Friday, February 29, 2008

weimeraner at dawn

weimeraner at dawn
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
M's sister R is visiting from Baltimore with Spud, the Wonder Weimeraner. Spud is a Large Dog and I must say, it's fascinating how adding 80 odd pounds of canine to a small house that already contains roughly 100 pounds of dog can sort of fill up all the available space. So far, the dogs are getting along fine, although Django wants Spud to play continuously like Mojo does when he comes over and Spud, who is a grownup, not a kid like Django and Mojo, just isn't all that into it. So occasionally he gets fed up and snaps at Django, which makes Django yelp in horror, which in turn makes Theo look up from his couch and say, "Do. Not. Fuck. With. My. Brother." That makes everyone nervous since Theo, as we all, canine and human, know, is not 100% there. He can't help it - he's just a little creepy, Jim Morrison reincarnated, longhaired freaky neurotic needy collie dog - so it had never occurred to me before that he might get protective of Django's feelings. I would have thought he'd be more likely to respond with cruel laughter and a complete refusal to take sides. Then, even at the park, there's the problem with his social skills: Theo likes to play by making snarling noises while wagging his tail and jumping from side to side (I told you he was strange) which confuses all dogs utterly (except Django, who's used to it) and tends to make them slink away. Sort of the same way humans slink away when confronted with that guy on the bus who wants to talk about the imminent alien invasion. It's hard when your dog is that guy.

Young M has bronchitis - hopefully it's just bronchitis - and has to take antibiotics. He's still coughing and still refusing to do anything that might remotely be construed as taking care of himself, such as sleeping more, drinking more water or staying home wrapped in blankets. A is sniffling and coughing all over not only my home computer but my work computer (she swears she's fine, though) and so I'm getting all hypochondriac again. It used to be I had to read a list of symptoms before I developed them but lately, I swear, all I have to do is see them or hear about them and hey presto, I have six different kinds of flu and a nasty stomach bug that's going around Portland, Oregon. Not that any of them are all that bad, and not that they don't miraculously disappear usually when I get home and have a beer, but still, I think I need to adjust this paradigm.

M will be here tonight, hurrah! Let's hope the weather's nice tomorrow so we can take all these dogs for a nice long hike and tire them out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


You would have thought it was spring at the river this morning, if, that is, you ignored the 12 degree temperature, the snow on the ground and the snow gently wafting down from the sky. There were, however, not just one but TWO herons there, the usual two geese and three or four fat, unhappy robins pecking around morosely in the snow. Very springlike and all. Chauceresque - lude sing, well, nothing, really, was singing, ludely or otherwise, but goddamnit, they were there, those avian harbingers of warmer weather. Did I get pictures of any of them? Of course not; are you mad? It's hard to take pictures of unexpected, moving birds with mittens on.

I have threaded the bobbin and cleaned up the house and now I must recommence Operation Couch Recovery. Thank the gods for S and the internet, because she emailed me a link that showed the whole bobbin winding/machine threading thing, complete with those vintage illustrations of elegant mid century women's hands that are nothing like my hands. And I think I've got it, although I'm a little nervous. Still, onwards and upwards. M's sister R and her lovely dog Spud are arriving from Baltimore tomorrow evening and then M will be here Friday night. Whoo! Big fun will be had by all and maybe we'll even go out to Bat Cave to see D and her new goats.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crafty and Colds

Young M is sick again. This has been the worst year for colds & flu, I swear. My poor friend J has been sick since early January and young M just keeps getting coughs, one worse than the next. So he is lying on the couch sipping tea and we are noticing that the extraordinarily expensive Mucinex DM does not, in actual fact, work. Of course it is true that no cold medicine really works but time, yet hope springs eternal. I stayed home from work today myself to nurse a sore throat and have sympathy for young M and, which is more important, to go to Foam & Fabrics and launch myself on another mad crafting whirl by reupholstering my couch.

Do you, uh, know how to reupholster a couch? my naysaying friends have been asking me doubtfully. No, of course not. Like all the best ideas, this one came to me late at night - that sleepy inspiration that says, hey, I bet I can reupholster my couch with cheap fabric, spray adhesive and a staple gun! So far I have the fabric and I borrowed S' sewing machine, because while I'm at it I also intend to make some pillows and recover the red chair. Foam and Fabric is fabulous, by the way. I had never been there before and I immediately fell in love with the place - giant bolts of fabric, strange lumps of foam, ancient salesladies - what's not to love? Fabric stores are like crack to me, though, and it's best if I just maintain the willpower to keep away. I got 5 1/2 yards of nifty upholstery stuff for the couch and a big hunk of fake fur to go under my bed for the dogs to sleep on (maybe they won't eat it. Maybe.) and some great stuff for the red chair.

I did the red chair already tonight with this utterly fabulous gray and black cow print fake fur. You must understand, I am of the quick and dirty school of crafting: I folded the fur to about the right size, ran two seams up the other ends, stuffed the (partially chewed up) foam pillows into this makeshift pillowcase and then, holding the pillow up with my leg, somehow maneuvered another seam along the other end and hey, presto, chair cushions recovered! Except not quite, because halfway through the last seam on the second cushion the damn bobbin ran out and my sewing skillz are not up to first filling and then threading a bobbin - I'm going to need S for that.

And, it turns out that 5.5 yards is not quite enough for the whole couch. I put a big piece over the back and it looks great - I'll glue it later or maybe just leave it hanging. Then I need to do the arms and I'm out of fabric - I put aside enough to cover each cushion. HOWEVER, I do have this other tapestry fabric I got years ago that sort of but not really goes with the stuff I'm using on the back. The question is, do I do the arms different or one side of the cushions different?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dogs and Goddesses

My dogs, who have been relatively quiescent lately in the realm of total destruction, outdid themselves today. Have you ever tried to clean carpet after 2 no doubt well meaning canines have essentially landscaped it with ten pounds of potting soil? Yeah, they took the bag out of the dining room (why do I have a bag of potting soil in my dining room? Good question. I'm still making terrariums, goddamnit, and besides, you never know when you might need potting soil - it's best to have it conveniently and instantly to hand. Anyway, it was on the table. We never actually eat at the table (partly because it's too full of terrarium making supplies) and it's a good place, or so I thought, to stash ten pounds of Miracle Gro potting soil.) and into the carpeted den, where they proceeded to shred the bag and make a lovely, vaguely Chinese, landscape. All they need is some grass seed and bamboo and they'd be done. Or that's all they would have needed, before I set to work making it much worse by first sweeping it (grinds it into the carpet) and then vacuuming it with my antique Electrolux (grinds it into the carpet even worse.) Being greeted by the newly landscaped den when I came home is why I had to drink all that was left of the rum, which wasn't quite two drinks but was more than one, but, you know, when you already have kind of a sore throat and a real attitude about work, you figure you might as well drain the damn bottle. Anyway, rum makes echinacea tea not only palatable but positively tasty.

