, which is just creepy, and her face is evil in that sneery mannequin way and, the worst part, her hands are held up in a kind of claw like gesture so that it is all too easy to imagine her stepping out of that window one fine night and eviscerating a passer by with her long white fingernails. I fear her. She's the one who was holding up the Christmas lights, which made her no less frightening, since it looked like she was about to happily strangle you with them, but now she has put down her lights and put on a pair of totally psycho black parachute pants like a crazed jewel thief from a bad 80s movie. It was awful enough when she was dressed in the gorgeous albeit unaffordable clothes that Bellagio usually features because at least you were going to be supernaturally killed by a beautifully dressed creature of evil but in those pants? Aaaaiiiiiiiieeeeeee!!!

And that's it for today. Enjoy your New Years Eve, y'all, and remember it is Amateur Night par extraordinaire, therefore, behave accordingly. Happy End of the Fucking Holidays At Last! See You Next Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

sunset from the car

sunset from the car
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I'm ready for the holidays to be over, I think. Tomorrow after work I'm hopping in the car and heading to Charleston, and then on Saturday M & I are getting into his car, which is newer and has a real CD player as opposed to one that plugs into the tape deck and has to be held carefully on the passenger's lap lest it begin to skip, and driving up to Baltimore, hon. For like four or five days. Young M is staying behind with his sister and the dogs and I'm all a bit kerfuffled with trying to get ready and the house being a total mess and, you know, the whole thing. I recognize that it is stupid to clean up before carloads of teenagers arrive to lie around watching TV for a week, but I can't help it.

My friend K brought me a truckload of wood this morning, though! Yay! This was very, very kind of her and now that I have sort of recovered from the initial shock of how fast that antique oil furnace burns oil, I'm determined to mostly heat with wood for the rest of the winter. The house has a "fireplace insert", which is a sort of 80s invention that combines the worst elements of an open fire - it doesn't heat much - with those of a woodstove - you can't see the fire. Actually, though, it does pretty much work as long as you do it properly, which means keeping the incredibly noisy fan plugged in and working and the metal doors shut. I haven't been using it properly - let's face it, I've been using it as a large and gloriously crackling ashtray, actually - but that is all going to change. And I'm going to put plastic up over all the windows and blankets as well for that full cave look. You do what you gotta do, and I'm damned if I'm buying more oil.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

project 365 #356: decorations

Well, thank the gods the holiday season is winding to a close. It was a nice Christmas and we all had a lovely time, but going back to work today was tough. And then there's the obligatory Christmas season week long hangover, the mess at home, the exhaustion, and the horrible realization at 8:00 this morning that you have no heat and that means that you will have to give ALL your Christmas money, which you've been waiting for all month, planning to buy yourself some new contact lenses or, hell, I don't know, a loaf of bread or something similarly selfish, to the oil company. Furthermore, you also realize that this means that this new house & furnace are in fact WORSE at conserving energy than your old house & furnace, something you would have previously thought impossible. And that in turn means that it's going to be a long, cold winter. Really cold. I can't afford to buy more oil for several months, so, well, I guess the thermostat goes to 50 and stays there. Bah humbug, Santa, why didn't you bring me oil?

Actually it was a lovely day; young M gave me beautiful Ganesh earrings and A gave me a collaged box & tiles, all very very cool and that she made, M gave me a swarovski crystal necklace, my mother gave me a black twin set which is oh so Jackie Kennedy, yeah, and my brother gave me a gift certificate to Karmasonics, while my other brother gave me a pack of Carl Buddig turkey coldcuts. We had roast beef & yorkshire pudding for dinner at my mothers, followed by my traditional 92 proof trifle and then A & I came along home and sat around the fire for half the night. M had to go back to Charleston, which is sad, but I'll be seeing him again in 3 days, hurrah.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gettin' Our Christmas On

The tree is about half trimmed; the kids are out shopping; M & I are drinking bloody marys and getting ready for people to come over and it just feels all Holiday like. My brother N is in town and we all went out to dinner last night at Mela, which was amazing. And, the best part, I just downloaded a shitload of awesome christmas music from here and you can too. This is the real stuff, too, y'all, none of that annoying Christmas music like if you hear Santa Baby one more time you're going to shoot somebody.

