Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Big Face

Big Face
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It was a rough weekend and, well, that might be all I have to say about that, since it's going to be kind of hard for me to be funny about that shit for a while. You know how when you think your life is going along nicely and everything is, if not spiffy nifty fantastic groovy fabulous at least it's okay and pretty happy and there's a lot of good shit on the horizon and then something comes along and smashes your legs out from under you and all your suppositions and beliefs seem to have been wrong and yet you don't know because it's like you're stumbling along in the dark without any guides or a flashlight or even, christ, a teddy bear and then, just when you think you might know something, even if it's bad, you don't and then you suddenly find yourself just lying there on the hard rocky floor of a particularly dark and unpleasant yet eerily familiar cave and you think, wow, I'm an idiot? Yeah. Like that. My life is a text based choose your own adventure and I'm about to be eaten by a grue. Or, actually, I think the grue is already chewing.

However, in the silver linings department, I spent my thus far unreceived economic stimulus check on ebay yesterday and by the end of the week I should have an actual DSLR in my hands; a kindly used Canon Rebel 10 megapixel camera is even now winging its way from San Francisco to me. After the last DITLOA meetup I decided that, fuck it, I was tired of succumbing to camera envy and I was tired of being the poor little girl who never gets the nice stuff and I was tired of laughing and saying, well, I have the best camera I can afford and it takes good pictures and hey, it's the photographer not the camera and someday maybe I'll have a good camera. Someday is now, motherfucker, I said to myself this weekend, and dug into my savings in anticipation of Dubya's largesse. Now I'm really, really doubly glad I did.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Well, I just weed whacked almost all of the dog's part of the yard. The dogs have a lot of the yard and my arms are tired and also, I'm vibrating. I feel like I may be vibrating for some time. I'm out of weed whacker cord too. My ex husband told me some arcane tale one time about using steel guitar strings on a weed whacker which, apparently, turns it into a deadly weapon nothing can withstand, but that sounds like more whacking strength than I really need. I'm thinking about it though, while I'm sitting here putting off going to Lowes, where I also need to buy a nut for the bolt which holds on, or, rather, held on, the left front wheel of the lawnmower. I swear, I try to get things accomplished but the world takes great pleasure in stopping me halfway. The lawnmower seems to actually need all four wheels - go figure. Yet another high school geometry lesson proved useless.

Also, I hired a very cute guy to rototill me up a vegetable garden and that was purely awesome. It cost me very slightly more than it would have to rent a rototiller and I didn't have to do anything except chat with this adorable hippie guy, who, it turns out, lives next door to my friends J & K. "Oh hey!" I said happily, "I've photographed your chickens!" "Far out," he said, and it struck me that I had perhaps stumbled across the perfect total Asheville conversation. Now I have a vegetable garden - well, I have a large patch of dirt somewhat dauntingly far away from my house that will soon be a vegetable garden. I dragged some landscape timbers out there to edge it and it all looks a bit forlorn still but soon enough there will be zucchini and beans and corn and whatever other oddities I pick up next week at the Herb Fair. I'm excited. I've missed having a garden. So I called my mother and told her I want 300 feet of hose for my birthday (and/or this black skirt and embroidered shirt I tried on yesterday afternoon at that shop I love so on Biltmore Avenue.) "300 feet of hose tied up with a pink ribbon," said my mother. "Okay. Got it."

Friday, April 25, 2008

bucket and django and their stick du jour

Here is a picture of Django & Bucket on one of their morning top speed stick chewing "walks". I am not, however, going to say anything nice about the dogs because every time I do that, like I did a couple days ago, I come home after work and find that they've been terribly bad. As in, the little shits ate a big hole in my comforter and took an Ingles soft cooler bag thing off the kitchen counter and ate that. I was seriously pissed off about the comforter and I'm not particularly happy about the cooler either, although my ire was diluted a bit on that one by watching Django get his head stuck in it for a while. He got out, though. Still, it's unnerving to realize that the dogs read this blog while I'm at work and whenever I say something kind or loving about them, they realize that they have stored up brownie points that they can now squander.

The kids are sort of the same way, except they are more devious, in that they have long since figured out how to bend me to their will. Actually, they've known all their lives that if you just get Mom off on one of her favorite tangents, bedtime will be delayed almost indefinitely. This was clearly demonstrated by young A's counterfeit interest, at age 5, in the cover art on the Yessongs album. Nowadays, they use the same tactic for different aims. A will tell me mournfully that the tax people took her money because the system is slanted by the evil Republicans against the working poor "W took my money, Mom!" knowing perfectly well that that means I will immediately go, "Oh my god, darling, you're so right and of course you don't have to pay me back." And young M will explain how the forces of the evil Right are conspiring against teenagers and before I know it I'll be agreeing that it's time for a Revolution and of course the cell can meet in the garage and yeah, honey, you totally deserve an ipod. It's tough to be on the side of Good and the (slightly confused, but wellmeaning) Left all the time.

In other news, a penguin has been saved from embarrassment and the horrors of old age by a wetsuit. This story made me get all teary eyed, because, hey, there are only nine shopping days left before my birthday so I'm feeling a certain kinship with balding elderly penguins. Although I'm not balding. Yet. Still, I hope someone makes me a wetsuit when I start to, because, hey, let's face it, nothing eases the eye away from the unsettling sight of a tall bald woman like a wetsuit. It's odd, though, because usually I'm not much a sucker for animals in clothes - dogs always look so unhappy in them and we're not even going to talk about the outraged dignity of cats - but something about penguins in clothes is so . . so. . I don't know, there doesn't seem to be an English word for it. It's just right, somehow, terribly, terribly right and it makes me nearly weep with joy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dangers of the Internet

Yesterday, I hit my head again. Clearly, I am a total spazz who should wear a helmet 24/7. This time I did it at work, on an emergency exit sign of all embarrassing things and of course I managed to hit the exact same place where the cabinet of doom got me like a week ago. Now I have a dent in my head. It hurt like hell and so I made the terrible, terrible mistake of googling head injuries. Never do this. I knew better but in a moment of headachey madness I did it anyway and that's how I convinced myself that I had a concussion and was probably going to keel over and die at any minute. Never mind that I only had two of the danger signs - stiff neck and headache; I was conspicuously lacking the blurred vision, confusion (more than the usual confusion which is my natural state), passing out, throwing up (although I did feel sick, but even panicking I chalked that up to the roughly three pounds of crackers and cheese I ate at the staff meeting), sudden tiredness (I chalked that up to the mild hangover) and so on. Depressed heart rate. Unconsciousness (I wished.) Actually being dead. Stuff like that.