I have a memo for the people behind Venus razors - the ones who came up with the oh so brilliant marketing campaign: "Makes you look like a goddess!" Look, y'all. I happen to have a goddess and let me tell you something - she is HAIRY. Yeah, my goddess is hairy and fat and pissed off as all hell a lot of the time. She likes to fuck and drink and eat and occasionally point a finger down at some poor mortal like I was doing to that tiny crab at the beach last week, saying "Bink!" when her finger hits the ground. She stomps around and lets the universe know what's what, because, you know, she's a goddess. That's the point. She's a goddess; she doesn't have to shave and neither do I if I want to be her and because she is a goddess, she's already perfect. I believe it is in the definition. So anyway, don't go assuming that goddesses want to be smooth, because, honey, we don't, all. Some of us like to be like the goddesses we are, the ones we were born to be. Thus ends my pagan anti shaving feminist rant for the evening. Yeah, I shave once in a while, although not there, gods help me and thank that particular goddess that I came of age before the brazilian was invented, but I refuse to accept that the only sexy women in the world are the ones with no hair except on their damn heads.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Up Side of Poverty

I just did my taxes, online, as usual, paying about $30, as usual, for one of those "free" services that aren't actually free at all. Which doesn't surprise me - they are designed for poor people like me and if there's one thing poor people like me know, when it says Free it means it's going to cost. Who cares, though, since it is easy and pleasant to do your taxes when you don't have any money and the government is going to send you some when you're done. It's like the big yearly upside to dire poverty: I get to just click through all those pesky questions about interest income and rental income and, in fact, any income of any kind that isn't on my W-2. How convenient! How delightfully simple! How fucking poor am I?

At least I didn't become totally and permanently disabled in 2007 - they used my name in that question and it kind of gave me a chill. I'm not blind either - although I have had this theory for years that the government has to buy me glasses if I ever become even more direly impoverished than I already am, since I'm so myopic as to be effectively blind. I could be wrong about that, though; the attics of my brain are full of odd and possibly invalid factoids. And, to finish up the odd trifecta of weird IRS questions that give one pause, I didn't get any money from the retired railroad engineers fund. Why do they get a fund? I've always thought it was kind of like the Confederate veterans fund - the last remaining engineers who built the railroad and steered the trains through the outlaw infested Western prairie, fending off John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and, gods help them, even Emilio Estevez, finally get their pensions, or their widows, who they married when they were 94 and the brides were 13, are now living large on that fund, like all $74 a month of it. That's my theory anyway - completely unsupported by anything resembling research or facts!

In other news, Fang 2 is still alive! M has suggested that I put a button up on the blog - Fang 2: Alive or Dead? so it could be checked every day and I might just do that. Not that I think he's going to die - Fang 2 was clearly a child railroad engineers bride. His life just keeps on getting better and better. Today, Fang 2 was the happy recipient of a heater, a live plant, a nonworking thermometer and a larger bowl. He started off with just the heater but then when we realized that even the small heater was too big for his gallon or so bowl, clearly, something had to be done. This whole purchase entailed a trip first to the PetSmart, where I watched a young woman put her whole arm into a giant tank of crickets, which totally and permanently creeped me out to the point that I probably can never again encounter another cricket without incurring significant mental trauma - probably disabling enough to get me a special tax dispensation - and then a return to Wal Mart because PetSmart has no small heaters and anyway I had to go to Wal Mart since young M has rediscovered paintball fever and, help me jesus, the whole shopping trip went on and on. Yet still I didn't get to try on any jeans, which was supposed to happen at somewhere that didn't have the word Mart in its name.

Then, finding out at home that the heater was too big for the original bowl and also that it didn't have a thermometer included meant that I had to leave again (young M started saying terrible things about what might happen, like we'd wake up and find poor Fang 2 boiled alive) and go to another, different yet eerily the same, pet superstore for a bowl big enough for the heater. Then the whole shebang - Fang 2, water, plant, decorative stones - had to be transferred to the new bowl and I had to do math, even: to wit, if 1/2 a teaspoon of the dechlorinization stuff is good for 10 gallons of water, clearly, the only way to figure out how to dechlorinize one gallon of water is to count the drops in 1/2 a teaspoon and put a tenth of those drops into the water. This is a pain but, apparently, it works, since Fang 2 is still alive and he keeps movin' on up.

Although young M just checked the water and it's not warm enough - please let the heater be working, oh please. As young M said, it's too bad we can't just give him some little fish blankets. Or maybe it's good, because as it is I think we're spoiling him - at this rate he'll be expecting a 3000 square foot McMansionBowl by the end of the year with an adjustable rate mortgage and a minion to do his taxes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Water Tales

geese walking on water
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
See these geese? These geese are standing up in the middle of the French Broad River - well, either that or they're Jesus geese, one or the other - and that means that the river levels are dropping again and we're back in a drought, or we never left it. This is bad. While droughts have their benefits (I only had to mow the lawn twice last summer! Sweet!) they are, by and large, a Bad Thing, particularly for those of us who would like to grow our own vegetables. Therefore I want all of y'all to start doing rain dances, like, pronto. Bonus points if you break into it spontaneously downtown. Okay? Okay.

And now for something completely different: A Mariner's Tale!

Remember my friend and one time roommate N? N left Asheville and returned to Baltimore last spring, where he ended up buying a boat. Various and sundry other adventures befell him as well, some good, some not so good but by the late fall, his boat was up in drydock and N was living near Fells Point and working occasionally for his stepfather, my friend A. Then, sometime around January, he fell in with another guy who had a boat.

I know nothing about this other guy except that I imagine him to be a grizzled sea captain with, possibly, a peg leg and, definitely, a bottle of grog in one hand at all times. That part, I think by all accounts is accurate. Anyway, this guy had a boat and a desire to take this boat to Key West, which is eminently understandable in January in Baltimore. N signed on as crew and they set off to sail to Key West.

