Monday, August 4, 2014

Photo Processing

B and I struggle to take an acceptable family photo. She believes she is unphotogenic. Puh-lease. I am unphotogenic. Pictures make me look like a gorilla, only with zits. We take 2,044 pictures whenever we go anywhere. We stopped asking people to take pictures of us long ago. It's no use. None of them take enough, and then we just trash them all. So, we take selfies, and we argue about them.

"Oh," B will say, "I found one I don't completely abhor!"

"Um, buddy," I will say to her (we call each other 'buddy' sometimes, ironically), "I have something in my teeth in that one."

Then she will say, "okay, but it's better than the one you like, where I look like I have only two teeth in my entire head!"

At this point I sigh dramatically, planning how to one-up her.

"Oh, yeah?" I will say. "Well, it looks like I have a head the size of Jupiter in that other one."

"It looks like I have blood gushing from my eyeballs in the one you took the other day."

"So? That's nothing! I look like I have enormous tumors all over my midriff in the one you took at the park!"

And so on. Ari, however, always looks fantastic.


Things I said to Ari recently, because he asked:

"Yes, you have a brain. No worries."

"I don't know what the 'YKK' on zippers means. 'You kangaroo killer?' 'Yu Klux Klan?' 'Yesterday Kinsey kvetched?'" (This second was a mistake, as then he wanted to know what the Yu Klux Klan was.)

   Front and back two times--just in case.

"There are 16 poles supporting the slide, but I don't know what is inside them."

"Yes, if you hit a person in the head with a hammer you will hurt him/her."

"When fish die, it is for a reason, just like when people die, but we don't always know the reason because we don't know as much about fish diseases as we do about people diseases."

"Yes, the man standing in line with us probably did cry when he lost his leg."

"Yes, for the thousandth time, you will die if you jump out of a building. Stop arguing with me!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Wine Groove #7

Song: "Station," by Lapsley
Wine: Bogle, Petite Sirah

Spotify is fucking nuts. It's even dumber than auto-correct, which still changes "fucking" to "ducking." WTF is "ducking?" Is it waddling around saying "quack!?" Why is there a word for such a thing? Is it an activity people typically engage in? What am I missing, here?

Oh! Ducking!!! As in dodging. As in lowering one's body to avoid incoming projectiles. Omg, I don't know how I missed that since it's such a common occurrence in my super-spy life! Let me just go and fetch my Bat-jet, and I will be right there. That was sarcasm, though perhaps should not have been, given my afternoon with Ari (full of dodging projectiles).

Spotify sent me an email about an album from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, whom I abhor. Really, Spotify? After all the time we've spent together, this is how well you know me? Wow.

This song isn't by Tom Petty, but it is from the Spotify new music playlist, which is lovely, sparse, and ever-changing.
It leans towards trip-hop, which is always a good thing, but has a fair share of B's stuff (i.e. classic-sounding rock), too. She's the one who sent it to me, in fact. 

The wine is a petite sirah, and I don't get why it is spelled with an i when syrah is a y, or if the two are related. I take the different spellings as a wine trying to have some secrets and leave it at that, but you can research if you want. Petite sirahs are punchier, less subtle. I love a good syrah, but petite sirahs turn my head. I think about them far too much. I buy almost all of them, expect a lot, and haven't been disappointed yet. The go-to region is Oregon, but this one is from Cali. I think they had a good year in 2012, but any vintage will do.

Now, the song. Go listen to it before you read the rest of this post because there's a spoiler in the next paragraph.

This woman is 17, and she sang this alone. I believe she said, when asked, that she "dropped the pitch of the vocals" because "aint nobody got tym" to find a co-vocalist. To which I say, "DIY, sister!" The comments on this track are largely from str8 women wanting to have sex the male co-vocalist. Lapsley keeps saying, "sorry, it's just me" and never loses patience with the masses. The video is intense and simple. Low budget, Lapsley pretending it's not just her, one take. I was mesmerized.

I like the gender play of that whole thing, too. Who wouldn't? What could be more radical than taking the role of the male co-vocalist and doing it so well you have a throng of screaming fans? I heart third (fourth?) wave feminism!

Lapsley has a whacked/lovely rendition of New Order's "Blue Monday," too:
Listen to the original, and then go listen to hers. Cool ass shit--what she does with it--no?

She's from Liverpool. Her first name is Holly. She has a shit load of "featurings" for a new artist. I guess she plays well with others, but she also has the perfect electronica voice. Big range, big sound, super flexible. Let us all bow down in gratitude to the sound.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Highlights (not) from My Summer

Ari's hair gets yellow blonde in summer, but the roots are darker. One day this summer, I was standing in line at the post office with him, when a seemingly sane woman asked me if I highlight his hair.

"Um?" I inquired.

The woman, who had a young child standing next to her as well, seemed to recover her wits. 

"Oh, of course you don't," she hurried to say, "what am I thinking?"

I can't even organize myself to pay someone to color my own hair, let alone go all DIY on his. I mean: what on absolute earth? Was I highlighting his hair while begging him to have even one bite of any non-gummy foodstuff? Or when he was calling me "stupid mommy" because I wouldn't put his on socks for him? Or when he was insisting his swim trunks are entirely too cumbersome, and he wishes to purchase a man(boy?)-thong? Was I HIGHLIGHTING HIS HAIR when he asked me for the 3,345,232nd time in one day how old I am, misphrasing it on purpose in a cute---> desperately annoying way as "Mommy, how old you awe?" Answer: no. 

No, I shan't answer that question for him ever again because I am Timeless (and have already told him 3,345,231 times), and no, I have not been playing colorist with my six-year-old. I have been, instead, struggling to achieve a meditative state without completely going out of body (because then I'd be emotionally unavailable to him, which is not fair). 

If there is a parent of a young child who is capable of highlighting his/her child's hair, he/she needs to call me and conduct several motivational speeches. I am in desperate need. Let's go back to the socks. I know--you missed the sock reference, in the middle of all the hair. Welcome to my life. 

Ari insists he cannot put socks on by himself, even though I have seen him do so at least 20 times. I am tired of putting on his socks, and B is threatening suicide over it. He is a very good actor. He will fall dramatically backwards, as if fainting, with the back of one hand flung against his forehead, when asked to put on his socks. This is the silent version. There is also a version with sound, which I cannot even bear to recount. 

So, B and I made a plan, very similar to our other (few) successful plans in child-rearing: we decided not to do what we had decided not to do. No, really. Parents suck at this. We are so bad--I'm constantly annoyed by us all. It's like some chemical defect happens to us because of baby pheromones or something, and we want to change our minds as often as possible. Like, mind-changing now comes with a bonus endorphin hit! We can't ever say no, even though we swore repeatedly that we would never do X again, but it's kids who are immature and have no impulse control. Riiiiiight. B and I were going to do whatever else we needed to do to get through what would surely be an arduous day, but we were not going to put on his socks.

Ari has rules about socks--some normal, some ridiculous. He likes them to be perfect, which I get. No sense at all in having the seam in the wrong place; it is dreadfully uncomfortable! I stand with him in solidarity on that. However, he doesn't want to wear socks in the bathtub, whereas I do not care. I'm just grateful for a few moments to wash myself--would go in the shower in a mink coat (faux, of course), if that's what it took. The sock incident happened when Ari was around 18 months old, so I was in my usual delirious state. I put him in the tub with socks on, and he still says, every month or so, "Mommy, wemembew that time when you put me in the tubby with socks?" He didn't like it, but he thought it was funny, not torturous.