The thing with concussions is that you're not supposed to go to sleep. I remember this from when young M was small and hit his head on basically a daily basis. It got so he would whack his head and cry and I would launch directly into my concussion checklist. First, I would look at his pupils even though I could never remember if they were supposed to be dilated like he'd taken three hits of acid or tiny pinpricks or whirling around scarily like Charles Wallaces' when he's confronted with Evil on Kamazotz. Then I would quiz him on current events. "Who's the president?" I would say, "Mom!" he would wail, "I'm only five years old! How am I supposed to know that?" and I would know that he was okay. Then, much later, I would wake him up every few hours all night long, or, rather, until I gave that up and went to sleep myself. The website I looked at yesterday said that if you woke up confused and irritated, then you might have a concussion. I have to say that if I get woken up every two to three hours all night, I'm going to be confused and irritated, concussion or no concussion.

Last night I decided I couldn't go to sleep until 8 hours after I hit my head, which is to say, 10:00 or thereabouts. That wasn't really much of a sacrifice but I did try to milk all possible drama out of it. Unfortunately, M on the phone from SC was not totally impressed and just told me a gruesome story about how his grandfather died just exactly like that (except he was in a bad car accident first instead of whanging his head on an exit sign, so, yeah, not an exact analogy) and young M flat ignored me. So I knew there was no one who would wake me up every 2 or 3 hours and I prepared to just kick off. Ha ha, I thought morbidly, I wonder if the kids will fight over who inherits our 10 year old station wagon.

The fates watch out for me though, because I did get to wake up every 2 to 3 hours regardless. The dogs took care of the first wakeup - I've switched their kibble again, to something called Lassie, and it was a tragic error in judgment and the three dollars I saved were so not worth it. The dog farts rising from under the bed were so pungent, so awful, so amazingly thick, that it woke me up. There's not much you can do when dog farts wake you up, really. It's just one of those bad situations. And then, at around 4 in the morning young M got sick and came in to tell me that he had just thrown up and help, Mom, what should I do? Poor kid. Go back to bed, was all I could come up with, being as how the concussion was making me irritable and confused and also, you know, after you've thrown up there's not really much you can do except lie there and hope for a quick death. At least that's what I always do. And it's what I more or less did last night, given the concussion and the vomiting teenager and the dog farts.

But I'm still here and so is my headache, not to mention the irritability and confusion; still, I'm beginning to admit that I probably don't have a concussion. Which is a Good Thing. But now I have to do battle with the school, because young M has caught every single blessed virus that has ever been sneezed out on the Asheville High School campus and he's missed, basically, half his sophomore year. Yikes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Terrible Things My Kids Have Said

This is one of those posts where I embarrass my children terribly by talking about totally embarrassing things they said when they were little. Ha ha kids! Mom gets her revenge at last! That's like one of the very few silver linings in the giant black cloud that is parenting adolescents, you know. Revenge.

With my kids, A was the queen of the horrifyingly embarrassing comment. Young M was more the physical type - the reach out of the supermarket cart and throw a six pack of rootbeer onto the floor type. Of course, he was also the one I found on top of the refrigerator when he was about 11 months old and the one who, at age five or thereabouts, was alone in the living room when the tremendous crash echoed through the house. Before I could even run at top Mom speed from the kitchen the crash was followed by a small voice yelling "Nothing! Nothing!" Endearingly, young M was also the child who was horrified in 1st grade by his hitherto revered teacher's ignorance of 8th century BC Chinese politics - "HOW can Mrs. Moton not know that Emperor Chin united Han, Shen and Wei?" But I don't remember young M saying anything too awful to strangers - this is young M, after all, he may well not have noticed them much on his headlong rush through childhood.

No, A was the queen of the offhand comments and the thing is, she was self righteous with it. "But MOM" is a comment I heard a lot. Still do, come to think of it. For example, "Mom, why is that lady SO FAT?" delivered in clear, high decibel tones with unmistakable pointing finger (also at the supermarket - the supermarket is a terrible place) rapidly turned into - at the same volume, mind you - "But MOM, it is NOT rude. She has to know that she's VERY FAT." And when we moved to New York and my Charleston/Baltimore child was suddenly confronted by an entire Latino neighborhood, she decided it would be politic to start speaking Spanish. Unfortunately, her Spanish, while delivered in pitch perfect Puerto Rican accent, was gobbledegook. "But MOM," she wailed indignantly, "That's exactly what they're saying! How can they think it's rude?" and, then, irrefutably, she added a clear explanation: "It is NOT a language. I can't understand it."

There are two more terrible young A stories. Hee hee; I'm enjoying this. When she was four or five we lived out in the Maryland countryside and my current boyfriend's grandparents had come to visit us. It was a nice day and we went out to lunch; A was very well behaved; everything was great - until the very end. We stood there waving goodbye as they got into their car and A called out, "BYE! COME BACK AND SEE US BEFORE YOU DIE!" followed, after I tried to squash her or something, by the dread "BUT MOM! They're OLD, they're going to die soon!" Helpful, young A. They never did come back to see us. I think I had to move out of sheer embarrassment.

The best one of all, though, is truly classic. When A was three, we went to spend a month in Ireland - in North Tipperary, to be exact, on the shores of Lough Derg, near Nenagh - swinging Nenagh, we called it. I escaped up to Dublin for a couple of days in this odyssey (during which I also got Epstein-Barr disease and so on, still, wouldn't trade that month for anything) and ended up playing tennis and having drinks at the Wicklow Tennis Club. (Have I told this here before? I think I have. God, my memory is going or something. Or I'm running out of anecdotes. Well, skip it if you've read it before. Or tell me meanly in the comments how senile I am. Whichever.) There were some other little kids in the bar and A ran off to play with them. I tuned into their conversation once or twice the way you do when your kids are small and was sort of taken aback to hear my small daughter, in the heart of 1986 holy Catholic Ireland, explaining earnestly: "No, the daddy has a PENIS and he puts it in the mommy's VAGINA."