The Coast Guard stopped them around Annapolis because, apparently, they were lacking a few of those modern day frivolities like a working radio, engine, life jackets and gods only know what else. I mean, for all we know - I'll update this if I hear from N himself; so far this is all second hand via his mom, my friend D - their provisions may have consisted of a bag of salt n' vinegar potato chips and six bottles of vodka. Anyway, we all assumed that the Coast Guard would put N on a bus back to Fells Point tout suite and he would be home none the worse for wear with a story to tell. Well, instead, the Coast Guard seems to have given up and let them continue on their merry way. I suppose it's not really illegal to be a complete blithering idiot.

They made it down the coast as far as North Carolina where they ran into a storm, as many a mariner has before them. The storm sort of finished off their boat - well, it could still float, but that was apparently all it could do - no way to direct it and they started drifting out to sea. They drifted

and drifted further

and drifted further yet.

Eleven days went by. . .

and N consigned his soul to the deep and figured this was it

when a Royal Caribbean cruise ship appeared out of the fog, nearly ran them over and rescued them. So N is now aboard a cruise vessel headed for some sunny Caribbean port and I am totally sure that he is having the time of his life, playing romantic castaway to the hilt, sipping frozen drinks and laying back. Which just goes to prove that N has some very special gods watching over him and more adventures yet in his future. Because, honestly, this kind of thing only happens to N!

Hey, UPDATE! The Baltimore Sun did an article and here it is.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Return of the Son of Algebra 1

Recently I have been helping young M with his math homework. This is problematic, because it has been a long time since I was a high school math whiz (11th grade math teacher to 17 year old Felicity: "You got all the hard problems right and all the easy ones wrong. That's not supposed to be possible.") and even when I was, I had serious, deep, intense problems with fractions. Those problems have persisted even unto the present day and thus, when I am presented with a page full of things that look like this - wait, I can't figure out how to make them look like that offhand and I don't feel like devoting any time to it, so imagine a horrible scary compound fraction, three and three hundred seventeen eight hundred forty sevenths x nuzzled right up next to an equally daunting fraction inside parentheses with a negative sign and maybe a y squared in there too - I come a bit unhinged. Terrible. Demonic. So, naturally, I took a deep breath, assumed I still knew how to do this and plunged right in, demonstrating many steps happily on scratch paper and coming up with answers that young M dutifully typed in.

Yeah, they were mostly wrong. Really wrong. Turns out I suck at math.

You see, the state of North Carolina, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that if a kid fails Algebra 1 not once but twice and thus must embark on yet a third try, it is not cost effective to supply him with an actual, living and breathing math teacher. Instead, he gets a virtual teacher in Chapel Hill who sends cheery emails and can be called on the classroom phone. Everything is online and the kids are there in a room with computers, doing math. Because it is just vaguely possible that high school students might not actually DO their math when confronted with a room full of computers with full internet access, they get low paid aides to supervise them.

So the other night, after it had been conclusively proved that Mom Cannot Do Fractions and Should Not Actually Be Allowed Near One if you want to have anything resembling a passing grade (the computer does not wish to hear about how it was your mom's fault you screwed up the homework) I told young M that I would not and could not do fractions and he should ask his teacher. Thus I was surprised when he tried to get me to do more last night.
"I told you to ask your teacher how to do this!" I said,
"I tried," said young M dolefully, "I emailed and I called but I couldn't get ahold of him."
"So did you ask the aide?" I said,
"She says she can't do fractions either."

Damn. I think we have found the basic flaw in this system. Anyone know any college students who want to earn a little (very little) income by tutoring a tenth grader in math and divers other subjects suitable to the education of a young gentleman?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Impulse Buying Your Friends

Fang 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
The think I love about Mall Wart as opposed to Ingles is that at the Mart of Ultimate Evil, just as you're walking around dazed by the fluorescent lights, unable to find anything, exhausted from your shopping experience and benumbed by the ear splitting shrieks and wails of the young as they are consigned to consumerist hell, you can find solace in the random, unplanned and totally impulsive purchase of a nice finny friend. Yes, you can find love at the Wal Mart - cold blooded ichthyous love, but love no less real for all that! You're never going to find love at Ingles; the best you can do is buy a jar of pickled eggs and assign them each nicknames. You could give them little eyes with cloves and stuff - wait. I digress. Meet Fang 2, the newest member of our little family (gods, I hope he's still alive when I get home tonight, because if he isn't this will be so embarrassing) who is so much better and more interesting and beloved than any old pickled egg with clove eyes! Take that, Ingles!

Fang 2 is a betta, or Siamese Fighting Fish, which is to say, as I learned after extensive google action last night, a tiny territorial tropical fish whose native habitat is the rice paddies of, uh, Siam, I think. Somewhere like that, anyway. I thought bettas were hardy fish: you always see them at pet stores in horrible little bowls that don't even give them room to swim, or under the roots of plants. Turns out that they actually need warm water and space to roam - the one gallon bowl I purchased along with Fang 2 is not going to cut it. Neither, apparently, is our interior weather, since bettas like water around 75 - 85 degrees. This is why our one and only space heater is currently on the dining room table, set up right next to his bowl. Young M and I have been hovering anxiously around, stirring the water with our fingers and reassuring ourselves that it's toasty, as well as pointing out to each other in the manner of doting parents how much he likes to hang out on the heater side of the bowl and how, obviously, that proves that he is not only warm but smart. We love our Fang 2.

Fang 2, as the more astute among you will have guessed, is not the first betta named Fang whose company I have shared. He might not be the second, either; I have some kind of vague memories of a previous Fang 2 and possibly even a Fang 3 and Fang 4, but the most excellent Fang was the original fish who lived with A and me when we first moved to Baltimore. He was also an impulse buy and since in those distant days I was an irresponsible art student and the internet hadn't been invented yet, he was apparently horrifically neglected most of the time. Well, I mean, I fed him now and then and changed his water now and then but he sure as hell didn't have a space heater or much in the way of bowl interior decor. Fang lived to the breathtaking age of, I think, three or four years - a long damn time for a fish and a long damn time, at that point in my life, to be hauling around a bowl full of water from house to apartment to house to apartment. But I did and he kept up with us, if somewhat silently and sullenly. Bettas are a bit sulky and it's awfully difficult to teach them to fetch, but they're charming in their own piscine way.

