Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend News Update

water and road 4
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It was the weekend and now it is over. Sob. On the weekends, as some perceptive souls will have noticed, I do not get on the computer much. There are several reasons for this, including the compelling one that I spend way too much time on one during the work week and thus am disinclined to bother at home but the primary reason is that my son now has some kind of highly nifty and enviable video game system that requires internet connectivity. It also seems to require endless amounts of snack food and soda, but that's another issue. We as a family are applying our usual awesome reserves of technical skillz to the internet issue: we're carrying the modem up and down stairs depending on whose need is greater. Sometimes my need to play Totem Destroyer 2 and refresh Twitter obsessively trumps his need to play whatever it is he plays down there in Teenage Wasteland and sometimes, like this weekend, when I had this crazy plan to actually get shit done, he gets to keep the modem as long as he wants.

Yes, I had a crazy plan to actually get things done. And I did get some things done: I went to Goombay on Friday night with Susan and had a ton of fun and bought the kids some Christmas presents which I promptly gave them that evening and I went to Old Navy and bought a whole bunch of (yeah, I know, cheap environment destroying Chinese slave labor of miserable women and children, but, hey, the soulless and evil underwear are awesome) clothes and I did, in fact, mow the lawn. I also painted more of the beams of the porch in complex designs and I now estimate that particular project will be completed sometime in early 2017. And I read a whole lot and did a whole lot of absolutely nothing, which, while it didn't get the bathroom clean, helped my frame of mind considerably. That, I think, is what weekends are supposed to do, so, you know, all good. Or it will be until we all die of cholera or some other fun disease from the filthy bathroom.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
My mother died one year ago today. I've been thinking about it all week, even though I remember my mother, a year after my father's death, being outraged at the people who called that day. "I don't want to remember his death," she said, "Call me on his birthday. Call me another time. I want to remember his life, not his death."

I am not as strong as my mother was.

A year seems like almost an artificial distinction, like a work week or a Sunday, as if it's nothing but a socially imposed constraint, but it isn't. Our human brains are hardwired to look for patterns, to look for repetition and, I guess, to make calendars: witness Stonehenge, think of the Maya and look at your Google calendar with a little more awe. There is a pattern to time. The moon has gone through twelve cycles; the earth has revolved all the way around a yellow star and now is back to where it was, turning my small part of it inexorably from summer into fall. This long year has gone by and now here I am, walking the dogs early in the morning at the same place I walked them last year, when I woke up shaking because my mother was in the ICU, the place where I got the call three days earlier that she was back in the ICU. That place has changed utterly and so have I: a long year's worth.

Every morning I put on my mother's wedding ring. It fits my pinkie perfectly and I look down at it, a thick band of gold, and I think about her. She is still in my life. Her furniture sits (and is being ruined, naturally, which would not surprise her) in my house and every time I look around I see her, from the plastic container in my cupboard labeled in her handwriting: Pancake Mix crossed out and underneath it, Grits, to her old sweaters folded in my new closet. I think about her all the time and I miss her with a constant quiet ache that this year of time has not done much to heal. I worry about that sometimes, worry that maybe I haven't done my grieving properly, that surely I should be moving on, that I'm not following the proper steps but then I think fuck that, there is no timetable and it's facile and stupid to believe that there is a right and a wrong way to do this. There's just me, living it out one day at a time, one month, one year and then eternity in a world where my mother is, inexplicably, not.

A friend told me last year that there would come a time that I would pick up the phone to call her without thinking and I have been dreading that moment ever since. It has not yet quite happened, although there have been a million moments where I wanted to pick up the phone, to ask her a question, to hear her voice, to have again the luxury of mothers and daughters: the ineffable joy of getting irritated by something she said without thinking. I miss arguing with her almost as much as I miss her unbounded love and her always intelligent and often acerbic take on the world. I miss her knowledge. I curse myself for not videotaping her, for not keeping a notebook and writing down every single thing she ever said, for not listening well enough or often enough.

This has been a long hard year. Her death shook me down to the core, which I knew, when I allowed myself to think of it, that it would and then it brought my father back into my mind, which I was not expecting. I thought that old pain was all dealt with but if I have learned one thing these past 12 months, it's that old pain never really goes away, it just comes back for reexamination. I guess it will continue to do that, forever, even though this loss of parents is in the nature of things, it's the way it is supposed to go and the way, for all of human history, that it has gone. We move through this and perhaps it enriches us or maybe it just gives us another opportunity to rail against fate and time and loss and age: I don't know yet. It appears that I will find out; there is no joy in this knowledge.

