Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheerful Death Books Post

perdita django blur
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
For some reason, I'm reading books about preparing for death. Wow, are they ever a laff riot! Well. I don't even know how this happened (meaner people might point out here that this is a recurring theme in my life) but suddenly, my reading took a macabre and morbid turn. It started with The Wreck of the River of Stars by Michael Flynn, which I picked up at Downtown Books & News, my favorite place. This is an excellent book and I highly, highly recommend it but light fun yay party onwards it is not. So, having finished that and casting around my house for a little light reading, I decided to reread On the Beach. There's nothing like a little post apocalyptic go out with a stiff upper lip and a brandy and soda to cheer you right the fuck up, let me tell you. I finished that last night and, because why break the trend, I have moved on to the full and unexpurgated version of The Stand. So I'm really fun to be around right now and I'm much more worried about swine flu than I probably need to be. Yeah, swine flu! We're all gonna die! Or, hopefully, not, but, you know, whatever, I'm still having a party on Saturday night. Maybe I should lay in some brandy.

Actually, I have come up with some pressing questions about all this death and in particular these books, to wit:

1. What actually happens to a corpse in outer space? Does it just stay perfectly preserved like a razor blade in the pyramids or what? Does it mummify? If it mummifies, then why? Why would the water evaporate into vacuum? Wouldn't it just stay there?

2. Were people in 1963 really totally completely different than people now, or was that just Australia? I somehow have trouble envisioning contemporary people facing certain death so, um, calmly. And keeping on going to work and stuff, right up to the end. I mean, my parents, whose generation that was, were fairly phlegmatic about a lot of stuff but I think even my famously stoic mother might have lost it a bit when people started dieing around her. Also, damn, Nevil Shute: sexist much? Phew.

3. What year is it supposed to be in The Stand anyway, or, is Steven King permanently stuck in the fifties or early sixties or what? I think complaints about rock n' roll, particularly in terms of how it was, ahem, influenced by African Americans, had pretty much died out by the nineties. Also, the wearing of sachets, whatever the hell they are. In fact, given that I was actually alive and in my twenties and thirties and listening to "rock n' roll" music in the 90s, I'm sure of it.

In other, less creepy, news I took the dogs out to Bent Creek yesterday evening and despite being tempted to evil by joggers and bikers and other dogs, they were stellarly good. There's something to be said, I think, for having a whole pack of dogs: they tend to learn from each other and now that Perdita (who is a genius, I swear) has observed that Theo & Django get out of the way of mountain bikes and otherwise ignore them, she is doing the same. I was proud. I was so proud and that is awesome.

POSTSCRIPT: Not only am I morbid, I am also forgetful as fuck. I got home last night and glanced at my bedside table and thought, DAMN, I knew I'd read four books about death, not three. So, just for the record, posterity and whatever else, let it be known that in between books one and two up there, I managed to reread The Perfect Storm. Which is about . . . wait for it. . . death! Yes! Fisherman getting on a boat and never being heard from again! Also, the movie made my mother cry, because we unwisely went to see it a couple days after my father passed away and the hymn that they sing in the funeral at the end was, of course, the hymn we sang at my father's memorial service. Therefore it is etched eternally into my memory, or so you would think, just not yesterday when I was remembering all my other death books and death questions.

Yours in Bright Spring Cheer,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mosaicing Is Full Contact

more mosaic work done
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, despite heroic levels of beer drinking, I still managed to get Perdita her shots and her nametag (she is official now), get to Lowes, buy some plants, plant some seeds AND spend most of Sunday achieving a highly attractive farmer's tan while getting about 3/4 of the second raised bed mosaiced. Here, you see the front. An equally unsatisfactory picture of the side is here. Jen and Susan came over and helped, too, and contributed materials as well. Zen & Helen kindly brought me stained glass and mirrors and if you who are reading this have broken crockery you would like to recycle into art, drop it by the front yard at 390 Riverview Drive. This project is going through a lot of shards.

It's starting to look pretty good, but I can hardly walk. Mosaics is kind of a full contact sport in that it requires a lot of squatting. Almost as much squatting as broken plates so hell, that is a lot of squatting. And then you have to be careful that you're not squatting in a pile of broken glass, which is tricky, and then you have to sort of swivel, again without cutting yourself and pick up some broken glass or a big old hunk of gooey cement Kwik Set. My butt is not used to it and is consequently howling. I only cut myself once, though. After the rubber gloves have absorbed enough cement, they become impervious to glass splinters. They're why my tan is so awesome too: nothing like a tan line halfway up your forearm where the glove ends to just scream Fashion.

Before the Day of Mosaic (which was made more entertaining by the fact that the bridge down the street was closed for repairs, so I was out there mosaicing in full view of about half the population of WNC, who were all driving angrily up and down my street) I took Perdita to the shot clinic at the pet superstore on Brevard Road. That may be my last shot clinic. Yes, it is cheap, much cheaper than going to the vet but on the other hand you don't usually have to wait TWO HOURS IN LINE WITH A BAZILLION ANGRY DOGS at the vet. Perdita was very good. I, who had left the house without coffee thinking that this was going to be an in and out quick thing, was not as tolerant but we fortunately all survived and Perdita is now an official member of the household.

