Friday, December 31, 2004

Looks like it's New Year's resolutions time, so here are some. I would like 2005 to suck less than 2004. I really thought this past year was going to be My Year. But despite the birth of Tallulah it really wasn't. So for this next year I resolve:

to re-convince myself of my awesome-ness

to stop saying "totally" so goddamn much

to either go on an actual vacation, move to a different city, or both

if I decide to stay here, to do serious research on getting a table at a good craft festival/sale, getting into production, and giving that whole thing a real go

to manage time better in order to have more time to create art

to be more daring, except whilst driving

to reestablish contacts with some friends who have been drifting out of touch

Things I resolve to keep on doing because they are great:

going to meeting (Quaker)
shape-note singing
yoga/workin' out (just re-started this past week)
shakin' that thang (a.k.a. dancing)
droppin' the "g" from the ends of gerunds and verbs

I reserve the right to edit this throughout the day as I think of more/better things.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I can't seem to get into my usual semi-funny rantings about my stupid first-world problems when the death toll from this insane tsunami disaster just keeps getting higher and higher. It's up to 140,000 now? Right? By the time I post this it'll have crested 150k. I keep on picturing a giant wave blasting over an entire island in the Maldives, sweeping everything away like a high-pressure hose.

Isn't this one of the signs of the End Times? I imagine the evangelical conservatives are trying very hard not to break into happy expectant grins, at least not on the air.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I've heard some of them newfangled mixed-up songs the kids call "mash-ups" nowadays, but never one as impressive as this: It's 40 Beatles songs mixed into one.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I hope all of you had a happy Christmas/long secular weekend. Mine was a lesson in patience and selflessness. You kind of have to go that way when dealing with an 87-year-old in medium-bad health and a 10-month-old with a sleep-deprived, stressed-out mom. So I relaxed into just being pleasant and giving and actually ended up having a good time. I heard some horrible stories from my Grandmother about nasty medical procedures and gastro-intestinal issues, but we had the longest conversation we've had in a year. There were many cute baby times. And as for the cranky mom, I just tried to gently remind her that nobody cared that the baby was crying in the car, and that nobody was going to force her to skip a nap, and so on.

[Speaking of babies: My cousin Liam is halfway through the first grade. He came over with my aunt to see the baby on Thursday, and at one point he sighed and said, "I wish I was still a baby." Why is that? "Then I wouldn't have to go to school." Oh honey. I tried to not dis school in front of him, even though I also hated it, saying "well, you see your friends there, right? I bet there are some fun parts." (I forgot to add, "Staying home all day gets really boring, seriously.") He said, yeah, I guess. There is something wrong when someone who's six is wistful for the days when he was encouraged to poop in his pants. Why does public school have to be such a drag, especially for little kids? They WANT to learn new stuff, why do they have to be forced to sit and stay quiet and still, going against their entire nature? It's like they're indoctrinating them to office cubicle life from the very get-go. This is why the Waldorf and Montessori schools make sense to me.]

But anyway. On Christmas Eve a bunch of family friends came over, and for the first time, well, ever, I was in a conversation with three other single people in their 30s, talking about the perils of dating at this age when everyone else we know is in committed relationships. We are all worried that after having gotten comfortable with living alone, we are going to find it increasingly difficult to live with someone else. And that's supposing we can even find someone we'd want to live with someone anyway. The one guy in the group lives in Mississippi and says he's already pretty much exhausted the dating pool in his small college town; either he's not interested, or he's interested and they're not, or she's maybe a little interested but definitely doesn't want children, and so on. One of the women is 38 and was saying she had pretty much given up hope on having kids, since it was just too late for her; even if she found the right person tomorrow, it would take a couple of years to get to really know him before she'd want to commit to having children. And my gorgeous, funny, and flirty friend who I've known since I was five has been going out on a lot of first dates with a lot of very boring men.

I know I'm getting all Sex and the City on you, but bear with me. What if we all missed the magic hour in which we could just pick someone and say "you're the one; no need to look further"? Is there a certain point where you become yourself so completely that you have no room left to add another person with their own needs and quirks and weirdnesses?

God I hope not. I have always thought I was a fairly awesome girlfriend. It's just been a while since I have had reason to break out my awesome girlfriend powers. I hope I haven't forgotten how to use them.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I got to wear an eyepatch yesterday, for a few hours. I didn't get to say "Arrrr!" unfortunately, as I just went straight home after getting it firmly taped to my face at the end of my doctor's appointment. (Warning: If medical stories make you hurl, stop reading. I left out most of the truly gross stuff, though)

See, for at least 2 months I have had a small clogged oil gland in my left lower eyelid, and this required action. After listening to the doctor present my three options (1. do nothing some more, 2. get a shot of steroids in hopes that it might shrink it, 3. get all scalpely on its ass.) I hemmed and hawed and finally chose the middle one; not too cold, not too hot.

The doctor went away to see another patient, while the nurse came in and gave me THREE different types of numbing unguents; some balm for the outer part of my eyelid, a different kind for the inside of the eyelid, and then this crazy, thick, gluey stuff that she glopped onto the eye itself. This stuck my eyelashes together, and made blinking a huge chore; it felt like my eyelid was doing some resistance training. Though I was now down 50 percent in the sight department, they gave me the "don't sue us if we blind you" consent form to read. The nurse encouraged me not to sign if I had questions, so I didn't sign. I asked questions. How could getting a simple shot cause depigmentation? Or adrenal problems? Hemmorrhaging I could see, but subcutaneous fat necrosis? The doctor said all of those things were very rare, though the nurse said that she had seen, in her 30-year career, a couple of instances when the doctor accidentally hit an artery and the patient had to "be taken next door" and I was thinking, what, to the pediatrician down the hall? Big deal! And then I remembered that we were across the street from the hospital. Oh. THAT next door.

Anyway, they had me put my head in the little head-and-chin holster they use when they want to bring that little blue halo light right against your eye, and then they did the procedure. And even after being slathered with the stupid numbing crap, it hurt. It hurt like you might think it would hurt if someone was pushing a needle into your lower eyelid. What was almost worse is that I couldn't close my eye, which means I had to watch (I trained my eyes skyward, but I could still see everything). Shudder. When it was all over, the doctor suddenly switched gears on me, saying that he "actually injected a little numbing medication along with the steroid, so I think I'm going to open up a little incision to help it along, using another needle." Wha - WHAT? Uh, okay. So I put my head back into the holster, and he used a needle to, well, make a little opening. "What are you doing?" I kept asking, and he would sort of tell me in a way like he didn't really want to tell me. And even after the needle stuff he wasn't quite satisfied, and said "Nurse, get me a small curette?" and I asked hopefully, "Is a curette one of those little glass wicking things?" (no, that's a pipette) and he said "It's a tiny spoon, like the size a mouse would use."

Wow, I hope that means we are going to have tea with Mr. and Mrs. Wiskertons now! Will Sir Hopsalot and Lady Featherbreast be joining us? When I shot him a horrified look, he said, "You don't need to know these things, really, it will just make it sound worse than it is." I said, "Don't sugarcoat it for me! I know what that thing is used for!" and he said, "Oh really, what?" And I said (stop reading now, I mean it), "For ... for scooping."

And that's when I started to feel dizzy. I let him poke at me one time with the curette and I started feeling all fuzzy and tingly and I said "Wait!" and he said "We're done!" and I sat back in the chair. Whew.

He was right, it was too much information. Sometimes asking a lot of questions at the doctor's makes me feel less helpless, but this time.... Sometimes it's good to not think about what is actually happening.

My eyelid looks fabulous today, by the way.

Monday, December 13, 2004

I wrote a long entry about shopping here and then realized it would go perfectly into CraftyTown. So if you want to read some stuff about my weekend, I suggest you use the link over on your right.

An unfortunate event happened yesterday morning, one that I will not dwell on, except to reiterate the big rule of gift-giving time: After you disseminate your wish list to family and friends, you are not allowed to buy yourself anything off of that list until after the gift-opening date has passed. Get that, everyone? NOT ALLOWED.

Yesterday I also went to Quaker Meeting for the first time in at least two years. It was nice; the meeting has swelled in size, with newcomers now outnumbering the old-timers (who were members back when the meeting met in a classroom in the science building at Smith). During coffee hour I spoke with a couple of the old-school folks, who seemed a bit bewildered but pleased about the influx of new blood, though they also hinted that it had been a bit rough at first as the new people settled in. I can only imagine the crazy (and probably super-political) messages people were saying during meeting. Everything seemed very normal to me yesterday, though, besides the fact that when the young people came in ten minutes before the rise of meeting, more than half of them were teenagers. Apparently they're really into it, and the majority of them are boys, which is super-unusual (and totally great).

And I finally watched City of God, after almost returning it to Netflix unwatched because I was worried it would get me even more depressed. I'm glad I didn't, because it was wonderful. Bloody and tragic, but amazing. An extra on the DVD, a one-hour documentary, is incredible too, and shows how true-to-life the film is.