When I take stock of this last year it seems insurmountable; I look at it with a kind of horror. I remember the first few days after her death so clearly and then the weeks and months of disasters that followed, from moving to Annie's problems to family fights - the list goes on and on. It seemed for a while that she was the only glue holding the universe together - it really seemed like that when the economy crashed - and we would all go down now into the whirlwind. And then the world evened out and that too was hard. There's been so much that I wanted to share with her and cannot, from the personal: Annie's miraculous and ongoing recovery from her stroke; my foolhardy acquisition of yet another dog (but a good dog) to the political and international: she would have loved to see Obama - she called me, a couple years ago, almost breathless in her excitement over his speech at the DNC - inaugurated; she would have cried over Ted Kennedy's death (I've done that for her) and so much more.

Years pass and memory becomes, I suppose, more important than it ever was before. It feels, on a day like this, as if it's all that there is even though I know I'll go on, waking up, walking the dogs, going to work, lurching as I tend to do from crisis to crisis. It's just the nature of life and the world and you know, I do want to rail against it. It is hard, today, and yet it's only a day, but it's a day that I can't help marking.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

cucumber hieroglyphics

Just the other day my son pulled this cucumber out of the fridge and said, "Mom, did you see this?"
"Yes," I said, "I picked it. Isn't it cool?"
"And did you take a picture of it?" asked my son, his voice dripping with the kind of condescension only a teenager can muster, "Did you take a picture and put it up on the internet and then BLOG about it?"
"Not yet," I said, "But you know I will!"
That's the thing about families - they have this terrible tendency to actually know you. I am always thrilled by weird etchings on garden vegetables - shapes, too: I had a potato that looked exactly like Richard Nixon once! Granted, that wasn't much of a stretch. Still, I think weird vegetables are examples of Greater Forces at work and they cheer me up. Doesn't this look exactly like the way some ancient, eldritch, interstellar intelligence would write me a letter? Don't you think some small cucumber god is trying to communicate, here? These markings probably show the location of the lost and forgotten Stone Of Cuke and when I find it, I will then immediately be launched on a wild adventure featuring dwarves and a bearded wizard with a pair of pruning shears! Or, um, not.

I feel as if I've been horribly lazy lately but I have actually gotten some shit done. In the silver lining to the Great 2009 Bug Disaster, a ton of my clothes are still in the garage in giant plastic bags, yes, but the ones that have been unpacked are organized. Dude, I mean they are Organized. My closet is so obsessive compulsive it's scary. The tidy, organized and logical side of my brain doesn't get to come out often - I tend towards the Dionysian, not the Apollonian, as you may have gathered - so when it does, it sort of goes into overkill. My closet is so beautiful that I'm kind of reluctant to take the rest of my wardrobe out of the garage: it might kill the symmetry. Sure, I haven't got a damn thing to wear to work but so what? I can sit on my bed and stare at my closet and be quietly, creepily, happy.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Yesterday was the Great Spray. The exterminators came over in the morning and started taking all the outlet plates and switch plates off the walls so they could spray inside and I took my dogs and my son (the cat was locked in the garage, which prison she promptly escaped) and left. The dogs went off to the vet's for daycare; the son went off with some of his hoodlum friends and I went to work. The exterminators assured me that I could come home after work no problem.

Wrong. I picked up the dogs and went on home and was smacked in the face as I entered by a wall of fumes: industrial strength Raid and lots of it. I consider myself tough and ignore such trivialities, however, so I started running around setting up fans and opening windows (opening windows in my house takes a lot of strength and energy; I have gotten to the point where I lust more over pictures of replacement windows than I do over Playgirl, if there still is a Playgirl, that is) and putting weird hypoallergenic zipped covers on all the mattresses and so on. This would have been fine and dandy except I started feeling progressively weirder. I got dizzy. My head hurt. I was so tired it seemed that there would be nothing for it but to lie down on the porch with the dogs and sleep. I kept taking longer breaks on the porch but nothing really helped and I became sad. So sad, so tired, so dizzy and the back of my throat hurt and tasted funny.

I went down to the garage and thought I would take a little nap, so I lay down on top of all the garbage bags full of clothes. They were not uncomfortable, if a little slippery, but as I lay there I began to think that Miles might find it a bit odd when he came home if his mother was asleep on a pile of garbage bags in the garage. I mean, okay, I've never been exactly the poster child for Ideal Parenting but my kids have never found me passed out in the trash, either. That was the point - well, that or all the mosquitos - where something in my brain finally went BING and said, look, either you're going insane or you are about to succumb to severe pesticide poisoning: either way you had better get the hell away from this house altogether and go to the Admiral.