But, there is another, more serious sock story. Ari has to sleep in socks because his feet get cold, because it's what he's used to, because in some sleep-deprived/formative moment I started putting socks on him when I put him down. Once, around the same time as the tubby incident, I forgot to put his socks on at bedtime. You would have thought he was dying in a bloody massacre. The shock was so great it drove him to speak his first complete sentence. Even at one and a half, they're manipulators. In fact, I think they should put emotional manipulation in those baby milestone things because isn't it a pretty fucking important skill?

"Mommy!!!" he wailed, in a frenzy of misery, as I walked out of his room, "don't put me to bed with no socks!!" 

He will bring up the tubby incident and laugh, and then I will say, because I am clumsily trying to stay on topic, "remember the time I put you to bed without socks?"

He's still traumatized. His little face will turn red, and he'll start to cry quietly, as if trying to keep it together, and then he will say, "well, I was twying to fowget about that." 

Ugh. Already such a good Jew. 

Speaking of which, we got a Bar Mitzvah invitation this morning. Oh, happy day! I get to buy formal wear for my little boy. I can't tell you how I have looked forward to this moment.

Back to trying to get Ari to put on his socks, all was terrible and dramatic all day. We were at a stale mate because he wouldn't put on his socks or wear sandals. Luckily, we didn't go anywhere but the pool, when he walked barefoot across the street, by choice. Then came bedtime, when, of course, he had to have socks. He pitched a fit, but we held firm. He ended up in bed with his socks in his hands because everybody in the house was refusing to put them on. Our house is good at refusing. Something is wrong with us because we all look forward to it.

Cut to 8:00 pm--porch time. He came out of his room and down to the porch holding his socks tenderly, weeping, and asked again if I would put them on for him. I looked him in the eye.

"Ari," I said, "I will support you. I will be beside you and listen to you and hold you and cheer you on and comfort you, but I will not put your socks on for you."

"What do you mean 'suppowt me?'" he asked.

"You know, I'll just be here," I told him, "in case something goes wrong."

He giggled at that, but then pretended he hadn't. And then he crawled into my lap and put on his socks.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Van Gone

"Mommy! Did you know there was a artist who cut off his eeaw and gave it to a woman as a pwesent?"

(Playing dumb) "Did he?" 

"Yes, and also! He mawwied a diffwent woman. Aftew all that! Isn't that widiculous?"

"Yes. . .do you think she liked the present?"

"Well. She didn't mawwy him. I think she must have hated it. What a weiwd pwesent anyway!"


I explained that this was Long Ago, when people liked drama, such as body-part gifts, and that we no longer do such things.

"Good!" he said, "because what a heck?! An eeaw as a pwesent--oh my!"

He says "what a heck" instead of "what the heck," because he heard it wrong, that cutie. And he is forever saying "oh my!"

"But, do you like his art?" I asked, pulling up Starry Night on my phone. (I love Van Gogh.)

"I guess so," said Ari, "but it's over."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, he's done painting it, now."

Art as the thing you experience during the creation, instead of the thing that's made? I'm in favor.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Berries, Beets, and BFFs with Benefits

My friend, Mara, can cook. She's blonde, but also Italian. Irish on one side, but Italian on the side that matters: the cooking side. I have heard the most fascinating stories about what Italian women do to make food. I don't remember any details, so I will give an imaginary, step by step summary of how Italian women make, say, cassoulet, which is not even an Italian dish, btw. These are not the real steps, as shared by Mara, but they are close enough.
1) Cook considers where to acquire:
a) proper white beans grown in proper soil and 
b) proper duck:
b2) grown and raised properly in the sun and given free reign
b3) also, for reasons of duck genetics and not force-feeding, very fat.
2) In order to obtain these things, cook requisitions various military accoutrements with which to invade the duck pasture/farm land. 
3) Cook does a variety of incantations (but calls it tradition, not witchcraft, because this is cooking, not Buffy) in the root cellar, which is right beneath the organic greenhouse and the pig sty, which the cook uses to make, you know, bacon and herbs and shit.
4) Cook waits many moons for something(s) to ripen/marinate/mature.
5) Maybe six years later, cook is ready to make the thing and does so, and it is the dinner that launched a thousand ships.

Mara makes me eat things I do not like. She makes me forget that I do not like them. She makes me confused about my taste identity! And then! She says to my wife, "Lori eats everything I put in front of her," which no one has ever said about me. Like, ever. I only eat like five things. I eat sugary cereal, pizza, and marshmallows. I basically hate everything else. Only, once in a while, I don't. Of course I eat everything Mara puts in front of me: I am not insane!

I like blackberries. I fail to understand why, in our culture, blueberries and raspberries are glorified and blackberries forgotten. What is that about? Blackberries are sooo much sweeter and more flavorful! Is this some kind of fruit racism?

I like beets. I am trying to grow them. Ok, that is a bit premature. I have not yet ordered any seeds. But, I am going to grow some lovely, bad-ass beets. You will see. I just can't decide if I want red or gold. I have some sort of racism here, too, where I believe, in spite of my own taste experiences, that red beets are more flavorful. This is not so, and furthermore, the red ones stain like a mother-fucker. Mara has Things to Say about beets, of course, since they are a food, which one cooks.

Mara on boiling beets: "this is something one should never attempt if one desires to maintain one's affection for beets." After she said this, I phased out for a bit, and when I came back, Mara was talking to B about "blood splatter on the cabinets," which was still about beets. So, the red ones stain. And one should roast beets, but only the gold ones, of course. But I want red, because I am a (reverse?) racist. Also, I want the red greens (are they still called greens if they're red?), for color and bitterness, in my salads.

"I am not the best cook in my family. By far, I am not," is another thing Mara said one time. I'd like to meet this "family," by which I am sure she means "CIA and Cordon Bleu founders/Iron Chef judges/fantastic mystics who can reverse the spin of the earth on its axis, oh and by the way, make a pretty good stew." Because B and I just beat the living shit out of each other to get the last few dregs of Mara's guacamole and salsa. Btw, I do not like salsa. Fucking hate it. Srsly, if some gets on my chip like, by accident, I will spit that piece of shit out in mixed company. But for Mara's, I will kill my wife. I suppose, technically, salsa is not cooked, so maybe this is what Mara means by not being the best "cook" in her family.

We are at the beach, vacationing, and Mara came by for a couple of days, and she said she would cook. It was almost too much to bear--the anticipation. Then, also, I wasn't sure it was safe. I mean, I want peace, not fisticuffs over salsa. But if you think I tried to stop Mara from cooking, you're on crack. She made fish tacos--a favorite of B's. I can't stand them. I don't think fish belongs in a taco, and I don't think fish belongs with other fish. But, you know, I ate like 17. Finally, we ran out of tortillas. There was still other stuff left: the fish and the salsa and the bean/corn thing, two or three other divine food stuffs in bowls. We all looked at each other, and then B said, "Can we just eat out of the bowls? And stop this charade?" What followed was entirely out of hand. I shan't describe it. There may have been blood.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fake Advice Column #3

Dear Fake Advice Column,
I have always been a loyal customer of Sephora, and I would like to discuss their Beauty Insider program. It's not fair! If you give them information, you get to be a Beauty Insider, but then you have to spend a certain amount to become a VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) and then even more to become a VIB Rouge. The problem is this: their annual Sun Safety Kit, which is in high demand, is now ONLY available to the VIB members.

