Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Kick

I'm on one of my periodic healthy type kicks, which basically means that I'm trying not to leave the house except to walk the dogs. If I don't go anywhere else, you see, I don't drink beer, I don't spend money and I just sort of manage to get myself in less trouble than I do when I leave the house. I've never been much for drinking alone unless it's de rigeur, like I've recently broken up with somebody and thus have to lie on the floor and drink Jamesons and listen to Genesis Duke and Joni Mitchell Blue over and over again while sobbing drunkenly about lost love. Fortunately, it has been some time since my last relationship or date for that matter and thus the necessity for drinking alone has just not been there.

I also get bored and start working on various neglected projects, which is an all around Good Thing. Thus, as you see, last night I took some of this summers bounteous crop of cucumbers and made pickles. 10 pints of regular cucumber garlic/dill pickles and 2 pints of random stuff because, hey, why not? I have no idea if they're going to be good or not: last time I made pickles they were actually dilly beans and I had a really good recipe which I seem to have lost. This time I had a couple of untried recipes I sort of combined and let's all just hope they're a) tasty and b) edible, as in they don't kill us all. They look good, though and canning things is very satisfying in a sort of back on the prairie super homemaker depression era farmwife in a calico dress kind of way.

In other garden news, I became convinced that somebody was stealing my tomatoes just as they got ripe. I even posted an Ask Metafilter question about it but, after reading the replies, I think that my thieves might not be horrible rotten no good humans after all but instead, horrible rotten no good squirrels. I am ready to believe this because frankly I am not a fan of squirrels anyway and can believe any evil of rodents at any time. Squirrels are the antiChrist, you heard it here first.

And, in other other news, in a fit of disgust at my perpetual single status (it's been way too long since I heard Genesis Duke, after all) I joined OK Cupid and I have gotten two replies already! This is way better than I did on Nerve, where nobody answered my ad. This kind of thing can sap a woman's confidence in herself, let me tell you, even though I try to blame it all on my alarmingly advanced age - I've been told I should lie about it by 20 years in order to get asked out by men older than I actually am, but I'm kind of weirdly lie-averse. Unfortunately, since one of my suitors is a kinky bisexual looking for a dominatrix and the other is a polyamorous tye dye wearing contra dancer, I think that yet again it is just vaguely possible that online dating has failed me. They both sound like nice guys and I hope they find what they're looking for but, to quote the sage, it ain't me, babe. It's a pity I'm so boringly vanilla, I know, but I was absent the day they told us that to date after age 40 you can't just enjoy plain old sex anymore; you have to get into the whips and chains and small furry animals. Myself, I have always thought that one of the many great things about sex was that it was cheap - no props required - but alas, sex, like everything else nowadays is apparently not considered any fun without a lengthy trip or three to the specialty boutique first.

However, that fabulous picture of me above, looking anxiously about a singles bar - which is how I feel even on a damn singles site - is, in case you didn't know - I'm late to the internet again - from this nifty site where you too can become a wild early 60s temptress. My auntie is concerned about my perennial singledom as well and has decided to focus on it, may the gods have mercy on my soul.
Annie: "I've never even seen you flirt! You don't know how to flirt, do you?"
Me: "Well, um, you've never seen me around anyone flirtable. Okay, yeah, alright, I don't really know how."
Annie: "You have to make them think that you're crazy about them right away."
Me: "When I do that they usually call 911 or something. That's not a good strategy for me."
Annie, doing something unspeakable with her eyelids and looking up weirdly: "No, see, just do this. And say, Hey, baby. Hey, babeee."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ah bele chere

It was a little nuts to go to New Orleans one weekend and then be plunged in Bele Chere the next. Nuts in a good way, like, strolling around town with a beer seemed much more natural than usual but then also nuts in the usual bele chere way: the crowds! The heat! The music! The aroma of fried things! The nonstop utterly batshit insane street preacher action!

I had to work it, of course, as I do every year, so I took a lot of pictures (surprise, surprise) and I'm pleased with them as a whole. I like the new, improved, smaller, more local Bele Chere - it was good to see local buskers on the streets instead of nothing but professional festival types from all over; I ran into lots of local people; I am delighted at the end of the abominable ticketed concerts and all in all, I vote we keep the new festival layout and attitude. I ate at the Mamacitas booth (excellent) and the Mela booth (not as excellent) drank beer and wandered across every inch of pavement in downtown. I saw Stephanie's Id, who were great as always, Cracker, who also rocked, a few songs by David Hold and the Lightning Bolts, wonderful bluegrass and then I tried valiantly to see the Old 97s - seeing as how I really, really wanted to see them, more than any other band - but I crapped out about an hour and a half before they were supposed to start when I realized that I simply could not walk another block or take another picture or do anything except go to the Admiral and sit down with a PBR. Ah well. They're on my ipod anyway.

