Thursday, November 29, 2007

I went to the bird blind today and someone was in it! I think he was the mysterious MP, who writes a lot in the notebook that lives in the blind. (It's not a slambook or anything, it's to record what birds and animals you saw.) Yes, I could have asked him if he was MP, but I prefer to keep it a slight mystery. He had binoculars and a camera bag. He said he had seen a mink earlier that day. Also, the chickadees take the seeds we give them and hide them all over the place, stocking up for the winter. Smart little guys.

A few days ago, CJ and I brought black sunflower seeds to the blind, and I took some photos. Here are two of my hand with bird and seed in palm, taken in macro:



For full resolution, click here and here.

Below is a movie of CJ's arm, with the birds in action. They are very comfortable around people, but I'm still going to call him The Chickadee Whisperer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I just drove home from CJ's, because he is sick and wanted company, and I am a good girlfriend. Not so good as to do his dishes, but to be fair to myself, he was not so stricken as to be unable to play video games with me for a few hours. Anyway, it is very windy out. Let me tell you: A grouping of dried leaves being blown across the highway looks just like a small animal darting in front of the car, if you're going fast enough and it is dark out. I didn't actually swerve, but a few times I came close. Dead leaves enjoy traveling in packs for some reason. Safety? Fun times?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Say, I guess I don't have to wait until 11:55 to write a post, do I! So here it is.

I thought of another obvious mariachi song: Ring of Fire.

And today was a total waste. I got up late and was too cold to do anything all day except read crap online. Mainly Metafilter, but other things too.

I also got an email from a guy who I had responded to via Craigslist back in June. He responded to my response, we traded introductory emails three or four times... and then he sent me a link to a song he had written and recorded (and sang, and played electric guitar on). The song was SO BAD that at first I thought it was a parody of an over-earnest heavy-metal-ish rock ballad. But his email introducing the link gave no indication that it was a joke, and we hadn't been joking around before. He really thought the song was good. I was so perplexed by it -- he had seemed smart and in touch with reality -- that I sent the link to a couple of close friends to get their take on it, and what I should do. After all, I couldn't write him back without acknowledging the song, and I couldn't acknowledge the song without being rude or sounding snotty. And then I was thinking, do I really want to waste my time with a guy who is so far removed from my world? My world being the one that most people live in, I mean? (It's not like he's a recent Bosnian immigrant or something; he grew up around here.) So, on the advice of my homies, who agreed with my assessment of the song, I never wrote back. Cowardly, I know, but I figured it was kinder than whatever response I'd be able to come up with -- after all, I probably would've at least gone out on a first date with him if not for the song, and there's no way to break that news nicely.

So today I get an email from him in which he's cc:'d 90 other women. That's right, NINETY. (And they're cc:'d, so I can read all of their names and addresses. Nice.) The content of the email basically is, and I am paraphrasing so the text isn't google-able, that I and the other 90 are receiving the email because I was not polite and decent and smart enough to continue emailing with him at some point this past year. In fact, not replying him proves that I am an "average American," only interested in life on the surface and not in true, meaningful communication. I really should get out more, do some traveling (he's very worldly, so he knows these things) to expand my mind, to experience places where people are friendly and have depth and know how to connect with people. I need education, is all. And he enclosed a photo of himself, because he describes himself as attractive and doesn't want all of us to forget it. (From our June exchanges I remember that he also thinks he looks about 10-15 years younger than he is; as you all know, expressing a combination of extreme vanity and a fear of aging is DEFINITELY something you want to do immediately upon meeting a potential romantic partner. You know my feelings on this phenomenon. He's not the specific guy I wrote about in that post, however.)

Well. I immediately felt bad for the guy, because clearly he's still out there looking, and being alone when you don't want to be alone really sucks. And so, like many do, he lashed out in a crazy, obsessive way. I can't imagine how long it took to comb his email archives finding all of the women who dropped contact with him. And after a few minutes feeling kind of sorry for him, I forwarded it to CJ, and then to
, hoping they'll post it as one of their "Crap Emails From A Dude." I'll let you know if they do.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I didn't post yesterday, it's true. I am aware of it.