If you aren't a VIB member, you can't even put it in your cart! I can't afford to spend the amount required to get to the VIB level. It's like Sephora is discriminating again poor people! What should I do?

Dear wannaVIB,
What? A corporation that sells things likes rich people best? Shocking.
Fake Advice Column


Dear Fake Advice Column,
Sometimes it seems like you are making fun of us--the people who write to you. You wouldn't do that, would you? Don't you wanna get paid?

Dear Confused,
I am paid not in cash, but in opportunity. I have many opportunities to make fun of you niggling twits. In other words, I would, and I am.
Fake Advice Column


Dear Fake Advice Column,
Two years ago, I was vacationing on the beach, and I kept running into this horrible woman. Now I am at the same beach, and it is happening again. For some reason, I run into her, her two young boys, and her oafish husband almost daily. My own son knows better than to engage her kids in play (because crazy), but he often plays with other kids near the woman and her boys, and she is forever interrupting my son's conversations with his playmates. I don't know what the fascination is. My son is six, and he and his playmates are all rather unsophisticated. They talk about poop and light sabers and boogers and who is bigger. Still, the woman interrupts incessantly, saying dumb things. She interrupts my conversations, too. For instance, the mother of the boy my son was playing with yesterday started chatting with me, and I asked her what her son's name was. She said "Mateo." Ms. Interrupts A Lot butted in, asking, "what's his name, again?" And Mateo's mother said, "Mateo." Ms. Interrupts A Lot said, quite seriously, "I thought you said 'Potato.'"

WTF parent names their kid "Potato?" 

This is the kind of inane thing she is forever saying when she interrupts, and she also keeps up a constant stream of threats/promises that she is leaving. "Time to leave," she will say to her children. "I'm leaving right now!" Of course, she never leaves, even though it is all she ever talks about with her children. They completely ignore her, and she never stops talking. She then announces to her husband that she would like to go to the bathroom, but she never, ever goes! It is all I can do to stop myself shouting, "Then, go!"

How does one deal with people like this?
Hell is other people.

Dear Hell is other people,
Find a new vacation spot.
Fake Advice Column

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Every time I'm holding ten hundred things, which is always and forevermore, I'm grateful that someone invented the car key fob. When I was a kid, you had to dig around in your bag for the actual key, pull it out, and stick it into the hole on the car door, just to get in! Now, thanks to modern technology, it is automatic. All I have to do is dig around in my bag to find both the key and the key fob (because the fob doesn't start the car, and presumably, I want to drive somewhere, not just sit in the car for, like, fun). Once I locate these things, I have to press one of the four buttons 17 times in quick succession, without hitting any of the other buttons, and some number of the car's door(s) unlock(s) automatically! Plus: it's always a surprise which one(s)--sometimes even a pleasant one.

I sometimes think I do not understand English. Doesn't the word 'automatic' mean you shouldn't have to do anything, even push a button?

In theory, all the doors unlock when I press the button twice, but, actually, only the driver's side door unlocks unless you press the button REALLY HARD an additional 36 times. Furthermore, my car is tricky. When I push the button the first time, it makes a clicking sound near its door handles and gives a little beep. As if to say, "please enter me! I am unlocked!" But, it is a liar, for those doors are still locked, or if they aren't, they will lock again before I can put my shit down to pull on the handle. This whole story makes it sound like I am a slow, clumsy person, but it is not so! I am quite spry. It's the car's fault.

For some reason, in every car I've ever tried to get into, the button I'm supposed to push to unlock the doors is stiff and unyielding, and I almost break my thumb. Meanwhile, the panic button goes off when the wind blows too hard. If I miss and press the wrong button, nbd. All that happens is the car instantly explodes into a five alarm fire siren which does not shut up until I press the buttons in some mystery pattern, which constantly eludes me. 

  "Panic stop--press any button," it says.


I'm good at pressing buttons, btw. I'm a fucking gamer, but this is an impossible task. Oh, and the car flashes all its lights, some of which I swear did not exist before I/the wind pressed the panic button. The light show is backup--just in case there is someone on the planet who didn't hear my poser fire truck/asshole car.

If, by some happenstance, I do get the doors unlocked without incident, for my security, they will lock themselves again after two (theoretically, 30) seconds. Because this is the approximate amount of time a person takes to open the back door, put all the groceries in, and then get in her own damn self. Um, no.

Dear whoever invented the car key fob,
You suck. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Autocorrect Pride

I would like take this opportunity to celebrate my supremacy over autocorrect. It is gay pride season, after all. 

You might think those two things have little to do with each other, but you'd be wrong, for I have turned my autocorrect gay. It now turns
"feel" into "grrl"
"such" into "Sugo" (a charming Italian restaraunt which is totes gay)
"whatever" into "whatevs"
"dream" into "dress"
"nbd" into "lbd" (I talk a lot about dresses, for a grrl who rarely wears them)
"duck" into "fuck" (It used to do the opposite, but I slapped it around some)
"bicycle" into "Bikini Kill" and
"chicken" into "hickey."

Ok, that last is my wife's autocorrect, but whatevs. My autocorrect knows how to spell tom kha gai and wouldn't dare try to suggest any other thing because it's my bitch, and it finally understands me.

Happy pride, people!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bizarro Chores

Sometimes, in the midst of my whacked out life, I realize I'm not normal. I don't know what normal is, but I'm fairly certain that it involves chores like:
-walk the dog
-buy milk
-iron shirt
-pick up car from repair shop.

My chores are:
1). . . 
(We have no dog--thank Jesus.)
2) go to Safeway approximately 2x a day for the remainder of life to get things no one realized we needed, but now must urgently have. And they are nothing so bland as milk! They are: limes and cupcake papers and Spider-man toothpaste which cannot ever be any other kind of toothpaste because if, perchance, a mistake is made in the area of toothpaste, Armageddon shall occur. Nothing about the Safeway trips is simple. Everything requires a consult, as below.

3) I don't iron. Who has time?
4) Tell B about estimate for car repairs so she can call and talk them down. (I am not allowed to do anything before she has a chance to talk them down.)
5) Put ping pong table up against garage wall, because it is always out, not against the wall, due to my ping pong/bubbly combo habit, and it is either -2 or 105 sodding degrees out, and we would be fools to park in the driveway.
6) Order new bench cushion because the old one got yucked by filthy water from a burst pipe, and then we washed the cover, but it shrank even though we hung it to dry. Of course, the bench cushion cover arrived and looks NOTHING like the picture, so now the bench clashes horribly WITH ITS OWN CUSHION. Truly, I have never seen anything so wrong.

This all is boring. Let me tell you something more interesting. Tonight, we attempted to organize the Legos. B tends to call Legos "Lego" in the collective singular, which for some reason I find hot.

"Let's discuss the Lego," she will say, since it is the bane of our existence, and we forever seek a solution.

"Oh? Only the one?" I will say, with a flirty grin.

Before you know it, we are off to the races, having quite the date night.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I am a liberal fuckwit.

Here is the evidence:
1) I think, in actual, human thoughts, "I hope the cleaning lady doesn't know Ari's gender! Perhaps we should work harder on the identifiers. He doesn't have any skirts!"
2) I have a pot rack, with ridiculously-expensive, mother-fucking pots, and I put it up myself, like every other liberal fuckwit who is trying/not trying to take a job from somebody.