I didn't want to leave, because all the doors and windows were open and I was afraid that either I'd get robbed or possibly the dogs wouldn't be smart enough to go out the open doors and would just die, but finally I made it down the street to my home away from home, where my friends expressed alarm at my condition. Yet again, I have the best friends: they sat me down and Helen got me a beer and Charles went to pick up Miles and Susan told me that the dogs and Miles and I should sleep at her house. Oh and Kyle had a birthday, which guaranteed that I would find them all right there where I needed them. Therefore I started feeling better and within an hour I was back to only the usual level of dizziness and insanity and Miles and all the dogs and I went on over to Susan's, where we figured out the DVR and watched True Blood and then got some - but not, alas, much, thanks to True Blood - sleep.

Anyway, that is my story of pesticide poisoning. I really hope that the house is now clear - it had better be - and if you are ever so dumb as to get your house fumigated (I now wish I had just come to some kind of gentle diplomatic understanding with the bugs rather than this full out nuclear war) then I suggest you wait at least 24 hours before going home. And hopefully I will not have any kind of horrible lingering death terminal illness from all this because, among other things, that will cause me to RANT SOME MORE ABOUT THE LACK OF HEALTH CARE IN THIS BENIGHTED COUNTRY. Which we do not want.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

abel served or the wench dies

The exterminators are done and hopefully the bugs are gone. I know I'm being kind of squeamish and weird about not naming the bugs - most of you have guessed anyway - but for some reason I don't want this blog to come up in the google results for Asheville and (3 letter word for a common household item of furniture) bugs. Not that anything much does come up - the gods know I've been doing some googling - but since I have very little to add to those results except whining and the dubious honor of being the first (and hopefully the last, but I wouldn't count on it) Ashevillein to blog about the misery induced by those tiny insects, I think I'll just keep them off. For the record, though, if you, like me, think that Asheville is a small town and thus exempt from the horrors experienced in the last decade by New York, Boston, San Francisco and many, many others, well, think again. The exterminator told me that he'd had 10 calls in the last 2 weeks right here in Buncombe County and he also said that the hotels here were, and I quote, bad for them. Be forewarned. If you go to a hotel or motel, just plan on stripping down before you re-enter your house and tossing everything, including, or maybe especially, your suitcase, into a hot dryer for a long time. Not that that will totally protect you. Nothing, short of divine interference, will do that - and God is apparently too busy locating sewer pipes to stop bugs.

I have the best friends in the world though and I must thank them. Jodi came over yesterday and toiled mightily with me as we scooped every single piece of clothing, sheet, blanket, quilt, towel and scarf that I own into approximately 26 39 gallon sized industrial trash bags. Yes, I am the proud owner of 1,014 gallons of textiles. First World Problems! I tell you! Then she accompanied me to the laundromat where we piled all this into dryers and then unpiled and rebagged - in clean new bags - all of it. None of that could have been done if Charles hadn't kindly loaned me his truck, because 1,014 gallons of clothes is more than my car can hold.

It's been a horrible few days. Now we wait and hope that a) the bugs are gone and b) we don't all die hideously from the lethal chemicals that just got sprayed throughout the house. Oh well. I wonder which vaguely Biblical plague will be visited on my head next!

In other news, I need stuff to read. I have nothing but an incredibly bad thick fantasy novel that I have to keep putting down for egregious abuse of not just the English language but possibly of the English speaking soul. I will have to quote some particularly awful passages but anyway, it's unreadable and I need something new. Recommend to me, please, big fat thick honking novels that will take me away from the plagues with the strength of the Calgon of yore.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mondays Of Doom

Well, Monday sucked.

On Sunday, we found a bug. I'm not going to talk about what kind of bug except to reassure everyone that no, it's not the kind that lives in your hair (gods I am so glad that those years are over, oh yes I am) and no, it's not super contagious as far as I can tell and so on and so forth but if you're really curious call me and I'll tell you. For the rest of you: it's going to cost more than half my monthly salary to have an exterminator in to get rid of them and since I've been trying in fits and starts to get rid of them myself for roughly 8 weeks now and failing and I've read and heard that getting rid of them by yourself is essentially impossible without throwing everything you own away and just starting from scratch, well, there goes that money.

On the bright side, that was the thousand bucks I was going to spend carpeting the basement and it's really a good thing that I didn't do that because a) bugs like carpet and b) if there had been carpet down there on Sunday night at 10:21 pm when the toilet did its highly successful Mt. Vesuvius impersonation, then that would have been Very Bad Indeed. Did you know that the lowest place in the basement is directly under the couch? Neither did I but it turns out that if you have an endless eruption of sewage to the tune of about 3" of sewage by the time you get the water turned off than most of it will flow downhill and under the couch.