Only after listening to my most recent ipod playlist did I realize that three of the songs I'd chosen feature mariachi bands:

"Underdog" by Spoon
"Neon Bible" by Arcade Fire
"Alone Again Or" by Love

This was out of about 20 songs. Are there more examples of recent songs using mariachi band music? Let me know if you think of any.

Tonight I made a delicious winter squash soup. I based it roughly off of this recipe though I didn't add sugar and cream. I had a carnival squash and a package of pre-peeled-and-chopped butternut from Trader's. and I did not pair it with a rosé. I did put crumbles of goat cheese on top of the soup, which was delicious. And we had wheat baguette and a kick-ass salad to round it off. It was a good apres-Thanksgiving meal; kind of light, with a good amount of cleansing fiber, fairly low in fat, but still autumnal.

And with no transition whatsoever, here are two photos of my cats in their Thai bucket thingy.



That last one shows where the bucket is in relation to the propane stove. The cats like the warmth.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Today the whole family (six adults, two young children) decided "what better day than Black Friday to go shopping?" And so we went to Babies R' Us, where the most recent parents in the group eventually (after much deliberation) purchased a car seat and a case of baby food. I took T to ride the coin-op Sesame-Street-character-themed firetruck in the entrance foyer, and after waiting for someone to enter the store so the door would be activated, the rest of the family joined us there. Which meant we were trapped. Instead of waiting for someone to show up and enter the store so we could escape the airlock-like foyer, CJ walked back into the store and out the actual exit so he could activate the door, freeing us. And T has been calling him "hero" ever since. As in, "Hero! Pick me up!" etc. It kind of hurts, the cuteness of everyone.

I also volunteered to take one for the team by taking T to the bathroom at a restaurant today. While she was pooping (let me tell you non-parents out there, holding a small person on a too-big toilet while they shit is AWESOME*), she said something like, "You know what's bad? When someone is peeing or pooping, and another person comes and pees and poops through that other person peeing and pooping." I'm not sure if she's just stating that she's anti-scat, or if it had to do with the fact that it was a multi-stall restroom and some strange woman had just entered the neighboring stall.

*That was sarcasm. I didn't really need to say it was sarcasm, did I? I just wanted to be sure I was not misunderstood.**

** Also, having to wipe the dirty bum of a small uncooperative person is AWESOME.*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Obviously, we already ate. We (and by "we" I mean my mom) brined the turkey this year, and it did seem more flavorful than usual. She didn't brine it for the suggested 24 hours; it only got about 12 hours in the sauce, but it was still good. We have lots of leftovers. Some of them are out on the deck, because though my parents live alone, their full-size fridge is always packed so tightly as to be a solid wall of food. Mom claims that she cleaned it out recently, but she has a different idea about how long one can keep condiments before deciding they're too old to use. I have a jar of marmalade from January that really needs to go, but I am guessing that my parents would think it was fine, as it is "preserves," after all.

Here I am, slagging on my parents, when they are the ones that made us the chocolate-espresso pecan pie today. That was a heavenly pie. It still is, because there's some left for tomorrow.

I hope all of you out there had delicious food today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Here I am in NJ, in the land of red mud. My parents' house is getting an addition, and the construction was supposed to be finished last month. Instead, half the house is still in the subflooring and bare drywall stage. It's a bit unsettling, and I don't even live here. My parents are generous enough to be camping out in the unfinished area so that me, my sis, and her kids can be in actual rooms with doors and floors.

And right now I am watching Project Runway and I'm too distracted to blog properly, so I shall bid you all a good night and a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today was the first snow of the season! It's still here, too. We got maybe 2 inches. The Laurel Park peons haven't put out the handy buckets of sand yet (nor have they gotten all of the leaves up) so I know this won't last. It's pretty out, though.