AND, in a first for this blog, here's a quiz! How fast are YOU going to hell? How many of the things listed on this sign are you? Leave your numbers in the comments! I am clearly going to hell, myself, because I can check off 12. I feel that is doing pretty well and my handbasket on AC/DC's highway should therefore be damn luxurious. Will see you all there!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Road Paved, Etc.

I was going to write this incredibly thoughtful three page post all about my weekend trip to New Orleans. It was going to be insightful as fuck and include comparisons between New Orleans, Charleston and Baltimore, with historical analysis, thoughts about cobblestones, comparative rates of poverty and wealth in a 300 year cycle and a whole lot of other shit. I was even going to talk about symbols and the collective unconscious and synchronicities and, get this, the thin postmodern veil that separates our online and offline personae with resulting potential tragicomic consequences and the subsequent unique to this generation changes in speech and thought patterns. Did you want to read that? Thank god, I thought not. Turns out I don't want to write it either, so instead I will wrap up my account of my vacation with a nice list. Lists are good. Also, I seem to have brought some kind of cold type thing back with me and I'm a little out of it, so lists are good. Simple. Swine flu compatible. NO I DO NOT HAVE SWINE FLU AS FAR AS I KNOW THAT WAS A BAD JOKE HA HA now relax and read a list.

1. New Orleans is not, like Asheville, a beer city. We are spoiled, yo. In New Orleans at your average bar they have Abita and 3 national brands. I kept losing potential new friends by saying snootily that every single bar in Asheville (except Broadways, I know) offers at least 4 local microbrews on tap plus a huge selection of imports and others and there is no bar at all (including Broadways) that doesn't give you about 20 choices of beer. I can't help it; I know I only drink PBR and Bud Light with Lime (shut UP. It only has 100 calories and it's delicious and it doesn't give me hangovers, so there) but I could be drinking really good beer at any time if I wanted, so there, and now I am permanently spoiled.

2. 630 miles is a really long way and 11ish hours each way is a long time to spend in the car but my friend Jay is like the best traveling companion in the world, so, all good. Also, Alabama is apparently terrified of curves - they have big signs, Warning! Curve! Look Out! It's Dangerous! You Might Tip Over! Help Oh God!, on these pathetic little curves that are as nothing - and I sincerely hope their drivers don't come to Asheville any time soon because if the curve from the Patton Avenue bridge onto 240 didn't get them than they might try to drive to Lake Lure from Fairview and then we, the taxpayers of North Carolina, would have to pay out for straitjackets and mental wards. Also, on the roads between Asheville and New Orleans, UFDT (unidentified dead thing) beats out armadillos in the roadkill census, but only just.

3. Two and a half days is nowhere near long enough to spend in New Orleans, particularly when you're going to spend most of one day dying of the worst hangover in the world in a hotel room. I want to kick myself for that but then I sort of think I was punished enough.

4. (This is where I get lynched.) I was not impressed by the food. Okay, I also totally admit that I didn't plan the food out right - I should have made lists and stuck to them and done research instead of expecting luck and magic to lead me to good restaurants, but still. The only incredibly delicious thing I encountered in New Orleans was the coffee at Cafe du Monde. This bums me out and next time I will do actual research and be careful about where I eat and then if the food is still no good? I'll be angry instead of rueful. Oh well. Shit happens.

5. Turns out I am still mildly shockable. Bourbon Street, or, really, the knowledge that my son had been to Bourbon Street when he was 13, succeeded in shocking me a bit. Live sex shows! Stripper cards! Guys dressed like hand grenades advertising what were almost certainly horrible mixed drinks! Drunks staggering around and vomiting in the street at like 2 in the afternoon! Yeah, it was all a bit much for me - sort of a perpetual Bele Chere. I could get philosophical here too and go on a bit about a larger question, which is to say, what is the role of the post Katrina New Orleans in America? I didn't find a stat quoted in some in hotel tourist mag, to wit, that there were about 90 bars in the French Quarter before the hurricane and now there are 150, reassuring or such a good idea, really. I think there's more to the city than becoming a kind of southern Las Vegas but maybe I'm wrong and that's all there is left. Hell, that may be all there is left for all of us - tourism would appear to be the last viable American industry - but that worries me.

