Thursday, October 31, 2002

So on Nov. 16th or so there's gonna be a sing-along version of the movie Hair playing in town (at the Academy). I am all over this, but I need to go with someone who won't make fun of me as I inevitably cry at the end of the film.
This is how the NYT explains scratching to its more "genteel" readership: "When a drumbeat on a vinyl record is scratched back and forth under a needle, it makes a sort of percussive swishing sound."
D.J. for Run-DMC Is Shot to Death in Queens What the fuck? Run-DMC are all old-school "with-a zip, zop, zippity-zip-zop, a bing-bang-zippity-do!" They weren't ganster rappers, yo. What the fuck happened?

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I was inspired my Kitty Bukkake, and the fact that the pen on this 10-year-old scrap of paper is fading, to type in this recipe for y'all.

Butterscotch Brownies
1/4 cup shortening (butter, always butter)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt shortening in saucepan (pick a pan big enough to hold and stir all ingredients). Remove from heat and stir in sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add rest of ingredients. Spread in greased 8-inch square pan. Bake 25 minutes. Cut brownies while still warm.
Last night I helped A with her homework; refining an essay that compares issues raised in the Scarlet Letter to a current event. She chose an op/ed article about women getting the death penalty. She's in 10th grade, and the teacher had written a critique that said things like "You might want to talk about the paradox inherent in privilege, how it both provides and excludes" that A needed help understanding. No kidding. I didn't get comments like that until college. She only needed help with her closing paragraph, as she had already made her argument: that the punishment for Hester might have been death had she been a man, though it's because she was a woman that she was punished at all; and the public still sees women as incapable of true evil, and is uncomfortable putting them to death, yet the public also doesn't want to be sexist, so they do want to put women to death. Complicated stuff. I had to explain to her what a paradox was, and I got so into it I ended up just flat out writing a key sentence; something about how Chivalry both helps women and confines them. "See? That's a paradox! Doors being held open for you can be nice, but it also means that you're seen as too gentle to handle powerful jobs and shit like that! It's both good and bad combined in one thing! A paradox!"

Hmm. That's sort of how I felt about the season premiere of 24 last night. [warning: spoilers ahead.] On the one hand, I liked it being commercial-free, and on the other I had to sit through a minutes-long mega commercials for a car manufacturer I refuse to name, an ad so obnoxious that muting the sound wasn't enough to protect me from the crap, before the show began. On the one hand, I'm happy 24 is back on the air, and the first episode was exciting and intriguing, on the other... well I have some problems with it. The first series took a few episodes to build up to the truly unbelievable, far-fetched turn-of-events, and this time we get several of these in the first ep. (What are the chances Kim would end up nannying for a crazy gun-toting wife-beater? Why did Jack kill the witness? And how in the hell did Palmer get back to his office from his Oregon fishing trip in five minutes?) I didn't like the clumsy exposition but I understand why it's necessary and hope it's all done now. I'll definitely keep watching, mainly because I have a case of Keifer-love (and man did he look fine after shaving off that beard) and I like Palmer (yet another TV president who I wish was the real president). I just hope the show doesn't make a fool of me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

P and I came up with a good bumper sticker last night: "We lefties may be flakes, but at least we're not fucking evil like the Republicans." Yeah, that pretty much sums up my current political philosophy.
The second season of 24 starts tonight! I am looking forward to eating some Jell-O (which grosses out everyone else in the house, but it's a key comfort food for me) while watching Buffy and 24 tonight in my cozy living room.
My old childhood friend Fiamma has recently moved back east after studying chinese medicine in San Diego and I am happy about it. She had some interesting stuff to say about my strange illness:

In Chinese Medicine, simultaneous vomiting & diarrhea is called "sudden turmoil disorder." Seems appropriate. Without knowing more about the "event" and your medical history etc, it seems like the 2 main possibilities are some a)sort of buggish culprit (the source of which can be difficult to determine, being that there are so many things we put in our mouths over the course of an "incubation period," which can be 2-3 days); and b) an irritable bowel type condition. Although a) can't really be ruled out, the fact that this has happened before suggests b). I don't know how much you know about IBS (s=syndrome), but the good thing is that there's no really horrible things going physically wrong with your parts, because it's a "functional" problem rather than "organic." Although the causes are speculative, it seems to me that it indicates a more sensitive nervous system, and various triggers can overstimulate it & cause it to go haywire. Hormones are directly involved in stumulating the nervous system (which controls your bowels & everything else), stress hormones in particular. That is why stress can be a trigger for an IBS "event." It doesn't mean that the condition is psychological, by
the way. The hormones & chemical changes are very real. So is the shit & vomit! (Other triggers include certain foods that are too difficult to digest & irritate the bowels). But Irritable Bowel Disease involves intestinal pathological changes that are more of a concern than IBS b/c the degenerative changes can oviously get worse. You do have the option of getting yourself checked out again to rule out those pathological changes (especially if your last test was inconclusive). At that point, assuming they don't find anything, IBS would be a likely diagnosis. Especially if you tend to have minor GI unpleasantness semi-regularly (tummy aches or something of that nature). These things tend to be congenital.

me again: I've thought for a long time that I have a mild case of IBS, and from what I've read online I don't have IBD (which is much nastier). I'd much rather have something cureable so I can be rid of it. Sigh. I did call my doc finally; I'm waiting for him to call me back, if he ever does.

