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November 30, 2001

picture imperfect

picture imperfect

It's that time of year. Gather the kiddies around and force them into ridiculous poses for holiday card pictures. You start off all eager and excited, and an hour later you want to put their pictures on milk cartons instead of cards.

After three rolls of film, we found only three pictures that were suitable (meaning pictures that didn't include DJ sticking out his tongue or Natalie giving DJ the finger).

It's either going to be a nice holiday collage using the two individual pictures, or some sappy sentimental card with the combined picture. Ladies and gentlemen (and I mean that in the nicest sense), you are the judge and jury for this year's All-Encompasing Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Feast of the Cowardly Lion Day card. Single shots or combined? You make the call.

together DJ alone nat alone

beware zealots with envelopes

beware zealots with envelopes

This guy thinks abortion is so morally wrong that he referred to himself as an "anti-abortion warrior" and sent letters to abortion clinics claiming they were laced with anthrax.

So let me get this straight: abortion is morally wrong, but bank robbery, carjacking, illegal firearms possesion, attempted firebombing, gambling and drinking are all a-ok? As long as its done in the name of God, right?

I think it's time to

I think it's time to do something different with my weblog links. The thing is, there are just too many good weblogs out there. I added a whole slew of them to the sidebar today, and I think I am going to start categorizing or alphabetizing them or putting them on a different page all together. Which brings me to the news that I am ready for a redesign. It will be coming soon, via the talented D, who has promised me something dark and Dave Mckean inspired.

And I suppose I should say something about George Harrison. I was never a big Beatles fan, but I did like him the best. So long, George.

It's Friday, isn't it?

It's friday, isn't it?

First, the dream.

There was a circular piece of metal suspended from the ceiling, with spokes sticking out, almost like a ceiling fan. We were hung from this, through hooks in the backs of our coats or shirts. Our hands were tied around our backs and there were six of us to each metal ring, hanging there like sides of beef in a butcher shop. One of the men came over, his face covered with towels. He said he was a god. I began crying that I would never see my children again, that they would never know what happened to me. I had only gone out to get some coffee when I was taken by my captors. I was hysterical, snot running down my nose, crying in big, gasping sobs. I begged for my life. Another man dressed in robes came from out of nowhere and started cutting our ropes. We dropped down into a canyon that had steep steps carved into the side. We began the walk up and soon I started running, faster than I had ever run before. I was breathless and my side hurt but I kept going until I was in a dark alleyway. When I came out of the alley, it was daylight, and there was a man on my front lawn (which was now a cabbage garden) running after a mechanical ball while two secret service men, sunglasses and all, hopped out of the back of a truck and chased the man down. They held him on the ground while he screamed out to me in Italian.

The whole time, Men at Work's Down Under was playing in the background.

And now, as part of the Blogger Insider project, my answers to the questions that Rich asked of me. His answers to my questions are available at his site.

1. do you remember your dreams?

I remember them in vivid detail. My dreams are wild, weird stories with subplots and recurring characters. I have never had a night where I didn't dream and I have never not remembered dreaming. As a matter of fact, I could probably tell you about dreams I had back in grade school.

2. where do you live & why do you live there?

I live in East Meadow, New York, in the suburbs of Long Island. I have lived in this town my whole life. I started out in my grandmother's downstairs apartment when I was an infant. Then my parents bough the house across the street and I lived there until I was 27, when I got married and we moved to an apartment on the other side of East Meadow. After the birth of my first child, I came full circle by moving into the downstairs apartment in my grandmother's house, where I started out. My boyfriend and I are now looking at a house...in East Meadow. Why do I live here? My whole family is in this town or a close proximity. My parents, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. My ex-husband and his family also live in this town, making it convenient for the kids. I am a short train ride away from New York City and a ten minute drive in any direction from anythign I could possibly need or want. The weather is ever changing, which I like, with colorful falls and not so cold winters. It's a nice place; not Leave it To Beaver nice, but nice enough.

3. how many different colors has your hair ever been?

My natural hair color is black. I have been a redhead, a brunette and then something between those two. I dye my hair every month now, because I have a lot of grey, but I never dye it permanently because I am too fickle. This month is black with auburn highlights.

4. why do you Blog?

I blog because I think. Because I think way too much and mull things over in my head too much and no one wants to sit around all day and listen to all the crazy ideas in my head. It's partly the need to get all that out and partly because for as long as I have known how to spell words, I have been writing. So now I can write and vent and distribute my crazed notions at the same time. I blog for me, I blog because I need to, I blog because I am addicted to it, and yes, I can admit that there are some days I blog for the recognition.

5. what is the one thing in life you regret either having done or not yet done?

While I don't regret having married the spawn of satan, per se, I do regret the way I let him treat me during our marriage.

6. if the story of your life had a soundtrack, what would be your theme song?

I am a passive/aggressive sort of person, so there would have to be two songs:

Stabbing Westward, Everything I Touch I Break and Faith No More, A Small Victory

7. if you were an interior decorator, what would your style be?

Practical yet fun.

8. if you were allowed to have one superpower, what would it be & why?

I want to fly. I've had dreams where I've been able to fly and I would love to be able to experience that on a daily basis.

9. what is your worst vice?

Caffeine. It's probably my only vice. Unless procrastination is a vice.

10. what scares you the most (ie...bugs, snakes, clowns, etc...)?

It seems you are talking strictly physical fears here, not emotional. Two of my biggest fears are large bodies of open water and heights. Put them together and you have one intense fear of bridges. I am also not afraid to admit that, at 39, I am still afraid of the dark and sleep with a hallway light or the tv on.

I wish I wasn't sick and medicated when I answered those questions. I might have answered differently. Or at least have been more interesting.

November 29, 2001

what constitution? where?

what constitution? where?

Welcome to the new America. Our president, in his "this is my yard so we play by my rules" stance, has decided that not only are military tribunals a-ok, but he is going to get to decide who gets the spanish inquisition and who doesn't. Wasn't there a book or movie where the anti-christ behaved like this and the end of the world followed soon after? Bush defends his actions with his "we are at war" quote. I didn't know being at war makes the constitution obsolete. He then has the gall to say "we must not let foreign enemies use the forms of liberty to destroy liberty itself." So it's ok to let our government, which has become our own worst enemy, destroy our liberties. Because honestly, I can only see the give them an inch they take a mile thing going on here. Who is to say they will stop at military tribunals in a time of war? Or with immigrants? Or with suspected terrorists? Who in some dark part of their mind isn't thinking...jesus fuck, did I say something really bad against the government on my website? Now that the FBI is probably reading our email, and Bush probably thinks if you go against his views then you are a supporter of terrorists, can we still say "hey it's a free country" anytime someone tells us not to do something? What the fuck is going on here, people? Or have I just overmedicated myself again?

like licking a stamp..

like licking a stamp..

They switched my medication yesterday to Levaquin, which is the strongest thing they could give me. So I take it today and I am feeling a bit...crazed. I started feeling dizzy and out of it, like I had taken a drug I was rather familiar with in high school. I start to think it's just me, so I look up the side effects.

LEVAQUIN, may also cause central nervous system stimulation which may lead to tremors, restlessness, anxiety, lightheadedness, confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, nightmares, insomnia, and, rarely, suicidal thoughts or acts.

So basically, just another day.

must...get...off...couch

must...get...off...couch

I'm working from home today, as my sister was so kind to bring files home for me. It's all good, I suppose, so my desk isn't a mountain of work that needed to be done yesterday when I get back to work Monday. This also affords me something I can never do at work - chat and blog while I type away. It's sort of strange, though. In one window, there is the decision I am typing relegating some drunk driver/cocaine dealer to a long stretch of prison issue jumpsuits, and in the other window, there is my AIM chat in which I am extoling the virtues of being high on drug store medication.

I've been spending a lot of my sick time at home flipping through the myriad of cable channels I now have. So, my good/bad list about digital cable and daytime tv:

good: animated movies with monkeys looking for love

bad: Lorenzo Lamas movies

good: Post apocalyptic movies

bad: Post apocalyptic movies

good: Eddie Izzard

bad: Michael Madsen movies

worse: Michael Madsen and Eric Roberts in the same movie

Of course, there is also the parade of endless cartoons, strangely addicting infomercials, public access fiascos and creepy children's programming when the movie selection gets too boring. Which reminds me, I think Darkwing Duck is going on now.

b.c. (before coffee)

b.c. (before coffee)

I'm getting tired of staying home. I can't go back to work until Monday (I do have pneumonia, by the way) and I am going stir crazy. I've been sitting outside a lot, because it's been like spring here in New York. While the rest of the country seems to be suffering from raging snow storms, we're here, putting up Chrismtas lights in shorts and t-shirts. Odd.

You know, its pretty useless to blog before I've had at least two cups of coffee. To be continued....

November 28, 2001

so many colors...

so many colors...

it was PINK

No matter what Shel says, that hat was PINK. Pink, I tell you.

what i left behind

what i left behind

In regards to this morning's post: This came about not because a) I was high, b) I was over-medicated or c) I was contemplating running away from home, as some of you nice people thought. It came about because last night as I was going through my closet, I came across several boxes filled with things I have written, accumulated since grade school. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, years and years of it just sitting in boxes.

Writing is the one thing people thought I was good at. It was about the only thing I was every praised for in school, the one talent my friends envied and grownups talked about. It was all I had. There isn't a person I knew in high school who is not surprised that I didn't go into a writing-related profession. So all those boxes represented everything I let slip by me. All my chances and invitations and acknowledgements are now nothing more than pieces of old, crumbled paper. And why? Why did I let it all go? Fear, I suppose. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of realizing that the one thing I could do well wouldn't really get me by in life.

I don't know if it's too late to do something with those years of handwritten angst and fear stuffed into so many cardboard coffins. 20 years later, and I am still that little girl with no self-confidence who is afraid to try. I still procrastinate until it becomes too late and then I don't have to stare at a rejection letter or listen to someone say why I'm just not good enough.

And that's why I'm restless. That's where it's coming from. I did forget something. I forgot to become what I set out to be. I forgot to try. I forgot about the only thing I was ever any good at.

I am 39. Is it too late to go back and try again?

first day with new camera

first day with new camera

I finally got my scanner to work, and you are now being subjected to the products of my first day with new camera. These pics are mostly experiments in lighting, close ups, etc., as it has been a long time since I've owned a manual focus camera. I've taken 5 rolls since these, and you will be forced to view all my attempts to be artsy.

droplets

last leaf

winter

blue

stumps

wave

spiral

angels

I promise the pictures will get better as I go along. But I am so enjoying taking them, and isn't that what matters? No? Damn.

cabin fever

cabin fever

Sometimes you feel as if you are talking to a wall. You want to run around the world screaming Is anyone listening to me? You wonder why you are doing what you are doing, and if you shouldn't be doing something else. There's no direction, no definitive signpost telling you how many miles to your next destination. Just dirt roads and forks and beaten paths, and you wish like hell you had a map or at least a navigator with you.

I'm feeling restless. I get this way sometimes, especially this time of year. The days are getting shorter and shorter. Darkness comes at an unreasonable hour and the light is robbed from us a little more every day. It makes the day feel cramped and hurried and the nights seem to drag on endlessly. The sun takes its time getting settled into the sky in the morning, and it just feels dark, all the time.

You know what happens in the dark? In the twilight hours, or the dead of night or that eerie quiet of 5am when it's just you and the stars? You think. You think way too much, as if there is some spirit in the darkness that comes to you and turns your thought process around so you are not thinking about the day's plans or what you are going to wear to work. No, you are thinking about life. And death. And challenges or lack of them. You are thinking about things that go bump in the night and monsters under your bed and vampires peering at you through your window. You think about all those skeletons rattling around in your closet, wondering when they are going to topple out and spill onto the floor for everyone to see. You think about that blank slate called the future, and honestly, what's scarier than nothing? Than not knowing? What is scarier than having so much light and dark and days and nights stretched out before you and never knowing what is going to fill them, or when they are going to come to an abrupt end?

You lay there and think about your dreams and nightmares and wonder which of them will come true. You wonder how much difference you've made, if any. You think about loss and life, and those fleeting moments of happiness when you were 8 and blowing out birthday candles, way before you began to fear those birthdays. When life didn't revolve around war and taxes and the high cost of living, when your biggest worry was playing dodge ball against the class bully. If you only knew. If you only knew then what you know now.

Oh, no I wouldn't want to be a child again, no matter how innocent and carefree that time is. Because what do our children have to look forward to? What kind of world are they growing up in? In time, their monsters and nightmares will take on different, more grownup shapes. But there will be other ghouls and ogres in their closets, ones we never had to deal with. I feel bad about that. I feel responsible in some way. And maybe that is part of what keeps me up at night.

Yes, I am feeling very restless. Like I'm missing something, but don't know where to start looking for it or what it even is. It's sort of like sitting somewhere far from home and wondering if you've left the iron on. I forgot to do something. But what?

I certainly am not regretting where I am now. I am not unhappy with the path I've chosen. I just don't know if I should veer off this path for a while, maybe backtrack a bit and see if I can't find out what I've forgotten to do.

I'm just restless, that's all.

November 27, 2001

liquid dreams

liquid dreams

I've got liquid! I went to the pharmacist today and explained to him, rather red-faced, about my swallowing predicament. He prescribed for me something called Brometame DX, which has made me feel drowsy and relieved some of the sinus pressure in my head. I still feel like crap on a stick, and I made an appointment to have the x-rays tomorrow because this not being able to breathe thing is wearing a little thin.

So I spent most of the day on the couch, alternating between reading, watching tv, and having bizarre dreams. Good thing about tv today: Six String Samurai. Bad thing: Some movie where Shannon Tweed saves the world from terrorists. Or maybe that was the bizarre dream.

November 26, 2001

I swallow

I swallow, I swallow....

I am the most pathetic person on the face of the earth. Even Bill's butter trick did not help me swallow those pills. I feel so lame. So disheartened. So...in need of medication. I took some Robitussin instead, and I'll call my doctor tomorrow and sheepishly ask him if he can provide something in a liquid form.

Also adding to my frustration tonight is the fact that AIM isn't working. I don't know if it's me or AIM in particular, but my buddy lists won't load and I can't have my usual nightly conversations about nothing and everything.

To top it all off, I have absolutely nothing to blog about, or if I do, I cannot muster the brain energy it would take to make it entertaining.

Welcome to my misery. Anyone want to keep me company?

I swear this is the last post about being sick

I swear this is the last post about being sick

I discovered today there is not one doctor on Long Island that is taking new patients. I finally relented and called the old quack. Which turned out ok, because I saw his younger, smarter partner who, it turns out, I went to high school with. He was quick, efficient and competent and didn't yell at me for not coming to the doctor since 98.

Final verdict: sinus infection and asthmatic bronchitis. He thinks I may also have pneumonia but the ridiculous regulations of my insurance provider (Aetna U.S. Health Care) provide that I can only get x-rays on a re-visit. They want you to try out some antibiotics first, and if you don't feel good in a couple of days, then they will pay for x-rays. Go figure.

So, the good Dr. gave me a nebulizer treatment in the office and prescribed some potent antibiotic that tastes like chalk (remember, I can't swallow pills). However, the other stuff he prescribed, some huge blue pills and white pill to be taken alternately, are going to be a problem getting down. He also recommended I not be doing anything that requires staying awake when I take the white pills, and suggested that I not go to work the rest of the week. The hell with that. There is no way I can stay home all week. I'll take off tomorrow and see what happens.

