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June 30, 2002

being all that you can be

Being all that you can be

I have a confession to make.

I hate crowds. I especially hate crowds when I have to meet new people. Even if these are people I know already, through the miracle of the internet.

So it wasn't just the heat and the humidity and allergies that gave me the migraine yesterday, it was the stress of having to go to a party where there would be a lot of people I didn't know, or knew but never met. The stress of thinking about it all week long resulted in the worst headache ever.

I know you will find this hard to believe, but I am incredibly shy. I have a hard time looking people in the eye when I talk. I tend to play with my hair or twist the ring on my finger while I talk to people that I don't know. If it's a group of two or three people, I'm ok. But once you go over that number, I freak out.

I shouldn't except invitations to parties that I know I will not end up attending. But each time I do, I think it will be different. I will overcome my fear and shyness and get out and meet new people. I will be strong and confident and bold.

Not bloody likely. The confidence surges through me for a week or so and then as the days approaching the gathering advance, it starts to crumble. By the day of the party or meeting or whatever it is I'm going to, I'm downing Excedrins and curling up on my couch with my blankie.

I don't know what I fear. Perhaps my sense of inadequacy overrules anything I try to do. I'm sure that's the reason why I never followed the advice of my college professors and tried writing for a living. The fear of not living up to what others expect you to be is overwhelming. It's just easier to not try at all than to do it and be looked at as something less than you really are.

I'm not saying that I am not who I present myself to be here. This is me. As long as I am with my friends or family or not in a huge crowd, this is me. I have met other webloggers before, in very small groups, and I think it went well. But the whole crowd thing makes me nervous, and I know I don't act like myself when surrounded by bubbly, gregarious people. I am easily intimidated by those who have more confidence than me.

Maybe I willed myself into having a headache so I would have a reason not to go. Maybe I should have just said no to begin with, so I wouldn't have the added stress of spending that whole week knowing full well that something would happen at the last minute to make me back out.

I'd like to overcome this. I really would. I feel this fear of failure and fear of new things and fear of looking strangers in the eye and letting them see who I really am, how I really look, how I really sound, is going to keep me from ever doing anything more than what I am doing now.

Fear has kept me stagnant. But a greater fear has taken its place. That is the thought that this is the crest of my life, that my phobias and idiosyncracies will keep me from every doing anything greater, from ever trying to be anything more.

It's time to move past it all and see what I can do.

here's to liberty?

Here's to liberty?

In years past, all patriotic meaning had been stripped from the Fourth of July. As with almost all American holidays, it had become a day for feasting, for picnics and barbecues, for BIG SALES! at malls. You could get an air conditioner real cheap around this time of year.

For a kid, the day was more about bottle rockets and sparklers and the pretty show in the night sky. For dogs, it was about hiding under the bed every time another mat of firecrackers went off down the block.

For me, it was about my grandfather's birthday and huge parties and illegal fireworks set to explode as soon as it got dark. I don't think anyone ever really thought about the independence of our country while they were flipping burgers or doing cannonballs into the pool or singing Jimmy Rosselli songs with their grandfather, drunk on his wine. Maybe that year of the bicentennial, when everyone waved their flags and remembered the Revolutionary War and watched 1776 on tv.

Blind patriotism has been around since last fall. Flags have been waving from homes and cars for ten months now and ironically, I am thinking about lack of independence this year. I'm thinking about watchful eyes and stripped rights and one nation under surveillance. Bring on the fireworks, bring on the sales and burgers and beer. It's better than thinking about the state of the world.

July 4, 1983. Dave Righetti pitches a no-hitter against the Red Sox.

July 4, 1985. We stay up til all hours of the morning watching the Mets and Braves play 19 innings of baseball. It was about 3am by the time the Mets won the game 16-13.

July 4, 1995. Natalie has chicken pox.

Independence Day is also another holiday (much like Halloween) when I want to kill my neighbors. How's that for a patriotic attitude? Can someone please explain to me the thrill in lighting off a mat of fireworks? They don't look pretty, they make a lot of noise and I can't see what you get out of it, except annoying the piss out of me and making me want to come over there and bash your fucking head in.