I am still thinking about returning Dancer in the Dark without watching it first, though. Should I?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

At an antique shop this past Sunday, I came across an original Atari game from the early 1980s, still in the original box, containing all of its crudely-photocopied instructions. The game was The Runestones of Ryn, which I remember playing quite a bit (seeing a picture helped job my memory). I was all set to buy it at the low low price of $2.50 but then I saw that the program was on a cassette tape, not a 5.5-inch floppy. And even though there would be only the teeny tiniest chance I could find someone to reverse-engineer the floppy, I know there is only a one-in-a-million chance of doing that with a cassette tape. That's just my theory, based on nothing (just the fact that our Atari 800 had two floppy drives attached to it but no cassette tape drive). I am still sad - and I know my sister is too - that my dad threw out the ancient computers we grew up with when my parents moved from the house mentioned in the previous post. Sure, the old Atari was covered in cat pee and dust and hadn't been plugged in for a decade - so what! I'd give a lot to be able to have that thing back again, and the two boxes of old floppies with it. I wouldn't even need to find a monitor, as it (very smartly) connected right into your television set.

I'm gonna do a little web searching for Runestones now....
p.p.s. I want this Yoshimoto Nara flip clock SO BAD but it's crazy expensive. Maybe a wealthy reader will become a patron and get it for me? I will make something artistic and amazing in return. Email me, we'll chat.
A recent post by Jennifer Myzlowski prompted me to write this: I was upset when my parents moved out of the crappy, depressing, cookie-cutter suburban split-ranch house I grew up in (from age of 2 until I graduated college). It doesn't matter that lots of crappy times happened there, and that my most recent memory of that house is when my grandfather, in the early stages of Alzheimer's, took off in his car alone and by pure luck found his way back home without police intervention, while my grandmother broke down in tears saying "I don't know what I'm going to do with him." I still have dreams that take place in the old house, just like I still have dreams that happen in the Art Barn at Hampshire.

Luckily, their new house is way nicer (though smaller) in every way. I haven't been able to get up the courage to go visit the old house, though, even though it's in the next town over. Apparently the buyers are newly-arrived immigrants (maybe from Pakistan?) who have what my mother calls "a different idea about what a garden should look like," and they've cut down almost every tree and bush and made everything symmetrical and orderly. So it won't even look the way I remembered. Maybe that's a good thing.

p.s. non-sequitur: I almost never fall for spam subject lines, but there was one this morning that had the subject: "chuff" which is an awesome sort of a Jim Woodring-y word, so I clicked on it. It was an ad for getting a college degree in two weeks.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Oh my people. I am so sorry, my people, those who keep checking to see if I have posted something new, only to be disappointed. I know of this disappointment, truly I do. There has been a sickness upon the House of Debl. I have barely been able to rouse a couple of brain cells to rub together in order to get through my day. I am all phlegmy and my nostril-skin is all red and cracked. Think of my not-posting as a protection from hearing the details of my cold symptoms. There will be more posts soon, I promise.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Alright, this is oldschool, yo. A few years ago I found a tape my sister and I recorded in 1984, when we were 11. We were making up stories off the top of our heads, using stuffed animals and china animals as the principle characters. I transcribed one of the stories, drew pictures to accompany the action, and put it on my old website - a long time ago, at least five years, no more than 9. I just refound the files and have put them back online for you, my readers. There are three pages, and they end in a dead-end because I couldn't be bothered to put a link back here. Sorry. Use your browser's back button, people, it's not that hard.

The Runt!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

So, here are some thoughts I had about my experience two weeks ago, driving around the NYC-area and taking college tours with a couple of prospective students.

If the guy giving the pre-tour talk sounds really defensive, it does not bode well for the school. Don't say that the school has gotten away from the image of it being mostly a commuter school, when you then tell us (after being asked directly) that 40% of the student body goes home on weekends.

Sometimes stereotypes are true. You might think that college can't really be full of Jewish-American Princesses as you heard, and jeez does that ethnically-insensitive stereotype actual exist anymore?, BUT OH YES IT CAN and DOES. For some reason those ladies (overly groomed, love shopping, have nasal, Long-Island-tinged accent) don't live where I live now, so I had forgotten they existed. It was like coming home.

The beauty of the campus is not a good indicator of the quality of the school. Same goes for the food in the cafeteria. If that's what your tour guide loves most about her school, run away.

When asking your student tour guide about a school's visual art facilities, it is a very bad sign to get a answer like "I took a drawing class last year for fun, and it was great!" Also very bad: Classes generically named, like "ART 1."

I have no idea what publication or judging body declared Wagner College as having the most beautiful campus in the country, but they must have been smoking some serious crack.

Feel free to bail in the middle of a tour if you already know you have no interest in going there. We did this at Hofstra and, to some extent, Wagner.

I've got to tell you the story of our Wagner visit. Though it was raining and cold, we started off so hopeful about it, but then the tour started badly, and just got worse and worse. The woman leading the tour grew up on Staten Island (where Wagner is located) and loved it. She loves it still! Staten Island is the best because it is close to the city but it has grass and trees and suburbs, yay! Never mind the huge landfills, nasty traffic, and the lack of any there, there. We have lawns, people! And cars!

Luckily for everyone, also on our tour was a baby-faced boy who wants to go into business, accompanied by his starry-eyed mom. They were from Columbine, Colorado. They had not ever been to New York City before, but were staying in Manhattan. When I asked the guide how easy it was to get to the city (if there were college shuttles to the train station, for example) the boy took the opportunity to ask the guide, "So, when you're looking at the subway map, uptown is always up? And downtown is down? Because we are having a tough time figuring out where we're going." And as the tour stretched past the one-hour mark while we were exploring the dismal trash-strewn Freshman dorm, the mom saw the view of Manhattan from the top floor window and excitedly asked the guide, "Wow, what are we looking at, exactly??" As the guide pointed out the various bridges and buildings, one of my girls turned away in disgust and said softly "who cares!" which cracked me up. After well over an hour or trudging through the raw wetness, the Colorado duo wanted to see the gym, which the guide had omitted from the tour because it was too out of the way. I saved us by saying "uh, we have to go, we have another appointment" and we booked the hell back to our car.

It wasn't all crappiness. We all loved Sarah Lawrence. I don't know why I didn't consider it when I was looking for schools 15 years ago (me=old). SUNY Purchase, despite having the concrete-slab architecture I became familiar with at my expensive private college, seems like a really great place to go for arts majors. Eugene Lang, one of the four schools I applied to, also got high marks. So there was progress. And there was fun food times, and a short shopping adventure. High grades, mostly.

Monday, November 22, 2004

If it's wrong to be 32 years old and ten years out of your parents house but still bringing laundry home for the holidays, then I don't want to be right.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I have been absent for a week's time. I was occupied elsewhere, squiring a pair of young ladies to several houses of higher learning located in the New York City area, and then I traveled on an aeroplane to the state of Florida, where I spent as few of my personal monies as possible (as it is a Red State).

And in this state of Florida, there is a large park that is themed to various amusements, and I was part of a group of professionals who were at this park for an event related to my employ. During Monday evening, I and the other professionals were treated to a lavish display of electric lights and many tables laden with fine comestibles. As we dined, several amusing performers mingled with the crowd. Two of them were in character as hoboes - common beggars, if you will. How very amusing! We all laughed gaily at the young men's lighthearted representations of the mentally ill!

No, seriously. They had people pretending to be wacky bums. For sport. Because if you just look at it the right way, the homeless are hilarious! Here's me with one of them (photo taken for my upcoming lawsuit for crimes against decency):

There was a second fake homeless guy, who gave me a "funny" coupon written on a wrinkled napkin, redeemable at his "wacky" Christmas tree lot. I don't really know what it was all about, though I like the Grinch song reference. The bums loved me, for some reason (the hair?).

It's all too bad, because I usually secretly find the street performers at these parks pretty funny. At the least, I admire their improvising skills. But this, this is a little bit gross, right? I don't think I am being too sensitive here.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I think it's a little hilarious that Victoria's Secret sells career wear. What's even better is that the models all pose like they're wearing lingerie. It's really hard to tell what these suits would look like on a normal woman - you know, one who might actually go to an actual office and actually work:

Something about the way they look all pissy cracks me up. ("You WILL take me seriously in the boardroom, even though I am presenting myself for coitus like a dog in heat! Stop judging me on my sexy, sexy legs and overly-arched back!")

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wow, blogger allowed me to post, finally!

Well. What is there to say, really. All morning I was planning my "I HATE AMERICA" post but now, still feeling slightly ill from last night's Drown Your Dismay With Cheap Chardonnay!-fest, I just feel tired and depressed. I have no idea what the next four years will bring. More of the same, I guess. Lying and godless sacks of shit were elected and re-elected by idiots who were apparently never taught to think critically. It will get worse before it gets better. There may have to be another terrorist attack in our country before people wake up and notice the amount of bullshit they've been getting fed.

Or we could take all of New England, tack on New York, New Jersey, and the nice half of Pennsylvania, and secede from the Union. We can become New New England. (California can just become its own country; it's big enough.) We would have to build a really big wall to keep all of the idiot red-staters away from our clean air and healthy natural resources after all of their forests disappear and their air and water is poisioned and the terrorists are beheading citizens of Old America daily. They brought it on themselves, after all. We tried to tell them what would happen, but they wouldn't listen.

I guess I am still angry. Huh.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Damn my niece is a little cutie! She was a growly lion for Halloween. And because my sister is a crafty Way sister, she made the costume herself. More pics to the left of the pic I just linked to, if you wanna see more of teh cutes.
I just posted something kinda fun over at Craftytown. I know chowflap is linked all over the place and Craftytown, not so much. But if you're only visiting this here blog, you are missing out. If I feel like writing about crafts, or anything interesting going on in my town, or anything I've observed on my way to and from work, I write it in Craftytown.

Chowflap is for existential crises and cuss words.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I love hearing "Don't forget to vote!" As if anyone could forget to do that this year.