Yeah, Sunday was just beautiful what with the bug and the sewage. So on Monday I stayed home from work and called an exterminator who came over and was very nice and explained that he would now take my huge sum of money and then come back on Thursday by which time, get this, I will have had to have taken (verb tense alert!) pretty much every thing made of cloth - every piece of clothing, every sheet, blanket, coat, scarf and dishtowel in the house - to the laundromat to run it all through a hot dryer for an hour. And if that shrinks my sweaters I am going to cry like a baby. Then I have to take the dogs to the vet (thank you kind vet!) and Pebble will have to be locked in the garage and Miles has to go somewhere else for the whole day while our entire house is saturated with highly toxic chemicals. Oh and I have to get any opened food containers into the garage as well AND, get this, I'm going to have to wash every plate, knife, fork, spoon, pan, etc unless I get them all into the garage as well. I wish to cry now.

And then on Monday I called a plumber. My friend Daniel told me to call the Rooter King, which I did, and the Rooter King (not sure if it was the King himself or just one of his minions, actually, perhaps a Minor Baron) showed up and proceeded to start the epic search for my sewer pipe. You see, my house was built in 1966 (which, coincidentally, is not very long after I myself was built) and in 1966 not only did they not have to put in sewer cleanout pipes, but there was nothing downhill behind my house but woods and more woods. Therefore, where my sewer pipe goes is one of the Great Mysteries and how long it takes before it gets to the city sewers is another of those Mysteries.

So the plumber walked around the neighborhood for a while and then his friend from the Sewage Department came by in a city truck to stand around and opine about how it was different back then for a while. Then he left and the plumber walked my yard for a long time with a long metal stick, poking it into the ground until he found the pipe. He said that God helped him find the pipe which, go figure, did not fill me with confidence, because I sort of feel that God Almighty, Jehovah, Lord of the Israelites and so on, should perhaps have better things to do with his time than worry about the state of the plumbing in Asheville, North Carolina. I mean, you know, maybe think about starving kids or something? Anyway, it turns out that my pipe is currently working but that state of affairs is not guaranteed to last but, on the bright side, it might! Even though the pipe is supposed to be round and now, by virtue of being so old and underground, is more oval! So I gave him $85 and that was that.

Like I said, Monday sucked. Tuesday has been OK; Wednesday and Thursday are looking like they're going to exhibit a fair to high amount of suckage and Friday? Please come, oh Friday, please come my way soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
All hail me, for I am mighty. I went out yesterday and bought a goddamn lawnmower. My old lawnmower was a sorry thing: the wheels kept falling off in a fatal design flaw that drove me completely insane. This is why people driving by my house often saw me trying to fix the wheels back on with coathangers and twine and a whole lot of cursing or, conversely, mowing the lawn with a three wheeled lawnmower, which leaves big muddy bald spots and requires a lot of strength and fury. Finally, last week, the wheels fell off one time too many and I dragged the whole damn bent handled rotten no good piece of shit to the curb.

This is all my own fault, because after years of used lawnmowers (never buy a used lawnmower. Face it - working lawnmowers are not something people get rid of just so they can upgrade. You only sell an old lawnmower when you hate it so much that anything seems better.) and cheap lawnmowers and all the ills that lawnmowers are heir to, my mother, tired of the whining, offered two years ago to buy me a decent mower in exasperation. Driven by guilt and penury, though, I went and bought a cheap lawnmower on clearance and my mother threw up her hands in full on, all out exasperation. Yet again, mother was right.

Now, though, I have a shiny new lawnmower with wheels that will not fall off and today I not only put it together by myself, I mowed the whole front yard and moved the pumpkin, squash and gourd vines to do it AND pulled out the weedwhacker with its 500 foot green extension cord and whacked what I could not mow. It had been several weeks since the front yard was mowed at all so this was a massive endeavour and now I feel all strong and macho. Also, sweaty.

In more annals of mightiness, yesterday I made toxic art, which was entertaining and hopefully all the brain cells I burned were old and pointless ones. Glorble fmrph. No! Back now. Anyway, I made paperweights out of acrylic casting resin, which is something I've always wanted to do and since yesterday was the day when we celebrated Jodi and Charles and Kyles' birthdays, it was the perfect opportunity. Acrylic casting resin is the stuff of which clear paperweights with tiny starfish and seahorses floating in them that you buy at the Seashell Shop on Rehoboth Beach are made. You know those things: sometimes they have little ribbons or other tacky shit in them and on the bottom they say in script A Gift From The Sea. I love those things and I have long wondered how to make them, because I had this genius art idea years ago: giant versions. I want to make full body casts of acrylic polyester casting resin with cool things - meaningful, deeply symbolic things, like, you know, a book or something. Rocks. Whatever. - floating in them. It would be a sort of portraiture of objects, which I think there could be a big market for, because who wouldn't want a life size clear plastic statue of themselves with a bunch of souvenirs floating in it standing in their living room? No one, that's who.