The shopping is basically done - it has to be, for my bank account is now basically empty. Yesterday we went on up to Bat Cave to see D & A & R; D has an amazingly strange and beautiful Christmas tree up and A has made a giant terrifying rope swing. He gave us a chainsaw bear! I am so thrilled! I have been wanting a chainsaw bear for the longest time and now I have one in my front yard even if young M, who longs for normalcy, says that it's haggard. It is fabulous and A is going to come over sometime soon with a torch and finish it so it's all appropriately blackened.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that stuff - things are awesome here and I hope they are with you as well!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

red star light

red star light
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
No internet at work ALL DAY today - it's shocking how much I got done. I am having a little party on Sunday, y'all; the whole family is in town and so they will be there and I have gone ahead and invited a whole bunch of people as well. If you did not get an invitation and you want to come, leave a comment or email me!

S is back from her trip to Australia and we are all waiting with bated breath to find out all the details and how it went and so on. To that end I am very shortly heading over to her house and then we're all - that whole old gang o' mine, to resurrect antique slang such as you might hear in a black and white Christmas movie where at any minute the guy and the broad are about to gather around the piano in the ski lodge and begin to sing carols - going out to dinner at the new restaurant in West Asheville, the Admiral. Although why, in Asheville, which is far from the madding sea, or at least it is right now although give global warming a little more time and Tryon will have beachfront property, you would call a restaurant the Admiral and not the General or the Colonel Major or something, I do not know. But I hear it is good and so thence am I shortly bound. Speaking of new restaurants, the food at Tolliver's Crossing is actually really good. I did not expect it to be but it was awesome AND they let you smoke in there after 9 pm which makes me oh so very, very happy. I'm tired of freezing to death while I'm doing my level best to get cancer.

Wahoo! The holidays begin, now!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One of Those Days

I am not having a good day. Young M missed the schoolbus for the second day in a row and I did not take it well. When young M misses the bus, one of us is going to be 45 minutes late and we take it in turns. Today was his day to be on time, since yesterday was mine. No, there is nothing that can be done about this equation unless somebody wants to buy us a helicopter, which would come in handy for a whole bunch of stuff, actually, so yeah, go ahead and add the helicopter to the Amazon wishlist. Then at work I had scanner troubles and then, when I got home, I discovered that Django, who is in his second day (he got back into the palm tree yesterday) of another outburst of total destruction had pretty much finished off the couch. He completely destroyed one of the cushions. I just got finished gathering up all the bits of foam and stuffing, stuffing it all into a roughly cushion shaped pile, digging out some fabric I had stashed away, wrapping it around the pile of foam like a fucking Christmas present from a demented crackhead North Pole elf and then duct taping the whole shebang into something that, apologies to Douglas Adams, is almost but not quite entirely unlike a couch cushion.

I know, I should either get rid of the fucking dog or stop whining about him, one or the other - but jesus. And meanwhile, the Christmas tree would look a whole lot better if it wasn't being displayed in a partially disassembled lawnmower box, which I have rigged so that it can be reassembled into a tall and, one hopes, daunting tree obstacle. I mean it's attractive, you know, and it will only get better when I go berserk and wrap the box in Christmas paper which will take Django about 30 seconds to demolish.

Not only that, but the damn duct tape was soaked with cough syrup. I discovered that the other day when I was fortunately in a much better mood than I am right now and it made me laugh helplessly. When we were all sick I put all the sick supplies - three or four kinds of cough syrup, ibuprofen, sudafed, lozenges, kleenex, vicks - onto a plastic tray on top of the refrigerator. Naturally the duct tape went there too. Anyway, what I failed to notice is that one of the cough syrup bottles' lid was loose and then, of course, the inevitable had happened. No one had noticed it until I tried to pick up the duct tape and it came away from the tray slowly, trailing streamers of half solidified and highly medicinal smelling red goo. M was on the phone with me at the time and he tried to reassure me that that kind of thing would soon no longer be a part of my life. I felt bad but I had to be honest. "That's sweet," I said, "But I'm afraid there's nothing you can do. My life went to entropy long ago and there will always, always be cough syrup on the duct tape. I am the chosen avatar of chaos in West Asheville." There was a moment of silence and I thought, drat, that will scare him off. But M, thank the gods, is made of sterner stuff and he doesn't frighten easily. "Well," he said, "We'll deal with it then." Thank the gods that I have finally found a man who says cheerfully, "We just won't buy any furniture until the dogs are grown up!" It is a miracle.

