Saturday, May 31, 2008


This is just a quick note to say that my kids are making hot wings from scratch in the kitchen, I'm drinking beer on the porch (well, not at this exact moment, no, but you get the general idea) and things are pleasant on this Saturday night. Soon we will watch the new American Treasures/Nic Cage (yes, I still love him - it's going to be difficult, you know, that day I am forced to pick between Nic and James McMurtry) which, no matter how bad it is, can't really possibly be worse than the Indiana Jones movie. I hope. And, today, I planted poppies and a rose bush at my mother's house. So, you know, Saturday: all good.

S is off to Australia. We gathered spontaneously at her house last night. J & I were already going over there; I was pulling out of the Amoco on Amboy when I saw Z & H (actually, I recognized their dog first, which says something about me, ye gods, there I am looking at a car going by me and thinking, hey, that's Bailey! Who's she with? Oh. . . right. . . her owners! Two of my close friends! Oy.) and they, cleverly deducing that I was headed to S' house, followed me. In turn there appeared K & J and then, later, J & A and so we toasted S off to Australia with beer & vodka & bread & cheese & fried plantains. She's flying over the country now. Snif.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Colds, Rock Concerts & Books

So I have another one of those weird little almost colds mystery viruses (virii?) - this must be the three hundredth this year or so. I'm tired of this. I think there's some kind of evil germ spirit in the house. Maybe it lives with the groundhogs or possibly they placed a curse on us. Naturally, this thing came on on Wednesday, which was, of course, the day I had X tickets. So I slumped around all day at work feeling miserable and then, damn it, went to the show anyway. I felt fine at the show - you can treat colds with beer and loud music successfully sometimes anyway - and then yesterday and today I've been all slumped over again. Bah.

X was amazing; they rocked the house; Exene looks fantastic; seeing women my age and older up on stage totally getting into it and (wow, I hate to use this expression but nothing else fits) rocking out makes me feel so much better about my own rapidly aging self. And it is rapidly aging, whoa: just sort of half assedly dancing wipes me out in half an hour. I am lame (literally. The Orange Peel is hell on my knees.) and aged. Yet I still rock, because, hah, I went to see X and you - unless you're one of the people who were there, yeah - didn't. Oh and check it out - my friend A was there; he wrote about it on his blog and Billy Zoom responded!

Then I ended up staying home yesterday and doing fuck all but read terrible romance novels. I stocked up at the Goodwill last Saturday and I'm happy to report that I actually read FOUR complete paperback novels yesterday. They've gotten a little blurred together, but, as I recall, the first one was a Robert B. Parker epic starring some new female detective and it turns out that, IMHO, Robert B. Parker cannot actually write in the female voice. Yo, Bob! Girls don't talk, act or think like that! Go back to Spenser, even if he is 134 years old now. The second one was - oh shit, what was the second one? Ah yes, the second one was the one about the girl who's selling shoes in Atlanta and then gets hooked up with these weird ass party crashing other girls: they crash High museum benefits, which is something I actually know about and no, it is not as easy as they are making it out to be although, of course, totally possible but, take it from me, if you are crashing museum benefits hoping to score super rich bachelors who also happen to be awesome, uh, good luck there. Anyway, her boyfriend had disappeared before the book started and it turned out that actually it was her neighbor who did it. Also there was a ring of rich guys going around killing their wives but they all got caught and off she went to Costa Rica with the rich and perfect guy. The third one was weirdly similar to the second one except it took place in a small town in Indiana instead of in Atlanta, the girl didn't have a boyfriend, bad or otherwise, but she did land a job with a witch and then discovered that she could see spirits and then nearly got killed in a very unconvincing final denouement scene which is also how she finally landed the cute, divorced cop. Note to author: you're my age or older, aren't you? I can tell because you're attempting to make your 28 year old heroine fun and hip by giving her characteristics of our generation, not hers. Give it up or go talk to some actual 28 year olds, please. Your book was published in 2006, not 1986. No one in 2006 rides around in a 72 VW bug to be cool and she wouldn't say "yuppies" or a zillion other things either and yes, she would have a cel phone - not only would she have one, she'd use it to send text messages and, also, her mother couldn't actually be a devoted Catholic tupperware saleslady because women like that don't exist anymore either and haven't for generations.

The fourth book was the best in that it had the most actual sex in it (let's be honest about "romance" novels here, shall we?) and also it was the best written even if not in a manner designed to win the author a Pulitzer any time soon. So in my best bookreportese, let me tell you that the setting is that there is this entire other race of human appearing people, right, and they live in, like, Scotland, right, and it's, like, 1753 or thereabouts, but, you know, let's not get all historically anal or anything, and these people who are extremely good looking can turn into a) smoke and b) dragons and also they all came from Transylvania originally but they're not vampires, see, because vampires are SO OVER. They're drakon which is to say, totally not vampires. Like most nonhuman Earth dwelling races they have a very strict code of secrecy (I have never understood this, myself, but hey, it would appear to be universal) and so when one of them escapes they all, but most particularly the extremely sexy good looking Lord one, must go after her. And then when he finds her, they squabble and stuff and naturally have mad passionate sexy sex all over the place and they get the diamond back (yeah, whatever, also they're really into precious gems because they are DRAGONS not vampires, remember, even if they are immortal and can make humans do their bidding and are totally sexy and gorgeous and can turn into smoke and all) and then they get married. Actually, it was pretty good and I might even search out the rest of the books, since I feel almost certain that the Drakon have more than one book devoted to their sexy, sexy doings. At least I hope they do, because I still have the sniffles and S is leaving for Australia tomorrow, oh woe, oh woe is me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ancient Slang

Something weird is happening to my vocabulary: slang from my mother's generation is creeping into it. I have no idea why this is happening or what's going on here, unless I'm slowly being taken over by aliens who are still translating radio waves from the 1930s. Neat-O!

No, seriously. Last Friday I was at the bar at Broadways waiting for my friends J & S to show up for our usual Friday evening Ladies Drinking Circle meeting. J got there and she was wearing a nice top - therefore, because I am a nice person, I complimented her by saying, "That top is just as cute as the dickens!" This caused my other friend J, sitting next to me, to more or less fall off her barstool in laughter. And I got all flustered because, for chrissakes, the dickens?!? Where did that come from? Why am I suddenly turning into my mother, at Broadways of all places, where my mother would never, ever go? What the hell is the dickens, anyway, and why is it a good thing? If it's a reference to Charles, shouldn't it be more, like, "That top is just as bleak and heartbreaking as a cute orphan starving in the 1830s London snow"?

If only it stopped at the dickens, I could maybe get away with it. But no, more is creeping in. I've caught myself referring to a whole lot of things as crummy, lately. I don't think anyone besides my mother has used the word crummy since 1956, but there I am, driving down Patton Avenue and saying to my son, "Well, my phone is just crummy" which makes him turn sideways and stare at me in bemusement. And then there's nifty. I actually said nifty the other day. Naturally, I've said crummy more than I've said nifty, because let's face it: more stuff IS crummy than nifty. A sad fact of life, but true.