However, one must start small, so I started with a can of resin, a small bottle of catalyst, an old muffin tin and an extremely frightening list of directions and warnings that ran to the lines of If This Touches Your Skin It Will Burn It Off and If It Gets In Your Eyes You Will Be Blind Forever and If You Breathe The Fumes You Will Fall Over And Become A Vegetable. I actually have some shells in the garage - of course I do. As far as I can tell, the Holy Grail is in the garage along with more or less everything else in the world. - so first I collected the shells and some shiny beads and the like and then I looked down at this twee little grouping of prettiness deeply dissatisfied and said fuck THAT. I was briefly stymied but then my eyes lit on the overflowing ashtray that is such an attractive design element on the back porch and a cartoon lightbulb went off over my head. Who needs cute when trash is at hand? Driven by inspiration, I made three paperweights, one with an old guitar pick and a rusty nail and a rubberband and a paperclip and a screw in it for Charles and one with an orange cocktail monkey and a scarab and a bottlecap and a blue chip of glass for Kyle and, for my friend Jodi, my close friend, the best: a paperweight with cigarette butts and burnt matches and a bottle cap floating merrily in it.

To make paperweights you mix up catalyst with the resin in a container, very carefully, and you are supposed to measure exactly, which is a bit of a problem for me. However! Just keep going, is my advice! Ignore the evil chemical fumes which will knock you sideways even if you do it outside. Then you pour one layer into each muffin tin and then you put your objects on that, wait twenty minutes and repeat the process until either the muffin tins are full or you've burned out the last vital brain cell, whichever comes first. They turned out extremely cool, or, well, I am absolutely sure that they will be extremely cool if - I mean when! When, not if! I swear! - they ever dry completely. I gave them to Charles and Kyle and Jodi last night (at Helen and Zen's lovely and incredibly delicious dinner party!) and they were a big hit even if they immediately had to be placed far away outside so as not to kill us all with the fumes.

This is just the beginning. I'm thinking about doing a whole bunch with cigarette butts and PBR caps and a tiny message that says A Souvenir of Broadways in them. They should sell like hotcakes and making them has its points: I kind of enjoyed the dizziness and disorientation. Glorble mmrpshsigh flhosinw.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I actually got up out of bed and walked the dogs this morning. This is doubly amazing, because yesterday I had a shitty, shitty day for a variety of reasons and so after work I went over to Broadways to meet Jodi and Dillon for a drink. Yes, as I sat there with my vodka tonic at the bar (I got there first) breathing in the decades of smoke, looking around me at the TV sets and the pool tables and the dim light and Quinto, the silent bartender, it occurred to me that yeah, okay, I'm pretty deeply dysfunctional and there are almost certainly healthier ways to cope with shitty, shitty days. But, what the fuck, embrace what you know, and I know Broadways, even if I did sort of feel guilty when I walked in, like the whole bar was going to turn around and shout, all the vinyl and formica speaking as one, "You whore! You've been been cheating on me with the Admiral! How could you do this to me? I've never changed but you. . . you've gone away, lured by the food and the patio - just because the Admiral is six blocks away from your house, you unfaithful patron, you never come here anymore!" Poor Broadways. I am evil and I feel guilty, but alas, even I, dedicated smoker that I am, have to wash my hair - or, better yet, shave my head - after an evening at Broadways and the Admiral patio is so comfortable. And so local.

Actually, I had a really nice time and after a couple of drinks, I did feel better and, amazingly enough, I still felt sort of better this morning, despite the extremely unsubtle dreams of conflict that my subconscious presented me with all night. I blame my lack of hangoveriness on several things, including the six or so cans of seltzer I drank when I got home and, best of all, the Italian sausage that Miles and I decided to have for dinner county fair style: just straight up grilled with peppers and onions in a cast iron pan and tossed on a bun. Yum.

Now the weekend beckons and this weekend, I swear I will not be sidetracked from my goal of floating down part (probably the polluted gross part, but we're not going to dwell on that - hey, I more or less fell into Baltimore harbor once and I don't have tentacles or glow in the dark, so clearly I'm immune) of the French Broad in one of the highly unsafe little yellow rubber inflatable boats that I bought for $5 at K-Mart a couple summers ago. I was going to do it last weekend and got sidetracked by puttering, but this weekend, fuck the puttering, I wanna float.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

sunflower mist

sunflower mist
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
The squirrels have been eating my tomatoes and knocking down my sunflowers; I haven't woken up early enough to walk the dogs since Monday; the book I ordered hasn't come yet and I have a headache, cramps and a sore throat. It's a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