I can't really imagine Bush remaining president, because it would be so awful. Terrific, in the old-fashioned meaning of the word. Yet I also can't imagine Kerry winning, because I just don't believe the Republican Election Squad would allow it. Before the Sox won the Series I thought that if they did, it would be a good indicator that Kerry would win. Afterwards, I decided that the lunar eclipse allowed the Sox to win, so the omen is nullified.

Tuesday will be a very, very tense time. I already have a friendly place lined up to go and drink and watch the results roll in. Thank God.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I wrote a long and kind of funny (wait, I mean TOTALLY PANTS-WETTINGLY GENIUS) post that refers to a specific video online, and now that video's host has pulled the plug because, I am guessing, too many people watched it. Stupid ISPs or whatever they are.

I just want you readers to know that I am Thinking Of You.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Everything seems to be taking SO LONG lately that suddenly it's the end of the day and I've only finished half of what I planned to do. Plus it's autumn, which puts me (and everyone) in a productive mood; it's the back-to-school schedule that was imprinted upon our minds at an early age. It makes me want to do new things and learn and make stuff. (More on Craftytown today about that.)

Went to the Elliott Smith tribute show last night at the 11s. It was incredibly packed, not just with musicians but with college students and older folks from all over. The music was great; it's the closest I'll ever get to seeing Elliott play. It was an early show and I missed about an hour of it, but I got to hear many of my favorite songs. The crowd was mostly reverent, enthusiastic, and focused, except for a few times when people decided to just keep talking loudly over the performer.

The Bunwinkies played last, to my knowledge. I'm not sure I totally get what they're about. I heard them play two songs but I didn't recognize either of them. Were the songs really obscure Elliott Smith songs, or Bunwinkie originals? I overheard someone in the crowd say "I guess this is supposed to be avant-garde...?" Word. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I like all those folks in the band, so I do not mean to diss them. I am just uninformed.

Also, a friend and I went to the Dakin animal shelter and played with some cats and kittens on Saturday (my sister: "So that's what you guys have to do for fun up there?"). It was quite nice. We evaluated each cat and narrowed down the choices to the best two or three. But I am not going to adopt a new cat until my current one stops costing me about 100 bucks per week in vet bills. Right now she is getting goo stuck in her eyelid twice a day (which she HATES), a steroid pill forced down her throat every morning (almost as bad as the eye goo-application), and her thyroid meds mixed into her breakfast. And I am still waiting to hear from the x-ray consultants at Cornell or wherever about her weird spot on her lung. Sigh. She is lucky she's such a beautiful and sweet animal.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I earned another gold star today. A big fucking one. I've earned so many gold stars for good behavior that my little book is almost totally filled. Maybe once it's complete I'll stop judging and second-guessing myself all the time. Most likely I'll just add the book to the pile and begin work on filling up another one. I forgive other people a million times before I'll forgive myself or forget a flaw for even an hour.

I should have a little medic-alert bracelet that says "Caution: Wearer is extremely tender-hearted. She may appear retarded or aloof; please treat with kindness."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Just a quickie to point you all to my homegirl (well, college homegirl) Avani's blog: Places I Go. She is in the middle of an intense business school experience, and she is rad as hell. Go read!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I am sorry I have not posted. See, I have to write something for work, and I keep waiting for the "muse" to "hit me over the head with something heavy" so that I can get down to business, but it has not happened. Also I was in NYC for a meeting yesterday. We drove. It was rainy and trafficky. I actually had to take Bonine on the way home. Ugh. But we did get to eat ultra-hip lunch at the ultra-hip W hotel, which is sort of ultra-hip circa 2000, if that makes any sense. They play techno-dance music in the elevators, for god's sake. I had grilled shrimp on baby greens; I think some aspect of it was "lime-infused." Like many things on the menu, it was totally carb-free (because all super-hip people are on deprivation diets), which is just not enough food for me. So I got some crazy couscous thing on the side. Also on the menu: a breadless BLT. My no-nonsense co-worker ordered it "with bread." Because really, people at the W. Get over yourselves.

Friday, October 15, 2004

This morning my bedroom passed through a warp coil or a ripple in the space-time continuum or something. I was putting my black velvet shirt away in the closet, and I realized that my black velvet shirt was already in the closet. In other words, I was holding my black velvet shirt outside of the closet, while seeing it hanging inside of the closet. I have only one shirt of this sort. "What," I said aloud, as I pulled out the shirt from the closet, comparing the two side by side. Same shirt. Same exact tag (some weird, cheap brand of which I have no other clothing). One tiny difference: one is size XS, and the other is size S. I had gotten the size S as a hand-me-down from a friend a few months ago. I have no idea where the other one came from. If this isn't due to some tearing of the fabric of the universe, it must mean that my shirt has asexually reproduced, and the new shirt hasn't grown to full size yet. How else could it have happened, since I look in my closet almost every day, and have never noticed the two identical shirts? I don't have so many articles of clothing that a duplicate shirt would not stand out. Is one of you playing a trick on me?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm back. The eagle has landed.

So there's this Pixar movie coming out November 5 called The Incredibles. There's already plenty of merchandise for sale, and being interested, I checked it out. The teenage daughter is voiced by Sarah Vowell, and I'm a fan of hers. However, the merchandise was depressingly one-sided. As it always is.

Here's what they had:

Small plush dolls of:
Mr. Incredible
Flash (the son)
Syndrome (the [male] villain)
Frozone (Mr. I's buddy)

There are also big talking versions of Mr. Incredible and a babbling baby Jack-Jack. (There's also an interactive Edna doll which gives out fashion advice. She's voiced by Brad Bird.) They also had 5-inch action figures, but guess what - the only Elastigirl and Violet figures came packaged with Jack-Jack and Flash, respectively. The only way I could have bought a Violet is by getting her as part of a set. There are two women in the five-member Incredibles family but they are nowhere to be seen on store shelves. Fuck you, you marketing bastards, for deciding that this is a movie "targeted" for boys, and for assuming that boys don't want to play with female characters, even female characters that have awesome superpowers (Elastigirl as a toy is a no-brainer; make her be a Stretch Armstrong-type thing). Keep on perpetuating the stereotype of men=action and women=all about doing nothing but looking pretty, even when the movie itself has the opposite message. Fuck. You. Seriously.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I'm gonna be away from the officecomputer for a few days as I'm going away on business. I'll be back Thursday, but in the meantime, perhaps you'd like to revisit some past posts in the archives, or try one of the pre-approved blogs linked at right?

Friday, October 08, 2004

I got a nice piece of spam today. Very poetic!:

For example, buzzard defined by ribbon indicates that power drill inside necromancer write a love letter to insurance agent around ball bearing.
When about cashier is niggardly, cloud formation of give secret financial aid to spider behind.
Where we can slyly fall in love with our mirror.
Indeed, living with bride bestow great honor upon defined by piroshki.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Dude, if spraying Summer's Eve on my "personal area" makes it glow as brightly as a lighthouse, I'd rather go without it. (Props to Some Girl for the link.)
My twin sister is stopping by the office with her baby tomorrow, on their way to Brooklyn from New Hampshire. I am excited beyond all reason. I get to show my little niece to all of my work-friends, as if to say, "Hey look at what a pretty baby I'd make, if I had, you know, a husband and a more stable living situation! Ha ha! No, really, I'm looking forward to going home tonight to my bachelorette's apartment and my cat. This is just where I wanted to be at 32!"

I kid, I kid. My personal female-role-enforcing demons are fond of poking at me occasionally, but I'm trying to ignore them and just live my life. It's a pretty good one. I will say, though, that non-twins don't really understand the subconscious comparisons that constantly occur between my sister and me. It can be a lot of pressure, even though we've discussed, aloud, the pros and cons of our current, differing lifestyles.

Anyway, who needs a baby anyway? They need constant attention, they drool a lot, and they stink sometimes. Stupid babies.
This has already been blogged to death, but in case you haven't seen it: Last night during the debate, while deflecting Edwards' criticism about Halliburton, Cheney invited people to check out the facts at Unfortunately for him, he meant to say was an available domain, so within an hour George Soros bought the site and had it redirect people to his website, titled "Why we must not re-elect President Bush." Hee!

Try it out here: (which, by the way, is none too pro-Bush/Cheney either)

Edit: I gots to fact-check myself, it seems. So Soros actually had nothing to do with the redirect. Lifted from elsewhere:
Cheney cited, a for-profit advertising site based in the Cayman Islands. The company decided to redirect traffic to the Soros site after it became inundated with hits -- about 100 a second after the debate, John Berryhill, a Philadelphia lawyer for, said Wednesday.

"This was to relieve stress on the service and to express a political point of view," said Berryhill, who spoke with the site's administrators shortly after the debate ended.

They picked Soros not only for his political views, Berryhill said, but because the billionaire could afford the costly deluge of hits the site would receive in the wake of the debate. Plus, the site administrators didn't want to point surfers to a candidate's site that was asking for money.