Meanwhile, I will try to get back on here tonight and post something interesting and worthwhile, instead of this "Boo hoo I'm sick" drivel. As a matter of fact, I apologize for the whole last week of posting which, in retrospect, has been simply awful. I owe you.

People I want to kill, volume 2; Scott Stapp

People I want to kill, volume 2; Scott Stapp

Ok, one more thing before I go. I have been meaning to talk about this since Thanksgiving.

Did anyone see the halftime special featuring Creed? Can someone please explain to me what the hell that was supposed to be? Ninjas? People dressed in all white wearing satellite dishes around their necks? Of course there was the requisite high school choir and grade school kids singing off key, but I did not get what that interpretive dancing was all about. And is it me or did Scott Stapp look constipated? Honestly, I can't stand that smug little fucker. Every time I look at him I want to punch him straight in the mouth and wipe that self-important look from his face. So, if anyone can interpret for me what exactly the underlying meaning in that halftime show was, I will be indebted to you. It's boggling my mind.

There, I knew I had some kind of Monday morning rant in me.

the misery of monday

the misery of monday

It occurred to me at about 3am, as I lay in bed with a raging fever and hacking cough, that perhaps a visit to a doctor is in order. I've had this thing for almost a week now, and it shows no signs of letting up. During the day, I don't give it much thought. It's a cold, right? It will go away on its own. But at night, when all your monsters are bigger and darker, things seem different. I lay in bed and think worst case scenarios. Double pneumonia, inhilation anthrax, or that illness that Jim Henson died from.

The thing is, I am not a doctor-friendly person. As a matter of fact, I don't even have a doctor. I ditched mine about 5 years ago when he diagnosed me with and treated me for Lyme Disease, which it turns out I did not have. After several days of intensive treatment, including anabolic steroids, my kids' pediatrician realized that I had an adult version of Fifth Disease, gave me some antibiotics, and told me my doctor was a quack. I have not been to a doctor since.

I have insurance, that's not the problem. I just hate doctors. So I sit here this morning, sicker than I've been since high school, and I am debating whether to ride it out another day or just go to one of those Doctor's Office Centers that are on just about every corner here. And I have to go to work today. There is way too much piled on my desk as it is.

I know, I know, how exciting this is for you to read this on a Monday morning, when you are looking for my usual rants at the world. When you have come here looking for me to say that the power our government has is at a frightening level, that we are creating our own future nightmares, that our enemies always lie within, and hmmm, interesting, two people who lived within blocks of me died from West Nile Virus last week. Oh, and we watched Episode 1 on Fox last night, mainly to pick it apart, and I've come to the conclusion that George Lucas must die.

Oh, the one good thing about this cold? Chris gets his Christmas present a bit early. I had no choice but to stop smoking.

Enjoy your Monday in the only way you can; act oblivious.

November 25, 2001

emometaladdict

emometaladdict

Lack of brain function today means I do nothing but play games and take online tests.

41% 68% 53%

alternative christmas, redux

alternative christmas, redux

Thanks to a slew of emails and the glory of audiogalaxy, I have spent the morning adding to my alternative christmas songs list. I've added the following, and now the hard job is deciding which ones will go on the cd.

  • Bad Religion - Silent Night
  • Wesley Willis - Merry Christmas

  • Bad Religion - Fuck Christmas
  • Spinal Tap - Christmas With the Devil

  • Bad Religion - Joy to the World
  • South Park - Merry Fucking Christmas

  • Ben Folds - Lonely Christmas Eve
  • Type O Negative - Red Water (Christmas Morning)

  • Blink 182 - I Won't Be Home For Christmas
  • Tom Waits - Christmas Card From a Hooker

  • Eels - Christmas is Going to the Dogs
  • They Might Be Giants - Christmas Cards

  • Vandals - Christmastime for my Penis
  • Fountains of Wayne - I Want an Alien for

    Christmas

  • Insane Clown Posse - Red Christmas
  • Pogues - Christmas in the Drunk Tank

  • Monty Python - Christmas in Heaven
  • Flaming Lips - Christmas at the Zoo

  • Pennywise - Christmas in Hell
  • Smashing Pumpkins - Christmas Time
  • REM - Christmas Griping

If anyone would like a copy of one of these just email me, tis the season for sharing.

Madonna: Mother and Naturalist of the year

Madonna: Mother and Naturalist of the year

"When you're shooting you are standing in the forest for really long periods of time, so you end up looking at the leaves and the sky and the trees. You have a lot of time to meditate." Madonna (on how shooting pheasants gives her an "appreciation of nature." [via crowdsurfer]

This follows on the heels of a story in which it is revealed that Madonna has never changed one of her kids' diapers. [via jillmatrix]

I really have nothing to add to those two stories. They speak for themselves.

get me off of this crazy couch....

get me off of this crazy couch....

Yes, I am still sick. I get sick quite often, just little colds here and there, which is a hazard of having school-age children. They seem to bring home every germ known and unknown to man. This time the cold just won't let go, and has settled in both my head and chest. I've taken every over-the-counter medication in every color, for every symptom. Still, I linger somewhere between death and misery.

Ok, it's not that bad. I sounded like a guy for a minute there. Yea, you know what I'm talking about. The female species has the ability to be deathbed sick and still manage to go to work, clean the house and cook dinner. The male gets sick, and I mean one little sniffle, and his whole world has come tumbling down. He can't move off the couch, let alone get his own orange juice. He moans all day long, so much so that you almost call a priest in for last rights. And this is just with the common cold. When he has something like the flu, you need to call in an exorcist. Come on, fess up. You know it's true.

So while I did spend most of yesterday in and out of sleep on the couch, I still managed to get the laundry done and change the frog tanks during my breaks from NyQuil incduced unconciousness. But when I was sleeping, I had bizarre dreams. Of course, falling asleep while The Learning Channel is showing something on Easter Island and lost civilizations will cause the announcer's voice to seep into your brain and into your dream-state, where you will dream about feathered serpents and intricately designed wooden ships and some bizarre sort of virgin sacrifice ritual.

Anyhow, I am vowing to get outdoors today and do some experimenting with my new camera. Hopefully I will get some pictures developed and scanned today.

November 24, 2001

alternative christmas, volume 2

alternative christmas, volume 2

I started making my list of songs for possible inclusion in this year's alternative Christmas songs cd. This is what I've come up with so far. I've included alternate versions of Christmas classics as well as offbeat seasonal songs. Feel free to add your own suggestions, and I'll post when I finalize the cd. Copies will be made available for anyone who wants one.

  • Frosty The Snowman - Cocteau Twins

  • Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight) - The Ramones

  • Santa Claus - Throwing Muses

  • One Christmas Catalogue - Captain Sensible

  • Shouldn't Have Given Him A Gun For Christmas - Wall Of Voodoo

  • Santa's Beard - They Might Be Giants

  • Year Without A Santa Claus: Heat Miser

  • Fuck Christmas - Fear

  • There Ain't No Sanity Claus - The Damned

  • Homo Christmas - Pansy Division

  • Here Comes Santa's Pussy - The Frogs

  • White Christmas - Stiff Little Fingers

  • King Diamond- No Presents For Christmas

  • Christmas in Hollis - Run-D.M.C.

  • Dead By X-mas - Hanoi Rocks

  • Santa's Beard - They Might Be Giants

  • My First Xmas As A Woman - Vandals

  • Everclear - Hating You For Christmas

  • Snoop Doggy Dogg - Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto

  • Deftones/Far/Willhaven, et al - Do They Know It's Christmas

  • Zebrahead - I Hate Christmas

That's what I have so far. Too much medication this weekend has rendered my brain useless. I'm relying on you to come up with more.

note: please do not read anything into the inclusion of Hanoi Rocks

life's hard questions, and letting other people answer them for you

life's hard questions, and letting other people answer them for you

DJ is almost 9 years old. He's at that age where he is doubting the existence of a fat jolly guy dropping gifts down your chimney. So he's been baiting me, trying to get me to say there is no Santa Claus. I keep giving him that time-honored standard of "If you believe in Santa, then he exists," but he's not buying it. We had a little talk about it yesterday and these were some of the questions he came up with:

If the elves make all the toys why do they say, like, Nintendo on them instead of santa's workshop?

Do they elves get paid? Do they get lunch breaks? Did they have to go to school to learn how to make all this stuff?

How come when something is broken or the wrong size you return it to the store and don't send it back to the North Pole?

How come Billy Rolan got a computer for Christmas last year when he's mean and bad all the time?

If Santa and his elves are so smart and magic and stuff, then how come they don't make a video game that's like the X-Box and GameCube and PS2 all together? Wouldn't that save them the trouble of making all the different games and stuff?

And santa has to be magic if he can make reindeer fly, so why don't we ask him for things like that for Christmas? Like can't he tell us how to fly or make our pets fly or something?

Never let it be said that video games have dulled my boy's imagination.

So, dear readers, what do I do? Do I a) assume that he already knows the truth and just wants me to come out and say it, b) convince him that there really is a santa and let the lie live on for another year or c) just get it overwith and tell him that I'm the one who buys the gifts and therefore I deserve all the credit for whatever he gets? (and hence, the blame for what he doesn't get).

Play "Be DJ's Parent for a Day" and tell me what you would do or come up with feasible answers to any of his questions.

displays of tackiness

displays of tackiness

I think everyone in my neighborhood yesterday decided to forego shopping in favor of hanging Christmas lights. It was a beautiful day, near spring-like weather, and the ladders were out in full force yesterday as I walked down the block. I like Christmas decorations. Well, some of them. I like lights. Lights make a house look pretty. What I don't like is when people take Christmas as an opportunity to turn their yard into a miniature version of "It's a Small World."

Most of my neighbors have complied with my unspoken wishes that they stick to low-key decorations. So far I see only lights, with an occasional smattering of "Santa stop here" signs, which is ok if you've got little kids in the house. In my role as Christmas Decoration Police, I do let some things slide. But some things do not get tolerated. Just in case you are thinking about decorating this week and want some guidlines, I offer you my list of

Some of these things may be fine if you live out in the woods somewhere, but when you live in a town with 40 houses to a block, you may want to have a little consideration. Don't use up all the power source in the neighborhood. Don't blind your neighbors with your lights. Don't make your decorations so ghastly that people come from miles around to see them and your little side street becomes a nightly traffic jam. I have a wire cutter. I will not hesitate to use it.

November 23, 2001

Santa and Sudafed

Santa and Sudafed

So I jumped on the bandwagon and joined Secret Santa. It's a pretty nifty idea. Basically, you sign up, link to your Amazon Wish List, and wait for them to tell you the person you have to buy for. I'm trying to get in the spirit of the season here. You know, the season of Giftmas.

If this cold doesn't go away, I am going to put a plastic bag over my head and wait out death. It has to be better. I've been through every over the counter med, and I'm eating my way through a half gallon of Starbucks Java Chip ice cream, because umm...feed a cold, right?

Stalker, fan...same difference

Stalker, fan...same difference

That Phineas sure is one popular fella. He even has a fan site dedicated to him, but it looks like the work of someone who missed his daily medication. That's not a fan, Phineas, that's a deranged stalker.

I thought I hit rock bottom when I spent an hour playing dress-up Jesus, but dress-up Phineas takes me down even further. It says to put clothes on his body, but all there is a skeleton, so when you put the grunge outfit on him, his skeletal arms stick out. I may have nightmares.

Whining will get you everywhere

Whining will get you everywhere

The only thing better than a boyfriend who knows exactly what you want for Christmas is a boyfriend who gives you that Christmas present early because he knows how badly you want it.

So after my episode of crying and whining yesterday that my point-and-shoot camera just wasn't working right and how I miss having autofocus and how all I want is a zoom and macro lens, I woke up to find a box, neatly wrapped, on the table this morning. And inside that box was my Christmas present, which was this:

not pronounced 'cutey'

The point is not whether he gave it to me early to shut me up or because he genuinely felt sorry for me and my broken camera, the point is that he got me the exact thing I wanted without my ever really articulating that it was exactly what I wanted. Follow? Good.

Expect lots and lots of pictures in the near future. I am going out to play with my new toy.

Just another post holiday rant

Just another post holiday rant

Happy Black Friday. I am calling this Stay Home and Read Day a/k/a Malls are Evil Day. This has nothing to do with the silly notion that we should support world peace by buying nothing today. That, I don't get. Read what Led has to say for my further views on this.

So, we will stay home today and read. The kids will read the further adventures of Harry Potter, whichever of the books they are up to now, and I will finally get finished with Choke. In between there will be tv watching, board game playing, eating of leftovers and general family contendedness. Of course, this all goes by the wayside as soon as the cousins knock on the door looking for DJ to play football, or one of Natalie's friends calls. Either way, I am not in any way, shape or form venturing out into the traffic nightmare that is the day after Thanksgiving. When you know that you are not a people person, you avoid situations which may cause you to come into contact with way too many people at once. Avoids further court dates, murder trials, etc.

Thanksgiving wasn't so bad. The moron fiance of my sister had his mother join us for dinner, so he was on his best behavior. No politicking, no preaching, no jokes at the expense of one minority or another. The only break in the pleasantries came when my sister called my father a communist for buying a BMW (i was mistaken the other day, it wasn't a Mercedes, it was a beemer). She went into her Buy America rah rah rah spiel, but stopped when I politely but firmly pointed out to her that her DVD player, television set, stereo and computer were all non-American made items and they were probably the items most used in her home. I also pointed out that her Nike sneakers were definitely not made in the U.S. of A., but that she was at least supporting our president by purchasing items made by companies hell-bent on global domination and the legalization of sweatshops.

Anyhow, it was a mostly pleasant day, capped with a very physical game of Pictionary, in which everyone's drawings started to look like penises after a while. Too much wine, too much food, not enough napping. And oh yes, the Packers won. Barely.

As I have the day off today and the kids don't seem to be interested in me at all for the moment, I will allow myself the luxury of posting as much as I want to today. Weekends were made for blogging.

November 22, 2001

love is in the air

love is in the air

It was exactly 3 Thanksgiving evenings ago when I met Justin, on AOL of all places (insert jokes or nasty comments here). It was an accident that he sent me an instant message, thinking I was someone else, but we ended up talking well into the early morning hours, and the rest is all sordid history.

In other lovey dovey affairs, Charles popped the question to the girl of his dreams, Denise, last night. She said yes.

Congratulations!

And that is it for the rest of the day. It's time to do the family/eating/football/belching thing. I'm sure I will have plenty to say tonight, regarding spending the day with my sister's born-again-catholic, righteous, phony, belligerent, pious, holier than thou, ultra right wing conservative, racist, homophobic, anti semite fiance. Just another fun filled family dinner!

the real thanks

The real thanks

I let my family know each day that I am thankful for them. I make it a point to always be appreciative of what I have, and what is given me. I would like to do the same here, and thank all the people I have met through the weblogging community. I would really have liked to list each one by one and say something about them, but I am time constrained here, being a holiday and all. So I give you a bunch of names, and while they may seem like just names and websites to you, they are so much more than that to me. Each one has, in some way, made a difference in my life. They may have helped me learn how to get this site together, or help me put it together. They may have comforted me, listened to me and made me feel special. They may have made me laugh when I needed it most or just spent the night chatting away with me when I felt like talking. Some of them are people I talk to every day, people who know much more about me than I ever intended to tell about myself. They are people whose own weblogs bring me joy and pleasure. They are people who have my eternal gratitude and thanks, and I really don't want to single anyone out, but there are some who have been lifelines for me when the going got tough and I hope I have done the same for them. They know who they are.