When I got home last night I found a ripe tomato sitting on the side of the garden bed with a big bite out of it. It looked like a human sized bite and I was sort of nonplussed - I mean, who takes a bite out of a tomato and casts it aside? - and then I saw another one, still on the vine. A human might pick a tomato and take a bite and throw it down, just out of meanness or weirdness or a sudden realization that they hate tomatoes, but nobody is really weird enough to lie down on their backs and wiggle their way under the tomato cage and scrooch up to a tomato and take a bite out of it on the vine. You see how my inner Sherlock Holmes goes to work, there. My inner Sherlock, though, was still baffled as to the identity of the culprit until I came back out the front door and found a squirrel climbing a sunflower and in the process knocking everything down. He was a ballsy little fuck, too - I had to shout and wave my arms and chase him across the lawn to get him out of there and a couple of times he stopped running and looked at me menacingly, as if he was considering launching an attack. I don't care what people say, squirrels are scary. Now I know why so many of the sunflowers have become horizontal and where my tomatoes are going and also I have these half chewed tomatoes that I'm a little afraid to eat. I cut off the bitten parts and I know they're fine but, eeep, ewwww, squirrel saliva. Last thing I need now is squirrel flu.

Last night I went and listened to a speech by Gordon Smith who is a friend of mine (we cofounded the Asheville Drinking Liberally chapter, actually, long ago) and is also, as you probably know if you live here, running for City Council. In yet another political post I am now going to urge you to vote for Gordon. Vote for Gordon, y'all. He's cool and not only that, he's strongly focused on affordable housing and better public transportation and since you also should be all about those things, go forth in a couple of months and vote for Gordon. Vote early, vote often (okay, okay) and vote hard.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

black eyed susans

black eyed susans
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
You know, I've been trying to avoid commenting on the health care thing, because every time I start to write something about it I start screaming and frothing at the mouth and end up writing four or five pages of ranting fury and horror and so on and then, for the good of us all, I delete it and go back to blogging about my dogs. The dogs are good, by the way. Good thing, too, because LIKE MOST AMERICANS THEY DON'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE AND WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY AND HOW CAN WE AS THEORETICAL BELIEVERS IN DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY BE CONTENT TO SLIP LIKE TIS INTO SOME KIND OF DYSTOPIAN DICKENSIAN NIGHTMARE SCENARIO WHERE THE RICH ALL LIVE IN DOMES AND THE REST OF US CRAWL AROUND WRETCHEDLY. . . see? I can't help it. It would be so incredibly fucking simple for us to emulate the other, civilized nations of the globe and institute single payer healh insurance and then, you know, our slide into the abyss might not be so quick or so certain BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE SO MANY AMERICANS ARE SO GODDAMNED DETERMINED TO NEVER DO WHAT MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR THEM - SEE, POOR PEOPLE WHO VOTE REPUBLICAN - AND THEN A LOT OF THEM ARE JUST PLAIN FUCKING MEAN SPIRITED AND THEN THERE ARE THE LOUD STUPID ONES JESUS CHRIST THIS IS THE FIRST CHANCE WE'VE HAD IN YEARS TO FIX THIS PROBLEM AND Y'ALL ARE FUCKING IT UP.

Ahem. So it is probably better if I don't go into the health care debate. I did, however, write to my congressman and to my senator expressing (like a grownup, eschewing caps) my strong beliefs in health care reform that includes the public option. Actually, if it was up to me, we'd have long since had single payer and all the health insurance companies would be out of business, which would fucking rock, but since that makes TOO MUCH SENSE AND HAS BEEN CORRUPTED BY EVIL LOBBYISTS. . .

Okay. I have said my bit. Now you know how I feel and I urge you to let your elected representatives know how you feel too.

Monday, August 10, 2009

enter the chicken

enter the chicken
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
A few random observations today.

1. At work, it's one of my jobs to z out the register every week. If you've never worked retail, that means counting all the money that's in there and reconciling it with the register tape and figuring out the deposit. I like doing this: sometimes I like numbers. I really like it best, though, when there's just a little tiny error - stuff like 44 cents more in the register than there should be. That makes me all happy for some crazy reason - I like thinking about that 44 cents, loose in the world, not making any sense, having no reason for being, but still there. It's the same when it's a deficit except then it seems to me that the change has escaped and is out on a wild road trip. Run free, little pennies! Run wild, run free!

2. Every time Vampire Bill on True Blood says "Soooookiee!!" with that anguished tone in his voice I crack up. I have to say it myself, too, sometimes more than once, and it makes me laugh every single time. I'm saying it now and giggling.

3. When I was smoking a cigarette in the courtyard at work today I looked to the side and there was a woman on the other side of the windows. It was just like we were at Tom's Diner - well, okay, except that I was outside and she was inside and also, it wasn't raining and it wasn't in New York and there was no obnoxious dance beat anywhere but otherwise, I tell you, exactly like it - she did not know she was being observed. She did a little jig in the hallway and I could see her counting steps under her breath. I looked away so she wouldn't know I'd seen her dancing but, hallway dancing lady, for the record, you are awesome.