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Stories About Dogs and Birds

outside asheville pizza 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
The Turkey
Last fall I saw several turkeys at the park by the river where I take the dogs every morning. Then, over the winter and spring, they disappeared and I never saw them standing by the road like prehistoric watchtowers or heard them gobbling away across the creek. Huh, I thought, when I thought about it, which frankly wasn't often at all, I wonder if turkeys are migratory? Then last week when the dogs and I got up to the big field, there was something way over in the center of the grass. Something big. I had one of those sinking moments where I wonder if this is going to be the morning when I encounter a lost bear or a rabid coyote or a body or a space alien or something else that's going to thoroughly freak out my morning peace and change my life forever and/or possibly lead to a TV miniseries and wealth and fame. The dogs, who aren't bothered by this kind of introspection, went straight off to investigate at top speed, barking madly. The turkey, (it was a turkey, hey, which you probably figured out by now) alarmed, stretched itself out (it had been kind of hunkered down in the grass doing gods know what - playing tic tac toe in the dirt or something) and took off running as a preamble to a cartoony takeoff and low, awkward flight back across the creek. Turns out it takes turkeys a surprisingly long time to get airborne. It was pretty cool. And the dogs came back eventually, which was also pretty cool.

Over the last year I've gotten to know a couple of other dogs who go to the park occasionally at roughly the same time we do. Notable among these dogs is Bucket, who is a large energetic yellow dog with a head of solid bone. Bucket lives with two humans and two other dogs: Sam, who is a very ancient Lab and whom I adore because I adore all old dogs and a small worried older lady dog whose name I can't remember. I don't know the human's names either. That is okay. Bucket is about the same age or a little younger than Django and has just as much energy, if not, unbelievably, more. When we first met he fell in love with Django and kept trying to join our family by happily trotting off with us, clearly saying "I want to live with Django and love him and jump on him and run around with him forever." Bucket, by the way, when I am speaking out loud for him, has one of those Duh Dum De Dum Dum voices. Theo speaks like a stoner grad student. Django also has a dum de dum dum voice but it's higher and more kindergarteny. Go figure. Anyway, Bucket's desertions always led to some exasperated maneuvering by his humans who would finally have to backtrack and physically catch him. Now, though, Bucket has learned to come when he is called, which is nice. And he and Django still love each other and they play this raucous game with large sticks whereby one of them will grab a three or four foot branch and start running around madly in circles with it while the other one chases him and tries to latch on. Then they either run in tandem, both holding the stick, which is really cute, or the second dog latches on from the wrong side, which, given the laws of physics (I don't know which law of physics but I'm sure there is one) makes them both come to an abrupt halt, which in turn surprises the hell out of them. This is even cuter. The only not cute part is when one of them is going 40 miles per hour with a giant stick and comes dashing right by and, if you are me, naturally, the stick whacks you right across the shins with an audible THWACK. If you are Bucket's mom, though, you can jump neatly over it. Bucket's mom obviously thinks faster at 7:30 than I do.

But Bucket is not Django's best friend. Mojo is Django's best friend and whenever I come home from being at S' house and seeing Mojo, Django is horrified by my betrayal and keeps his nose glued to my jeans leg, hoping against hope that I actually have got Mojo in my pocket, until I give up and put those jeans in the wash. When Mojo comes over they are both utterly happy and wrestle and play for hours and it is all incredibly cute, particularly when Django, who has around 50 pounds on Mojo, nicely lets him win the wrestling match. Yay dogs.

Now that I've been all nice about them, how much do you want to bet that I'll go home and find something new destroyed? It's harder for them to get to my stuff since I got smart and started putting all the couch and chair cushions and everything else portable into the living room closet every morning. Most people, I know, don't have to live like this but damn, it's a lot easier than reupholstering every few days. Their big favorite thing to do now is to drag my bearskin (teddy, not brown or grizzly) rug out through the dog door and into the mud. I have not the faintest idea why or, actually, how they do this, since said rug is actually a 5 foot square of fake fur and said dog door is like 2 feet square, but they do and, well, I guess it keeps them occupied. As Theo would - and does, I swear - say, "Constant vigilance is the price we pay for a squirrel free yard."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

busa the peregrine and steve longenecker at the colburn earth science

Okay it is Sunday - hey, 4/20, rah - and I actually went to my office today to put up some of the DILOA stuff. I was there when I discovered that they were having a post DILOA beer drinking and moaning "I took like 300 pictures and all but 3 of them suck" session. Thank the gods that I wasn't the only person saying that. And everybody's pictures are scary amazing and it was very fun. Anyway, after that, I went over to K & J's and that was also fun and now, glory b, I am at home. Big exciting life. Almost all my DITLOA pictures are up, though, and I'll get the next batch up tomorrow by noon.

However. The deal with DITLOA is that I need to pick sixteen pictures from my DITLOA time. Of those, I get to pick one that is my favorite - that, in a fine show of democracy or general niceness or something like that, gets into the show no matter what. The other fifteen go into a jurying pool and then those that are juried in go on display at the Pack library downtown.

So, anyway, this is where you come in. I need help picking those 16. Here is the flickr set of all of them - WAIT! ONLY AFTER NOON MONDAY APRIL WHATEVER THE FUCKETH IT IS , BUT, YOU KNOW, MONDAY, CAN YOU SEE ALL OF THEM -- let me know which ones you like. You can put it on flickr or put it here or email me but say something. Just wait until they're all up - which should be noonish tomorrow.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tired of Taking Pictures

grove arcade bike
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I'm done with DITLOA. I've been done since like 5:00, actually - 36 hours is too much for me and I confess: it's Saturday night at 9:15 and while I'm not actually in my pajamas yet, that moment is getting closer by the second. Hey, I just played a lengthy and rousing game of Bookworm. That's enough excitement for this party girl! Whoo hoo!