The dickens. Crummy. Nifty. This has gone way too far. I had better grab up some hella more modern slang, fo shizzle, or I'll look all, like, totally gnarly and dated. And we wouldn't want that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paranormal Phenomenon

mountain laurel buds
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Yesterday, as we know if we scroll down, I saw a question mark formed by light and shadow on a rock. Whooo! Scary noises! Paranormal activity, clearly! Well, that was pretty cool. Just a coincidence, right? Just a momentary flash in the pan, a demonstration of the human brain and how it wants to find faces in everything. You know, like how when you're little and get a fever but you're not all that sick, just sick enough to stay home, where you then have to stay in bed and so entertain yourself (after, that is, you get tired of counting all your freckles and drawing connecting lines to all of them just in case they make a treasure map) by staring at the blanket very, very close up and inevitably, it would form into faces and small people and little landscapes and stuff like that? You did that too, right? Right? I mean, that happens to everyone? Let's not answer that. Anyway.

After the question mark incident and the rest of the hike, I went home and proceeded to basically do nothing for the rest of the day except study the groundhogs with binoculars. I may not have a garden this year but by god, I bet I can write a doctoral thesis on the everyday lives of groundhogs by the time I'm done. Frankly, they're kind of more interesting than vegetables on an hour by hour basis anyway. But, that aside, eventually it got too late to watch the groundhogs and so I started doing nothing in front of the computer. I thought I was going to have to drive out to Candler to pick up young M later that evening so I was a little annoyed when it started raining. It rained softly for a while and then it rained hard. Great, I thought, it's dark and raining and bah, I don't feel like driving to Candler. Then the rain stopped and I went out on the deck for a cigarette and to call young M and tell him that this was as late as I was prepared to wait before picking him up.

It hadn't rained on the deck. Well, this is Asheville, so, okay, rain in the front yard and not the back is weird but not unheard of. I went out in the front just to check, just in case.

It hadn't rained in the front yard either. No rain anywhere. No wet spots. Nothing. I swear I heard rain, a whole summer shower of it, with a beginning and a middle and an end but apparently it was either an aural hallucination or. Or. Or, I don't know. That's the problem with messages from the other side - they're confusing as fuck. Ghosts can never just get it together to grab a pen and write something useful down, like, "The treasure is in the attic of the house you moved out of in 1974, or, well, it would be but the new people found it during renovations and they spent it, so, kid, bummer, but basically it sucks to be you." No, instead they throw question marks and fake rain showers at you and you're supposed to figure it out with way less clues than the Da Vinci code. Rain. Question. Hmmmm. The earth is going to flood! Or, maybe the toilet is going to start leaking again. One never knows.

The year after my father died I found a succession of 1945 and 1946 pennies all over the place, like 6 of them. What did that mean? I considered going to Italy, which is where my father was in those years, being a 20 year old soldier in the Infantry, on the off chance that he'd buried a treasure there (okay, okay, I pretty much think of everything in terms of treasure maps. That is because treasure maps are so fucking cool and also, hey, I could use the money.) but without more information, it seemed like kind of a pointless trip, not to mention expensive. Therefore I didn't go. And this time around, I have no idea who's even sending the message, much less what it means or where I should go to find the damn map. Come on, paranormal entities. You can do better than this. Send me an email or something.

Monday, May 26, 2008

light makes a question mark

The home computer is back. It's like being reunited with an old friend - an old friend who had a coconut fall on his head while stranded on a desert island. All the programs and all the data are gone, but, like Gilligan, the computer still knows how to walk and talk and put on its silly little white hat. Argh. So we're slowly loading it back up with stuff like the Canon photo software and, if young M has his way, more games that I'm going to have to buy, because the thought of downloading anything at all fills my heart with fear and, as I keep pointing out, $20 or $25 to buy an actual game is much, much cheaper than $135 to fix the damn computer again. If we were the kind of tidy organized people who keep all their original discs neatly tucked away in the original boxes with those original CD keys on the side, then all this would be simple, but alas, we are the kind of untidy peculiarly organized people who have the original Win 98 discs from a long vanished computer and a copy of Tetris for Win 3.2 on a green floppy and six labeled discs of Christmas pictures from 2003 but not, of course, the original World of Warcraft anything except a half eaten cardboard box with a picture of a wizard on it. That's just how we roll.

Three day weekends are the proverbial bomb because you can toss one day away on a hangover like I did yesterday (S' going away party on Saturday night at Z & H's was truly awesome; please don't put any of that video up, oh god) and still have two full weekend days to get stuff done. So on Saturday I gardened, for what it's worth. Either I had nearly 100% failure germination rate on my seeds or the birds or something else ate them or there's not as much sun as I originally thought in the garden space or my yard is inimical to vegetable life or, well, I have no idea. But the garden thriveth not. Everything I planted from seedlings is more or less fine, if a bit nibbled, but of the many planted seeds, I have like four or five stalks of corn, some scattered basil and six or seven sunflowers. No beans, no zucchini, no lettuce and no pumpkins. Lengthy sigh.

Today I woke up early and took the dogs out to Bent Creek at 9 for a two hour hike. That was totally awesome on several levels and, bonus, because I did all this before coffee, I managed to attain pretty much pure Zen mind, which is where you just sort of blank out and hike. I can't maintain pure zen hiking mind all the time, because my mind has a tendency to go into either zen hypochondriac mind, which is where that weird pain in my left leg is actually a blood clot that's going to kill me, or zen afraid of bears mind which is where that stump is actually a bear cub whose mama is going to kill me, or zen I just got broken up with mind, which is where my brain creates a lengthy metaphor in which I just had gotten on the Last Chance for Love Train and was standing there with a drink in my hand, waving goodbye to Single Station when I got pushed out of the window, hard, and ended up sitting there on my ass next to the tracks, staring as the train rolled down the tracks in a chorus of belittling laughter.

That would be right around when I spotted this question mark, pure light on a trailside rock. It is a Sign, of course, a Portent, an Omen and a Nifty Thing, all rolled into one, posing the Eternal Question. And the answer is that there is no answer, which is neatly zen in and of itself.

Oh and in other news, A and I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie last night. This was a major sacrifice on my part, all for you, because I can now tell you: DO NOT DO THIS. Do not waste your money on this movie; if you must see it, it will be on video soon enough and better to watch it at home with a variety of painkillers on hand, because this is not a movie for the unmedicated. I don't think there are enough adjectives in the English language to describe the terminal, utter, complete and astonishingly pure suckitude of this movie. You have now been warned.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Felicity glam shot

Felicity glam shot
Originally uploaded by susanlee828
Here's a picture of me taken by my friend S a couple - one? Two? Who knows? - weeks ago. Look how totally glamourous I am. My god, bad lighting is the best thing in the WHOLE WORLD. S is going to move to Australia and there will be no one to take glamour shots of me anymore. I weep. Her party is tomorrow night. I may well weep there. Or just stow away and move with her.