4. How could I have forgotten about Echo & the Bunnymen? That was totally stupid of me and I must fix it immediately.

5. Last week I saw a cop fall off his Segway. If I had had a video camera running at that exact moment in time I would be a Youtube sensation now or possibly I'd have been arrested for being a Material Witness of an Embarrassing Moment, but alas, I had no camera and there was nobody else around. Just me, a cop, his crashing Segway and the table that inexplicably leaped in front of him. Cops on Segways are just a really bad idea on all levels. They look ridiculous; any five year old can escape one by doing something fiendishly clever like running up or down some stairs and obviously - obviously - Segways are terribly dangerous. The police officer in question said his Segway must be broken. It looked to me like he mixed up the gas and the brake but then on the other hand it was also looking to me like he was showing off. Hee. I'm glad he wasn't hurt but damn, just goes to show, we should all be constantly recording our lives in real time in case of sudden storms of slapstick humor.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I got the dogs out to the park twice this week and why I'm not covered with poison ivy I don't know, but I'm grateful. Everything went very smoothly on Tuesday morning, when I first took them - we finally found the creek! The creek is great! - and less smoothly this morning, because Theo is a big fat jerk. Well. That might be a little much but honestly, I'm about to take him to a dog therapist. First off, we have all the annoying dog politics issues revolving around food. You don't want to know about those, I assure you. I could write a lengthy, lengthy, multi paragraphed essay about dog politics and how they revolve around food and so on, but suffice it to say that it is insanely fucking annoying to keep on, day after day, feeding animals who apparently don't really want to eat, or, who will only eat when it's the exact politically correct moment. It's doubly annoying when you are 99% sure that the cause of all this foolishness is one dog, to wit, Theo.

Anyhow, food and dog politics aside, this morning at Richmond Hill Theo took off. I don't know where he got to but wherever it was, there was a dog and a small dog at that already in possession. They barked at each other angrily for, I kid you not, twenty straight minutes. This was punctuated by me whistling and shouting now and then. Fun.

The woods are supposed to be a quiet place, broken only by the gentle breeze, the call of birds, the shrieks of a dryad being goosed by Pan - you know, the whole bucolic schtick. They're not supposed to echo to the sound of a collie and what sounded like a terrier of some kind having a big old barking argument. I wasn't sure where the hell they could be and I really didn't want to walk through four acres of straight poison ivy to find out, so I left them to it, even though I was kind of worried about the small dog. I was afraid perhaps he was trapped somewhere, or a prisoner or something, because I didn't think we were close enough to the edge of the woods for him to be defending his yard. However, he didn't sound scared or desperate, just pissed off, so perhaps Theo was right up on his yard. RIchmond Hill confuses the hell out of me, directionally.

Anyway, Theo eventually - twenty minutes, lord. Twenty minutes when he knew perfectly well where I was and heard me just fine and didn't come through the woods because he was busy barking - came back and I put him on a leash and harangued him steadily through our hike back to the car but I doubt my words of wisdom sank in. I think he needs professional help. Anyone know a dog therapist or a dog psychic or perhaps a really mean dog trainer?

In other news my friend Hy was here from Charleston and we went out with Susan and Jennifer and had an incredibly delicious meal at the Admiral and then a beer at the Wedge and then all went back to my porch to drink a couple more beers and talk. Then the next day he brought his whole family down to the museum so I saw him then too - it was great to see him and as always, I'm amazed and delighted and blessed that we have managed to sustain this friendship for so many years now. Although I swear he has a portrait in his attic or something because, good lord, Hy, you don't look 102, and I feel 102, and we're the same age, I know, so therefore you are using Dark Magic, I knows it! Give me some! Heh.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


pumpkin vine
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I am being horrible again: I didn't walk the dogs this morning and I'm going to the Admiral tonight for dinner and drinks. God I love being horrible; it's just so much more fun than being virtuous.

One of my oldest friends
is in town and so I am meeting him at the Admiral after work. I'm thrilled about this because we rarely get to see each other and also because I usually, parsimonious broke bitch that I am, don't eat at the Admiral, just drink $2.50 PBRs. Tonight, though, it's all out, damn the torpedoes, also the calories & money, and I'm actually going to get to eat something scrumptious, albeit tiny, for dinner. Yum.

In other news, I'm worried about my pumpkin vine, which would appear to be developing the same fungusy stuff on its leaves that took the zucchini away. I didn't care about the zucchini - I had reached my zucchini creativity limit - but I want some pumpkins, dammit. And if the fungus is going to take something, why, oh why, can't it affect the patty pan squash, which continues belching forth giant flying saucer discs of squash every day? Patty pan squash is driving me to despair.