6. Could I be more in love with Banksy? No. No, I could not. Granted he is not really New Orleans specific but I'm so impressed that he did what he did and if you don't know what he did you can find it here by scrolling all the way to the right. I turned Annie on to Banksy last night and she loves him too. And now I want to go stencil stuff.

7. I will be safe from that terrifying alligator headed voodoo creature in the voodoo museum because he is afraid of frogs. I, sensibly, have a frog tattooed on my ankle, so, hey, I can wander around swamps without fear. That might explain a lot of my twenties, come to think of it. Anyway, I find that fear kind of charming in a demon and I hereby decree that all demons should have some obscure weak point.

8. Coming back to work and vacation ending and all that kind of thing sucks donkey balls. Yes, yes it does. I want to be perpetually on vacation - oh yes, yes, I do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Back

nola in the round
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
1300 miles and what feels like 1300 drinks later, I'm back in Asheville, where my kitchen is a terrifying mess, my dogs are glad to see me, my kids are awesome and it's just possible that I really need a nap. It was an amazing trip and at some point soon I'm going to write up a really really long whole synopsis of it - I told the whole thing, minute by minute, to my poor daughter last night. At 2 in the morning. But for now, I just have a small list of things to say besides that I'm back.

1. Pictures are going up. I just spent the whole day working on the first two days of the trip and they're up on flickr; check them out.

2. New Orleans is amazing and two and a half days is nowhere near enough to explore it. I want to go back and stay longer. If I was ever going to leave Asheville, which I doubt I am, I might just move to New Orleans.

3. New Orleans is like a weird mixture of my two hometowns, Charleston and Baltimore and so walking around it was peculiarly dreamlike, everything familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Or maybe that was the fact that you can drink on the street and everybody does. No, I think it was just dreamlike.

4. The coffee at Cafe du Monde is fantastic and even the can of coffee that I brought home, dutiful tourist that I am, is wonderfully delicious.

5. Seeing the Lower Ninth and the levee where the barge broke through and speaking to a woman with friends in the neighborhood was really sobering, eye opening, harsh and intense.

And that's it for now, kids. There will be more. Much, much more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Too Many 4 Letter Frustrations

Miles has been discovering the wonderful world of Ebay and it's driving him insane. Poor kid. Using the money he's been earning painting things and doing odd jobs, he bid on and won an xbox. All was well in his world until he realized that it was just barely possible that the xbox in question would not be leaving Kansas and arriving in Asheville at the speed of light. He might have handled the terrible discovery of actual delivery times better, however, if the seller had not then shipped the wrong item. Yup. He emailed us to explain that by mistake, he had shipped some other kind of xbox that is, according to the seller, better and, according to Miles, patently inferior. Me, I do not know from xbox, but I do know that being shipped the wrong thing is a drag, especially when you have to then wait for the wrong item to arrive so you can ship it back to get the right item shipped. Miles has been going nuts and creating dark tales of deception and trickery and I was actually beginning to agree, because the damn thing still had not shown up this afternoon. Until, thank the gods, at 4:30 it did. Now I get to ship it back to Kansas first thing in the morning, oh joy and hope the seller has the decency even after my last frantic freaked out email (the frustration got contagious) to send us the right thing and send it express this time for gods' sake.

So, Ebay, Xbox and now we come to Ipod, which was driving me nuts last night. It refuses to recognize these old cds of random (slight cough)perfectly legalish MP3s that I keep trying to get itunes to accept. First it will say that they're in the library and then it will say that they are not and then it simply will not play them, because no matter what I do, my ipod has preferences for certain songs when set on random and by god it will play those songs and no others. Which drives me to distraction. Also I can't figure out how to get it to import only certain songs on a CD and not all of them, which means I can't get anything off several mostly awful compilations I happen to own - don't ask me why we have a copy of something called Punk 101 from Hot Topic, but we do and if I recall correctly, it's actually not all bad. But I'm not going to risk putting the whole thing on there because my ipod loves the Ramones & the Clash above all and while that is a mostly very good thing, according to my tastes, I'm not sure I should let it hear any harder stuff.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pack Square