So, thank you:

Candi, Shel, Geoff, Nancy, Chris, Ian, Dave, Melissa, Jason,
Erika, Keith, D, Jocelyn, Ashley, Molly, Dave, Lee, brandy, Fredo, Charles,
anathea, bryan, Kevin, matt, John, Pat, mg, kd,
miguel, Daniel, John, Trav and Kabs....

Ok, I could really go on for another five minutes here, but I have stuff in the oven and on the stove and please, please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone, it wasn't intentional and I probably should not have done something like this when I was in a rush. But you all rock my world, you know?

reasons to be absurdly thankful

Reasons to be thankful, part 3

I suppose I could go with the maudlin, sappy Thanksgiving post thing, and state here all of the things I am thankful for. I could pour out my heart and spend a few moments telling you how thankful I am for my family and friends and for a good job and a warm home and a decent life in general. But, nah. So instead, I bring you:

I like lists. Lists are fun. So in between making 3 lbs of rigatoni a la vodka and forcing the kids to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade (because a tradition is a tradition, whether it sucks or not), I'm going to compile a list of weblogging thanks, some of which are seriously overdue.

Remember kids, don't eat breakfast. Save yourself. And repeat after me: The Packers will NOT lose to an 0-9 team today. They will NOT lose.....

November 21, 2001

and now a word from our sponsor

and now a word from our sponsor

Tonight's lack of blogging has been made possible by

nyquil (4k image)

For that aching, coughing, I-want-to-go-into-a-coma type night.

I got your christmas cheer right here....

I got your christmas cheer right here....

It's Wednesday, it's Friday, it's a pre-holiday, and it's D-Day. While this day is not noted on the calendar as any kind of special day, trust me. It is. Today marks the end of the year in a lot of ways. Because from this day forward, the rest of the year slips into the dark abyss of the holidays. Once you are finished stuffing yourself silly and watching football tomorrow, once the dishes are done and you lay back on that couch and watch your waist expand and wonder what the hell you are going to do with all the leftovers, that's it. As soon as you let that half-contented, half-exhausted sigh out at the end of Thanksgiving, you open the door to the gates of hell.

I don't care if you don't celebrate Christmas. It's something that takes over, whether you believe in Santa or Jesus or not. The air is different, the mood shifts, the stench of commercialism singes your nostrils. While other people see holiday cheer, I see the black plague. I see money flying out of my wallet as if it has grown wings. I see my kids staring at the television, mesmerized by commercials for things they must have. I see people fighting in the aisles over action figures and video games. Everyone is in a rush, everyone needs that parking space even though you were turning into it first, everyone needs to go through that red light or stop sign because they have to get to the sale at Wal-Mart and get that bicycle at 5 dollars off before you do. I see the anti-christ herself, Martha Stewart, making me feel like my presents aren't wrapped prettily enough and my cookies are laughable and why haven't I made a gingerbread house decorated with homemade candy yet? I hear my neighbor screaming at his wife while she harangues him about hanging up the Christmas lights, even though he just took down last year's decorations in August. I see incredibly rude salespeople and even ruder customers and my UPS guy looks like he needs heroin by the middle of December. Oh yea, it's in the air and it all starts Friday.

I do not go out on Black Friday. I do not leave my house. I don't go to work, I don't even go to the store for a loaf of bread. I send my kids out to play in the yard if they want, they can even have friends over. But I refuse to be a part of the madness that takes over the parkways and highways on the day after Thanksgiving. I refuse to be part of the evil that turns every main street into a parking lot. I refuse to get to Toys-R-Us at 6am to wait on line for their Christmas sale. I refuse to navigate the hellhouse that is the mall on that day. Why? Why would anyone in their right mind even bother going to a mall on the busiest shopping day of the year? Why would you subject yourself to that? Are you some kind of sadist?

I have started compiling my annual list of anti-Christmas songs. If you know of one, please let me know. It makes for great background music while I'm shopping on line, laughing maniacally at those of you who still brave the angry, bitter mobs of the mall minions. Oh yes, I will still decorate, I will still celebrate, I will still sing a Christmas song or two. But hidden somewhere on my tree is an ornament that is really a Martha Stewart voodoo doll. And Santa, for me, comes in a big brown truck once or twice a week and leaves packages on the door step.

The countdown to Christmas starts now. Let's see how many days it takes before I have a complete Christmas breakdown. Stay tuned.

November 20, 2001

Blogging Under the Influence

Blogging Under the Influence

I am not a good medicine person. First of all, I can't swallow pills, so everything either has to be in liquid form or something I can chew. I've grown pretty accustomed to the taste of Excedrin migraine ground between my teeth. I also have this problem with reacting to over the counter medicines. We won't even get into the time I took my son's Ventolin and almost had a heart attack. I have to be careful with the basic stuff: I can do some forms of Triaminic, but I cannot take any form of Robotussin. I have major anxiety attacks about 3 minutes after I take it.

So here I am, feeling miserable and sickly. I need something. We have children's Triaminic, grape flavor. Ok, I think. I can do that. I read the directions and it says 2 tablespoons for kids up to 12 years old. So I take 4. Or 5. Something like that. Then I think, well the Triaminic may make my throat feel better, but it will probably get me wired and I won't be able to sleep. So I'll take some NyQuil. I swig it straight from the bottle.

So here I am, reeling from a cocktail of Triaminic and NyQuil, trying to keep my eyes open and my hands still. And trying to make a point to this blog.

I shall go now and sleep the sleep of the drugged. Expect weird dream stories tomorrow.

sharing the misery

sharing the misery

I am one miserable fucker today. Got this chest cold thing going on, lots of coughing and wheezing and general inertia. Nothing like a post nasal drip added to the equation to make you feel like vomiting every five minutes.

All I can muster tonight is another silly online quiz result. But how much does this rule? Huh?

optimusprime (18k image)
take the autobot personality test

Optimus fucking Prime. Yea, that's me.

More NyQuil, please.

our country tis of idiocy

our country tis of idiocy

A damp, Tuesday morning. My back still hurts, I had bizarre, frightening dreams last night, and work is going to be a bit somber today. I just feel the dreariness seeping into my brain already and its only 5am. Obituary for Judge Hart.

So here's an interesting thought. The U.S. has dropped tons of leaflets on Afghanistan, offering a 25 million dollar reward for the capture of bin Laden. They are hoping that Afghans crawl into the tunnels and caves to look for him. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also announced that the bombing campaign is targeting the very same caves and tunnels and closing them up. So effectively, it works like this.

Rumsfeld: "Hey, you Afghans over there! I'll give you 25 million dollars if you go crawl through that cave and bring out bin Laden!"

Afghans: "Hell, yes!" Afghan goes into cave. U.S. bombs cave.

Rumsfeld: "Ha! Ha! Sucker!!"

The minds behind this war scare me more every day.

And of course, what would a scary world leader be without a scary woman behind him? Laura Bush chose this year's White House Christmas theme (Who knew that Christmas needed a theme?) as "Home for the Holidays" and I'm sure that the families of all those who are off bombing and scouring caves and whatnot in Afghanistan really connect with that theme. And note that the official White House Christmas card has a religious sentiment to it. If it's officially from the White House shouldn't it be a holiday card that doesn't contain the word "Lord" in it? Just a thought.

Can you have a midlife crisis at 61? My father came home yesterday with a Mercedes Convertible. In teal. I just raised my eyebrow at him and then he laughed me when I asked if I could take it for a drive. My mother questioned his judgment, and I told her, "hey, at least it's a 3 year old car. It could have been a 20 year old blonde." To which my mother replied, "He made the wrong choice. The car isn't going to go down on him."

So basically, it's Tuesday, I'm going to work, I have a family thing tonight which all adds up to going back to my promise of only 1 or 2 posts during the week. I'm sure I'll find the time to fit one in tonight. Enjoy your day. Smoke more. Eat more chocolate. Drink heavily. Cover your ears when the news comes on. My advice for today.

November 19, 2001

singing for the choire

Singing for the Choire

Happy Birthday, Choire. Here's the present you asked for:

I have been known to eat an entire box of truffles for dinner. I had a crush on my cousin when I was in grade school. My first sexual experience was with a girl. I didn't have any friends until high school. I know all the words to several Air Supply songs. I once owned and wore a pair of spandex pants. My ancestors were horse thieves in Italy. I have a huge porn collection. I like sex that involves lubrication. I've cheated BMG and Columbia house out of money and I stole $20 out of my mother's purse when I was 12. I used the money to buy slurpees and candy. I had my tubes tied two years ago. I tried to put an evil death curse on my ex husband while we were still married. I let my children listen to cds with parental warning stickers on them. I own the Transformers movie on DVD. One of my bosses had the cops called on him because he was showering naked outside. With his kids. I hate Ewoks. This is feeling too much like confession. Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been several years since I admitted I own an Oasis cd.

Yea, yea. Happy fucking birthday. Enjoy!

George wants his MTV

George wants his MTV

It's bad enough getting caught lip syncing to Culture Club's "Miss Me Blind," but to get caught on the cam dancing to Cameo's "Word Up" is something one never lives down.

On the subject of bad music, our nation's think tank have once again come up with a winner. In order to give the Arab world a better perception of Americans, they want to have MTV broadcast in Arab countries.

How many things are wrong with? Shall we count the ways?

Is the image of Britney Spears cavorting around half naked with men licking her the image we really want to send? What about Fred Durst whining like a little child in every video? Mariah Carey? Are these the people we want to be the ambassadors of the American image? Is Carson Daily really the best representative of an American male? If they were looking for a reason to hate us, giving them their MTV is all it will take.

And please don't tell me that they are trying to reach Arabic young people through MTV's news and current events programs. That's like offering The Enquirer to people who want The New York Times.

What is going on with our country's government when they have in recent months resorted to Joel Schumacher, the general public and MTV in their efforts to fight terrorism? My sense of disbelief grows along with my trust.

another good-bye

another good-bye

I just got a phone call I have been dreading for some time. One of the Judges I worked with died last night. He had cancer and had been in out of remission for some time. He fought it well. Everytime he took a leave and we thought he wouldn't be coming back, he surprised by showing up at work, full of his usual good humor. I hate to sound cliche, but he was brave and strong throughout his fight. He was a hell of a nice man, and a good, fair judge, probably my favorite out of all the Judges I have worked with so far.

Judge Hart was 49 years old. He was a surfer, a traveler, a man full of life and vigor and a love for the outdoors. He would stop in my office in the morning and we would talk about news and music. We traded cds often, and last I saw him I had given him a Portishead cd, because he was looking for some music to lose himself in at night. When I think of him, it will be of those moments, when he was laughing and looking healthy, and not of those days when he looked worn and sickly.

I am just one of hundreds of people who will miss him dearly.

spreading disease since 1962

spreading disease since 1962

Continuing with my trend of answering inane on line quizzes that tell me nothing about myself:

The Horrible Affliction Test

Congratulations, you're the bubonic plague! You're infamous. You're usually deadly when left untreated. You're spread by a flea. That's how cool you are.


Take the Affliction Test Today!

fear me.

link swiped from yrth

questions, this time with answers

questions, this time with answers

Q: Why does this Monday suck more than any other?

A: Because I slipped on a spot on the kitchen floor and hurt my back bad enough to warrant calling in sick.

Q: Why was there a slippery spot on the kitchen floor?

A: Because last night, Justin was attempting to make crabby patty burgers in his attempt to play some odd sort of Sponge Bob Square Pants roleplaying thing with the kids and he dropped the mayo on the floor.

Q: Didn't he clean it up?

A: Apparently, not good enough.

Q: How sorry will he be that he didn't clean it up all the way?

A: I'll let you know after I spend most of the day on the couch, forcing him to obey my every whimsy and command.

Q: Does this mean there will be more than the previously threatened "one post per weekday" today?

A: Why, yes. Yes it does.

questions for a monday morning

questions for a monday morning

Why am I always so suprised when I wake up and it's Monday? Do I really expect my fantasy of a life full of nothing but weekends to come true? And why does Monday always start out with me waking up way too late? And being low on energy? And sensing a bad hair day? And why isn't there any more coffee in the cabinet? Where the hell did it go? Did you take it? Do I have a lunch date for today? Am I supposed to be meeting someone, somewhere at sometime? Did I ask off for Friday? Where are my black pants? Who put a tissue in the laundry? Why is the window open when the heat is on? Why oh why did I watch any bit of that Britney Spears strip show last night? Is there an antidote? Why does my lower back hurt so much today? Is this going to be one of those typical Mondays? Did I forget to send in my car payment? Why am I sitting here blogging when the shower is runnning and the clock is ticking? Why must Monday mock me like this? Why won't it leave me alone?

Stay tuned for evasive answers to these questions and lots of fist-shaking, road-raging, truck-driver-mouth, very- little-patience-for-idiots, Monday type stories.

What, I made a couple of nice posts this weekend and you expect a full change in personality? Please, you know me better than that.

November 18, 2001

the story of david, on his first birthday

the story of david, on his first birthday

Several years ago, in the courthouse I work in (I was not working there yet at the time), an employee found the lifeless body of a newborn infant in a bathroom stall. One of the emergency workers who responded to the scene, Tim Jaccard, was so moved by the scene that he was motivated to start the AMT Children of Hope Foundation, a group which went on to found Safe Havens. Safe Havens are hospitals, private homes and houses of worship throughout Long Island that have drop-off points for women who have given birth, but for various reasons do not want to keep the babies. These are infants that may otherwise have been abandoned in restrooms or dumpsters, left for dead. Tim comes into this story again later.

My sister and her husband tried for many years to have a baby. When it became apparent that they were suffering from infertility, they sought medical help. They went through many tries at in-vitro fertilization, which is a physically and emotionally straining process. It never worked for them. They went through years of testing, experiments and physical procedures to try and conceive. They got to a point where they realized that it was just not going to happen for them. This is when they decided to try and adopt.

They first went to Catholic Charities, because my cousin adopted three children through them. They were turned down because my brother-in-law is Jewish. Nevermind that they are financially stable, own their own home, can provide a stable, loving environment for a child, and promised to raise the child Catholic. It wasn't good enough for them. Catholic Charities was a dead end.

They tried posting their number in colleges and on internet message boards made specifically for that purpose. Lots of phone calls, more dead ends.

One day my sister was talking to her friend Mary about her and her husband's frustration. Turns out Mary is Tim Jaccard's secretary. Mary put my sister in touch with Tim and the wheels began turning.

There were more dead ends at first. A young girl who decided to give her baby to someone else. A woman who, at the last minute, decided to keep her baby. That one was at Christmas time, and my sister had announced to us on Christmas Eve that they would be getting a baby. Two days later, the woman said no. And how can you be mad at that, really? She wanted to keep and raise her baby and that's a good thing, despite the pain it brought to my family. My sister and her husband made the decision that they would not tell anyone the next time there was hope for a baby. They would wait until the baby was born, the papers were signed and then and only then would they spread the news.