Obviously, because she is growing plump. Django & Theo have long established complicated ritualistic dog politics built around the food bowls that means they can only eat a few bites here and there while they're trying to be polite. Or something. I have long since given up trying to figure it out and feel that if I put three equal bowls of dogfood on the floor every morning, I am doing my part. Funnily enough, this was also sort of my attitude about the kids and look, they survived their childhoods. Perdita, like me, has little patience for food weirdness and so she just goes ahead and eats all the dog food while they're still negotiating over access rights and infrastructure maintenance. Well, they can stand to lose some weight and she is still growing, so I feel it evens out.

In other news Susan had a nice party on Saturday night; we all went to the Admiral on Friday night and Annie is not a cheap date (I Went Broke Buying Mimosas for My Aged Auntie! says local woman tearfully) and it is five days to My Party, which is happening regardless of the coming swine flu pandemic.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I am tinkering around a little bit with the template, as you can see from the brilliant photograph of stones under water on the sides there. My HTML skillz, never mad in the best of times, have atrophied sadly and I keep tweaking things only to have the whole blog turn black. Slimming, but ultimately not perhaps what I'm going for. Anyhow, there's a vague possibility of a whole site redesign lurking around in my brain. Don't hold your breath, though.

In other news, I almost lost my new cell phone last night. I left it at the Asheville Brewing Company, where I was doing my part as a photo cabal member of DITLOA. Not enough people came out, by the way. We need more photographers! Even if that does mathematically lessen my odds of getting my photos picked by the judges. Remember, Day in the Life of Asheville 2009 is happening on May 22 - 23 this year and you need to participate. Now back to my phone. I left it stupidly on a table but fortunately my friends noticed it and gave it to Susan, who brought it to my house. Unfortunately, while she was in the process of doing that, I was in the process of noticing that it was gone, which meant that I had to take off the pajamas I had just put on and rush down to the Brew Co and look for my phone. I plunged into a fit of despair and told myself all kind of things about how I didn't deserve nice things like smart phones but then, oh joy, I got home to find Susan waiting with my phone. I am a careless idiot; thank the gods I have good friends.

This weekend is supposed to be hot and sunny at last and I have every intention of working like a maniac - I would say working like a dog but my personal observations have led me to believe that dogs do not, actually, work all that hard; come to think of it, maniacs are not noted for their work ethic either, but we'll go with it - on the mosaics and the garden so they should be quite beautiful by the party. Or, well, at least look a bit more like the picture in my head.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baby Birds and Beer

baby robins
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Last night after work I went over to Annie's with the laudable intention of just sitting around for a bit having one civilized beer and then going on home to be all quiet and peaceful with the dogs, inasmuch as quiet and peaceful are words that can be applied to my dogs, which is to say, not much. Well, roads that are paved and so on.

It started off innocently enough, with Annie and I discovering that the champagne in the fridge was still bubbly, which we are attributing to the silver spoon stuck in the bottle. Now, the silver wasn't even touching the champagne, so I am at a scientific loss as to how this works but, indubitably, the champagne from 10 days ago was still bubbly. Then she showed me some pictures and stuff she had dug up, which, because she is the Queen of Bohemia, included a postcard she got from Delmore Schwartz and the cover of the Antioch literary magazine from Fall 1948 with one of her paintings on the cover. She said she wanted Susan to come by, since Susan has turned into her painting titling muse, so I duly called Susan and then we wandered about the garden for a little bit looking at and talking plants.

Then my brother showed up on his motorcycle and then Susan came by and we all settled in on the porch and I proceeded to drink too much beer for a worknight. I know, predictable, right? We had a lot of fun, much to the initial consternation of the robin family who have built a nest in the inside corner of Annie's porch. Every time you go up to her front door this crazed attack robin squawks and flies at your head before veering off to verbally abuse you from a handy branch nearby. It's unnerving but entertaining as hell - if it was my house, I'd wait by the window all day, hoping for unsuspecting Jehovah's Witnesses and magazine sellers. Anyway, I took this picture of one of the three baby robins in the nest waiting for his/her parent to return with worms. Which they eventually did, despite the humans and it was cool to watch them feed their apparently starving offspring.

I really need to get a tape recorder and start taping some of Annie's stories. They're amazing and I can never remember them the next day. There was a fantastic story about my mother and a diamond ring and a box of arrowheads and a variety of other treasures that had been squirreled away by my great grandfather. I'd never heard that one before. And, according to Annie, the diamond ring in question, along with a stash of other jewels, were brought to America by some French aristocrat fleeing the revolution who then, no doubt pining for Versailles in the wilds of Iowa, became an ancestor of ours. "You know how there's a touch of French in the family?" said Annie, "Yeah," I said, "Well," said Annie, "That's the touch."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


You can tell I'm rapidly running out of inspiration when I come up with scintillating post titles like this one. Yeah, I am tired. I worked late last night and had to be in early this morning, which is never a good combination. Do you know, years ago I actually enjoyed throwing parties for a living? No shit. I was really that insane. Or I had stamina or something that I seem to have lost at this point: I don't get energized from events I plan and pull off anymore, I just get tired. Besides, when I got home last night around quarter to ten I made myself a hefty vodka tonic only to discover that tonic water does not last forever. No, if you leave it in the cabinet long enough it turns into something really vile and gluey, like high fructose corn syrup. Maybe that's where the evil stuff comes from. At any rate, I had to dump the last of my vodka along with whatever the hell the tonic had turned into down the sink. For once in my life it's apparent that I just don't drink enough. Tonic, that is.