I took way too many pictures and yet not enough. It was nice to wander around downtown last night in the first warm night weather since last fall. The streets were full and while, okay, a lot of them were tourists or annoying in other ways, still, it was fun to take pictures of the drum circle and the Grove Arcade and sit outside drinking beer at the Flying Frog and not be freezing. And it was fun to keep running into all the other DITLOA photographers - there were hundreds of people with cameras out. Just wandering from the arcade to the frog to broadways I ran into at least 10 people I knew, which reminds me of why I like Asheville and want to stay here.

Then today I went to work, which was actually kind of fun and then I went to the botanical gardens with S and her visiting cousins from Minneapolis who are very nice and say that just because you've seen Fargo it doesn't mean you know anything about Minnesota. Naturally we ran into Z there and he proceeded to give us a guided tour, which was totally fascinating. Then we all went on to the brew n' view for a beer (it is required by law to take all out of state visitors to the brew n' view) and that's where we were when the heavens split asunder etc., etc and those gripping realizations of nature's fury, human puniness and fuck, I left my car window wide open and it's back in West Asheville came thick and heavy upon us. So I came on home and my pajamas are waiting for me. Even though there's three hours or so left in DITLOA, I have bailed. I can take no more pictures.

Friday, April 18, 2008

and DITLOA begins

Well, I just went out and took some pictures for DITLO (hint - this is not one of them) and I think I need a klonopin. Something about taking pictures of people scares the crap out of me. Rivers and cows are much easier and dogs are best of all. But hey, this is fun. Also, there is room in DITLOA for more! Go forth and photograph, y'all! And I think I still have a klonopin or two stashed away, even!

Some Random Shit:

There's an ice cream place right by my job. This is okay, since I don't like ice cream. If it was a discount gourmet cheese emporium, yowza, I'd be in serious trouble. But it is ice cream, so, whatever. I was just walking back through their courtyard, noticing the three people sitting in the sun eating ice cream and wondering whether I should take their picture (paranoided out) when one woman's cell phone rang.
"Western Carolina Veterinary Surgery!" she chirped brightly into it, "A speaking! How can I help you?"

I went to see my mother last night. My perfect mother, as has been mentioned in this blog before, has never had a weight problem and thus has little if any sympathy for those who, like her darling daughter, struggle with such things. She told me a story about how she had gotten muffins at the local bakery for her Monday morning women's gossip session (it's supposed to be Bible study, but fortunately for my mother, who has long since veered away from her minister's daughter's girlhood into a sort of militant atheism/agnosticism, they never ever talk about the Bible. They talk about other ladies. It's win-win.) and then she said rather snarkily that she would have saved me some muffins but she knew I was on a diet.
"Oh yes," I said, "I'm always on a diet! It's a perpetual diet - and it will never work, I know, until I quit drinking."
My mother allowed as to how this was probably so.
"But," I said, "I can't possibly face the horror of dieting without drinking, so there you go."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Scraped Knee

dandelion fluff macro 4
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I scraped my knee on Saturday night and when I say I scraped it, I mean it's a full on looks like I'm 8 years old and just got the training wheels off complete skin removal job. It hurts, too and I think I'm taking care of it wrong. I asked young M what to do, since he is something of a large skin abrasion expert and he said that you should always leave skinned knees completely alone. Unfortunately, I wore tights yesterday. For future reference, if you have a skinned knee, do not, repeat, do not, wear thick black tights. Actually, now that I think of it, if you're going to wear tights, black is the way to go. That way (major grossness ahead!) it won't show when the tights get all attached to your scrape and the pus oozes all over everything and it won't be all that terribly bad (it will be pretty bad, regardless) when you gently detach the fabric of the tights from your knee later. Big fun. Also, I'm suing S for the cost of my box of gauze pads, since, without seeing the fall, she knew exactly which hole in her yard caused the scrape. No, not really. I confess: beer and clogs had just as much to do with it as a small hole digging dog.

In other news, I have a terrible sinking sensation that I've told the sugar and lemon story from Tuesday's post before. I don't really care enough to go through 900-odd posts to find out (note to Google/Blogger - it would be really awesome if there was an easy way to tag old posts. Really awesome.) but if I did, well, I apologize. Age and senility and no imagination and all that. Getting older sucks on so many levels and it's probably why my knee hurts worse than it did when I was 8 and did the same kind of thing. Hell, I can't even sit on my bed with one leg underneath me and paint anymore: I did that a couple Sundays ago and, while I noticed that I kept falling over when I stood up, it took a while for me to connect the position with the excruciating muscle pain I was in all day Monday and Tuesday. You know you're old and, okay, maybe just very slightly out of shape when sitting on your bed for a few hours causes days of pain.

Speaking of age, my birthday is coming up and I don't know what to do about it. Every year I go through this birthday angst and every year it freaks me way the fuck out from about now to May 5, at which point I'm over it again. Does everyone go through this? It's mildly hellish. I don't know if I want to throw myself a party or go smear mud on my head and sit in a cave meditating on my sins for 24 hours or what. Actually, I'm secretly hoping that somebody else will make this decision for me by taking me on a cruise or sweeping me away to a club with a gorilla gram or something - god, anything. Anything where I don't have to make a decision. Unfortunately - and damn, it is unfortunate, I think this all the time - we're living in real life, not a delightful escapist novel and so the chances of that happening are roughly nil. Pity.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I just ate a grapefruit for lunch. Well, no, it wasn't all I had for lunch, alas, it was the dessert to a totally healthy lunch of the pasta primavera I made last night, which I thought was amazingly delicious but which young M scorned as containing too many vegetables - "It would be okay, see, if there were just a few vegetables but that, there's like big clumps of them and you can't get just noodles." - and Chex Mix (damn you, office leftovers.) The pasta primavera, naturally, featured a major cheese sauce - that's a cheese sauce with major amounts of various cheeses, not one of your wimpy recommended cheese sauces with only half a cup of low fat cheese, no, uh uh, not in my kitchen - but I fully believe that the aforementioned clumps of vegetables leech the extra calories right out of the sauce. You know they do.