In decade quilt news, today I spent about three hours ironing, pinning, and basting together the two flannel sheets so they'd be easier to work with. Now I need to pin and baste the top to them.

And now I am tired and will go to bed. Tomorrow: Driving to parental home in NJ, with CJ. Scary!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today at a networky lunch, this exchange may have happened:
me: So, I guess I can get your contact info from _____.
potentially career-helping guy: Or I can just contact you through your blog.

The first thing that came into my mind was, Oh shit, my most recent post has the word "cock" in it. (And now here it is again, in this one!) (Which the person might be reading.)

My blog has become post-modern.

Anyway, I went shopping in Hadley today. It was more of a bunch of errands than anything fun, though the problem-solving part of my brain was satisfied with the activity. In Target, I overhead a little boy repeat over and over, "Dad, can we go into the toysssection?" With the drawn-out sounding "s," just like I spelled it. At first I thought, maybe the kid's a little autistic? But then I decided that he was simply saying "toys section." And saying things slightly wrong (or overly-specific) is cute.

I also bought birdseed today, so I can help contribute to the delinquency of the chickadee population in the local wildlife preserve.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday (yesterday) was Bag Day in Northampton. On this very special day, participating stores allow bag-holders to purchase one item at 20% off. You can get the bags in the local newspaper, but a few of the stores have them (though you have to ask around). CJ wanted to look for a jacket, and I thought I'd get a jump on the ol' holiday shopping, so we went. My fair town is never more like a shopping mall than on Bag Day. Tons of people milling around, long lines inside stores, restaurants full of tired and hungry people... The trees along Main Street are again lights-free, and the stupid, irritating "holiday banners" are up, with their anti-festive rectangles of sparse white lights. They depress me. Regardless! I was able to find presents for niece and nephew at the special toy store where everything is made of wood or cotton and has been crafted lovingly by women-owned collectives in Guatemala. No roofies in these toys, no way!

Anyway, outside of Faces was parked a bike with a trailer posted with big
"nopornnorthampton" (.com*) signs on it. I considered buying a giant rubber cock at the "sensuality shop" and gluing it to the seat, but I have better things to do with my money.

CJ and I walked to the bird blind today. Due to the rules-ignoring actions of a couple of my neighbors, the chickadees have learned that people in the blind = free birdseed. So now all one has to do is sit down, extend your cupped hand, and wait a minute, and a cute little chickadee will fly up and perch on your fingers. The chickadee will take a few seconds to assess the situation, maybe pecking a little at the palm of your hand, and when it realizes you were faking them out and in fact have no birdseed, it takes a shit on your arm. Kidding! It just flies away. I need to buy a small bag of seed just so I can get my Snow White on the next time I walk out there.

*You can visit the site if you want, but I'm afraid if I show up on their referral log, I'll get a lot of passive-aggressive emails.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ok. I finally uploaded my photos from Halloween weekend. Here's my deer costume. I was alternately a revenge-seeking deer (i.e. a deer hunter, ha ha):


...and an injured (see shotgunned chest) and subsequently suicidal deer:


Yeah, I didn't win any prizes this year. The gun was fun, though.

And, I actually finished the top of my decade quilt! Here it is.


It's meant to be an adult-sized quilt; see the scissors for scale. And it's a little rough around the edges, which will disappear once I do the finishing work. I have a couple of flannel sheets I'll use as both the other side of the quilt and the batting. (When I started this, years ago, my plan was to make kind of a light blanket thing instead of a heavy quilt.)