There is a terrible scarcity of other news, although, speaking of scarcities, mysteriously there are less birds at the park this year than last year. Early in the morning that seems portentous and important to me but by 9 am it's significantly less interesting, so I haven't gotten around to mentioning it until now. Still, there it is: there are less birds at the park this year. Less geese. Less herons. Less turkeys. And, for all I know, less of every winged thing up to and including pterodactyls. However, they may not be at the park, but there are birds at my new birdfeeder, which makes me and Pebble both very happy. Chickadees! Tufted titmice! Sparrows! And the occasional nuthatch! Pebble flattens herself against the window glass and I try and fail to take pictures of birds, ending up only with pictures of screen. I am pleased with the success of my birdfeeder, which makes me feel munificent and kind, sort of like St. Francis only without the robes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Community Announcements

The day after tomorrow is not only a kickass science fiction movie, it is also the date (Thursday, April 23) of the next big DITLOA (Day in the Life of Asheville) flickr/photo meetup at the Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Avenue at 6:00 pm. I will be there as a representative member of the cabal that is now ruling DITLOA, because hey, I am. If only the cabal all had special funny hats, you would know who we are, except then we wouldn't be a secretive cabal, now would we? And what fun would that be? Anyway, at the meetup you can ask me questions and I can direct you to people who might know the answers. Or you can just drink beer and wander around with your camera, which is more like it. So, if you have been involved or would like to be involved with this project - check out old images and learn more here - you should attend the meetup. The project is totally fun; I have done it for several years now and can vouch for its excellent funness and the meetup, gods willing and the beer be cold, should be most fun as well.

In two weeks or ten days or something like that - May 2, to be specific - I am hosting a party. A hopefully big party at my house, with beer and food and a fire and all that good party stuff. If you have not gotten an invitation yet, it is almost certainly not because I hate you and don't want you at my party, it is because going through my gmail and plunking people into the BCC field for invitations while attempting not to add the email addresses of spam filters or T-shirt vendors or whatever else can get a little hairy and I thus space stuff out. This goes double for the hellish portal that is Facebook. If you would like to attend the party - and it is a Fancy Dress Party, which is a Fancy European Way of saying Costume Party but also including, like, just dress up clothes as in evening gowns and stuff - shoot me an email and I will send you a highly adorable .jpg party invitation featuring (quelle surprise!) pictures of my dogs. Dogs are not invited to the party though because I'm just mean that way. But people are! You should attend and bring all your friends!

That's about all I have in terms of community service, except to plug again the fact that Gordon Smith is running for City Council and you should vote for him next fall because he lives in my neighborhood and will bring us sidewalks. One hopes. With a little luck, you can ask him at my party.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Block House Steeplechase

Yesterday Haskell and Susan and I all went to the races, as you can probably tell from the FIFTY or so pictures of horses that now adorn my flickr stream. I swear, it looks a lot like my notebooks from 4th grade. Little known factoid about Felicity: not only was I one of those horse crazy girls, I actually rode horses fairly seriously, as in almost every day of my life, from age 5 to age 16. I even competed in horse shows and owned a horse named Alfie. Then I discovered sex and drugs and rock n' roll and horses, alas, went by the wayside. Anyway, I'd heard of the Block House Steeplechase, but it had never occurred to me to attend until Haskell sent an email saying he had tickets. I had one of those crises of conscience at first: I should stay home and work on the mosaics! Clean the house! Walk the dogs! And so on but fortunately bad sense prevailed and off we went to the races.

It was awesome. Couldn't have been a more beautiful day with everything green and glowing and the sun pouring down. We had a great spot that immediately raised our socioeconomic status by about 12 points - when we went to walk around, we thought momentarily of locking our purses in the car instead of just leaving them in full view with the windows open. Then we looked around us. "Every single person here," I said, "Has more money in their glove compartments than the three of us make in a year combined. They do not want or need my collection of maxed credit cards, old kleenex and half empty Altoids tins."

We had stopped at the Bi Lo on the way in to get beer and ice and cigarettes (which sadly were no cheaper in SC than they are in NC. WTF, South Carolina? You are the closest thing I have to a home state. I count on you for cheap cigarettes and embarrassing anecdotes.) and there we also bought some very fetching $5 straw hats which proved to be a godsend: first, by making us blend with the crowd and second, by preventing sunstroke. So, suitably adorned and with a lace tablecloth on our tailgate - Haskell did the tickets. I did the food (rather well, if I do say so myself) and Susan did the beer & cigarettes. This division of labor worked out nicely. - and sweet tea vodka tonics in hand, we strolled. We saw ladies in hats with horses on them and groups who had brought champagne and people in jodhpurs and tailgate picnics with candelabra and merry go round horses and an entire truckload of people dressed up like hippies. There were people in Victorian costumes driving shiny horses pulling small carriages and children throwing footballs and all in all it was totally bucolic and Edwardian and great. Lots of people were drinking with the kind of dedication and style that it often takes a lifetime and an Episcopal church membership to achieve.