Pretty fireworks, I love. Nice colors, intricate designs, the sky lit up like a Lite Brite. Everyone sits on the front lawn as the patriotic, lawful townfolk begin to light up their unlawful Roman Candles and fountain explosives. But plain old firecrackers? They drive me bezerk. And it's already started. Morning, noon and night, the boomboomboom of another mat of gunpowder, and it stops being boomboomboom after a while and I hear killkillkill instead and I have to be held back from going over to my neighbor's house and shoving those firecrackers down his throat while I sing America the Beautiful.

So yea, July 4th is about freedom. Your freedom to make a whole lot of unecessary noise and my freedom to kill you over it. Hey, if everyone else can interpret the constitution the way they see fit, so can I.

So here's to kicking off a week of sales, surveillance and sizzling burgers. Here's to dire warnings, unsubstantiated threats and looking over our shoulders. Here's to being careful what you say and how you look and black army helicopters flying overhead. Here's to being in the minority and peeing in a cup and broad use of the word patriot.

Most of all, here's to living in a country where I can say these things freely.

I still can, can't I?

June 29, 2002

pity party

Pity party

A terrible migraine has left me incapacitated for most of the day. After taking 67 Excedrin Migraines and Claritin and a dose of Zyrtec, I awoke from a nightmare filled slumber at 7:00. That's p.m.

I woke with the realization that I would not make it the shindig that Choire and Baz are throwing tonight. Not only am I missing some gay pride action, but I have blown my chance to meet Nancy and The Blonde and to slip Jonno some tongue. I hate myself right now. Well, I hate that I'm prone to migraines in the summer.

I've been on the couch for the last two hours watching UHF and Princess Diaries. Yes, Princess Diaries. You know what? It wasn't half bad as far as teen movies go. It's not like I watched an Olsen twins movie. And UHF still rocks my socks after all these years.

Now it's 10pm, I'm wide awake and once again some little monsters have crawled inside my head and started banging their pots and pans on my skull. I'm hot, I'm sweaty and there are no clean towels so I can't take a shower for another hour. I'm out of cigarettes. I haven't eaten all day. I'm missing one hell of a party.

Welcome to my own pity party. Anyone else need some virtual pity? Get in line.

the powers of neon

Saturday photo essay: the powers of neon*

Yesterday was bathed in a million different lights, neon and candlelight and sunlight. We started a revolution, a dance, dance revolution, and soon everyone was shaking their groove thang.

It was a day to eat, drink and play and play we did under a blue haze, shocking everyone around us with our amazing superpower abilities to glow in the dark. Our weapon of choice? We could pulverize our nemesis with neon.

You didn't know we are a family of superheroes, did you? And good thing we are, because when the green lantern showed up, we were able to use the force to summon spidey to the rescue.

Once our enemy was defeated, we faced another as the naked women from the red light district tried to take over our blue bowling league.

Finally, we headed outdoors again, in search of sunlight and colors that were not tinged by flourescent lighting. So that's what purple looks like in the light? We had almost ruined our eyesight after 5 hours in a neon-drenched setting.

Exhausted, we decided to take naps when we got home. Even bowling superheroes need their rest. As a wise old owl once told me, burning the candle at both ends will only make it melt faster.

*pictures 3,5,6,8 and 9 were (obviously) photshopped

June 28, 2002

i wanna be sedated

i wanna be sedated

Bush to give power to Cheney while he undergoes colonoscopy.

I'm not even going there. I'm sure you can come up with enough jokes on your own.

Best one liner regarding this story receives some kind of prize from me. Use the comments.

Kids are gone. Vacation from hell is winding down. I'm going to get piss drunk and write all my senators tonight.

which god?

new at qod: blogathon ideas: name your poison

Which god?

While thinking about atheism and one nation under God and all the ways in which religious zealots wish to make everything about God, specifically their God, whichever that may be, I was reminded of one of my heroes, Ethan Allen. The revolutionary war guy, not the furniture guy.

. He stopped his wedding ceremony when asked if he would pledge "to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God." He wanted to know which god and whose god the marriage was supposed to please, stalling the proceedings until it was specified to be Nature's god and no other.