So that's what I've been doing instead of working or getting freelance jobs... Though I only worked about six hours on this during the last week. That's how much work had been done on this already. Damn.
Yeah, I know: I failed to blog yesterday. More TK after I run a few errands.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I finally decided, at 8:30 tonight, to defrost the refrigerator. I have just plugged it back in. Unlike the first time I defrosted it, I had let the ice in the fridge part grow to become, oh, two inches thick or so this time. It has dawned on me that I may not exactly understand how a refrigerator works, since I have no idea where all of that moisture came from. It's not like I'm putting steaming bowls of soup in there every night. Anyway, the glacier had grown to envelop the edge of the top-most wire shelf, and I had to wait for the shelf to be free before I could pry the glacier off. So I set up a space heater to point into the fridge and I waited. And waited, and soaked up the water with many towels, and waited some more, and set up a drip-wicking system to steer some of the water into a pan, and waited, and finally, beautifully, the shelf was yanked free and I was able to pry the slippery melty sheet of stale ice from the back of the fridge. Bliss. Now it's cooling down and I am about to restock my food, which is currently "chilling" (ho ho!) out on the porch.

And, because my sister made me go to all of this trouble of making my friend Rich stop what he was doing and find this image for me, I am going to post it; my favorite LOLGRIM:


I understand if you don't get it. You should be happy if you don't. It is for followers of internet memes. Anyway, Happy A Week From Thanksgiving!

p.s. Rich says "Keep your eyes open for LOLIDAYS!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ok, it's blog post time. What to say, what to say... Well, I felt a little better today. I feel terrible right now but that's because it's time to go lie down and sleep It's my mom's 60th birthday today, and I heard she had a delicious Filet to celebrate. I've taken several flash photos of my cats intertwined in the wooden bucket I mentioned, but I haven't uploaded them. I actually put hard-soled shoes on and did some yardwork for about half an hour (raking). And then I had to take a nap. I also did some work on my decade quilt (because at this rate it will take me 10 years to complete it; we're already in year 4, I think).

AND! Project Runway started tonight. Whoo! I love that show. A few ex-coworkers and I are going to wager on the outcome, as we did last season (I didn't win). We each pick a designer and whoever picks the person that stays the longest is the winner. And we are allowed to view the first episode before choosing. I like Kit Pistol, if just for her name. And that's all for today, folks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My mom's 60th birthday is coming up -- in, oh, half an hour -- and she wants fancy glass marbles. Apparently they're a thing. Anyway, in my searches, I found something even better than marbles: Marebles. You may click on that and think at first, "'Glass ball equine IUDs', huh? 'IUD' must be a horse-related acronym I am unfamiliar with, because it obviously couldn't mean..." But oh yes, it does. It does mean that kind of IUD. If you ask me, a mareble seems much more collectible and rare than a marble, but I'm not selling either kind, so what do I know.

In other news, I left the house today, under my own power! I drove my car to the Stop & Shop around 3 p.m., and yet again entered the land of the Differently-Employed. Because I am still sick and my head is full of fluids, shopping took a very long time. I tried to enjoy and roll with the floaty sensation so as to not have a bad trip. At check-out, the middle-aged, average-sized lady in line in front of me was still packing up her large purse when my items were heading down the chute into the bagging area, where they bumped against her packed shopping bags. She eyed my Kettle brand cheddar-cheese-flavored baked potato chips with surprise and a hint of alarm. "Wow, look at these! May I?" she gestured to pick up the chip bag, looking at me for permission. I granted it. "How many calories are in this? How many per serving? It says 120 calories per serving, and an ounce is a serving, how big is that?" I said that the entire bag was 4 ounces (totally overpriced normally, but it was on sale), so you could just eat a fourth of the bag. "Where did you find these!" I said it was in the health food aisle, and I hadn't tried them yet. Unfortunately my voice crapped out by the end of the sentence so I couldn't really continue the conversation. Plus, it was time to pay, and she was standing (with my potato chips) right in front of the debit card swipe machine. I had to simply wait for her to be done with my chips, and so I did. The chips are good but I wish they were saltier. And not so expensive.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am sick of the writer's strike. What's the thing people do a lot of when they're sick? Watch TV. And yet, I have no new Daily Shows and Colbert Reports to watch. LAME. I did make and enjoy some Jello today (raspberry flavor!), and played a bunch of Star Wars Battlefront II, and watched two episodes of Rome. I didn't even get out of bed until 12:30, because I had a horrible night of barely any sleep. My nose just kept seeping out. I kept thinking I had a nosebleed, but no, just snot. Fluid, watery snot. It's been a rough day. I am just entering the coughing/sore throat stage. I'm about to go to bed and I predict more misery.