Monday, October 28, 2002

I had a horrible GI "event" yesterday afternoon. I'll spare you the play-by-play but it involved intestinal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, simultaneously at a few moments. This was not brought on by anything I can figure; all the food I ate yesterday was normal stuff I've eaten many times before. The episode was almost exactly the same as the infamous Thanksgiving 2001 pass-out, which kicked off months of mysterious stomach pains culminating in an MRI of my intestines, a test that I hadn't prepared for properly (I would've skipped the apple juice I drank pre-test if the nurse had warned me about having to choke down a couple of liters of barium) so the results were a bit inconclusive. They did tell me I didn't seem to have any massive tumors, which was nice. My personal-care doctor was very sympathetic and gave me multiple options but he never figured out exactly what caused it.

Whatever happened yesterday and last Thanksgiving was so violent, painful, and horrible that I will do whatever it takes for it to never happen again. I am supposed to call my doctor and let him know "it's happened again" but I feel dumb about doing it. "Hi, I'm just calling to leave a message for my doctor: it's happened again. What? No, I feel okay now. Just wanted to let him know." Any words of comfort or advice is very welcome.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Black People Love Us! This cracks me up. (My favorite part is the One Love pictures.)

A related note: my college had a group called "White Students Against Racism." I was always sort of conflicted about it; on one hand, I guess it was good to have a place where you could talk about facing your internalized racism, but on the other hand, um ... your group about fighting racism excludes minorities! I think most of the people in the group grew up in very white, homogenous places and they just wanted to learn how to be comfortable around black people. I always felt a little sad (and, to be honest, superior to) the group members.

Friday, October 25, 2002

my old site o' fun Holy crap, my old abandoned website is still up! I haven't updated this in at least 3 ior 4 years. Take a look if you'd like. The Runt story is the best part. I dropped my javanet/RCN account over a year ago so RCN must just be very lazy.
I'm all edgy and shit, bouncing up and down in my chair. I just want to leave the office. It's a combo of boredom and caffeine and sugar. I had a plan for a few hours earlier to drive to NJ after work tonight and catch a friend's car to the demonstration down in D.C., departure time from NJ: 6:30 a.m. But now I think I don't have it in me. I have many projects I need to begin, such as altering an old bridesmaid's dress to make it useable (huge puffy sleeves will be removed) and starting an art project (secret!) for my friends' wedding gift (very soon!). Plus I'm fuckin' tired. Plus the house will be overrun with teen girls this weekend, with T having two friends over for the whole weekend and A having another two over tonight, and I kind of want to observe them. They fascinate me. I was so much more insecure and bitchy than these kids when I was their age. I also never cared about my appearance much, because, you know, you can't shine shit. I didn't feel like I looked SO terrible but I also never wore makeup or any uncomfortable clothes for the sake of fashion, either (I also had an idea that baggy clothes would disguise the fact that I had tiny breasts, which just doesn't work). The few times I tried to wear something trendy I'd inevitably get it wrong in some way and would be ridiculed for it. Eventually in high school I embraced my lack-of-hipness and wore terrific, awful, punk-esque combos such as a vintage green cocktail dress with an enormous orange sweater. I was very "artistic." Now I have a mix of unique and conventional clothes and even when I wear something semi-outrageous I always make sure it makes me look good. I must be doing something right because the teen girls borrow my clothes all the time.
The Living Rockumentary Clearly Max needs to start writing his own songs because his poem about his swollen cheek is excellent.
20 Questions with Drums & Tuba and Spaceheads By Jennifer O'Connor It breaks my heart that the Knitting Factory is only showing "Heat Vision and Jack" on Monday night, ensuring there's no way I can go see it without missing two days of work. That show it my holy grail, people. It's a parody of Knight-Rider- and Six-Million-Dollar-Man-type shows, starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson as the voice of his motorcycle. Come on! This is Saturday night entertainment, not Monday! Damn.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Ew. EW! I checked the search queries list that people used to get to my site, and one fo the new ones is:

crispy used panties

EW! Men are gross. Though a few years ago I considered trying to sell my panties on eBay, just because it seemed like a ridiculously easy way to make a buck. (Now they don't allow unwashed underwear to be auctioned off - how lame is that?) Also, Howard Stern is doing "It's Just Wrong" with twin sisters next week. Whaddaya say, sis? We could win 10 grand! And all we'd have to do is answer trivia questions and undress each other. I'd actually do it but I know a few people at work who listen to his show, and I'd be afraid he'd ask me if I did anal, or something else really embarrassing. Though the fact that I listen to the show at all (only during my 15-minute ride to work) is embarrassing enough.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Ugh. For lunch I had two "sushi balls" from the veggie place in town and now I feel bloated and sleepy. The sushi balls are like sushi sans the protein or nutrition: basically, they're balls of sticky white rice that you dip in soy sauce. No wonder I'm fuzzy-headed. It doesn't help that I've done only about 10 minutes of actual work today, and I've been here for six and a half hours.