3) I have a cheese grater hanging from my pot rack, because I eat a lot of stinky cheese to try to pretend I'm not American and insist, in my liberal fuckwitted-ness, on taking jobs from/liberating cheese graters, too.
4) I used to be dirt poor, so I can say all this and then also say shit about how I walked dogs to buy food, but made the dogs hold it so I could babysit and tutor. (Poor puppies!)
5) I am too. . . I forgot.
6) I have poor-ass, white-trash, Texas roots, but deny them when pressured by Yankees, even though have constant, secret urge to shoot a really big mother-fucking gun. (Shh! Is not very liberally fuckwitted to be into guns, which of course, I am certainly not. Whatsoever gave you that idea?)
7) I hate everyone (see above, re: gun).
8) except my peops. That's right! Reinventing elitism right here, in case it had been endangered!
9) I had to change my shirt, which is from a non-profit, liberally-fuckwitted (but actually really wonderful) organization, the other day because Ari can now sort of read and said, "mommy, what's a sex worker?"

10) I grow own lettuces, and act/sometimes feel like that is meaningful on global level, because own ego is so enormous.

11) I received the above texts from a friend yesterday, and I knew exactly which two "prized ideologies" she meant (polyamory and Marxism--duh!) but had no idea if she meant South Africa, the nation, or the grrl from said nation she's been virtually dating. 
11a) Then, I became suddenly worried had missed some international news event in which South Africa was a pain in the ass, and that I'd embarrass self somehow for not knowing. So, naturally, went on frantic news search before even finished reading message.
12) I have a super sleek orange computer with a hot pink disco ball inside, and it sits on top of a kitten coffee table book to keep its vents clear of carpet. Oh, and, just in case that's not pretentious enough: the kitten book is in French!

13) I just had a debate with B, about whom to root for in the World Cup, which included the following sentences:
13a) "not the United States! We're awful!"
13b) "not Italy, because they're jerks."
13c) "Mexico would be good. They're not elitist, and" (condescendingly) "it'd be so good for their economy."
13d) "Ari says we should root for Russia, and we're all Russian, but Putin's been such a dick, lately."
As if, at some time, he has been less of a dick.
14) I use British, sodding, curse words even though have been to London exactly one time for approx 48 hours.
15) I'm working on my novel.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Wine Groove #6

Song: "Cut It Out," by Kitten

Wine: El Xamfra Brut Cava, no vintage

You shouldn't pay more than $15 for this cava. With my New Year's resolution to never run out of bubbly, I've found a zillion cheap, delicious proseccos and cavas. This is a cava that tastes like a prosecco, and since prosecco is a bit pricier and yummier, it's a steal. The label is also cute. I drink it so often, I sometimes see it in my dreams, though perhaps should not admit.

The song is by a newish group. The lead singer is like 17. She started playing bass when she was 10. It was her first instrument, and it shows, here. The bass line is cute as hell, and the song has many other fine qualities, including:
-a Robert Smith-y guitar line
-a killer 16 beat drum intro to the chorus
-an absolutely sick drummer to drive in the above
-various riot grrl elements. (Only it's prettier, which is good because I'm actually not a riot grrl, no matter how I try. I'm more of a disco diva, or a dancing twink. Sigh--I can't be a badass all the time.)

It's a love song--to someone or some drug. I did a lot of research, and it's still unclear which, but with a chorus like that, who cares? It's subtle--the kind of song you think is conversational background until one day after you've heard it a few times, you wake up at 3:18 am and must immediately listen to it. So, you know, you end up on the porch in your fuzzy, polka dot robe, so as not to wake your loved one with the headphones maxed out. Only, of course you wake her anyway, and then you end up having to tell her what's up because she's worried when all you wanted--no, needed--was be alone with your song at 3:18 am. Is that so much to ask, universe?? Evidently.

I think that's all I have to say about that. Except the YouTube link is not the official video because I think vids are distracting. I mean, how can you hear properly when you're watching?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Shit my students wrote (I stole this line from some dude, but I have students, too.)

Luck lurks

in the midst of a war
Some people fade away
but others are on

Sixth grade, people. Who's on fire? She is! That's what I told her, anyway.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Soul Work

This post is about gardening. Just in case unclear. 

I walked home from work today because B had the car because Ari had a half day, and she took him to the aquarium. We have only one car because we only need two every six months. I keep meaning to get a bike, but I want a Vespa, and B worries I will die. I keep trying to tell her a Vespa is not a motorcycle, but a scooter, and when she does that whole search-the-interwebs-for-scary-statistics-to-dissuade-your-loved-one-from-buying-a-motorcycle-so-she-doesn't-die thing, she needs to be searching for scooters in particular, because everyone knows the people who ride scooters are math nerds, and the people who ride motorcycles are Hell's Angels. And those are different people.

Anyway, she wants me to buy a bike that you pedal. We are at a stalemate, and nobody has bought anything, so I walked home. It's four miles, mostly along park trails. I could have gotten a ride with a colleague, but I can't stand that shit. You have to make conversation, and I've just been conversing with 150 twelve-year-olds all day. I could have waited for B and Ari to pick me up, but I hate waiting. It's actually rather a disability of mine.

But, damn it, the point is, I saw a beaver. A big, mother-fucking beaver. I'm not using a euphemism here, people. (I wish. . .) I am talking about the animal. He might have been larger than Ari. He saw me and, absurdly, ran away, so that I could not take his picture. Why he ran, I do not know. He could have wiped the floor with me. This was on the tennis courts of the high school near the school where I teach. There wasn't anywhere for him to hide, especially given his girth, but he managed, in spite of weighing 2,000 lbs, to move quickly. He was under the bleachers before I knew what was up. The end.

Only, there is more. I used google maps' satellite thingy to not get lost on my walk home. I've worked in same school for two years and lived in same home for I don't know how many, but I have that disability, too. Directions and patience lacking. The google maps' satellite thingy rocks. Here, look!

                        Real Path

Google Maps' satellite thingy, with beaver-sighting tennis court.

Look at that geometry, people!
It totally turns me on. I mean: Vespa-rider wannabe over here.

Onto the gardening. My friend Mara visited this weekend, and I showed her my lettuces, and she said, "Oh, you have a green thumb!" I was extremely excited about this. Mara is one of those people who knows how to do everything, and when you try to tell her something new, something you're good at, she already knows it. So, I was pretty psyched about this compliment. Because, of course, Mara is an excellent gardener. Honestly, I'd like to see the shit she plants not grow. It wouldn't dare. Mara has like seven siblings and raised them all, which is a feat, I tell you, given I am a grown woman barely keeping my one child alive. In the process of raising all her siblings, she learned how to do everything ever. It's kind of annoying, but not when she says I have a green thumb. Then, it's all good.

So, I bought this lime tree. I ordered it on Amazon. I wanted to find a seed, and I wanted it to be organic, but failed on both counts (lime shortage). I eventually gave up on that pipe dream and figured I would detox it from fertilizer in my organic soil after a few seasons. I also decided to get one that was 4-5 years old, so I could have fruit now. 

                        Lime "Tree"

Well, that didn't work. I wasn't paying attention when I ordered or something because when the box came, it was about the size of a champagne box. And then when I took the tree out, I was all like "where's the rest??" This led to a dilemma. This wasn't the tree I'd expected, but I couldn't just toss it. It was a living being! I needed to help it out. It had some holes in its leaves (B called it "half-eaten") and some kind of fungus, too. I had space for only one lime tree, and this had to be the one, unless I wanted to become a murderer. No, thank you.

I put it in an enormous pot with my detox soil and sprayed it with some baking soda/dish soap mix (for the fungus) and hoped for the best. The holes in its leaves didn't disappear, but there were no new holes, and the fungus went away almost immediately. It is definitely looking better, though still tiny. It'll be years before we get limes, and by then the shortage will be over. Still, I'm happy. 