I know, whine whine whine. There are children dying and wars happening and I am complaining about a silly cold. But it's my cold, I own it. It owns me, rather. And I have to blog today, so here it is.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's been a while since I've lost the fight to a cold and I am remembering why and just how much I hate them. This weekend was almost a complete wash, what with the naps and the watching TV and DVDs and playing video games. CJ made me matzo-ball chicken soup tonight, which helped a little, if only mentally.
In other news, Thanksgiving is like a week and a half away. Just let that sink in a little. If CJ hasn't left me by then (having gotten fed up with my sickness-aggravated crankiness), he'll be joining me and the family. It sounds like the two of us will be "camping" in the unfinished addition to my parents' house, which will be totally awesome if I'm still sick. I can't still be sick then, can I?
[Um, it's still Saturday on the west coast.] I've had a very lazy day because of my being under the weather. One significant thing did happen, though: The cats finally discovered the footed wooden bucket-like thing that I bought specifically as a cat bed about a year and a half ago. They have been curled up together in it all day. I could not be prouder.
I also went to Snow Farm for their seconds/samples sale, where I bought nothing, and the Williamsburg general store, where I also bought nothing. CJ cooked me a chicken and heated up some tasty butternut squash soup and a loaf of bread and made a salad. It was very tasty, even though I feel kinda gross at all times due to the cold.
New to this cold: As an experiment, I am going to see if NOT cutting out dairy makes any difference at all. So far it hasn't. I was taught that drinking milk during a cold made you more mucousy, but a few people in the past couple of years have told me that that's bullshit. Please share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I went to the NEW! BIG! Big Y today. It just opened. Well, re-opened. It is now Stop n' Shop sized, and is similar to S&S, except it sells wine and beer and there's a place where you can eat whatever you bought at the pizza bar and deli. And the "natural" foods are all integrated with the other food throughout the store, instead of handily/food-apartheidedly segregated into two aisles all the way over on one side. The prices are not cheaper at Big Y, in fact a few of my staples were noticeably more expensive (and strange: why did they choose to make the almond/flax GoLean Crunch 60 cents more than the regular GoLean Crunch?). However, Big Y does have a very special savings "club" card. Like other cards, it lets you get the sale prices on some items, and they track your purchases for probably=nefarious purposes. But at Big Y, at check-out you get to play a virtual slot machine which might give you a blue, silver, or gold coin. An actual coin, which you can use for future savings. Today they seemed to be giving everyone silver coins (even though my slot machine thing came up without a win). A silver coin can get you a free small coffee in the new cafe, so I have that to look forward to.

And though it was one in the afternoon on a weekday, Biy Y was packed. Lots of elderly people wandering around in wonder and gratitude; apparently they have been waiting a long time for Big Y to come back. I do not know why they like Big Y so much, and why they do not like Stop n' Shop. Big Y has always had a kind of old-fashioned feel to it, with smaller aisles, lots of canned and processed food, ground beef and frozen hash browns in bulk, and very little fresh, all-natural stuff. At least, it did. Today they had a guy grilling chicken teriyaki on a Foreman Grill and giving chunks out as samples. There was an old man there saying to his wife, "I think it's chicken, but it's got some kinda spice on it." "It's teriyaki!" I said helpfully. He just stared at me. Change can be difficult.