Pack Square
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Yesterday was one of those days of retail hell. Ah America how do I love thy decaying, fluorescent lit, suburban K-Marts and the shiny hell that is Sam's Club? So much. I went to the Patton Avenue K-Mart (it strikes me that I should probably just settle down in their killer parking lot and blog only from the Patton Avenue K-Mart, because it is impossible to escape that doomed place without a story) early in the morning to buy a long phone cord for work. Years ago, by the way, everybody had long phone cords all over the place, cluttering up their junk drawers and those boxes of miscellaneous stuff in the garage, but nowadays all those long phone cords have returned to their home planet and if you suddenly need one for your Pleistocene epoch office, well, you will have to actually go and buy one. And you'll have to go and buy one somewhere equally prehistoric, like the Patton Avenue K-Mart. Actually, though, I went there for my phone cord because my friend Jen had told me she'd been there a few days before and the store was empty and everything was on clearance, so, all aquiver with the possibility of acquiring a few of what Nanci Griffith calls Unnecessary Plastic Objects for a low, low, one time price - and also to watch the Patton Avenue K-Mart, which I fervently believe is the worst K-Mart in the galaxy, go down hard - I headed over before work. Turns out they're not really going out of business, they're just getting the floors waxed. The floors need more than waxing, in my humble opinion, because with all the pesky merchandise out of the way you can really spot all the failed pentagrams, demon summoning circles and grotty square mismatched chunks of linoleum that have always been lurking underneath the collapsing $99.99 futon couches and plastic 4th of July Blue Light Special Margarita Pitchers.

I got my phone cord and watched a whole lot of teenagers in red K-Mart vests move things off the floor and then I picked up a couple of other essential things, such as a plastic bin to hold dog food and a green printed shirt that is either great or terrible or ironically cool or possibly just nondescript but that anyway was $7, so, whatever. I went through the checkout and went on to the office where I went to get reimbursed for my outlay on the phone cord and discovered that K-Mart had charged me twice for that shirt. AUGH. I couldn't leave work and go back and raise hell immediately so I did the next best thing: I filled out the online customer satisfaction survey in terms of blood and fire.

I would have let it all rest there but then when I got home last night I discovered that the dog food bin would not fit in my cupboard no matter how much my son or I squeezed and bent and tried to wedge it. Therefore, it is going back to K-Mart and so am I and, while I'm returning that thing, I'm going to ask for my money back for the shirt I did not buy and we will see how that goes. I am not holding out much hope.

As if K-Mart was not enough excitement for one day, I also ventured even unto Sam's Club, where I bought a whole bunch of bottled water for my fast approaching New Orleans adventure (I'd say there's about a 98% chance of hangovers in New Orleans this weekend, accompanied by dehydration and OH GOD DID I REALLY SAY THAT moments), a whole bunch of frozen packaged processed nonfood type stuff for Miles, who otherwise might well starve to death in the four days of my absence and giant amounts of dog and cat food so that they won't starve to death either. Hell, since I can't get the giant thing of dog food into the cupboard and the plastic bin, as above, wouldn't fit, the dog food is just sitting out in the kitchen anyway and the dogs starving is the least of my worries. Sam's Club is really one of the weirdest places in the world. It's completely impossible to explain it to Europeans, for one thing, and for another, I mean, it's just so - so - so whatever the hell it is. You've got the strange furniture and the huge TV screens and the tire window and the guy loudly selling knives in the back and the old, old ladies grudgingly handing out samples of different and bizarre foods in random places and the pallets full of peculiar soft drinks and bags of limes and, well, it's just completely strange. And I haven't even begun to describe the meat section. Yet, for some reason, I kind of like Sam's Club, particularly the Asheville one, which hires - or used to, anyway - out of work punk rockers and bluegrass musicians in full regalia, and there's nothing like a girl with a hot pink mohawk and facial tattoos in a blue Sam's Club vest, ringing up 10 pound boxes of Frosted Flakes for a harried obese grandmother with 4 fat grandkids to make your day. If you're as weird as I am, that is.

At any rate, when I leave work I will be heading to K-Mart again, although not to Sam's Club, because even though I bought camisoles there (don't ask. Sam's Club sends me into a weird buying fugue of sorts; I think it's the drugs they pump into the store; I go in for frozen chiKn hot sauce tasties and a case of Pellegrino and come out with brobdingnagian containers of Chex Mix and underwear.) and I'm not sure they actually fit, I can't face it all again. But I am going to K-Mart, goddamnit. And then maybe I'll need to go to the Admiral.

