Monday, November 30, 2009

The Seventies

Fueled by some mild nostalgia and my continuing quest to avoid finishing the Thanksgiving cleanup (I mean, it's so much fun. I just want it to last forever and, thanks to the dogs, who have been helping with chewed up sticks on the rug and muddy pawprints in the kitchen, it looks like it will!) yesterday I scanned a couple of old pictures and put them up on flickr. This is the sort of project where I have these huge plans to digitize my entire photo collection but when confronted by the reality of sitting there with the scanner for a week or two, I cop out and upload 2 or 3. And here is one!

That right there is me and my brother, in front of the Lorenzo Ghiberti bronze doors in Florence, Italy, sometime in the early 70s, as you can tell from the hair, the clothing and, well, the general 70sness of it all. Or, you could have used MATH! I am apparently unable to use MATH, myself, because not only can I not for the life of me figure out when this or my school pictures were taken, but during Thanksgiving I had a bad minute or two when I was convinced that the turkey would have to cook for 1500 hours, which seemed a little excessive and caused my daughter to laugh at me very excessively.

I only remember bits and pieces of the once in a lifetime (of course it was, alas. I have not had the kind of lifestyle as an adult that includes trips to anywhere more exotic than the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont which admittedly is pretty damn wonderful, but sorely lacking in Renaissance art.) trip to Italy when this was taken. We also went to Venice and there is a wonderful picture of us surrounded by pigeons in Piazza San Marco, which I will scan someday, along with the one of my teenage grandmother in the same spot 60 years earlier. And then, I think, we went to the south of France, although perhaps that was another trip? There were several in those couple of high living years in the wild and woolly seventies.

Definitely, this was the trip where my brother decided that he would open his mouth for every picture, which made him far more adorable than I was, which may account for the mildly peeved expression on my face. It was also the trip where my Aunt Ginny went to mass every single day, which I thought was really a little much but my mother considered a great chance for me to bond with Aunt Ginny. It had nothing to do, I am sure, with her desire to get me out of her hair for an hour or two each day. I remember kind of liking church in Italian or Latin or whatever it was - it made it easier to space out, although harder to know when you were supposed to stand up or sit down or kneel. The iron hand of the Aunt took care of that issue.

The perspective of the child tourist is different from that of the adult. I remember that there were one hell of a lot of steps in Italy, and it seemed as if we had to climb them all. The Italians had apparently also cornered the world market on things made of marble, including statues of naked people, which I tried furtively to examine but which my mother whisked us away from as quickly as possible. They were far more interesting, I thought, than the endless stupid flying babies and buildings, of all the boring things, that we were supposed to look at in awe and reverence. My mother was a prude and she knew kids all too well. She would not even allow me to buy a postcard of Michelangelo's David for all that I insisted I needed it for the trip journal I was theoretically keeping for school (this journal never materialized, much like my scanning plans of today) and she pulled us away from the souvenir stand where they had floaty pens of wonder and joy. The lady's black bathing suit fell off when you tilted the pen! We were riveted! To be fair, my mother, after whooshing us away, admitted that the floaty pen was in fact incredibly cool and she bought us each one in Venice - with a gondola going up and down a canal.

And I remember picking the red vinyl off that raincoat, bit by stealthy bit, exposing the white material underneath. By the end of the trip it was pretty close to bald and my mother was not pleased. So I remember church, a raincoat, my brother making faces, steps, floaty pens, pigeons and naked men of marble. Not too bad, I suppose, thirty five (I think) or so years later.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

thanksgiving toast

thanksgiving toast
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I'm still cleaning up. I estimate that I will be cleaning up until the day after Halloween, 2010, which is known as White Halloween, of course, because that's the day when your plates are all clean from last Thanksgiving and you can start getting ready for the next one. I have threatened yet again to order in Chinese next year but I know that I won't and anyway both the kids just smirked at me when I said it. "You say that every year, " they said smirkily, "and you freak out, but you aren't going to stop."