However, this post is not about my amazing pasta primavera, even though it did contain broccoflower, which my children refuse to eat as unnatural but which I think is the best argument for Science since the invention of the snow globe ring. Hey, it sort of glows and it's delicious! What's not to like?! It's about grapefruit. I adore grapefruit, more so since I discovered that you don't have to eat it the fancy way my overachieving mother always gave it to us, halved, all the segments cut out with a grapefruit knife, drizzled with honey and in a lovely glass bowl. I don't do that, because I'm sane, so it made me happy to discover at some point in my thirties (I'm sane but I'm a little slow on the uptake) that you can eat grapefruit like an orange, making it much more desk job suitable. The problem is, my mouth feels funny lately after I eat grapefruit and this funniness does not disappear like the stickiness on my hands or the nice smell of grapefruit rinds wafting gently from the trash can. It lasts and lasts all day, which, it occurs to me, may be the genesis of the idea of grapefruit as a diet food.

I'm right there with the idea of citrus as diet food because, you see, once, back in the dim and distant early eighties, I was a typical American teenage girl in high school whose extremely healthy body image meant that I could eat more or less anything unless there were boys present. It's well known that you cannot eat in front of boys because . . . because. . . just take my word for it. You can't. Well, that's not strictly true: there are a few things you can eat in front of a boy because otherwise the boys might start to realize that you weren't eating in front of them and then, horror of horrors, they might mention food around you! What would you do then?! Seppuku, probably. Anyway, there were boys present in the high school cafeteria, which meant that it was impossible to eat there. It was necessary to present a laughing face of utter disdain for something so earthy as food and act like all you, personally, ever ate was cordon bleu cuisine from the finest restaurants or moondrops and dew or something. Or, yeah, the occasional Big Mac. For whatever reason, at this particular school, no matter what else was being served, there was always an unlimited supply of white bread, butter cubes in little round dishes and sugar and lemon for your iced tea. So we would make extremely healthy sandwiches of white bread, butter, sugar and lemon juice. Or just pour sugar on lemon slices and eat that. This was infinitely more attractive than eating some kind of, god forbid, actual food and I hope the boys appreciated it. Then we would waft off to our next class, increasingly thin and more than a little hyped up on sugar.

Lemon slices coated with sugar have a similar effect on your mouth as plain grapefruit, as do the heroin/crack/nicotine of the candy world: candied grapefruit slices. I first got turned on to these evil little things this past December during the annual Passively Aggressively Drown Your Workplace In Fattening Snacks holiday munch-a-thon. They're even more addictive than the Sunkist Fruit Gems that you can get out of a barrel at Mast (you used to also be able to buy them in bulk at the health food store, god knows why) which at least don't turn your mouth all funny. Candied grapefruit slices will kill your mouth to the point of rendering you unable to eat anything else for days. It doesn't matter. You won't be able to stop eating until they're all gone and you curl up in a fetal ball under your desk and mourn their passing, shaking a little.

But I made it through the holidays. I survived withdrawal from the candied grapefruit slices and my mouth healed and everything was sunshine and roses and I could even eat regular grapefruit, until, suddenly, now, or, well, a week or so ago, my mouth is getting all weird. There must be boys around.

Monday, April 14, 2008

susans party 2

susans party 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Another weekend has come and gone. Why are they so exhausting? It turns out that it's not going to work that makes me tired - it's my social life. Or something.

M came in on Friday night: we ate steak and potatoes and had a couple of beers, watched about half an hour of I Am Legend and went to sleep. On Saturday morning we went over and helped A move for a while, then drove down along the river from Woodfin to the dog park, where we went to the Flickr/DILOA meetup. The 2008 Spring edition of Day in the Life of Asheville is going to be next Friday and Saturday, by the way. I'm going to sort of be participating - I have an insane work week ahead of me, so, depending on how energetic I feel, I may take a ton of pictures on Friday and Saturday or just a few. Last year I took over a hundred; this year, hmmm.

Then M mowed almost all of my giant yard (YAY!) and I made fancy eggy hors d'oeuvres (miniature quiche lorraines & spanakopita) for S' birthday party, which started earlier than I thought it did, but we got there by 5:30 and then of course I was blotto by 10:30 when we left. Drinking beer for 5 straight hours = yeah, not such a good idea, really. I swear I have no tolerance anymore. I mean, 8 or 10 beers and I'm out of it. Tsk tsk. Well, there's no beer in my immediate future anyway, which is good for my waistline, my liver and my getting to work early and staying late all week, which is what I'm looking at. Yowza.

Friday, April 11, 2008

in which I use too many Capital Letters

The weekend is fast approaching and with it, naturally, are coming thunderstorms and rain and much colder temperatures and maybe snow and, you know, plagues of locusts and tornadoes and earthquakes and probably a volcano or two and maybe, who the hell knows, a meteorite strike and the sun going nova. That's what always happens on weekends; they're a dangerous business. However, I am more than usually cranky about this weekend not being sunny and in the seventies (like it's been most of the week while I was stuck deep inside my windowless orange bunker) because I have Things to Do. Things which require being outdoors, like helping A move and going to a DITLOA meeting at the park and S' official Birthday Party (as opposed to her unofficial birthday dinner on the actual day - this is the Big Party) and, of course, that perennial favorite activity of weekends: mowing the lawn. Be still, oh my heart, at the excitement that this weekend is likely going to deliver. Hopefully while we're at it M won't kill me - I neglected to mention most all of this stuff and he's going to be here and taking part in it, most specifically some of the heavy lifting and mowing parts. Poor M.

In other news, I rescued the first ladybug of the season. I spend most of my summers being something of a professional Bug Rescuer. Someone has to do it and I'm well qualified, since I spend a lot of time outdoors smoking and looking aimlessly around and, most importantly, insects don't bother me much. You will notice that I do not rescue mice. I took the ladybug out of an ashtray - ashtrays are very bad places for ladybugs - carried her across the courtyard and put her on a leaf. All good and I felt that little hint of nobility that I get when I do something virtuous. Then, alas, she fell off the leaf and I'm not sure where she landed. That's sort of the equivalent of me falling off the Empire State building but hopefully she survived. There was nothing I could do, short of rooting through the mulch looking for her, which seemed a little too extreme. Basically, I only rescue once and when the second rescue is necessary because of the first I kind of twiddle my thumbs, look away and whistle. One can only do so much in the selfless world of bug rescue.