Monday, July 13, 2009

peppers tomatos squash cucumbers

Okay, I have a big announcement - hold on to your hats: The. Mosaics. Are. Finished. No more plates must die! Not only have I cemented my last little sharp piece of mirror onto a concrete block, but my friend Adam is even now over there grouting them so they will look totally fantastic by tomorrow. Let's see, that's three raised beds, each about 12 feet long, 3 feet wide and 2 feet high. This is by far the biggest project I've ever tackled, even in my art school years when I was a super cool action painter (with a materials grant; my GOD those were good years) working on 8 foot paintings stapled up on the wall. Anyway, after a variety of complex calculations that have made me bite my lip and go hmmm, I believe I have covered 180 square feet of concrete block with itty bitty bits of broken plates, tile, mirror and stained glass. Be impressed but remember, I did not do this entirely alone! No, let's also have a shoutout for Adam, Ruby, Jen and Susan, all of whom also worked on the project and another huge shoutout to all the people who stopped by and were sweet and encouraging and brought me plates and tiles and nifty bits of stuff. THANK YOU!! Please do not bring me more plates! I think I am done mosaicing for a while, like, several years!

So, the gardens are done, y'all, and they look amazing AND not only that, they are highly functional. Last night I took cucumber tomato salad and zucchini for grilling over to a party and everything (okay, okay, not the olive oil or the vinegar or the tamari, but all the rest of it) came out of the garden. Tonight we'll be having green beans and more cucumbers and possibly some pattypan squash and within a week, y'all, there will be corn. Summer is awesome.

Friday, July 10, 2009

rain in susans backyard

It is always somewhat of a shock when you take your car in for an oil change and a check up, knowing that they will find something wrong with it, because they always do, and expecting it to cost probably three times what you think it will cost, and then find out that it's going to cost TWENTY times as much as you thought. Yup, here I am again with my old car - spending more than it is worth but knowing that I can't afford to buy a different car for that much money but dreading that possibility that I am well into the land of diminishing returns now and maybe it is time to come up with, say, 8 grand and buy a relatively decent used car. Or maybe the auto gods will now be kind and my car will never cost me any more money and will go happily for another 100,000 miles and five years. It had better. Hell, it had better make it to New Orleans, because the budget for that trip just shrank and not only am I driving my own damn car, I'm leaving it out on the street and saving the $25 a night valet parking fee, because I have faith that even in the big city, car thieves are not looking to steal a hippie Saturn station wagon with stickers all over it, 165,000 miles on it and a cassette deck. It's survived New York and Baltimore, I bet it can survive New Orleans and if it doesn't, well, it's a dramatic way for my car to go and hey, creates an anecdote I can tell for years. Bitterly, with my tears spilling into my beer at some downscale hellhole bar, but an anecdote nevertheless.

At any rate yesterday they gave me a rental car which is big and bland and clunky and gray and I'm glad it is not my car. In about 40 minutes I will pilot the rental back over to the Saturn dealership and get my ancient and beloved car back and then tonight I am meeting my brother and Annie and Susan for dinner at the Admiral to celebrate the launching at last of Annie's AMAZING website which you can find right here and if you are a mefite you can go forth and vote for it on projects and if you want to give Susan a design job based on her incredible designy work for Annie - you should do that, yes you should - you can see more of her stuff and contact her here.

In other news that's already been posted on Twitter I have been in a mad baking frenzy lately, which on Wednesday night encompassed a chocolate zucchini cake with mocha cream cheese frosting and two loaves of zucchini bread. Even though I was forced to drown my car sorrows in more than a few PBRs last night, I still managed to make a big veggie (mostly, wait for it, zucchini!) fritatta and cheese biscuits. And, bonus, I freaked out my son by demonstrating to him the terrible truth of where sour cream actually comes from by using the very sour old milk in the biscuits to great and delicious effect. Okay, he turned green and put his biscuit down when I let him on the little secret, but, whatever. That just means more biscuits for me, hurrah.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mushroom mushroom

Mushroom mushroom
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I have found a new place to take the dogs early in the morning, thank the gods. Richmond Hill. It's equally if not even more deserted than Hominy Creek at 7 in the morning and, bonus, it offers a few less opportunities for Django to become completely soaking goddamn wet and muddy, which may save my rugs yet. It's fairly great - in fact, it feels like deep woods despite the fact that it's essentially within the city limits.

This morning I set out determined to find it again; I am boycotting Hominy Creek now and maybe forever after, since my last two trips were so depressing I felt like just giving it all up and moving to Marshall. It took me a while to find it - not only is it seriously tucked away in the back of beyond, they've changed it completely in the five years since I was last there. Back in the day the parking area was a muddy space carved out of a neighborhood but now it is all down a sloping curved road, paved and gated and fancy and my heart sank, because usually that means crowds. I was also furious with myself for getting somewhat lost and wondering what the hell I was going to do with the three overeager hounds in the car if I didn't find a park. Let them run loose among the ruins of the Inn? Play in traffic?