Oddly enough, I actually have something resembling self confidence these days because I had a revelation on the way to Ingles the other night. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, or, actually, not like that at all except for the being on the road part, only mine was Haywood Road, which is to say, the road to the supermarket, I-26 and beyond which is just not as romantic, I saw this totally beautiful woman with a small child on the sidewalk. As usual, the blackened, wizened cinder that passes for my heart was filled with envy. Then I thought, Felicity, shut up, ten years ago you were her. And you thought you were fat and old and horrific and meanwhile, your ten years older self was looking at you with just as much envy as your ten years younger self was looking at your ten years even younger self (Wait. Does that make anything resembling sense? I thought not. Perhaps a diagram is in order. Feel free to make one.) so, like, lighten up and think about how great you'll think you look now when you're ten years older. So, therefore, cogito ergo sum, I now feel better about my fading looks. Besides, for the first time in my whole life, I have sort of color coordinated jewelry and I'm old enough to wear giant rings. Therefore I am a glamour queen. Anyway, now that everyone is hopelessly confused, let's change the subject!

Be still, my heart: I might have my computer back this weekend. It's not forever fucked up as I thought yesterday - no, the problem is that I am an idiot. I was plugging the monitor into the wrong port. Yes. Yes, I was. I will go ritually sacrifice myself now, okay, I understand that it's the only way. I forgot that we had another video card in there & it's a different port. I know, that's no excuse. Well. Yesterday and the day before were almost unbelievably hectic what with furnace guys and work events and possible visits by landlords. Actually, my landlord is really very nice, but I always forget that since I'm used to sleazy horror zombie greedpig monster landlords of doom and thus I panic and freak out and spend 12 hours cleaning my house before a threatened visit. So my house is totally immaculate now. You can't come over. Nobody can ever come over again and in fact I'm kind of thinking about moving to the roof myself in order to keep it this clean. It's too bad I can't dress young M and the dogs in ghostly white radiation suits as soon as they walk in the door to maintain this kind of hygiene but, alas, I know from bitter past experience that my house will be its usual comfy hodgepodge disaster area in no time at all.

There is no other news. Thank the gods.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bah, Humbug: The Department of Petty Complaints

I'm cranky today (Hey! Big shock! Me, cranky? What a surprise!)and I can't think of anything much to write about, therefore, I will use this soapbox simply to complain - nay, to bitch, to whine, to whinge, to rattle endlessly on about a thousand petty ills - for a moment or so. It's okay, I chronicle tiny complaints so you don't have to. You can thank me later.

So, first off, admire my tacky garden. It's growing more pinwheels than vegetables, isn't it? Yeah. Sigh. Whimper. And now the weeds are coming up like gangbusters but the plants still, for the most part, aren't.

I'm rapidly approaching broke, because I haven't gotten my stimulus check yet, although the government assures me that I'm supposed to get one and a nice hefty one at that, being as how I'm all working poor single mother and stuff. Yeah. Terrific. Pity they can't do anything about the various economic facts that keep me that way but anyway I was supposed to get it on May 16. It's not in my bank account and now all the info I can find just says, hey, sorry about that, you must have had some fees taken out of your refund, therefore, oh person with the last two digits of her social security number extremely high, you'll get it on July 4. JULY 4? Fuck! I guess already spending it was one of those really bad economic decisions, wasn't it? Argh! I have to go buy lottery tickets. Clearly, it's the only hope, and I know that because I'm poor and stuff and the lottery ads and Wal Mart ads are aimed right at little old me. First up against the wall when the revolutioncomes. . .

Yesterday, I picked up my sunglasses and broke one arm off. Damnit. I liked those sunglasses; they made everything look sepia and elegant. I could look down an alley in those sunglasses and feel like I was in a noir 40s film; the quality of afternoon light they provided was enough to make me weep and they didn't even look all that dorky or grab my hair.

Driving from downtown to nearly the end of Charlotte Street during rush hour in the rain is really ghastly. Driving around Asheville in general just keeps on getting worse and yet, are there streetcars? Are there funiculars? Are there mini dirigibles and jetpacks? No, there are not, and this makes me sad and filled with rage. Also, Pack Square Park is apparently never going to be completed; walking around here makes me feel like I've stumbled into some kind of horrible - huh, what adjective to use? Orwellian and Soviet both spring to mind - eternal construction project of the damned. I remember when this was going to take a year - four years ago. And it just keeps on ticking over, endlessly, punctuated by press releases remarking on how there are going to be even fewer parking spaces now! Whoopiee!

I have a small patch of poison ivy on my arm; I hate all my clothes and I have to clean the house.

On the bright side, though, I was listening to WCQS last night, stuck in traffic, when all of a sudden the calm and measured tones of whoever that is in China interviewing people (do you think it's possible NPR created the earthquake just so their planned Chinese visit wouldn't be so stultifyingly boring? No? Well, then, why is it still so boring? Huh?) was interrupted by this buzzing brrring zinging noise. "Hmmm." I thought, "What the hell is that and why does it sound so familiar?" It was a robot from the National Weather Service informing me that there were thunderstorms in southern Jackson County and Greenville. There was also one starting over my head, but it was not noted by the NWS. Then I heard the noise again 15 minutes later and it dawned on me - Daleks! It's an old Dr. Who buzzer, I swear, I swear, and it means that Daleks are imminent. "Far out," was all I could say as I drove down Hendersonville Road in the beating rain. "Bring on the fucking Daleks. Kill, crush and destroy this traffic."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Computer Woes

Well, I’m plagued by computer woes now at home and at work. Stupid computers. Blogging was so much easier back in the day when we carved our posts into clay tablets and then hurled them into the air, where they were caught by trained ravens and disseminated between the mighty Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Or fell to the ground and shattered, whichever – some things haven’t changed.

My home computer has now cost me large sums of money, all my data and every program loaded onto it, but, according to Charlotte Street Computers, it’s actually working, which is a distinct improvement from it having all my data and programs but not functioning as anything other than a paperweight. I would, however, like to take this chance to beat my head against the wall, because if I’d been proactive and done something about the myriad .dll errors and other not so good things that I began noticing while it was still under warranty a year ago, I might still have $150 and my pictures, music and programs. And if I’d beaten my son to within an inch of his life when he and his little pal installed Limewire, I would feel better. Aaargh! Procrastination is not always a good thing.

Not only that, but, this afternoon when I get it back, it will be just like a new computer, which means that hooking up internet access again is going to be a royal PITA and involve the ever helpful tech support people at Charter Communications, if we can even reach them in their prison or Bangladesh division. Young M, who actually has not been anywhere near as whiny and furious about the lack of a computer as I thought he would be, since he’s just as addicted to the machine as I am, is not going to be pleased when he realizes that there is no such thing, really, as plug and play. It was terrible without the computer: I felt totally bereft all weekend, unable to access the weather, the TV guide and whether elephants are really afraid of mice or not. As icing on the cake, the computers at work are all messed up now too, which ordinarily means that I become frighteningly efficient but this time, alas, they are messed up in such a way that there’s really nothing I can do except stare at the wall and try on bracelets in the gift shop.