It was a lovely dinner though and a wonderful evening and I spent all day yesterday doing absolutely nothing, which I felt I was entitled to, after starting in on cooking Wednesday evening and then continuing for the entire day on Thursday. We had:
* roasted turkey, a 16.33 pounder from Earthfare. That's a small turkey for me and there are not as many leftovers as I wish. On the other hand, I could lift the damn thing and I managed to brine it in the stockpot, not the mop bucket.
* mashed potatoes, an entire bag of Yukon golds, boiled and then mashed with roasted garlic and butter and cream and milk and cream cheese. Yum. Roasting the garlic gets added onto the cooking time, however.
* creamed onions, which are my favorite Thanksgiving side dish, but which are a pain to fix, since the devotion of those little pearl onions to their skins is touching and strong. Also they make me cry.
* stuffing, my mother's classic, refined by me over years to include a bag of pepperidge farm stuffing mix, raw apples, cooked bacon, sauteed onions and celery and garlic, raisins, an assortment of fresh herbs, chicken broth and, naturally, butter. Lots of butter.
* two kinds of cranberry sauce, the one Noelle makes which is a bag of cranberries cooked in a can of frozen apple juice and the one my mother used to make which is cranberries and apples and oranges (peeled, membranes removed, another pain in the ass) and honey all whisked through the food processor.
* wild and basmati rice with three kinds of sauteed mushrooms, garlic, roasted winter squash and slivered almonds: the token New Dish, loosely based on a classic of Noelle's. Next year I'm leaving out the squash, because chopping it and roasting it and scooping it into the rice was a time consuming royal drag and the texture was wrong with the rice.
* green bean casserole, the trashy kind with the cream of mushroom soup and durkee's french friend onions
* apple pie, which I made and pumpkin pie, which Audrey made at my house on Wednesday night, which was the most exciting night of the whole holiday weekend.
And Jodi brought sweet potatoes and a key lime pie and Kyle and Jen brought delicious cranberry bread. There was lots of beer and some champagne and I served my homemade pickles and hot pepper jelly with crackers and cream cheese for starters. Everyone had a lovely time and pictures of the whole thing can be found here.

But why, you say, was Wednesday so exciting? Well, we nearly burned the house down during the pie baking, which is always entertaining. The oven began smoking after the apple pie came out and before the pumpkin pie went in and I started cleaning up the spilled burning apples on the bottom of the oven (while it was still on, naturally) with paper towels. Turns out that if paper towels touch hot oven elements, they burst into flames - it's sort of arson 101 but I was tired. As the paper towels caught on fire I threw them into the sink, where Audrey, shouting, put them out with the faucet. This was not really a good idea and it became an even worse idea when the sprayer on the sink stuck and sent a fine mist of water into the hot oven, which promptly erupted into an epic but fortunately not all that deadly fireball. I was right there yet my eyebrows through some miracle are not singed. We had to turn the oven off and go out on the porch for a beer and a cigarette at that point.

Anyway, we survived. Young Miles has a bad cold and I have a mild one, which is somewhat annoying, since I would prefer to schedule my illnesses when I can take time off work to deal with them, rather than wasting three day weekends, but oh well, it is not so bad. Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Every year, I swear I run a marathon. It starts tonight with brining the turkey (thank you Jim for reminding me about the mop bucket! You are a genius!) and then continues through the ritual making of pies and cleaning of the bathroom (what do you mean you want to take a shower? No showers until after Thanksgiving! The tub is clean.!) Tomorrow, of course, I go into full overdrive mode. Miles bitched a little this year about the food - why, he asked, does it have to be exactly the same year after year?
"Because," I said, "That's what Thanksgiving is all about."
"I thought you said it was about family and friends," he said (child is too damn smart for his own good) "And our family and friends would probably rather have something different."
This was of course a way to talk me into deep frying the turkey, which is not going to happen, but even leaving out the frying, he has a point.

I don't know why I feel as if everything must be the same, year after year, life without end, etc., but I do. I think I'm afraid that if the rites are not properly observed, the monsters will get us. I mean, you just never know. They could be waiting for the year that I branch out and try a different stuffing. I have eliminated, over the years, the stuff that became leftovers which got thrown out instead of eaten - sweet potatoes, I'm sorry to say, and carrots; we must just not really like orange things - and the world has not ended in fire and dismay yet, but you never know. My mother's stuffing and creamed onions might be the only thing keeping us from apocalypse. And I'm thankful that worked out, because I love creamed onions.

SO tomorrow, as always, I'll be cooking like a maniac and flying around and, quite possibly, tweeting it all. You're invited. Cocktails at 5:00; dinner at 6:00. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I almost forgot. Around this time of year I like to give my readers a little gift, something to help them while away the lonely hours until the turkey is done. So, here is Drench. Click on that link and watch your productivity plummet; your life go down the drain and your arm seize up hopelessly clicking on the pretty colors. What on earth did we all get addicted to before the internet?