However fortunately, this morning there was nobody there except an apparently abandoned cement mixer. That might just be because it was raining buckets in South Asheville and along a small stretch of River Road: Asheville - if you don't like the weather, drive 1/2 a mile - but I'm hoping that it's a good sign for future wanderings.

There's only one slight problem: I damn near got really lost in the woods. This piques me, because I have this deep seated belief that I do not get lost, particularly in the woods. Now, this is actually pretty true: I have a weird built in sense of direction. I've been wandering around in the woods my entire life and I very rarely get lost. Unfortunately, the kicker to that is when I do get lost, I don't just get a little confused. No, I go whole hog and get really completely bewildered and at least 180 degrees turned around. Why do things halfway?

This morning, because I'd already been a bit lost, albeit in the car, and because that made me cranky, as did leaving my camera in the car, I was not paying attention to where I was at all. That is stupid as hell in the woods but there you have it: I committed the cardinal sin and just went blindly wandering down path after path after path. There are a lot of paths in that park. I mean, a lot, and about 40 minutes in it occurred to me that while I was fairly sure where the parking area was, I wasn't sure of how the hell to get there. I do know better than to get off a path unless I can firmly see my objective and I couldn't, quite. And then there was the looming possibility of rain, which can not only make any nice hike turn into something more along the lines of the death march to Bataan but also eliminate my chances of rescue by a group of frisbee golfers. "Not good," I thought sternly to myself, "Not good at all, oh great woodswoman. Hiker supreme. Idiot."

I thought about telling the dogs to find the car but reality intruded: these are my dogs and while I love them dearly, Lassie material they are not. Besides, their English is shaky and if I knelt down and said earnestly "Find the car, guys. Find!" they would think I was saying something like "It's time to lick Mom's face! Also, she has treats in her pocket! Yay!" No, it was up to me and thanks either to the compass in my head, the far off sound of construction equipment or the fact that Richmond Hill Park is not actually all that big, I found my way out again, which made me feel triumphant and canny and together and, better yet, nobody had stolen my camera out of the car, which is, all in all, not so bad for 7:50 in the morning of a Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

squash star

squash star
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It has come to my attention that I am going on a vacation in, um, like 9 days. 10 days? Not this Friday but next Friday, my friend Jay and I are getting into a rental car at some ungodly early hour and driving to New Orleans, where I have never been, in order to spend the weekend with a bunch of people from the internet. Scary, huh? I'm thrilled. Do you realize that it has been TEN YEARS since I went anywhere I had never been before? I mean, aside from the odd waterfall or bar; I grant you, there are a few of those around I haven't seen yet - I have not been to a new city or state in ten years. I only ever go to four places: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charleston and New York. That's it, and New York barely counts since I moved away from the greater Baltimore metropolitan area with its Peter Pan buses to Metropolis itself 9 years ago - in those last 9 years, I've only made it to NYC once. Did you know they gentrified the East Village? Shocking late breaking news, I know. I used to go to Vermont yearly when I lived in Baltimore and counted that as major travel but somehow, once I got to Asheville, almost all journeys stopped and I counted myself lucky to get to the Greenville or Charlotte airport to pick up somebody else, somebody exciting who travels.

So I am nervous as shit and excited and all that good stuff and yes I know it's going to be 130 degrees in New Orleans and that it's a fucking ridiculously long drive (longer, in that Google Maps & GIS & every other computerized mapping program keeps trying to route us directly through Atlanta, which is a big, big mistake) and I can't afford it, but I'm going anyway. Even though it pains me to abandon my garden in this season of total fecundity (dudes & dudettes, you have never seen so many cucumbers) and worries me to abandon my son in this season of him being a late adolescent male (oh gods please don't let him burn the house down) I am going.

In fact, not only am I going, I'm obsessing merrily over what to pack. I think I need a list. Many lists, oh many many lists and I will doubtless overpack anyway. I had had this crazy idea in my head that I was going to lose all this weight by the time I left but, alas, that has not happened and while I've thought of trying to find someone who will sell me a shit ton of speed and losing 20 pounds by the end of next week that way, my sense of responsibility and adulthood and good old fear has developed a bit since my early twenties and thus I'm not going to do that. Do they even sell speed anymore? Don't answer that. New Orleans will just have to overlook those 20 pounds. So, that is what is taking up the majority of my brain at the moment. Does anyone know how dressy it is in New Orleans? Can I wear my usual Asheville horrible freaky artist rags with impunity, as in Baltimore, or will I then be looked at with that special elegant Charleston look of pity and shock?

