Monday, June 29, 2009

kitchen moth 2

kitchen moth 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
The weekend is just never long enough. On the bright side, the second bed is finished, mosaicwise, and just waiting for Adam to grout it. Also, I read like four books this weekend and lay around a lot, so, you know, all good. On the dark side, however, the house is trashed again; the porch, garage, outside back wall and blue room remain unpainted; the garage stays unorganized; the laundry is not done; the trellis is not built, nor is the torii gate and Miles protests at pesto from the garden for dinner - pesto because I don't get paid until tomorrow. On the bright side of that last, though, he'll stop complaining about pesto promptly or just as soon as he gets the Zucchini Surprise that's on the menu for tonight. I agree that it is too bad that the garden does not grow hamburgers but what are you gonna do? The neighbors who kindly slow down to tell me how much they love my front yard garden would probably not be as thrilled by free range cows.

In other news, Susan has been working like a maniac on Annie's website and today I finally got her a draft of Annie's bio, which assignment has been blocking me ridiculously for ages. Annie has done too much wild stuff in her life to be reduced to 500 or even 995 words and I keep thinking there's a book there, which is probably why I was unable to write even a decent paragraph for bloody ever. Anyway soon there will be a big website launch party and some publicity and, hopefully, a gallery show which may go some distance to making her hate Asheville less, although I don't think she really does anyway.

In other other news, there isn't any. Phew.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

my garden overfloweth

my garden overfloweth
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It's a windy hot beautiful Saturday and it's been so long since I had a day off that I don't know what to do with myself. I watered the garden and gloated for a bit over how amazing all these veggies are looking - as always, I planted too much zucchini; I will never learn - and any minute now I'm going to get up out of here and go to the bookstore and the thrift shop. Is this what people do when they don't have to work? It's brilliant. I also ate all the crab chips that Emily & John brought us from Baltimore - well, the ones that Miles didn't eat; nobody in this family can withstand the lure of crab chips - and they were as always incredibly delicious. If we still lived in Baltimore we probably wouldn't care, but their rarity makes them precious & doubly tasty. I'm going to get fat and I do not care.

In other news I went to the Beer City Bash last night and I tell you what, that is IT. I am never going back to the stupid Orange Peel unless there's a band there I absolutely have to see. There is no point in putting up with the general horribleness of that venue unless there's incredible music to compensate and I do mean incredible - just okay is not enough. It was packed and hot and loud and waiting in line for half a fucking hour for 9 ounces of beer that some asshole will then spill all over you as he shoves obliviously past is not worth it. So we all split and went to the Admiral and had a lovely time.

I finished The Dark Tower books and now I need something new to devour and also to wipe them out of my memory. They weren't bad, exactly, but something, somehow, didn't work and I think it was the way Stephen King wrote himself into the story that sent me around the bend. Metafiction whatever, hubris is what I calls it and it got on my nerves. Also, the plot was more full of holes than, well, something really full of holes, perhaps the Albert Hall.

Now I am off to thrift, I swear. Annie has a cold and is in bed, poor thing, and perhaps I will bring her flowers later.

Friday, June 26, 2009

admiral still life

admiral still life
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
The party party weekend has already begun and it isn't even really the weekend yet: and things were done and done again in watermelon sugar, with apologies to Richard Brautigan and a side note that damn, he's dead just like Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson and when he went I cried, but then writers are always more real to me than movie stars and musicians or whatever the hell Michael Jackson was. If I was going to cry for him I'd have done it long ago, when the cute boy from the Jackson 5 went away and was replaced by, well, whatever the hell that was. But age will do that to you and lately I've been feeling every minute of my own, even thinking glumly that it was probably time to go out and buy old lady undergarments and old lady clothing and stop trying to kid myself and the world. Tempus and fugit and all that fun shit.

HOWEVER! My, I did not mean to get all glum this morning, because actually I've been having a high old time of it. On Wednesday I stopped by the Admiral for that fabled and mythological "just one beer or maybe two" and, of course, because I am deeply blessed to live where I do and have the kind of fun alkie friends that I do, they all showed up one by one and two beers doubled and so on until yesterday I was a hurting unit (look! 80s slang! I think! Or was it 90s? Hideously dated in either case!) in the morning. There is no stopping when you are on a roll, though, because last night Audrey's old friend - and mine, too, because damn if she hasn't grown up and now is, somehow, a member of my more or less peer group, 15 years is a huge stretch when you're 30 and they're 15 but somehow less so 15 years later - Emily came to stay the night with her husband John. They live in LA with four dogs and run a really interesting nonprofit based in trailers that does awesome thing with kids; spend a little time on that website, y'all, and be impressed. They are currently driving an MIT designed sustainable FEMA trailer across the country and stopped here for a well deserved day off. It was great to see them and I made dinner and we drank a lot of beer - they brought me crab chips and Natty Boh! It was awesome! - and that was Thursday.