Monday, October 04, 2004

My cat is now on a special diet (Limited Ingredient, which in this case is cat food made from duck and green peas - and nothing but) so that I can rule out any possible allergies that may be causing her coughing problems. She's also on steroids for her inflamed bronchial passages. Her new diet/meds is having one major side-effect, and that is paint-peelingly-stinky poops. This morning she came into the bathroom and laid down some pipe in the litterbox as I brushed my teeth, and the stench was so horrible I could almost see it. And even now that I'm at work, it's like my nose has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, because I keep thinking I can still smell it, even though that's totally impossible, unless some stray scent molecules managed to hitch a ride on my clothes. Lord have mercy.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Read Fafblog's post-debate pre-debate. It's exactly how I think this debate shit is going to go. I think Krugman is right; it doesn't matter how well Kerry does tonight, the Republican-run media will convince everyone Bush did better.
Rain, rain, kiss my ass. Seriously. One of the few benefits of living up here is that don't have to deal with hurricanes, so Jeanne should take her worn-out rain someplace else. Bitch better step off right now.

Hi. So yeah. I've been busy at work. It's what we call "crunch time" here at the office, because calling it "gritting your teeth, tearing your hair, and mainlining candy to keep up the frenetic pace" is kind of a downer. However, we are getting free lunch tomorrow.

Tonight is the first of three presidential debates. Since I physically can't stand watching or listening to our nation's current leader, I had plans to watch The Daily Show's live coverage at 11 tonight, but it turns out the nice rock show I am planning to go and see starts at 10. So something has got to give. Probably the TV/politics. The rock show is yet another of the excellent valley showcases held at the Iron Horse, and tonight it's Peel, Spouse, and Spanish for Hitchhiking. I don't know the order. It's only 5 bucks, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that at least 2 out of 3 of those bands are awesome. Like making you dance and cry and maybe even both at the same time kind of awesome.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I suppose I should do an update on the ear thing. The nasal spray stuff seems to have worked, because I felt better a day or two after I began using it. Plus stuff started draining, so I think (I hope) that my ear problem was just sinus related. Knock on wood. I can still feel the tiniest difference in my hearing in my right ear, but it's almost back to normal. I am also sleeping with two pillows beneath my head because I read somewhere that you should to that if you're having vertigo issues, but my neck and shoulders hate it and I may return to a uni-pillow situation tonight. Thank you for your concern, my peeps!

Monday, September 27, 2004

The School for the Dead CD release show Saturday night was da bomb. I love seeing bands at PACE because everyone is quiet and paying attention and you can really hear the music. It was hard to not get up and dance, though. And I missed out on the activity pages, which were confined to the cafe area before the show began. Other than that I have no complaints. I loved the opening act, which was comprised of 13 musicians playing one song each, with the musicians playing in random order (names were literally picked out of a bucket; stressful for the musicians, superfun for the audience). Our little valley is filled with amazing talent and just plain good people. Our rockstars are not ego-trippin' assholes, is what I am saying.

SFTD played wonderfully as always. It's hard to come up with new things to say about them, because they're always great. Um, there were a couple of new song transitions. I dig that shit. I haven't listened to the new CD but I am enjoying the drawings (by henning!) throughout the CD booklet. Go get yourself a copy. The New You, it is called.

P.S. Scotty B also has a good take on the show, complete with many links.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

So, this morning I went to the walk-in, no-appointment-neccessary time at my doctor's office, where a nurse practitioner declared my problem not an infection but most likely just allergies or a virus. She was pretty sure that my estrucian tube or whatever was clogged and not draining properly, because my ear was fuller of fluid than it should be. However, there was nothing she could do about it. She said to take Sudafed (I have been, doesn't seem to work) and I asked her if I could try an antihistamine nasal spray and she said sure and gave me a free sample. (I used it, it was okay.) I just have to ride this crap out. I said I was worried I had Meniere's Disease and she said, "you don't have it right now ... will it turn into Meniere's? I don't know." Great.

It will probably just slowly clear up and no permanent harm will be done. I hope.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I'm freaking out a little. I think I have Meniere's Disease. It's an inner ear disorder, I guess. It's marked by a feeling of fullness in the ear, a loud low buzzing (like tinnitus) with hearing loss, and dizziness/vertigo. And there's no cure, per se, though there are things that can calm it. I have been getting episodes of this about once a year (or less) ever since I used a hand-held metal grinder with no ear protection in college, because Mt. Holyoke had none. I should have sued those fuckers. I was deaf with tinnitus in my right ear for a week, though it slowly improved. I think that was the triggering event that created this disorder.

I've never barfed from the dizziness, and in fact it's usually been the kind of almost-pleasant floaty sensation one gets when one is battling a high fever. But the past two days have been pretty crappy. My hearing is almost back to normal but I've been feeling more nauseous. Not good. I hate rushing to the doctor just because my ear "feels funny" (see: an awesome Roz Chast cartoon about hypochondriacs) but this seems like a real and definable thing.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Okay. Here are an unprecedented TEN photos this time, of the Franklin County Fair last weekend. And yes, I know the Big E starts this weekend.

There was an entire building filled with prize-winning vegetables and flowers and baked goods (and many runners-up). This carrot won for Longest Carrot! And I got to see it with my own eyes!

As I mentioned there was a Baby Animal Barn. And so here is a genuine pig pile:

This poor lamb is suckling on a metal bolt! Don't feel too bad, his mom is just out of frame. This lamb is just stupid.

And there were also baby goats. Very cute. I like this photo a lot.

But not all of the animals got to just laze around! These little pigs are pro RACERS! And man, could these little guys move. They ran and dove and swam super fast. All to get a couple of cookies.

And then it was time to walk around the midway! The rides are fairly safe, but only if you always listen to Mr. Safety!

It looks so sane and calm when it's like this, in broad daylight, not groaning and creaking and whirling.

This one was pretty.

Here's a shot of the underside of a ride that resembles a giant roulette wheel. It turns and twirls around and up and down like a spun quarter.

You could also put little girls on a couple of bungee cords and send them into the air.

And that was my day at the fair!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

So I know my posting has been slacking a little. I've been busy, what with the county fairs and the singing and the apartment-cleaning and some very occasional TV-watching. Last night I got to see former local boy Ari Vais on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He was great, kind of nervous and flustered and talkative, yet well-spoken; the perfect kind of guy for the queer guys to play off of. The part after the queer guys leave and he puts the meal together is particularly hilarious. The "event" at the end of the "day" was a big show for his band, The Pelicans, after which he got some advice from a record label guy and a Rolling Stone writer. The advice was "write stronger material" and "look at the audience more." Okay! He's all set then. You can read a recap of the show here.

And local folks - including not-local-anymore folks such as Lord Russ and Ari (screen name: OhDee) himself, are talking about the show on Soundboard.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Operation Fair/Play is going along swimmingly. On Saturday I hit the Franklin County Fair up in Greenfield. It's a bit bigger than the 3-County Fair. They have a small barn that is nothing but baby animals [swoon] (though there were also some fancy pigeons. They may have been adolescent pigeons, though; who can tell?). I touched a goat. And a calf. And a bunny. This fair also had a better midway than the previous one; more rides, and a greater variety of them, though there were no wimpy-grownup coasters. We chose not to spend our money on tickets, instead heading for the long line of food booths with their siren songs of fried-food-smells and flashing lights and colorful signs. I was looking hard for some chicken on a stick, but there was none to be had. Gotta wait for the Big E for that, I guess. I got a semi-healthy chicken pita thing, and some Mountain Dew from a soda fountain machine that made the same noise the Showcase Showdown wheel makes when the contestants spin it on "The Price is Right." There were also onion rings. And a perogi. And soft-serve ice cream. Delish.

L and I also signed up to win a hundred bucks from some country music station. The catch was that you had to be there at the station's booth/trailer at the stated times in order to be in the running. They did five drawings; we made it to two. For the first drawing, the winner was there on the first entry drawn. For the second (half an hour later) it took about 15 tries before the chosen person was there. We had noticed that in the first drawing, the winner did not show any form of identification to get his one-hundred-dollar bill. So we figured we could just say "yep, that's me!" to whatever the next female name was. Unfortunately, we discussed this idea quite openly in the middle of a crowd of people also waiting to see if they'd won, so we thought it wise to not put the plan into action.

More details later, so I'll have something to say in my photo captions after I post said photos here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

New bumper sticker: Vote Bush/Cheney OR DIE!!
Yesterday Cheney warned supporters that voting for Kerry would put the country in danger. I like that he's basically saying "Nice country you got here... You wouldn't want anything to, ah, HAPPEN to it. Because sometimes things happen, to nice countries like this one."

Man, I do not know what I will do if these assholes win in November.

I hope he gets called on this, and hard.

Borrowed from another political blog's comments (Atrios or Daily Kos), we see that Dick has resorted to terrorism, under his own definition. Let's find him where he hides and trains!:


(a) DOMESTIC TERRORISM DEFINED.—Section 2331 of title 18, USC, is amended....

(5) the term ‘domestic terrorism" means activities that
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion;

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Please check out Tallulah's blog over in the links, as my sister has FINALLY updated it. There's a special treat inside the post, a link to a short movie showing the baby making her growling noise. More! More!
Get out yer "my car is better than my wife" t-shirt and yer cowboy hat, because it's time for the Three-County Fair!

It was 80's day at the sheep barn.These two ewes were totally tubular. Note the lens flare from the super-shiny spandex:

And here's a mad-mouse-style roller coaster I went on. Note all of the structural parts they had left over:

Cool 70s-80s font here:

This ride was disappointing for the kids. It looks like you should be able to turn the cars around, since they're all rotating around the center at odd angles, but they were all stiff. The children had to resort to dangerous stunts to keep from being bored:

And here is a night shot of my spooky nemesis, a ride that has haunted me since the first time I saw it at a fair in the soccer field behind the local Catholic school. I cannot stop being amazed that people enter it willingly. It is what I am forced to ride in my nightmares. The Zipper:

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yo peeps. I added a couple of long-overdue links over there to the right. One is Dooce, for obvious reasons of rockingness. She really writes the way a diary-like blog should be written (i.e. awesomely). And the other is Jennifer Myzowski, a local blog-friend who is also unfailingly honest and blunt in her writing and usually quite funny to boot.