We brought Mojo, who proved to be a great icebreaker, even before he realized that there were giant squirrels running fast and nobody was barking at them or chasing them! Mojo took that responsibility upon himself, at least as far as the barking went. We were inexplicably reluctant to let him chase the giant squirrels, go figure. I had thought about bringing my dogs but really, the only reason to bring my dogs to things like that is to either insure that everyone has a really horrible time or - my brilliant new business plan - to collect money from all the people who would be begging me to take them away.

The races were really exciting. None of us had ever been to a horse race before and had no idea what to expect. Do all horse races have fabulously world weary British announcers? If not, they should. During the second race, a jockey fell off at one fence. I was right there, pressed up against the fence with some lovely older ladies in extravagant hats. The jockey got up and ran off the track. "What happened?" cried the ladies, "Did he fall? Is he hurt?" He seemed to be okay and oh frabjous wonderful day, his horse kept right on running the race with the others. They had two more laps to do and the riderless horse was right up there towards the front of the pack, running well. He did avoid a couple jumps though, which I thought was eminently sensible and he finally didn't finish, but we were all rooting for him.

People were saying that the crowd was about half the size it usually is and I must say it was perfect. I'd heard bad things about the crowding and the rowdy drunks and so on but actually everyone was incredibly nice and there was plenty of room to get up close to the track and take pictures. It was a great and brilliant day and next year we are totally going back with candelabras and way more people. Maybe by then my dogs will be civilized enough to attend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


barleys upstairs
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I paid taxes yesterday. This is the first time, owing partly to my continued extreme poverty which in itself is due to my unfortunate habit of having children - if twice can be called a habit - who then redeem themselves by being most excellent tax deductions. So I've never had to actually pay taxes before, or, rather, the taxes I have always paid have come out of my paycheck and I learned long ago never to glance at them for fear that it would turn me into a raging Republican or something. Although, come to think of it, the Republicans have no problem with taxing poor people; it's rich people and corporations they believe should go untaxed.

However, I have now actually had to pay real taxes to the state of North Carolina. I did not have to pay the federal taxes, thank you President Obama and the first time homebuyers credit. I feel, Mr. President, that you would be wise to include a More Than One Dog tax credit as soon as possible as well - every patriotic dog loving American should go for this - and maybe possibly a First Time Washer/Dryer Buyer credit as well as a First Home Buyers First, Second, Third and So On Encounters With Lots of Mysterious Leaks credit but, hey, while you're writing those up, I'm totally into the home buying one. North Carolina should follow your lead. They should, but alas they did not, and in addition to the yearly indignity of the roughtly $32 they charge me as a property tax on my car - you can tell I drive a real serious car - I had to give them over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS yesterday. I also had to give them $33 for Audrey, who makes hardly any money and gets hit with taxes every year because I have no grandchildren. I paid them for her since I don't want any grandchildren any time soon and don't want her to start getting those shiny stars of tax deduction love in her eyes.

So now I have paid taxes. I want to get something for my money and I'm trying to figure out how to maximize my investment. I went out and drove around on the roads and thought, yeah, these are MY roads, baby. Get out of my way! Entitlement is great. That old lady I ran into the ditch probably wasn't a taxpayer, like me. Now, what else can I do? My kids are out of the public schools, but possibly I could drop in on a 5th grade math class anyway? Gods know I could use the refresher, unless they're doing fractions or percentages, to which I am allergic. I thought about getting arrested or maybe just walking around - sidewalks! My sidewalks! - talking randomly to police officers but then thought that maybe I wasn't a big enough taxpayer for that. I guess I'll have to settle for continuing to use the parks.

In other news, Susan and I went to a Hatch Festival event last night: an opening at Blue Spiral. I do not quite get all the buzz about the Hatch Festival, although I'm deeply impressed by the amount they have succeeded in generating, but anyway the opening was cool and the show was really pretty good, if a little lacking in focus. Two large scale photos of gas stations by Mike Smith are really worth checking out. I hadn't been to Blue Spiral for a while so it was awesome just to wander around and look at art and think about how long it had been since I had done just that. Afterwards, we repaired to the second floor of Barleys to have a couple of beers and smoke cigarettes, thus, this photo. If you're looking for something to do, I recommend the whole sequence of events, starting with Blue Spiral and ending with a totally delicious New South lager at smoky upstairs Barleys. Pity they're not supported by the NC government or I would really feel like a good taxpayer.

A beer subsidy! Yes! You have my permission, North Carolina, to take my money and subsidize beer. As well as the arts, parks and sidewalks. You can take the extra money out of fraction teaching or math to pay for it if you need more. If we have to invade South Carolina - and, given the extra beer consumption we devoted North Carolinians will soon be indulging in, it will no doubt soon sound like a good idea - then that's okay too. You can toss $5 of my money or so towards that as long as we end up with Folly Beach. They can keep Columbia.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Marketing FAIL

french broad river
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I have somehow managed to get on some very interesting - well, okay, they're not all that interesting, in fact they're downright boring - mailing lists. Yesterday I got a glossy catalogue that purported to sell luxury goods via basic Fingerhut techniques: i.e., pay them $30 a month for the rest of your life for a fancy electronic doo dad that would cost you less in a store and, bonus, will be way out of date and/or broken by the time you finish paying for it. The catalogue had a lot of drooly prose like "The Luxury You Need" and "Your Life Demands Elegance." Huh. I have no idea how I got onto their list. My life demands elegance all the time but I have long since learned to ignore it. Go ahead, life! Demand elegance! You're not getting it! Particularly not if it adds to the monthly bills! Ha ha ha!