Allen's The Oracle of Reason

a bird named Keith: my Who story

new at qod: blogathon ideas: name your poison

A bird named Keith: my Who story

The passing of John Entwistle has saddened me. I was a big Who fan back in the day. I wrote something about Boris the Spider and Happy Jack in my high school yearbook. Who's Next was a constant soundtrack to the nights spent hanging out in sumps and graveyards, drinking Heinekens as if we were rich and immortal.

Not one to let an opportunity to tell a story pass me by, here's my Who related tale:

In August of 1978, I got a bird for my birthday. He was a finch, a little bird who made a lot of noise. I named him Keith, after Keith moon. This was in the midst of my Who craze.

Less than a month later, Keith Moon died. Less than a week after that, my dog, Spanky, and my cat, Damien, conpsired to kill Keith. Damien knocked the cage down and when we ran into my room to see what the commotion was about, Spanky was tearing ass out the doorway with a squealing Keith in his mouth.

By the time we captured Spanky in the backyard, Keith was dead. Just days after his namesake.

I stuffed Keith in a Ziploc bag and put the bag in a shoebox. I went into the backyard, held a short ceremony with some friends present, and buried the box in the garden surrounding a huge oak tree. We cried, we told Keith stories, we reminisced about the two weeks he was with us. We cursed Spanky and Damien.

A week later I was in the backyard when I noticed the dirt near Keith's burial place had been upheaved. Upon further inspection I saw that the box was sticking out of the ground. Keith was still in there, still dead. I blamed those monster pets, Spanky and Damien.

Later on my sister, who was nine at the time, confessed that she dug Keith up. She wanted to see if he was still there. Well where the hell else was a dead bird going to go? Do you think he got up and walked to the store for some bird seed? Personally, I think she just wanted to make sure that he was really dead. You know how nine year olds are.

More than 20 years later, Keith is still dead. And I'm glad I don't have a bird named John.

suburban legends

Suburban legends

Summer is the time of urban legends. It seems it was always hot and muggy when we sat around and told these stories. Maybe we were hoping that a few shivers up and down our spines would cool us off.

I was a skeptic even then, and believed none of what I heard. The other kids would spread the stories like a virus and soon the whole town was talking about incidents that never happened as if they happened to them. What would start out as my best friend's sister telling us something she heard on the radio would come back to me later from a cousin who swore that it really happened to her neighbor's uncle. And it's amazing how many of these stories have survived all these years, almost unchanged. And how many of them were later made into major motion pictures starring screaming, underdressed girls.

The urban legends of my youth:

the hook man: One of the first babysitter stories I ever heard. You know the drill; a teenage girl is babysitting. Isn't that how they all start? In this one she is upstairs getting a baby ready for bed while the other two kids are downstairs watching tv. She hears one of the kids yelling something, and she thinks he is saying the phone is off the hook. She checks the upstairs phone but they are all fine. Too late, she realizes that the kid was screaming about a man with a hook and she turns to see some hideous guy standing in the doorway of the bedroom, a little girl's head lodged on the end of his hook hand.

out of gas: Two young lovers out for a joyride run out of gas on a deserted road. The girl stays in the car while the boy goes out in search of help. Soon the girl hears a noise outside that she assumes is branches of a tree moving against the top of the car. swish, swish, swish. The sound begins to annoy her so she gets out of the car to move the branch only to discover that the swishing sound was being made by her boyfriend's sneakers dragging across the roof of the car. He was hanging from the tree, a dead young man swaying in the breeze. variation

kidnapped: I still hear this one today, with variations on the theme. Everyone who tells this story insists it is really, really true and it happened just yesterday and they know a person who was there. A mother and her young daughter are shopping in a department store. The mother turns her back for a second and the kid disappears. She frantically runs through the store calling the girl's name and when she can't find her she alerts security. Security shuts all the doors and searches the store. They eventually find the poor, frightened girl with a strange man in the men's room. The girl's hair has been cut short and she has been dressed in boy's clothing. variation

the man in the car: Another one still making the rounds. A woman pulls into a gas station and asks the attendent to fill her car up. She pays with a credit card and the attendent tells her to please step out of the car, that there is a problem with her card. She argues with him until he persuades her to come into the office. There, he tells her that a man with a crowbar is crouched in the backseat of her car. variation

the hippie ate my baby! This was a favorite of mine. A couple goes out for a night on the town, leaving a teenage girl and her boyfriend in charge of their small children. They instruct the girl to cook a turkey for dinner. As soon as the couple leaves, the two teenagers begin smoking marijuana cigarettes! After they are good and stoned, they cook dinner, but forget about it and leave it in the oven. Eventually the couple comes home from their night out and smell something burning. They see the two hippie teenagers, obviously stoned, sleeping on the couch. And the turkey is still on the table, uncooked. What could possible be in the oven?? Oh no! It's the baby! variation