In other clothing related news, I found myself at the Visitor Center / Chamber of Commerce yesterday evening to drop off some rack cards for my job. Monday is casual day where I work and anyway, I'm old and burnt out and do not care, so I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt with glow in the dark planets on it and purple plaid fuzzy sneakers. This would have been fine even through my brief meeting with the director in his suit except that then he asked me for a business card and I realized that while I did in fact have some, surprise, they were in a stack held together with a rubber band at the bottom of my purse and were gray and dingy and their ends were all frayed and nasty. He was very nice and this is Asheville, where, thank the gods, we can get away with that sort of thing because we're so creative and artsy and enlightened and shit, also because we work for peanuts since we are insane enough to live here, but still I realized it was just a wee bit unprofessional. Maybe I shouldn't wear those sneakers to work anymore.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Well the fourth of July was duly celebrated with lots of beer and hamburgers and explosion noises from all over the neighborhood. It was actually rather excellent; I kind of really like days where I wake up and work on the mosaics for a while and then go down to the Admiral to eat my weight in kobe beef and handmade hot dogs and PBR, all by the middle of the afternoon. Then I get to spend the evening assuring the dogs that despite all the evidence to the contrary, dog armageddon is not actually upon us. And drinking more beer, because, you know, it's American. Thank the gods.

Sunday was not nearly so fun, although it wasn't bad either, since it included more mosaic making and the reading of not one but two of those new fangled sort of mystery novels-avec-vampires and witches and the general paranormal, which seem to have become some kind of major mostly craptastic literary genre while I wasn't looking. Or, I guess, they were a literary genre: getting almost all of your books from either the Goodwill or Downtown Books & News means that you will always be at least 18 months behind the bookish trends. (18 months and possibly considerably more: enough time will never, ever pass for the Goodwill to be completely free of Jacqueline Susann and Gail Sheehy's Passages.) Anyway, there's probably something new out there by now, detectives with yeti companions and Martian enemies or crime fighting superpowered sensitive robots who are actually werewolves. It's hard to keep up. Ten years ago everyone had horrible recipes in their mystery novels; now it's steamy vampire sex and herbalism.

In other news, I can't think of a goddamn thing. I mean, I am so starved for news that I'm almost ready to blog about the incredibly exciting fact that I'm taking the car in for an oil change on Thursday. Thrill a minute around here and as always, having tried the crisis filled variety, I thank the universe devoutly for the boring life.

Friday, July 03, 2009

totally fabulous flamingo

I went to a party last night to say goodbye to my friend Charles, who is heading out west for a couple months of wandering and, surprise, surprise - I got a birthday present from my friend Jodi! This is awesome and I think from now on I should totally get birthday presents at random occasions throughout the year, because getting presents just rocks, particularly when the present is as pictured here, the world's most wonderful lawn ornament. He is still at my friend Susan's house, since she was hosting the party, but soon he will adorn my front yard, much to the chagrin of my teenage son and possibly my neighbors. Hurrah!

Well it is the fourth of July tomorrow and I have absolutely no plans and that sounds perfect to me. I can hear but not see the fireworks from my house and when I do maybe I will ruminate briefly on tyranny and throwing off the shackles of foreign government and perhaps I will get all het up and declare my house a sovereign nation but, you know, probably not. Too much work. Meanwhile, every person in every store keeps telling me to have a happy and safe fourth. What's with the safe bit? Is the fourth of July unholily dangerous? Are there more fireworks related deaths than I knew about? Flag impalings? Food poisoning from all the potato salad left in the sun? I never really thought of it as a dangerous holiday, unlike, say, Christmas, where lots of people shoot family members in completely understandable fits of rage.