And so we will deal with it, because I have come up with this plan where all we need to do is construct large plywood and/or plexiglass boxes to fit every single thing in the house. They will hang from the ceiling when we're home and when we leave we will flick a switch and and they will descend (creating a very interesting design statement) and everything in the house will be crated, safe from the dog of doom until we get back. M thinks that maybe we can get grant money for this and he swears that Django will be better when he's 2 and a half, which is about a year or a little more away. And I think he's right, although as S points out, Django is the only thing on this earth that I feel optimistic about, right in the pointed teeth of the evidence. Except now I feel optimistic about M too and that's excellent.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

dogs dont care about xmas

dogs dont care about xmas
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
In the spirit of wild holiday energy, I went to the river this morning with two dogs, two Santa hats, two leashes, a pocket full of milkbones and a partridge in a pear tree. I had this brilliant idea where the dogs would either wear the Santa hats or they would hold them in their mouths and do cute things with the lovely frosty icy river morning in the background and then I would make incredibly adorable holiday cards with the resulting works of photographic genius.

Yes. Well, best laid plans of mice and men and all that. I should have either soaked the hats in bacon grease or sewn elastic bands on them or maybe just cut out the middle thread and sewn them directly to the dogs. Django obligingly grabbed the hats and ran but he kept dropping them in icy puddles before I got a decent shot and Theo, clearly feeling that that the whole Santa hat thing was below his dignity, ignored them completely no matter how much I cajoled. "You won't be in the holiday cards if you don't hold the hat!" I said threateningly but it turned out he was okay with that.

And then they flushed a deer - a buck, a big buck with antlers and everything - out of the woods. That was beautiful and terrifying, because at first I thought that the deer and the dogs were all going to charge up onto I-40 which would, you know, sort of wreck the holidays for everyone, particularly the deer, but instead the deer broke out onto the field with the dogs in hot, if somewhat confused (they've never, to my knowledge, actually encountered a deer before) pursuit. The deer booked across the little road and into the woods across Hominy Creek, where Theo stopped, because it was after all 24 degrees or something and Theo is not without a modicum of sense. Django charged on through the water and came back frozen again, but being covered with ice doesn't seem to faze him one iota. He just shakes the worst of the hoarfrost off now and then with a small clatter of icicles and keeps on running.
nativity scene
In other holiday news, though, I got my nativity scene out and set up on the good red Christmas tablecloth and it looks all pretty and makes me feel super Christmasy. Tonight I'm going to go get a tree and I have a whole ham, courtesy of my mother and the Meals on Wheels people, sitting in the back of my car. Along with the holiday cards, featuring mostly Django in motion, which actually turned out really well for the most part and, by the way, I love Kinkos forever. Even though, yeah, I have turned into one of those middle aged women who has pictures of her dogs on her holiday cards, which is kind of terrifying, but then we all knew it was coming and, let's face it, young M would rather face a firing squad than the prospect of a family Christmas photo. Sort of like Theo.

Monday, December 17, 2007

felicity and the folly lighthouse

I'm back. It was another incredible, amazing weekend. Do y'all want to hear me get all soppy and talk about love and happiness and joy and all that kinda stuff? No, I thought not. I could, though! I really could! Y'all, he brought me roses on Sunday morning! We went for an early morning walk on the beach! Everything was totally fantastic! He even liked the dinosaur poster I gave him! And I'm all in love and shit! Okay, I'm stopping now. I promise.

To return to our regularly scheduled blog of darkness and dog stories, I must report that it's a little shattering to go walking on Folly Beach on Sunday morning in just a light jacket and then drive up to Asheville on Sunday afternoon. Right around Spartanburg I had to change from my Charleston jacket to my Asheville coat and then by the time I got home, it was snowing. It was twenty fucking three degrees this morning when I took the dogs to the river and the water started freezing on Django's back when he came out of the creek. That was really weird - if you've never seen a springer spaniel with icicles forming on his fur, you've - well, never seen it, I guess. Pretty strange and it didn't bother Django a bit. Sometimes I think I must be mad trying to get M to move here, where it is cold, when we could live in Charleston, where it is not. Then I remember that this argument could be oh so easily reversed in June.