Gardening is miraculous. I had no idea. I just wanted better salads. When I was reading about gardening last summer, I kept coming across this concept of being anti-automatic watering because it makes you spend less time with your plants. I thought that was bananas. I mean, they don't even speak English--get a grip! As time passed, I realized what it meant was that with time spent you notice things, like how the holes in leaves are doing, and you (if not a sociopath) develop a love thing. This motivates you to water that shit, moderately, three times a day, when you could just drown it once. It makes it so you can't forget them. It's like the natural order or some such. 

When Mara said I had a green thumb, I was thrilled because of the source, but even more so because of the task. Gardening is soul work; it's hard as fuck. Every part of it is heavy and tedious. There's so much kneeling--it makes you shake. It makes you smell like actual shit. Ain't nothin' dirtier. But when you eat that lettuce, you taste your own love, in your mouth. You eat it. What other thing can do this? Tell me. Because I wanna do that, too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Ari goes to a Jewish school. They are obvs God-fearing, but there are many advantages, and they seem cool with our atheism, lesbianism, and um. Well, they don't know about the house guests.

It was Purim a couple of months ago--beginning on sundown, March 15th--which I know because I received 28,521 messages every seven seconds on March 14th telling me it was the last day to purchase Purim greetings, which are $3 each and DON'T EVEN EXIST. As in: are virtual. I am not a cheap Jew. Truly. My ping pong table cost an exorbitant amount. The damn paddle was $100. I pay for dinner, mostly, and I buy far too many clothes. But I have my limits, and I have no desire to pay $3 times 17 (16 now--one moved back to Israel) to have an auto-generated Purim greeting emailed to my son's classmates, who, by the way, cannot read. Just: no.

I didn't do it. They have an option for reciprocity, too, which means you will automatically send a greeting to anyone who sends you one. Didn't do that either. It may have secretly been because I didn't get it together and was too lazy to log on to the damn site, which sounds easy but requires an actual computer, a login and password I have (I think) lost, and the ability to identify which class Ari is in, based on some kind of unfathomable signifier. As anyone anywhere knows, the acquisition of this kind of information is far beyond me. Semiotics, no problem. Which class is my child in? Tilt! Even if all of Ari's classmates and their parents think I am mean and stingy, I do not care. Having to do nothing is worth it. I know what you are all thinking: sing it. Thanks for your support.

I'm blogging again because my hiatus was unsuccessful. I'd decided to focus on my book, which is not even supposed to be funny. As in: both that phrase (focus on my book) and the book itself. Not funny. Neither one. However, it is hard to try to write a book when one has as much disgust for serious writers as I do. I am disgusted because I am jealous, of course. And by "disgusted" I mean adore and love. All of my writer friends. Srsly, you are my fave peops. Just also, you make me sick. This is normal, no? I just assume everyone feels this way about all their loved ones who have agents and book deals and published things with pages you can buy.

Of course, most of the writers I know have written exactly what I am trying to write (queer YA sci fi with lots of sex), which has no market whatsoever and a bajillion people trying to write it. Not good math, there. Here is some more bad math, regarding my unsuccessful hiatus. I believe I have somehow managed to write a negative number of pages since I stopped blogging. My colleagues who teach math and science assure me that's not possible, but I am skeptical. I had pages before, and now I have decided they are not worthy and deleted them! So, I had 30. I now have two. How is that not writing a negative number of pages?! What else could it be? Aliens ate them? Absurd. These math people do not understand my tempestuous, artistic self; I shan't be discussing my book with them again!

I know that semicolon use just now was quite risqué. But, bear with me. It gets a lot more mundane from here on out, especially since this post is almost over.

I have one more math solution for you. I am not really here because I failed at my book. I wrote negative pages, but have positive plot creation and outline. A few good sentences I will fight for, if I ever am so lucky as to have an editor to try to get me to take them out. Overall, not bad. However, I am back by popular demand, bitches! Four entire people insisted. That's not a lot of people to most of you, but to an introvert like me, it is. Some of them have polite children, even. Raising a polite child has the same degree of difficulty as consuming (like, with one's mouth) a navy submarine, so these are impressive people. They said their lives were not complete without me. Okay, maybe it wasn't quite those words. What they actually said was much better: that they missed my blog because they used to set aside time to read it and laugh in bed together once the kids were asleep. A parent knows this is high praise. Those hours that feel like seconds between his/her/their bedtime and yours, especially if you have some early rising job, are holy. Thanks, guys. You know who you are.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fake Advice Column #2

Dear Fake Advice Column,
Are you for real?
No fool

Dear Fool,
No. Can you read?
Fake Advice Column


Dear Fake Advice Column,
I am sick of all the things I have to do. How do I make life less work and more play?

Dear Dull,
How should I know?
Fake Advice Column


Dear Fake Advice Column,
I am a Zen student, and I like sex. I like drugs. I like rock and roll. I have many attachments to and desires for these and other things. Do I have to give it all up to be enlightened? That seems like a lot of work! And, why would I want to? Honestly, it reminds me of Catholicism and Lent. Why, why? What was I thinking when I did this Zen thing anyway?
Zen wannabe

Dear Zen wannabe,
This conflict of which you speak is a big pet peeve of mine, since this particular misunderstanding of Zen is
A) kind of dumb and
B) perpetuated by white male hetero American Buddhists and
C) demonizes pleasure and natural emotions (especially sexual and intimate ones) in a very Judeo-Christian way that is NOT related to Buddhist belief and is NOT cute and is, furthermore, supremely unoriginal. The actual Zen idea of non-attachment, in my opinion, is much like its concept of being free from desire. As in: to be free, we surrender to attachment completely. We let ourselves attach to everyone and everything. We attach so hard that we become the attachment, until there is only the attachment, and we disappear within it, and that is real connection, and it is beautiful. When we lose ourselves in the intimacy, and what/whomever we're with does the same. We don't run around trying not to desire anything. We give in to it so wholly that we become desire. We don't experience these things. We become them. That is the essence of Buddhist belief and what I find helpful in it as a spirituality. Our ego and self disappear in our experience. And we strive for this because it feels good.

In one Zen koan I love, a Zen student says to the Zen master upon seeing him weeping over a starved fawn, 
"Master, why do you cry for the fawn? You shouldn't be attached to it." 

Zen master says, "no, you don't understand. The fawn was hungry because it lost its mother. So I went to many nearby villages asking for milk to give to the fawn. But no one would give me any. I went to so many homes, asking for milk. When I came back with nothing, the fawn had starved. But I don't cry for the fawn. I cry for myself. I am hungry. I want my mother. I need milk."

Because, like, he became the fawn.
Cool, no?

I think so. Trying to know the nature of attachments and desire by getting rid of them is wrong. Freedom doesn't mean absence, knowing doesn't mean being--those are very different things.

Fake Advice Column


Dear Fake Advice Column,
I am distraught and in a misery of despair. My brother has stolen my true love away! Do I slash his tires? Drink all of his beer? Make an oragami voodoo doll and set it on fire with all the hatred of my black, black heart? Eat some junk food?
Sad, not angry 

Dear Sad,
I must admit I don't understand your question. Furthermore, monogamy--blargh! Please do not offend my ears (eyes? Since I am reading?) with such drivel. Why can't you share? Did you not learn to do so as young siblings? 