Ah well, the 4th of July. I don't usually do much for it but I swear I'll find some kind of flag thing to fly tomorrow because, well, because I have a couple of flags and it's sort of the only occasion to use them. I mean, what else can I do, since I'm just not enough of a hippie to wear them or let the kids sit on them at the park and I'm not punk enough to burn them for an art piece or the hell of it. Therefore, they just sit around in the linen closet and tomorrow out they will go. We crazy communist pot smoking hippie socialist pinko left wing radicals get to fly the flag too, you know. So, hurrah. And have a happy and dangerous fourth. Safe is probably overrated.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Girly Girly Stuff

I dyed my hair last night. That is to say, oh heavens, I certainly do not dye my hair because I am just not that kind of girl, nope, this is my natural purple. You see, by some mysterious process, about every 2 or so months all this gray stuff appears at my hairline and I find it necessary to retire into the bathroom in my hair dying bathrobe with my box of magical empurpling stuff (I hope to god they never change the picture on the box or I'm doomed) and then, after an interval involving some powerful chemical smells and a couple of plastic supermarket bags wrapped around my head and at least one cigarette on the porch (you have to smoke when you have plastic bags on your head; it's de rigeur) I emerge looking much younger due to the sudden delightful lack of gray in my fabulous, extremely purple hair. Then, over the next couple months, my hair will slowly revert, passing through the ideal phase where it roughly resembles the sort of reddish light brown that I theorize (it's been a long time) is my natural color. Which is going to take some time this summer, because it's really quite purple.

Which is why I am wearing my new dress from the Goodwill. My new dress is sort of a housedress looking thing; short sleeves, elastic waist, full skirt, just below knee length, feels like percale sheets, white, with reddish flower or star outlines on it and I think it was fully worth my $3.50 investment. The only problem is that I bought it under the happy delusion that it would be easy - i.e. I would toss it on in the morning and go and voila, I would be cool (as in temperature not as in hipness; I didn't delude myself that much) and I would be dressed without having to worry about anything. Well, I am wearing the dress and I am cool and I am dressed, but it took me 20 minutes of accessorizing - "Maybe a black camisole? A belt? Do I have a belt like that? What happened to that belt I had in 1994?" to make it look decent and I kind of feel like I'm wearing a costume, i.e., the ironic hipster 1950s housewife costume, which is accentuated by the purple hair.

And then I went to get into the car to run late to work and I realized that the percale sheets that this dress is made of are essentially nearly see through and I heard my mother's quiet, scandalized voice in my head, saying, "Felicity! Go put on a slip!" which cracked me up, since I don't think I even own a slip anymore, but also was kind of weirdly reassuring in that it's nice to know I will always have that voice in my head whenever I put on some kind of girly girly apparel.

Everyone liked my dress except Annie. She was horrified and told me never to wear it again, because it just wasn't sexy at all. And right there and in the preceding paragraph you can see the difference between the two sisters: Annie and my mom. Snicker. My mom never, ever told me that my clothes were not sexy enough, believe me, and it was the first thing that bothered Annie. Hee. I'm still kind of giggling about it.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

beware finch you are watched

Well I have learned my lesson: Theo is always right. I should always listen to Theo, even, probably, when he's been barking at invisible squirrels and gotten stuck with his BARK button on. Those invisible squirrels pose a distinct menace to my health, happiness and the American way of life: Theo is never wrong. How do I know this? Because Theo has been saying for about three weeks now that there was something wrong with Django's ears. He's been licking them and licking them and looking at me and worrying and going on and on about it until I would finally take notice and say something unhelpful like, "Jesus, Theo, would you knock it off with Django's ears already? You're going to wear them down to nothing." Yes, I didn't listen and that is why, when Django woke me up at 4:30 Tuesday morning with his ears itching and hurting, which he was dealing with by crying under my bed and shaking his head violently, making my entire bed quake and rise an inch or so off the floor, that I felt like such a dumbass. I felt even more like a dumbass yesterday at the vet where they told me that Django's ears are horribly infected and he has to go in on Friday and be sedated so they can wash them all out and in the meantime he needs to be on heavy antibiotics. Naturally, if I'd taken him in three weeks ago all of this could have been nipped in the bud and cost way, way ,WAY less than it will now cost, not to mention, poor Django. Sometimes I suck as a dog mom and I swear I will listen more seriously to Theo although, god, I still cannot see that ghost he swears is trying to get into the livingroom three or four days a week.

Speaking of ghosts and similar creatures of the night, Miles and I watched Let the Right One In the other night and good lord, it is incredibly creepy and I recommend it heartily - despite the really bad, Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla level of dubbing - if you feel like getting completely creeped out. Miles now thinks the Swedes are the weirdest people on earth and, I guess, if you're judging by one strange vampire movie, they are. But if we're going to judge whole countries' weirdness quotients by their horror movie output than I stand behind Uzumaki and thus the Japanese as the weirdest people ever.

Meanwhile, my brother is about to show my aunt the bio I wrote on her for her website and I'm ridiculously nervous. Good heavens. I am so much more neurotic sometimes than I even think I am that it's kind of impressive. I should go make a creepy horror movie.