In other news, I think I'm going to go get a Christmas tree this evening. I was going to wait for M to get here on Friday night so we could go pick one out together on Saturday and decorate it together and stuff (cue goopy romantic music here, yeah, I know, I can't help it) but then I panicked about not having a tree yet. My cold is mostly gone and I'm getting serious about the holidays. I wish there was some kind of list somewhere, oh, like the paper maybe, (ha ha! What a laff riot! Like the local paper would do something so staggeringly useful!) of Christmas tree lots and who's selling them for charity and where. In Baltimore I used to buy trees that benefited the eye bank, which was actually kind of creepy, because I could never help wondering if maybe someone's eye had been poked out by their tree and that's why they hit on that as a fundraiser. Of course, I also thought it would be totally cool if they decorated a whole tree with eyeballs as a sign, but whatever. Here, though, I've never found any tree stands for charity, except for a couple of blatantly Christian ones and as we know, since Jesus and I have a strict non-interference policy, I'm contractually obliged to avoid the real serious born again types. Not that I feel strongly about that (yeah I do, but I'm not going there and I just deleted some extraneous cussing, even) and actually, I do buy pumpkins from the Methodists, but then the Methodists seem a bit, well, saner than some. However, I guess if I'm buying a tree from anyone at all I'm sort of supporting a small tree farmer, which is charitable and oh well, what the hell. I'll probably go get one from that lady in my neighborhood who gets them from her cousin in Madison County.

Friday, December 14, 2007

french broad river morning

french broad river morning
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Ciao, y'all. I'm off to Charleston after a completely insane Friday morning that involved speaking with way too many Sprint representatives and the final end purchase of a throw away GO phone for young M so he won't be home alone without phone. Life was simpler in the early days. When I was 16, in addition to walking to school 5 miles uphill in the snow, I lived by myself in Spain with no telephone of any kind. I really did. And nobody worried about me (my parents were, I think, delighted to have me far, far away) and I didn't even worry about myself except for the nights when I lay there awake thinking that there were serial killers disguised as sheep (I lived, basically, in the middle of a sheep pasture) sneaking around my windows until finally the panic would wind down and I would realize that serial killers never go to the trouble of dressing up like sheep, scuffling and baaaing their way around your windows for 2 hours before they climb through the window with the axe. They just come in and kill you straight off without the whole bovine charade. Then I would feel better and go back to sleep and in the morning continue with my highly unsuitable life for a teenager which involved, mostly, cafes, discos and babysitting, not in that order, and I was pretty much completely happy. So I think young M can get through one Saturday night on his own.

Anyway, despite the fact that apparently I need to sign up for a course called Garter Belts 101, since I'm having near tragic lingerie failures every 20 minutes today, everything is groovy and I'm off down 26. See you Sunday or Monday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I had to add to my drug collection this morning. I carry around a battered Altoids tin full of drugs at all times: aspirin, ibuprofen, sudafed, some green pill in foil that I think is an antacid or something and one lone Clonopin that I probably will never take, but its presence alone relieves my panic attacks. For years I had two Xanax in there serving the same purpose but I finally had to give them away; fortunately, before I got busted for possession of Xanax that I was afraid to actually take. Altoids tins are not hermetically sealed and are no match for the tobacco flakes and fuzz that live in the bottom of my purse, so eventually, all the pills in there begin to look the same and take on the same dusty, faintly menacing air. This morning, I was out of ibuprofen and down to a few aspirin tablets that started out life pearly white and now are a sort of unsettling gray. If your headache is bad enough, though, you don't care about the crumbling black aspirin. Hell, a bad enough headache can make you snort a Goody's powder, although I personally have not done this since high school and, while I lived through it, I don't recommend the experience. Which, come to think of it, applies to a whole hell of a lot of my high school experiences. It's probably for the best that I don't ask young M for too many details.

I have a big jar of ibuprofen in my bathroom, thanks to my mother's neighbor who, alas, seems to be succumbing to the same evil, horrible disease that's going to take Terry Pratchett away from us. She came out one day when I was over at my mom's and solemnly handed me a brown paper shopping bag full of half empty toiletries & medicine bottles. "Um, thanks?" I said, since I'm never sure what to say when elderly people you don't know all that well are handing you extremely strange gifts. "They keep leaving them around my house," she solemnly confided, "I'm sure they mean well, but I don't need these things! I thought you should have them!" Yeah. Totally. That would follow.

Turns out that I got half a big bottle of generic ibuprofen, some toothpaste and a mega jar of Ponds cold cream, slightly scooped. There may have been some other things in there but I've fortunately managed to burn that specific memory linked brain cell with an aspirin overdose or something. I haven't touched the cold cream yet and the ibuprofen, I found out this morning, is blue. Yes, blue. All other ibuprofen in the world is brick red and round, but this ibuprofen is blue and translucent and I don't believe in it. Maybe they really did leave it in her house and I mean that in the worst sense of the word they that there is, as in, you know, them.