Cut to last December. I was sitting at my desk at work, when my sister (who works with me) came into my office looking pale. She was shaking. She had just received a phone call from Tim. There was a baby boy, born on November 20th and the mother, an illegal immigrant who had just come here from Burma, did not want this baby. She was ready and willing to sign papers giving him up. My sister and her husband had known about this woman since the baby was born, but said nothing to any family member, remembering what happened the last time. But now she had to tell me because Tim said on the phone to be ready to be a mother in two days. Two days. After years of waiting and hoping and being disappointed, she had two days to get ready for a baby. She was to leave work immediately and head to to the woman's apartment in Queens, where Tim was waiting for my sister and her husband to meet the mother. The mother wanted to see them first, to know who she was giving her baby up to. I walked my sister out to her car and wished her luck. As soon as she was gone, I broke a promise I made and called my mother.

Two hours later, my mother and I were in Target, spending a small fortune on baby supplies. Clothes, diapers, bottles and every accessory both useful and extravagant, were bought. By the time we got home, my father, who cannot keep a secret to save his life, had told every relative within shouting distance. Basically meaning everyone in town. Friends and family kept pulling up to the house, dropping off supplies. A bassinet. Enough diapers to last a month. More clothes, baby blankets, crib sheets. There were moments where we felt like we were jinxing the whole thing, pusing our luck, but we decided to test fate and stock up anyhow. Any woman who has ever had a child will tell you nine months is barely enough time to get everything ready. Imagine only having two days to prepare. We figured it was better to have this stuff ready for her than to have nothing ready at all, and have to run out that day to buy all the things they would need.

Sometime that night my sister called and said it was definite. The baby was theirs. He would be delivered to their home, by Tim, the next night. She still wouldn't believe it, wouldn't talk in definite tones until the baby was in her arms. Can you blame her?

The next day was a frenzy. There were still so many things to get, so many people to call. My sister was frantic, her husband was neurotic. By 9pm, there were 20 people, friends and family, sitting in their living room waiting for David. We had champagne ready. Finally, Tim pulled up at around 10pm. My sister freaked out and wouldn't go to the door. She was afraid Tim would be standing there empty handed, come to bring the bad news that the woman had changed her mind. I looked out the window and saw Tim lifting a little baby out of a car seat. I shoved my sister towards the front door and told her to chill out. And Tim walked in, held out David, and put him in my sister's waiting arms. There was not a dry eye in the house. My father was crying, the neighbors were crying. I thought my sister and her husband were both going to pass out. They held him and stared at him for the longest time and nobody moved, nobody talked. Finally, someone popped the cork on a champagne bottle and we all cheered. For the next hour, David was passed from person to person and we all stared in wonder at the baby we had waited so long for.

David is a year old now. Not a day goes by that I don't look at him and think about the birth mother he has out there somewhere, and I wonder if she knows what she gave up. I look at his engaging smile and listen to his loud laugh and kiss his soft little cheeks and I wonder. I see my sister and her husband with their child and I am so happy for them, and so thankful that Tim Jaccard afforded them this opportunity, that this adorable child was not abandoned in a dumpster in the dark of night because the mother had no one to turn to.

So happy first birthday, David. You are a lucky boy. You had a selfless, caring birth mother who made a choice that was hard for her and right for you. And you ended up in the arms and hearts of two people who will give you a lifetime of love.

blogs and cable and birthdays, oh my!

blogs and cable and birthdays, oh my!

I added even more weblogs to the sidebar and changed the heading from Daily Fixations to Damn Fine Weblogs. Seriously, I cannot possibly read all those blogs every day. At least not since they took away our internet connection at work. But I do try to read each of them as much as possible because they are damn fine.

Today my digital cable is a week old. And what a week it's been. Besides the constant avialablity of a plethora of movies at my demand, and besides the Lindros Cam on the Ranger games, and besides the interactive channels and the ability to see Darkwing Duck once again, there is the digital radio. The channels between 800 and 840 offer me the chance to hear music that you just can't find on the radio. We hooked up the tv to our stereo speakers and spent most of yesterday surfing through the channels. The metal station is my favorite. Yesterday, I got to hear Godflesh, Kilgore and Type O Negative all in a row. And then there's the 80's station. Cheesy new wave at my fingertips 24 hours a day. They played Bill Nelson. Who even heard of Bill Nelson besides me? I was in my glory. There's 24 hour Christmas music (ok, it drives me nuts after 1 hour, and I doubt they play Pansy Division's Homo Christmas), and the Showcase station which was playing KMFDM when I checked yesterday.

The video on demand is like having a Blockbuster in your house. On Friday, DJ called up Gladiator and fast forwarded the movie so he could watch all the battle scenes. I watched the HBO Eddie Izzard special three times this week. I am in love with digital cable.

And speaking of HBO, last night we watched the live George Carlin show. Doesn't there come a point in your life when you are too old to tell fart jokes? I don't know what it is, but he's just not funny to me anymore. His material seems tired and forced. I did laugh out loud a couple of times, but not like I used to laugh at him.

Anyhow, got a birthday party for my nephew today, a big blow-out party because it's a special kind of birthday. One year ago, David was born to a single mother, an illegal immigrant from Burma living in Queens. A month later, he was placed in the arms of my sister. Today we celebrate his birthday. Next month we celebrate his adoption anniversary. I started writing a story about the events leading up to his adoption, because they are extraordinary. It's the story not just of the adoption itself, but of the man who orchestrated the whole thing, and what an angel he is to so many people. But I haven't finished the story yet, and I need to bake a cake (which may be a laughable story in itself) so I will post it tonight.

me, myself and meteors

me, myself and meteors

I got up at 3:45, grabbed a blanket and coffee and headed outside. Nature did not disappoint. Within one minute of getting myself settled in the lounge chair, I was greeted by three comets trailing across the sky.

I know from being a way-too-early riser that between 4 and 5 am during the fall months is a great time for stargazing. The sky at the hour seems clearer, looks more wide open. I can see stars that at night-time are faded by a neon lit suburbia. I used to get up to watch the sunrise. Now, I get up to stare in wonder at the pictures the stars make across the sky in the early morning hours.

This was the perfect time for a meteor shower, then. I had anticipated past meteor showers but was always hampered by bad weather or a lousy show. Not this time. I saw at least one meteor a minute, sometimes 3 or 4. They came from every direction, shooting by the stars, leaving brief trails of brilliance behind them. It was really a site to behold, a moment taken from a science fiction movie and transposed to my backyard. I stayed out for about 45 minutes, until my hands were numb from the cold. All told, I saw well over 100 meteors streak by me, and for a little while, there was nothing in the world but me, the sky and nature putting on a brilliant show.

November 17, 2001

scream dracula, scream!

scream dracula, scream!

I always wanted to be a 350 lb. psychotic person who sings about rock bands and pop culture icons.

You know what this means? Tomorrow I put up a Wesley Willis song in honor of my being him. If you've never experienced the glory of Wesley, you have no idea what you're missing.

new additions

new additions

I've added a few new people to the sidebar. Please welcome Lee, Jason and Clive. Sadly, I had to say good-bye to Kabs at Seething Hatred, who decided to close his blog down. I'll miss you, Kabs and you owe me an email, bitch.

Today is the day I work on organizing my links into some kind of cohesive form, and getting all my old archives up. Maybe, if time permits, I'll even fix the about page and find something to do with the amusements page. Maybe. It's looking mighty nice outdoors, like a camera day.

war nerve

war nerve

It's Saturday and the kids aren't home so I will allow myself to post as much as my brain desires today. I'll probably be at this desk all day anyhow, finally starting my Christmas shopping and working on a project.

Now that the "war" is turning into a hostile takeover, I'm left wondering what happens next. The Northern Alliance seems to be getting a bit pushy, and it will be interesting to see how they institute a new government. Who is going to rule? Who will make the laws? How different will it be there? I think it's going to be a difficult task to get all the factions together to make one cohesive ruling government.

Meanwhile, back in the good old U.S. of A., I think our fearless leaders are losing sight of what we are fighting for. Isn't democracy and the Bill of Rights right up there in important factors to consider when waging a war against terrorism? So why does this military tribunal reek of everything but? Perhaps public executions of offenders, maybe a bit of stone-throwing, will follow shortly? This tribunal smacks of everything we have spent years crying out against in other countries. Secret court sessions held on military ships sounds a bit too chilling to me. Yes, the people they would eventually try are terrorists who caused death and destruction in America. But what's to stop the government from applying it to other situations? To suddenly stretching the limits of who can be tried in these tribunals? With talk of national ID cards added to the mix, the civil liberties we were so afraid of losing after September 11th may still be lost, at the hands and minds of our own leaders.

November 16, 2001

Harry Potter: a review

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: A review

I normally stay away from movies which are adapted from books I've read and enjoyed. I like the way I envision stories in my head. I like the way my imagination makes the book come alive for me. It is a very rare movie that captures the comination of the author's words and my vision of them in the way I anticipate it should be done. Harry Potter is not one of those rare moments.

I had high hopes for Harry. Judging from the trailers I had seen, I thought they had completed the task of giving full fledged flight to every detail in the book. Impossible, I know. But the trailers made it look so. I should know better than to trust trailers.

The movie wasn't bad, per se. It wasn't even disappointing. Had I not read the book, I probably would be giving the movie a much better review. I felt there was so much in the book that was not broached on the screen. In their effort to include every scenario of the book in the script, they were only able to skim over each episode, never giving full depth to the stories or the characters. The movie was 2 1/2 hours as it was, to include everything in the book would have made it an unweildy epic. They would have been better off leaving off some of the minor parts and giving more thought to the major moments.

The characters were not fleshed out at all. If you haven't read the book, you will probably be left wondering about a lot of things. The book offered us the soul of each character. The movie offers only a glimpse at the personalities.

Yes, most of the magic was there; Diagon Alley, Platfrom 9 3/4, wands and potions and dragons and everything that made the book so fascinating. But they were fleeting, as if the scritpwriter assumed that everyone was as familiar with the book as he, and he needn't bother going into details.

The acting of Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry was very one dimensional. He had the same dumbstruck look on his face for most of the movie, occasionally subsituting the look of awe for a goofy grin. Harry, as seen through Radcliffe, came off rather stiff and awkward. Hermione (Emma Watson) was pretty much as I pictured her, snooty and obnoxious, and Watson seemed to have learned all her acting skills from watching Meg Ryan movies, practicing her "I'm strong willed and smart but damn perky" look for hours on end. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasely was wonderful. He was the one character whose personality really came through. Goofy, witty and immediately likeable, just as he was in the book. The grown up characters were all cast perfectly. Alan Rickman as Snape was a brilliant stroke of genius. He communicates more in just one look than most actors take a whole page of dialogue to convey.

Mostly, it was an enjoyable experience. Had I not read the book, I probably would have enjoyed it more. I'm probably going to get hate mail for speaking out against the wonder that is the Harry Potter movie, but so be it. I anticipated this movie for quite some time and while it did not let me down in the way that another much anticpated movie did, [insert Jar-Jar joke here] I still feel a bit cheated.

finally friday

finally friday

This having a life thing is working out well for the most part. Though last night my life consisted of falling asleep on the couch at 9:30, but it was after having dinner out with seven kids so I guess that's excusable.

And we all know what today is, right? It's Harry Potter day for me. DJ spilled the beans and told his teacher why he wouldn't be in school today, but when I saw her at open house yesterday she thought it was wonderful that I was taking him out of school to go to a movie. I question that, but anyway...I will be sure to have a review up as soon as we get home. If it's anything less than stellar I'm going to be upset.

So I want to relate to you this incident yesterday that prompted me to try to quit smoking again. It has nothing to do with the fact that yesterday was National Smokeout Day. It has to do with absurdity.

I don't smoke in the house, for various and obvious reasons. Besides the fact that it just stinks up the house, my kids do not know I have started smoking again. I don't want them to know this. They bring home their little pamphlets from the school's Drug Free the Way to be week, and it lists nicotine as a drug. It also lists caffeine as a drug, believe it or not, so they already think their mother is a drug addict. If they saw me smoking they would probably call 911. So the point is, I have to hide from them.

I go outside to smoke. I usually go around to the side of the house, or stand in the driveway. This is ok at night, when I can camaflouge myself agains the darkness. But during the day, I have to be careful. You see, my mother would kill me if she knew I started smoking again. And she lives across the street from me.

So there I am, yesterday, 39 years old and hiding behind the garage like a junior high school girl, sneaking a cigarette. I keep thinking to myself how ridiculous it is. Sitting on an empty milk carton, looking around the corner of the garage, getting nervous at the sound of footsteps. How old am I again?

Besides all that, it's getting cold out. It's getting to the point where it's just not worth going outside for a cigarette if I have to freeze my ass off to do it. So yea, I'm going to quit smoking again. As soon as I'm done with this pack.....

November 15, 2001

war and such

war and such

I pulled into my driveway last night at about 7:30. It was, of course, very dark at that time, but I noticed a glimmering light coming from my neighbor's house across the street. When I turned to look, I saw what must have been 100 lit candles. Their house is a hi-ranch and as such has an absurd amount of steps leading up to the front door. The candles were lined up and down these steps and from my vantage point, looked like a carpet of tiny flames. I couldn't imagine why they had these candles out. I thought of going over and asking, but they were just headed into the house as I started to walk over and I didn't feel like manuevering my way through a sea of candles to knock on the door.

It dawned on me about a half hour later that the wife is from Haiti, which is in close proximity to the Dominican Republic. In an instant, I knew what the candles were for. When I went out to have a cigarette later on, I saw the husband (who is not from Haiti) outside and went over to talk to him. His wife had several relatives on flight 587.

Sometimes it's weird being an atheist, because people say to me "please pray for our family," and some part of me wishes there was someone for me to pray to. But now, at this point, I just nod and say "Your family is in my thoughts."

***

I woke up in the middle of the night, once again thinking about this war. It seems to be a nightly thing now. I keep having this thought that the Taliban are not so much being defeated, as regrouping. They may look like they are retreating, it may seem to the world as if the Northern Alliance are running circles around the Taliban, making their war look all but won. Pardon me for giving a bunch of horrid terrorists credit, but I do. I give them more credit than to take them for a group that would fall so easily. After reigning with terror and fear all these years, I am still having a hard time believing that they are just dropping like flies, giving up their land, running for the hills or defecting. They managed to pull off a very intricate, synchronized attack on a world power, they have plans for a nuclear war, but they are having a hard time fighting an enemy that they have ruled over for so many years? I'm just conjecturing, but I'd say this thing is far from over. I said way back when it first started that it would end very badly and I am still holding on to my pessimistic, alarmist, cynical views.

Today is the Thursday that feels like Friday. Which means one thing. Tomorrow morning at 10:30, I will be sitting in a movie theater with my kids and my mother, finally seeing Harry Potter and for 2 1/2 hours I will forget all about the outside world.

November 14, 2001

random musings

random musings

Hey Strom...want me to hold the bucket while you kick it?

So, you're in the armed forces and you are overseas fighting a phantom war. I'ts getting close to the holidays. You miss America. Then - good news! Hollywood is sending over a contingent of superstars to entertain you and cheer you up!

Yes, armed men and women. You will soon be entertained by the likes of Bo Derek, Shaggy, Miss America and...oh my god is that Wayne Newton?!? Not only are you stuck in the middle of a shitty war, but you are stuck gawking at has been stars and a cheesy Vegas icon masquerading as entertainment. God Bless America!