The later, vaguely remembered Fangs were not as lucky in the longevity sweepstakes, apparently. But since that was long ago and far away, we've forgotten them anyway and all our finny love is focused now on the one, the only Fang 2! Soon I will return to Wal Mart or maybe Pet Smart and get him a bunch of nifty accessories, like a tiny bejeweled collar and a fuzzy red sweater. Or, okay, maybe a larger tank with a heater and a plant for him to hide behind. And some brine shrimp, since young M is anxious about how little he's eating and thinking that perhaps he needs something specially delicious to tempt his appetite. All hail Fang 2!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tonight, Evil

beach day painting
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
After work this evening I'm going to the Mall Wart. Yeah, I know. I know they're evil and all that good shit, but there are times when I can't stand going to like a bazillion different stores. Okay, I also know that I'm going to have to go to at least one more store because the Mart of Ultimate Evil never has all the stuff I want anyway (hello, Electrolux bags for those of us with vintage vacuums?) but fuck it. They have cheap polyester black ski masks, which are vitally important not only to young M's carefully cultivated terrorist image but also, apparently, to Django's digestive system, since he eats them as fast as young M leaves them on the couch, which is to say, frequently. Anyway, here is my annotated Gigandor Mart list for your entertainment and also so I can interpret it myself, since it was originally written in faded purple magic marker and then it got wet, rendering it pleasingly watercolory (not unlike my beach day drawing, at right! Looky thar!) but kind of illegible:
paper towels - because they were, naturally, all used up over the weekend, not that anyone cleaned up anything spilled and lots, believe me, was spilled. Perhaps they were eaten.

dish soap - god knows why. It's not like anyone uses it but me.

Vac clean bags - see above. My vacuum sucks anyway, or, rather, it does not. Suck, that is. It makes vacuum-y noises and sometimes I get to spend an hour or so tossing a lipstick or a lighter through it's lengthy hose in a vaguely futile attempt to get it to work better, but still, really suck it does not. Alas.

ricotta chz, spinach, garlic, lasag noodles - all self explanatory. I'm going to try lasagne in the crock pot even though I pretty much hate the crock pot now, since everything I make in it is sort of flavorless and mushy.

ski mask, see above. hot choc, that's another young M suggestion. butter, bread, j. Huh. J? Didn't know you could get those at Wal-Mart. beer - well, of course.

trash bags 2 sizes - they also used up the trash bags without actually throwing any trash away. I'm starting to think there are weird very neat and clean trolls living in my walls and stealing all the cleaning stuff or something.

9 volt batteries and/or smoke detector. "Why is the smoke detector over here under the dining room table, young M?" "Uh, I don't know." "What do you mean you don't know? The smoke detector isn't usually under the table." (this last delivered in something dangerously approaching a screech) "God, Mom! Oh, yeah, okay, it went off so A took it down." "Why did it go off?" "I don't know, it just went off. Maybe it was the fire." Pause a beat. Note to self - it isn't helpful to go off the deep end at this point. He means in the fireplace, right? RIGHT? Huh. Probably best not to even ask. Yes. Yes, that would be best. "Well, is it still working?" "How would I know?" Answer - no, apparently not. God damn it.

spray bottle, lg. jar - to make yet another terrarium and keep it wet. And, to spray my new freaky little air plants which my mom gave me. They don't need dirt! They look alien! I haven't the faintest idea how to tell if they're alive or dead! Therefore, I intend to occasionally spray them with water and see if they twitch! Yeah!

crn. . no. . up, en. . . sm - hmmmm. That's apparently where the water hit hardest and I have not a clue what it says.Hey, I bet that first one is cream of mushroom soup, needed, of course, for all the white trash cooking which we so adore. The wall trolls have also decimated the canned stuff in the pantry, or maybe that was young M's ghostly friend who occasionally lives in the garage. Ha ha, you think I jest! I only wish.

I have to add MORE stuff to this too. Bah. Stuff like kibble and shampoo and oh, god, I don't know. Whatever the hell we can eat for dinner for the next four nights without going through complete misery, which is unlikely, because I'm in one of my brief and occasional Good Parent "Okay, I will sit here and do your goddamn algebra homework with you every night" modes and so misery, which goes nicely hand in hand with algebra, I'll have you know, is a la mode at our house in the evenings. That, combined with a visit to Wal Mart, which always puts me into a strange kind of fluorescent light fugue state, should make our home a joyous place this evening. Thank the gods I'm buying beer and a J. Wait, that was apple juice? Fuck that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm Back and I'm Mad

camouflage in tiny action
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I have returned from the land of pleasant living. Wait, no, that's Baltimore - clearly one of the more ridiculous slogans ever - but it applies to Charleston's happy 70 degree morning yesterday. Yeah, another weekend when I leave the sunshine and sanity in order to drive four hours into a fog bank and dismal pouring rain and a household full of wet dogs and teenagers.

Naturally, the house was trashed. The house is always trashed when I get back and it irks me somewhat, particularly when I contrast it with M's apartment, which is white (he hardly has anything on his walls), minimalist (he hardly has any furniture) and immaculate (he's clearly an insane neatnik but I love him anyway.) And I love being in his apartment, which makes me feel like I'm in some kind of wonderful subtropical (lizards and fabulous white sheets) upper crusty 1930s colonial hotel and someone is going to bring me a frothy rum drink and a witty British quip at any moment.

So coming home is somewhat of a letdown and it never fails to trip me into ultimate crankiness mode. I don't know whether it's the smell of dogs and fireplace and whatever the hell else that - aroma - might be, maybe cigars or teenage boy effluvia (don't ask. M has dubious friends sometimes.) or the fact that I swear there were 10 clean, folded towels in the linen closet on Friday morning and now there are no towels to be found, anywhere, that gets to me so badly. Maybe it's the lack of food and the endless disappearing fork controversy or, just possibly, it's the total screaming absence of warm, clean emptiness. No, there are people and dogs and dirty dishes hither and yon and the roof is leaking and the faulty breaker has gone out again and everything is damp. I know, I'm the queen of chaos and this is how I like to live but sometimes, sheesh.

