Friday, November 27, 2009

I'll show you pics from my Thanksgiving .....

....... if you promise not to call Child Protective Services.

Baby's first wine box:

.... and the wine always leads to harder stuff, don'tcha know:

Awwwwwww. Baby's first highball. It's a Manhattan - the kid has good taste.

Members of my family found these pictures either horrifying or hilarious, depending on which way their sense of humor skewed. I think you know which side of the spectrum I fall on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The holidays are here .....

...... let's talk about some really depressing shit.

I'm reading this book, "Closing Time", by Joe Queenan. It's a memoir about growing up poor with an alcoholic, abusive father.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'm going to make it all the way through - I thought it would be really good, but this dude is just intellectualizing the heck out of the whole thing, so it's kind of tough going.

But he does bring up some interesting points about growing up, and being, poor. Here's some examples:

"Poverty, conceptually as well as viscerally, suffers from a mythology concocted by those who were never poor. Poverty goes far beyond not having money or food. Poverty means that when you do have money and food, the money gets spent unwisely and the food is not nutritious."

"Poverty is a tumor it takes a lifetime to excise, because poverty is lodged deep inside the brain in a dark corner where the once-poor don't want to look. Poverty is a lifestyle, a philosophy, a modus vivendi, an agglomeration of bad habits, which is why nobody who has ever been poor physically ever stops being poor emotionally."

"Most things in life come down to the luck of the draw. Line up ten poor people. Nine of them won't make it. One, maybe two, will. It might as well be you, third pauper from the left. It will help if you are born with chutzpah and personality or are capable of unleashing a stupefying amount of violence on complete strangers in a short period of time with little concern for the consequences. But even that may not be enough. Everyone who is saved is saved because someone tossed him or her a lifeline ......... as the events of Good Friday make abundantly clear, no one is saved all by himself."

Okay, I find this stuff fascinating. First off, let me make clear, I do not have my own personal Poverty Card to pull here. I was born into an upper-middle-class family. Due to an unwise choice of (ex)husband, I did go through some pretty tough times, financially, in my twenties, but I was never actually hungry or destitute.

What Mr. Queenan seems to be saying is that you can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You have to have help. And even with help, you may not succeed. I think of that line from the Bible that goes something like, "There will be poor always". In other words, you can't save everybody. Some people will always be poor. Some people, astoundingly, seem to choose poverty. I am thinking of one friend of mine in particular. This dude has been given chance after chance after chance to improve his situation, but he always f*cks it up.

So! I have lots more thoughts on this (oh boy, do I), but this has gone on kind of long already and I'm getting ready to split for the weekend. Feel free to leave your thoughts on poor people in the comments, and Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry if I depressed the shit out of you by talking about poverty.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holy Bullwinkle!

My sister-in-law sent me a forwarded e-mail with these pics. They were supposedly taken at Elliott Lake, Ontario, Canada. The road is supposed to be a regular dirt road, i.e., one wide enough for a car to drive down.

What do you think? Real or Photoshopped? There's nothing on Snopes about a giant moose. I'd love to believe that a moose of that size is out there, but do they really get that big?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Memento Mori

On Saturday, I was pawing through old photos at an antique store, and I saw one that caught my eye. I asked the store owner, "Is this one of those ...... coffin photos?"

"Post-mortem photography is actually the term, and, yep, that's what that is!", he said.

It was a photo of a dead guy. In his coffin. Surrounded by floral arrangements.

I bought it.

I'd seen photos like it on line, but I'd never actually held one. And I have no idea why, but it just kind of spoke to me. Sort of like the deer antlers. You see something, and you want to give it a home.

Oh, and I did finally hang the antlers - they're on the door frame between the living room and kitchen. Klassy. And maybe I'll hang the coffin photo above the antlers.

Which should be a big hit on Halloween, but I doubt I'll have much company the rest of the year. And someday when I make the news for having, I don't know, a house full of bones or something, you guys can all be, "I knew her back when she was just starting to go crazy!"

Friday, November 20, 2009


I predict that lots of this will be going on at my place this weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stop threatening me, Rite-Aid

Rite-Aid's ad campaign, "With us, it's personal", cracks me up. Every time I see one of their ads, I'm all, watch out, peeps; this time, it's PERSONAL.

I couldn't remember where I'd heard that before, until I googled it and found out it was the tag-line for "Jaws: The Revenge."

Hmmm. Invoking comparisons to a killer shark out for blood? Way to go, Rite-Aid. And oh my God, has anybody else noticed the cartoon reindeer adorning their latest flyer? The reindeer who looks like it's on crack? With blood-red eyes and a messed-up mane and giant teeth? And it's just a disembodied head floating on the edge of the ads, making me think of the Godfather movie? Yeeeaaaahhhh, THAT mo-fo's not gonna give your kids nightmares.