The picture, in case you were wondering, is the mosaic candleholder thingie I made for S for her birthday. I actually made two but the other one is so unbelievably, frighteningly ugly that I couldn't bring myself to give it away. It's truly hideous and so it is sitting on my kitchen windowsill, being atrocious. I'm getting kind of fond of it. The one I gave away is, as you see, a work of beauty and a joy forever. If, that is, you define forever as "however long it takes before all the jewels fall off because Fliss got fed up with the stupid tile adhesive and how long it took and how everything was slipping off so she used hot glue which actually never holds all that long and in fact one of them already fell off, so, uh, well, enjoy it now! Ars breva, vida longis!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

grass and dew at sunrise

grass and dew at sunrise
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This morning was one of those hellacious mornings in which young M misses the school bus and I hit my head on the cabinet of Satan in my kitchen. If I actually owned the house I live in I would rip that fucking thing off the wall and kill it with fire, but alas, I do not and so I have to live with the constant presence of the dark lord, in the shape of a hideous cabinet that was clearly designed to sit on the floor yet some brilliant mind hung up overhead so that the elaborate bottom molding that should be on the floor is actually at exactly forehead level. And pointy. By the time I move out of this house I should have a nice permanent dent in the corner of my skull, matching the one that's now in Theo's metal dog dish, which I flung at the corner cabinet after hitting my head in order to punish it properly. The cabinet only chuckled grimly but the dog dish sustained a big dent and the dogs, who had been waiting for breakfast, went and hid under my bed while young M cowered under his covers. I have noticed that both my dogs (probably my children too) are well trained in that if I come in the front door and shriek Jesus Christ Almighty Goddamnit they turn tail instantly and go hide way under my bed and won't come out for some time. They're not as stupid as they look.

Finally, only 40 or so minutes late, we got into the car and young M said, "Oh, hey, we're not even late. Look, it's 8:15."
"No it isn't," I said, "That clock is an hour slow and ten minutes fast. It's actually 9:05."
"What?" said young M, "What do you mean an hour slow and ten minutes fast? Who thinks like that?"
"It's easier," I said, "Than subtracting 50 minutes."

And it is, I swear, and I should know, because I live like this for half a year, every year, and have since I got this car ten years ago because I just can't be bothered to find the car book. I know that if I found the book (which is almost certainly under one of the front seats) I could change the time and it would be humiliatingly easy, like it would take forty seconds or so to do the blindingly obvious steps to change the time but I cannot do it without the book and so, in the name of laziness, I just add an hour and subtract ten minutes to the time and pretend that it's the easiest way to go. Being lazy is seriously hard work sometimes.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

susan with her birthday pillow

Last night was S' birthday and so J and Z and H and I took her out to Tomato Cocina Latina for dinner. Which was totally excellent. I had heard good things about Cocina Latina and they are justified. it used to be Tomato, which I also heard good things about but also terrible things and anyway I figured upscale Italian in what looks like it might just have been an old Howard Johnsons on Patton Avenue wouldn't work out, so I never went there. Then it changed into Cocina Latina. The sign, rakishly tilted in what one hopes was a design decision or possibly it used to be a Blockbuster from back in the day when they had tilted signs, still says Tomato but it says Cocina Latina under it, so, since I am not up on the current or recent past Asheville restaurant gossip (mental note - spend more time with C; he knows all of it) it's kind of confusing. And there's still a Leonardo and a tasteful rendition of the Bridge of Sighs nicely drawn on the walls, so, you know, go figure. But anyway, the food is amazing and affordable. Perhaps I shouldn't publicize this - do not raise your prices or lower the quality of your incredible, incredible Argentinean style steaks, please, oh Tomato Cocina Latina! - but seriously, it was one of the best meals I've had in way too long. Also, S had a good time, as did we all.

S had put a ridiculously low price level - $1.99 - on birthday gifts so I cheated by making things. I made the pillow pictured here and I am proud as hell of myself, since I left work yesterday, went straight over to Foam and Fabric, my favorite place, bought some fake leopard fur and black upholstery fringe braid stuff and a round foam pillow shape, came home and whoa, totally made an amazing designeresque pillow in an hour and twenty minutes without barely even breaking the sewing machine. I had to go to Kerr Drug and get a needle and thread towards the end, too, when the machine decided that it had had Enough and wanted to return to thinner, more manageable sewing and so I had to finish the pillow by hand. It rocks if I do say so myself.

As a bonus I got myself a big old hunk of orangey long haired fake fur that looks like someone skinned a shaggier muppet. I meant only to put it into the clothing bin in my closet that Django has taken to sleeping in (I am lazy. I have several large plastic bin things in my closet that hold, respectively, T-shirts, giant flannel shirts, pajama pants & long underwear shirts and black sweaters) thereby freeing my flannel shirts up from dog hair and general dog glump, but when I brought it in young M immediately wrapped it around himself and I was struck by the idea of turning it into the worlds most repulsive vest. So, with a pair of scissors, I did just that and I tell you, for the first time in my life I have my Halloween costume all ready some seven months early. I feel like Martha Stewart, or, well, like Martha Stewart might feel if she ever considered putting on a giant piece of orange fake fur with two armholes cut into it and going out drinking on Halloween as Wogga the Cave Girl. Which I totally am because, really, the exchange for the fact that I don't make as much money as Martha Stewart is that I get to have way more fun and do stuff of which she would never, ever dream.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

city hall run through the edoizer

Check out old city hall, which I actually took with a time machine because I'm insanely boring and can't think of anything better to do with a time machine than take pictures of city hall! I'll just go shoot myself now. Wait! I lie! (Like unto a rug do I lieth, actually, but you know, what the hell.) Anyway, the picture is the result of this, a very nifty, simple and cool little web thingie (yeah, okay, it's in Japanese. Do not freak out. With even the slightest application of a brain cell or two you also will be able to figure it out. Really. I did and I don't even know two words of Japanese, so there.) that will take your pictures and immediately make them, you know, old. Sort of like what happened to me somehow when I wasn't looking. Also, while we're on the subject of aging, all hail S, whose birthday it is! Yay, S! Happy birthday! Hope the several ecards I sent you have not ended our friendship forever! We're all getting frighteningly old, indeed, but oh well, who cares, we certainly don't act it.