No matter. Here is what you must do:
1) Find a device that plays music and has a dial for the volume control, instead of buttons. (In a Subaru, perhaps?)
2) Play "Rewind" by Rascal Flatts, at volume of 20 or so.
3) Put your fingers on that volume dial.
4) When it gets to 35 seconds, crank it up to 40, hard and fast.

There, now. Doesn't that feel better?
Fake Advice Column


Dear Fake Advice Column,
We know who you are!
Know it alls

Dear Know it alls,
No. I am not the mommy whose blog this is. I just rent the space, but I am not she! We have similar ideas, as it happens, on Buddhism and monogamy and Subarus and Rascal Flatts, but that is just because those are the only sensible opinions to have. She's a teacher who drinks wine (yawn), whereas I am a mythical old queen who loves a gimlet and blanches in the sun. She will spend all day at the beach and cannot handle her liquor. My beauty shan't ever wither with age nor storm nor sun, nor the world's great savagery. Hers is fading, and fast. She eats things I would not even deign to touch. We are as different as we are similar. The same, not the same. And this advice column is not here. It is the place within a place where we can say whatever we want because we are hidden inside one another. Don't you wish you had a place like that?

So, no, bitches, you do not know who I am.

Fake Advice Column

Thursday, February 13, 2014


The school where I work is a little bit unusual. We have a zero tolerance policy for like, everything. If a student does not complete number 21 of her algebra homework, we freak out. We hold a tribal council. We put her picture up on the Promethean board and black out all the windows of our meeting room so we can talk about her with impunity.

"What is wrong?" someone will say. 

"Perhaps she was bored," says someone else. "Is your lesson engaging?"

We all stare at the algebra teacher. Not accusingly, mind you. We want to help him. 

"Have you tried fruit manipulatives?" asks the science teacher. "They're good for asexual reproduction. We could share!"

"Maybe Lisa (not her real name) was unhappy that day," someone suggests. 

"That cannot be! How can that be?" we all simultaneously shriek.

"Let's find out," says someone else. "Pull her in."

Someone goes to get poor Lisa, who's excited to be getting out of class, when really, she should be afraid. We don't humiliate her, of course. We are teachers. We care. But, still, Lisa has to sit and have 15 pairs of eyes on her, and hear one of us (never me, never ever me) ask, "Lisa, is everything ok?"

Then we go on to ask her why she didn't do -- "did not even attempt to do" -- number 21. Lisa, by this point, is fucking terrified, even though we're all oozing sympathy. She is thinking to herself, "OMG, why did I watch that idiotic kitten/Justin Bieber/One Direction/Hunger Games/lacrosse video? Why, oh, why didn't I do number 21? Get me out of here!!"

But all she says is, "well, maybe I was distracted that night."

Soon we're all (not me, never ever me) psychoanalyzing her "choice" to not do number 21, and she is offering to do calculus derivatives (whatever that is) all night to make it up. Eventually, we let her go back to class and then discuss every single member of her extended family for the past six generations, about whom we all know everything. 

Lisa lets it be known that "all the teachers at this school are fucking nuts!" So, basically our students do everything we ask them to do for homework, very well, and usually twice.

I don't love this practice. But, I have my own torture methods. I make them talk! To each other! About shit I made them read! Sometimes, I make them do activities. And then they have to pretend to be into it. Seriously, if they don't, I get mad. I'm all like, "fake it til you make it, people. I wanna see you fascinated. Pretend all you have ever wanted is to act like a sled dog from Call of the Wild."

I have this whacked-out theory that if they act into it, they'll get into it. They get pretty silly. They laugh a lot, but while they're giggling, they claim to be miserable. They say that they hate talking to their peers; they hate activities of all sorts and would rather write a paper. They hate, more than anything, telling the rest of the class what they discovered/wondered in this cruelly enforced conversation/activity. Speaking to the class makes them want to punch themselves in the head repeatedly. I know this because I used to be one of them. And I abhorred teachers like me. I just wanted to be left alone.

So, why do I do it? I'm not a masochist. I dunno. Instinct? Because it feels like it works? Those things.

They all hate me. But they pretend to like me, most of the time. Fake it til you make it, people, or endure teacher tribal council.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Ari has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and started taking a generic version of Ritalin. He is highly drug tolerant, our child, so the first, cheapest one worked fine with minimal side effects. The pediatrician explained to B at Ari's med check that these meds are hot commodities.

Who knew? Only in The County Where I Live Which Is Full Of Alpha Yuppies (not its real name).

"Do you keep it somewhere safe?" the doctor asked B.

One might think it was dangerous, or recreational. Nope. Just improves academic performance. Seriously.

I mean--the doctor said she has one patient who had a family-only birthday party, and his parents left his meds in an unlocked medicine cabinet. Some family member at the birthday party 



                 I made this myself.

The parents had to come back for a new prescription, which the doctor could only give them after all involved (except the thief, of course, since nobody knew who that was) had taken a polygraph and had an NSA background check and been sniffed by fire-proof dogs. Ok, I made that last part up. I think. I don't actually know what happened, or if they were able to get more meds for their son, and if so, how many hoops they had to jump through to get them. I worry for them. I cannot fathom how I would go about even the most basic of hoop-jumping while parenting my unmedicated son.

Recently, our state loosened the restrictions so that doctors are allowed to write more than one month of prescriptions at a time, but only if they are post dated, and each on a separate piece of paper, and not photocopied. I do not know how they tell. We cannot give them all to the pharmacy at once, or they'll throw the post-dated ones away. We cannot have it called or faxed in. We must hand the paper to a human being who works at the pharmacy.

I chafe at these intolerable restrictions. 

Mail order? 90 days? Forget it. And of course, we have to keep the post-dated prescriptions out of sight or Aunt Sally (not her real name) will make off with the pill bottle and the Rx. Or the dudes who fixed our home from the burst pipe will. Or Ari's play date, who is, by the way, six. However, our doctor told us we cannot discount anyone. Every human is a generic Ritalin thief.

Oh, I forgot to mention! It's also an appetite suppressant. Hear that, kids? Straight As and skinny! But don't look here because in this family, we don't play. You take our shit, and we will fuck you up. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Today when I picked Ari up, he told me a fascinating story.

Ari: Mommy! I can't even suck my sum because when we had outside time we were playin' with poison! Orange poison. I had to wash my hands, but now the orange is back. And only pigs can drink orange poison. Ziv said. He said pigs can drink poison, orange blood and not die. But if I drink it, I will have a very bad sore sroat, and I will die. 

Self: Oh?

Ari: But if God is weal, he'll come and sing to me while I'm lying, dead, and I'll come back alive again. I hope he does because then I'll get to live extra because I'll go back to being a baby!

Self: Bunny, you're too young to mourn your lost youth.

Ari: But, I wanna live forever! I wish I was a pig!

Self: Wait, why? What is the advantage of piggery?

Ari: Pigs can eat poison, orange blood and not die!

Self: Oh, what fun!

Ari: (wistfully) Yeah.

Self: But, do you really want to be a pig? Because pigs can't play iPad. Or watch tv.

Ari: (laughs uproariously) No, I was just joking. If I was a pig, I'd be stuck in a cave all my life.

Self: Do pigs live in caves?

Ari: Plus, pigs have dirty baffs. Their baffs are full of dirty. Yuck! I want to take a normal baff, wiff shampoo.

Self: Good boy. (Pause) Do pigs live in caves? 

Ari: (sighs, rolls eyes) No, Mommy, of course not. Pigs live in cages on a farm. Don't you know?