Tonight it is possible - nay, probable - that I will be attending the Beer City Bash, because they are using some of my photos - turns out that taking endless pictures of beer, not unlike the one you see here, can be useful after all and not just to document my own slow descent into alcoholism - and so they kindly gave me a free ticket. We all know I am incapable of turning down free tickets and/or free beer so tonight, yes, I will be out and about yet again. Then I will spend the weekend recovering and gloating over my garden which has finally beaten the mulchy soil blues and is growing gangbusters all over the place. Soon I will be giving away free squash; watch this space for your chance to win zucchini! Ah big fun and the hell with being old.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I think I had forgotten to mention in this blog that a tree fell on Audrey's house last week. It is the sort of small, everyday detail that one overlooks. Well. As all the Ashevilleins know quite well, we've been experiencing some climate change repercussions: to wit, weird ass thunderstorms with damn near tornado strength winds. One came through West Asheville last Thursday and wreaked mad devastation on the whole neighborhood. There's a tree in my yard now, by the way, which is cool with me because I need some wood to build this crazy gate I have in my head, and the downstairs screens blew off the doors and we lost power but we got off lightly - poor Audrey has a tree in her bedroom. And her landlord is in Iceland. Her bed is also destroyed, which super bites because it is - was - a fancy king size bed and now she is spoiled: the affordable futon on the floor with which she was raised is no longer satisfactory but she's too broke to buy another good bed.

At any rate, Audrey has moved in with me for the duration, which is to say, until there is no longer an attractive display of branches coming through her ceiling. We do not know how long this will take - see Iceland, above - and so here we are, all back together again, which is sort of comforting, because it feeds my secret belief that Audrey is actually 11 or 12 and Miles is 3 or 4, which is apparently the age that they stopped growing in my subconscious, and sort of annoying because, you know, empty nest syndrome rocks. To illustrate, let me tell you this anecdote: Thursday night after the tornado-thunderstorm-hurricane-act of god (which I missed on account of being at work) had blown through we were all sitting on the porch around tenish, exhausted. Comments of hunger were made and naturally, I got up and started making grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches through my half asleep fog. I heard one child comment to the other that perhaps someone should help Mom and then I heard my darling daughter say, "No, don't worry about it. This actually relaxes her! She loves cooking for us - it calms her down to have us here and be making food."


Apparently I did something very wrong along the way in my parenting career.

ANYWAY all of this was a longwinded way to explain what happened when I got home last night, where I was greeted immediately by that same darling daughter. "Look at this!" she exclaimed, "Is this poison ivy or fleabites?" and put her leg up on the kitchen table for examination.
"I haven't even put my purse down yet" I protested feebly,
"No, look!"
"Neither," I said after a glance at a whole bunch of little red dots, "I think it's chiggers."
"Chiggers?!!? It can't be chiggers! Do you do nail polish or nail polish remover on chiggers?"
"Neither," I said, "Kyle says they don't actually live under your skin and get smothered."
"That's not chiggers," said Miles, who had emerged from his lair in the basement, fondly referred to as Teenage Wasteland.
"Aaaaaugh!" shrieked Audrey, "It can't be chiggers! I'm going to look it up on the internet."
"How was work, dear?" I asked my son, who has acquired a construction job,
"Nothing but modern day wage slavery," he snarled, "What do you think it was like?"
"OH MY GOD MOM come look at these skin rashes!" yelled Audrey from the computer room, "I think it's bedbugs!"
"Well that bed did come from New York," I said, "And they say New York is full of bedbugs -"
"And it will never get better," said my son in a voice of doom, "It's just going to be minimum wage slavery for the moneyed classes forever for me,"
"I have to go look at bedbug bites," I said apologetically as he disappeared down the steps,
". . . revolution. . . proletariat. . . capitalism sucks" came echoing upwards and I went in to the computer room to look at a monitor covered with pictures of weeping sores.
"You know," I said, edging away, "I think I'll go have a beer on the porch."

So, yes, the kids are back. But, hey, it's relaxing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

crystal egg

crystal egg
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I'm still at work - I did come in late yesterday, though - but I'm wearing my amethyst necklace. Yes, that's the amethyst necklace I was trying to talk myself out of - I bought it. Of course I did, because I have no self control and, you know, it was purple and shiny. Oh well. My daughter says it is a bit gothy; I think it might be a little too blingy for me and we both are right but I do not care, because I bought it and now I will wear it, gothiness & bling factor be damned. Anyway, now that I'm getting really old I can wear huge blingy jewelry - it's one of the few perks of age that etiquette wise, it's appropriate for the aged to wear mongo jewelry. Maidens, you see, are supposed to be content with a couple of flowers and possibly a gold chain. Unfortunately, nobody under the age of 80 knows or cares about that stuff anymore and, frankly, even when my mother was instructing me on such things back in the dim departed days, I did not care.