I could go on. There's the kid playing in a box that is picked up by garbagemen and put in a crusher. The pop rocks and soda thing. Bubble Yum is made from spider eggs. Oh, and that story that made the rounds when I was in junior high that had to do with Rod Stewart, Elton John, oral sex and stomach pumping.

I'm sure my kids will be telling me stories just like these as if they are the truth. And it will be my job, as it has always been, to dispel the myths and take the fun out of scary summer stories.

What's your favorite urban legend?

June 27, 2002


Mother Nature thwarted us again. Depending on which newscast you watched, we could expect rain/hail/downpours/flooding/scattered light showers. Or a tornado. Or hail the size of taxi cabs.

We ditched the beach idea and ended up with a house full of kids and Krispy Kremes.

Now we are nature's special effects as lightning blazes across the sky. As I write it has started pouring and I swear to whoever is in charge of these things that this rain better be taking the humidity with it when it goes.

Between the heat and two 12 girls giggling furiously in the next room, I'm ready to bite the head off of a live chicken or kick a dog. Come get me, PETA.

And I knew something was off about my ExtremeTracking stats when I compared them to my Dreamhost stats. For some reason, ET doesn't track all my referrers. Turns out I had over 300 hits from MeFi yesterday. Weee! So I added a new stats thing because, besides being a stats whore, I like to see where my hits are coming from. This way I know what people are saying about me. And I can plan accordingly. Like, buy extra chainsaws. (note to self, up Paxil dosage)

I had some interesting conversations about the pledge today. Bottom line is, stop making such a damn circus over it. Like I commented on a trillion blogs today, just give the people the right to say it or not say it or at least not say the god part without fear of being chastized by teachers, and it's all good. The one man army that pushed this into the courts was on CNN today and I wanted to bitchslap him. Just something about him. I don't say the pledge because I don't believe in god and I don't believe that there is liberty and justice for all in this country.

And if you want to know how the pledge started out as a marketing tool for some Socialist businessmen, read William's finely tuned rant.

Speaking of finely tuned, I'm still off in summers past, going through the years and listening to music to match the memories. Right now I'm on the summer of 87 and I've got The Cure's Why Can't I Be You running in my head on repeat.

I'm thinking of the day in 87 when I was working for the Yankees and I walked into the locker room thinking it was empty, but it wasn't. Rickey Henderson and his extra large dick were facing me. Let me tell you, that thing needed its own zip code. It was almost as thick as his thighs. That year the Jehova's Witnesses had their annual shindig at the Stadium. It was about 100 degrees and all these little future door-knockers were running around in suits and dresses. I was able to escape the madness by hiding in the archives room, where I spent hours looking through pictures and boxscores and mementos of Yankees past. I gazed at the picture of Thurman Munson for a long time.

That was the summer of 87. The Cure and Rickey Henderson's schlong.

sun sick

Sun sick

The humidity is choking the life out of me. The heat has settled in like it's never leaving. I look at a plane in the sky and wish a giant would use it as a spear to poke holes in the clouds and let cool, sweet rain pour down on us. I would dance in the puddles and shout back at the thunder, if only it would rain during the day instead of evening.

I am hibernating in my house, air conditioners blasting. Damn the elecricity bill, coolness ahead. Everyone is sunburned, sun-weary, sun-sick and lethargic. We do jigsaw puzzles and eat six pounds of grapes and play Spiderman on the PS2. We watch NickToons (gotta love digital cable) and lament that I have taken my vacation during the most miserable weather of the month.