On a related note (kind of)(maybe), every. single. time I see that commercial for the post office? You know the one, "If it fits, it ships"? I think, "if it fits, it shits."

I don't think that's quite what they intended.

Although I'm sure that somewhere, an ad agency exec is laughing his ass off.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This is EXACTLY why I quit smoking

Seriously, guys, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse or anything with all this "ha ha I quit smoking" stuff, but something happened today that really rattled me.

See, there is this blogger who I've been reading for, oh, a year or two now. I'd link to her blog, but she doesn't know me from Adam, and I don't know if she'd appreciate it, and to tell the truth, she's got her hands pretty full right now.

Because she went to the doctor with a persistent cough, and they did an x-ray, and holy motherfucking shit, they found masses. In her lungs.

And as far as I know, this woman is not a smoker and has never smoked, and yet. She has masses. In her lungs.

And I am well aware that it could be too late for me already. Even though I quit in April, I spent the previous thirty years before that lighting up with abandon. Frankly, I have already made my bed, and some day down the road, I may have to lie in it.

But this poor woman? Who, as far as I know, has never smoked? Is facing my worst nightmare. Sitting in a doctor's office and being told, "We've found something."

I am pulling for this woman right now just as hard as I can. With every fucking fiber of my being, I am hoping, hoping, hoping that she will be fine. Because she doesn't deserve this. I may deserve it, but she certainly doesn't.

I just want to cry.

I can only imagine how she feels.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recently Read

Per usual, skip it if you wanna.

1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - Novel about one summer for a teenager in England in the thirties. Kind of old-fashioned (I think it was actually written in the thirties) and very good.

2. Going to Bend by Diane Hammond - Novel about life in a small Pacific Northwest town - Very good.

3. O Rugged Land of Gold by Martha Martin - Memoir written in the 50s about a woman who lived, alone and pregnant, in the Alaskan wilderness - I loved this one. I'm a sucker for books about people who live in the middle of nowhere.

4. The Ladies' Lending Library by Janice Keefer - Novel about a group of women in the early sixties - Well written, but I had a hard time getting into it. Meh.

5. Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman - Ostensibly a book about a cross-country road trip, but it seemed like more of just a vanity project for the author. I get the feeling that this guy thinks he's a lot hipper than he actually is, kind of like Ira Glass. The book got good reviews, but I found it really annoying.

6. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. Oh, boy. I guess the title alone should have been a tip-off. I got a ways in and realized that it was better than reading the back of the cereal box, but not by much. The plot itself was okay, but the writing pretty much sucked. I really liked "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" by the same author, so I'm not sure why I found this one so god-awful. It was almost like somebody else wrote it. Moving on ....

7. June Bug by Chris Fabry - Fantastic! If you want to read something entertaining, read this. It's a novel about a young girl who discovers she was abducted as a toddler (or was she?), and it's just really good. All of the characters had interesting back-stories. I really recommend it.

8. Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle. This is "first-person fiction" (that's what they called it on the dustjacket, anyway) based on the true story of the author's grandmother. A great, great read - really interesting. Loved it!

9. Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad - Memoir about growing up with an unstable, controlling father, interwoven with a plane crash - Wow. I really liked this one.

So! I haven't been reading as much lately - Since I bought the house, it seems like every time I sit down to read I think of something else that needs to be cleaned/assembled/put away/repaired. Boy, who knew houses were such a gigantic time-suck? Heee.

Oh, and my birthday is coming up, so I've been scouring my Amazon wish list for a couple of good books to order. Normally I get all my books from the library, but there's some stuff that's not available locally, so this time of year I treat myself and order on-line, because God forbid I not have a good book to read on my birthday and on Christmas day. Am I the only one who does this? Oh, and I "preview" books that I have - read a little bit of each - to make sure I'm not stuck with a dog on the actual days themselves. Because how depressing would it be to be stuck reading a sucky book on your birthday?

God, I'm weird. Just stamp "NERD" on my forehead and leave it at that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Now THAT'S scary

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

I was trying to recall if anything bad had ever happened to me on a Friday the 13th, when I remembered something I had TOTALLY forgotten about: I met the man who eventually became my ex-husband on a Friday the 13th.


I was going to stay home that night, but I decided to go out because, hey, it's Friday the 13th, and if you need an excuse to go drinking, that's as good a one as any.

I ended up at the bar my Dad owned at the time, and ran into the man who became my ex-husband. I actually already knew of him, a little - we had been in marching band (NERDS) together, although we never hung out together or anything back then. So, I ran into him that night, we started dating, and the rest is (unfortunate) history.