Oh and hey, happy belated big blog birthday to me. For five long years, give or take a couple of weeks, I have been toiling away here in the blog mines, writing up whatever it is that I write about. Five years! Holy shit! You would think by now I would have figured out some way to cash in on this phenomena but instead it just keeps on keepin' on. Which I think has some kind of value, somehow.

Let's see, in the last five years, I've moved twice, changed jobs twice and reverted to my usual single status more times than I care to examine. My daughter graduated from college and has left home and come back several times; my son grew up, moved off the traditional academic track and is working full time. Several dogs and cats and at least one fish have come and, lamented, gone. I believe I have lost and gained the same 15 pounds approximately one thousand times and I'm still wearing mostly the same sweaters and, despite all advice to the contrary, my late 80s leggings. Along with everyone else in my general generation, I got broadband and an iPod and gave up the landline for good. I think I have become a better writer and I know I have become a way better photographer and I still, occasionally, make strange art. And I still have hangovers. So, hey, happy blog birthday to me!

that time of year

green and brown
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Audrey has a cold; Miles is walking around saying "You will contract zee swine!" in an exaggerated accent and I am tired. Nobody has heat, except me, and my heat is either solar or magical, because I have no propane and no furnace either. It doesn't matter: my house stays in the high sixties for no apparent reason and now I understand why the people who lived here before me never bothered to replace the old furnace or buy propane. This is wonderful - I have never had a warm house before and I am all about it - but I sort of wish I had figured the magic out before I got into an expensive contract to buy a new furnace. Still, it's nice that I'm not freezing as I wait for the new furnace, which, according to the furnace guy, I should definitely be getting someday, perhaps when the cows come home.

Audrey has no heat because she, like many, cannot afford to buy oil. You may or may not be aware that if you rent or own a house in Asheville, as opposed to an apartment, you cannot pay as you go for heat but instead must buy at least 100 gallons of either heating oil, propane, or, more rarely, kerosene. That is around $300 - $400, which is a more or less insurmountable sum to accumulate if you're making regular twenty (or, let's face it, forty at a nonprofit) something wages here in our lovely mountain city. Therefore, she is spending a lot of time at my house, sniffling. I have just erased a rather lengthy rant about the war on poverty that is always being waged in this country; you're welcome.

In other news, my friends Anthea and Tony, who now live in Portland (Oregon, not Maine) called up on Sunday. They were driving a car cross country and wanted to stop by. I told them about the rock slide, which is more than the Tennessee highway department had bothered to do, yet they persevered through Hot Springs and come to stay with us on Sunday night. So that was lovely and also a big surprise: Anthea, who has always been willowy slim, is still very slim but now is sporting a large bump in front. Sometime in February there will be a new kid in Portland; this is awesome although I must say, these kids growing up and having kids, good god, it seems like just yesterday she was 11 and torturing Audrey in Barbieland.

And, as time flies, so Thanksgiving is the damn day after tomorrow. We still have room and turkey for a couple more people, so if you find yourself at loose ends or inexplicably turkey free, come on over.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Annals of the Dull

Another exciting Friday night around here, where I have just grumpily accepted the inevitable truth that my phone is not going to ring, taken off my work clothes, put on yoga pants and settled down with a beer and the internets. Bah. I am drinking something called Slim Chance. I keep trying new light beers lately which has made me consider occasionally running Light Beer Reviews around here in the faint yet constant hope that a beer will suddenly appear that has hardly any calories and lots of taste. So far, I'm striking out. Unfortunately, the reason nobody ever reviews light beers is that the reviews are always so short: in a word, UGH. The name of the stuff is cute and the label is not objectionable but, well, UGH. The irony does not escape me that the beer I adore is called FAT tire while SLIM chance is completely godawful - you can see the result of this dichotomy in my ever increasing, Humpty Dumpty like girth. Well, it's either that or the stress baking.

I have also been considering writing a book of advice for the Young. It seems to me that the Young could use some advice and who better to dispense that than I, the Old? I have absolute tons of advice floating around in my head, running the gamut from the useful: Peel hard boiled eggs under running water, unless they're fresh eggs, in which case, you shouldn't have hardboiled them, idiot. to the slightly more recondite: The dark lord doesn't really expect you to sacrifice an entire goat. A hot dog will do. Not only do my children not show the slightest interest in any of this advice, alas, they even have been known to say actively mean things about my advice, much like my directions. Everyone, actually, says horrible things about my directions, which pains me deeply. I am firmly convinced that I give the best directions in the whole world, but everyone I give them to, no matter the destination, gets lost, which clearly means that I am giving directions to the wrong people. I mean, I never get lost, myself, so they must be good. Right? Therefore, I feel that it is time I unleashed some advice on the general public. They had better watch out.