Dooce has been amazing this past week or so; her postpartum depression got so horrible that she checked herself into a psychiactric hospital. After I read her post about the decision, I was so sad for her that I was almost crying, and I was depressed for hours, worrying about her. I also had this awful feeling: if it can happen to her, it can definitely happen to me. Luckily I've never felt quite so low as that. Well, once I did, years ago, but I was still able to go to work (but do little else) and I was able to overcome my depression through other means. (Those means? Systematically hunting down and slaughtering those who had wronged me.*) Anyway, Dooce found a great doctor at the hospital, and things are looking optimistic. Thank god.

My birthday was swell, thanks. Lack of sleep and lots of driving made me so woozy for my dinner out that I felt I couldn't avail myself of any complementary wine. I did go to Cold Stone Creamery, but for an account of that experience you'll have to read Craftytown and Eye on Northampton. My birthday really started this past Sunday, when I opened all of my familial loot, and will continue into this weekend, when the three-county fair happens. (Two words: Demolition Derby. Aw yeah.)

*Just kidding! Ha! Ha! Do not worry, I did not kill anyone. No need to go poking around in the wetlands next to Stop n' Shop on King Street! Nosiree bob!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Flappy Mirfbay to Me!

I am still in Brooklyn, and will be returning home later today (Tuesday). I already got loot from my parents, sister, and bro-in-law. I am now the proud owner of an iSight web camera, which means that if you IM me and I am feeling okay about it, I will invite you to a video-conference and you can watch me type messages to you. It gives one a thrill, like, "omigod we are totally LIVING the FUTURE!"

I also got a nice bracelet and some yarn and other craft supplies and tools. Also the Modest Mouse CD everyone has. And a salad spinner. And my mom made me one of the stained-glass-in-cement garden stone things she's been making for a couple of years. So that was all quite nice.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Aw. I am sad. Here's an email from my mom alerting everyone to the death of the last remaining family pet that lived at my parents' house while I was living there too. She was a little tortoiseshell cat we named Thermos, and she was 15 years old:

We helped Thermos pass on today, so that she can pursue voles in the next
dimension. She wasn't pursuing any in this dimension -- she couldn't really
walk any more, couldn't digest food, and had become very quiet in the last
day or two.

Thermos was an excellent cat. She stuck to her own rules and maintained her
own domain. She had many favorite places around the outside of the house
and was a deadly hunter. In the last year or so she decided to sleep on a
pillow just behind and above our own pillows, so that she watched over us as
we slept. Sometimes she put a paw on my head. I've always felt that the
best thing she did was teach Debl how to teach a kitten how to eat solid

(It's true, I did.)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I am a nice person. My good deed for the day was sending this message to someone who keeps contacting me thru the personals:

Thanks. I'm not interested in chatting with you, but thought I should write you back since you've contacted me several times. I hope you don't mind a piece of advice. Putting photos of your naked body in your profile and in initial emails to strangers is never a good idea. Most women find it creepy and a little too aggressive and narcissistic. I'd delete those, and save them for when you've got an email exchange that's heating up and there's already a connection established with someone - but even then, I'd think hard before sending them.

I hope you take my advice. Good luck!

EDIT: Not ten minutes after I sent off that missive, I get this in response from the guy! I guess he didn't like my advice...


Thanks for getting back to me.

I'm certainly not narcissistic. Sharing tasteful nudes on an alternative lifestyle web site is common place and certainly not attributable to being narcissistic. If you feel as though you can label someone from that~ you're mistaken. You're probably the only woman that I've sent them to that hasn't complimented me and suggested further communication.

As well~ I didn't write to you for your advice and find it a bit pompous and condescending. You're cute but you're not that hot as though you need to be making suggestions to me on how to meet a woman. Thanks, but no thanks!

I'll stick with grown ups!

I wrote him back with just two words this time: Good luck!


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I went to Transperformance last night and had a lovely time. The theme - animals and insects - managed to produce a really great lineup of acts. And everyone did extremely well. I took a few photos (until it got dark, and my camera pooped out).

Lo Fine were T Rex. One of the best things about Transperformance is watching all of the little kids dancing near the stage, and this girl was totally grooving on the T Rex.

The Fawns were Sheryl Crow. Here she is now! (It's a little blurry, I know it.)

Here's Spanish for Hitchhiking being Echo and the Bunnymen. I was surprised to know two of the three songs they did.

And hey hey it's the Monkees! Being played by School for the Dead! Reportedly, a 7-year-old audience member was convinced they were the actual Monkees, or at least "the guy with the curly hair, DEFINITELY" was one of the actual Monkees. And there was a big guy in a tour shirt checking out the action.

Quoted from an article about last night's John Kerry appearance on The Daily Show, of which, strangely enough, I can only find a transcript of here (scroll down a little):

Kerry said the debates would be a challenge. "The president has won every debate he's ever had," Kerry said. "He beat Ann Richards. He beat Al Gore. So, he's a good debater."

Did you see that? Kerry was THISCLOSE to calling Bush a master debater! Ha ha ha!


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A lot of people took the last quiz I linked to. Let's see if this one is as popular. Somehow I doubt it.

width="238" height="196" alt="Sophia Petrillo" border="1">
target="_blank">Which Golden Girl Are You?

Monday, August 23, 2004

So, hello. Man am I tired. I got into my usual weekend sleep scheme where I nap in order to stay up really late, and then come Sunday night I can't go to bed before 1 a.m. And then I'm all a wreck for Monday morning.

I had a fun weekend though. First there was a great show by The Fawns on Friday night, where I also whupped a little ass playing pool (only because I was playing someone who was, incredibly, slightly worse at pool than me). After the show I got to watch a crazy thunderstorm from a second-story porch. On Saturday I lazed about until it was time for dinner at Osaka, at one of their hibachi tables. I've done these before, a few times, but it's been a while. As soon as the chef came to the table I started giggling. He was funny, funnier than other places I've gone where the emphasis was on wowing you with skill instead of being goofy. Our chef did this thing where he'd shake a can full of sesame seeds or salt over the food, all the while thwacking the edge of the metal table with a metal fork, as though the shaker was making the noise. I laughed every single time. The food was great. In the other places I've gone, they give you noodles, but here it was fried rice. It was very tasty and the texture was perfect, but it's damn hard to eat rice with chopsticks (forks were only given when requested). I got the shrimp and scallops, and all was delicious. Our party of seven had to share our table with one other couple who seemed a little bit grim during most of their meal. I later heard that they had been having conversations about child molestation or rape or something equally depressing and not-hibachi-table-like.

After the food, L and H hosted another lovely shindig at their place, which ended up in a rousing game of Taboo. I laughed till I cried, several times. I think my team tied for third (out of five teams...); as I sobered up I could tell I was getting way better at it.

And Sunday I went (courtesy of H and L, who drove/provided the car) to the new shangri-la of home furnishings, Ikea in New Haven, and after that I went to Target and failed to find the thing I wanted, and then to Trader Joe's where I bought so much that my freezer is now officially full. And after that I finally did my dishes and vacuumed my apartment, and then I worked on a couple of artsy projects while watching Insomniac in Tokyo and a bunch of Adult Swim. And now here I am at work after not enough sleep. ZZzzzzzzzz.....

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I know I owe y'all an actual post. In the meantime, I wrote two Craftytown posts this morning. One is a mildly snarky thing about the ugly new lamps they're selling at the store-formerly-known-as Beyond Words, and the other is about How I Became a VIP at HOT. Also, I re-added a site meter yesterday, which had vanished when I switched to a new template a couple of months ago.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Hey, so apparently I am this San-X character:

What San-X Character Are You?
Here's something fun. Go to this site, scroll to the bottom, and hey look, it's that band I like!

My brother-in-law is good people. Last night he said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "If you saw your friend getting beaten up, would you just stand there and not do anything about it? No. Then why are you treating yourself that way?" That is right on. Why is my first impulse to try and figure out what is wrong with ME? Why do I continue to believe someone else's criticisms of me, when I've always known that they were bullshit?

I need to be kind to myself. Like I was my best friend. It's sad that I have to remind myself to do such things, but there it is. When I take a step back, it's totally obvious that I've done the right thing and will be much better in the end for it.

Things are looking much brighter and calmer today. Thanks for reading and continuing to care about me, your cyber-web-friend.

Monday, August 16, 2004

This letter could have been written by me.

Things are happening in my life that I can't blog about. They are both bad things and good things. There are about three hugely bad things and one or two good things, so the balance is way off. Overall I've been wanting to flee, but to where? I've got to stick it out for now, so I Don't Let The Bastards Win. (Whoever they are; I've never met them.) What sometimes helps is to throw myself into some projects at home (and out) so I can feel more whole and less lost. I need a purpose in life beyond gathering a paycheck every week and watching the occasional TV show or drinking the occasional drink out with a friend. So it's time to turn back to making art in a more serious vein. At the very least, it will make me remember that I have mad skillz. At the most, I'll get a show together and a website and start publicizing myself. This will take time and energy, but September always acts as a catalyst for action - it's the school year permanently hardwired into my brain.