In other news, I seem to have a cold. It's been a while since I've been sick, but the petri dish of my sister's apartment was too much for my immune system. I call it a petri dish only because she has two young children who don't know how or care to know how to blow their noses. It was a snotty situation, is all I'm saying.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I woke up this morning to T walking into the living room, sobbing "Grandmaa-aa-aa!" (She really likes my mom. Also, like the rest of my family, she is really cranky when she first wakes up.) Usually it's her job to not-so-gently wake me up so I can relinquish the couch to her, while I go to the back of the apartment to sleep a little longer in S's bed. Today, she walked over to my side, paused for a second, then flung herself despondently on the rocking chair, saying, "Daddy, you wake her up, I don't wanna watch! I don't wanna watch!" Such drama, that one. Later on I got a better send off from her. And now I'm heading out to Thai and Trivia.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cringe Night was hilarious and awesome. There was a cute guy reading the poems he wrote when he was 14, a pretty woman reading from a short story about meeting Michael Hutchins from INXS (she wrote the story in order to give it to him, to inspire him to contact her and fall in love with her; she did end up throwing a dot-matrix-printed copy of it onstage at one of their concerts), and two or three other random diary-readers. My sister had brought one of her old journals, thinking she might read this lengthy, painfully-sincere, and enthusiastic review of a Sting concert we attended, but she was too intimidated by the quality of the other readings. Maybe next time.
One guy read from a diary he was assigned to keep during his 8th grade year; I had the exact same assignment, and I still have the diary. Blog fodder!
CJ is, right this moment, booking our trip to Maui. It is happening, people. To put my fickle mind at ease, we are paying extra for a pre-nup (i.e. trip insurance). But now I can start dreaming of snorkeling with the manta rays, sunsets on the beach while sipping mai tais, and volcano-exploration.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm in Brooklyn, because I am of course still unemployed, so I can go wherever I want during the work week. And my sister really wants to go to Cringe Night tomorrow, so here I am. Once I got here, T, my 3 and 3/4-year-old niece, kept asking me how long I would be staying. Actually, she was more pessimistic about it: "So you're leaving right after dinner, right?" "So you won't be here when I wake up, right?" "So you'll be here tomorrow in the morning, but you'll be gone when I come home from school, right?" She has been slaying me with the cuteness and the cleverness and the funnyness.
Right now the three grownups are in front of three computers. Sk just farted audibly, S said "gross!" and Sk said "YOU'RE gross!" and S said "that's mean!" and I said "BOTH of you are gross!" and S went "Aw!" and Sk went "Ha!"
This is what we do after the kids go to bed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Oh SHIT, it's NaBloPoMo. And my blog-slacker sister
is doing it, so I really have no excuse. I just reread some old blog posts from 2003, looking for the 7th-grade diary entries I transcribed (they're in February, if you're interested) and man, I used to blog all the time, plus I was so much funnier and more energetic. What the hell happened? It's kind of depressing.
I have lots of things I could talk about, but a lot of it is personal. And I'm the only one of my friends who lays themselves bare on a blog, so I think part of my problem is Fear of People Not Liking Me. This is an ongoing crisis (see: the previous 5 years of this blog) and one I need to work on. But, like most difficult things I "need to work on," there's always tomorrow to start actually working, if you know what I mean.
Anyway. I'll blog every day for this month, even though I took the weekend off. Here, I'll tell you about my weekend in animals:
I met a very pretty, gray, short-haired dog on the street Friday night, before the Sitting Next To Brian CD release show. The show was fantastic, by the way. We were drifting off to sleep by the end of their set (not the band's fault) so we missed Space Captain.
The next night, CJ and I saw The Darjeerling Limited, which was great, though felt similar to The Life Aquatic. A snake has a cameo role.
Yesterday, after a baby shower at Chandler's Tavern, I drove up to Lenox, where CJ and I went for a short walk at the Audubon place. We turned a corner of a path and saw a beaver slip into a tiny pond. We froze, and the beaver slowly swam in a circle and came back to where it had been before, about ten feet away from us. It lumbered up onto a fallen log and started nibbling on dead leaves. Beavers are very noisy chewers, and when they're standing half-submerged in a pool of still water, the vibrations cause tiny ripples to radiate out from their bodies. It stayed there for a while, then took a small branch in its mouth and swam a few feet away to continue chewing, as if to give us the full Beaver Viewing Experience of swimming, eating, and grasping things with hand-like claws.
This morning on my drive home on the Pike, I saw a couple of guys in orange safety vests standing by the jersey barrier in the middle. As soon as I whizzed past, they dragged a deer carcass across the roadway to the shoulder, each of them holding a rear leg, going as quickly as they could. The deer wasn't mangled at all, it was just dead. I spent the next ten minutes daydreaming about calling the local hunting store to find out if I could pay someone to clean and dress a doe I'd hit with my car (if I ever do, god forbid), or would that be a problem, since I didn't have a deer-hunting license?
And now I'm home, and need to do some interview prep work. Which is difficult, and which is why I haven't started (see what I did there? With the tag-back?). The interview is only rhetorical at this point; I expect it'll be scheduled soon. I hope.