In other news of the crashingly dull, I finally got a Sams Club card in my own name and I'm unspeakably pleased. Already, there are giant bags of onions and potatoes and diet crackers (not bad if you eat about 30 of them with cheese) sitting around my kitchen, to say nothing of the dogfood that was my gateway Sams Club entry drug. I had been going mostly just for work with my boss' card (which always made me feel just slightly, tinily illegal, which is probably the reason I liked it there) and, while I was there, naturally, buying cases of Faygo and bags of deep fried ultra seasoned frozen processed vat meat for The Hungry Thing who lives in the basement. Then I discovered that their brand of dog food, while not perfect, is actually not all that damn bad. It has meat as the first ingredient, which I have on good authority is what you are supposed to look for in dog food. For the record, you are supposed to look for cat food that is pretty much all meat, but good luck with that. Now I have to go there every other week or so (3 dogs eat a lot of kibble, let me tell you) and so now I have my very own card and soon, according to the Sams Club plan of world domination, my whole house will be knee deep in Giant Economy Sized Vats of Everything. Yay. I think.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weekend Eve thank the spaghetti monster

geese morning 6
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, I buried Pebble on Tuesday evening in the front yard. It was dark and windy with occasional spatters of rain, which is highly appropriate weather for gravedigging, so that was good. I hadn't dug a grave in some time - not, you know, that I go around digging graves a lot or anything. I can see where it might make a suitable Goth exercise video and all but it's just not my favorite activity. I'm just hoping the grave was deep enough and we don't have one of those awful zombie episodes. Hate those.

After the grave digging, it was necessary to wake her thoroughly, to which end Audrey and Joey came over with a twelve pack. Yeah, it never occurred to me before that the "Wake" is kind of a very deeply weird term for that activity. Are we really trying to wake the dearly deceased up? As in, we'll get so drunk that we'll wake the dead? Nobody wants a reanimated corpse, even of the most utterly loved departed, lurching around their wake - see the point at the end of the last paragraph. I mean, it's just creepy.

At any rate we told a lot of stories of cats past and drank beer and so on and perhaps Pebble would have liked it, although, given that it did not involve cans of Fancy Feast for her to either gorge on or sneer at, depending on her mood, probably not. I am thinking of getting another cat, even though I know it is too soon and even though my son has sat me down and said, gently, "Mom, you know, three dogs is probably enough animals for any one house." He is right but I miss my cat. Tempus fucking fugit and ars brevis and all that latin shit: pro patria mori, I suppose, given our uniquely American relationship with our precious automobiles. I wonder if cats were ever run over by oxcarts?

I have gotten a shipment from the aptly named Do Your Own Pest Control and when I get home tonight, I'm looking forward to spreading toxic chemicals around the house. Whee! Hippie that I am, I read the ingredients list on all of their offerings and settled on the ones that sounded the least deadly, which probably means that any living bugs will scoff at it. I did, however, get diatomaceous earth, even though I have a vague memory of using it for cockroaches in Baltimore who were completely unfazed by the stuff. Baltimore cockroaches are of course immune to pretty much everything except 3 megaton and above atomic devices, so there is that and maybe it will work better on these bugs. One can but hope.

Next week is Thanksgiving! Have you gotten your invitation to the umpteenth Thanksgiving dinner for waifs, orphans and strays yet? Do you want one? Then email me and it shall be yours.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pebble: March 2008 - November 17, 2009

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
When I first moved in two of my neighbors came over to introduce me and warn me not to let my cat out of the house because the lady who lived here before me lost three cats on Riverview Drive. I tried to listen to them but I am weak and lazy and the dogs go in and out, in and out, all day long and so did Pebble. I thought perhaps it would be okay.

I was wrong and sometime last night the road claimed another victim and I have lost another cat.