I took the dogs to Hominy Creek Park this morning and it put me into a foul and miserable mood that I may never shake. I don't think I'll bother going back. The bulldozers have reached the park proper and the road they're building is a sea of orange mud and ecological devastation. The fence keeping everyone away from the river and any brushes with wildlife or plants is firmly in place and, well, fuck it. I could bitterly point out that yes, while I should be so happy that they're making a park and not a subdivision, they certainly are putting infrastructure into place for luxury riverfront homes should anyone ever decide to plop some down there. I'm sure it's coincidental that there are suddenly big signs advertising land for sale right on the corner. Purely coincidental.

In other news of ecological devastation I cleaned my house up last night or, rather, began the process. The smell got to me. The smell, which I have noticed on and off since I moved in, seems to be coming from the dishwasher/sink area and it is BAD, as in, it smells like something crawled in there, surrounded itself with rotting vegetables and then died. I have tried pouring bleach down the drains and pouring vinegar and baking soda down the drains and chanting at it and rinsing the trash can out with bleach and lysol and crying, but nothing has worked until, finally, in desperation and against advice, I ran a packet of cherry koolaid through the dishwasher. It seems to be working: so far so good and my dishwasher did not even turn pink (that was kind of disappointing, but oh well.) My house is almost habitable again. Let's hope it stays that way for a couple days, for more houseguests are on the horizon - I had no idea that all one needed to attract houseguests was a guestroom, but lo, build one and they will come.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I would be blogging but all I'm doing is working. Well, working and reading The Dark Tower, which has me deep in its clutches. I tell you what, though, I'm too goddamn old to work ten hour days one after another after another. I was thinking that at least this would function as a sort of psychotic boot camp diet plan but I was not reckoning with the many plates and boxes of delicious cookies that are all over the place. So not only am I tired to the bone, I'm constantly recovering from a sugar high. Yay big fun. And I still haven't made up my mind whether or not to talk myself out of that damn amethyst necklace.

It's kind of fun though if exhausting and it's nice to see all the shiny shiny shiny things every day and talk to the dealers and even make the damn coffee - we go through a LOT of coffee, let me tell you, a LOT - but I'll be relieved when next Friday comes and I finally will have a couple of days off in front of me. Yes, yes I will.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh Turtle

Oh Turtle
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This is a story about a turtle and a dog with OCD. My dog, to be specific, and Theo of course, to be even specificer.

Yesterday morning I took the dogs for their morning run out where the powers that be are building their giant greenway road trail thing. In order to do this, they have built a small fence along one side out of those green stakes and turkey wire. The fence is about 18" tall or so and it holds back the weeds and grass and green vines in much the same way that a girdle would hold back my Dunlop syndrome* if I was masochistic enough to wear one.

I was walking along the trail, which, to give the devil his due, does make walking easier and more aerobic since I no longer have to weave my way through stinging nettles and 8' grass and spider webs - of course, I like stinging nettles and 8' grass and spider webs, but I've already gone into that - and so can move at the kind of brisk pace advocated by skinny people in spandex. The dogs were on and off the trail and here and there - frolicking, if you will. Sniffing. Doing their dog thing and all was cool and green and damp and nice, although the fence has blocked their explorations a bit, except for Django.

Django is a springer spaniel, which I fondly believe means that he is springy, like Tigger "Tiggers are made out of rubber, tiggers are made out of springs, they're bouncy wouncy bouncy wouncy oh tiggers are wonderful things" in Pooh Bear. This is probably untrue from an etymological standpoint but from a real world one it is extremely true. So Django just bounces right over the 18" fence every day. He was investigating over there when he found something and started to bark, which brought Theo - I don't know how he got over the fence, but when Theo gets interested, he can do all kinds of things he claims he cannot - who promptly started going berserk and barking as if the mother of all squirrels was over there. Perdita, who couldn't stand the curiosity a minute longer, squeezed herself through one of the holes in the fence grid - that was extremely funny to watch, by the way - and headed over to Theo and his barking.

She took one look or sniff, shrieked like a little girl, executed a sort of 4 foot jump in the air and twist and landed going the other direction at high speed. That made me cross the fence to see what was up. What was up is pictured here, your basic gigantic river snapping turtle.
"Careful," I told the dogs, "That thing could take your leg off and if you don't stop barking, it probably will."
Perdita said that as far as she was concerned it was a monster straight from hell and she had no intention of bothering it.
Django said "Whuh?" and bounced on his merry way and Theo became consumed with the need to bark at the turtle forever. Forever, until the end of the world or the turtle killed him, whichever came first.