Oh! And something else I had totally forgotten - We got married in 1984, which means that if I hadn't left him back in '89, we would have been married ..... drum roll, please ....... twenty-five years this year. AND, our wedding date was around the tenth of November (can't remember the exact date), so THIS VERY WEEK we would be celebrating (or cursing) our silver wedding anniversary.


Okay, that's enough scary-ness for Friday the Thirteenth. Have a good one! And you might want to stay out of the bars. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whoa-ho-holy shit

Okay, I admit it. I watched the clip from Oprah's show where that woman who got her face torn off by a chimp did the big reveal.

I'm not proud of it. I watched it on a clip show, and they gave plenty of warning, and I could have turned the channel.

But I didn't.

What is it in us, I wonder, that draws our attention to the train wreck? Why do we feel a compulsion to look, even though we know we shouldn't? Even though we know we'll feel ashamed of ourselves for doing so? We are taught as children not to stare, and yet we still do it as adults.

Having said that, I have to send kudos to that woman. Holy mother of God, she's got more courage than I will ever, ever have. Jeezus, to go through life knowing that you will never see again, that you have no hands, no face ...... man. I could not do that.

And here's what I probably should not think about, but I am - I wonder, if I were put in that position, if I would kill myself. If I would rather be dead than to know that the rest of my life would be a series of surgeries just trying to make me into something remotely resembling normal again. And knowing that I would always be blind, that I would have no freakin' hands, that my life as I knew it as a functioning human being was over.

Would I kill myself? Would my life be worth living? Obviously, this woman has found a purpose, a reason, to go on. And God bless her for it. I don't know if I could do the same.

What would you do?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Holy shit, maybe I AM a crazy cat lady

I had to look up the lyrics to "Senor Don Gato"* this morning, because I started singing it to The Runt last night and I couldn't remember the words, and it was driving me CRAZY.

And I mean, God only knows it's important to know all the words when you're singing a song to your cat.


Of course, you know what's in my head on an endless loop right now. Oh, Senor Don Gato was a cat ....... on a fine red roof Don Gato sat........

I need to get a grip.

*When I was a little kid, I LOVED this song, because it contained the words "and his little solar plexus meow meow meow" (oh peeps, I am leaving myself WIDE OPEN here; I'm aware of that), which were the most magically pleasing words in the world to little-kid me. I don't know if I even knew what a solar plexus was (and frankly, I'm still unsure, other than knowing that it's a body part), but I just loved the sound of those words. Am weird.

Oh, and to all of the veterans out there today, Veterans Day: Thank you. Thank you for doing what the rest of us are unable, or unwilling, to do: Putting your lives on the line for your country. Thank you from the bottom of the crazy cat lady's heart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quel Dilemma

The stove in the new house is, well, pretty old. Judging by the color, I'm guessing 70s-vintage. It's supposedly self-cleaning, but I'm not sure I really want to test that particular function.

It works just fine, and there's only one problem: The drip pans (those metal bowls that go under the burner elements) are disgusting. They're covered in baked-on crud, and so old they've literally rusted. Problem #2 (I lied; there's more than one problem): The stove is so old that the burner elements aren't removable, meaning the drip pans are this funky-ass shape and not the normal drip pan shape.

I was at K-fart a few weeks back (I know! I HATE K-fart! I can't even remember why I was in there to begin with - it's like Walmart for zombies (brraaaaaiiiiinnnnsss)) and they had drip pans that would fit my stove. Of course they did, because the store hasn't been restocked since '78.

I wanted black porcelain, not the cheap-ass chrome. The black was, like, twenty bucks for a set, and the chrome was, like, twelve bucks, and because I am INCREDIBLY CHEAP, I decided to see if Walmart had them cheaper. Because let's face it, Walmart has everything cheaper, because it all comes from Chinese sweatshops and is made of used medical waste. I'd think twice before I bought any FOOD there, is all I'm saying.

Walmart did not have the drip pans. I went back to K-fart, and evidently they did their first restocking in thirty years, because they no longer had the drip pans either. Fine, I thought, I'll go on line.

Cheapest on-line price? FORTY BUCKS. And now I'm all, shiittttttt, I could buy a NEW STOVE for, like, three hundred bucks. Should I really blow forty bucks on f*cking drip pans? Especially since I could have gotten them for half that if I had just shelled out the money at K-fart to begin with and not been so goddam cheap?

Oh, the woe.

And be very, very glad you don't, like, live with me or anything, because peeps? I DO THIS SHIT ALL. THE. TIME.


(Oh, and hey, look at that! I just did my NaNoWriMo novel thing in one day! I wrote a book about drip pans! *cough*)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Grammar matters

Or, maybe I'm just an asshole.

I got a form letter in the mail the other day from a local financial planner. Now, I'm no grammar expert, but this thing was so chock-full of typos and punctuation errors that I just had to laugh. (Example: "I'd be happy to met with you." Did no one proofread this thing before it went out as a mass mailing? It was like trying to read the flyer from the local Chinese take-out place, for Pete's sake.)