I also got an Omaha steaks envelope that I didn't even open, since I eat steak only about once a month or less and when I want it, I'm not waiting around for it to come via dry ice, no, I'm going to Earthfare to buy happy cow meat that is good for me and died in luxury (sure, it was paying $30 a month forever on that outdated iPod, but it was luxury on the hoof) or, conversely, to Ingles to buy the beef of misery, which I will consume secretly and with appropriate shame.

What the hell else was in the mail? Something so banal that I've already forgotten it. Maybe a church flyer, one of the glossy expensive ones that always creep me out a bit, because, you know, shouldn't the church be spending their money on the Poor more directly than by sending highly designed four color brochures to them? You can't eat those things (I think; I haven't tried it yet) and besides, this particular member of the Poor is a confirmed pagan, as we know, and also has a strict mutual non-interference policy with Jesus. The only thing I really remember about the whole mailbox is the bemused feeling I had looking down on the whole lot just before it went into the recycling, thinking to myself, huh, this is the worst targeted marketing ever.

Bemused is how I also feel about the note I left for myself on the kitchen table, which reads enthusiastically: My slippers are uglier than naked mole rats. It is true; they indubitably are, which is to say they are pretty goddamn ugly, but why I thought that was so hilarious it merited writing down is a bit beyond me now. Still, I did, and now I share it with you, compulsively. Even though it's not at all the sort of image you like. Targeted marketing for the win!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Secret Dog Command

Audrey came over on Sunday night to get some photos off her camera and while we were huddled in the computer room and I was showing her the (very) basic photo editing that comes with Canons (actually, I quite like Zoom Browser, but it's not, you know, sophisticated) we discovered that the dogs have actually at some point in their lives been trained. Trained - without me even knowing it!

They were, of course, trying to get on the computer too or climb into our laps or generally do the kind of doggie things - bounce, chase the cat, chew on each other - that make you realize why three largish dogs in a very small room is a bad idea. At one point in the animal mayhem, Django jumped halfway up onto my lap and looked at me as if to say, "Dude, my turn for a twitter update." So I looked down at him and said "Helloooooo!"

And all three dogs took off like a shot to the front door, ecstatic, looking for the mystery guests.

Yes, it turns out that if I call out Hello! the dogs will always, no matter where we are, dash to the front door. I mean, wherever we are within reason, I guess. I haven't tried this at the park yet.

In other dog news, I took them to the park this morning (I have been really bad about this lately, so it's kind of notable) and I did not, you will be relieved to hear, take any pictures. The picture above is from last week; the park hasn't changed, although the grass is longer. But it was very wet and very green and the sky was very gray, in case you were wondering. I am myself beginning to feel a bit waterlogged but apparently we still are in a drought. Drag. I suppose that means I need to be happy about it every time it rains through 2/3 of my 3 day weekend. I'm working on it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Variety of Stuff That is Too Long for Twitter

1. Cashier lady at the supermarket, why do you want to argue with me?
Her, finding a turkey breast with no tag: "Just a minute, I'll be right back." She returns with a frozen one.
Me: "No, I don't want a frozen one; I want a thawed one."
Her: "They're all frozen."
Me: "No, they're not. The one I had was thawed."
Her: "No, it wasn't. They're all frozen."
Me: "No, there are thawed ones in a different place. I didn't get it from the frozen ones."
Her: "They're all frozen."
Me: "Look, I'll come with you and show you."
We go back to the poultry area and lo, there are the thawed turkey breasts. I take a thawed one and we return to the register.
Her: "This one is still frozen; I can feel the ice."
Me: "Well, no, it's not frozen, see, it's not solid." Pushing on turkey breast to demonstrate the clear thawed-ness of same.
Her: "They're all frozen. "
Okay, whatever, you have won, cashier lady. You have won. Fortunately, I am now cooking my not frozen turkey breast rather than waiting four days for the fucking thing to thaw. And you got the last word in.

2. Sprint people, why do you want to argue with me?
Wonderful Jeremy at the Sprint store (Jeremy is really wonderful and cute too) navigated the FIVE phone calls to different Sprint areas it took to try to get my phone replaced. The following transcripts have been edited so that you will not have to sit through the hold/what is your phone number/what is your PIN part that was the beginning of every one of them. Also, they have been edited for extra profanity. I am not really dumb enough to curse at the Sprint people. They would send demons after me from their air conditioned offices in hell.
Phone call 1: "We can't replace that; but you have insurance."
Me: "I do not want some piece of shit reconditioned phone that will not work in my office. I want this phone."
Them: "Oh well. Try this number."
Phone call 2: "If you drive to Charlotte, somebody there might be able to help you."
Me: "Fuck that."
Phone call 3: "No, we can't do anything."
Me: "Thanks for the honesty."
Phone call 4: "So, how long have you been a customer?"
Me: "Eternity. And I've never had a phone break before, okay? I don't go around breaking phones."
Them: "Huh. Well, try this number."
Phone call 5: "You have reached cancellations. Are you going to cancel your account?"
"Yes, if I don't get a new phone exactly like this one that I have had for THREE WEEKS that broke OUT OF THE BLUE WHILE IN MY POCKET yesterday."
"Okay, we'll send you a new one."
Great. Pity we couldn't skip the first four calls.