In other news, young M tried to use the microwave at the same time as the dishwasher last night, which inevitably sends the house into hysterics that it demonstrates by promptly turning off half - and a fairly random half at that - of the electricity. We got it working again, after two candle lit (the dog ate all the flashlights, of course. Why do you even ask?) trips to the scary cellar. I got a bit upset by the whole process, including the rediscovery of the sad fate of the flashlights and after it was over, young M said to me, "That wasn't that bad. God, Mom, I bet you've done way worse things than that in your life. The way you were acting, you'd think going to the basement was a trip to Mordor or something. Geeze." Yeah, okay, kid has a point. But the basement has a lot in common with Mordor, I swear.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dog Story

theo swimming
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This morning, like every morning (what are we going to do tonight, Brain? Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!) I took the dogs to the park-whose-name-I-won't-disclose by the river so they could run happily leash free and I could wander along in a sleepy, sinusitis daze and occasionally take mediocre photographs. One morning, not long ago, there were geese in the river and occasionally, there are ducks. These are mornings of Great Importance to the dogs, particularly Theo, who is smart enough to notice and frantically bark at waterfowl. Django pretty much thinks everything is his friend if he even notices it at all, but mostly, he's oblivious, or, if we want to put the zen spin on it, all things, from geese to grassblades, are as one thing to him. He doesn't prioritize. Come to think of it, Django and I are not unalike; there are mornings when a squad of polar bears in full body armor flanked by herons with trumpets could pass me in the park and I wouldn't even see them.

Anyway, this morning was duck free, but there was a roughly duck sized chunk of white foam floating down the river. Chunk may be the wrong word here but you know what I mean - those lumps of foam that happen on rivers and at the beach. I don't know if they're some kind of evil scary industrial detergent pollution or the gentle to be reverenced effluvia of Mother Nature but Theo has evidently decided that they are Dangerous and Must Be Stopped, or maybe that they are ducks.

So he started barking like a complete lunatic and chasing the foam, which was moving at a pretty good clip, down the riverbank. This cracked me up. I tried to explain that the foam was not a duck, employing the same conversational English I usually use with the dogs, to wit: "Dude! Theo, man, that is SO not a duck. It's, like, foam." (I don't know why I assume my dogs are stoners and thus use the requisite language but, well, there you have it. ) Theo ignored me so I started throwing stones at the foam to break it up. It turns out my aim with a stone has deteriorated in the last 30 years or so, or, possibly, I was never all that good. I winged it once (Wung it?) but it had no effect on the foam or on Theo who at this point was in the grip of an epic obsessive madness.

Theo has never liked water. When we're out hiking he usually tries to keep his delicate collie paws dry and he complains if we even have to cross a stream. He'll wade occasionally but generally, Theo is not a big river fan. Now, Django's total obliviousness extends to water - if he notices it, he likes it and he goes dashing in. Usually, you can see Theo making faces of disdain while Django's happily splashing away. So this morning's performance was unprecedented: I've never seen Theo ever get that close to the river before and he was going nuts scrambling up and down the banks and along the shore, barking all the time.

The current swung the foam in closer to the bank and Theo, at that point hysterically barking on a log, dove in. HE SWAM. He's never swum before! He swam out to that foam and by god he BIT IT really hard and I mean with confidence and vigor, like, CLONK. The foam broke into pieces and Theo, looking slightly confused but with a general mission accomplished air, swam back. Django, who has never actually swum either, was meanwhile freaking out all over the place, unable to decide whether he should bark, run in circles, jump on Theo, jump on me, just jump or what. He settled on doing all of that simultaneously while Theo shook off and got in a last few barks in case there was more foam where that came from. It was brilliant and completely hilarious. It was slightly less brilliant 20 minutes later when I was loading two totally soaked (Django always gets totally soaked. He doesn't even have to swim. It's just one of those mysteries.) dogs into the car but the whole adventure was so awesome, I didn't even care. Theo can swim! Who knew!?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

puffball emerging

puffball emerging
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Early this morning when I was walking the dogs (and adding to this Flickr set of fog pictures - I do love me some fog) I saw some mushrooms being born. This puffball and three or four of his siblings were just coming out of the earth. It was kind of awesome; I could tell that they hadn't been there moments before and then, prompted by the fog or the morning or some mysterious mushroom signals from deep in the dirt, they were making their way up. None of them were much bigger than my thumb. The dogs squashed one, of course, but that's nature for you - drooling in tooth and squashed by paws.