In other news, the garden is ringed by pinwheels and we’re at a seeming hiatus in the groundhog wars which I suspect may be due to a relatively new innovation: I’m feeding them. Just yesterday they got half a head of wilted lettuce and a slightly moldy half a broccoflower and last week they got a bunch of elderly cabbage and some strawberry tops, so they ought to be grateful, the little monsters. At this rate, what with groundhog protection money, water, rototilling, pinwheel purchases and so on, I estimate that each and every pepper, tomato, green bean & ear of corn I harvest out of my garden (should any of the seeds deign to germinate, which so far they don’t seem interested in doing) will cost me approximately $10. Inflation, what can you do? Good thing I have a garden! It might have cost me almost a third of that just to buy vegetables all summer!

And I’m having trouble even finding enough stuff that shakes, glitters, talks, whistles and clanks to keep the groundhogs at bay. A couple years ago “solar powered” – that would mean that they have a little solar panel AND a nine volt battery, yeah - plastic geese and frogs and gnomes and other creepy objects who said “Welcome!” or something similarly frightening when you unknowingly crossed their fixed and unnerving gaze were available everywhere or at least at K Mart. Now, though, they are nowhere to be found, which intimates that the American consumer has better sense and taste than I ever would have thought to give them credit for. Just another example of the rolling onslaught of good taste that threatens to overcome everything we hold dear; namely, scaring off groundhogs, neighbor children, dogs and, well, let’s face it, terrorists. I bet even a seasoned Al Qaeda member with dastardly plans to undermine America’s suburbs would be stopped in his tracks by a suddenly squawking plastic lawn goose. And then, once the spyware burglar alarm shot tiny plastic soft headed darts at him? Clearly, he would have no choice but to flee, demoralized forever, and America would have won the war.

Friday, May 16, 2008

and here they come

and here they come
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I have nothing much to report in the wake of the terrible and amazing yet amusing groundhog incident from Wednesday afternoon. You know, that's just pretty much it. There have been no further skirmishes in the Groundhog Wars, although my mother did give me two bottles of something that looks scarily toxic and which is called something like Kritter B Gone or Kritter Insta Death or some other equally charming thing that involves, you know, Kritters. I also realized why groundhogs are cute to me: Frances is a groundhog. Well, actually, according to that link, she's a badger, but I think she's a groundhog, unless that's a badger and not a groundhog after all who is living under my shed, because it looks rather a lot like Frances. However, as far as I know, badgers are one of those British things like tea and hedgehogs, right? We don't have them except in ancient children's books? They're un-American? Hmmm.

Yesterday I told my groundhog story to any number of people, including my mother. The response was gratifying from everyone, since mostly everybody laughs helplessly when I get to the part about the eeeeeeescreeeaaakkkkk noises and pantomime myself screaming with a broomstick and, fortunately, I mostly like being laughed at, so that was all good. My mother, though - ah, only my mother - wiped the tears from her eyes when I told her how I had insulted the groundhog at the end and called him stupid.

"Oh dear," she said firmly, "That wasn't very nice, dear. You shouldn't have said THAT."

I may be the only person in the whole world who has ever been reprimanded by their parent for being rude to a groundhog.

Oh and hey, my computer is still in the shop, so, um, no posts this weekend unless I can bring myself to dive into the fresh hell that is Charter Communications Technical Support and thereby manage to get my old computer (the one that makes the worrisome whoooga-whoooga noise whenever it's turned on) online. We will all have to struggle through it somehow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

OMG Evil Groundhog

OMG Evil Groundhog
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Yesterday was completely berserk. I mean that in the fullest sense of the word, which is to say that if bearskin shirted Vikings had shown up with axes and a mad look in their eyes I would have been all, yeah, I was expecting you guys.

It began, as berserkery so often does, with a plumbing disaster. I got back from walking the dogs to find that young M had missed the bus, which is no longer, alas, a thing of note but rather the norm. So I proceeded with the normal morning routine, which involved, that morning, the careful placement in the vegetable garden of my new anti-groundhog devices: these three electric eye things that react to motion with, first, a beep beep beep noise and flashing light, secondly, with a whoop whoop whoop siren and more insistent flashing light and, finally, with the firing of two small rubber tipped darts at the intruder. This, young M & I felt, would deter even our groundhog, who seems to be unfazed by the mylar pinwheels that now line the whole garden (let me tell you, my garden is a thing of beauty and a joy forever) and the big fish pinwheel in the middle. "That groundhog is brave," commented young M, "I saw him chase that big orange cat right into its house yesterday."
"What?" I said, "Groundhogs don't chase cats."
"This one does," said young M darkly. "Chased it right up onto the porch." And we both stood there for a moment, looking at the neighbor's porch. A cloud went over the sun. A raven crowed. Dark laughter emanated from the earth. Or something like that.

After the bugging of the garden was complete, I was having a cup of coffee and a smoke on the deck when young M came out to tell me that the toilet was clogged again. The toilet has been an increasing problem and, well, yesterday morning? That was a real problem. So for an hour we plunged and bailed and mopped and poured a whole bottle of Drano down the damn thing (I'll omit the shouting and the smell and, oh god, you really don't want to know about the soaking of the hands in bleach and the coffee can) until finally I snapped and took young M to school and myself to work, where I greeted everyone by telling them that I probably wouldn't be there long. Then I called my landlord and eventually a nice lady called me back since it turns out my landlord is out of town and, being Southern, we first went through everyone we knew in common and then turned to the fascinating subject of plumbers. She told me one would come and to be ready to leave at any moment and I said fine and told everyone at the office to come and get me immediately for any phone calls.

Then I dealt with totally insane printer issues and equally totally insane and much scarier database issues. The fucking thing went AWOL for a while. I mean the whole database. And then half of it was missing, and oh god oh god, it was bad and I had to smoke several cigarettes in the courtyard and contemplate spending the rest of my career rebuilding the database from a variety of Excel spreadsheets, etc., and then the landlord's factotum called and I had to immediately go home and see the plumber.

I got home and A was already there, wondering why there was no toilet and what had happened to the Brita pitcher and why the computer didn't work. I haven't yet mentioned that my home computer is completely fucked up by every piece of spyware known to mankind (thank you, Limewire! Young M should have listened to me!) and I was planning this elaborate reinstallation of Windows if I could find the original discs which, of course, might have long since been eaten, literally. The plumber was also there and he plumbed away while A & I removed the spyware from the garden so it wouldn't get rained on, which demonstration of said spyware cracked her right up, by the way, particularly the whoop-whoop and the darts. Then the plumber explained to us both that the toilet was really totally fucked and also, why was there a brick in the tank? "There's always a brick in the tank," I said blankly, which made both A and the plumber laugh hysterically, since, apparently, in normal toilets in normal houses that aren't lived in by hippies or poor people this is not de rigeur (who knew?) and then A left and the plumber left and I found the original XP disc and started the reinstallation process on the computer. All was well.