3. If it is going to be dark dark and damp damp all day like this, not to mention cold cold, then it should just rain. Just rain, already. Rain all day or clear up; don't do this half assed cold damp gray stuff.

4. 1994 cyberpunk novel from the thrift store: Oh dear. You didn't anticipate a whole lot of stuff that was going to happen in the next 15 years, did you?

5. 1947 Agatha Christie novel from the thrift store: Agatha, honey, you do realize that you're describing a really creepy S/M relationship like it's normal, right? Because unless the world was extremely different back then, being nearly choked to death by your fiance does not fall into the realm of happy courtship behavior.

6. A Public Service Announcement: I do not have a phone. I will not have a phone until Sprint mails me one. In the meantime, if you call me, there's about a 50/50 chance that I will be able to answer the call - that's what happens when you have no screen, cannot push the screen button and therefore don't know which other buttons to push on your insanely complicated phone to answer a call. I can make outgoing calls only if I know your number by heart. The only people whose phone numbers I have memorized are my children and my two friends who have always had the same phone number: Noelle and Jodi. Everyone else, I cannot call you. And you probably cannot call me. Okay, you almost certainly weren't trying to call me anyway, but, what the hell, I can always pretend. So if you need to reach me, try Twitter. Or email. Or come over; I'm home and I 'm staying right here even though I forgot to buy onions at the Ingles. They were probably all frozen anyway.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Three Day Weekend, Part One

Do you know how nice it is to realize that even if I didn't get things done today, there are TWO and not one day to get them done tomorrow? Yeah. It's that nice. It's so amazingly great not to be working for three days that I went and bought a Powerball ticket. Think good thoughts. Sure, there are people out there living in cardboard shacks with seven children with leukemia and no satellite dish and you might think that the lottery gods would favor them but hey. I adopted another dog. And the lottery figures heavily into my retirement plans. In fact, now that I have done my taxes, I think I can honestly say that it is my only retirement plan, and so, okay, lottery, I am peacefully awaiting your bounty.

Actually, I was sort of very efficient for me today. I went to the Tire Barn yet again to get yet another slow tire leak fixed. Have I mentioned that there is a bucolic mural of fences and goats and cows at the back of the Tire Barn yet? Because if I have not, I should. I might not have also mentioned that the oldest guy at the Tire Barn (the youngest guy is probably in his mid 50s, so take it from there) is extremely international, in that he has Roman hands and Russian fingers. Ha ha! There you have a joke dredged up from the dawn of time, resurrected in the spirit of Easter! That joke last walked the earth with Jesus himself! And we laughed so hard we fell off our pet dinosaurs.

However, he does. Roam and rush, I mean. And I am not one of your postmodern tough chicks who is able to chase off a 74 year old man who is hanging all over me. I sort of feel like I deserve it or something and besides, it's tough to smack an old man who is simultaneously attempting to feel up your tits and show you his hideously cancer deformed forearm. I mean, what do you do? "Fuck off, Grandad!" Smack. "Oh. Um. Ooops, well, hope that didn't burst the chemo scars too bad."

This last time I avoided Mr. Huggy by spending way more time in the Goodwill next door (there are many reasons why the Tire Barn is awesome. One of them is that it is next door to the thrift store, which ought, really , be de rigeur by law for all mechanics) buying plates that will shortly be smashed up to make mosaics. Which brings me to the main point of this post: if the weather is sunny and warmish tomorrow and you feel like shoving broken ceramics and glass into mortar, please stop by. This is a big project and the more the merrier. It's dirty, absorbing and extremely tedious work but you do get to smash things with a hammer, so, you know, how bad can it be? And then you can drive by my house later and feel that warm glow of satisfaction that only comes with keeping West Asheville property values well down and affordable.

Oh and here is another picture of Perdita. Jodi says that she is a tough dog but honestly, look at that. Is she tough? You should see the way her tail whirls around in circles like a propeller. That is not the tail of a tough dog. No, that is the tail of a very sweet dog who has made it imperative that I win the lottery so she can have only the best dog bones in the whole world.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Changing Ones Mind

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I am not going to Greensboro to see the remnants of the Grateful Dead after all. I'm sure you're shocked. There were 36 hours there, you see, where I was going to go see the Dead with my friend Charles and then there was a later part where our friend Susan was going to meet us there driving up from Florida and we were all, including Mojo, going to stay in a motel room overnight. However, a small wailing noise of doom began to emanate from my bank account and that, combined with an uneasy deep seated feeling that I am just too old to drop acid in a parking lot before a Dead show - look, I'm in my mid forties. Shouldn't I be sitting at an elegant cocktail lounge in a black cocktail dress right around now, sipping an elegant drink in an elegant glass while an elegant man lights my cigarette? Yes. Yes, I should be doing that, not seriously considering digging up the old hippie skirts and whirling around barefoot with a mind full of chemicals. What happened to my life? - made it impossible for me to proceed with those plans. I suck and I'm sorry, oh my friends who were counting on me, but quite honestly I'm too broke. Such is life, even in the mid forties.