I'm waiting for some kind of response on my last post, either from my sister saying "Wow, I forgot all about that! That was so weird!" or a friend saying "oh my god, you grew up in a really fucked-up place!" or "Wow, almost the same exact thing happened to me once!" or "I used to masturbate by humping my stuffed animals all the time, and what of it? Get off your high horse, missy!"
I think I shall add kitty bukake to my list of links, since she was so nice to email me about a comment I left in her blog's comments section. She has a book out now about the Furries, a group of people who like to dress up as stuffed animals (as opposed to actually dressing as animals, which would be less creepy for me - plain old beastiality without the animal torture, you know?) and have sex. There are also Plushies, who like to fuck stuffed animals. Hey, who among us hasn't spent a bored-to-tears suburban afternoon watching a 12-year-old friend hump her teddy bear in the middle of her all-pink-decorated bedroom floor while you and your sister watch in discomfort? Who indeed?
Achewood Sunday Edition (Tuesdays)

i dig boners

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Here's an image to cheer me/you up.

It's very very fall today. Louise and I played ball this morning on the frost-covered grass, and everything was vibrant and colorful. In a week or two the trees will be more bare and it will get depressing, but right now it's very fine.

I'm sad. I just read about the decline and death of an acquaintance of mine, a very good Quaker (who was coincidentally born in the town I'm typing from right now) who really, really didn't deserve to die so early and in such a nasty way. He found he had sudden onset leukemia, quickly developed serious encephailitis and organ failure, and died within a month. His family kept a kind of news diary about it and it's incredibly tragic. It reminded me so much of living through the death of P's dad two years ago. He had six months from diagnosis to death, and only had a few days when he was in the hospital and/or too out of it to talk to us. Different experiences, but in both cases an incredibly peaceful, smart, loving man died too soon. If you want to read his obit and the story of his death, go to bluebloggy thru my links at left and click on her link to John Bishop.

Monday, October 21, 2002

I have a little poster's remorse. Henning, I was just giving you crap re: the back strain episode. Just in case you thought I suddenly turned into an asshole.
FOUND magazine Such a great site, magazine, lifestyle. I wish the Found Mag tour was coming to my town.
Hi. I had a great weekend alone. And just wrote this very epic entry about it, so go get a cuppa coffee and get ready. Okay, good.

I left work extra early (2:00) on Friday to drive the girls up to Montpelier. I got a little anxious during the drive but managed to keep from actually freaking out. On the way up a horrible accident closed 91 in both directions (in order that a helicopter from Baystate could land there, said the radio) between exits 3 and 4, so all traffic had to drive on Rt. 5 between Brattleboro and Putney. It took us right by the Putney Co-op, the place where we used to always get the girls from their mom on visitation weekends, back when P's parents lived in Putney. So we stopped for a snack and little nostalgia-fest. I really miss Putney. Staying at P's parental home was such a treat. They lived way up on Putney Mt., on a long dirt road, no streetlights and hardly any other houses. Very far from my suburban NJ home.

Anyway, later on the drive we were talking about "being bad" which A and T seem to love to do (talking about it, and hearing my 'bad' stories) and A said "Remember that time when you and Dad were really drunk, and you peed in the ATM building? And it was all glass windows, everyone could see you, and we were saying 'Debbie, stop it! You are so drunk!'" At first I was all "Wha..? I never did that!" but then I caught on and started embellishing the story, and then said "But A, what was even worse was when you really had to pee in the Big E, so you just squatted in the produce department! We were so embarrassed!" It was very funny. Then A said here, I'll draw the story of what happened, and she took a paper napkin and drew a hilarious cartoon of me peeing in an Easthampton Savings Bank ATM building, and there are all sorts of inside jokes involved. It was very well done.

I can't wait to see if anyone googling "Easthampton Savings Bank" ends up reading this.

The drive took about 6 hours total, so I was back around 9 p.m. I chilled at home, happy to be alone and free from my parenting duties for the weekend, changed clothes, and went out to see The Fawns and School For the Dead at Harry's. I finally remembered to bring the plastic lawn deer that currently sits in a shady part of my back yard. During a break between songs, I placed it on stage as a prop. I had bought it with Henning and Lisa so they were familiar with him (the deer is named Danny, after H's dog. For some reason it cracks me up to steal the fake dog's name for my fake deer). The Fawns were great; Lisa seems to be getting more and more relaxed and confident and it's fun to watch. When SFTD came on I took the deer back to the table to watch. The band was great. I wish everyone would have danced because I would have. I almost was the One Lady Dancing but there was One Drunk Guy Dancing at the time and I didn't feel like giving him a reason to interact with me.I sat with fun people and had a great time. I was all loose and irresponsible and free. So I fucked a couple of guys in the bathroom and snorted a couple of lines of coke.

No. But I did go to Jake's after the show with L, H, Tony, and Ken. I was deliriously tired, and everything was starting to look kind of unreal. All I remember is getting some good homefries and wishing I had also gotten a waffle.

Saturday I woke up late and made myself eggs and turkey bacon and butter-slathered toast. I got a lot of chores done: 3 loads of laundry, sweeping the halls and the kitchen, vacuuming the downstairs... I even made the kids' beds. I also went to the mall to buy T some cool pants at Forever 21, a store which makes me feel uncomfortable because of its name. I imagine either people assume I'm trying to pretend I'm still 21, or I'm not pretending but can't let go of my fast-fading youth. The store is sort of the new H&M; ultra-trendy clothes at disposible prices, which normally I like, but the name is a huge hurdle for me. I know, I'm a dork.