In other news, I tried to alleviate the boredom of the drive up and down I-26 with a book on tape from the, uh, somewhat limited offerings to be had at the West Asheville library. I went with a large-ish box of book entitled Mystique which I hoped would be mindlessly entertaining but not painfully stupid. Alas for great hopes. It did okay on the mindless factor, there is that, but even yelling BIG DICK every time the hero with "his amber eyes glowing" and his "mane of unruly black hair" advanced on the heroine with her "breasts the size of ripe peaches" and they said "Aye," which is what they mostly say for the whole damn book, except when they're about to get it on, when, for some dumbass reason they say "Nay," even though his "shaft is tremblingly alert," didn't make it better. I mean, it took them five fucking tapes to get down to, well, fucking, or, I mean, his finding the flower of honey between her thighs. It didn't improve that much even when I said Blatant Anachronistic Pustule every time they referred to something that wouldn't be invented for another 400 years or so: most notably, Natural Philosophy, which the heroine wishes to study, which would doubtless be easier if the book wasn't theoretically set in, oh, somewhere around 1264 AD, leaving her the whole Renaissance to get through first, not to mention any number of other slightly important events before the Natural Philosophers really get going. So, yeah, it was painfully awful but I listened to most of it, gods help me. I think I may have killed off some of my last coherent brain cells, but, hey, anything for literature.

Friday, February 15, 2008


You will notice there is no picture of a heron on this ornithologically titled post. That would be because I am just not fast enough at fumbling my camera out of my pocket and taking pictures when a heron unfolds itself like Japanese calligraphy right in front of me at 7:30 in the morning and then flaps away downriver in achingly slow motion. It was pretty fucking cool, though, and on the bird beauty scale, the great blue heron has the Canadian goose beat all to hell and back.

In other news, I'm trying hard not to get sick, since my throat is a little scratchy and my nose is a little stuffy, but I think it might be a combination of hypochondria and the power of suggestion. Still, I'm spraying myself with Zicam (check it out! The Zicam site has a cold and flu tracker! A boon for the hypochondriac cartographer! How sweet, and also, Asheville's risk is only moderate. Phew. I'll ignore all the people I actually know with the flu - they're clearly not on the map. Well, they wouldn't be - no health insurance.) with touching, childish faith even though it says to spray the "root of your mouth" and as far as I can tell, my mouth is kind of rootless. But Zicam tastes utterly disgusting, so it must work. I liked Airborne for a while too, because it also tastes repulsive, but I gave that up when I heard that if you knock back too many of those festive powders you can overdose just like a 19th century Arctic explorer feasting away on polar bear liver. Mostly I just rely on an Emergen-C every morning, which I have managed to make a habit, since I actually like the taste and, with more of that touching faith in patent medicines, I think it will stop the cigarettes and alcohol from killing me sooner than I would prefer. Besides, it's good for hangovers.

In other news, there is no other news. I'm leaving for Charleston in like an hour, so I'll see y'all next week. Have a good weekend and all that! Don't do anything I wouldn't do - you know that leaves you wide, wide open. Here is a belated Valentine's card for everyone - hey, it's a timeless message that's just always true.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Well, here it is Valentine's Day again and for what may be the very first time in my entire life, it's making me happy. I mean, not only do I actually have a boyfriend (note to said boyfriend, dude, there had better be something in the mailbox when I get home. I mean there had better be. Just kidding. Sort of.) but my kids are old enough where we no longer have to experience the particular deadly level of hell that is early elementary school valentine creation and distribution and, to top it off, I'm getting awesome valentines from a bunch of my cyber friends. If you are still looking for e-valentines, by the way, you could do worse than going here, although their servers seem to be clogged up with panicky last minute people, so don't be surprised if they vanish suddenly. Oh and also, in other good Valentines news, my mother gave me a lovely card, which was awesome and, better yet, it was not signed by the dog. The sole, lonely valentine signed by the dog that appeared in my 15 year old self's boarding school mailbox one February in the late 70s is not one of my most absolute favorite happy memories, although it's good for low comedy and a little pathos.

Speaking of low comedy and high pathos, look! I found you a fantastic and amazing Matt Groening love image. This also served to make my day - I remember these so clearly from the glory days of the Baltimore City Paper and I'd still put them up against the Simpsons for sheer genius. Remember, kids: Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.

In other news, there has been at least one pair of geese at the river every morning this week. I'm taking this as a nice Valentine's omen of mating for life and all that and conveniently ignoring the freaked out honking that they make every time I appear (which would mean, I guess, that I manage to instill fear into even the platonic ideal of mating for life) and the fact that, actually, I'm terrified sensibly afraid of geese, since they are aggressive predatory dinosaur birds who chased me up a set of stairs once when I was 10, leaving deep psychic scars.

Anyway, I'm off to Charleston this weekend for warm weather and fun. Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! Hope it is a wonderful, fantastic and great one!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Kids in This Solar System

motion and stone
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I taught two classes today. I haven't actually taught a class in about eight or nine years and I was kind of hoping that noone would figure out that I actually know how to do it ever again. But alas, the flu has hit our small staff at work hard and that is why there are 44 more third graders out there now who are slightly more confused about the solar system and the phases of the moon than they were before. I used to be an ART teacher, not a SCIENCE teacher! Still, it was fun, even though I was panicking last night and young M, who was supposed to be playing the part of a third grader, refused to do the hand motions for planet earth or sing the Io song.

I wasn't expecting tough questions, though, and I got them. I like to finish a lesson in two parts - first, with a quick wrap up of what we've learned and then with a free form question and answer period. The first group wanted to know all about black holes. I know very little about black holes, although I did mention that there aren't any in our solar system and that's a good thing. It was also a good thing that our time was up just as they were starting to inquire bloodthirstily as to whether black holes might suck them up and if so, how fast? The second group wanted to know if we were all made of stardust and how and when the universe was created. Huh. I have no idea, so I made several references to the periodic table of the elements, cribbed a little bit from 17th century natural science as interpreted by Neal Stephenson that I've been rereading (the Baroque Cycle trilogy) and hoped for the best. The problem with me teaching the solar system is that I've read way more science fiction than I have actual science and sometimes it gets a little confused in my head. I could, for example, have gone on a bit about tachyon bubbles, taking a wormhole for a shopping expedition to the bubble malls of Zirculon Beta and how much fun it is to ride a cloud manta through the great storms of Jupiter, but I had a feeling that I would have been straying from the curriculum a little. Pity, that.