I took a few pictures of the turtle, apologized to her for the fence, which was blocking her way , apologized politely for my ill bred dogs (I have this need to always be extremely polite to turtles and I couldn't tell you why, but somehow, turtles demand formality) told her that I would help her across it if I could but unfortunately I was unable to pick her up (this is because I have a healthy fear of huge snapping turtles) and tried to get Theo to leave. No go. Theo was never leaving. I finally had to put his leash on and physically drag him down the trail until I thought he had forgotten the turtle and was more interested in playing with the dogs.

That's what I thought, but I was wrong, because he promptly beelined back to the turtle and recommenced barking procedures as recommended in the Neurotic Collie Handbook, volume 2, Bark A Lot and When In Doubt Bark More. So I followed him and put the leash back on and apologized again to the turtle and dragged Theo back towards the park where I ran into my friends Todd and Naomi and their three dogs Bucket, Kita and Sam. I took Theo off the leash and was telling them about the turtle when I realized that Theo was gone. Yes, gone, almost a quarter damn mile gone back to bark at the turtle some more.

Eventually I got Theo back and got home and got to work and yadda yadda and this story would end here except that I went back to the park today and LO, the turtle, or, conceivably, another turtle extremely similar in appearance because frankly I am not all that good at recognizing individual turtles, was under a bush about 100 yards away from where she was yesterday and we had to completely do exactly the same thing with the leash and the dragging and the barking. Or we would have except that it came on to thunder and lightning and it turns out that the one thing that can break Theo of his obsessions is a thunderstorm, because he's terrified of them and so he attached himself to my leg, panting, and got into the car in pure joy and came home and went downstairs to get under the papasan chair in Miles' room, which he has decided is the safest place in the house.

And tomorrow, gods willin' and the creek don't rise, we will see the turtle again. Now can somebody tell me if that is indeed a snapping turtle or am I crazy?

*Dunlop syndrome: where your belly dun lopped over your belt. Also known as spare tire syndrome.

Monday, June 15, 2009

sunset from the bridge

No computer at home - gods only know why; I haven't called charter yet - and no time at work. That may be the blogging epitaph of this week; although maybe, just maybe, I can get the internet returned to me at home. One hopes.

In other news, let's see, my brother Nat & I took Annie to the studio stroll yesterday, briefly, and then to the Flying Frog for a bloody mary. On Friday night I had an impromptu post DITLOA party which meant that I got nothing done on Saturday except managing to read my way through Steven King's Gunslinger books 3 and 4. Now I have to go find books 5, 6 and 7 for I am well and truly hooked. Yesterday I mosaiced (which led to me cleaning mosaics this morning at 8:30 in my pajamas) and, um, I think that was the weekend. It's going to be a long work week for me this week, sigh, and I'm already tired. But it will all be okay.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday At Last

This morning in a fit of clothing induced despair I cut the top off my pink polka dotted sundress. Now it is a skirt and actually, this was a wildly successful clothing changeover, if I do say so myself. Well, wildly successful as long as I wear a long shirt over the top, which is just cut, not hemmed or anything and the zipper is long and must be tucked down inside of it. Still, it worked better than the dress ever did and caused me to feel better about my mad alteration skillz and my wardrobe, which seems to have all been bought in one of those crazed hormonal moments when I was thinking I was actually going to lose 15 pounds and would look good in pink.

I'm a little sticky on the subject of clothes right now because it has come to my attention that somebody I know always makes a point to compliment my apparel when I'm wearing a bra. I believe this is her passive/aggressive way of telling me I should wear a bra all the time. I hate bras. Bras are a tool of the patriarchy used to oppress women! Bras are designed to keep women under control and in their place! Bras exist so men won't have to be confronted by real breasts! Breasts should fly free and unfettered as the Goddess intended! And besides, bras are fucking uncomfortable and I hates them. Nevertheless, I'm getting the impression that I need to shoehorn myself back into the proper lady undergarments. My daughter, who you would think would be more all Up the Revolution given that she is my daughter and when she was two we taught her to pipe out ANARCHY when she was asked what her political statement was, is also a member of the pro bra contingent. She has been known to say things like "God, Mom, go put a bra on or I'm not going anywhere with you. Ewww." Sigh. So I'm wearing one more often lately. They're uncomfortable and if I go postal it's all the fault of the bras.