My kind of patriotism: heed the call to support your local gamers as they serve our nation. It's a dirty job but someon's gotta do it.

I'm gonna go shoot some teletubbies.

deck the halls with cries of war

deck the halls with cries of war

So, yesterday was Tuesday but like a Monday because of the holiday and now today is Wednesday but like a Thursday because I'm off Friday. I've gone from feeling like Monday to feeling like Thursday in 24 hours. Not bad.

I finally started Christmas shopping yesterday. I did all my shopping online last year and I never did get into the Christmas spirit. So I figured I this year I should get out to a store at least once a week just to feel the love and kindness that permeate the air during this season. Yesterday's tally: two arguments in the parking lot; one shopping cart shoved into my back by a little kid in the toy aisle; 3 rude salespeople; one very long line at the cash register. I guess it's back to Amazon for me.

I woke up today thinking about this war. Everyone is so optimistic now that the Northern Alliance seems to be kicking ass and taking names. So why do I feel so wary about all of this. I'm not going to repeat verbatim what photodude said, but it pretty much sums up how I feel. It all looks too easy, too scripted, too much like something is just not right. And yay for the Northern Alliance and all, but I think this is the point where you will start to see a lot of bloodshed and gruesome deaths. They've waited how long to stick their knives into the heart of the Taliban? Do you think they are going to do it quietly, quickly and efficiently? No. They want not just victory, but revenge.

Does it seem odd to anyone else that George announces a cut back in nuclear weapons while we are in the midst of a war?

Notes to self: 7 posts a day: bad. 2 posts a day: good. Find 12 step program for blogaholics.

November 13, 2001

life check

life check

I realized today that I spend more time on the computer than I do with my family. Time to take stock of priorities and rectify the situation.

My plate is full from now until early March. Holidays, family obligations, work, and a project for DJ's school that will eat up a whole lot of time and probably suck the life force from my soul.

Posting will be less frequent here until then. Still daily, maybe nightly, but not the 6 or 7 posts a day I've been accustomed to making.

Life rears its ugly head and roars at me. I must obey it.

the frozen tundra

the frozen tundra

Dreamed about a store that sold nothing but doll parts in neat little packages, and the woman behind the counter was my dead grandmother. My mother was trying to sell me her kitchen chairs. We were picnicing on the back of a giant whale. And so on and so on.

Woke to an aching back and the sound of the oil burner running. Nothing unusual. Usually you hear it running for a few minutes and then it stops. But it didn't stop. I went to check it out, and saw the pressure needle hovering somewhere it shouldn't be. I turned the thing off from the main switch, after having fleeting visions of exploding metal and raging fire.

So now I have to call the oil burner guy. Except we don't have one of those regular guys with an office and a secretary or at least an answering service that you can call at any time. No, in this family, every service you need for your house is done through a friend of the family. So Charlie Oil Burner takes care of this stuff for us, because he used to be a real oil burner guy some years ago. Now he works for the town, removing traffic cones from construction sites. So I can't call Charlie at this ungodly hour, because if I do, his banshee of a wife will scream bloody hell. I have to wait until 7:00 and then call his beeper. He may or may not call back right away. And even if he does, he can't get here until at least 5, when his regular job is over.

It's 28 degrees outside. It's fucking cold in here. I have a 72 year old aunt living upstairs who just may turn into a popsicle before 5pm.

So, no. No point to this post. I just wanted to share.

You all have a nice warm, day now, ok? If you're looking for me, I'll be in front of the dishwasher, warming myself with the steam.

November 12, 2001

think good thoughts

think good thoughts

Keith wants people to think 5 happy thoughts. Here's mine:

1. coffee

2. Sponge Bob Square Pants

3. Clutch's Elephant Riders

4. Spontaneous sex

5. digital cable

I'm easily pleased.

media perspective

media perspective

For the third time today, and probably not the last, I just heard a media-type person announce in regards to the plane crash, that it could have been much worse. At least it didn't hit a school, they say. At least it only hit a couple of homes. This could have been a much bigger disaster, they repeat. I saw a local politician say "Thank God, this is all that happened. Think of what could have been."

Deep breath.

Since when does close to 300 people dying deserve a thank god? Has our idea of what constitutes a disaster become so distorted that a plane crash in a residential area resulting in the death of so many people comes across as not a big deal? Is every thing like this that happens going to be held up next to 9-11? Everything is going to pale in comparison to that date. It doesn't make what happened today any less of a tragedy. Before the members of the media decide to stand in front of their cameras and put things into perspective for us, they better realize just what that perspective is. A reporter standing in front of burning homes surrounded by pieces of a plane claiming that it wasn't that bad is not the perspective I want.

I'm not saying sensationalize it. All I'm saying is, thank god is not an appropriate reaction.

movie math

movie math

Mathematical Movie Review(tm) of Monsters, Inc.:

(Toy Story - Toys) + Monsters - (1/2 entertainment value) x redundancy factor = 2 pointless hours.

All was not lost, however. I did get to see the trailer for Harry Potter, which made me anticipate the movie even more, if that's possible. Alan Rickman was the greatest casting move ever. In the meantime, you can read Tom's stellar review over at Plasticbag.

I also saw the trailer for Attack of the CrapClones. Yes,it looked thrilling and exciting, but so did the trailer for Episode 1, and we all know how that turned out. Judging from part of this trailer and the poster, Episode 2 appears to be a love story above all else. Pass.

east/west, one of the best

east/west, one of the best

On a lighter note, happy anniversary to Choire and Philo. Many more,guys.

I'm going to salvage this day. We're off to see Monsters, Inc.

engine failure?

engine failure?

This is looking more and more like a very tragic case of engine failure. Apparently there are two crash sites, one where the engine fell and one where the plane crashed. Some witnesses are reporting hearing an explosion, some say it was if the sky had fallen. Either way, I am treating this like an "ordinary" crash until somebody makes me think otherwise.

Now they are talking about the possibility of birds flying into the engine.

Terrorism or not, plane crashes are always tragic. The fact that it's a residential area makes it doubly so. Far Rockaway, where the plane hit, is a town that was hit hard by the World Trade Center attacks. A large number of firefighters who died on 9-11 were from the Rockaways.

It's like the grieving never ends.

media redux

Why I hate the media:

Paula Zahn on CNN to an eyewitness on the phone: "I know this is hard for you, but tell me about the fireball." And then, as the witness is crying on the phone, "You're very lucky. So tell me about the explosion."

The woman was in hysterics and Zahn was trying to dig some good descriptions out of her.

The plane crashed in a residential area. This has been a fear of mine since I was little. I dreamed about it often and it's probably where my fear of flying comes from. Living so close to the airport, where planes fly low enough to shake my house, has given me this sense of dread about airplanes. I fear them, I fear them crashing into my yard, yet I continuously stare at them when they fly overhead because as much as I fear planes, I am also in awe of them.

crash

crash

A plane has crashed in Queens. Apparently the plane crashed on takeoff from Kennedy, so it was loaded with fuel. They have closed all the bridges and tunnels going into and out of the city.

It's interesting to see how this is dealt with. This could be an ordinary plane crash, one caused by mechanical failure or such. But given recent events, the panic button has been hit.

Regardless, it still gives me a very leaden feeling in the pit of my stomach. The wisps of smoke I can see in the distance are bringing back very bad feelings.

I never thought I would say I hope there was a problem with the engine.

Souls on Sale, today only!

Souls on Sale, today only!

Welcome to another American holiday whose meaning has been lost in the flurry of big blowout sales.

cue patriotic music: Don't forget folks, in order to honor those who served our country in time of war, buy yourself a brand new mink coat! On sale today, just for Veteran's Day! God Bless America and Fur! Repeat over again, substituting the holiday as needed. Fur is interchangeable with washing machines, video games and living room furniture.

George W. is officially out of his mind. In another effor to rally Americans round the flag, our great leadership has called on Hollywood to help in the war on terrorism.

MPAA President Jack Valenti: "This (meeting with White House delgates) was about contributing Hollywood's creative imagination and their persuasion skills to help in this war effort so that one day Americans can lead normal lives again." Talk about delusions of grandeur. Hollywood is going to help us lead normal lives? Is that all it's going to take? Some crappy piece of propaganda telling me that I should feel good and not be afraid and hang flags out my windows and cheer on my great, wonderful nation in its efforts to bomb the hell out of terrorism? Well I'll be god damned! I'm going to quit therapy and put away those self-help books because Hollywood is going to save me!

Oops. I didn't mean propaganda. White House adivser Karl Rove made it clear that he wasn't asking the members of the film community to produce propaganda. Filmmakers will be left to decide on their own what the content of their efforts will be. Nope. No one is telling them what to say. Oh, but they did come up with some suggestions for what their contribution will be about:

-A call to service for Americans

-9-11 was an attack against civilization and needs a global response

-The antiterrorism campaign is a war against evil

Nope. No propaganda here. Nothing to see. Move on.

In the scariest part of the whole thing, there was a suggestion that members of stage and screen could perform overseas in USO shows for the troops. Please, no. Not Bette Middler. Please do not give her any reason to perform a heart wrenching, tear jerking inspirational song that will be on every radio station 40 times an hour. I'm still recovering from Wind Beneath My Wings.

One more from Mr. Rove: "The world is full of people who are discerning, and we need to recognize that concrete information told with honesty and specificity and integrity is important to the ultimate success in this conflict." Ok, Mr. Rove. Want to make sure Ashcroft and Cheney saw that memo?

November 11, 2001

Scanning at random

Scanning at random

natalie freestylin

natalie's look of death

nat and dj with cousin david

david the spider

Yea, I just made you look at cute kid pictures. Would you rather vacation pictures? Because I have those too.

Thought not.

Cable Guys

Cable Guys

The cable guy(s) came today. But before I get to how I love my new digital cable so much that I would have sex with it, I need to talk about the cable guys.

Usually there is one cable guy. He comes, he bitches and moans about how many wires are running through my house, does his job and leaves without so much as a good-bye. So tonight, the requisite one cable guy shows up. He was this happy, peppy young man with a smile so big and wide I thought he had been smoking something. He comes in, looks around, mumbles about my wires and cracks some really bad jokes. He laughs at his own jokes. He asks me for a drink, uses my bathroom and then proceeds to talk on his two-way for a bit. He says a cable guy buddy of his just got done with a job and is going to come over and help him.

Twenty minutes later, there are four cable guys sitting in the living room with us. It's their after-work party, I guess, and I offer to order some pizza while they hook up my digital cable. I was sort of joking. So we sit, we talk about the Packers and the Giants and Windows XP and how much MTV sucks. We trade stupid kid trick stories, and all the while they are working to get my cable going.

The box is finally hooked up, they explain how to work the keyboard and remote, how many channels I get, etc. They clean up, but they don't leave. They stayed another half hour, as if they were old friends and we were having them over for drinks. I had visions of some bizarre houseguest invasion, the cable guys who would never leave. I wanted them out so I could play with my new digital cable!

Finally, they leave. Justin and I are alone with the majestic, orgasmic, beautiful digital cable box. I can now:

  • Watch any episode of Oz, Arli$$, Six Feet Under and Band of Brothers I want, whenever I want

  • Pause, fast forward and rewind those episodes

  • Pick and choose from about 300 movies I can watch on demand, for free

  • Listen to my choice of 50 specialized radio channels. The metal channel plays real metal, not Linkin Park

  • Watch a hockey game with 6 different camera angles to choose from, including the Lindros cam

  • Get more channels, including ESPN Classic, Biography, Discovery Kids and Toon Disney, which I am hoping shows reruns of Darkwing Duck

  • Get more public access channels. You can never have enough public access channels. They are always unintentionally funny.

Right now I am watching a Pennywise concert that was on HBO a while ago, but I missed. Between the computer and the tv, I may never leave the living room. Not that I did, anyhow. I'm gonna go get ready to turn on my Lindros cam.

HOLY COW!

HOLY COW!

Swallowing Tacks has mooooooved. The beefy new site is at opinebovine.com.

I can't resist bad puns. Sorry.

What weekend? Where?

What weekend? Where?

I believe that Saturday is the only day that officially could be considered the weekend. Or at least the only day you can officially enjoy. Fridays don't count because you work most of the day. And I don't know about you, but come Friday night, I'm too tired to do anything exciting. Sundays are the dread day. It's the day you spend dreading the fact that Saturday was yesterday and tomorrow is Monday. You have to think about what's in store for you during the week, what you're wearing to work tomorrow and panic when you realized it's not a pay week. So basically, Saturday is the only day that you have free from morning until bedtime. Thus, the weekend consists of only one day. Fridays and Sundays belong as part of the general week.

Today is one of those Sundays that are allowed to be considered part of the weekend (There are exceptions to every rule, you know). Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, which means national holiday, which means no work, no school. One less morning that I have to make lunches and find lost shoes and get everyone in and out of the bathroom in half an hour. One less day I have to wear presentable looking clothing. So this Sunday is good. It's relaxing. And it will be mark the beginning of the end of my having a life outside this house.

Today the digital cable gets installed. Life is good. I am a pathetic excuse for a person, I know this. Once you admit to being addicted to television, you have this freedom to act like a complete geek and loser. People look at you and say "Oh don't mind her. She's a tv addict." And everyone nods their heads in acknowledgement. I'm free to sit on the couch and watch an endless parade of cartoons and quality movies and porn educational shows. Yes, today marks a new era in my television watching habits.

If you're looking for me, I'll be in front of the tv, changing the camera angle of the hockey game or watching ESPN Classic.

November 10, 2001

Enhancing your church experience

Enhancing your church experience

Before the wedding reception, there was the wedding ceremony. At church, of course. Now, don't worry, the church didn't spontaneously combust when I walked to it, and I didn't fall to the ground writhing in pain. I was going to blog this whole thing about how I was forced to take communion when my born-again-catholic sister dragged me out of the pew and hissed at me to get in line, and how I felt guilty about eating the cardboard wafer, but not sure who I was directing that guilt towards, and and horribly ritualistic and mind numbing church is. Which leads me to what I finally decided to blog about rather than get all in a huff writing about my sister.

The catholic church is a bit stodgy. The churches are stuffy and gaudy and filled with images of a half bleeding dead guy nailed to a cross. One doesn't get that "feel good" kind of vibe when entering a church. I think you should. So I spent most of the latter part of the ceremony thinking of ways that the catholics could draw more people into church, and make them feel welcome and happy and glad to be there.

My Suggestions For Improving the Catholic Church Experience:

  • Cushions for the pews

  • Refreshments served intermitently in return for your gracious donation. Water and fruit will do. Nothing that crunches too loud

  • The priest should sporadically interrupt mass to announce the football scores

  • Let the young kids come up to the altar to give "shouts out" to their homies

  • Have an opening and closing theme song. Something catchy, maybe a little free style rapping going on.

  • Mass should open with one of the altar boys shouting out "ARE YOU READY TO ROCK AND ROOOLLLLLL??"

  • The priest should have a catch phrase that everyone can say along with him. Like, "Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick!" and then he can hop around on a pogo stick when he says it. That should get people laughing and feeling good.

  • Offer flavored communion wafers. Bubble gum, Strawberry, Pina Coloda and Root Beer

  • Right after the homily and before the breaking of the bread, have the altar boys come out and do a choreographed dance routine. For the girlies.