I went over to H and L's, and I remembered to bring L the Hot Rock Lisa doll I found at a discount dollar store in Bridgeport, CT. It's a very bad barbie knock-off, but she has awesome white gogo boots and a pink heavy-metal guitar. Plus it says Hot Rock Lisa. What more could you want? Lisa was thrilled. H had thrown out his back doing something even the most feeble among us could do without difficulty, so he foolishly took two prescription painkillers (Rokinblok, or Roxsette, or something) which were just starting to kick in when I arrived at their place. We drove out to the Bison Farm to buy tickets and meet up with Rob and Laurie and Poppy. Then we decided to go eat at Chili's (too crowded) and then Friendly's (just right) while waiting for our hayride time. H had been kind of weaving when he walked but had been joking about it until we got to Friendly's, when he suddenly looked very ill and stopped joking. He was all sweaty and pale and so L took him home. We were worried about him but managed to enjoy our Supermelts and Wraps. R, L, and P quizzed me about my life. We barely know each other, and my life is kind of odd at the moment (being an instant stepmom, and the events leading up to that) so I didn't mind the interview.

The Haunted Hayride, I was assured, was going to be scary and totally worth $10 a person. Finally our number was called and it was scary ride time (no actual hay in the wagons). We sat in the first of a train of two wagons, and a tractor pulled the wagons around the farm to different scary scenes populated by crazy people yelling at you and banging on the sides of the wagon and sometimes entering the wagon to threaten you personally. It was fun, and funny in parts, but I was only really scared in a few parts, and even then they weren't the fun "startled" kind of scared but the "shit, maybe this college kid in the scary clown mask really does intend to keep honking his horn in my face for the rest of the night" kind of scared. The most interesting/disturbing part was at a scene set in a cannibalistic diner. The waitress was, for no apparent reason, a guy in drag camping it up. Someone in the second wagon said something inaudible to us, probably about the fact that she was a he, which made the waitress guy say something about her weight, like "I see they let people of all sizes ride here." The lot of us went "Ohhh!" in that "oh, snap! oh-no-he-di'int" kind of way, but she must have said something else to him because he kept at it, totally breaking character to make fat jokes at her expense. It was odd and uncomfortable, like, is this part of the scariness? I mean, there was a kid in our wagon, and some not-skinny people too. While I like to see homophobes ridiculed as much as the next person, going after someone's weight is not the way to go.

On the drive back to Northampton we noticed fireworks over the town. As we got closer we realized they were being shot off at Smith College. L quickly drove up to the top of the new Smith College Parking Structure, where we had a beautiful view. It was a full fireworks show, with fancy rockets and a complete finale, and it was beautiful and quiet up on the parking structure; you could hear the sound rolling across the valley and bouncing back at us from the mountains. It was crisp and cold so the sound seemed even more clear. After it was done we asked one of the other smart people up on the deck what the display had been for. "Oh, Smith just inaugurated a new President. There was a big celebration held tonight." Wow. Shit like that does not happen when I get promoted, let me tell you. Smith is very wealthy, but this seemed over-the-top even for them. I was glad I got to enjoy it, though.

Once I got home H called to make sure I was okay. He and L were worried about abandoning me with people I hardly know. I so hadn't even thought about it; like, H was so clearly sick, I am not the one they should be thinking about. It was very sweet of them to call, they're good people. I was more concerned about H, who said he felt better after laying down for a while.

Sunday was pretty boring, I picked up the girls in Brattleboro and bought some hilarious vintage, plaid pants that I will wear to work, and for dinner I made peanut noodles that the girls raved about. P comes home tonight and we are all happy, me especially. This morning was the last time (for a while) that I have to get up at 6:30 and drive A to school! T's birthday is tomorrow so we are planning some minor fun for that and a bigger party thing this weekend, maybe.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I love homestar runner.
Today me and all of the other full-time employees (about 75 percent of the office) received little gifts from the corporate gods to thank us for "exceeding our goals three years in a row." The gift is a man-sized Kenneth Cole watch, though in my office (and in the entire company, I'd wager) the vast majority of us are female. Typical. The watch face is brass and rectangular and huge, so as to fit two separate watch faces (so I guess one can be set on L.A. or Paris time). Even on the smallest hole the thing doesn't fit me. Next time, just give us nice crisp $20 bills and we'll all be so much happier.
I am so tired. I had one of those nights with the super-sweats. I woke up because sweat was trickling down my front. I dabbed at my skin with a tissue, decided I was too asleep to change to a lighter blanket, threw a limb out into the cold air instead, and fell back asleep.

A and I had our first fight of this solo-trip time period yesterday:

Me: So I'm going to leave work earlier tomorrow, at 3, so we can leave for your mom's.
A: What? We'll never make it on time! I told someone we'd be there to pick them up at 6:15!
Me: What? A, you have to tell me these things. How was I supposed to know that?
A: Well how was I supposed to know we were going to be leaving at a different time? We always get there at 6!
Me: Not this time, this is a special circumstance. Besides, we won't be much later than 6; we'll just swing by the house, pick up T and your stuff, and go.
A: Yeah, it'll take like half an hour, and then we'll be leaving at 4.
Me: No we won't; I'm not your dad, I move very quickly and I'm not late all the time [sorry P, but it's true].
A: You are too late! I've been late to school every day you've driven me!
Me (getting mad): What are you talking about? Except for one day I was late, there've been a million other cars there dropping off other kids when I've dropped you off! You're there at 7:30!
A (snotty): I'm supposed to be there at 7:25, which you'd know if you looked on the stupid little piece of paper you wrote it down on. I come in, and everyone else is sitting down already. [note that she is not late, at all; she is admitting she is perfectly on time] We're supposed to leave at 7:10, and -
Me (cutting her off, voice rising; did I mention this was happening in my cubicle, in earshot of my entire office?): Ana, I am getting very angry! Stop talking right now!