The flu seems to be hitting everywhere hard and now I'm scared, even though I'm pretty much convinced that I already had it in December and thus I should be immune. I'm going to Charleston this weekend and I'm looking forward to it; I am not going to miss another weekend to illness this winter. No, uh uh, no way. It's Valentine's weekend! Yes, I used to hate Valentines Day and refuse to celebrate it but come on, that was before I got a real live boyfriend of my very own. It's my turn to gloat, okay? And I'm looking forward to it - yay, romance! Yay, all things pink and vaguely heart shaped! Yay, I put something awesome in the mail today!

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Left Shin

Like most women, every year or so I go to the gyno to be poked and prodded and have my pap smear. I haven't been this year and I should make that appointment, come to think of it - it's such big fun and all that. Anyway, though, my gyno is very Asheville, in that she has a fountain in her waiting room and several huge dogs trotting around the office. She's also very Asheville, or maybe this is everywhere now, in that she asks searching psychological questions during the pre exam period. Well, they're not all that searching. Usually she asks me what I'm using for contraception, to which my stock answer used to be celibacy and then she asks me if I have a partner, to which I used to reply, "No, hence the celibacy" and then she asks me if anyone is beating me up.

I answer this one in the negative as well since nobody is beating me up at the moment or, in fact, pretty much ever. Now, I know this is a serious subject and I shouldn't be making light of it but I always kind of wondered who, exactly, given my partnerless, celibate state, she thought was beating me up. The dogs? My kids? Vampires? Some shadowy, anonymous assailant? I wonder this because she never wants to take my no as a serious answer but instead, gets that look on her face that means she thinks I'm lying (same damn look she gets when I tell her that yeah, I'm totally going to quit smoking soon) and asks me again. I can understand her quandary, actually, because, okay, I do generally have bruises all over me. I can't help it. It's because inanimate objects hate me.

Right now, my main enemy is the bathtub, replacing the kitchen cabinets. It's always a kind of complicated global strategy game around my house - either I'm at peace with the kitchen cabinets and the tub is trying to kill me or the lamps team up with the bookshelf while the tub and I reach a tentative peace agreement. You see, the tub drain is slow at best and straight up clogged at worst, which makes the bathtub slippery and by slippery I mean that standing on one leg in it while you attempt to shave the other leg is a major death defying feat.

They (and by they, I mean large shoppes of the Mart variety) used to sell gritty stickers in the shape of dolphins and seashells and frogs and monkeys (why? Why, oh lord, monkeys?) in a bunch of unappetizing pastel colors to counter this exact problem, but apparently China doesn't make those anymore. Instead, they now make smooth white plastic dolphins and starfish with little suckers on the bottom. These things do not work unless you're using them to slide across your bathtub on one foot, which is apparently what they were designed to do. This is how I ended up with one of the huge raised bruises on my left shin: I stepped into the bath and onto a dolphin with my right foot, which promptly slid gracefully across the tub. By some law of physics, this made my left shin meet the outside edge of the bathtub. Hard.

Therefore, I went out and bought a plastic bathmat with little suckers on the bottom. This will work, I thought proudly, and I stepped on it confidently with my right foot. The little suckers behaved exactly the same way as before, to wit, kind of like a bathtub Zamboni. And just like an Olympic figure skating champion I zoomed across the bottom of the tub, whanging the hell out of my left shin in almost but not quite exactly the same place as before.

The third bruise, though, is a healthy outdoor bruise from a large stick that attacked me out of the blue when I was walking the dogs this morning. The other two bruises are sort of starting to fade and since I apparently must have at least three giant welts on my shin at all times, I think the bathtub sent the stick to ambush me. I was walking along, minding my own business, spacing out completely, ruminating vaguely about work and kids and god only knows when suddenly I stepped on this stick with my right foot and it swung around and whacked me hard on the left shin. When even my household appliances are outsourcing their warfare, it's getting clearer that I cannot win this battle. I cede defeat. Yes, I am getting beaten up and it's my house that's doing it.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Last week, I went slightly berserk and ordered a bunch of stuff from Sock Dreams. I love Sock Dreams, by the way, and if you too feel like dumping money on sockage, this is your place. What I wanted was thigh highs - I've always been fond of thigh highs and lately (for reasons that are none of your business, hee hee) my fondness has increased. They're sexy and practical - what could be better? Well, warmth, is what I was thinking, so off I went to Sock Dreams in search of woolly thigh highs. It's not easy to combine sexiness and warmth, but during months with an R in them, this combination becomes kind of a small (very small, like I just thought of it) obsession of mine. Sort of like the quest for the Grail, only slightly less Catholic and not involving swords. I know there are people who find footy pajamas and layers of contrasting plaid flannel sexy (we're not even going to go into the wide and wonderful variety of weird shit that people find sexy here - that would be far, far beyond the scope of this blog) but, thank the gods, I'm not dating one of them.

Anyway, I got my thigh highs a couple days ago and I love them. Yes, I know they were fashionable about 8 or 10 years ago. Look, I'm a little slow on the uptake when it comes to music and fashion - and anyway, I'm not behind, I'm just a bit ahead of their second coming. Yesterday, I wore the gray ones and they were awesome if a bit on the tight side at the top and with a tendency to roll down. Today, I'm wearing the heathery green/brown/black ones which look fantastic. Except for one small issue: they do not want, actually, to be thigh highs. What they want, I think, is to be ankle socks and kind of large crumply ankle socks at that. This is easy to ignore while I'm sitting down but when I'm walking around it becomes lamentably apparent. Naturally, I'm wearing a slightly above knee length skirt today, so the relentless downward slide of my stockings is not just a source of sorrow to me but a source of, doubtless, joyful mirth to many others. Keep in mind that I have the kind of ultraviolet white Irish skin beloved of tattoo artists that has an alarming tendency to actually glow in the dark in February and which is providing a fairly stark contrast to the stockings so it's not like this is subtle or anything.

This morning, as I trudged doggedly uphill, my stockings sliding ever downwards, I decided to pretend that instead of a 40 something Asheville "professional" woman, I was instead a 14 year old Harujuku fashion victim. This was helpful for the thirty seconds or so it took for me to reflect that perhaps, at my advanced age, this was just a wee bit pathetic.