Then I got out a red pen and started editing.

When I was done, I put the letter in an envelope and mailed it back to the financial planner. I had added a note to the bottom of the letter saying, "This thing is full of typos, and you want to do my TAXES? I think not."

Yeah, I guess I'm just an asshole.

(Feel free to point out any grammatical errors contained in this post. Go for it; really.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Surprise", indeed

When I pulled in the driveway last night, the girl who lives two houses down came over with the cookie dough she had talked me into buying a couple of months ago.

She was selling magazines and cookie dough to raise money for her school's class trip, and while I really didn't want to buy anything, I could totally empathize, because I remember having to go door-to-door selling boxes of fruit for the marching band, and it royally sucked. Plus, I had already turned down her little brother when he came around selling entertainment books, so I was feeling kind of guilty.

So anyway, the cookie dough landed last night, and natch, the first thing I did was grab a spoon. "Rocky Road Surprise" was the dough I had ordered, and I kind of figured the "surprise" was that three pounds of dough cost fourteen bucks. I dug in, and man, that stuff was good. I stood at the counter, staring into space and shoveling in the cookie dough, as vague thoughts of salmonella flitted through my mind.

And then I started reading the container, and guess what? One cookie has a hundred and thirty calories.

I think I had downed about a thousand calories' worth of dough before I read that little tidbit.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Quite a few

A couple of weeks ago, I asked one of my new neighbors how many trick-or-treaters the neighborhood got, so I would know how much candy to buy.

"Oh, quite a few", she said, a little vaguely.

I bought three big bags of candy, thinking that would be plenty for "quite a few".

As it turns out, "quite a few" is right around fifty. I didn't run out of candy, but it was close.

I never got any trick-or-treaters at my old place (apartment), so having those knocks on my door coming fast and furious was way cool.

Best outfit? A little girl, maybe nine or ten, dressed as the grim reaper. She scared the sh*t out of me, I'll tell you that.

Worst outfit? A mom dressed as ....... well ........ a hooker, as far as I could figure. I mean, I'm assuming it was a costume, and that she doesn't wear thigh-high hose and just-past-the-ass skirts every day. Despite the overwhelming preponderance of "slut wear" in the costume store ads, she was the only trick-or-treater I had who was dressed ...... um ....... inappropriately. Even the teen girls were going for the goth look or the undead look or the eighties look as opposed to the "I just got paid to have sex look."

All and all, a very good night. And the house didn't even get egged, which I kind of thought might happen, being right next to the park and all. Woot!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Yep, another month has rolled around, and it's time to do the counts:

Number of cigarettes I would have smoked between April 3 and today, had I not quit: 6,300.

Amount of money saved: $1,123.50.

Last night I polished my nails for the first time since I quit. You see, I had a routine: Put on the base coat; smoke a cigarette while it dries. Put on the first color coat; smoke a cigarette while it dries. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And no, I never lit my nails on fire while smoking and putting on polish, but I know a girl who did. Her name was Beth, and she was the younger sister of one of my best friends in high school. Not only did she burn the polish off her nails, the flames singed her eyelashes and eyebrows as well. Her sister and I were sixteen or seventeen at the time, meaning Beth must have been, oh, 14 or 15, and already smoking. God, we all smoked like chimneys back then. Heck, they allowed smoking in the "senior lounge" in high school - you'd walk past it and the smoke would roll out into the hallway.

You could smoke everywhere back then - I remember visiting my Dad in the hospital when he was recuperating from back surgery and he was smoking in his hospital bed. A few years later, when he was in the hospital again, they had tightened up the rules, and he could no longer smoke in his room, so he had to go out to the hallway to light up. Can you even imagine lighting up in a hospital today?

I was on one of the last continental smoking air flights - My sister Texas and I went down to visit our parents in Florida in 1992. We could smoke on the plane on the way down, but by the time we came back, new rules had gone into effect and you could only smoke on intercontinental flights. If you tried to smoke on a plane today, you'd probably be accused of being a terrorist.

I have a picture of myself at eleven months old in the smoke-filled family rec room. The wisps of smoke are curling around me like wraiths. Everybody smoked back then, or at least it seemed like it. I guess it would have been surprising if I didn't start smoking; hell, I was probably addicted to nicotine before I ever lit that first cigarette.

That said, I'm sorry I wasted 30 years of my life in such a useless pastime, but I can understand, sort of, why I did it. It's hard to stop doing something that you've been doing all day, every day, for 30 freakin' years, but damn it, I'm doing it.

And I've figured out a new routine: Put on the base coat; watch a little TV. Put on the first color coat; read a few pages. Got it!

Monday, November 02, 2009