In other news I slept something like 12 hours on Wednesday night and it was delightful, even though I felt when I woke up as if I'd been running a sleep marathon. My brother is still in town and we went out to Salsas last night with Haskell and Jodi for dinner, which was excellent and fun and yum, margaritas. Then the guys went on to see X at the Orange Peel while Jodi and I, who are lame, went on to our respective houses where I, at least, slept the sleep of the just. I will be doing more of that over the next week because next week is my crunch week at work and I am not going out at all starting Monday, until, possibly, the following Sunday. Maybe I'll lose ten pounds (Oh mad hope that flashes eternal!) and look great in ten days. Or not.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

sir richard bishop and the freak of araby

So I got dragged out of my lair last night and down to the Grey Eagle to see Sir Richard Bishop, who is an old friend of my younger brother. My brother, who is currently visiting me from Albuquerque, is friends with about a bazillion musicians who always seem to be playing in Asheville when he is here. I am envious of this ability of his and also, most of his musician friends tend to be insanely talented. Not that mine are not, but they're a bit more, um, obscure, or they really only play places like The Livingroom as opposed to the Grey Eagle or the Orange Peel. Anyway, I had never heard of Richard Bishop but he turns out to be a) really nice and b) an awesome guitar player. The music was sort of Surf Punk Meets Electronica from the Middle East and while that does not, I grant you, sound promising, actually it was AMAZING and I loved it. However, I didn't go to bed until 2:00. My dogs may never be walked again and I probably should just resign myself to the fact that because I seem incapable of giving up either beer or food, I am not going to ever be slim, slender and attractive again. Oh well. Music like this makes it all okay.

In other news, I'm reading Steven King's Dark Tower books. I think I read one or two of them some years back but now I'm trying to do it all at once, in order, which might get difficult because I currently only have books 1- 3. However I bet I can find the rest but that is not what I wanted to talk about; what I wanted to talk about is the scene in Book 3 where the intrepid trio of adventurers are attacked by a giant bear - Bearzilla, it is called. This bear bears (oooh! ow!) more than a passing resemblance to the great boars in Princess Mononoke, right down to its title, which is Forest Guardian and its disease, which is nasty white wormy parasite thingies in its nose. I find this interesting and I am contemplating an Ask Metafilter question about it, because I want to know if the giant animal with crazy making worms who guards the forest is actually an old Japanese mythological theme or did King steal it from Miyazaki or vice versa? I am curious, yo, and googling has gotten me nowhere.

And there is no other other news, except that I am eagerly anticipating going home, making a delicious casserole, reading more Steven King and going to bed early, oh yes please goddess.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Slow Computers, Sams Club and Lions

day lily
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Work is heating up again - god, I can't believe they expect me to earn my meager salary - and I've been running around like crazy. This is not helped by the fact that the work computers have decided that now is a good time to take things easy and work at roughly the same pace as an arthritic hamster in a creaky, rusted wheel. I still have made time, though, to go to Sam's Club yesterday, which was the adventure it always is. Giant food! For giants! Unfortunately, my son is now too cool to accompany me to Sam's Club. He used to adore it, what with the vibrating arm chairs and the ladies handing out samples of frozen reconstituted deep fried and sugared things and then the huge bags of delicious snacky snacks - ah, Sam's Club. It worked as a field trip as well as a shopping expedition.

My brother is in town from Albuquerque. We are going, not to Phish, but to the Grey Eagle tonight to see a band he knows, which should be fun, although I have already warned him that I may not make it through the whole thing. One of these days I have to get some sleep and wake up early and take the dogs for a walk again. For they grow fat, as do I. And they look at me reproachfully, especially Django, and I feel guilty. Sure, springer spaniels always look a little reproachful but hey, life with dogs without anthropomorphization would be no fun at all.

I had a nightmare last night; the classic kind where you wake up with your heart racing, freaked out as all hell. As far as I can remember, I was walking through the house (the dream house, not my real house, which doesn't actually feature four floors and zoo enclosures you can look into) and found my son peering into a window at some animals. At first glance I thought it was lions playing with a baby bear. Then I realized that it was a group of lions, mostly babies, but a mother as well, playing with a couple of springer spaniel puppies and that this was just not, you know, going to end well.
"God damn it!" I said, "I told her no more lions! Even if they are rescue lions!"
In dream logic, I had a roommate, associated somehow with a coworker of mine from years ago, who was stashing her lions at my house.
"Come on," I said to my son, "We have to get those puppies out of there."
And we ran to the door of the room where the lions were, as my son told me that some of the lions were digging their way out through the walls and into the neighborhood. This was not good news. Then we got to the door and I realized that either Miles or I would have to go inside with the angry lions to rescue the puppies and that would be the point where I woke up sweating.

The best thing about nightmares, though, is when you realize that they are not real. At least as of this morning (haven't been home since 9) my house was blessedly lion free and, almost equally blessedly, free of all but one springer spaniel. Phew.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Out in the Woods

ruby jump 7
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I spent the weekend not checking my email and so, naturally, I didn't find out my brother was flying in tonight until he called, irritated, to see why I hadn't replied. Ordinarily the only people who would be peeved at me for not checking email are the ones with improbable names who have major, major SEO deals to offer this website or possibly stuff to make my penis larger, stronger and better but of course, when I leave the computer, stuff happens on the damn internet.