So I think I need a garter belt. The only problem with this is that the only garter belt I own is a little red lace number that I bought at Sears some years, like 14, actually, back. Yeah, Sears, I swear. It's a Craftsman, dude, it has a lifetime warranty. The thing is, the effect of a red lace garter belt combined with heathery wool stockings is, um, almost certainly not going to be what I was originally going for here. In fact, I think it's going to be about as opposite as you can get. Oh well. At least my ankles are warm.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Movie Reviews

I've been watching a movie a night this week, thanks to the magical movie machine at Ingles and my burning desire to finish the long black scarf I've been knitting. Actually, I finished said scarf last night and it's not scintillating, although why I expected scintillating from a long black scarf is kind of beyond even me. It's a long black scarf - it scintillates not, neither does it sing, dance or do windows. It is, however, distinctly thinner at one end than the other, which is a design feature, an allegory, goddamnit, representing the way one's options narrow - or widen - as one moves through this vale of tears called life. I tell you, I don't know how people who didn't go to art school and experience that particular vale of tears called group crit can justify anything; if you have been through it, boy howdy, you can justify any aesthetic outrage in the universe. Which may explain some of the movies I've been watching.

On Monday, we watched the Simpsons Movie. Now, I love the Simpsons. Wait, let me rephrase that: I loved the Simpsons. I mean, I really loved the Simpsons: I was an early Simpsons adopter; I was all about Simpsons 1.0 - hey, I even watched the Simpsons beta on the Tracy Ullman show! That's how old cool I am - but the new Simpsons are leaving me cold. Sorry. I grant you, I stepped away from the Simpsons before the Simpsons stepped away from me - I went six or so years without a TV and we just drifted apart. To be fair in this review, therefore, I actually watched the show, twice, for the first time in years last week and, well, as I had heard, it's just not that funny anymore. The movie was likewise not that funny. The funny is the point of the Simpsons, but it, along with well crafted cultural satire, was sadly lacking; therefore, I was not amused. It went on and on for a long time and I think I laughed maybe three times. I keep finding myself wishing that the kids had grown up and Marge had long since left Homer. My life has changed since 1991 but I'm still funny. What's wrong with the damn Simpsons? Grade: C

On Tuesday, we watched The Host. If I was Korean, or Asian at all and therefore tougher about my horror movies than we wimpy ass Americans tend to be, I would totally recommend this movie and also proudly point out that my renting-movie-about- which-you-know-nothing-because-poster-is-cool strategy worked out yet again. Unfortunately, I am a weak, good for nothing American and I couldn't handle it. Spoiler: the ending is not all happy happy joy joy. This is not an American monster movie where death only comes to some totally anonymous crowd members at the beginning, the black guy, the guy in the red shirt and the slutty chick everyone hates. No, this is a real movie and it gets really sad. On the way there, though, it's totally hilarious, scary, thought provoking, well acted, well done, features a most excellent monster and hey, generally rocks. It's even dubbed fairly well. I mean I really, really loved this movie - except for the ending. Which nearly made me cry. Grade: B+

Last night, we watched (okay, this is about to get embarrassing) Sky High. No, I didn't rent it! I swear! It was on TV and nothing else was and I had to finish that scarf. And then, I confess - I got sucked in. So did someone else, hee hee, and I won't say who that was, but you would think he would be too tough and old and cool for such a pre-teen aimed flick. But damn if Sky High isn't pretty cute. It's not even 100% totally predictable, in that I thought the hero wouldn't get his superpowers until the end of the movie when he had to save the pretty girl and actually he gets them close to the beginning when he has to save his own ass. Can you imagine? What a shock! Hee. Other than that, yeah, both young M & I did pretty well on predicting each and every plot curve. Still, it's no worse than Mean Girls, anyway, which I similarly got sucked into a couple weeks ago. Actually, it's better and it has a few hilarious touches. If I ever get forced into babysitting for the 8 - 11 year old crowd, I might even go rent it. Granted, I spent the last 30 minutes of the movie talking to M on the phone, so I missed the grand denouement, but oh well. Grade: B

And those are your exciting movie reviews. Someday, spring will come and the Hangover Journals will venture outside again, but until that long to be hoped for day, expect more of these.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Epic Fail

a window into stuck
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This is a photo, if you cannot tell, of Django attempting to pull himself out of the river by climbing up onto a large, mossy log. The same log, actually, that he had just fallen off of. This attempt, while valiant, was doomed and finally Django had to admit defeat and turn around and make his way across approximately 2 and a half feet of uncharted water and up the muddy river bank while his cruel and thoughtless human companion was laughing at him and aiming a camera. It's funny how entertaining canine slapstick can be at 7:30 am. Epic Fail, is what I call it, because Epic Fail is my new catchphrase. Yes, that's right, it's a dated, geeky internet phrase and for some reason it's caught right on in my head.

Lately I've been having culinary Epic Fails, one after the other. I used to be a pretty good cook. Hell, in my own opinion (and even those of some of my hungrier friends) I was a fucking genius cook: an unsung MFK Fisher, an unheralded Anthony Bourdain, a secret Larousse. I think I may have to hang all those laurels up or send them to Goodwill or something because apparently, I can no longer cook.

Part of the problem is that I'm trying desperately to economize on groceries, which is never a winning strategy when you're aiming gourmet. I have to economize, because although nobody seems to want to admit it and media stories on actual, happening inflation are thin on the ground, well, food prices have totally skyrocketed in the last year. I mean I'm spending more now to feed two people and two dogs than I was 11 months ago to feed five people and two dogs and we're not eating better stuff. In fact, we're eating expired meat, which is an Epic Fail that brings us nicely to our next paragraph.

I economize by doing three things: going to more than one grocery store (Aldi, Sav-Mor and Ingles, to be specific, and they all suck in different ways - Aldi, because they mostly just have weird shit and you never know what they will and won't have; Sav-Mor, because it's the most depressing damn grocery store on the planet, populated only by the desperately poor and reeking heavily of despair; and Ingles, because, oh well, fuck, it's Ingles.) ; buying in bulk as much as possible; and going to any store at all as little as possible. These strategies, by the way, don't really work at all except to make me even crazier than I normally am. For this reason, I've pretty much given up Sav-Mor. They pump Eau De Doom in there through the loudspeakers and it was making me think that the only way I could go back was with a 12 gauge and a lengthy, morbid note.