And that was that. I'm still a little pissed about it, though I swallowed it all like a good soldier/stepmom, and broke the silence a few minutes later by giving her $5 to go get a bagel. I know all teens are incredibly selfish, but the depths of if amaze me every time.

Anya and Max did cook us up a delicious dinner last night at their lovely apartment. I was so grateful to not have to cook or clean (I did offer) I was almost in tears when I hugged them goodbye. What a fuckin' wreck I am.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Okay, I did my own search for screaming stukas, and it looks like a stuka is a German war plane. Hitler used them during the blitzkreig. Here's a good website all about stukas, if you've come here looking for that sort of thing:

Chowflap blog: it's edutainmental!
Some new "weird search queries" that sent people to my blog:

screaming stukas [what's a stuka?]

bad gory pictures of iraq

anna kournikova balls in panties poster

towelie girl models

jackass episode pirating

cabernet panties [my favorite]

devil fortune teller on ebay

unifroms people wearing for a 15 years old girl [sounds vaguely disturbing]

castration fantasies photos
Okay, I feel better today. My happiness seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of water currently flooding the basement. Also, I made a great stir-fry with tofu I fried the fuck out of so it was all crispy on the outside, and then I asked the girls to clean up afterwards, and they did without a complaint. Then I spent the rest of the evening sucking water out of the basement, a futile gesture since the water level immediately rose back up as soon as I stopped.

This North Korea thing is scary and will take a delicate series of maneuvers to de-fuse. I'm sure Bush will completely fuck it up and we'll end up going to war with both Iraq and North Korea at the same time. WWIII, here we come!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Shrink never called me yesterday, so we had a short phone meeting this afternoon in my car after I dropped off A at home. All I do all day is drive and work and cook and clean. Today I have nothing interesting to say. Being a single mom sucks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I have a shrink appointment tonight which I have to cancel due to having to take T to her 7:45 p.m. dance class. I just spoke to shrink's secretary person, and man, what a bitch. She was really unhelpful and sort of snottily asked me why I needed to change it (none of your fuckin' business), and told me that I would still have to pay for it (and insurance does not cover it, and it's $95, and I'd still have to see him and pay another $95 for the privilege). So I'm going to do a phone consult at 7:20 while driving to Hadley with T in the car. "Uh yeah, I'm feeling basically okay, though having these kids here is stressing me out... Watch it, Toyota! Fuckin' cutting me off.... Anyway, uh hold on, I need to shift... Yeah, I'm taking care of A and T while their dad's away and it's difficult. Wait, T, don't cry, I didn't mean you were difficult! Oops, just ran a red light..."
Okay, so, hi. This morning I discovered that if I have to, I can go from being in bed to being ready to go to work in ten minutes. Heh. Sorry for the lack of blog; I had yesterday off to celebrate the life of Christopher Columbus. Actually I took it off to go to a theme park. We did make it to Six Flags yesterday, and it was fun and scary in a good way. But I had a rough weekend overall.

Saturday morning the basement flooded, which made me freak out. I've never had to deal with such a thing, and our basement hasn't flooded in the 2-plus years we've lived here. I bought a pump and sucked most of the water out - it was only about an inch and a half deep. But a couple of hours later it was back.

That afternoon we drove two hours to visit with P for dinner and to see his show. He's been on tour for a few days and comes back Oct. 21. I was exhausted by dealing with the flood and taking the kids to the mall and I basically broke down once we finished dinner. I hid out in the car after P was done playing (A and T were watching the headliner perform) and P came out and talked to me. I just felt like I could not do it, could not be a single mom, could not take care of everything without him. I tried to remember that I WAS doing it, and today was just a miserable day, but I was so tired I couldn't get a grip. Eventually I felt okay enough to drive us home.

Sunday my dad showed up around noon with a van full of furniture for the kids. First he looked at the basement situation; the water level was down to mere puddles, but he couldn't figure out why the sump pump was working since we couldn't find where the water was ending up. I made pesto while he cleaned up the puddles with a sponge mop, without making a big deal out of it (just "where's the mop?"), which made me very grateful. The rest of the day was spent moving furniture around. My Ikea shelving unit from high school has been reborn. Thea went to acting class, and when I picked her up two hours later, she told me class had actually been cancelled due to Columbus Day (whatever) but the young, geeky, too-earnest theater guy made him stay and help scrape windows with him. T finds him creepy and having met him I understand why. Afterwards Dad took us out to eat at Pizzeria Paradiso and then it was time for bed.

Sunday was Big Fun Secret Surprise Day. I made everyone dress warmly and we drove down to Six Flags. Ana caught on to where we were going pretty quickly, though she didn't let on until we got there, but Thea seemed to not know until we were in sight of the roller coasters. Dad came too, in his own car so he could leave early and drive home to NJ. On the ticket line the people in front of us told us that if we showed the ticket seller a piece of paper with "105.9" written on it, our tickets would only be $10 each, due to some crazy radio promotion. With our coupons we were going to be spending $30 a ticket so this seemed much too good to be true. But after the guy in front got to the window and turned around to tell us gleefully, "it worked!" I said to his son "Gimme that pen, kid!" and scribbled 105.9 on the 10-bucks-off coupon I was holding. And it worked! Amazing. Instead of $120 we spent $40.