Getting more regular amounts of sleep wouldn't hurt. And if the fucking weather ever clears up, things will probably seem a bit less dismal.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Okay people, I never promised to be timely.

Here are some shots from my vacation in the Adirondacks a couple of weeks ago:

This is where I was:

This is who I was with for most of the time:

She might have foot n' mouth disease. But don't tell her parents.

And I wore my new shirt! It was an awesome vacation.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

My brain is very brave, but my body is a total coward. Whenever something exciting is about to happen, some big change that I've been anticipating., my body decides that it needs to go into "fight or flight" mode and never ever leave it. Thus, I don't sleep enough, I don't eat enough... which ends up making me even more clumsy and wan than I already am. It's like my primal brain can't let my cultured brain do what needs to be done. It takes effort to wrestle it into submission.

cultured brain: Look, something new is happening! It looks like it could be totally awesomely rad!
primitive brain: Something new, you say? "New" means carnivorous predators, falling rocks, or drowning. RUN AWAY!
cultured brain: But do you see that this new thing is not dangerous in any way? I'll even sit down and reason this out with you. ... See? No possible way anything scary will happen.
primitive brain: Yes, BUT WHAT IF IT DOES? Look at you, all ready to roll over and bare your tender underbelly! You shameless fool. Someone's got to be looking out for our survival!
cultured brain: *sigh.*

Seriously, people, it's a wonder I ever get to leave the house at all.

(p.s. This page has the best web poll I have ever seen.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

Howdy readers. I'm feeling pretty great today. I went out a bunch this weekend, which helped distract me from my first dog-less days off. Friday night I went to a show at the Elevens, which I ducked out of to dance to the Drunk Stuntmen over at the Horse. After the bars closed I ended up at an after-party at a hair salon, where I got drunk-shampooed (and drunk-conditioned, luckily). And then we dancercized. It was awesome, as you can imagine.

Saturday I walked to town to load up on corn, potatoes, onions, and lettuce at the farmer's market downtown, came home and promptly took a nap. As an aside, my relationship with my cat - now my only pet - is going through a renaissance. It's like a second honeymoon over here (without the dirty parts). For dinner I got takeout from Amanous and watched some episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Then it was off to meet L at the coffeeshop, where I stupidly got a medium chai. I never drink caffiene at night, and here it was almost 9 p.m. But I knew I was going to fade fast if I didn't imbibe something soon. L and I sat on the courthouse steps and watched people go by. A few of them were people we knew, but we were hidden in a cloak of invisibility; I know I never look over at the darkened stone stairs when I pass the courthouse. Anyway, we met some folks at the Basement, which is becoming like a food-free, alcohol-serving Fire & Water. The caffiene started kicking in and I was all fidgety (more than usual, I mean) and feeling oddly floaty. Eventually we went over to Hugo's where there were some other people we knew. I couldn't stop picking at the label on my beer bottle, and I kept on getting up off my stool.

After last call, I stood outside and did the 1:10 shuffle with a bunch of folks. Then I did the most amazing thing - I walked home. It was lovely. Cool but not cold, with some nice moon action. I walked through tunnels of shrubs and trees and was surrounded by the noise of a thousand crickets. I saw a few other people on their bleary walks home. It was great to be free again.

The next day I went to the mall with L. Somehow our little trip turned into FIVE HOURS. It was crazy. I had slept very little the night before, and I still have no idea what powerful reserves my weak little kitten's body drew upon to help me make it through the treacherous ordeal. But we managed to not pass out or get mall-eyed or anything. It was just good times. A Chicken Ranchero Soft Taco helped me drive home without losing consciousness.

Then it was time to make corn chowder with ingredients from the farmer's market. I used fresh butter-and-sugar corn. It took me like three hours, but the end result was delicious. I foolishly used the faulty big burner on my electric stove. The burner goes from not-hot-enough to way-too-hot with just a tiny nudge. I have yet to figure out where the magic point of combustion is on the dial. So I burned the butter just a little. It was, and is, still fantastic soup. And that's the most any of us should ever ask for really.

Friday, August 06, 2004

I have a tendancy to over-share.

It's something I'm very aware of, so I try to stop myself before I go too far. Usually, I do a good job. Usually I do a good job of it on this blog.

But it's especially hard to not over-share when I'm feeling exceptionally aimless, lonely, bored, and sickly (still have a cold, and it's cramping my style) and it feels like if I don't talk to someone about it, I might die. I have some notion that doing so will help me out. Like the other person will say, "I hear you debl. I know a great guy with a big crush on you, here's his phone number. And I found a job listing for an artist, they want someone to make fun crafts for 100k a year, and it says the person must have 8 years of magazine editorial experience, isn't that odd. And hey, we're all about to go white-water rafting, followed by a clambake, at which we've hired The Pixies to play just for us. Come with!"

In reality, I should be the one to make arrangements for the amazing clambake, if that's what I want to do. I'm just so tired and gross-feeling with the cold I have that I don't feel up to doing anything, while at the same time, I really want to be feeling great and going out and having adventures. And as hard as I try, I can't will myself into getting over this cold. Stupid viruses, they're so frustrating.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

If you people aren't reading my comments, then you are missing out. I'm just saying.

My birthday is at the end of the month. I was just going through my blog archives, looking for a particular post (read the comments!) and I found an entry about last year's birthday, where I said something like "being 31 is going to rock!" because my 30th year kind of sucked balls. 31 was definitely better than 30, but I can't say that I truly rocked 31. Plus, now I'm going to be 32, which puts me firmly into my 30s. 31 is kind of like 30, in that it's really just the top of your 20s.

I really shouldn't care at all. I am trying not to, and I manage not to most of the time. It's unattractive, or so they say, to care about such things. I'm supposed to be all confident and carefree and secure in my lovely fresh ripe-peachiness. Maybe that will be my goal for my 32nd year.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

So have you seen the new Victoria's Secret ad where Tyra Banks is all "Take a look at my tits"? It's all about some really nice bra (really nice if you have really nice, big breasts already), and at the end of the ad text on the screen says:


What?? Why are those quotation marks there? I don't get why they're emphasizing that word. That's not how you emphasize something, anyway! Unless they're being sarcastic about "IT," which makes no sense. Can anyone explain this to me? Because this is the kind of thing that makes us editor-types lose sleep.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Hi everybody, I came home. My vacation was fine; there was a little swimming, a tiny amount of kayaking, a couple of hours of crafting (I made an enameled leaf pendant), some puzzle-piecing-togethering, and a lot of rain-avoidance. There were also many salads and ice cream cones eaten. Due to a warning about a stomach bug going throught campus, I got all OCD about washing my hands for a few days (and I didn't get sick like that, though I now have a cold, courtesy of A). I spent most of my time in the company of my niece, who turned six months old yesterday. Man she is a heart-melter. I let her drool all over my shoulders and chomp on my fingers. I made her laugh a couple of times, the cutest sound in the world. It was painful to say goodbye.

And then I came home, and there was no L-dog to pick up, because she has been adopted by the piano teacher from Salisbury. She seems very nice and says she already loves L. Of course, she also sent me an email today saying L had torn up the kitchen floor this morning. She asked me for L's behavior history, for her appointment with a doggie therapist. I hope that all works out for L.

As for me, the debl homestead is seeming a little lonely. It's quiet, too; I hadn't really thought about how much I speak to my dog. But I used to say things to her all the time. Many were directives, sure, but also things a person might say to another person, like "yeah, it sure is hot up here," and "soon we will go swimming" and "it will all be okay," as well as singing little songs with her name in them. It's been even weirder at work, where I keep on looking over to her empty dog bed, and I have to stop myself from automatically saying "Stay, L" every time I go downstairs. I'm trying to get into talking to my cat when I'm home, but come on. She's a cat. There's just no comparison.

I also have yet to fully realize all of the new things that can happen now that I'm dogless. I can ride my bike to work, for example. I can put the cat's food on the floor. I can walk into town or drive to the store during daylight hours. I can sign up for yoga class again. I can put on my give-up pants (or keep them off, as the case may be in this heat) much earlier in the evening, since I don't have to go out for a late-night walk. Tonight, if I can get a nap in first so I don't feel quite so crappy, I hope to walk over to see a show at the Iron Horse (you should go too). Tomorrow I can ride my bike to Shape-Note singing (unlikely, since it's all uphill, but I could if I wanted to). So I've got all that going for me.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Hi y'all. So I said goodbye to my dog today. The new woman seems very nice. She has her for a trial period of a week, while I'm away on vacation. At the meeting place, within a couple of minutes of meeting her, my dog jumped into the new person's car and settled down in the back seat. That made it a little easier. I'm really missing her right now, probably because I'm a little woozy from wine and sadness. A few minutes ago I heard a noise that I thought was my dog doing one of her stretching-groans, but then I remembered that she isn't here. My heart feels all broken.

It was nice to be able to walk into town and have dinner while the sun was still up, without worrying about my dog baking in the car, or barking. I'm trying to focus on the reasons why I did this, but right now I think I need to feel bad for a little bit.

Thanks to everyone who commented. It helps.