Young M has some kind of mysterious stomach thingie, which is always so much fun for everyone concerned. I am concerned, of course, because my stomach too is a little off. Not to the point of actually worshiping the porcelain god, thank god, or, well, another god, hopefully whichever one supervises the porcelain one (the god of municipal sewer systems?) but to the point where I don't much want to eat and when I do it's kind of touch and go for a while there. Also, I'm dizzy and a little out of it - more, I mean, than usual. Poor young M was lying on the couch and watching Tom & Jerry this morning, occasionally moaning faintly. I haven't quite gotten to the cartoon network stage and hopefully I won't. However, I am supposed to go out and celebrate S' birthday tonight with upscale Latino cuisine and I'm a little worried about that. Ceviche and margaritas vs. saltines and coca cola, hmmm.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Again

sunset and silhouettes 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Long distance relationships are very difficult. Mine seems to be back in working order at the moment but it was touch and go there for a while. Whew. This is hard. In the many years since I even tried to be in an actual relationship (and even in the the slightly fewer years since I tried and failed to be in a relationship with a) someone who was already in several other ones and b) several someones who didn't want to be in one with me specifically and c) a poisonous snake) I had forgotten about the part where they take real work. Damn. I got all emo-ed out all weekend and it was no fun at all. Tell me stories of long distance relationships that end with the words happily ever after, y'all, please. I need them. I got a book from Amazon but it wants us to sit down and discuss our "communication styles" in hideous stilted faux psychological trendoid terms. I hate self help books. Still, it does say that the Long Distance Relationship, which is to say, like mine, is the hardest kind of all and if you can make it through that you can make it through anything, similar to the sentiments expressed by Frank Sinatra towards New York. Except without any similarly bracing buck up and make it anywhere melodies.

Angst seems to be good for my creativity, though, which is kind of nice. I had all these plans to clean the whole house and mow the yard and so on and none of these things got done; they rarely do, of course, but this weekend I had the vaguely bonafide excuse of being all emotionally wrung out and freaking out and sorrowing. I did, however, make some art and go to Target, where I bought a nifty gold and white boom box that is perfectly round in a very retro future way so that it looks like a boom box Captain Kirk might have carried to a picnic on Zebulon IV if he was planning to seduce one of the lovely green skinned princesses there. It's even more Zebulon-y now since last night I glued some jewels on it; I was briefly at loose ends with the glue gun and, you know, what the hell. Unfortunately, I should maybe not have done that, because now I can't return it for being finicky, which it unfortunately is. I got it because it was supposed to play MP3s and CD-Rs and all that fancy techy shit, but on several of my CDs it hops around like a metaphor that is slightly less cruel but equally as jittery as a frog on a hot griddle. Damn. I need an industrial strength CD player that isn't fazed by dog toothmarks and aeons of dirt, not some wimpy thing that demands perfect CDs.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

in my city

in my city
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I made a lot of art today - well, I finished this, which had been gathering dust taped to a drawing board behind the TV. I started it months ago, drawing from a dream. In the dream I led a giraffe creature out of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, which, in the dream, was on a cobblestone street by a river and an arching bridge. Leading the giraffe, who didn't want to leave the museum, was difficult, but on the bridge was a goat, and when the goat and the giraffe saw each other, they both calmed down and were happy. So I drew it and stashed it away and then finished it today. And I did a small landscape with heron and stormy sky thing. All I wanted to do today was paint sky, so. I painted some sky. While I was at this I thought up my new motto: Felicitas Designs - Making Art Out of Pain Since Sometime in the Late Sixties

Sometimes you just have to be six or seven and draw all day so that time disappears and you become only crayons and paint and paper.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I managed to walk the dogs every single morning this week for at least 30 minutes and it's embarrassing how proud I am of that. It's like my own little equivalent of getting a sports trophy or something - never having gotten anything resembling a sports trophy, how would I know? Every morning at the park it's gray and half rainy and muddy but getting greener day by day. The weird thing about this park is that it's supposedly a huge gay casual sex pick up spot and that's why there are often cars parked facing out with men just casually sitting in them alone. This is pure rumor, by the way. I have no idea if it's true. I pay them no mind whatsoever for the most part and they return the favor, although, while I have absolutely no problem with casual sex - hey! Sometimes it's exactly what ya need! Why not?! - I do find that I have a problem with casual sex at 7 am. I mean, sure, yeah, meet somebody at a bar at 2 am and go home with them or, hell, go to a nice nice dark alley with them, whatever; that makes total and complete sense to me. But to get up in the morning, have coffee and go pick up a stranger without neon lights, darkness and vast quantities of alcohol and drugs? What if they haven't even had coffee yet? I can barely find my shoes at 7 in the morning; the thought of trying to navigate my way through the thicket of casual sex at that time of day is mindblowing. Morning people, yargh: I cannot compute this aberration.