Until I went into the bathroom to discover 2 inches of water on the floor and a nice steady drip running from the tank, whereupon I called my put upon out of town landlord since I had neglected to get his assistant's phone number and he called her and she called me and then she called the plumber and then said he was on his way back and so I started gathering laundry and all that good stuff. Eventually the plumber returned, expressing surprise and claiming innocence, like, hey! Wacky coincidence that this should have worked its way loose right after I was here! Yeah! I said, making a mental note to tell my landlord not to pay him for the second visit. Then the plumber left and I started gathering laundry again from young M's room.

At which point a portal to Hell opened up in the backyard and the damned started screaming at the top of their lungs. Or at least that's what it sounded like. I dropped the laundry and ran out on the deck where I saw that the groundhog had dug his way up under the dog fence and was now in the dog part of the yard, where he was backed up against the fence while Theo barked insanely and half tried to attack and half tried to make friends. The groundhog was reared up on his hind legs shrieking and menacing the dog with his giant teeth and claws - dude has a reach on him, let me tell you, much more than you would think from that little stumpy body, which, by the way, is not all that stumpy since he easily came up past my knees at full height - and all in all it was kind of like a scene from what might happen if Beatrix Potter and Tim Burton did too many bad drugs one night and made a movie out of Mrs. Tiggywinkle. Django, meanwhile, was completely terrified and didn't know what to do so he was running in circles, torn between getting into the house and under my bed as fast as possible and saving his friend Theo from the Monster, which was difficult since he clearly had no interest in getting anywhere near the Monster. Since it looked like the groundhog might eviscerate Theo, who was not backing down, I grabbed the broomstick and went off the deck, shrieking at the top of my lungs. I couldn't bring myself to get close enough in any sense, physical, moral or emotional, to beat the groundhog to death with the broomstick so I just ran around in circles like Django, screaming. That was helpful. I'm sure the entire neighborhood heard me shouting "THEO! RIGHT NOW! HERE! NOW!" which I did about a hundred times until, amazingly enough, probably at the point where I was actually going to faint, it worked and Theo came to me.

I put the dogs in the house and went back out on the deck with the broomstick and the groundhog did this whole little, "C'mere! I'll fight ya! I'll kill ya all!" routine and I shouted at him over the deck, to wit, "You fucking moron groundhog! You are pretty stupid! What kind of self respecting groundhog would dig his way INTO A YARD WHERE TWO BIG DOGS HAVE SPENT MOST OF THEIR TIME FOR OVER A YEAR? Ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray, groundhog!" That shattered his calm and he dug his way back under the fence and hightailed it back to the burrow, which this is a picture of. He doesn't look as scary in the picture as he did in real life, believe me. And I gave up all my plans to be good and peaceful and quietly sit in the laundromat reading a bad novel and called S and met her at the Westville to drink a couple of beers because not only was my nerve shattered, but my throat was actually sore from shrieking.

So yesterday was beyond insane. You should really see me act the whole thing out in person - I can recreate that groundhog like you would not believe, complete with menacing teeth and claws and groundhog noises of doom. Seriously, it's a work of art. I showed young M immediately after it happened and then I showed S at the Westville and they were most appreciative. I might yet film this but in the meantime I'm happy to report that I did get the laundry done and went to bed at like 8:30 and my computer (remember the computer? 3 hours of Windows XP reinstallation = Epic Fail) is now safely in the hands of the kind people at Charlotte Street Computers.

And the groundhog wars are temporarily at a pause. Although I have ideas. Oh yes I do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I'm going to dye my hair tonight, I think. This is always a fun and festive hour or two around my house whereby I walk around in my special short terry cloth hair dying robe while wearing a plastic grocery bag or two on my head smoking. I feel that if one is going to be all trashy and dye one's hair, it behooves one to dress appropriately: smoking cigarettes is also de rigueur during the process, as is drinking trashy drinks like beer from a can or something pink from a plastic iced tea glass with lipstick on the rim. Young M dies of shame as I promenade about with the bags on my head, even though there is no one to see me but the dogs, who do not care. Then I get dye all over the bathroom and then, finally, I wash my hair out and look anxiously to see what color it is this time and then remember that, hey, I can't tell what color it is when it's wet and then I go to bed miffed about it and wake up to purple stripes on my forehead where the dye migrated during the night. Nothing but fun around my house, let me tell you. But as of this moment I have every single intention of actually going home right after work tonight and staying there, alone except for young M and the dogs and the groundhogs and Fang and so on. We all know which road is paved with intentions like that one. Sigh.

Last night I went over to A's friend C's new house. Well, C & her brother B & her boyfriend M are sharing it and it's a fucking amazing humongous mansion tucked up on the side of a mountain in Woodfin and they're paying, basically, nothing to live there since their landlords essentially just don't want to be bothered. I'm so jealous I can hardly breathe. So I tried to rain on their parade by kind of trying to gently warn them that there was not going to be any way to heat that place. This is, alas, true, but who cares? It's months til fall and they're all in their twenties. The house is gorgeous arts and crafts with a huge stone porch and diamond window panes and beautiful wood and a fabulous big yard and, get this, round couches and a revolving coffee table that came with the house and even a dishwasher. "A dishwasher!" I exclaimed, "I didn't have a dishwasher until I was 40! This isn't fair!" And it isn't but ah well, good luck to them. I too lived in decaying mansions once and my mother came to visit and peered at the furnace and the holes in the siding and roof and said gently, "Felicity, a coat of paint can't fix everything."

However, in other news, I would like to report that last night young M and I installed a water filter on the faucet at home and it was incredibly easy and nothing went wrong. I still can't quite believe this. We had to get a new water filter because I got a wild hair and decided to, gasp, clean the ancient Brita pitcher thing that had been standing on one or another kitchen counters since probably the last Clinton administration if not the Stone Age. Well, that was an education. There were life forms in there - life forms in the shape of waving green strands of algae. Mmmmm. I'm not hippy enough to believe that stuff is good for me, even though it probably is, and I'm not self deceiving enough to believe that the pitcher would ever be really clean and algae free again so I pitched it and went off and got a Pur faucet filter thingy. For $20 more I could have gotten the one that adds artificial flavor crystals to your purified water, thus rather neatly circumventing the whole idea of purified water, but I opted, naturally, for the cheapest one. And I'm here to tell you that it was spookily simple to install.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Another weekend successfully navigated. I guess successfully - my experience tells me that it's always a successful weekend if you don't break down, freak out or throw up, so, you know, hey, all good. Actually, it was kind of nice for what was basically a one day weekend - on Saturday I went up to Franklin to the wholesale gem & mineral show where I spent too much of my own money. However, I am now the proud possessor of a huge and glorious moonstone ring - not to mention a plastic ring with a beetle in it, a keychain featuring a larger beetle, 10 shell bracelets I got for like a dollar man, a small crystal ball and a couple of seriously groovy plastic bangles. Thus Franklin was pretty fun.

Saturday night S & J came over and we drank beer and looked at J try on hideous clothes from S' cousin's stash of terrifying 80s fashion don'ts and then on Sunday, I went to the arboretum with my mother. Therefore I have a bunch of new pictures up; you are welcome to peruse should you be horribly bored.