I had no intention of getting another cat because my luck with cats has been terrible over the last ten years.My cats have all died young, ever since Andy Warhol, insane orange and white cat, the vomit comet, cattus horribilis, finally died after 15 years of generally being a pain in the ass - but a uniquely weird pain in the ass. Andy's death was followed a couple years later by Fred's, who will forever be known as the Greatest Cat Ever, despite his sinus problems (six years after Fred died, there is STILL cat snot on some of my things.) Fred, despite his intimidating 17 pound size and general air of insouciance, had many major health issues already in place by the time he turned up half dead in my Baltimore county basement and that he made it to age 6 at all was some kind of feline miracle. After Fred came Barbieri and Mr. Bill, feral gray and white brothers, ferocious and dedicated hunters, both of whom went untimely early: Barbieri victim of a car on Swannanoa Avenue and Mr. Bill just disappearing one day and never returning, never found.

I said then that I would have no more cats and I should clearly have stuck to that, but Audrey's cat had kittens and I am a sucker and so Pebble came to live with me and now Pebble, who was a darling, a sweet and lovely and funny smart talkative cat, is no more. God DAMN, I hate this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Update

john payne bird 1
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
On Saturday morning I got up early and took the dogs for a hike in Bent Creek. Theo got into a small fight; Perdita vanished for 10 minutes and I was forced to be slightly rude to a jogger (just because I'm a bitch sometimes) but other than that, it was lovely. Afterwards, I took Annie to W.Izzzys for coffee, where we ran into my brother and a friend of his who were caffeining up before getting on their motorcycles to ride to Helen, Georgia. "What's Helen, Georgia?" I asked. "Sort of a Gatlinburg wannabe," said my brother.
"Excellent!" I said.

Then Annie and I went off to the studio stroll. The studio stroll is good with Annie, because she can only do one building and thus you don't go into art overload, which is otherwise a real danger. We did the Wedge building and Annie saw John Payne's bird, pictured here, for the first time. She was enthralled. She also stopped my flirtation with a tall and handsome artist cold, alas.

Me: "Wow, nice work."
Him: "Thanks!"
Annie, pointing to painting: "What is the owl thinking about? Where does he live?"
Him: "Um, well, I think he lives over here."
Annie: "Did you hear they've found water on the MOON?"
Him: "Why, uh, yes, I did hear that."
Annie: "We'll all be living there soon. They're going to move us all to the moon. Are you ready to move to the MOON?"
Him: "No, I don't think I want to live on the moon."
Annie, darkly: "You won't have a choice."
Me: "We have a lot more to see now! Thanks so much!"

The studio stroll was inspiring, actually - I went home and painted. This is what I painted - yes, I am aware that it is in fact pretty damn weird! I am getting weirder and weirder, apparently - it's one of the perks of aging. Still, it was fun and it was such a beautiful day that I painted on the porch, steadfastly ignoring the many fallen leaves on the front lawn. Fuck the leaves! I hate raking leaves. They look beautiful right now on the ground and make that great shuffly sound when I walk through them, so the hell with bourgeoisie values, I'm not raking. Take that, The Man!

Yeah, okay, I'll probably rake them at some point soon. I can take on The Man but withering looks from my neighbors fill me with guilt. It's a terrible thing to have been properly raised.

Last night my friend Jay and I went out to dinner. We tried to go to Cocina Latina but it is inexplicably closed on Sundays, as is Nona Mia. Jesus, you have a lot of Sunday evening West Asheville dining sorrow to make up for, here. We ended up at Papas and Beer, though, and that was excellent. I am very fond of Papas and Beer, from their wondrously descriptive name to the large purple birthday sombrero that gets trotted around the dining room. And the food is cheap and good. Anyway, Jay has published another book! You should go and buy a copy! I took the author photograph, so this marks my first published photograph, too, whoooo for me.

If you would like to come over for Thanksgiving dinner - turkey and all the fixins, a traditional if somewhat boozy Thanksgiving dinner - email me and I will send you out a super groovy invitation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Motel Adventure

first frosty leaves
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Last night I stayed in a motel all by myself. That is the kind of thing that normal people do all the time without thinking about it, I know, but I just sort of never have, except possibly maybe once, long long ago in a galaxy far, far away. You see, I had a child when I was rather young and then another one some eight or so years later and thus all my motel visit memories seem to include small children jumping on beds and the glory that was the Cartoon Channel to kids who had never seen cable TV before.