So I'll be away this week, no blogging for you. Maybe you can take a walk down memory lane by reading through the Archives? I'm back Sunday, on August's Eve.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The time for a Big Decision has arrived. I put up a free ad for my dog on, and someone actually responded, and she sounds like a really good match for my dog. Which means it's time to put up or shut up. When I got the email yesterday my heart unexpectedly sunk. How can I give up this close bond I have with my dog? The unconditional love I get? How can I let her down and break her heart, when she's been through so much in her life already? She helps me feel less alone, and it's very hard for me to ever turn away love of any kind. But a couple of things have happened in the past week that have made me pretty sure that my dog would do better elsewhere:

At Hugo's one night, my dog was (as she always has to be whenever I leave the house) locked inside of my car. And apparently she was barking so incessantly that a woman in a nearby building called the police, who loudly summoned me from the bar in front of a bunch of people I know. I had to walk out to my car and face the irate and exhausted woman who had called the cops. I was very apologetic. Luckily the policeman himself was very understanding, so all I had to do was move my car. But it was a definite low point.

This Sunday I didn't leave the house except to walk the dog. True, I amused myself by downloading a ton of my CDs onto my hard drive and then my ipod, making a couple of mixes along the way. But I didn't even have the option of, say, walking into town to grab a bite, or driving to Trader Joe's, or riding my bike to Pete's for ice cream.


I just had lunch with a couple of sympathetic co-workers, both dog-owners (one has a shelter dog), and they made me feel better about the whole thing. They agreed that if I was bringing her into a good situation, then it was the right thing to do in order to regain my freedom. There are two other people at work who are making me feel extremely guilty about giving her up... They don't know that I've started seriously looking for a new owner, but when I brought up the idea a few months ago they were both adamant that I keep her. One said that her anxiety will get worse with the new person, so to spare both the dog and the new person, I really just needed to keep on with the training (which I've been doing for years without success). The other said that she wouldn't be able to stand not seeing my dog at work every day. So why don't YOU adopt her, I was thinking, but I've asked her in the past and she can't or won't. Neither of these people, by the way, are ever willing to dog-sit for me.

So am I horrible? How horrible am I? The new person is arranging to meet with me this Saturday. I don't know if they will take her right away if things go well, or if they're going to wait a week (I'm going on vacation next week). And then I will be weepy and sad for a while. But then I will start to remember that I can once again ride my bike and walk everywhere I need to go in town, and I can do anything and go anywhere at any time of day, and I hope I'll realize I made a good choice.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Yesterday a co-worker noticed the black and white picture of a young and brooding Marlon Brando I've taped up in my cubicle. She sighed and I said, "Yes, wasn't he beautiful? And somehow knowing that he later became all tortured and anguished makes him even more beautiful." My co-worker nodded and said "hmm..." which could have meant either "I agree, sister, the bad boys totally do it for me," or "I think I've just figured out why you haven't found anyone 'good enough' during the past year."

Because this is the trick, the trick I and my girlfriends are trying to pull off: To find the guy who acts like a bad boy, but is a good guy in disguise. Who gets kind of introspective and cross sometimes, but never cross at you; and has done some things he regrets, but has learned from his mistakes; and who has had his heart broken a couple of times, so now he really appreciates the way you stroke his hair in a way that makes him like it, or how you laugh at the stupidest things as though you can't control yourself, or that you do things like find a pretty rock on the beach just to give to him. Because he knows by now that not all girls do that. So he treats you like a precious and rare creature, like a baby panda (they're endangered, you know).

And when he dresses up in a muu-muu and kisses Larry King on the mouth on national television, you will just shrug it all off, because he's treated you right and that's what's important.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I had a dream last week that I keep being reminded of due to the location and the celebrity guest-star: I was in the big back room of Essentials, the hip mod furnishings store on Main Street, lying on a bed with my sister as we watched and then listened to Freedy Johnston play a concert just for us. It wasn't meant to be just us, but it was early in the morning (thus the bed and the lying down) and he was charmed that we were there so he was doing the show. He was also simultaneously running a pirate radio station, and would occasionally take a break to broadcast some station i.d. or something. And of course he was helping out with the store. He was also acting a little crushed out on me. and in the dream this was uncomfortable: I had a feeling like I should really be enjoying the attention but instead I felt yucky and sad. (In real life, of course, I'd be all, "so when's the soonest we may marry?") During one of the songs he climbed up on the bed and was playing while lying next to me, staring up at the ceiling. The show seemed to go on forever, way past the point of my attention span. And when it ended, I noticed that a lot of my friends from town were there, having arrived late. So Freedy went over to talk to all of them. And I had to pack up a lot of stuff that I had brought while also rearranging the various things on sale at the store, and I was embarrassed about cleaning my cluttered mess in front of everyone. And that was that.

I do have a real-life Freedy story. Back when I was a band girlfriend, the Ms (I think...) opened for Freedy at the Iron Horse. We corralled him after the show and convinced him to go out to Bar 19 with us. And he said yes! A small crowd of musician friends gathered there and waited for a little bit wondering if he'd show, and eventually he did. We chatted about mundane things, and I think P got to speak to him one-on-one about the business end of making music. When it was time to go, the bunch of us walked from the bar back to the Horse (and our cars) together. It was all snowy and cold and gross mid-winter-ness, and Freedy was walking right in front of me, crossing the hump of snow between sidewalk and road, when he slipped and fell right onto his back. I let Freedy fall!

To this day I can point to the exact spot on King Street where it happened. Sigh.
What are you doing tonight?

You are watching the Amazing Race at 10 p.m. on CBS. If you missed the first one, go to Television Without Pity (in Links over there) and read the recap. TWP will make you love it.

What are you doing Thursday?

At 9 p.m. you are going to see Spouse, the Fawns, and Red Door Exchange at the lovely (and really way too small for this show) Bishop's Lounge. Because they are all beautiful, and I think the show is a mere 2 bucks, so you can afford to get one of their expensive fancy drinks.

What are you doing Wednesday?

That's up to you, sport. Take some initiative in your life for once.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I seem to have become unable to fall asleep in a timely fashion. I stay up too late, waiting until after the Daily Show to walk the dog and brush my teeth, and I'm yawning and bumping into things on my way to bed, and then I just lie there in the dark, wide awake. I'm not really even thinking about much, though I guess there's a general existential crisis. I think I'd sleep better if I didn't spend all evening inside my apartment, making crafts and watching TV and reading stuff online. It's almost like being half-asleep, doing those things.

Yesterday I did the very bad thing of taking a nap after work, which worked against me in two ways: It made me miss the show at P.A.C.E. I had wanted to see (and would have gotten me out of my apartment), and it made it just as hard to fall asleep later. Thank God the weekend is here to help put a stop to my secret shame.

Anyway. My blogging friend Jennifer wrote about her own overhearing-her-mom story, and you should read it because she is a hoot.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Remember way back on February 27th, when I went on and on about an old video game my sister and I used to play, and we couldn't remember the name of it?

Well it is found. It's called Agent U.S.A. I have my sister to thank. She downloaded a PDF of "Classic Gamer Magazine" from a link provided by the wonderful boingboing, and that zine had an ad for the game. I love the internet!

p.s. I was totally right about the "people" in the game being just a hat and feet.
Another highlight of the weekend was my sister and I overhearing my post-menopausal mother sing the praises of Astroglide to her also post-menopausal best friend. After she listed a few of the lube's various qualities, I blurted out "Oh my god, stop! We can hear you!!" They were standing not five feet from me, yet they acted surprised that we had heard. I blame the wine.
I spent the holiday weekend at my parents' house in New Jersey. It was fine. It was all very baby-centric, because my sister and her four-month-old was there. Which is fine, because I Believe That Children Are Our Future. I did remark at one point that I could lose an arm and no one would notice, which caused the people around me to joke, 'Yes we'd notice because then you couldn't hold the baby as well.' Ha ha. Ha.

We all went to a family friend's house for supper and fireworks on the Fourth, and because I had no choice, I had to bring my dog. The house is very close to the park where the fireworks are set off, and you can get a great view from the yard. I knew this would not go well. When the shells first started my dog just seemed startled, but then with each explosion she kept trying to back up, to get away from the noise and the flashing. Then she started panting and trembling, and I didn't want this to develop into a full-blown anxiety response (because I've heard other dogs who were upset by fireworks went on to become nervous wrecks during thunderstorms) so I took off. The group was busy seeing how my baby niece was reacting to the show, so I just told them I had to go, and we walked as fast as we could down the street in the other direction from the fireworks. Walking seemed to calm her, or at least give her a purpose, so I kept going. The friends' house is in a charming little town with historic buildings onstreets lined up nicely in a grid. It was cool to see them illuminated by the fireworks, the sidewalks mostly deserted except for the occasional person sitting in their yard watching the show. I turned onto the shadiest streets, trying to get some sizeable buildings between us and the noise. I kept walking and walking, onward and upward and away. By the time the big finale began, the dog was relaxed enough to stop and sniff at interesting things. So I turned us around and started walking back. About halfway there I bashed into the river of people walking home from the park. I had to swim upstream. When I got within a block my dad was waiting on the sidewalk as though he had been about to come search for me. "There you are," he said. My sister was worried I had been kidnapped, but my dad seemed more concerned that we were now unable to get a jump on the traffic. The drive home was slow and grim, the baby crying because we weren't moving (she had been calm throughout the fireworks show).

Friday, July 02, 2004

I was so good. I got into bed, lights out, before midnight last night. Finally, I was going to get at least 7 hours of sleep on a week night! My productivity at work was going to be phenomenal.