What was I doing while I wasn't looking at a monitor? Well, I mosaiced a little; I drank some beer; I went to the Faces of Asheville and then out to a cheesy cheesy bar with a cheesy cheesy but very sweet band where Susan, egads, met a guy. I did not, of course. But I did have fun. And on Saturday night I hung out with Susan's cousin Laura who is very cool and then on Sunday Susan and Kyle and Annie and Mojo and I all hopped into a Honda and went on out to Bat Cave to hang out with Dianna and Ruby and the two goats and two dogs and innumerable chickens and a couple of mostly invisible cats and Maestro the psychopathic parrot. We had fun and Mojo got to meet his new half brother and be reunited with Cookie Bob, his mother. We are unsure if he realized that she was his mother or not, given that some of the activities he was trying to pursue were not of the sort one ought to pursue with one's mother unless one's name is Oedipus.

Then we came on home and I went on over the Patton Avenue bowling alley for Aric's birthday, which was very fun and involved both beer and cake and, hey, bowling, at which I am very bad. I like bowling though because I get to wear my freaky bowling shirt and make a fool of myself with no repercussions, always a nice relief.

Then I came home and would have gone promptly to bed except that I could not sleep. This hardly ever happens to me - usually it's staying awake that I find problematic - but last night was a lovely visit to one of those full on horrible nightmare insomniaplexes of the mind. Therefore I have been tired and out of it, whatever it is, all day. I think I'm getting my second wind, though, which is good, because I am still at work and I will likely be here for a while yet, oh sigh. Oh sigh indeed - there is a particularly annoying commercial on 98.1 the River (which, by the way, is a really good new radio station) featuring a woman excitedly explaining the joys of something called the Sun Angel which I gather is a tanning machine. "Le sun!" she shouts, "Le joy! Le TAN!" and I say, inevitably, "Le barf." Because I am eternally eight.

Friday, June 05, 2009


life with the dogs
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Yesterday, I stayed home from work because, among other things, I seem to be wildly allergic to some strange night blooming plant or mysterious emanation. Every night around 3 am I wake up unable to breathe. Maybe the ghosts that Theo swears are there are trying to smother me in my sleep or something; I do not know but yesterday I cleaned the entire house down to the ground just in case it was something in the house - perhaps the faint, terrifying whiff of cat shit that I have detected from the linen closet. Not that I cleaned the linen closet. I just closed the door a wee bit harder than usual and bitched about it to Miles.

Today, therefore, I should be rested and ready to work but instead I have been plagued all day with some kind of mysterious anxiety. It was less mysterious after I managed to destroy the museum's website - that was your basic justified anxiety, there - but even after I called plaintively for help and my genius friend Kyle restored it, the anxiety has lingered on. I'm starting to wonder if my antidepressant, which, okay, expired last November anyway, has suddenly really expired, as in it's gone kerflooey. I have a feeling that drugs don't work like that but then what do I know? I just know that I'm having that "I wish I was safely curled up in a ball in the back of my closet" feeling again and all the cigarettes in the courtyard are not helping.

Oh well. Probably beer will help to a certain extent anyway and to that end I am going to the Faces of Asheville opening tonight and then, gods help me, to see a cover band at Decades, because Susan met one of the musicians in said cover band and now we shall go and check them out. At least it's going to be different.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Obama Lava Lamp at Big Lots

Check out this lava lamp. Is it not the perfect way to express your undying devotion to The Leader? Is it not tasteful and restrained, dignified and elegant? Yes. It is all those things and I can't believe I didn't buy it. But, alas, I did not buy it - I'm clearly an idiot but I already have one lava lamp and I feel that really, we are a one lava lamp kind of family. I was at Big Lots this afternoon because, of course, as you know if you follow my plaintive mutterings on Twitter, the air conditioning has been out in my office for a week now and finally they came to fix it and when they started talking about cutting holes in my office walls I was forced to leave work and go to Big Lots. Such is life. I adore Big Lots.

Anyway, don't get the idea that I don't adore Barack Obama, because I do. My subconscious, which is attracted to Democratic presidents, even presented me with a Barack Obama dream a few months ago. In the dream, we were going to get married, although we were going to wait four years and do our best not to hurt Michelle or the girls. No, we were going to do that affair thing with as much dignity as possible. I felt guilty when I woke up - if I ever had to choose between a night or two with Barack and a night or two out on the town with Michelle, I'm telling you, it would be tough. Contrast this with the dream I had years ago about Bill Clinton, where we just had hot monkey sex and no talk was made of marriage. Then again, going out drinking with Hilary never struck me as fun, whereas I bet going out drinking with Michelle would be awesome.

In other news, I got SIX PICTURES into DITLOA and I am STOKED and heading momentarily to the Admiral to gloat. YAY ME! I am a genius photographer whose camera, sadly, is currently being fixed. But my brother is going to loan me his camera so do not fear, there will be no shortage of pictures. Some of them may be of dogs, even.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bid Farewell to Hominy Creek Park

This morning I got out of bed and took the dogs to the secret park where I always take them. This is no surprise - I usually manage it at least three days a week. The only surprise was that when I got through the overgrown part of the park, I found - this.