This morning at the river I found a crow's feather - a big one. With that and my moonstone ring to hold on to (yeah, I'm a hippie freak with terrifying faux Celtic medieval leanings. I mean, come on, I live in Asheville for godssakes. And I've read way too many fantasy novels. What did you think, I was a paragon of rational thought?) I've decided that this is the first day of the rest of my life, yadda yadda, I'm not going to wig out about being alone forever and betrayed and all that self pitying shit anymore because, well, fuck it. He was clearly not worthy. Not at all. And it's been two weeks and it's time to stop wallowing. Besides there was a cute tall skinny dreadlocked boy who totally checked me out at the gem show. At least I think he did. I'm going with that interpretation for the minute as opposed to various other interpretations involving varying degrees of pity. So now I have to get myself back on track towards buying a house I can't afford while working at a job I can't afford and, oh fuck, I don't know. Writing a book, maybe. Doing something.

In related news, last week I checked out the Craigslist personals. Now, I always read the missed connections because I'm still hoping that there will be something that says "Tall woman with long red hair downtown, I am madly in love with you. Come away with me to Bali." or something like that but alas, there never is. I also occasionally read the normal personals because I love personal ads - they don't work for me, but whatever, they're entertaining as hell to read. I had never, however, before checked out the Casual Encounters section. The Casual Encounters section is where you go if you just want a two hour stand. I'm a little on the desperate side right now so I was thinking about this very possibility but it occurred to me that guys who are desperate enough to post such an ad are likely to be creepy and, in fact, any guy who would ever post such an ad is just defacto too creepy for me to go to bed with even for an hour and, actually, I would probably prefer never to even be in the same room with him. Besides, what if we ran into each other later? That would be bad. Besides that terrible possibility, what about the even more terrible one that once you got into that hotel room and he whipped it out it turned out to be all mutant twisted or minuscule or frighteningly huge or possibly he was an alien and had a lizard dick or something? One must worry about this and apparently many women do, because many of the men have kindly provided pictures of their apparatus to calm just such fears.

That's a problem right there. I love an erect penis as much as the next girl - possibly more, you know, being as how I'm now well over 40 and alone and so on - but I like them to be attached to somebody I know and care about. Just the dick on its own doesn't do much for me. (And, guys, public service message: I'm not alone in this.) When I was looking at the Craigslist ads one in particular caught my eye: it was cropped in really tight so it had a certain disembodied je ne sais quoi - dick in a box! Yay! -and then, I could not, for the life of me, figure out what the hell the angle was or how this guy had taken it himself. I tried to enlarge it so I could get an idea of the angle - like, was he sitting on the camera? Was it possibly taken from underneath? Do they really bend like that? What the hell IS that thing? - but I really couldn't figure it out and then I realized that I was spending way too much time looking at a picture of a penis on Craigslist. If it was really a penis. I think it was a lizardman penis and there you go, that's the danger with Craigslist.

Friday, May 09, 2008

well, it's not really getting better

dogs at play
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I'm kind of down, by which I mean that I'm kind of down like Amelia Earhart is kind of gone. I can't seem to cheer up much so I'm taking the night off tonight and staying home absolutely alone and getting enough sleep and otherwise gearing myself up to get psyched to work tomorrow while spending another weekend and the rest of my life alone. WOE! WOE IS ME! Okay, I know, look, it's only been 9 days. I'm trying to get there. I'm walking the stupid dogs and taking the fish oil and going to work and even shaving my legs although part of me keeps saying, hey, silver lining, you no longer need to ever do this again and, what the hell, eat whatever you want - who cares, now? No one! No one cares! WOE! Ooops. You see, that's the problem - that keeps happening and it's a bit disconcerting for my coworkers and the occasional passerby when I start shouting WOE at random intervals. Sigh.

Tonight, however, I'm going to install a ton of spyware in the garden. I went to Toys R Us with young M and his friend C last night - it had been a long time since I took young M to Toys R Us. Turns out he still likes it quite a lot. I like it myself, since now I have another reason to get an I-pod: to wit, they make these little robot dogs and cats and penguins you can plug your Ipod into which will then light up and dance and do other nifty shit like take over the world and bite you or something; I'm not clear on that part but I do know that I want one irrationally. Unfortunately, they no longer have much spy stuff. I can't imagine why, because motion detectors and so on are staggeringly useful items for any age, but I guess they no longer sell well since we have become such a friendly, trusting society. All they had was a big box of varied spyware stuff and the note that if you bought it - and it was already on clearance and on sale - that you would get either the Spy Shredder or the Disc Shooter for free. I looked at the Spy Shredder, thinking that it would be pretty cool to shred spies, but it turned out to be a mini, get this, shredder. As in shredder, like the one you have in your office. What kind of brilliant mind came up with that? Hey kids! Won't it be fun to have your very own tiny shredder? Hours of fun! When that pales you can move on to Excel-Lite Fun With Spreadsheets. I can't imagine why it didn't sell. So we got the Disc Shooter and young M and C, despite being so old and all, promptly got it working and shot each other and the dogs and got most of the discs loaded under the refrigerator and couch which is where all anything shot from a novelty gun thing must go to die.

And Toys R' Us did not have any pinwheels. Can you imagine? No pinwheels? Not even Pirates of the Caribbean pinwheels (there is an inordinate amount of Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise, like if you want Johnny Depp stamped on every single thing you own from your clothes to your backpack to all your toys including trains and cars and microphones and, well, everything, really, then that is not a problem at all) or other character branded pinwheels. "It's a different world, Mom," said young M cheerfully. "Those things were oldschool." And I guess they were. Maybe the dollar store still has them. I saw the groundhog again this morning - desperate measures are in order.

Update: Fuck the spy stuff, the groundhog, the lawn and staying home alone. I'm going to Broadways.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How many tomato seedlings could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck your fucking garden into the trash?

Last night I saw the groundhog. You know, that could either be a really great opening line to a bad horror flick or the beginning of the long and complex tale of a hippie's spiritual awakening on too much bad mescaline but in actual fact it is, in fact, a simple statement of fact. After consultation with my son and a half heard radio gardening program I caught parts of driving back from my mother's, I have decided that the huge groundhog who lives under the scary, collapsing shed in the way back of my yard is the miscreant who has been eating my tomatoes and lettuces. Yesterday evening I was out on the deck with S, drinking beer and commiserating about how large portions of both of our lives have essentially turned to pure-D shit in just the twinkling of an eye and there, back in the back of the yard, was the groundhog. He was heading towards the garden, observed with interest by the neighbor dogs (my dogs, alas, are much more interested in whether some other dog is going to walk down the street in front of their house so they can go completely berserk than in protecting my food supply from marauding rodents.) I would have gone and gotten the BB gun from the coat closet but a) I don't know if it's loaded and b) I don't know where the BBs are, if we even have any BBs, which we may well not and c) I probably am not at heart tough or country or starving enough to actually shoot something cute and furry and d) let's face it: I don't know how to load the BB gun or fire it or turn it on or, actually, do anything with it except either look kind of tough if you think girls with guns are cute and/or club something. Groundhogs are immune to my cuteness factor (why should they be an exception to the general rule?) and I really don't want to get close enough to a groundhog (they have serious teeth and claws and yikes, help) to club him with a BB gun. Fortunately, the groundhog feels the same way about me and so he split when I started running down the steps into the dog yard, shouting and brandishing a large rock; the groundhog doesn't know, yet, that my aim with a rock is uncertain at best and actually totally nonexistent at that distance, like, it would probably have fallen some 20 feet short. Then he could have sneered at me. We haven't gotten to the sneering part of our relationship yet but something tells me that we will, alas, we will.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Free Form Angries