It's supposed to rain all weekend I think. Terrific - and I say that completely unironically. I want to stay home and read and occasionally stare broodingly out the window at streaks of gray and relentless rain. Also, it will give me an excuse not to mow the lawn. A currently has my lawnmower in Woodfin anyway, where her completely and totally psychotic soon to be ex landlady is giving her fits about everything under the sun. Renting can suck so bad sometimes, particularly when you're too young and inexperienced to spot the evil lunatics who so often own rental property. Sometimes, I swear you're better off with the scuzziest slumlords - at least you know they won't bother you continuously. Mental note: must, must, must get on that trying to buy a house thing again.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I Need

I need several things. I've been shopping like a madwoman lately but still, I don't have enough stuff. More stuff, I say! More stuff! I need this CD and I need a new clear dome umbrella and I either need a new beautiful small jet bead necklace or I need to find mine that I already have again. And according to my mother, I need a lemon zester, but actually I think I could probably live without one although I could use some more dishtowels and niftier party platters and bowls, since mine were cute in an ironic way long long ago but now somehow they're just shabby. However, I don't need a new raincoat. Thanks to my mom, I got one. It's an awesome raincoat and I love it. "Don't you still wear this?" I asked my mother
"All the time," she said, looking as if she was rapidly kind of regretting offering it to me. "It's a wonderful coat."
"Sure is!" I said, putting it on and dashing out the door before she could have second thoughts. I am evil, taking advantage of the maternal instincts of my aged parent like that. But I need that coat - it's reversible! One side is brown and kind of rectangular stuck out quilty and sort of subtly shiny and the other side is black! - and besides, she should have forked over the pony when I was 8. If I'd had a pony when I was 8 I probably wouldn't be so quick to go stealing raincoats from the elderly. Probably.

The other thing I need is a mini tape recorder or actually, now that I think about it, a friendly robot to follow me around and record my thoughts and particularly the more hilarious parts of my conversations with S. She came over last night and I swear there were at least 5 times when I thought, this is totally hysterical and brilliant, I must blog this. Now, of course, I have absolutely no idea what I thought was so funny. I know we talked for a long time and there was much laughter. But about what? For all I know, we were saying the same things we always say. That's one of the joys of getting older - you get to have the same conversation over and over and you don't even notice. Maybe I'll remember someday and I'll have that friendly robot nearby and these gems of incredible mirth and wisdom will get blogged.

Or maybe not.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


All I want to do is sleep and apparently I'm not alone in this. My mother and my friends and even my son are all reporting a desperate need to sleep for 15 or so hours a day; clearly the tsetse fly has invaded western North Carolina or the world is ending not with a bang but with a snore. Or maybe it's the change of seasons, which are changing very rapidly right now, like, several times a day so that I have no idea what to wear. At the end of the day, when I stumble out from my orange cell and emerge blinking into the daylight, I'm alone in my tights and woolly skirt and sweater and coat, adrift among flocks of tourists in T-shirts, shorts and flip flops. I enjoy laughing at tourists in this outfit on cold days, because clearly they believed when they left Inigokquit or some other igloo in the frozen North that they were coming to the Sunny South. One hates to break it to them, but the mountains of WNC are not Key West and bringing beach clothes only for your Easter break vacation is probably not a brilliant idea, although it does make me snicker uncharitably. That's why I hate it so when they snicker at me back, thinking, ha ha, silly office worker, she didn't know it was 80 outside! Don't they know this schadenfreudian laughter should only go one way?

In other news I got a box of mediocre books from Amazon yesterday and I am happy as a pig in shit. Or I would be if I wasn't feeling that it was Time for me to write a Book of My Own. I've been tossing this idea around since I was, oh, five or so, and in the 90s I even got some 300 pages into a novel about a space alien named Quisp and five college kids who try to smuggle him back out to the galaxy he came from, but it got derailed by, first off, the bad sex scenes and secondly, my own divorce. Yeah, yeah, write what you know. Now I want to write another book, even though I can't come up with much of a plot. However, I intend to press on bravely and attempt to write the kind of book that I want to read, which puts it automatically out of any kind of general interest category whatsoever, since my taste in books, like my taste in movies, runs to things with swords, explosions, special effects and men with rippling muscles who stand there bravely quoting short pithy poems about Life to the piercing winds while girls on the other side of the dune piss themselves laughing at them.

It's going to be difficult to balance sleeping 15 hours a day with work and writing a novel and semi-parenting (parenting a teenager basically comes down to two or three conversations a day, none of which turn out the way you really wanted them to) and drinking heavily and watching bad movies and staring blankly at the computer and all the other things I find it necessary to do on a regular basis. I think that work could go, actually, but my bank account has other ideas, so I will just have to squeeze this Novel thing in somehow. Maybe I could cut back on cleaning the house.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

april fools joke

april fools joke
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This morning as I ran out the door, late as always, I found a little box on my doorstep. It had a Barbie sticker on it, my name and the injunction not to open it until April 1. When I opened it, this was inside. Yay! Happy April Fools! I was so excited! I've never gotten a visit from the April Fools Fairy before! So all morning I wondered who could have done this lovely thing. I thought maybe it was my friend E, who lives down the street and has a little girl (thus giving her access to Barbie stuff) but on the other hand, she has kids - she doesn't have time for this kind of thing. Then I thought perhaps it was my friend K, who has a wacky sense of humor. I had settled on K when another friend (I will not reveal who) stopped by my job to say hello and revealed that it was actually he and his SO. Thank you both so much! I love it! Pat is my new friend and I adore her weird little salamander thingie. She's going in a terrarium tonight, y'all, there to stay evermore.

Since my life is very boring and I like it that way at the moment at least, I'm back to watching movies in the evenings. Last night I watched True Grit for the simple reason that there wasn't anything else on. I have several thoughts about True Grit which can perhaps be best expressed in list form.
1. This won an Oscar? Has the world changed dramatically or was 1969 just a really, really sucky year for movies?
2. John Wayne reminds me of my father.
3. The music is by Elmer Bernstein. Not Leonard, Elmer. And it shows.
4. Huh, Dennis Hopper sure was a cute young thing.
5. Fuck this shit; cleaning the kitchen just got way more enticing.

And then I watched Anthony Bourdain visit my hometown, Charleston SC. WTF, Anthony? There are tons of cool things to do and great places to eat and you decided to spend half the show doing Confederate reenacting? That's not even Charleston specific - I think there are way more reenactors from the Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia area than South Carolina. And you went out to a Gullah restaurant and couldn't even find anyone who spoke the language? And you didn't go downtown? And you didn't go out and get drunk, which is like the primero numero uno thing to do in Charleston? And who were those creeps who threw that lame ass oyster roast? Where were all the people and where was all the beer? I've been to better, more authentic oyster roasts up here in the mountains than that one. Dude, please. I love you but that was possibly the lamest episode in the history of your show. Go back and do it right.