A and T and Dad went on all of the huge roller coasters. I stood on line with them and always took the chicken exit near the loading station. I did go on the Thunderbolt, a Cyclone-sized wooden coaster, and it was fun though a little jerky. Dad left around 5:00, having hit all of the rides he wanted (all of the big ones). We wandered around and paid to do one of the indoor haunted houses, which was just walking through a twisty corridor with day-glo paintings of scary clowns, and once in a while some teenager dressed as a scary clown would jump out at you. It was over in less than five minutes. Once it got dark we went on the Trail of Terror, for which we had to stand on the Long Queue of Coldness, as it was even colder out once the sun went down. It was worth it, though. The trail went way into the woods and through different tableaus, like a toxic dump, an axe-murderer's camp, and an abandoned bus, and the actors here were very good at suprising you and acting genuinely deranged and dangerous. Unlike in the haunted house, I got seriously frightened a couple of times by scary people leaping out at me. The three of us huddled together and screamed in unison any time anything happened. It was so much fun. On our way out I bought us some hot, fresh kettle corn we watched being made. We crunched on warm yummy kernels all the way home.

Friday, October 11, 2002

So the Sunday with Dad Six Flags trip may not happen after all. T has acting class that evening, early, so we'd have to cut our park time very short. Dammit.

Also, Rufus Wainwright's been cancelled! The ticket guy who called me gave no reason. I wonder what happened? I am bummed.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

My dad just called. He's going to be visiting me Sunday morning-Monday morning, and we were discussing what furniture from my childhood home he should bring for the girls. Of course now the kids are both fighting over the hutch, a nice china-and-linen-cabinet thingy that I used as my bureau when I was a teen. I have as of yet no creative way to determine who gets it. A is older, so maybe she gets it, but T seems more in need of storage. A is definitely the squeakier wheel, though, and I don't want to look like I'm rewarding her loud complainings. At the same time, at her age I used to be just as cranky as she is, so I shouldn't let her bad attitude count against her either.

Do you see how hard it is? Little things like this turn the wheels in my brain until important facts and figures that someday I'll really need get turned to ash.

Anyway, I told my dad about trying to take the girls to Six Flags this weekend, and having to either take work off Monday or do it Friday night, and he said, well, why don't we go on Sunday? I'd love to go to Six Flags! So it looks like the four of us might go. He's always been the one in our nuclear family to go on all of the big rides, while me and my mom and sister waited for him so we could do the bumper cars or the log flume. I've never been close to my dad, and throughout my adolescence we had horrible screaming and yelling and very mean fights. I really believed that I hated him. He's the typical emotionally-closed-off WASPy dad from the Northeast, prone to sudden bursts of anger directed at inanimate objects. This did not mix well with me as a teen. I did however learn how to calm down irrationally angry people (stay quiet, don't get angry yourself, talk in a normal reasoned voice, tell them it doesn't matter the bowl of pasta fell on the floor, we can make more). As little kids it was fine, our dad was the game-player in the house so he was the go-to guy for fun. But then we stopped playing games and drifted away from him and he didnt' seem to know how to communicate with us. He still has trouble and probably always will. I'm trying to be at peace with that.

So this trip to the amusement park should be interesting. We have some old snapshots of me and my sister as young kids at Great Adventure, the Six Flags park nearest our home, that dad took while we were on the swing ride. Our arms reach out like wings and our mouths are wide with delight and we're flying, all safe and worry-free.
New links: I added Dawn Olson's blog, Up Yours, a couple of days ago, since I check hers almost daily, and Achewood, which is especially endearing and funny today.
I don't know if I really have any fetish, but I do like the word "panties"...

Your Secret Fetish Is Panties!

Mmmm... panties.

You might like them fresh out of the wrapper or incredibley nasty and dirty.

Chances are that you and your lover keep your underwear on during sex...

and that you can be caught peeking up skirts from time to time.

What's *Your* Secret Fetish? Click Here to Find Out!

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Handles This link is really for my pal Avani, who has decided to start making bags to sell! You go, girl!
I'm starting to freak out a little. P is leaving tomorrow and won't be back until Oct. 21. I will be single-parenting during that time, and also dealing with not having P around. I have a separation problem which makes me weak as a kitten when people I am attached to are not around. I can usually distract myself and do fun things with other people, but there's always that time when you have to go to bed and nobody is there and it is very quiet. And I love my dog, who is my alternate bed companion, but she's just not the same as P. She farts a little less, for one.

So my little Six Flags Surprise plan may not work after all. Saturday night I wanted to go see P in CT, and Sunday my dad will be visiting. So the only good day is Monday, which T and A have off from school, but I might have to work and won't know until Friday if I do.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Addendum: The hypnotherapy birthing thing didn't not work, exactly, but it requires more time between contractions to really get it going. Alice had very rapid labor right from the start, two minute contractions with two minutes in-between. And apparently the hypno techniques helped calm her down on the cab ride on the way to the hospital. Sex | A classic conundrum Gary Tennis's answer to the first reader's question could have been written by P. Good answer.
Man, I should get a good night's sleep more often. I went to bed at 10 instead of my usual 11:30 and I feel great. I even got to work on time, 9:00.