The exterminators came yesterday and, based on my previous I-nearly-died-of-the-fumes experience with fumigation, I reserved a motel room with Priceline. I never use Priceline anymore because you can't change anything, but, hey, this time, I figured, nothing would change and I got a good deal, so, what the hell. Naturally, I didn't then need it: the exterminators just did not exterminate as vigorously as they did in August and so the house smelled more or less fine. My son, who was supposed to accompany me on this motel adventure, also decamped for his friends', which is completely understandable (I personally would probably have preferred to hang myself rather than share a motel room in my home town with my parent at the age of 17.) So there I was, motel room reserved and paid for but house totally habitable. What do you do?

I went to the motel. Well, first I considered auctioning the room off on Craigslist or giving it to my daughter and then I got all angsted out about it. Maybe the fumes were stronger than I thought, because then I went to dinner with my friend Charles at Sunny Point and realized that I was a) just hungry and b) acting like a world class idiot. I mean, motel room! What's not to like? And it was pretty damn cool, if a little nervewracking: I forgot the bottle opener and was forced to watch TV. The bottle opener was a problem because I, like an idiot, have never learned to open beer with a lighter and you have to drink a beer when you're all alone in a motel room like a grownup. Then you have to go outside in your sweatpants and bare feet and sneak around the balcony to an unobtrusive location to smoke your sinful cigarettes, too, which is somehow a little less fun, although I did make several tourists jump.

The TV was worse. I very rarely watch TV so I don't know what to watch when I do and also, the ads get to me. I sat there and stared at the pretty glittering people on the commercials and all the graphics oozing around everything and the colors and lights and just sort of went whooooooooom whooooom and before I knew it almost an hour had gone by. In between the ads was Mythbusters, which I do really like, so that was good, and they had explosions, which is always pleasant. After that I could find nothing to watch - why is there never anything to watch? There are like 40 bajillion channels out there nowadays and all of them are showing either sports, infomercials, "documentaries" on gangs or horrible rich people doing horrible things to other horrible rich people and whining about it. I had to put on the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe and then the Christian allegory got to me. TV is overwhelming. If I had one in the living room I'd get even less accomplished than I do now.

In the morning I had coffee from my motel coffee maker and a motel shower with motel towels, all most satisfying and then went down to the lobby for the free breakfast. This was a classy motel - they had a lot more than stale danish and weak coffee. There was a waffle iron! And biscuits! And strange microwaved omelette thingies. I ate one of those on my way home, where, despite the lack of motel towels, built in kleenex dispensers, TVs and tiny wrapped soap, I was very happy to be.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bugpocalypse, Round 2

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Hi there. Guess what I've been dealing with! The hint is in the title - yup, the bugs are back. Back with a vengeance: I have huge welts up and down my throat and face - it's very attractive. And, just like the last time, every single piece of clothing, every sheet, dishtowel, pillowcase, porch chair cushion, old dog walking jacket and silk scarf have to go through a hot dryer for an hour and then be sealed in plastic. My room has been dismantled; my bed is in the center, with double sided tape on every leg so nothing can climb up. The exterminators will be back tomorrow to completely fill the house with poison again and I'm taping plastic up over the kitchen shelves and putting every food item that's not fully sealed in a giant tupperware bin out on the porch. The dog beds are going to the dump, this round, as is the papasan chair downstairs and, hell, me.

Sometimes I think I pissed some small but powerful deity off but good one day without thinking about it. I'm lucky - except for 2008, nothing THAT terrible happens, just an endless round of really pretty fucking bad stuff that's almost but not quite apocalyptic. My son and I have been talking about gods, lately - he is tending towards belief, while with every go round of nightmare, every year, I go further and further away.

"What have we done to deserve this? We should pray, maybe," he said,
and I said, "to who? The bug god?"
And he said, "What kind of sacrifice would please the insect god?"

Which is a damn good question. The answer, alas, is probably something like kittens, although I was thinking perhaps huge heaps of fiery dung. Either way, I think the insect god is getting his sacrifice in the form of a few more of my wool sweaters and a shitload more of my sanity. It's hard to sleep when at any moment you may be attacked, even though we're both redolent of Deep Woods Off as we crawl under the covers.

Friday, November 06, 2009

And So On

There are a whole lot of lost tourists downtown. I'm thinking that next time, we need to dump giant boulders on both sides of I-40 instead of just the one. Like zombies mindlessly beating their way into the Wal Mart (as everyone knows, Wal-Mart is the best place to hole up for a zombie apocalypse) the tourists are still getting through and they cannot drive worth a good goddamn. Of course, we in Asheville refuse to mark our streets, so there is that. However, all that will change now that Gordon Smith is our newest benevolent overlord! All Hail! Bring us sidewalks or bring us death, dude.