Self: Oh, right. I thought you said caves. 

Ari: I did not say caves. For goodness' sake.

Self: Ok, ok. But I think Ziv was teasing you. Pigs can't drink poison, orange blood and live.

Ari: (refrains from sounding exasperated, somehow) I know, Mommy. But, thanks.

Anytime, Bunny. Anytime.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Anne McCaffrey Poser

I am up at 4:00 am, because I fell asleep at 8:00 last night. I know--behold! The glamour!

So, of course at this hour, when insomniacing, the only thing to do is pretend to be Anne McCaffrey. I mean: it just wouldn't make sense to do anything else. Certainly not start texting some ex-House Guest and tell her I miss her. Because I have no desire to do that. Just so we're clear.

Anne McCaffrey was a fantasy writer, and I'm reading her trilogy The Dragonriders of Pern because all my kids are reading Eragon, which is supposed to be derivative of McCaffrey. Only I don't think the dude who wrote Eragon did a very good job of imitating her. This is where I come in, providing a more acceptable (if brief) imitation. At 4:00 am, no less! Am I a hero, or what? I don't know what you people were using for Anne McCaffrey poser scenes before, but I know you're sure glad I showed up to fix it.

McCaffrey did this neat future/past thing, in which humanity on Earth is hundreds of years in the future and has launched a colony in a different galaxy. The genius part is that the people who are in the colony slowly lose touch and lose their technology and, over the course of many generations, forget they came from Earth, forget how they got there, forget all sorts of shit, until they are running around with swords instead of lasers, and mythologizing all the science. I don't know what happens to their space ship. Erosion, perhaps? Or maybe they just think it's some weird kind of rock.

The people on Pern also keep forgetting this thing that happens every 200-400 years and almost destroys all life on the planet (because that's not important to remember). They write ballads and stories and shit to try to remember it and how to protect themselves, but as more time passes, they begin to think their crazy grandmas made the whole thing up. This happens again and again. 

Anne McCaffrey evidently thought we are a forgetful race, would lose our heads if not attached to bodies, etc. Also, she used IKEA names, and there is lots of political intrigue that makes no sense, and the whole thing reads like a Harlequin romance. Here is my version:

Bronsk evaluated T'haan's hold, deciding quickly that its defenses were significant. No matter. It would all be solved with a bit of dragon fire. The time was not right for such obvious conflict, though. T'haan had not yet insulted Bronsk outright.

"Your east-facing gardens are a violation of the traditions," Bronsk said.

His eyes flashed dangerously.

"I see," T'haan's expression was unreadable. He turned his face to the sky. 

Bronsk chaffed at the scandalous insult, his hand floating towards his scabbard. There was a hush between the men, for a moment.

"Your women are quite beautiful," Bronsk continued. "But they speak as if they have been made meek."

T'haan bristled at this assessment. "I am sorry they are not to your liking," he countered. "Please, stay until the next moon phase, and we will make ourselves more hospitable to you."

"Thank you," replied Bronsk, impulsively deciding to call T'haan's bluff, "I will." He smiled amiably. 

T'haan colored. He led Bronsk back into the hold, his steps pounding out his rage.
When they arrived at the chambers where Bronsk would stay, C'fir arrived, whispering something to T'haan.

"Please excuse us," said T'haan. "We hope you enjoy the sunset." He turned to go.

Bronsk was appalled at this egregious insult. Enjoy the sunset, indeed! His temper surged. He knew, in that instant, that waiting longer would be foolish. He drew his sword. C'fir leapt back, and the other two began to circle each other. T'haan was larger than Bronsk, and struck first. But Bronsk had been more thoroughly insulted, and his fury leant him strength.

And so on. . .

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fake Advice Column

Dear Fake Advice Column,
Recently, I ran into my old college roommate at the park. She had two babies! But, only one of them was cute. We chatted for a bit, and as we were saying goodbye, I said, "your baby is adorable, by the way." I kinda tried to slur a little, so she'd think I said "babies" and not be upset, but she just seemed to think I was drunk. What would you have done?
Two Babies, One Cute

Dear Two,
Fake Advice Colomn

Dear Fake Advice Column,
Really? Even if one was incredibly homely, and there was no way she could ever believe anyone who called him cute?
Two Babies, One Cute

Dear Two,
Yes, really, you dumbass.
Fake Advice Column
Dear Fake Advice Column,
I have been using an online dating service. I notice that everyone seems to believe they are good in bed. How can that be? How is there good with no bad? Don't these opposites define one another? If everyone is good in bed, how can anyone be good in bed? Wouldn't we all just be the same, then?
Good in Bed

Dear Good in Bed,
People suck. There are a zillion who are crappy in bed, but they don't know it. They all think they're good, and they're all running around humble bragging about it -- "I've never had any complaints" and that kind of thing. 

To which Fake Advice Column says, "never seems rather unlikely, if you're actually having sex. So, perhaps you weren't listening because you're a self-absorbed wanker."

I, personally, will not go out with anyone who claims to be good in bed because if they think that, they probably won't listen to suggestions. Plus, being indiscreet about how good you are in bed is just cheesy.
Fake Advice Column
Dear Fake Advice Column,
I go to the deli every day and order a sandwich for lunch. Every day, the people who make the sandwich put cheese on it, even though I tell them please, no. The people in this country seem incapable of understanding that a person might dislike cheese. Wtf? I feel completely marginalized! Is too much to ask that they not put cheese on my sandwich? And if it is, why don't they just say, "look, it's too hard," so that I don't have my hopes dashed every single day?
No Cheese

Dear No Cheese,
You've got to be kidding.
Fake Advice Column

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pot Rack!, Video Games, Big

I have this former House Guest, which is, of course, someone who used to visit my house, and nothing more or less. I would certainly never use a euphemism. Heaven forfend!

So, my ex-House Guest and I aren't really speaking because I still want her to be my House Guest, and she can't or doesn't want to or something. There was lots of misery and drama, so we don't talk.

Last night I was watching "The Good Wife" with B. I dunno if you people saw it. It was pretty heartbreaking, the way Will seemed so bitter and vicious and wanted to destroy Peter to get back at Alicia after they'd had such a grand love. If you don't watch the show, I can't help you. Try to keep up. Anyway, I was upset.

"Oh, boo-hoo-hoo!" I said to B. (I did not actually cry.) "I don't want Big (not her real name, but we'll stick with the Chris Noth connection) and I to be like that. We're not like that, are we?"

"No," B said, reassuringly. "Big isn't like that."

She's very good at House Guest support.

"I know we're a hot mess," I sniffled. Okay, maybe I did cry a little, but to be fair, I'd wept for half an hour over "Flowers in the Attic" (on Lifetime) the night before.

"Couldn't we be Cary and Kalinda -- just sort of hostile, but not necessarily On The Path To Destruction?" I wailed. "I don't want to be vicious enemies for all of our remaining days!"

Plus, Cary and Kalinda are hotter, and at the end of the episode, they have a drink. I want to have a drink, one day, with Big! I would be Cary, btw, or Will, if we have to be those two. Big is Kalinda/Alicia. I know you must be wondering who is who. But Cary is all hot and stoic, and Will is all sexy and surly. I am not stoic or surly at all. Sigh. Also, I'm not a super-hot, famous actor. I don't look like Cary or Kalinda, or Will or Alicia, or even Sarah Jessica Parker or Chris Noth. I am a regular person, and I spill on my shirt almost every day! I've never seen any of those people spill anything on their person, either in real or pretend. TV realism? Bullshit.