I am reading (surprise, surprise) yet another mega giant multi volume fantasy saga - this one by Sara Douglass. It is not bad, actually. Unfortunately, neither is it particularly good and the not so good parts are way ramped up into unintentional fantasy saga hilarity by the novelist's inability to come up with good fantasy saga names. I grant you this is a difficult task and in my younger years, when I still held forth hopes of an overly thick novel with a scantily dressed barbarian and a sword and possibly a dragon or maybe an explosion on the cover appearing in the Fantasy & SF section of your local Barnes & Noble with my name on it in a suitably Gothic font, I thought much about it. I decided the way to go was to use the tried and true "grab tiles from the scrabble game" method - meet my hero, Epfgh - but Douglass, alas, has not done this. I'm not sure what she's done, actually, but her names suck. There is Silton, god of something or other, who I immediately assumed was Stilton, God of Cheese, and Ho'Demi, leader of stereotypical barbarian tribe and, one would hope, eater of many a half ho ho cake. There is Axis, the hero, and a whole race of winged people named stuff like FarSeer SoarFlight. I mean, urgh.

Anyway, names aside, the interesting thing about my reaction to these books is they've really been making me want to read or even write a giant multi volume fantasy epic where things just don't work out. The Prophecy fails; the evil king keeps the crown; the separated lovers never rejoin and so on and then eventually things just sort of work out on their own in the sort of half ass muddled way they do in real life and people start dissecting bugs and holding elections. Sean McMullen is good at this, by the way. I know, this is called Literature and I should turn my mind to it rather than reveling so in books with characters named Azhure and StarDrifter who have wings and magic powers, but damn, I can't bring myself to it. I got burned at some point by one too many New Yorker stories abut a bored and boring upper middle class middle aged suburban Connecticut white woman who spends an entire short story looking around her yard and fucking musing. Eeeeee, and I say that as a middle aged sort of middle class (high socio, low economic) white woman. Thus I run in fear back to the genre shelves where, yes, I will probably be disappointed again. Still, I know that it is possible, in books as in movies, to combine swords and explosions and Art, and so I will keep right on reading in hope. Also, it's cheaper and more effective than serious drugs at blocking the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Real World (it's going to cost me EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS to replace my furnace) out of my head.

Monday, August 03, 2009

As Time Etc etc

Wow, I am a very lame blogger lately. Oh well. It's not as if I have the excuse that my life is so damn fascinating I don't have time to blog either - you know, it's not an endless round of "After I saved Spiderman from the burning building I had to fly to London to attend a dinner party with the recently resuscitated corpse of Oscar Wilde and then it was off to Stockholm to accept the Nobel Prize in physics." I know this surprises you, but face it, If it was like that, then I would long since have said fuck the blog and concentrated my efforts on the smuggest xeroxed Christmas letter ever. As it is I don't do the Christmas letter thing for fear that it would turn into something like "And then after the dog died and we were evicted we found a wonderful cardboard box under a bridge, so little Timmy is sending his happy holiday wishes between coughs as he slowly expires from consumption." It would be hard to resist, just as I am currently finding it hard to resist the idea of writing a 500,000 word fantasy saga where the bad guys win.

HOWEVER! What have I been doing for the past five days? Well, let's see - on Thursday I went to the grocery store and cleaned up the house and did laundry and baked another chocolate zucchini cake and also made spanakopita in preparation for Friday, when I had a dinner party in celebration of Jenn's belated birthday, which featured fantastic food (I also made pesto and guacamole and tomato/mozzarella salad and cucumber salad and Charles made squash casserole and Helen made brownies and tomato biscuits and Jenn made roasted beets and Susan made perfect tiny shrimp appetizers and all in all it was a Grand Feast plus of course there was beer. Then Saturday Audrey and Miles and I watched about five straight hours of True Blood and only left the house to search out more episodes, which we eventually found at the downtown Orbit. On Sunday we watched yet more True Blood (I am well and truly hooked, ye gods, despite reading a couple of the books a while back and not being particularly impressed) and, which is impressive, Audrey and I made a really good start on totally organizing and cleaning the garage. And during one of yesterday's sporadic downpours I made beignets from the box of Cafe du Monde mix I brought back from New Orleans, with the verdict that a) they're way better at Cafe du Monde and b) fried dough for breakfast is still funnel cake no matter how frenchily you pronounce beignet and c) funnel cake for breakfast is kind of weird and makes you feel like you live at the state fair, which is, let's face it, just creepy.

And now it is Monday and I would be far more gloomed out about that but one of my oldest and closest friends is in town from Charleston and we have tentative plans to go out this week and so I am really looking forward to saying fuck off, health kick and not going out during the week, he's never been here before and boo yeah.