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It was all I could do not to shoot everyone at the supermarket last night. This is why gun control laws are so helpful in the maintenance of an orderly and regulated society: if I had had a gun in my purse, there'd be like fifty people dead. And I'd be happy. Shrieking with laughter, spouting biblical verses in long dead desert languages, shaking like an epileptic at a rave happy, but, yeah, happy. Or some kind of form of happy that is unknown to me now but no doubt better than any of the varieties of happy I currently have access to. The kind of happy where you're really getting along well with your god and the voices in your head are cooing approval. Sometimes I think I could use more of that kind of happy. If it takes shooting up the West Asheville Ingles, well, I'm down with that.

Yeah, I'm a bitch. Honestly, though, it was insanely crowded and there's no snow on the horizon, so WTF? There were the usual Haywood Road Ingles Players performing their Supermarket Blues routine, from the shrieking small children to the pregnant teenagers to the WIC check ladies to the entire giant Neptunian family of hugely fat women with incredibly beautiful shiny hair to the yuppie chicks buying cheap wine and expensive meat to the perfect West Asheville ecologically aware young family with the bazillion dollar stroller and the perfect clothes to the hippies with dreadlocks bigger than they are and a big papaya, all in line, all impatient and everything set to the tune of beep, beep, bing, bing and the Cranberries, always the Cranberries, in the background on the Muzak. And leeks, which you can only get organic since they're fancy, are SIX DOLLARS: no leeks for me ever again. RIP my leek based diet. Ah well.

Sometimes I can handle this shit and even enjoy it and sometimes, like last night, it wears on me. The cashier was pretty and dumb as a post; the bag boy was even dumber: the cashier was trying to pick him up and he didn't quite seem to be getting it. That was mildly entertaining even though I am evil and all I could think was, look, the two of you are just not the sharpest knives in the shed, kids, so for gods' sake, don't breed with each other. Find someone with a more than 2 digit IQ to have a kid with. After all, the smart guys end up with the stupid girls anyway, just like the tall guys go for the short chicks and the tall, theoretically smart women end up alone with multiple dogs and homicidal tendencies at the supermarket.

Argh. Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself. Could you tell? Could ya? I'm a little hair trigger right now. And I feel old and ugly and impossible, unlovable, invisible and I kind of think I should go buy some old lady clothes and start schlumping around town with an enormous pocketbook (got that one already) and a small curly haired dog on a rhinestone leash, muttering to myself. So, where do you buy old lady clothes, anyway? Stein Mart? What do old ladies wear these days? Sweat suits? Nothing is getting me into a sweat suit but I could maybe see a big flowery housedress. Might as well.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


wet django
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I made it back to work and it's annoying: I have too much to do to be at work. Actually, I got a lot done yesterday but it's never enough. This time of year is killer and now I can't remember why I wanted the spring or the summer to come. Yesterday I fixed up all the garden in front of the house and mowed the front yard and vacuumed most of the house as well as dragging my sorry, hungover ass to the library (soon I will have read every single book in the fantasy & SF section of the West Asheville library - woe! woe is me!) K-Mart and the laundromat. At some point in the next few days - and the fewer the better or the grass will be 3 feet tall again - the back yards (yeah, there's more than one) have to be mowed. In my spare time, everything needs watering and I have to get the weed whacker whacking away at the tall grass in the front that the mower can't get to. Too much damn work - does the earth not understand that I need to wallow around in my bed rereading everything PG Wodehouse ever wrote and occasionally sniffling softly?

To top it all off, something got into the vegetable garden and ate most of the lettuce and two tomato seedlings down to the ground. Fuck. I should have positioned the garden in the dog pen. And I put up a fence and everything - okay, there are certain gaps in the fence, like the six or so inches at the bottom all the way around, but hey, there is a fence. Clearly, there is no other solution than for me to strip to a loincloth, paint myself green and lie in the grass (mental note - don't mow yet) with a blowgun, waiting for the culprit to appear. Traps are useless. When the kids were small we made any number of traps out of painted cardboard boxes precariously balanced on sticks with tasty treats inside. The intended trappee, you see, (which in our case we were hoping for box turtles, a fast and wily prey,) will knock the stick over in his/her haste to get to the delicious browning iceberg lettuce or fat carrot and then kablam, the box will fall over on top of him and hey presto, instant pet box turtle or bunny rabbit! Or werewolf, but that always sort of wrecks the mood. The problem with the box trap is that no animal on earth is stupid enough to fall for it. All you can catch with a cardboard box is old Railroad Joe the wino - and then you have to use a half bottle of Thunderbird Express instead of a carrot. Hobos won't go for carrots.

Actually, I know what we need. We need one of those toy motion detector things from Toys R Us that they sell kids to drive their siblings to murder. Those things are awesome and they let you record your own message to startle the intruder. You set the thing up - they're not discreet, being large, plastic and neon, but, hey, they're cheap - and when something that hasn't noticed the trap trips the electric eye, a mangled electronic version of your very own voice will boom forth upon the land, saying, in my case from the last time I tried this, "Get the fuck off the couch!" That was supposed to make the dogs spring off the couch with alacrity but unfortunately it just made them bark unceasingly while digging holes through the center of the couch in the off chance that I might be trapped underneath. Good samaritans, my dogs. Still, if I go get one of those things and it says "Get the fuck out of my garden, vermin, before I shoot you!" it might work. Unless, of course, what we've got are the sophisticated consumer rabbits of the 21st century, who sneer at robotic voices. Then it's back to the blowgun and the loincloth.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Back to Earth

birthday girl 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I have the best friends on planet Earth. Yesterday, my friends Z & H threw a lovely little party for my birthday, featuring amazing food, lots of drinks, and fabulous presents. J & J & K & C & A & Z & H's neighbor C were all there and even young M put in an appearance for a little while. It was lovely and exactly what the doctor ordered; a good time was had by all. And I got an amazing silver ring made by J's cousin L, a beautiful little ceramic planter full of hens & chicks made by the other J, Amy Sedaris' party book and a bar of beautiful smelling soap that looks exactly like a Duplo block from Z & H, a bottle of good wine and flowers from C, and, in the morning before the party, when A & young M & A's good friends C & M took me out to brunch, a camera bag from young M and a wide assortment of nifty things from the Family Dollar from A. My friend S, who's out of town, left a nifty gifty bag for me too, featuring a giant fake sunflower, the new James McMurtry CD and a Breeders CD. My mother, bless her, gave me money; my brother, bless him, sent an Amazon gift certificate and my coworkers, bless them, produced not only a chocolate ice cream cake but also a gift card from Michael's Crafts. And, in what was the hit of the party, J gave me a truly remarkable UFO Flashing hot pink light up Chinese whatever the hell it is (the label proudly notes that it files up to 100 feet, which is handy, because you never know when you're going to need some serious heavy duty long distance filing) purchased from that emporium of the wonderful, BJs gas station & kwikee mart. So I raked in the loot and, more importantly, raked in a lot of love and good fellowship. I am seriously, genuinely, totally blessed and thank you all.