I'm wearing a broken mood ring today. I guess that means I'm confused but actually I like mood rings when they break - they turn a sort of metallic green/brown color that I think is actually prettier than the more strident tones that announce to the world Hey! I'm passionate! or, more accurately, Hey! My hands are warm! Mood rings are wonderful, though and I am the proud owner, due to years of working in museums with gift shops, of many. They all turn my finger green if I wear them too long; this is the nature of mood rings. It has to be that way - they're only for training purposes. You must learn how to tell your moods apart without the ring, grasshopper, or your finger will turn green.

In other news, my head is still totally congested and I think perhaps it is time to turn to the hippies. Speak to me of this thing called a Neti Pot, oh hippies. What the hell is it, where do I get one, how much will it cost me and, please, will it work? I'm tired of the buzzing in my ears, the constant headache and we won't even go into the sad state of my nose. Sudafed isn't working anymore and even if it was, I can't buy any more for another month or something. My cold has become suspect; young M and I have done enough sudafed over the last two months to make us meth lab suspects. Although if anyone starting up a meth lab is also going to the trouble of buying cough syrup and nyquil and box upon box of kleenex, I say give them an Oscar and let them cook speed. Unfortunately, this is not how the ladies in the drugstore, to whom sudafed is second only to crack in the suspect substances department, seem to view it. I'm tired of having my driver's license scrutinized. And even more tired of having my sinuses stopped up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

project 365 #342: happy fog dogs

I've really been letting Project 365 go down the tubes and it's time for me to speak firmly to myself about it. I mean, for chrissakes, there's only 21 days left in the year: how hard can it be for me to finish it out? Apparently pretty hard - I'm even resorting to cheating, whereby this terrible picture of my so far very lame start at decorating for the holidays was actually taken Saturday night, not Sunday, but I'm counting it as Sunday's picture. Otherwise, I'd have to admit that I spent Sunday in bed with the worst hangover I've had in ages and ages.

It turns out that if you've been sick with a terrible cold for 5 days and then you get lonely and miserable and bored and fed up and decide to get your friend J to come over and drink a bunch of vodka mixed with spicy V8 juice on the theory that spicy V8 juice is good for colds and vodka is good for your (Russian, angst-filled) soul and you simultaneously, while coming up with this feat of reasoning, manage to forget that due to the cold you basically haven't eaten anything except half a peanut butter sandwich for like 48 hours, well, you will pay, my friend. Pay. Big time. Turns out that a bad enough hangover can make you forget your cold for a while, though - but I do not recommend this method of cold forgetting. Anyway, the day after the hangover the cold is right back here with me. It's just one of those lose/lose situations that you would think I would have figured out by now.

So I'm hopelessly behind on all my holiday shopping and decorating and knitting and projects and cards and, yeah, pretty much all things holiday, not to mention those nagging day to day details like cleaning the house and paying the bills. Yet somehow, I have finally achieved pure zen detachment and I don't give a flying fuck. I'm going to Charleston next weekend, y'all, and that's enough to make me happy and you know what? We'll all muddle through Christmas somehow or other even if we never even get around to putting up a tree. Christmas, like shit, happens, and I think it's all okay.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

happy birthday young M!

happy birthday miles
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It's been 16 years since that Sunday I woke up at 6:00 am from a dream of three of my strong women friends - D and C and S - and told my then husband that the baby was coming. "What, again?" he replied tiredly and rolled over and went back to sleep. Okay, I did have kind of a lot of false labor.

Later that day, though, after the fizzy pink wine prescribed by the midwife, I did actually have a 10 pound baby boy. Now he's over 6 feet tall, skinny and handsome and, when he bothers, totally wonderful to be around. He shall not be blogged about, I know. But today is his birthday - 11 years to the day after John Lennon died! How about that, Dalai Lama?! - and so I got him some suitable gifts, as pictured here. And some money, which is all he wanted and which, combined with gifts from doting grandmothers, has created a teenager who's richer than I am. Perfect Christmas timing - I, the mother, am dropping heavy hints about a certain jet bead necklace in the window of the cool little store on Biltmore Avenue. (Actually, I would like to drop that hint in everyone's mind. 3 strands of jet beads on black chain. Should be mine. Really, it should.)