The point is, maybe Big doesn't even want me as her ex-House Guest-she-no-longer-speaks-to. Maybe she wants someone hotter, or more stoic or surly, or someone who is busy scheming, like Cary or Will, instead of someone who is busy crying over dumb tv and playing video games, like me. I can't even act right as an angry ex-House Guest!

Speaking of video games, I have this new one, and it was free. So, of course it advertises to me. I don't think it understands me, though. It thinks I want to watch Hulu (I'm a Netflix/Prime grrl),

visit a spa in Tuscany (ok, who doesn't?),

and recover from my oxycodone addiction, which I developed due to my repeated video game failures. 

Also, it thinks I want to play slot machine games, which are so unrelated to the games I play that I do not know what to do. Whatever, ad people. Misunderstood, as always, am I.

Before you get the wrong idea, I should tell you that the vast majority of my House Guests, former House Guests, sometimes House Guests, and almost House Guests and I are quite friendly. JJ was an almost House Guest and comes over every Friday for ping pong and sleeps in the guest room because it is always too late, and we are always too tipsy. Mara and I have never exchanged a harsh word. And Casey, who is no longer my House Guest, still comes over sometimes and is perfectly lovely.

I'm not one of those people who just can't get along. But I am stuck when it comes to Big. Sort of like when I was stuck with this pot rack I ordered from Amazon years ago. I wanted it up, but the place I wanted it had an a/c shaft, and I couldn't drill into it. My stud finder kept thinking the a/c shaft was a ceiling joist, and I kept believing it, and no amount of beer or country music could get that pot rack up. Then, on Saturday, post ping pong, I said to JJ, "Dude, get up. Help me with my pot rack."

JJ was game, and we went to Homo Depot. I gave up on the ceiling joists and bought some anchors. I tried to avoid the places my stud finder wanted me to drill into, thus dodging the a/c vent, and voila:

I just looked up my Amazon order history, and I've been trying to hang that pot rack since June 3, 2011. Maybe in a few years, I will get unstuck with Big, too.

Until then, we're Cary and Kalinda. Nobody is on a Path Of Destruction. We're misaligned, not vicious. Why, just yesterday, she liked a picture of me on Facebook: clearly, our loyalty is deep and true.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Carpet Pad

I don't know if you will recall we had a burst pipe three weeks ago. Luckily, we rent. So the dudes came and ripped up the carpet and put fans under it and punched a hole in the ceiling and pointed a fan at that, too, and then they brought this enormous heat lamp and aimed it somewhere in our bedroom. It was 105 degrees in there, and so we turned off the heat (yo, geniuses) and slept in the guest room.


Today, they came back to repair the hole they'd punched, and painted various things. There was a new layer of dust on everything, and I do not know why. Why is painting dust-causing? There is no dust in paint! I do not understand.

In this process, they've ripped up the carpet, both upstairs and down, and taken out the carpet pad, which was wet. They allegedly disposed of it, but Ari and I keep finding pieces of it. We are both terrified. The first time he saw a piece, he pointed at it and said, almost in tears, "Mommy, make that go away!"

I swooped in like the heroic mommy I am, only to find that I was equally terrified. I didn't know what it was, but I didn't like the colors. I didn't like the texture or the shape or the size. I was yucked. I said to Ari. "Bunny, let's just go upstairs. We'll wait 'til other mommy gets home to deal with it."

I have since learned two things:
1) It is carpet pad.
2) B is not afraid.

Thank goodness! Because this carpet, I forgot to mention, was new--installed maybe two months before the pipe burst. So, we've been exposed to carpet pad 2x. Left over from the install, and ripped up from the pipe.

Ari and I are beside ourselves. B is undisturbed. How can this be?

"How are you so brave?" I ask her, in awe. "Are you human?"

Maybe it's genetic. Great. I gave my kid carpet pad phobia.

Whenever Ari sees a piece, he freezes, which he almost never ever does (ADHD) and gets teary. I squeal like a little girl and leap into the air, usually spilling something. B, because she is awesome, always comes and removes it, but today! She put it on the counter instead of what I asked her to do, which was to put it at the bottom of a long, dark tunnel where I shall never happen upon it. When I saw it again, I almost punched her. You have no idea the fear, I tell you. I have nightmares. Here is a picture:

Maybe you'd be scared, too?

Friday, January 24, 2014


1) leaving house at 5:30 AM when is 7 degrees out:

Ok. So it warmed up a little on the drive.

2) allowing web site for ordering pre-school graduation pics to be broken:

Seriously, are these people trying to start a riot?

3) manufacturing a garage door opener that doesn't work when it freezes. Like, duh. Right?

Monday, January 13, 2014


One of my BFFs, Everett, has a squirrel issue. I do not know what, in particular, the squirrel does that bothers Ev, but whatever it is, he doesn't like it. It is Something Serious. I know this because once when Everett told me about the squirrel, he started talking about guns. It was only an air rifle (poor, Yankee Ev didn't know that's practically a water gun), but still. The squirrel was doing something to Ev's plants, I think. 

Ev didn't have many plants at the time--mostly just some flowers in a box on the railing of his balcony. The squirrel (and Ev insists it's always the same one--he claims to recognize him) likes to recline on his back in the cool soil, shaded by the peonies, with his little squirrel arms draped behind him on the sides of the box.

I imagine it looks a bit like this:

"That blasted squirrel," said Ev one time on the phone, "looks like he's just lying in a jacuzzi!"

I try to be understanding, but I get impatient. The squirrel has been our main conversation topic for years, and sometimes I'd prefer to talk about something else. Plus, I have trouble not seeing the squirrel's perspective. He has fur, poor thing, and summer is hot! What's the little guy supposed to do to keep cool?

"Hide up a damn tree," splutters Ev, "like every other normal squirrel does!"


Ev has taken many, clever steps to rid himself of the squirrel. He's put spikes in the flower box. The squirrel just pushes them aside and lies among them. He's put some smelly stuff in the soil, that squirrels are supposed to hate. I think the peonies suffered, but the squirrel did not mind. He's moved he box to the other side of the balcony, hoping the squirrel wouldn't be able to find it again. Here, I interjected.

"Ev, I know his brain is small," said I, "but is this a blind squirrel?" 

"How the fuck do I know?!" Ev bellowed. "Do I send him disability checks? Did I give him a vision test?"

The squirrel, who does seem to be sighted, found the new location with no trouble.

That's when Ev started talking about guns. 

"Wait a minute. Dude." I said. "I think you might hit a person. It's not worth it."

"I was thinking of getting an air rifle," he said.

"Well, geez then," I said. "Why don't you just brush his fur for him? Or toss a pebble in his general direction?"

"It's still a gun," Ev said. "You don't think it will hurt him?"

"No. I don't. It won't even make him bleed. It'll just make him mad. Plus, you'll miss. Squirrels are fast. It's, like, their little, squirrelly thing. After he hears the shot, he'll have plenty of time to run before the pellet hits."

Texans know guns. We can't help it.

"Huh," Ev said. "What are they for, then? Air rifles?"

"They're for little boys," I replied.

"Huh," said Ev. "Well maybe the shot will scare him."

"And charm the neighbors."

The next time I spoke to Ev, he started asking me about real guns.

"How do I get one?" he wondered. 

"Oh, well lemme see here just a durn minute! I'm right sure I have six in mah drawer!"

"Don't be insulted," Ev said. "You do seem to know a lot about guns."

Sigh. No one understands me. Not even my BFFs.