Highland Brewing has released this year's version of Cold Mountain, their winter beer and I went and bought two bottles on Wednesday. It is so delicious that all other beer will forevermore and henceforth taste not as good. However, do not listen to me! You will hate it! Don't go buy any! It is all for meeeeeee! Or, so I wish. Fortunately for my liver and my waistline but causing me to weep bitter tears of rue, it is not all for me, no, it will sell out soon (so get yours now) and I will not be able to find any more until next year.

In other news, I have not a damn thing planned for the weekend except attending a metafilter dinner party on Saturday, which should be fun and, of course, cleaning the entire house, which should not be fun at all. My friend and handyman Adam has been back in town from Baltimore and he has done all kinds of work around the house over the last week - there is a door to teenage wasteland! The downstairs toilet is rebuilt! the hose no longer leaks! the gutters are clean! and etc. Home ownership is a fucking pain in the ass, let me add, but Adam makes it doable. Therefore, if you need any home repairs done, email me and I will give you his phone number. He is awesome at everything.

In other news, there is no other news, except that it is actually supposed to not rain this weekend. Whoooooo!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

a murder of crows

a murder of crows
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
There were about eleventy million crows at Richmond Hill this morning around 7:15 or so. I like crows for the most part but I was also permanently scarred by watching The Birds on TV when I was 11 or thereabouts so the constant cawing and swooping and taking up of the entire top of the forest was a mixed blessing. I harbor no illusions that my dogs would be any good whatsoever in the face of a sustained crow attack; besides, they would probably set it off by chasing them out of the parking lot in the first place. Dogs, I have noticed, enjoy a lot of completely futile endeavors, like chasing crows and barking at squirrels. Hint to all dogs: it is way easier to catch a squirrel that you haven't barked at yet and running into a flock of birds is a damn good way to get yourself shat on. But who am I to talk? The dogs feel the same way about all the time I spend sitting in the big chair (the really comfy chair they want to sleep on, at that) constantly turning over pages of paper. And then I get upset, too, when they try to help by chewing up those pesky paper objects.

I have managed to walk the dogs every morning so far this week since I like colder weather - it chases off most of the joggers - and I like being able to see. It was particularly easy this morning, because the gas company minions arrived at 7:00 with large yellow machinery. The guy who seemed to be in charge had a white ponytail and intricate blue tattoos all the way down his neck. He was very friendly and I understood very little of what he said. "We're just putting in the dpiojerlsnjfi," he said cheerfully. "Then the other guys will aoijwrfekm with the soinfaieonffewion in about two weeks or maybe longer, depends on the weather and the poiajoiewrm."
"Great!" I said, smiling back and looking a little mournfully at what used to be my lawn. (Surprisingly enough, there was some damn good dirt down there.) "Do you need me to be here?"
"Oh no," he said, "We'll just fix the woirjerl to the wpoiremr and you'll be all set."
So I should have gas in a month. I think. Or maybe this was some kind of random yard digging up heavy equipment crew of performance artists: you just never can tell.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

New Faux Fisheye Thingie AND bonus Edgar Allan Poe stuff!

In my continuous camera frenzy, I ordered this nifty thing. I thought it would give me groovy distorted circular images and be so unbeatably cool that I would finally, finally join the ranks of the cool kids. Or something - hell, I don't know, I figured it was thirty bucks and worth a shot. Now I have owned it for slightly less than 24 hours, I am not entirely sure if it was worth thirty bucks. Perhaps twenty four ninety five. Anyway, the picture on the left was taken without it while (you guessed it!) the one on the right was taken with it on. As we see, it definitely widens the angle but it would appear to lose some focus, which in some cases is fine, i.e., here, where it makes my house look super trippy and bizarroid, as befits it's sixties style. Further experimentation will be necessary but oh well, what the hell, new toy! And it makes my camera look intimidatingly professional, so there's that.

In other news, Theo let me vacuum him last night. I think it is highly inefficient of collies to lose last year's winter coat mostly in the fall in preparation for the new one to come in but alas, in this universe of unintelligent design, that's how it works. If I had designed collies the whole thing would come off in one piece like a snakeskin instead of clumping off in awful chunks that clog up the vacuum cleaner and make Theo look motheaten and even more pathetic than usual. But as we know, they did not call on me to design the universe, more fools they.