In other news, I'm still groggy from the cold and the cold medicine and I'm really getting tired of being tired. Not to gross you out or anything (severe grossness warning!) but I can't believe that any one human being could possibly produce this much mucus. I mean, jesus, what have I, cornered the world market or something? Isn't there a medium sized country out there that is finding itself suddenly mucus free? Stupid cold.

Also, I just read a Spider Robinson book, Callahan's Key and while it's frankly awful, as are all Spider Robinson books, it still made me weirdly happy. It's good to read things that are upbeat and not very taxing on the brain while you're sick. In this book, the gang from Callahan's Place (if you have read these books, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, don't bother, really, unless you like bad puns, bad writing and, oh hell, I don't know, a certain charming joie de vivre that I somehow can't resist even while I sit there thinking "Why am I reading this total dreck?") migrates to Key West. They wax enthusiastic about Key West which means, probably, that the next Callahan book will be set in Asheville. It's the inevitable progression - everyone who used to like Key West is here now, and of course, they were followed by the sharks who drove them out of there and are now doing their level best to drive us out of here. Sigh.

But today is not a day for sadness or class warfare (except inasmuch as every day is a day for class warfare, rise up, eat the rich!) no, today is the day when we pause briefly and think, holy SHIT. Fliss has a 16 year old son! She's OLD! And, oh my god, the next few years are going to be hair raising - too hair raising for such an old person. That cave in Tibet sounds better all the time.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sort of Back

I went back to work today. I feel better than I did yesterday, but that's not really saying very much. I'm still coughing and sniffling and sneezing and blowing my nose way more than any one human ever should in an average lifetime, let alone an hour. However, I went to the liquor store, spent too much money and I just finished a giant hot toddy made with Jamesons, hot water, honey and lime juice. It is giant because I made it in the Folly Beach souvenir pirate mug that until recently held pencils in young M's room - using it for drinks turns out to be the silver lining to this damn cold, since young M decided to rescue and wash it rather than go through 3 normal sized mugs of echinacea tea every two hours or so. Not, forgive me Asheville hippies, that the tea is doing shit. Although there's something to be said for just holding a warm mug, there is that.

The liquor store didn't have any of the holiday boxes of Jamesons. I buy a bottle once a year, in December, and every year I enjoy my free holiday gift of completely useless and inscrutable Jamesons brand bar utensils. Or coasters. One year they gave me coasters, in a nifty somewhat Jetsons-esque rack. This year, the liquor store man (the Asheville liquor store people are the nicest retail employees in North Carolina. Maybe they get paid very well. Or maybe they're toasted, who knows? Anyway, I love them all - they're even nice when you're frazzled, moving and just getting boxes.) said they hadn't come in yet. I thought about therefore not buying my yearly bottle yet, but caved to the cold, which was screaming for hot whiskey. Also, there was a freebie mini bottle of something that looked quite disgusting attached to the neck of the Jamesons, so hey, why not? It turns out to be, of all godawful things, some kind of honey bourbon liqueur - eww. But it was free and mini bottles are fast becoming a novelty, what with South Carolina giving them up and all. I used to always imagine a tiny gnome passed out in the gutter, hand wrapped around a half empty mini bottle, pointed hat askew, but soon that fantasy must be laid to rest. God speed, mini bottles! So I put it in my purse for emergencies, which made me feel badass. I'm not super clear on which emergencies are going to require a mini bottle of honey bourbon liqueur, but I'm confident that I'll know them when they appear.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

project 365 #338: ducks

project 365 #338: ducks
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I'm really sick this time. Sick as in there's a small mountain of kleenex next to my bed; I'm sitting here at home wearing my bathrobe and momentarily I'm going to retreat to my kleenex and my bed. Sick as in I can't stop coughing or sneezing or blowing my nose and sleep is hard since my nose keeps running and I keep on having bizarre dreams that wake me up. Yesterday, I managed to walk the dogs between sneezes, which is where we saw these ducks, but then I came home and didn't make it to work or anywhere else. Today, I feel worse than yesterday. And GOD DAMN IT I was going to go to Charleston this weekend to help M move from one apartment to another and now the chances of that have become vanishingly slim. The only good thing about that is that since I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving weekend, he probably didn't catch this plague.