So I have a three day weekend this weekend and absolutely nothing to do and I am completely thrilled. I mean, I have a list of Tasks and Chores but I have no Places I Must Be at a Certain Time and this sounds like the very definition of paradise to me right now. It's been a long week for some reason and peace - as much peace as I can get, surrounded by three dogs and Pebble, which is to say, not a whole lot as most people define peace - is exactly what I need.

I also need Pebble to stop being such a drama queen. She meows and howls her woes around the house and it's gotten to the point where I have to hold her on my lap, pet her and say, "Your fortitude in the face of your terrible, terrible existence is an example to us all." It is true that she is not allowed to go outside with the dogs (the horror!) and there are times when I like to be in the bathroom alone (the sheer selfishness!) and she's not supposed to get into the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer (fiendish!) but overall I think her life is not quite as painful as she makes it out to be.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Snow but No Day

It snowed, as it is occasionally wont to do in April in Asheville. That's fine. The only problem was that the city and Buncombe county did not cancel school and so I did not get a snow day and as a result I have been cranky and resentful all day. The general rule is that as soon as one snowflake sticks to the ground for longer than three minutes, school is canceled and just because it's April and the school boards have already had their "this is when we'll make up the snow days" meeting, is no reason to fuck with tradition. I was at severe risk this morning brushing all that snow off my car - my hands got cold and I got snow in my boots, not to mention the mental anguish I endured having to leave my nice warm house and leave my poor dogs outside. I think I should sue. Sue, I say!

There is dirt in my raised beds. Unfortunately the dirt is under snow and it's going to freeze again tonight, but that means I can start planting soon, since I'm fairly sure that this will be our last frost. Why am I sure? Wishful thinking. But it could be true! Anyway, the dirt looks like nothing now but by July there will be way too many zucchini yet again and, since I'm not trying to grow in our local clay, I think I might actually have decent root vegetables this year. Beets! Carrots that are more than 3" long! Yay!

In other news I'm rereading Roger Zelazny and liking it; I'm contemplating going to see the Dead with Warren Hayes this weekend and there is no other news, but there is a banana on my kitchen counter with a rhinestone encrusted B stuck firmly to its peel.

Monday, April 06, 2009

My Butt Hurts

Another weekend has come and gone, alas, but at least I got something done on Sunday. Well, I say I but I mean we: Adam and Ruby and I mosaiced 2 walls of one of the bunker planters in the front yard. It looks wonderful and will look even better when grouted and also even better yet when there is finally dirt in it. I had this crazy idea that I could order dirt and get it delivered but alas, such is not the case. No, you have to go get your own dirt in this world and you have to do that with a truck. So Adam is hopefully going to go get some dirt with his truck, although I'm considering lining the station wagon with plastic and going for it; there are rumors of free compost over by the Farmer's Market.

However, forget the dirt, let's all talk about my butt. Oddly enough on Saturday night at Susan's very nice little mellow birthday party, we got to talking about how we were all getting old and less flexible and stuff. There's usually one painful incident where you realize that and for some weird reason for us those incidences seem to revolve around art making. That would be weirder, granted, if most of my friends weren't artists, but anyhow what happens in our peculiar circumstance is this: You start drawing or painting or making pots in a peculiar position in your twenties. All is well with you squatting on the floor or sitting on your bed hunched over with one leg tucked up under the other for hours for years and years and you simply don't think about it - until that fell day when you are making art as usual and suddenly realize that. . . you cannot get up. Or, if you can get up, you have to walk like a chicken for a while and not strictly for comic relief. Congratulations, you are officially old.

So we talked about that at the party and then on Sunday Adam came over with buckets of tile and thin set and I hauled out all my broken dishes (see? Being a packrat is good and it works! I knew that keeping every pottery fragment for years would come in handy!) and we knelt in front of the bunkers and went to work making mosaics like mad for hours. Well, an hour or two, actually. Today, surprise surprise, I can hardly walk. Even like a duck.

In other weekend news, let's see, on Friday Jennifer had an opening at the Clingman Cafe so we all went to that and then we went on over to the Wedge, which was packed. From there we went to my house where I ended up making fried tofu in the middle of the night. I have to learn to keep something better around for impromptu parties. Saturday I accomplished pretty much nothing; Sunday is above and last night Audrey and I went over to hang out with Annie for a while on her lovely porch and then came back to my house to eat. The upstairs of my house is all clean but the downstairs is gross and horrible because Perdita, who I still love, is not as housebroken as one would hope. And the dogs ate the tract that Helen gave me for April Fools Day, damn it, because now I will never learn all the particular details about how Satan was using the Jefferson Airplane to eat my children's souls even though my children weren't born yet in 1971 and I was in fact just starting elementary school and not listening to a whole lot of Jefferson Airplane my own self.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Django is a Good Dog

3 dogs
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Yesterday after work I was supposed to go to belly dancing with my two best friends/drinking buddies/compadres: Jodi & Susan. We came up with this belly dancing idea some time ago and, you know, it sounded excellent at the time, which specifically I believe was on about the third beer at Broadways. Then the first Wednesday rolled around and I bailed. In my defense, it was that time of the month and belly can't bleed and dance at the same time, okay?