Anyway, what it boils down to is that I've been buying meat too infrequently and this is part of the whole Epic Fail thing. It started with the stew beef I bought for dinner a couple weeks ago - a dinner which, for various reasons, like the fact that stew takes actual time, which I don't often have, didn't happen. So I froze it in time and then I thawed it out for dinner last Friday night, which should have been fine, except that my stew tasted like dirt.
"Try this," I said to young M, "It tastes like dirt."
"Like straight up dirt?" he said cautiously, "I don't like dirt."
"Just tell me if I'm going crazy," I said, "I swear I didn't dump a cup of potting soil in there or anything but I'm damned if it doesn't taste like dirt."
He tasted it. "Well," he said, "It doesn't taste THAT much like dirt. It just kind of tastes like beef stew. Bad beef stew."
And it was, and there was a lot of it too, and it's sitting in my refrigerator waiting until it either gets fed to dogs or goes so bad that I can actually toss it. Which, to be fair, may not have been the meat. It may have been the $4 Aldi red wine, or the 75 cent Sav Mor beef broth. Then, last night, came a new Epic Fail: the fancy meat sauce straight out of Cooks Magazine, using 85% lean ground beef.

85% lean ground beef whose sell by date was last Friday, actually. However, I read somewhere once that meat is still good for a week past its sell by date and, hell, I'm not chicken or particularly worried about things going bad. I'm tough! My children are tough! We sneer at rotten meat! We eat bark and twigs! Or, well, maybe not bark and twigs. Fast food, though, which is sort of the same thing, only fried. Unfortunately, the beef smelled pretty damn iffy when I unwrapped it and yet, given toughness and poverty and a reluctance to leave the house, I forged ahead. I will hereby cut to the chase: yeah, it was disgusting even though I followed the recipe more or less exactly; still, we ate it; thus, we suffered accordingly. Although there is something to this toughness of stomach thing - it wasn't all that bad - just an endless evening of queasy misery. I gave it to the dogs this morning and they didn't seem to mind it.

But do you think I learned anything? Hell no. Right now, I'm doing the same thing with some pork chops whose sell by date was Saturday. Only there were six in the package and I smelled them all and tossed two of them directly into the trash. The other four, I think, are okay. The real danger here is that I'm making a pork chop casserole without cream of mushroom soup, which I think is illegal. Yet again, however, I'm damned if I'm throwing out more meat or going to buy cream of mushroom soup and so I am forging on ahead, blithely ignoring the many culinary dangers. Elderly pork + a variety of stuff I threw together + hash browns + grated cheese on the Denny's theory that it goes with everything is not, I am afraid, going to add up to a delicious repast. No, what I think I might have here is Epic Fail. I'll let you know. If I'm still alive.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lamb and Pigeons

The lamb thing worked. Theo had a complete panic attack meltdown in the kitchen the minute I took the lamb chops out of the broiler. I can't say I blame him - they smelled godawful to me too and tasted just as creepy. Apparently, there is some weird ass chemical compound in lamb that might be producing this effect? The whole thing was kind of unsettling and I feel bad for subjecting my poor, neurotic Theo to 15 minutes of hell. He's already nervous enough without cooking lamb chops being added to the list of Things That Bug Theo - I mean, my god, there are floating sticks and hunks of foam in the river that might well be ducks, other people and dogs are constantly trying to sit on his couch as it is, not to mention the completely insensitive way Django occasionally tries to walk around him. And M stepped near his hair on Friday, too. The horror, when will it cease?

I went out to smoke a cigarette this afternoon at work. It was raining and generally miserable and one fat pigeon was enjoying the remnants of an ice cream cone on the ground by the Marble Slab. Well, he was enjoying it until I showed up and started smoking right by it. I stood very still, though, and the pigeon slowly decided I was probably just another tree and walked back over to his feast. All in another day's work for your basic urban wildlife observer but what got me was how picky this pigeon was. To my uneducated eyes, all the broken pieces of cone scattered around were more or less the same, except that some still had ice cream (vanilla, I hypothesize) on them and some didn't. This particular pigeon would peck at one piece, sort of huff, and move over to the next, which he would eat greedily. Some pieces were good and some were not-good, and I totally can't figure out why, unless he was just spoiled, which is possible, I bet, for a pigeon who lives next to an ice cream store. In my head, I could imagine the shrieks that no doubt accompanied the fall and breakage of the ice cream cone. Not only am I an urban wildlife observer, I am also a mother, which makes me wonder if the local pigeons start flocking around when they hear screaming coming from the Marble Slab. Conditioned response!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Just found this picture from September 1, 07:
under the bridge
and here is a picture from the same spot that M took today.
creek and old bridge
So, uh, you think we've had a drought or what?

water rocks and moss

water rocks and moss
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It's been a good Saturday. We woke up early and ate a big breakfast and M cleaned the carpet in the den (gods bless M, for he is, as my mother used to say approvingly, a tidy duckling) and I cleaned up the kitchen and then we went way the hell out to Enka/Candler to climb part way up Mt. Pisgah. At least I think it's Pisgah - it's definitely an uphill trail and I got my aerobic workout for the day. Ice pellets yesterday and today sunlight and 60 some odd degrees: awesome and the dogs are happy as can be. So am I, actually - M and a clean house and a great hike and some cool photos and, as I'm typing this, young M is watching a completely trashy show on train and plane wrecks that I would never, ever watch myself but I'm finding quite entertaining from a distance.

It's very lucky that springer spaniels are miraculously self cleaning dogs, I must say. I had to actually say to Django, "Dude, don't dig a hole in a mud puddle, man. It's a losing battle." (Later, I would say without even a hint of irony, "Like, down!" to Theo and it would occur to me that perhaps the stoner dog speak was getting a bit out of hand.) You can imagine what a partly white dog looks like after he's been digging a hole in an already deep mud puddle - it is not pretty. But today as always, inevitably and fortunately in some magic feat of perfect dream spaniel hair, he's totally clean about two hours later. I don't know how he does it but I wish they would cross breed his genes with those of my den carpet.

Tonight, we're having lamb chops for dinner. I do not like lamb but I'm making the sacrifice for Ask Metafilter. If you don't feel like clicking on that link, it's a question asking why dogs freak out when people cook lamb. Apparently, some do. Huh. Who knew? I'm fascinated and can't wait to see whether Django & Theo, who to the best of my knowledge have never smelled lamb in any shape or form from gamboling among the spring pastures to roasting away in an oven, react at all. I told my mother about this, though, and she said that while none of her dogs had ever reacted to it, I used to get sick and cry from the smell whenever she made rack of lamb. That is probably why I have such a strong aversion to it - and yeah, proves once and for all that I am, in fact, a dog. Well, hell, it is the internet.