  • Put the day's readings in graphic novel form

  • Give out tokens to each worshipper that shows up. When you get ten tokens, you get a Sunday off from church

  • Replace Jesus with Easter Bunny

  • Give out door prizes. First ten worshippers in the door get free jar of holy water

Any suggestions?

Funkytown

Funkytown

Two things about the preceding post.

One: I know I said I was dreading this wedding, and I was. But I'll be damned if I didn't have a great time. See, you lower your expectations to almost rock bottom and you're never disappointed.

Two: When I said that I was hoping there would be something blog-worthy about this wedding, I was hoping that someone would do something idiotic that i could then come home and write about in an entertaining sort of way. I didn't really expect that person to be me.

Here's the thing. I never dance at weddings. I leave my seat only for food, drink and bathroom reasons. I sit and watch other people jerking themselves around to really bad disco music and I enjoy the show. When the line dances come -the electric slide, macarena, what have you - I run for the door and hide outside lest one of my well meaning relatives tries to drag me into a monotonous, spastic-like dance.

I don't know what came over me, but I not only danced, but sang tonight. No, I didn't do the chicken dance or anything so droll. Prodded on by too many vodka & cranberries, I danced the night away to the super sounds of the 70's. The stuff I hated when I was in high school.

It started with Lipps, Inc.'s Funkytown. My cousin dragged be onto the dance floor and I went with it. Then it was Sly and the Family Stone's Dance to the Music. Donna Summer's I Feel Love. Rapper's Delight. When the Commodore's Brick House started up, I grabbed the microphone from my aunt and sang the entire song while doing an Elaine Bennis dance. Every once in a while I would spot Justin, pretending to talk to my cousins, but glancing my way with a real quizzical look on his face. He never saw this side of me before. He didn't know. No one knew.

I have gone from the girl who wore a "disco sucks" button through most of her adolescence to this woman who entertains her family by singing some of the worst songs to every hit a turntable. And enjoying it. There has got to be some kind of self-help group for this.

Won't you take me to....eh, nevermind.

family functions as blog fodder

family functions as blog fodder

I have to go to a wedding today. I'm not thrilled about it. It's a second marriage of an uncle whose family we really aren't fond of. A few drinks will make the festivities go down easier, I suppose.

So, am I the only one who looks at dreaded family obligations as potential blogging material? Here's hoping this one fulfills my expectations of blog-worthiness.

Oh, yea. I had this grand idea. It involves you. I'll tell you about it later.

November 09, 2001

Quitters, Inc.

Quitters, Inc.

I am a quitter. This I know. But I never quit something without good reason. When I was 7, I quit ballet because, frankly, I sucked at it. When I was 9, I quit Girl Scouts because I refused to wear the uniform and they wouldn't let me in without it. When I was 12, I quit chorus because I couldn't stand the music teacher's penchant for Neil Diamond songs. I have quit so many jobs I don't remember them all. One job, as a telemarketer for Newsday, lasted exactly three minutes. I did quit drugs, and I guess that was a good thing.Then there was the engagement that ended two months before the wedding and the subsequent marraige that also was doomed for quittage.

So what am I getting at? I'm getting at NaNoWriMo. That absurd thought that I could write a 50,000 word novel in one month. See, if it wasn't November I might be able to do it. Maybe if it was March or April I would be able to devote more time to it. I know I'm not the only full time working parent who joined this thing. But I'm the only one who is me. I stress out easily. This month is bad at work, with all my judges in heavy case load parts. There is the inevitable holiday stress. The social engagements (wanted or not) every weekend. And the reading program I am running at DJ's school, which has become a huge time eating monster.

Ok, the point. The point is that I need to let some of my self-made stress go. And the first thing to get dumped was NaNoWriMo. I will still write the novel, but I will do it on my own time, in my own way. I will still be John's writing buddy, because I owe that to him, and because I want to. And I really didn't have to tell you all this, but I spent a lot of time on here talking about it, so I thought I would let you know. Once again, I am a quitter. Now if I could apply that same quitting habit to smoking...

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

Despite the fact that DJ stayed home from school today with a headache, I have decided that it will be well worth it to pull the kids out of school next Friday to go see Harry Potter. The only dissenting vote was from Trav, and I got him to give me his blessings.

I like having you all make my decisions for me. I am a notoriously bad decision maker. I tend to agonize over things for way too long. It takes me 2 hours of writing down pros and cons before I can decide what cereal I want for breakfast. Sometimes I just want Count Chocula to jump off the box and say "pick me!" thus ending the debate. I mean, who wouldn't choose a talking cereal box over the sedentary and mute Rice Krispies? Anyhow, I think from now on I will have you make all my decisions for me. Except for the X-Box thing. You guys are way too divided on that.

What's another 20 bucks a month?

What's another 20 bucks a month?

I used my lunch time to go over to The Wiz to pay my cable bill. That's all I wanted to do. Pay the bill that I forgot to mail last week. So I went to the counter, offered the man my check, and that's when I saw the sign. Digital Cable. Now Available. I figured I would just ask. My sister tried to steer me out of the store, knowing that I could never resist. But I stayed firm and listened to a sales pitch. I heard about all the extra movie channels. I heard about the extra Discovery Channels. I heard about 50 radio stations playing only what I want to hear. Better quality viewing. Better sound. HBO/Starz/Showtime/IFC on demand. So if I miss an episode of Oz, I can watch it the next morning. Coming in February, all the capabilities of TiVo. I was breathing heavy at this point, my couch potato instincts kickin in. My sister asked me if I was going to have an orgasm.

But I almost walked away. I almost said I would think about. And then she said the magic words. If you like sports, she said. I stopped. I listened. She showed me. I could change the angle of the camera. I could make my own instant replays. I could make my own closeups. I CAN WATCH A HOCKEY GAME FROM WHATEVER ANGLE I WANT! My sister knew I was lost then. Before I could let anyone talk me out of it, I was signing papers and agreeing to stay home all day Sunday so they could come hook me up. There were other things, like interactive MuchMusic and digital photos and I really don't need 12 more email addresses thank you, blah blah blah, at that point they would have said they need my first born son and my soul as payments and I would have signed.

I am a couch potato. I am a television addict. I am going to be broke.

Question of the day

Question of the day

I have a dilemna. See, my lovel children (and I say that without the slightest trace of facetiousness) go to their father's every weekend. From Friday at 6 until Sunday at 6 (Yes, it sucks but there was a reason for this at first, and that's another story for another day). So every time a good kids' movie comes out, he takes them to see it before I can. I either get sloppy seconds, meaning they fidget and fuss their way through a second viewing of a movie with me, or they don't even want to see it again and I miss out. Now, we all know Harry Potter opens next Friday. I think I may be more excited for this movie than the kids are. But I will be damned if I do not get to see this with them first. With the movie opening on a Friday, as always, this leaves me in a quandry. I think I have a solution so I can see it with them first but I don't know if it's the right one. So, I am leaving it up to you.

Today's poll:

Do I take my children out of school next Friday to go to the opening day of Harry Potter? Majority rules, so comment carefully.

Operation Refresh

Operation Refresh

Bush: 'We wage a war to save civilization itself'.

What does one do when interest in your war is waning? You rile up the masses with hyperbole and catch phrases. You give a speech that leaves your citizens with the image of America as this great big tank rolling over the anyone who gets in its way. And even though the past two months have been one fright after another, filled with anthrax and credible threats and a Halloween that was a shadow of what it used to be, you tell people how strong they are and how the past two months have been inspiring. You confuse patriotism with fantacism. You make people think they care all over again, that war is a feel good kinda thing. Act like you're the homecoming king at a college football game urging the fans to cheer the team on to victory!

Bush: We have our marching orders. My fellow Americans, Let's roll!

Umm, George? I thought we started marching and rolling two months ago? Did I miss something?

This war needs a new logo, anyhow.

In any event, it wasn't George that did me in last night. It was this book and the mother/daughter book club at the library, that I thought ended at 7:45 but ended at 8:30. It's all good, because it was a lovely book and a nice discussion. And if any of you reading this have a kid that cringes when you mention the word poetry, you should read this book to them.

So I missed Family Guy, didn't think to tape it. And thanks to the wonderful miracle of internet piracy, I will probably have a copy to view by tonight. God Bless America, indeed.

It's Friday. It's 5am. And I am in a damn good mood. Let's see how long I can drag the good mood out before life bitchslaps me in the face.

November 08, 2001

:::For Immediate Release:::

:::For Immediate Release:::

Tonight's viewing of A Small Victory/A Fire Inside is being pre-empted for family obligations, a pile of laundry that is just not going to wash itself and the season premiere of Family Guy. We will resume regularly scheduled blogging early Friday morning. Feel free to click on any of those links in the sidebar in lieu of the usual mindless ranting found here every evening.

The management thanks you and wishes you a pleasant evening. Management also makes no claim as to the validity of this announcement. Should the Family Guy premier be disrupted by the double talk and puppetry of one George W. and his band of roving liars, this blog just may resume normal activity.

Thank you and have a pleasant, anxiety free evening.

Santa, NAFTA and me

Santa, NAFTA and me

One more day. Just one more day left in this week. It's not that I'm trying to rush time or anything, it's just that Friday always seems so out of reach. It's like those dreams when you are walking down a long hallway and no matter how fast you walk, or how long you walk for, your destination never seems to get any closer. Some weeks just go on forever, feeling like it's always the day before Friday but never Friday itself.

Honestly, I shouldn't be wishing the days away. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with that holiday comes my annual tradition of panic attacks and grumpiness. I love Christmas. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning are wonderful. I hate getting there, though. I hate the pressure of getting shopping done, and I hate shopping itself more than anything. To make matters worse, my kids no longer believe in Santa Claus, so I can't blame him if the presents don't live up to expectations. In years past I used to say "Oh, I guess Santa didn't realize you were over that Crazy Bones fad already!" while gritting my teeth and cursing every commercial on tv. And truthfully, my kids are pretty good about accepting presents they didn't really want or at least pretending to be grateful when they open a package of underwear from Aunt Jo. I'm the one with the problem. I'm the one who agonizes from November til December about finding the absolutely perfect gift for each person. I'm the one who thinks that there should be this magical wonderful sea of presents underneath the tree on Christmas morning. I was thinking if they could have just held on a bit longer to the notion that some fat guy with flying reindeer stuffs himself into their chimney every year to deliver Playstation games and N'Sync cds, then I could have told them a great story about Santa running a sweatshop and the elves revolting and how it all ties in to the evils of free trade....well, I thought I could give them a lesson in the harsh reality of world economics, making it appear to be Santa's ruthlessness and greed that is to blame for their being no X-Box under the tree this year.

But no, they had to go and find out that like most Catholic holiday icons (see, Easter Bunny, Jesus...), Santa is a myth. There's gotta be some way to blame George W. for the non-appearance of a Playstation2...

November 07, 2001

walking in my father's shoes

walking in my father's shoes

I finally got around to scanning some photos I've had laying around a while. I noticed that sometimes a photograph will jump up at me not because of lighthing or color or shadows, but because of the story that the picture tells. This picture is of the top of my father's work boots when he came home from a day sifting through rubble at the WTC, searching for his friends. The boots were brand new and a light tan when he started out.

My father could never bring himself to go back after that day.

lumbering along...

lumbering along...

Has the media become so bored with this non-war that a police chase involving a lumber truck needs to be broadcast live on tv? Are we that desperate for thrilling news that they think a play-by-play of the most boring car chase since CHiPs was on the air is going to boos their ratings? Ten to one the media was just dying for that guy to get out of the truck and open fire, on the police or himself. When he gave up and threw himself on the ground as he exited the truck, I could almost hear the honchos at CNN muttering expletives.

This evil part of my brain keeps thinking that most of the media is really pissed that all these "immenent acts of terrorism" are panning out to nothing. They probably pray every night to that great media whore in the sky for something big to happen before the ratings drop too much and they get laid off.

Next up on CNN: Cat gets stuck in tree! Stay tuned for live coverage of.....Tree of Death 2001!

middle school hitmen

middle school hitmen

4 freaking hours. That's how long it took me to get to spend 5 minutes with 4 teachers each. It was like my life had expanded into football time, where one minute is a half hour.

So I was not shocked by the revelation that Natalie has had a hard time adjusting to middle school. And I was not shocked to hear that she very rarely raises her hand. Nor was I shocked to hear that while she is a stellar student in Language Arts, she may need some tutoring in Math. And I wasn't shocked to dislike her science teacher as much in person as I did by just hearing about him. What did shock me, however was the fact that sell issues of Hitman in the school bookstore. I've been keeping certain comic books hidden from my kids just so they can go to school and pick up a copy while they are buying extra pens and gum? That's just wrong.

Francisco bin Laden?

Francisco bin Laden?

Yesterday, I helped Natalie with her Social Studies project, a bizarre learning process whereby 6th graders give oral reports on ruthless Spanish conquerers through puppetry. Her assignment: make a hand puppet of pillager Francisco Pizarro. We set out for the craft store, picture of Mr. Pizarro in hand, and bought all the necessary supplies. She followed the picture closely, trying to make the puppet look exactly like him. When she was done and I witnessed the finished product, I had to stifle a nervous giggle. Francisco Pizarro bears a striking resemblance to Omar Bin Laden.

binfranc (14k image)binladen (13k image)

See what I mean? And coincidentally, Pizarro was a ruthless leader who took advantage of the poor and vulnerable in order to create his own kingdom. Reincarnation, anyone?

So now she wants to re-do her project using a conquerer that doesn't so closely resemble Public Enemy No. 1. I told her to keep it. When she's done with the puppet she can probably sell it on eBay if she comes up with a clever enough marketing ploy for it.

speaking of change

speaking of change

Am I mistaken or did Major League baseball expand just a couple of years ago? And now they are contracting? Does this seem absurd to anyone at all? They add teams wantonly, spreading themselves and the fan bases thin, not to mention the talent, thin. And now, after some serious dilution of the league, they decide to thicken it up again by getting rid of two teams. They want it done in three months. Right. It takes them years to figure out one stupid rule (see, Designate Hitter) and in three months they are going to take care of dispersing players, re alignment, etc. I smell bargaining chip. It would not be beyond Bud Selig to use this in the negotiations for a new Basic Agreement package. I hate what baseball has become. I hate that Bud Selig is a henchman for Satan.

And then I see that George W. has announced that our enemy may be seeking nukes! Oh my god! I am so....shocked! Maybe if George read little green weblog, he would have known that weeks ago when the rest of us did. Just another example of the White House wanting to spoon feed us information to keep us interested in this war. Just how stupid do they think we are? That was rhetorical.

The more things change

The more things change....

Sometimes a day is a story in itself with drama and action and a myriad of subplots and you hope the loose ends get tied up nicely by the end of the day so you can close the book with satisfaction. Those days wipe the hell out of you, let me tell you. Even if nightime does bring a good ending, and a solid one, it still makes you feel as though you've been through enough to last you a while. For the first time in a while, I slept soundly last night, with only a few minor disturbances in my dreams.

I woke up to changed landscape here, though. Not only has the nature of mine and Justin's relationship changed, in a very good way I mean, but Election Day has caused some minor adjustments to be made. We have, for the first time in 30 years, a Democrat running our county. My boss lost his bid for State Supreme Court, which a that's good that's bad sort of thing, for me at least. He still remains District Court Judge; I know where I stand for the next year at least, without the worry of who they would throw at me to replace him had he won; and I just really enjoy working for him. It comes as a huge shock, though. Everyone thought he would win hands down. His opponent ran a horrid smear campaing, something which is against the judiciary ethic rules. So we will see what happens with that.