Then at around 2 a.m., I started dreaming that the city was under attack. I drifted up through a few layers of awakefulness and realized it was a thunderstorm. The lightning was non-stop. Flash, flash-flash! Flash, flash, FLASH-flash! And the thunder seemed to be rolling in both from nearby and far away, surrounding me. I had been in the deepest level of sleep, so I could barely move. But with my windows open all the way just a few feet from my head, I felt endangered by the violence of the storm. I live in an attic, after all - I'm high up and have nothing above me except a flimsy roof. So with all of the energy and adrenaline I could muster, in a desperate attempt to try to save my own life, I managed to turn over onto my other side and lay an arm across my head.

It seems to have worked, for I survived the night. But I did not get my full-night's sleep. Curse you, Thor!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

This is all purely hypothetical speculation.

If a girl, hypothetically, has an online personals ad, and that girl's profile says she is looking for a certain age range (a range reasonably centered around her own, clearly posted, age), would you contact the girl if you were the same age as the girl's father, and seriously expect a response?

Similarly, would you expect a response from a girl if your "More about what I'm looking for" answer said only "a woman who knows how to pleasure a man"?

Say you're about ten years older than the upper end of a girl's age range. And you also say, without irony, that one of your favorite songs is the James Taylor/Carly Simon version of "Mockingbird." Would you still think you had enough of a shot to spend a credit sending a message?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Wow, has it really been five days since I last posted? So sorry, dear readers.

For my first step in becoming a celibate groupie, I went to Provincetown with some rockstar friends this weekend. H and L rented a huge 15-passenger Chrystler Behemoth (actually I believe the model name was "Express") for the occasion, though there were only 6 passengers out of an expected 8. No matter; we filled the vehicle with music and gaiety. We listened to B's Rio, which he claims is better than my iPod (though then he couldn't remember why). He had it on shuffle, which somehow translated into a lot of Mike Nesmith interspersed with "When Doves Cry" and "Birdhouse in your Soul" and that creepy Capt. Beefheart song about "the blimp, the blimp!"

We got to the Cape around 6:30 Saturday, and wandered around Commercial Street for a bit before dinner at the venue (the Squealing Pig). I lead the group to the salt-water taffy place and the Marine Supply Co., and on our way back to the Pig we walked right past M, who blended in so well we didn't even see him, dressed in a tight lavender t-shirt, gelled hair, and pink, heart-shaped, rhinestone-framed glasses. For dinner I took the band's recommendation for the lobster toastie (grilled cheddar cheese sandwich with fresh basil, tomato, and lobster meat: heavenly).

During set-up I wandered off alone. I had never been in P-Town after dark. The vibe is laid-back and fun and just a little libidinous and carnival-esque.

Back at the Pig, the Fawns and SFTD each played two short alternating sets, and both were extremely well-recieved by a diverse crowd. Groups of people kept arriving and then leaving and then re-arriving. There was a lot of freeform dancing, and simulated sex acts, and some singing along. The meme of "woo!"ing H's arm movements during "Omnivore" was perpetuated. It was loud and rockin' for such a small room, but it fit perfectly with the mood of the night.

After the show we packed the van, and then waited for our patron to come by after work so we could give her a ride to her home, where we'd be staying the night. There was some expectation of a party at the house, but everyone was tired and our benefactor had a plan to get up early for the Wellfleet flea market, so we stayed quiet. We took every available inch of free floor space for our beds. T and M got an air mattress, B and A got the absent-roommate's bed, and H and L got the fold-out couch (I was invited to share it with them, but frankly I have trouble sleeping in the same bed with people I'm actually sleeping with, so I declined). I ended up using three couch cushions, my circa-1980 camping mattress, and my sleeping bag to make a bed that just barely fit on the kitchen floor. I couldn't fall asleep for hours. When it started getting light outside I crept around the air mattress to the bathroom (noted: M sleeps on top of the covers), crept back to bed, and then had to creep back to close the bathroom door which kept clacking semi-shut in the wind. Then I fell asleep and woke up just 3 or so hours later to almost everyone all dressed and awake and going into the back yard to see the horses.

We had a bleary breakfast at a random place on Comm. Street. I got a short stack of blueberry pancakes, which was more like an extremely short stack. We walked to the shore and I took some band photos with H's camera. Then the Express took us to Race Point beach just so we could all touch the ocean and collect rocks and pile rocks and look at the amazing colors of the sky and the water and the dune grass. Then we headed home, stopping at PJ's for some soft-serve (medium twist, rainbow sprinkles). And then I couldn't stay awake. I am pretty sure that at one point I even made a pre-snoring "snerk!" noise, but my friends are too polite to say anything. (I wasn't the only one having trouble with consciousness.) Thanks for the fun adventure, everybody!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I had a really disjointed sleep last night. I think I may have been sleeping with my eyes open again. First, it took a while for me to fall asleep; every time I'd be about to slip into unconsciousness, my sleeping dog would start "dreaming," which means loud, closed-mouth barking. It sounds like "Mouf! Merf!" and is actually quite funny and adorable, though less so when it wakes you up on a nightly basis. Once I fell asleep, I soon woke up with a start to find myself staring into the out-of-focus darkened room, with what looked like bits of pink fluff or fabric floating through the air. I even reached out to touch them, to find out if they were really there. It's an unpleasant sensation, to wake up in the middle of the night and discover yourself hallucinating something in the room, even though it quickly coalesces into normalcy after I wake up enough to focus my eyes a little (in the case of the fluff, it just disappeared; in previous times, shapes that looked like people or looming objects turned back into the collection of pictures on the wall or my pillow). I did a tiny amount of online research on this eyes-open-sleeping phenomena today, and no, I am fairly certain I'm not being probed by aliens, nor do I take any hallucinogenic drugs, nor do I fall asleep drunk every night, nor do I have a thyroid problem. So I think maybe I'm just a little weird.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Laurel Park, the neat converted-summer-homes/former-Christian-camp housing development a little ways out of town, had a big tag sale going on Saturday morning, so I stopped by. The tag sale in the common house wasn't very inspiring, but about 8 of the little houses nearby were having their own sales. It was great to have a reason to just wander around. The houses are all slightly smaller than what you'd imagine a house to be, and most of them are very close to their neighbors, and so people have gotten creative with their gardens and with making the most of their space. They run the place like a co-op with monthly fees and community events.

One of the people holding a tag sale was a woman, she couldn't have been more than forty, with a ridiculous bouffant wig on her head. It was obviously fake. She looked like an early Loretta Lynn. And it didn't go along at all with her casual clothes and lack of makeup. The stuff she was selling was cool - some neat old books, just like the ones I collect, and some old wooden toys, among other flotsam. A shopper picked up a small red elephant pull-toy and asked how much it was. She said, "Oh, I don't know... I always have second thoughts when it comes to selling my things. I just really like old things, you know? They just have more meaning for me... Okay, let's say $5, because I don't care if I sell it." Later I bought a $1 book from the 1920s about women's sex lives, and she gave me a half-full pad of watercolor paper for free.

All right, the story's not that interesting. The point is that I could have been her, a few years down the line. A couple of years ago I contemplated buying a house in Laurel Park for $90k - a price unheard of nowadays for anything but a mobil home in this town - because, as I said, they're super charming and sweet, and perfect for one person, especially for the price. But I was too afraid I'd turn into crazy-wig lady: A single woman who spends a lot of time around her house making it all cozy and funky and interesting, while slowly getting older and lonlier and more isolated, losing touch with old friends until her only social activities are with the old ladies in the development. It is true that I do think it's just as likely that I could live there and have a ball and make it work, but the crazy-wig lady archetype is still standing there in the corner of my brain, fretting over the fate of her odd little collections. And I'm just too young to want to be her.

Friday, June 18, 2004

So I have just a few random odds and ends this morning, things that didn't seem important enough to be their own posts (like that's ever stopped me before. But seriously folks...).

The food bank collection box at my office is still there in the kitchen, still accepting donations. It hasn't been emptied/delivered in months. Inside of it right now: A bunch of pasta, a JollyTime popcorn ball maker (two hemi-spherical pieces of plastic), Stop n' Shop brand pumpkin pie filling, and the winner of worst donation of all goes to: An open, half-eaten jar of organic baby food (mashed squash, I think), which I threw away upon discovery.

If you are a person who does not blush, and you happen to meet and spend time with someone who does blush, let me give you this piece of advice: If your new acquaintence starts blushing for whatever reason, the thing to do is NOT to say "Hey look, you're blushing! Wow, your face is getting sooooo red! It's like neon red! Ha ha ha! Hey everyone, look at her blushing!" Saying things like this to me means an automatic sucker-punch to the gut. Then I will rain bitch-slaps upon your face, until I am able to stand back and triumphantly say, "Hey look at how red her face is! You look like a candy apple! Ha! Ha! HA!" A jury of people who blush would acquit me in a second. The correct thing to do: Ignore the blushing entirely.

A few weeks ago as I was walking my dog on my street, a car drove up slowly next to me and the window rolled down to reveal a late-middle-aged woman with fussy hair. She said "I hope you pick up after that dog." I said yes, I always did, I am a responsible pet-owner. "Do you have bags with you?" Yes, yes I did have bags. I'm very responsible, I always pick up the poop. She chuckles and says "But do you USE the bags? Because they're no good unless you use them!" Uh, yes, I always, always use them. (Didn't we go over this?) She pulls into the driveway of the house diagonal from mine. Her house is huge and expensive-looking and her lawn is weed-free. Now, every time I pass by it, I think about leaving a neatly-tied baggie of my dog's poop on her porch. This very morning my dog took a dump on her property, and I contemplated leaving it there out of spite; but I didn't. Because I am a responsible dog owner, not one of the many, many people who carry around plastic bags just for fun and fashion.