Sometimes I think that if you feel like you're getting sick, as I did all last week, you shouldn't even bother with the vitamins and the echinacea and stuff, because all it does is put off the inevitable bad cold. And this is the worst cold I've had in a long time. Argh. To top it off, I have nothing to read. I'm going to have to venture out; there's no other way. However. If you would like to find out what your daemon is, you can do that here: just go over to the daemons link after it loads. Mine is Clitus the Ocelot (yeah, Cletus, the slack jawed ocelot, no doubt) and it said it would send me pretty code to give you a pretty picture, but I have not gotten it, so oh well. What the hell. I wouldn't mind an ocelot daemon at all. He could go get me more kleenex.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sticky Money

My cold has gotten worse again and this has gotten horribly old. I am attempting, with limited success, to ignore it. In the interests of this ignorance, I stopped by the Westville last night to have a couple of drinks with my friend S since she is leaving for Australia today (Yowza! Good luck S! It's all very exciting!) and in the interests of my cold I decided to forgo the PBR and have, instead, a hot toddy. The bar was packed and I was standing by someone's temporarily abandoned stool to order my toddy, which came in short order: a coffee mug full to the brim of hot water, whiskey, a spoon and a large lemon slice. The giant jug of honey came next so that I could add my own. Then I got my change back and at the same time the person whose barstool I was usurping also returned and glowered at me a bit.

I am a polite soul so I hastened to take my toddy and honey and spoon and money and purse and coat and hat and scarf and whatever the fuck else I was carrying since I never seem to have my hands free no matter what down the bar or to another table altogether. Somehow or other, because I am me, during the course of all this motion I managed to get honey on pretty much everything. And everywhere. And by everything and everywhere, yes, I mean my hair and my scarf and the bar and the handle of my spoon and, worst of all, my money. My $4 change suddenly got coated with honey and even as I stuffed the sticky bills into my wallet, thereby smearing my wallet with honey and stuffed my honeyed wallet into my purse, with predictable results, I thought, oh god, I'm never going to be able to spend that $4, am I? And then S came in and laughed at my honey smeared helpless self and I decided just to leave my wallet sticky and hope that ant eaters or magic bees or something would take care of it overnight.

This morning at the post office, I fortunately got one of my favorite clerks, who recites all your options and questions in a fast monotone like this "anything-in-this-package-hazardous-inflammable-explosive-chemical-illegal , do-you-want-insurance-confirmation-registration-extra-postage-fuzzy wuzzy?" And you say, "What?" and he says, with a sly smile, "Fuzzy wuzzy?" while pointing to one of those stuffed toys the post office sells since they stopped being, you know, a federal agency and became a gifte shoppe. This is the same clerk who invited me to join him and his buddies for poker one time last summer and I love him to death since he doesn't take the post office too seriously, thank the gods. So I handed him my sticky money, without saying a thing. He started trying to count it and then looked at me sort of horrified. "Um, " I said, "It's just honey. Don't ask." and then he cracked up and I cracked up and I left and so, if you get sticky money at the Asheville Post Office as your change, that would be why.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Here it is Monday again and not only did I not even write a blog post all weekend, I totally forgot to take a picture of the day yesterday. That's the second time in three weeks I've spaced it out, which is ironic (in the purest Alanis Morrisette sense only, I know) given that the damn year is nearly over and I got this far forgetting only once before but now I cannot seem to remember to whip out the camera and take some banal picture each day. Love is bad for me - well. No, actually, love is awesome for me but it does tend to wonderfully focus my mind elsewhere than on blog and picture projects. Nowadays, I just tell M all the stuff that I used to tell my blog. Pity him. The man gets like 7 stream of consciousness emails a day.

Also, I worked all day Saturday and then went out Saturday night. This is a drag, because it means that my house is a mess and I have no holiday decorations up at all. One day weekends are tough: it's hard to fit all one's weekend lying about doing nothing needs with errands and chores so, naturally, the lying about stuff gets precedence. And the cold that never ends has come up with a new iteration: the sore throat is back, scratchier than ever and accompanied by the sniffles. This cold is getting ridiculous: we all have it and it just never, ever goes away. It never gets unbearably hideously bad, either, except for poor young M, but it never leaves. Maybe it's some kind of perpetual, endless, postmodern global warming cold and we will all feel like this forever. In that case, I demand more and stronger drugs.

I went shopping yesterday and am dismayed to report that I have spent almost half my laboriously saved Christmas money on, basically, nothing. Except yarn. I bought a bunch of yarn in the happy expectation of pretty much knitting everything anyone wants - here's your knitted ipod, kids! Knitted Wii! - without quite calculating in the time that this is going to take. Essentially, I think I need to knit 24/7 from now to Christmas and I can see that might sort of irritate my boss. Hmm. It is a conundrum.