Anyhow, I am not going to work today. It's parent/teacher day at Natalie's school and I have a feeling that when I get home from two hours worth of standing on line to talk to these teachers, I will not be happy with the reports. And when mom isn't happy, it goes without saying that Nat won't be happy either. I'll make sure of that.

November 06, 2001

epilogue

epilogue

I think when I wrote the post below, I knew. I knew at that moment, like I've known all along, that he would never leave and I would never ask him to. There's too much good between us to make those instances of doubt anything but what they are: two people with the same personality trying to get the other to listen.

What happens when two people with the same emotional qualities get into a tight spot is that no give and take happens. We both give or we both take. We both react to each other's words the same way. Neither wants to give in, neither wants to let up. We are really fighting with an extension of ourselves. When he speaks, I hear my own feelings coming out of his mouth and sometimes it scares me when he articulates my own fears.

It amounts to stress and outside forces making small swells in the ocean appear to be tidal waves. We duck and run for cover and even when the wave disipates, we still insist it was bigger than it was. We get stuck in a moment. This time the moment lasted longer than usual. There was no quick resolution, no frantic hug, no apologies being thrown about by both of us. It threw us off balance and we reacted to that.

When I went back and read what I wrote in the previous post, I realized I would never accept that. I would never accept that fate so blindly and without a fight. What I didn't know was that he read it too, and had the same reaction. So we talked about it.

We do have some issues to work out. But we decided that whatever issues there are, we will face them and deal with them. We have too much invested in each other, too much of our hearts given out, to just drop everything and run when the going gets rough. When I asked myself that age old question, "would I be better off with or without him?" my mind wouldn't even accept the without him idea.

In a way, today was a good thing. We were able to talk about things that we always pushed under our plates. Some of the things made me sad and some made me sorry but in the end it makes us better.

I've never really written about our relationship on this blog. This is probably the most personal post I have ever published, and as such it is not polished or edited or reviewed for clarity. It's just me talking. I feel kind of strange, opening an intimate part of my life to people like this. But I started this blog as a way to express myself. I feel like most of you are friends, and when I write here about something like this, I'm just talking to my friends. So thank you. Thanks for listening and thanks for being a friend when I need one.

the beginning of the end...

the beginning of the end...

I knew this was coming. We had put it off for so long, always dancing circles around it but never really getting to the heart of the matter. We have come to that proverbial crossroads in our relationship. And I don't know which way either of us will choose to go.

We have been together three years. We do love each other, very much so. But there are other circumstances, other things, that are keeping us both from being truly happy. Things that hang on the peripheral of what is "us" that we only stop to look at once in a while. We stopped today. We looked. We stared. And now we are both left with a decision to make. What if one chooses what the other doesn't? Somebody is left walking down a road they had no intention of traveling.

Two months ago we were making plans to get married next year. It's that not we have changed. Things around us have changed. The pattern of our relationship has twisted and turned until it became something different. The wind of life moves around you and sometimes it sucks you up and swirls you around and when it puts you down, you're not in Kansas anymore.

I can't change the circumstances leading up to this. I can't change those things that are roadblocks to our happiness. One person's roadblock is another person's green light. When you don't view things with the same eye and the same mind, shadows and light are confused with one another.

Maybe we will compromise. Maybe we won't. Its the not knowing that kills you.

elephants and arcades

Elephants and arcades

Today is Election Day. It's a big deal here, in a county where politics means everything. The party that runs the county runs the jobs, the business, way we live. This county was once a great big Republican machine, as recently as two years ago. Times have changed. People were run out of office. The county's finances were in shambles and programs designed to help the poor, the disabled and children were shut down or stripped of funding. So sometime in the past two years, the Democrats have gradually taken a bit of control. And today, for the first time in maybe forever, there is a very strong possibility that a Democrat will take control of our county. Things may change. Then again, they may change but remain very much the same. Different party, same shit. One can hope.

There are also judiciary races today. One of my bosses, the one I am most fond of, is running for Supreme Court. He deserves it, he will do a great job there. But I am really going to miss him if he wins.

So today is a day off for me and for the kids. Which means we will end up either at a noisy, crowded movie theater seeing Monsters, Inc., or at a noisy, crowded arcade where I will end up wanting to strangle someone else's kid, or I can convince them that what they really want is to spend a day at the local public library. Think they would go for that? Would you? Right. Arcade, then.

November 05, 2001

past/present/future

past/present/future

I don't visit my grandfather nearly as often as I should. He lives in the Townhouse, an "assited living facility" just about a mile from my home. It's a nice place; clean and friendly with quality care. It is large structure that looks like condominium, and I pass it every day on my way to work and my way home. I don't go for many reasons, some of them selfish. Maybe all of them selfish. I don't like the smell of old people. I don't like facing mortality, mine or my grandfather's. I don't like seeing him strapped to a wheelchair, half the man he used to be. I don't have the time, the patience, the good will it takes to go there as often as my mother does. I do feel bad about this, but apparently not bad enough to make an effort to get there more often.

Grandpa Joe turned 92 yesterday. So tonight, we packed up a birthday-in-a-bag and headed over to Townhouse. Me, my two sisters, our respective significants and children and my parents. We took grandpa into a private room set up for just such occasions and pulled the festivities out of the bag; a Happy Birthday banner, plates, cups and an ice cream cake. Grandpa was absolutely delighted. He had no idea we were coming. I don't know if he even knew it was his birthday until we got there.

This is the thing about Grandpa: he flutters between cognizance and an alternate reality. When we got there, he was mentally alert and thrilled to see us. We talked about the Yankees and wrestling and the kids. He made his usual jokes, asking when Natalie was getting married and when DJ was getting a job. These are old jokes, the same ones he thought were so funny before he began to mentally drift away. We laughed in all the right places. He beamed. He told us stories about the barrel factory he worked in in Brooklyn, the Dodgers and aunts and uncles all dead now. He has always told us these stories, but he always tells them in different ways, not from rote memorization, and those are the moments when we know he is still with us.

Somewhere in between cutting the cake and eating it, Grandpa Joe slipped into that place where his memories are phantoms and his thoughts are blurred. He told us he was going back to Brooklyn tonight, he was just waiting for his ride. When my father asked who was picking him up, he mentioned a relative that had been dead for 20 years. He asked me if I was taking good care of his car, and I just nodded and humored him and this made me feel bad. He fought with my mother, insisting that the Yankees were playing tonight, they hadn't lost the series last night, it was only 1-0. He called us by the wrong names, asked about events that never happened and asked my sister when she was getting married. She's been married 7 years, she told him, and he yelled at her for not inviting him to the wedding.

It's unnerving to see someone unravel right before your eyes. Usually when I go see him is either coherent, and we talk about the past and the present and everything makes sense, or he is a little off kilter and we talk about the past and the future; about dead cousins who call him every night and tell him secrets and about when he is going to go back to his apartment in Uniondale, the one he hasn't lived in for 5 years. It's ok that way, because I can sense right away where he is at and I adjust the conversatoin accordingly. But seeing him go both ways in the space of two minutes made me feel off balance. A festive atmosphere turned quickly into a somber room and we milled about, cleaning up and not saying much.

My father, always the man who knows how to work a room, broke the tension. We had intended to go back to my parent's house after seeing Grandpa to have a drink and a toast to my parent's 40th anniversary, which is today. My father wanted to give my mother her present in front of everyone. Instead, in order to relieve the pressure that had taken over Grandpa's birthday, he pulled a little box out of his pocket and handed it to my mother. She opened it, and inside was an exact replica of her diamond engagement ring that she had worn for 40 years, but gave to my youngest sister, as tradition dictated, when she became engaged in June. Our jaws dropped. My mother was, for once, speechless. She had given up her ring rather reluctantly, for many reasons, and never expected it to be replaced. We applauded and hugged and kissed, and by the time the fuss over my mother's present had ended, Grandpa Joe was back in full swing, cursing the Yankees and asking Natalie when she was getting married.

All hail lord zed

all hail lord zed

I am going to Gryffindor and I am henceforth known as Lord Zed and this is what I look like. And if anyone makes fun of me for being so geeky about Harry Potter, I will turn you into a rat and then eat you. I have powers, you know. Just look at me.

lordzed (10k image)

link found at Fredo

food follies

food follies

I went food shopping on the way home. I got in the store, looked around, and realized I just did not feel like shopping. I wanted to go home, put on my comfy clothes and turn the heat on. So I raced down the aisles, blindly grabbing whatever I could just so I came home with something and the pit stop wasn't a total waste. I ended up with the following:

One box of Count Chocula

One bag of lime flavored Doritos

One package of saurkraut

One cheese in a can, cheddar flavor

One box of Ritz crackers, Christmas shaped

One chocolate pound cake

One can chocolate flavored whipped cream

One gallon Arizona Green Tea

So what's for dinner? Lime flavored cheesy cereal with chocolate topping? Nope. McDonald's.

peace, love and boiled body parts

peace, love and boiled body parts

Maybe lack of sleep has mellowed me out a bit. Maybe I'm too tired to feel my usual aggressive self. And maybe everything has added up to make a big old apathetic slug.

There were things that happened today that normally, especially on a Monday, would make me react with the fury of a beast. Not today. Today I let it all go. I just didn't care.

There was the incident getting off the elevator at work this morning. I ran into someone I knew. No, not a prisoner this time. It was an attorney. He was the first person I dated after my divorce. To say I would like to slowly kill him with a rusty knife and then boil his body parts would be putting it mildly. I knew I would meet up with him again someday, and I had a speech ready made and prepared. When the day came, I would skewer him, hopefully in front of a client. But when I saw him today, I felt nothing. No anger, no seething hatred, just apathy. He called my name, came towards me as I was stepping off the elevator and mumbled something about owing me an explanation. This is 4 years later, folks. Statute of limitations has passed on this one. So instead of standing there listening to him and waiting for my blood to boil, instead of screaming at him or lunging at him with a ballpoint pen aimed for his heart and shouting out what a lousy fuck he was anyhow, I stepped back into the elevator and pushed the button to close the door. I never said a word, I never made eye contact with him. I went back downstairs and took a different way up to my office. I think I felt better for not saying anything than I would have if I lashed out at him for something that happened so long ago.

There were instances of horrible drivers today, one of whom called me a bitch because I beeped at him when he was too busy kissing his girlfriend at a green light to move his ass out of the intersection. I looked at him when he mouthed his insult to me, and all I could muster to give back was a weak smile that was aiming to be snide. I just didn't have the energy to hurl insults back at him.

There was the usual Monday mix of idiot co-workers and files on my desk that didn't belong there and general mayhem. But I said nothing. Just went about my work, quietly and peaceful like.

Did I mention I brought Krispy Kreme donuts to work today? Maybe that's the secret. Maybe one hot, glazed Kripsy Kreme donut is all it takes to bring me inner peace and tranquility.

Let's see how long this lasts. I hear my arch-enemy, the coffee grubber, making his way down the hall now.

Think. Good. Thoughts.

moving on to hockey...

moving on to hockey...

In a way, I am glad the Diamondbacks won. Because I may be a Yankee fan, but I am also a baseball fan. The D'backs were clearly the better team in this series. And doesn't the best team deserve to win? Not the team who was luckiest, not the team who managed to stretch the series to 7 games because they faced a relief pitcher who couldn't throw more than 80 mph, not the team whose city is down on its luck. The D'backs played better, played smarter and I'm not sad at all that they won. It was a thrilling, exciting series to watch. Congratulations to them and their fans. Now it's time to concentrate on hockey.

Mondays are bad enough, but waking up with a raging headache and the feeling that somebody was beating you while you slept does not make the day an easier to bear. Lingering over my head is the knowledge that this week will, for the most part, suck.

So now Monday is calling me, telling me to get ready and get the day started already, but I'm procrastinating and lingering here because I am afraid. I can feel the mood creeping in already. That smoldering, slow burn that starts off like an ember and eventually becomes a full scale inferno. I will not succumb. I will. not. succumb.

November 04, 2001

fish heads

fish heads

As I'm ready to pack it in for the night and drag my pillow and blankie to the couch so I can fall asleep watching the Yankee game, a commercial for Goldfish crackers comes on the tv. I thought I was delirious. I thought my lack of sleep was causing me to hallucinate. But no. The jingle reall says:

The wholesome snack that smiles back

until you bite their heads off!

Someday we will ask, where did we go wrong with our kids, why are they like this? And I will blame that commercial.

god is bulletproof

god is bulletproof

Genesis revisited. A liberal interpretion of the creation of the world, as told by god himself, aka bulletproof punk. You will never look at the bible in quite the same way again.

Guarantee this, loser

Guarantee this, loser

Curt Schilling has guaranteed that the Diamondbacks will win the world series. Dumb fuck. Didn't Lou Piniella guarantee that the Mariners would get back home to finish off the series? Look what happened there. One of the rules of sports is never guarantee anything that you can't, well...guarantee. Should the Yankees lose tonight, and that's a good possibility given their performance last night, Schilling can breathe easy. But if the Diamondbacks lose, Schilling looks like an ass. And one can only hope that if the Dbacks do lose, it will because Schilling pitched a piss poor game. Karma, baby. Come and get it.

billy corgan's head

billy corgan's head

I feel no need to go on about the Yankee game last night. I will only say this to Anathea:

Tonight. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Me, you and Byung-Hyun Kim.

So I'm listening to Smashing Pumpkins. Mayonaise, to be specific. And I as I think about Billy Corgan, and how he looks like Mr. Potato head, and how I love his music but I never have any clue as to what he's going on about, I am reminded of a song a friend of mine once wrote, Billy Corgan's Head, which had these profound lyrics:

oooh look at the way it shiiiines

i have to cross my legs

and look away

when billlyyyy comes to town

cos..

i wanna grab him by the neck

and lick his bald little head

and billy billy oh billy

how does it get so smooth

i've always had a thing for billiards

and licking you is like shooting pool

i'd like to give your head an old fashioned spit shine

because mr. corgan you must know

that you are only miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine

billy corgans head

billy corgans head

Hey, it's better than anything Fred Durst ever wrote.

to sleep

to sleep...

My old nemesis insomnia is creeping up on me again. For a while, I had gotten back into a normal rythmn. I would fall asleep before 11, and get up at 5. Lately I've been getting to sleep a lot later and waking up closer to 4. I do some laundry, take a shower and have my coffee, and when I go outside to smoke, it still looks like night, all stars and moon and not a hint of sunrise. Combine this with being plagued by bad dreams and restless sleep, and you have someone who often finds herself struggling to find some energy by mid-afternoon. This is ok on the weekends, when I can relax during the day, even take a nap. But during the week, it kills me. I fight the urge to fall asleep at my desk. I often space out while I'm driving. This can't be healthy, can it?

My first bout with insomnia came right after my divorce. I would sleep a total of two hours a night and go through my days like a zombie. This went on for over a year. Eventually, sleep came back to me and I got back to some semblance of a normal night/day pattern. I still got up early, but that's me. I've always one to wake before the sun did.

In September, right after 9-11, I started sleeping more. Of course, I was mentally exhausted and my mind had no problem shutting down for the night. Some days I wouldn't wake until 6, which screwed up our well planned out morning routine. For the first time in my life, I had to set an alarm clock so I would get up in time.