In other other news, it's only the third day of November and I'm already like 2000 words behind in NaNoWriMo. This does not bode well but I keep thinking I will sit down momentarily and whip them out in short order. Ha! We shall see. Also, since it is the third day of November, that means that YOU (and I, I'm going after work, I promise) must exercise your right as a citizen and GO OUT AND VOTE! It only takes a minute, really, and they give you a free sticker. Free sticker! How can you possibly resist? Vote your pants off, Asheville. Vote like . . . like. . . like something or someone who votes extremely seriously and intensely. Like Edgar Allan Poe on a laudanum binge.

There is some rumor I read somewhere once that said the final consumption & pneumonia that killed Poe was due to his having been abducted by scurrilous vote getters in Baltimore while he was on a laudanum & whisky binge. These vote getters were hired thugs who went around grabbing derelicts and forcing them to vote. This tactic has fallen into disfavor, recently, although perhaps, Gordon, if you're reading this, you might want to give it a try! Not that I would ever advocate such a thing. I'll vote twice for laudanum, though.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Another Halloween Survived

Phew. It's a good damn thing I don't have to worship the Dark Lord every weekend or I'd be undead by now. I seem to have been ridiculously busy these past few days and also I had a couple of minor mood meltdowns, attributable no doubt to the influence of a malign star or possibly dehydration. Or maybe it was that trip to Starbucks on Friday - if, by the way, it ever seems to you that a large bold roast with a shot of espresso is a good idea on a day that you're going to spend in a waiting room, think again! It doesn't even taste that tasty.

On Wednesday night we duly carved our semi stolen pumpkins; much fun was had; several awesome pumpkins were carved and painted (it turns out that warty pumpkins, which seem so awesome, are actually made of wood or steel or some other uncarveable substance.) On Thursday nothing much happened as far as I can remember, although I did my civic duty and went to the neighborhood association meeting. Helpful community note! There are going to be speed traps on my street beginning right away, so if you are illegal in any way, take another route. Also on Friday my good friend Jay had surgery on his knee and I accompanied him through that entire fun filled day at Knee Surgeries R' Us, which was much more enjoyable for me, Starbucks notwithstanding, than for him.

Friday evening, after delivering the aforesaid jack o'lanterns and stabbing myself in the hand (it is not advisable to try to saw frozen basil in oil out of a plastic container with a sharp knife in your right hand while you are holding said container in your left, let me tell you) and then ruining dinner (Sam's club ravioli sucks and falls apart when you boil it) I retired to my bed insisting that I was not going to the party and was in fact planning to sleep out the next several months or possibly years. However, I eventually came out of it and made it over to spookyblogapaloozathan, where I was impressed and abashed by the many, many wonderful costumes. Also, thanks for the votes: you are right now reading the Blog Most Likely To Make You Laugh Out Loud - for, I think, the third year in a row or something? Thank you! I will now say something funny! A ghost walks into a bar! But he goes right through it! Ba dum boom shish! Or, okay, not.

Friday ended up at the Admiral which was lovely as always and then Saturday, the actual Day, the Sacred Holiday, I did pretty much nothing except complain and wander about aimlessly in my slippers. Whining can also be a religious observance, hey. Then as evening fell I transformed myself into the Bad Hair Fairy, picked up Susan and Laura and headed on over through the rain to the Haen Gallery where my friends Katherine and Kate were having their engagement party. The costumes there were also spectacular and the zombie brides to be looked very happy and beautiful despite their deadness.

We then moved on to another Halloween party with some extremely cool people who are actually neighbors of mine I have long wanted to meet, so that was excellent. They were off on other adventures which we graciously declined as being too damn rainy and cold (Wimps R Us) and instead trick or treated for beers at Zen & Helen's house - they were surprised and seemed even pleased. The weather, however, was unchanging so we gave up on the rain, the cold and the Halloween and hung out at Susan's drinking beer. I do that a lot so I kind of forgot it was Halloween for a bit until I looked down at my legs and thought momentarily "What the hell? Why am I wearing a satin miniskirt?" Words to live by!

SO that was Halloween and it was all in a all a great one. Yesterday I took down all the decorations in record time and breathed a sigh of relief right up until the point where I realized that the Other Holidays (insert sound of doom, like the drum scene in the Mines of Moria or perhaps the Carmina Burana, here) are coming up now. My plan to sleep for a few months sounds better every minute.