The second Wednesday came, which would be last Wednesday, and Jodi forgot all about it, so Susan and I went. Susan had a great time. I, on the other hand, am about the worst belly dancer in the long and storied history of the art form. This is not for want of a belly, I'll have you know, it's more that I don't really bend. Or wiggle well. Or stretch. Also, have I mentioned recently that I was tragically born without abdominal muscles? Anyway, I did not do well. The instructor kept looking over at me and suggesting in an oh so nice but transparent way that if one was having trouble with the stretch, here were a variety of Loathesome Old Lady semi stretch options, including, god help me, a pillow, that might help and nobody should stretch beyond their capacity. Fuck that - when you're in a class, you want to stretch with the big dogs, not collapse onto the floor in a heap of Old Lady shame with your pillow. So it was tough and terrible but I would have made it through the whole thing if it hadn't been an hour and a half long. An hour and a half is way too long to do any one thing at all (with the possible exception of sex, which I only dimly remember anyway) unless you're billing for it. So I escaped and went down to the proper gym to balm my conscience by going very fast on the elliptical machine without even falling off once.

Then, like the bells which toll for thee, another Wednesday came along. Yesterday. I was going to go to belly dancing. No, really, I was, because shame and stretching are good for me, but when I left work the sun was shining and it was warm and, well, instead I took all three dogs for a hike at Bent Creek. That's what this post is about. Hiking is just as good if not better exercise than belly dancing and the dogs were being great (about the only thing I've ever managed to train my dogs to do is be good hiking companions, but I have somehow done that) although Perdita has yet to learn dog mountain bike etiquette, which is to say it's poor form to hang out right in front of the bike and even poorer to then chase the bike or start running away from it so the bike is chasing you. Although mildly hilarious, I must say.

So everything was going swimmingly until, almost at the end of the walk, a couple more bikes with a couple of women and a couple of yappy little dogs came along. They were off leash and my guys were off leash and I figured, fine. We'd met some other dogs that day and everything had been great, as it usually is. Unfortunately, one of the little dogs apparently insulted Theo's mother in vile terms and there was, thus, a scuffle, complete with little dog owners emitting cries of woe and me shouting at my dogs and holding Perdita by the collar so she wouldn't get involved and so on. Naturally, Perdita promptly twisted, shed her collar and disappeared into the woods at high speed. Meanwhile, I got leashes onto Django and Theo and apologized and all that stuff you have to do when you have dogs. Some people, I hear, don't have dogs. Perhaps if I'm very, very good in this life - well. Then I suppose my next life would be less entertaining. Or hairy, anyway.

Perdita, fortunately, didn't go that far. I could see her through the trees but I could not get her to come to me for love, money or milkbones. Finally, exasperated, I took Django off his leash and said, "Go get her." And he did. He ran right over there and bumped her on the side of the head with his nose and the two of them ran straight back over to me like something out of an Animal Channel special on Really Good Dogs. It was awesome.

And now I think I'm way too used to having three dogs and they are way too fond of each other and, well, I keep putting off calling back the Animal Compassion Network. Because I am clinically insane and Perdita, well, Perdita is just really something and I'm not sure I could quite stand to give her away now.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools Whatever

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
To be fully in the spirit of the internets, I should do an April Fools post. The very thought makes me tired. I mean, yeah, what am I going to say?
I'M HAPPY! I'M GETTING MARRIED! I'M PREGNANT! I'M GAY! I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND! I'M GOING TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS FOREVER NOW JUST TO BOTHER YOU! Nobody is going to believe even one of those, now are they? Except maybe the last one. My father used to send me emails in all caps when he first discovered the internet back in the dim dark days of the 20th century. Usually the emails would go first to some very patient soul in California, too, who would send them on to me with the electronic equivalent of a lengthy sigh. Such naivete is now lost forever. Still, April Fools. Some of it is amusing - this, for example, gave me a chuckle but I've never yet, personally, come up with a good April Fools joke and somehow I doubt I ever will. The tack on chair thing was pretty hilarious in 4th grade but it doesn't translate well, alas.

Let's see, what else is new? I went to the Westville on Monday night with my brother and Celeste and, thank the gods, Celeste is not quitting working with Annie after all, just rescheduling to accommodate a new job. As a result of this Monday night excursion, last night I ate too much and went to bed early, finishing Use of Weapons while I was at it. Iain M. Banks might spell his name funny but dude, the man can write. I'm always blown away when I read any of his books. I like the Culture novels so much that I refuse to actually seek them out for the most part and only read them when I come across them sort of by happenstance. This is magic thinking: otherwise I would have read all of them by now and that would make me miserable. This way, I'm not entirely sure if I've read them all (I think I have now, but then I thought that before Use of Weapons too) and whenever I find another one I get all excited and joyous. Anyway, if you haven't read him, you should. Right now.

In other news, there is no other news. If I think of anything, I'll add an addendum. Maybe. Oh and I'm pregnant.

HA HA! Got you!

WAIT! There's more! I won something! No, really! I entered a contest, here and won a $100 gift certificate from Dali Decals, this cool place. Now, given that pretty much every surface of every wall in my house has art in it, what I'm going to do with these, I do not yet know. But. They're still pretty awesome and I am psyched. Yay, me! I won. I never win anything, so I am extra psyched. Perhaps I should go buy a lottery ticket just to bring me back down to my usual state of I never win anything blues. Too much excitement is bad for us pregnant types.

HA HA HA! GOT YOU AGAIN! But I did actually win the contest.