A road. Or, maybe, a very wide paved bike path. In other words, my favorite spot in Asheville is going, going, gone. And I am sad.

I moved here 9 years ago. Back then, I could take my dogs to the French Broad River Park and not worry about a leash, because my dogs are friendly and back then, there was no leash law and, even more importantly, back then there was rarely anyone else at that park or at the long skinny unnamed park that you can access from the main part of the French Broad River Park. Back then, too, that access was via a sort of scary snaking trail that led windingly under Amboy Road and along the river and which always made me think about hobos and poison ivy and snakes and which I liked. That trail is neat and wide and sanitized now and nobody could be even slightly alarmed by it. Joggers like it. I don't, much.

I like areas that are overgrown and neglected; forgotten green spots that are just on the edges of civilization; scrubby woods under interstates and culverts with herons standing by them. I like seeing skunks and foxes and geese and herons and even coyotes in these power line limned explosions of tiny wilderness. I like walking through them in the morning when I'm not entirely awake as the dogs run and jump and swim and get the exercise and sniffing they need to be fully dogs, just as I need some green space and movement to be fully human. I'm not quite as keen on mowed lawns and tasteful landscaped plantings and cement walkways and signs instructing you on the animals that used to live there but hey, I recognize that many people are, and, well, whatever. I thought that there was room for both. I guess I was wrong about that.

First there were leash laws, which I mostly obey and then there was the dog park, which I hate, because it is too small and there are too many dogs and it's just a recipe for disaster. After the last time Theo was attacked there I stopped going. Also, I go with the dogs to walk myself, to take in some air and light and needed space, not to stand there awkwardly making dog oriented small talk. After the dog park came the droves of people and finally, it got to the point that all the river parks were crowded more or less 24/7, even in the dead of winter. There are still a few times, when it's cold enough, when it's early enough, when I can go there and walk and let the dogs run, but not often.

Look, I understand that the city is growing. I understand that parks are a Good Thing. Hell, I volunteered at the playground build at Carrier Park. Granted this was mostly because of a guy I was involved with at the time - actually, it was Satan. Yeah, Satan builds playgrounds in his spare time; go figure - but I went anyway and worked for a couple of hours and even got a T-shirt to prove it, so it's not that I'm against what I'm calling, for the purposes of this overly long blog post, civilized space. It's just that I need some wild space too.

Hominy Creek Park, which up until now stopped being civilized at the end of the mowed area and then had a long, overgrown trail area that led through nettles and poison ivy and shoulder high grass and berry bushes and cliffs and woods and by a strange, spooky little stone hut, eventually ending up at the RV campground on Amboy Road, was the perfect edge of wilderness. There was rarely anyone else there and I could let my dogs run as they pleased while I mused and stared into space and took, as you probably know, hundreds of pictures. Only once in several years of going there three or four times a week has somebody reprimanded me for letting my dogs run loose and I thought, although I did not say, "Dude, you have all of Asheville to jog in. I only have this one spot left to let my dogs jog. Can't we make a compromise here?"

I had heard rumors that Hominy Creek Park was not long for this world and apparently they were right. I was banking on the recession and simple apathy and lameness keeping the bulldozers at bay for longer but alas, I was wrong and they are there and now I will have to go much further afield, well out of the city limits, to find my green space, which means that I won't be doing it every morning or even three or four mornings a week anymore. That is too bad. I have lost something vital, here, and while I might be wrong, I feel that the city has lost something as well.

Asheville used to be a place that had both, civilized space and wild space, often coexisting as peacefully or as uneasily as a hipster at the Frog Bar and a street punk in front of Malaprops. Now, everything gets sanitized and beautified and civilized and the forces of mowed grass and tidy sidewalks take over every small place of wilderness that was left. I know, I like nice bars and coffee houses and flowers too - I am complicit in this ongoing niceification of my city. But I am also saddened and I wish there was some spot, some hidden green woods, left for me to explore; a quiet place to experience a little edge of wildness right here in the living city.

Monday, June 01, 2009


I worked on the mosaics all weekend - well, about 6 or 7 hours worth, total - and I got one side of one bed done. One side! There are two long sides and a short side and part of a short side and part of a long side left! That means there are about 20 - 30 hours of mosaicing in my future and I'm kind of kicking myself for ever starting this project, because there are other projects I want to get to and I can't have any pudding if I won't eat my meat. Or something like that.

Since I really didn't do much this weekend besides mosaic, drink beer and read mediocre British - possibly faux British, even - mystery novels, I have decided to post a tutorial on how to make giant garden beds full of yellowing, spindly plants that look like they need to be airlifted to a better place while I get carted off in handcuffs for vegetable abuse. This tutorial will not really be illustrated, but tomorrow it might be. One never knows, does one? Oooh, the faux Britishisms are getting me.