Sometime in the past two weeks, insomnia creeped in again. Up late, up early. Today was 3:45. That's ridiculous, I know. But no matter how hard I try, I can't fall back asleep again. I write, I clean, I play some games. By the time late afternoon rolls around, I am ready to go to bed. I can't, of course. And then the second wind hits at about 8 and another sleepless night rolls around again. I'm frustrated, I'm tired, I'm restless. I want to sleep normally. I want to sleep a full night and do it without dreaming.

November 03, 2001

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Experience - Dream version

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Experience - Dream version

've had some weird dreams before. As a matter of fact, I have weird dreams every night. After over 20 years of this, nothing I have seen in my dreams surprised me. Until now.

I got up at 4am today, so by noon I was ready for a nap. I fell into a deep afternoon sleep, the kind of sleep that always brings my most vivid dreams.

I think I may the first person to dream a musical. That's right, a musical. The entire dream was done in song and dance routines, complete with big finale, dancing bears in tutus and thunderous applause.

The story of the dream itself was a mishmash of recent events. There was a meeting in the library; a fireman's memorial, a stripper, Sandra Bullock, a houseful of people all cooking and a runaway car. And there was music. And dancing. It was a fifth rate Broadway show combined with cut rate animation. Think Andrew Lloyd Webber meets 1950's cartoons.

I tried several times in the dream to wake myself up, because I just wanted to get the hell out of there, but my sleep was apparently too deep and I was stuck in this crazed vision of mine. Finally, I woke up at about 2 and dragged myself around the house until I could shake off the grogginess.

When I went upstairs a few minutes later to check on my aunt, she was watching Little Shop of Horrors. Her living room is right above my bedroom.

That explains a lot, doesn't it? But it doesn't explain the dancing bears.

naps and llamas

llamas and naps

Just got back from breakfast with Keith. He was as charming, witty and intelligent as his blog makes him out to be. Did that come out right?

I'd like to meet more bloggers, but I think aside from Roe, I am the only Long Islander blogging away. Guess I'll have to wait until May, when I hang out with Chris for the Nick Cave show.

Now, onto the rest of the day's purposes: get the scanner to work; write another 2,000 words for the novel; watch 12 Monkeys. Oh yea, nap. Naps are essential to rainy Saturday.

what are you doing with that rutabaga?

what are you doing with that rutabaga?

I am repeating my Saturday mantra over and over until it actually sinks in. must not do anything resembling work....must not do anything resembling work....must do dishes....must do laundry... See, it never works. What I want to do today is spend a lot of time writing, scanning pictures and watching movies. How long can I ignore the fact that living room hasn't been vacuumed all week? How long can I stare at the pile of clothes that need to be folded, the pile which now has outgrown the actual amount of clothes in drawers and closets? There's always tomorrow, right? I can clean tomorrow and relax today....maybe. What I am doing today is meeting Keith for breakfast. That's the only solid thing in my agenda. When I get home from there we will decided on today's double feature. Our choices so far:

Legend of the Drunken Master and Iron Monkey

Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back

Shrek and Akira

These are all movies we have seen before. Well, except Drunken Master, which I have only seen part of, but how can you not love a movie that has the line "What are you doing with that rutabaga?"

I've been walking around quoting Star Wars all week, so maybe we will go that way, except that means dragging out the VCR. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie on that thing. How can something I couldn't live without two years ago seem so archaic to me now? I think my father said that about my mother once.

Warming up the scanner. You know you love vacation pictures.

November 02, 2001

I put before you my soul....of crap

I put before you my soul....of crap

I have decided, against my better judgment, to put my novel in progress up on this site, on the journal page. It's not like I would have time to post in the journal this month anyhow. Comments are enabled, feel free to criticize, laugh, deconstruct, analyze or sue me for emotional damage.

not the hurricane you're looking for

Dear readers:

It has come to my attention that most of you think it somewhat amusing and befitting that the hurricane bearing down on Cuba is named Michelle.

I accept no responsiblity for this weather phenomenon. Please take note that I am Michele with one L
Not two. I am hereby absolved of any blame.

Thank you.

MicheLe

head, anyone?

head, anyone?

The days of the week are screwing with me. They have it in for me. Today went off like a Monday, all havoc and no tranquility. There were previously unheard of projects and homework that made a sudden appearance this morning. There were lost jerseys and broken toasters and computer breakdowns. There was a dryer that never went on, forcing me to wear jeans to work. A missing ID badge. Sour milk. It went on like this for over an hour until finally, everyone was off to their respective schools and cars. I am supposed to be at work at 8. I didn't pull out of my driveway until 8:05. And then saw the gas tank on E. I decided to push my bad luck and not stop for gas. You can ride on fumes, right?

I'm on my way finally and I decided, for a change, to not ride the crest of aggravation that has washed over me. No road rage today. No bad mood. It's Friday, can't have that.

I turn on the cd player and make the decision that Machine Head is not conducive to calming down and enjoying a pleasant ride. I then see something unsettling. All the cds I have in my car are head-related. Machine Head. Radhiohead. Portishead. Buckethead. Hed pe. Heads everywhere. My conspiracy slanted mind takes this as a sign, an omen. Will heads roll when I get into work today? Will I have to give Justin head when I get home? Will I be forced to watch Head of the Class reruns all night? I felt a very strong headache coming on.

Let me tell you, Portishead is not driving music. It was putting me to sleep and lulling me into a false sense of peacefulness. Portishead is great when you're home and brooding about your life, laying in the dark with your headphones on. But for driving on a Fuck You Friday, it's not happening. I put the Machine Head back on. It turned out to be the perfect music for driving amongst 80 year old people with no reflexes, landscaping trucks that take up two lanes and people who think the speed limit is 30.

By the time I got to work, I had enough adrenaline stored to get through the day. Agitated adrenaline is the perfect tool for combatting stupid co-workers, coffee grubbers and work that you have no desire to do.

I am calm now. I am going to ignore my work and continue my novel. And I am going to inflict severe pain on the first person that says the word "head" to me.

Is it 4:00 yet?

Sucks to be Byung-Hyun Kim

Sucks to be Byung-Hyun Kim.

Whether the Yankees win or lose the series, you can't say it hasn't been fun, dramatic and thrilling. They pulled another win out of their asses last night and are one game away from making New York spontaneously combust. Gotta love it.

It's Friday, for those of you who are unsure. It doesn't feel like a Friday because I was off on Tuesday and Wednesday so I kept thinking yesterday was Monday. Now it should be Tuesday but it's Friday and I hope this doesn't throw my body out of whack when I try to take my Friday evening nap. As a former insomniac, I have become totally convinced that there is no thing as too much sleep. The odd thing is, I can't sleep at night at all, but give me a pillow and the couch in the afternoon and I'm a goner. I'm getting off track here.

Every weekend I say I am going to do nothing. And every weekend I end up cleanin, shopping, remembering former obligations, fixing, visiting and whining. So I am going to try again this weekend. I am staying home. I am writing a large portion of my novel. I am tidying up the rest of this site. I am playing video games. I am watching movies. The only time I will leave my house is to have breakfast on Saturday morning with the llamlicious Keith, who will be in town for his uncle's wedding. Oh yes, I am going to pick up the 5 rolls of film I dropped off, scan a whole bunch of pictures and learn how to make a page of thumbprints. Do I lead an exciting life or what?

Speaking of exciting, I'm going to iron some clothes. Ha. No I'm not. Do you know how I iron? I throw whatever is wrinkled in the dryer for a few minutes. I haven't touched the iron since I threw it at my ex.

Kidding. Enjoy your Friday. Be nice to a stranger. And if he's not nice back to you, kick him in the head. Works for me.

November 01, 2001

jesuschristonapogostick. i need a drink.

jesuschristonapogostick. i need a drink.

When the hell will this madness end? Please, people of our government, for christ sake, please stop announcing every so called "credible" threat you receive. 90% of people in this country are hanging onto their sanity by a god damn string and if you keep blaring out every single whisper of impending doom, we are going to have mayhem on our hands.

So you think someone wants to blow up the bridges in California. What good is going to do to tell everyone this? Aren't we on the highest possible alert already? This is what, defcon 5 or some shit like that? Does this thing go to 11? Can you turn it up just a notch? No? Then shut the fuck up already. What is the purpose in scaring the bejesus out of everyone if you can't do a fucking thing about it. Station some guards, close the bridges or whatever you have to do, but do it quietly, forcibly if you have to, just do it without the damn fanfare.

I've had it with your instructions to keep the faith and live the life while you cower in your safe places and close your buildings and cancel your plans. Do as you say not as you do? Fuck you. Stop telling me not be afraid if you're the one who is putting the fear of annihilation into me. Stop being pussies, guys. Stop running for shelter and expecting us to open your mail and stimulate your economy by going to the mall that your probably wouldn't come within 5 miles of. And I don't mean send our president to a high profile baseball game. I mean just go to freaking work already and stop fearing your mail cart. You don't expect the postal workers to stop working, why should you get to run and hide?

I don't want to hear another press conference detailing impending doom of an unknown date and origin. Our government is starting to sound like and end-times religion and I'm expecting any day now that they will all be marching around with placards stating "The End is Nigh. Repent!"

what the hell is wrong with me?

what the hell is wrong with me?

I'm debating whether to buy an X-Box or not. It's not imperative that we have it. But I want it. I think. I'm just not sure where to go on this one. We already have several gaming systems; Dreamcast, N64, Playstation, and we kick it old school with a Sega Genesis and NES. And come January, DJ will be getting a Playstation2 for his birthday in lieu of a party. So do we need this X-Box? No. Do I want it? Yes. And why am I agonizing over something so completely insignificant in the large scheme of things?

To buy or not to buy. Answer my question.

pardon me while i brag

Pardon me while I brag

Natalie was busy at the computer last week, doing what I thought was her homework. She was secretive about it, so I figured she wasn't doing homework but writing in her journal. I left her alone.

Yesterday she asked me to mail something for her. It was an envelope addressed to "Mayor Guiliani, New York City." I asked her if I could read it and she relented. I'm really proud of her, and I'm sharing it with you because it's my blog and I can do what I want.

Keep in mind she wrote this with no help at all. Typos and grammatical errors intact.

Dear Mayor Guiliani,

Hi, my name is Natalie S. and I am a sixth grade student in East Meadow, Long Island, and I try to help my home, New York, as much as possible at any time for any reason. I am in the Builders Club at school. I have not participated in any activities yet, but I plan on it. I am trying to put together a World Trade Center Fund.

On October 23, 2001, I started looking through some of my pictures of when I went to Washington DC. One picture is whree I was posing with the army statues, another is when I was in front of the big water fountain an da family picture with my cousins. I knew, there were more pictures, but one more important than the others. Yes! The Vietnam Memorial Wall. While I was looking through the newspapers at pictures of the tragedy, I came across some that reminded me of my trip to Washington. "Wow," I said, "these pipes at Ground Zero look like the Vietnam Memorial Wall." THis is when I started to think how I could do something to honor the Firemen, Policemen, Court Officers and all the others who have lost their lives. "We can make it be like the Vietnam Memorial Wall!" I sat myself down to the computer and decided to write you.

The point of this letter is I would think it is a great idea to make a wall for all those who should be honored. I know there is talk about making a memorial to all the victims, but I feel a wall, like the Vietnam Memorial Wall, would be a wonderful and meaningful memoria. IT would make people remember and honor the hero's in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington in teh same way we remember and honor our hero's from Vietnam.

My grandfathre is a retired New York City Fireman, and I think ti would be nice if there is a place he can go to visit with his brother firemen and all the others who are no longer with us. This is just a suggestion that I feel should be considered, because I feel so strong about it. I know that a memorial like this would make my grandfather and all the other people who have lost family and friends, feel like there is somplace to go when they feel the need.

Thank you for your time and for giving my suggestion some consideration.

Sincerely,

Natalie

I mailed it today, with pride.

disaster in progress

disaster in progress

In between dealing with attorneys and clerks and a mountain of files on my desk after a two day absence, I have managed to complete 5/6 of my goal of 6 pages per day for my novel. However, I am seriously stuck in the middle of page 6 and I don't think it's going anywhere until tomorrow. Mind you, this novel is not what I intended it to be, the characters I had dreamed about are nowhere to be found, and the plot resembles nothing I've ever had in my brain at anytime. When I say I'm winging it, I really mean it.

I will be putting up a word count on the right sidebar somewhere tomorrow, so you can properly berate me when I am nowhere near the goal of 50,000 come the end of November. I am probably not going to put the work in progress on this site, but if anyone wants to read as I go along and make petty comments and point out critical errors, just leave a comment or email me and I will be happy to send you the thrilling serial installations of "Untitled" as they happen.

Now, I need to go find a stick to poke my writing buddy with, as he hasn't even started yet. That's what I'm supposed to do, right?

the great missing pumpkin

the great missing pumpkin

Just to let you know, and pretend you care, my big pumpkin is gone. The one we took two hours to carve, according to Martha Stewart's anal-retentive directions, has been swiped. I took a picture of the gaping hole in the perfect fall display I have set up on my lawn.

At least it's not smashed all over the street. But I fervently hope that bad pumpkin karma will catch up with the kid who stole it. I hope his girlfriend breaks up with him today, his dog runs away and someone hacks into his AOL account and uses it to send threatening emails to the president. Do you hear me, pumpkin gods?

Get thee behind me, October

Get thee behind me, October

Is it really November 1st? I mean, I know yesterday was Halloween, but just the same I woke up with that familiar "Is it really November" panic buzzing in my head. This month begins my annual downhill slide into neurotic freneticism. Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, the year is ending already. Add to this year's mix the fact that I'm supposed to complete a novel this month, my favorite boss is running for a position in a different court, this school program that is hanging over my head and you have a recipe for a nervous breakdown. I'm going to try to make this year different. I will try to slow down. I will try not to panic. I will try to do my Christmas shopping a little at a time, rather than save it all for the last minute.

I have learned so many lessons from the past. No holiday parties here. No elaborate decorations. No delusions of Martha Stewart-ness and Norman Rockwell Christmas mornings running through my head. No great expectations of cooperation and Stepford children behavior. I am keeping my Christmas fantasies on the downlow this year, and I think that will make my Christmas spirit improve. If you lower your expectations to the bare minimum, you will never be disappointed.

I am going to try to work out a schedule for myself for the month, as far as novel writing and shopping and seeing the Harry Potter movie 700 times go. I will not cave in. I will not succumb to the ghosts of November past who want to see me crumble under pressure.

*

So anyhow, Halloween went rather smoothly. We had about 100 kids ring the bell, down a little from last year. And whoever said that parents were going to be more sensitive about their children's costumes this year didn't survey my neighborhood about that. There was enough blood and gore in these costumes to make another Exorcist movie. I'm disappointed that it was cloudy and I didn't get to see the full moon, but thrilled to no end that the Yankees tied the series up (I was asleep by the 3rd inning, sad to say) and I can continue to bother Anathea for at least a couple more days. And how bizarre is it to have the World Series played in November?

I'm going to get this Thursday started. I need to go outside and make sure my car is shaving cream and egg free and my pumpkins are still intact. Then I will spend the day at work pretending to work while I get in my 6 pages of novel writing for the day. Thank you, John, for being my writing buddy. You may want to scratch my eyes out with a fork by the time November is over. But that's ok, because then I'd have an excuse not to deal with Christmas.