Friday, November 02, 2007

[Update: I did send a revised resume, with a short but funny/mildly-self-deprecating email; the guy wrote me back almost immediately saying not to worry, he hadn't read the previous one yet. Sorry for ignoring your advice, commenters; I went with a former co-worker's opinion.]

Last Thursday, I drove CJ to a CVS to get eye drops and much-needed pain reliever for an eye thing he was going through. I could tell it really hurt because he was kind of trembling and not-talking. While cruising through the parking lot, a big old sedan in front of me suddenly stopped. So, I pulled into the open spot he had just passed, and parked. As CJ and I searched the car for his pain-killing prescription (with increasing distress), a very angry man suddenly knocked at the window. "Do you do that a lot, stealing people's parking spaces!?" I opened the door to be polite and asked him to repeat himself. He did. I said, "Oh, were you going to back into it or something? I didn't know." (By the way, there were plenty of parking spaces. Plenty. And the dick didn't have his blinkers on.) He said something angry to me back, about being careful or something, and how I should watch out and pay attention (I didn't pay attention). He was so furious, so furious at ME. I suddenly got angry, and as he walked away, I said to his back, "You don't have to be an asshole about it." He immediately turned and rushed up to the car saying, "Excuse me? Did I use bad language with you??" I glanced over at CJ, still wincing and fumbling around in the dark for the prescription, and I said, "No, fine, you're right. Have a good night" -- that last bit said with sweetness and only a tiny hint of sarcasm.

After he walked away and the adrenaline rush subsided, I felt like crying. We decided the prescription was not in the car; this was bad, and meant he'd have to just use Advil. As I walked a blind CJ to the CVS, I had to excuse my bad behavior to CJ: see, I used to just turn meek and yielding when confronted with jerks, but now I stand up for myself, maybe a little too much, when I should really be polite but firm. Plus, because CJ had his eyes closed, I felt I had to convince him that I hadn't actually knowingly cut the guy off. (He doesn't know me well enough yet to know I don't pull that crap.) But replaying what had just happened made me feel worse and less-together. I nearly fell apart in the freakin' CVS, and I think it all happened because I'm unemployed.

Here's why: My ego has taken a big hit, which I didn't really expect from being laid off; I don't feel it consciously. I know I'm good at what I do (or used to do). But I am definitely more insecure than I have been in a long time. It's not a good feeling. Nobody's more critical of me than I am. I don't know how to counteract this, except to just be aware of it. I hope I don't end up stripping for cash just to feel better about myself. If you catch me on the pole, please pull me off of it.

Inside CVS, CJ sat in the waiting area while I collected the other stuff he needed. As he occasionally blotted at his teary, shut eyes, and I held his hand and tried to distract him from the pain, I thought I saw the angry guy walking up the aisle. I hoped he saw me, and I hoped he felt guilty.