My sister Sarah's best friend Alice had her baby yesterday! She's my friend too, by proxy (plus I see her every time I visit the sister). Apparently the hypno-pain-relief method she learned didn't work... But she had a quick labor, like 6 hours, and had an epidural at a late stage in the game which didn't work that well, but Alice was well enough afterwards to call S and sound very normal and calm and not exhausted. I think S is hoping to visit them in the hospital today and will take some digital pics for me. It's a boy, named Henry or Jake (they're undecided) and he's about 7 pounds.

The mall last night was fine. I felt ill for most of it, but then I felt better. T bought a couple of shirts at Old Navy but was undecided on some other items. We checked out Forever 21, which is supposed to be the New H&M. It was pretty good, cheap trendy clothes, though there were a lot of cheap leather items that gave off a funky odor. I tried on some tight red low-rise cords, which fit me fine, but I have enough clothes already that I can't wear to work. We're going back, with A this time, on Friday. I have a sneaky plan to take them to Six Flags on Sunday, but I'm not going to tell them about it in advance. It's a crazy expense but I just found some $10-off coupons and I know they really, really want to go. I'm gonna have to bring a book because they go on the vomitrific rides I would never go on. Anyone out there want to go with us?

The bad thing about going to bed early, besides making me feel old, is that I miss the Daily Show. I found out that it's rerun at 5:30 every night so as long as I make it home on time I can still watch it.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Hi. Busy weekend. As part of my natural nesting reaction to the weather turning colder, I did a lot of cleaning: I scrubbed the kitchen, taking an especially long time with getting the sticky, lint-coated grease off of our big, white "vintage" oven, and using oven cleaner on the burner drip tray things (which worked satisfyingly well, though some residue still remains). The girls were up in VT, getting heartbreakingly dissed by their mom again (she did take them out to dinner and a movie, but opted to send them home early on a train instead of spending Sunday with them; they spent both nights at friends' homes).

Sunday night P, A, T, and I went out to dinner with P's mom, aunt, and cousin. Aunt and cousin were visiting from Atlanta (they're from Texas originally, I think). We were at a sort of fancy, quirky place, Green St. Cafe, and as usual P's mom had much to complain about. "They really should do something about the handwriting on these menus!" "That little pot of tapenade for ALL of us?!" When figuring out what wine she wanted, as they didn't have Merlot or Cabernet, she looked plaintively up at the waitress and said "I've never heard of any of these before in my life." After our waitress brought over a taste of something for her to try, she said "This is awful. Ugh, it's just undrinkable." She has a knack of making waitstaff ridiculously uncomfortable, leaving the rest of us to try to patch things up by tempering her statements with compliments and apologies. It makes eating out with her very stressful sometimes. Yet she paid for my meal, so I guess I'm just an ungrateful swine.

I liked P's cousin, though, who seemed smart and funny and interesting. But I was too wrapped up in keeping a grouchy A happy and trying not to ignore a sidelined-as-usual T. I must have succeeded because we did goofy prancing walks on our way back to the car.

Tonight I've told T I'm taking her to the mall, though I'm quite exhausted. I went to bed around 12:30, I woke up at 3:00 with stomach and anxiety issues and read on the sofa downstairs, dozing off a little while Wedge cat kept kneading me to keep me awake. I returned to bed at 5:23, to wake up for good around 7:30. Oy.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Crazy situation (not even a fight per se, just butting of heads) with A last night prompted an emergency session with P's longtime shrink in Brattleboro this morning. Here are the basic tips he gave us:

You have no power. So fighting for it is futile. Have you ever seriously tried to force someone do the dishes? Can't be done.

Avoid power struggles. See above.

Turn it all back on the kid so they are forced to take responsibility. No explaining, "In this house, we do the dishes because we all chip in." Just, Do the dishes. They say, "No, I won't do them," you say, "Huh." Or even add, "Now what?" and stare at them expectantly. Supposedly this will get them to (eventually) do the dishes, instead of fighting (which is what would come of "do the dishes because it's your job and I cooked and blah blah blah.").

We are ascared of putting this into action. We both feel like we need scripts for each specific incident. My instinct is to go the explaining route and THEN let it drop. Then leave the dishes until there are no more clean dishes, then say oh look, the dishes didn't magically clean themselves. But apparently we're supposed to say as little as possible and do a lot of staring.

Also, there's basically nothing we can do to help fix their relationship with Abandonment Mom (tm). I said, Maybe P could call her and suggest she try calling more often? And the shrink said, no, no, no. You can't make her change like that. So the only thing we can do is keep listening and telling them we see how much it is hurting them, and it's okay to be angry and depressed, we aren't going anywhere. And then P and I will secretly plot our revenge on their behalf.

Ha, just kidding. Ha. ha.

Neal Pollack's blog today is a sly satire of Jonathan Franzen's article in the recent New Yorker, about serious literature vs. fun reads. I'm all proud I get the references.