1. Get a bunch of concrete blocks. I located a huge pile of them down by the stockyards and then my friend Adam and I ferried them up to the house, 12 blocks per car (on the theory that too much weight fucks your car up but good and we both have ancient, ailing cars, so we are careful) for a total of something insane like 250 blocks. I've fortunately forgotten the exact number, but, hell, they were free and some were painted with cryptic graffiti symbols, bonus.

2. Adam will transform the blocks into bunkers for you while you are at work. How did he do this? I have no idea. I believe it involved cement. I came home and they were built and I gave him some money and we were all happy.

3. Your neighbor will tell you this will never work. Ignore her.

4. Adam will fill them up with dirt while you are at work. This might have been a bad mistake. If you are doing this, fill them up with dirt you have personally inspected. My dirt is not really "dirt" per se, I think it is actually mostly "mulch" or "sawdust" or, I don't know, "completely lifeless moondust" or something. My plants are not happy at all and it's not the sun or the water so it must be the dirt. I added composted cow manure and I added bloodmeal and I added lime and now, looking at my sad plants, I am thinking about just going whole hog old school and adding a bunch of rotting fish. Sigh.

5. Gather all the broken dishes you've been collecting for years, along with the bottle caps and bits of sea glass and bits of marble and bits of tile and bits of mirror and bits of stained glass and bits of everything. Gather all the same from Adam and then from all your friends. Go to the thrift store and buy plates. Tell everyone you need plates and mosaic stuff. It won't be enough but it's a start. Apologize when you hear from your friend Dianna, Adam's wife, that not all those plates were broken to start with. Feel guilty for adding to American consumerist culture. Think about buying things in order to break them. Think about what the world would be like if everyone was issued a bowl and spoon at birth and that was it. Think that you would probably have long since broken yours and starved to death. Be excited by your friend Lee's find of a Chorus Line collectible plate and stop worrying about all this shit.

6. Buy Thinset. Thinset is really concrete and in the last month it seems to have disappeared and been preempted by something else, something like mortar but with polymer added, that is white instead of gray. Go figure. It works the same and let's all hope it's okay, because it's what I used yesterday.

7. Put plastic sheeting down by a bunker. Set up an ancient patio umbrella for shade from the blazing sun. Set up your iPod outside. Put on yellow rubber gloves. Drag buckets and boxes full of heavy bits of plates over and dump them onto the plastic sheeting. Mix the thinset or mortar in a big tub with water from the house. The proper consistency should be kind of like cake batter, not like hummus. Think about food similes. If the thinset is too thin, the stuff will not stick. If it is too thick, it won't stick either. Cake batter is what you want. Get your special plate breaking hammer (when this project is over, you will probably be throwing away this hammer, because its handle will by then be made of concrete. Unless you are not as messy as I am but I think it probably will.)

8. Put thinset on the back of a mosaic piece and apply it to the concrete block wall. Use a knife at first, then give up and use your fingers. Try to work from large pieces to small pieces, but then realize you are out of large pieces. Some pieces will fall off. Some will not. Try to think of it as a jigsaw puzzle. Try to think of it as art. Try to think about nothing. Succeed. Get thinset all over everything, including your shoes. Discover that squatting on the ground for hours at a time makes your legs go numb. Repeat. Repeat. And repeat. Every time you use up a tub of thinset you can have a cigarette, but be aware that all the concrete on your gloves will make it hard to put them back on. Manage, miraculously, not to impale yourself on anything yet although you are, basically, sitting in a giant pile of broken glass and ceramic.

9. Some neighbors will stop by and tell you enthusiastically how incredibly cool this project is. Feel cool and proud. Some neighbors will slow down and scowl at you in fury. Feel cool and proud. Hey, it's all in the attitude.

10. When the thinset dries, anywhere from 3 hours later to a day later (do not, repeat, do not, wait several days because you will regret it) you must clean it off each piece of mosaic. With a toothbrush. Yes, I said a toothbrush. First you take a scraper and you scrape the big pieces of thinset off. Remember, thinset is concrete. The longer you take to scrape it, the longer it takes. Then you take a big scrub brush and you brush it. Then you take a toothbrush and you brush it. Then you take the toothbrush and dip it in a water/vinegar solution and polish each piece and then you dry that piece with a cloth because if you just let it dry it looks weird. Yeah. This is the part of mosaicing where your your inner OCD sufferer gets to really, really enjoy herself while you look on from your usual brain going WTF?

9. Realize that as usual, you have dramatically underestimated the amount of time this project was going to take. Oh well. It's not like you have anything else to do, is it?

11. Vow to take a newer picture this evening, but here's an older one - figure about 6 or 7 hours for each of the long sides: 2nd mosaic bed almost done