I'm off work today; sitting here and contemplating my return to planet earth. Being both dumped and having your birthday are, of course, the best excuses to drink to excess known to humankind, so I spent the last week doing that in spades. Now, though, it's time to start putting myself back together, always kind of a daunting prospect. There's a long list of chores to attend to, including mowing the lawn, switching the closet over to the summer clothes, cleaning the house, potting all the plants I bought last week, watering the garden, going to the laundromat and so on. Naturally, it's 11:30 and I haven't started any of that yet; in fact, I'm still in my pajamas drinking coffee and trying to figure out just how it is that I inevitably end up mired in psycho drama. I swear I have the best intentions in the world to live a quiet, admirable, drama free life but somehow, things always get out of hand. Well. The only thing I can do about it is try to start over again, so here we go, another year older and launched back into the workaday, normal life world.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


my mother and my daughter
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I made it to the herb festival just before the rain and then to the Botanical Gardens plant sale during the rain, so, not too bad. At the herb festival I got four tomatoes - two cherry and two Cherokee purple, which I've never tried before but they seem to be the hip, in fashion tomato this year and who am I to fly in the face of a trend? I also got a nice calendula which I'm hoping will take to the front garden, lots of basil, a couple of peppers, some rosemary and a scented geranium. I love the herb festival. At the Botanical Gardens I bought a lantana and a couple of small geraniums to repot.

So I just finished planting the vegetable garden - corn and zucchini and green beans, peppers and tomatoes and an eggplant and random sunflowers and basil scattered everywhere. Now I need to put up a fence and some tomato cages and go get 200 feet of hose to string from the back of the house to the garden. I'm glad I'm doing it and gardening is good for the soul and all that. Something in this vale of tears damn well better be.

Friday, May 02, 2008

new camera

Ebay is miraculous and a thing of wonder. I got my new to me camera today and it's in amazingly perfect shape. It was all lovingly packaged in the original box with the original manuals and everything; I tell you what, it totally pays to buy stuff from obsessive-compulsive neatniks. Now I am ashamed, because I was going to sell my old camera and I don't have the faintest idea where any of the original packaging or manuals or anything are - probably long since digested by the dog. I wonder if anyone will buy it if I mention some of the special features: Canon S2 IS - owned by slob! Still has lens cap by some miracle! Lens not scratched too badly! No original anything! Yeah, I don't think so either. So anyway, I have a fabulous new camera - a Canon Rebel XT - and all I have to do is figure out how to use it, to which end I'm making my laborious way through the manual, which, as is usual for these things, is sort of semi translated from the Chinese and full of incomprehensible diagrams. I'm thinking maybe I'll take a photography class if I can find one - I never have before.

In other news, the outpouring of love and support from all my friends has been really wonderful and I deeply, deeply appreciate it. Y'all are totally amazing, sweet people and I feel unworthy but very loved and it's fucking awesome. While I still feel like I've been emotionally run over by a bus - after all, I kind of have, a demon bus of rejection and woe! (give me a moment while I wrestle myself back under control, here) - I also know that I'm not alone under there and that there will always be a lot of hands to pull me out. I owe everyone a beer. I'd like to buy the world a beer. Except I bought myself a camera instead, so, well, y'all will have to be content with a thought beer. Even as you read this I am beaming a pure thought beer of love into your brain. Don't virtually drive for an hour.

While I was lying on my bed of extreme emo-ing out on Wednesday, my daughter A came over and made me go to Asiana Grand Buffet with her so we could have all you can eat sushi and tidbits of the other wonderful stuff they have at Asiana, like chunks of green jello you can eat with chopsticks, salt and pepper squid and those bizarre buns shaped like peaches with strange stuff inside. I like going to huge fluorescent restaurants when I'm feeling kind of fragile emotionally (I am a child of the American 70s. Linoleum and fluorescent lights spell spiritual home to me.) and also, I pretty much never run into anyone I know at Asiana. Face it, Asheville: we all know that we all go there occasionally, but we don't always admit it. Hell, it's not as bad as the East Buffet, home of the North Carolina Roll: spam, pickles and cream cheese all wrapped up in rice and nori for your barfing pleasure.

So for some reason as we sit there eating too much sushi and watching the Great Wall of China undulate special effectively away on the wall, A starts talking in a wistful tone about how she wants to learn to make pies. I guess because pies are like the only thing they don't have at Asiana - pies and those ginger cookies I used to like, damn them.

"I can teach you how to make pies," I said, "they're not hard."
"Yes. . . " said A dreamily, "Lots and lots of different pies. I want to make up pies, new pies, and give them funky names."
"Monkey names?" I said, genuinely baffled
"Yeah Mom," she said, "Like Chee-Chee and JoJo. Then I could cut little chimpanzees out of pie dough and put them on top, you know - all my pies will have monkey names."

Okay it doesn't sound that funny now but I swear to you that the Asiana waiter guy looked at us very suspiciously as we more or less fell out of our booth crying with laughter.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Well, you know how your life can change really fast, like in the twinkling of a proverbial eye? And sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug and all that? I'm the bug; the windshield has come and gone; I thought my life was going to go one way and it turns out that it's not going to go that way at all. In other words, for those of you who thought that I was going to get less dark and funny and all that shit when I was happy and had a boyfriend? Your prayers, hopes and dreams have been answered: I'm not happy and I don't have a boyfriend anymore. Yay, me. It may take a while to get back to the funny. Or not. There's a certain black humor here - I mean, hey! I actually thought I could have a partnered life like normal people! I'm an idiot!

So now I don't know quite what to do with myself. I've been drunk, spent five dollars in the Broadways jukebox on a setlist that leaned heavy on the Patsy Cline - thank you Broadways and thank you my friends for pouring beer down my throat and letting me lose it - been sober, lain in bed for a whole day, stared at the ceiling, shaken, cried, listened to Genesis Duke all the way through, listened to Joni Mitchell and cried some more, listened to the Decemberists over and over again (this is the best break up song in the whole sorry history of lost love songs), read an entire horrifically bad 80s sci fi novel featuring dolphins in space, which, when you think about it, is not going to be easy for either the dolphins or the space but which I'm even now forgetting and which, thank the gods, doesn't even have a slightly romantic plot or subplot, called in sick to work and been completely unable even to make up a lie - "I'm not coming in," I said, and when my coworker expressed concern, I couldn't understand a word he said. And so on. The picture cube on my desk is back to pictures of my kids only and here I am on my own again which, after all, is not exactly a new or novel state for me.

And that's that, I guess. Some things don't get easier or better even when you do them over and over and over again over the course of a life that's pretty much way too long.