I've gotten back into the habit of saying "I've got to get my cone on" and "I need to get my coffee on." I expect it will only last another day or two.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

P.S. "Wise Up" and "Save Me" are the Magnolia songs she played last night.
You are jealous of me. I saw Aimee Mann last night. What a great show she puts on. She played a bunch of songs from her new album, some favorites from the Magnolia soundtrack (before one of the songs she said "now just picture frogs raining down on you") and Bachelor No. 2. Some highlights:

"Red Vines" during the first encore

"Humpty Dumpty" and "Pavlov's Bell" were great

"Deathly" from B. #2, one of my favorite songs of hers. She also played "Calling it Quits" and "Susan" and among others, though not my favorite song, "How Am I Different"

a woman in the audience yelled out "Voices Carry!" and Aimee sighed and pretended to strangle herself. She said, "no, It's okay, I know you only said that so you'd see if I would get really angry or explode, right?" Then as the audience laughed she said "No - I'm gonna do it. I'm going to sing Voices Carry for you." she turned to the keyboardist and said "give me a C, a bouncy C" and the band started to play accompaniment, and she did it, she sang Voices Carry! I was so happy. That was a favorite song of mine in 1985-86, and I loved the video too, with Aimee's crazy freak-hair...

She had a new lighting guy who used projected polka-dot circles and mesh patterns that would rotate on the back wall of the stage then slowly slip up to the ceiling and then back down across the audience. Very beautiful and colorful and fitting.

Also, before the show I had a girls-night-out dinner at Cha's with Anya and Penny. It was very nice. I've always found it more difficult making friends with women than with men. Yet I crave female friends. I guess it's hard for me to be myself, all exposed without that veil of jokes and flirtiness to hide behind. Women see through all that bullshit (at least I do, and I assume others do) when they watch other women. Anyway. I've become so much less self-conscious than when I was in high school and college. It's made me more comfortable in my own skin. Life is just easier when you aren't constantly thinking of how other people are judging you or admiring you. Now I'm all, Who the fuck cares? When I was a kid, my parents had this embarrassing overweight single friend named Lee. Whenever there was a good song on the radio, she'd tap and slap her thigh in time with the music. It was mortifying and so, so dorky. Yet it's exactly what i did at the show last night (I would have been up dancing but this was an old theater with assigned seats and no dance floor). Lee didn't care and I didn't either.

map of who says what This is interesting: A map of where people say "soda" and where people say "pop" and where people say "Coke" when they mean any kind of generic soda. "Soda" is of course the correct word, though I do find "pop" kind of charming. Now if there was a map comparing a hamburger to a hamburg (which seems to be a New England, or at least a Western Mass, thing that I loathe) to a burger.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

So on Monday night I finished Warioland 4 on my Gameboy Advance. It served its purpose. It was actually really well done; I really like the Mario side-scrollers, they're clever and the graphics are simple yet creative. I started Deus Ex later the same night. It is very hard. I like that there are multiple ways of getting things done, but I think there's a steep learning curve on the controls. Sneaking around the Statue of Liberty park is time-consuming, and if I make any shortcuts the people find me and kill me. I found the secret back way in, but can't get up or down without getting killed, so now I'm back to finding the bum at the North Dock or whatever.

I'm sure this is fascinating to all of you who haven't played the game. Or even if you have.

Here's something interesting: Edamame appears to give me horrendous gas.

So I'm looking for a new Game Boy Advance game. Maybe another Mario-world game like Yoshi's Island or MarioKart, or this game called Urban Yeti, or Grand Theft Auto 3 when it comes out in a few days.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Not in Our Name

I am very conflicted when it comes to peace marches such as this. As a kid I attended the huge anti-nuke march on Washington in 1982 (or was it 1980?) and was proud of it, and of our numbers. But now... I believe, roughly, in what these people are saying, but I worry that the way they say it is outdated. Marches and other protest events seem to be nothing but a punchline for the people they demonstrate against. Soon after Sept. 11 last year I was part of a short peace march in my small town, which ended with speeches at a park. Most of them were from overly-ernest, simplistic stereotypical hippies. We left soon after, because I was afraid, I joked, that soon they'd start singing Kumbaya. And later I found out that's exactly what they did. People, please. I know I wasn't the only person there who was embarrassed to hear about it. This is why the Left is so fractured and ineffective. The self-appointed leaders alienate the non-extremists and the realists and this is why you/we fail. Serious people who bathe and have real jobs need to lead this movement if it's to have any support outside the gang of usual suspects from the ACLU and Greenpeace and the like. The average Joe Schmoe only scans the crowd, sees a bunch of ragtag drug casualties from the 1960s and their children, and he chuckles and goes back to reading the National Review. And the anti-war movement will not succeed unless we have huge popular support because, let's face it, Bush and co. really aren't interested in what a small minority of the voting population thinks about it.

I don't want to sing soft little songs about how war is bad and peace is nice and love is the best ever. I want the public to hear the persuasive arguments about why this particular war is a very bad idea. They're political and financial reasons, which aren't as emotional and sexy as shouting "no blood for oil" which made sense in 1991 but doesn't apply, really, to this conflict. It's a post-9-11 world and you have to admit that yes, there are some very very bad guys in the Middle East who want to kill us and we have to stop them. But those bad guys are called Al Quaeda, not The Entire Country of Iraq.

Okay, I'm rambling. Go to this march if you feel like it but don't think it will change anything. At best you'll get a minute or two on the evening news probably closed with a couple of snickering comments from the newscaster. I think well-placed editorials and letters to your congressmen - or better yet, meet personally with your rep and tell him how you feel - would do better at getting the message out.