I have done the following while avoiding the oppression outdoors:

*Added a message board down on the far right side of the site. Don't know why, just looked like fun.
*Put my unweidy blog list on a separate page.
*made two more cds of tunes that will make me reminisce and write blog entries about the days of my misspent youth.
*fended off emails calling me a heathen, satan worshiper, godless pussy and accusing me of being fascist and/or communist.
*Listened to Slayer and read The Communist Manifesto

It's only 9am. 9 more hours to kill until we head for dinner at the beach. Of course, it will probably rain down shards of lightning and stones of hail as we are set to leave. Maybe there is a god, and he just doesn't want me to have any fun.

from the vault

From the vault:

Allergies, humidity and a night plagued by bad dreams have all conspired to lead me to post a repeat here this morning. It's from my personal "best of" collection, which isn't to say it's a great post, or the best of anything, but something heartfelt and personal. Enjoy.

The Art of Being Divorced

There's this strange thing about being divorced. It's that you live in constant knowledge that on some level, you failed. It's a daily thing, something that never goes away, that hovers in your mind and occasionally smacks you in the face to remind you. I am an ex. Not just any kind of ex, because I've been exes before. Ex-girlfriend, ex-catholic, ex-English major, ex-Jets fan. But this ex is different because there is a legality to it that makes it binding and forever and public knowledge. I can always deny having been Jean Bergeron's girlfriend in 11th grade. It's not something I have to think about every day. But each day, when I look at my kids or put the child support payment in the bank, or see my ex at one of DJ's games or Natalie's plays, I am faced with it. I failed. Yes, he failed too. And in a much bigger way than I. And I bet he thinks about that every day, too.

I've moved on, I've rectified, I've rearranged and refurnished and adjusted nicely to my role as ex-wife. Granted, it's easier to be an ex when you are a current. I don't have to (any longer) think about being alone or lonely or making dinners for one or finding someone to have a conversation with. Hell, I did that all when I was married anyhow. My point is, some people wear the role of ex like an ill fitting suit. And some people wear it like a slinky cocktail dress. Me, I've grown from wearing that one size too small pair of pants to some real baggy comfortable overalls. And sneakers. My ex, on the other hand, still walks around like David Byrne in an oversized suit, drowning in its hugeness. It's been 4 years. 4 years officially. The marraige was all but null and void years before it became stamped on a piece of paper that it was over. And still, he can't seem to get used to the title of The Ex. Even now, with a girlfriend and potential step kids, he still looks at me like I robbed his piggy bank. He still stands at the opposite end of the field at DJ's games and sits on the other side of the auditorium at Natalie's plays.

I am a constant reminder to him of his failures. I know this. Just as he is of mine. But I try to look at it differently. While I will always and forever walk around knowing I failed in that aspect of my life, and it's a big one, I also look at him as a turning point in my life. I look at him and see what I've become since. While I will always be the an ex-wife, that is not necessarily an evil, horrible thing to carry around. Because it also means that at some point I thought more of myself than the need to be with a person who thought nothing of me. It means I rose up above the fray and gave myself a voice.

You live, you learn and you take all those lessons with you. You also take labels and tags and whatever the them in us v. them lays on you, and you make of it what you will. Once divorced, once severed from the hand that held you down, you assume the title of ex. But you get to un-assume all the titles that you hated. Fair enough trade off.

(originally posted 9/25/01)

June 26, 2002

holy fucking shit and amen

new from me at raising hell: letting go and holding on

Holy fucking shit and amen

Responding to a few comments and several emails regarding the God Bless America day post:

First, this isn't about whether or not I believe in God. Regardless of my beliefs or faith, the real issue here is about asking the entire country to take part in something that is based on a religion.

Yes, Easter and Christmas are Catholic holidays. But they are based on religious occurrences. There is no legislation in progress to make those observances one with "America" in their name. It is not "Celebrate Jesus's Birthday, America!" To take something that affected every American, and millions of people in other countries and turn it into a religious observance is wrong.

What happened in New York and Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. had nothing to do with God. The acts did not affect only people who pray or observe a religion. Therefore, it is ludicrious to want to memorialize the people who died and the horror we faced with a day set aside for prayer to a certain god.

Memorializing the day with a legal holiday is not necessary, anyhow. Like many people in the comments stated, it's not like we will forget. As each September 11th rolls around, we will all stop and remember the day and the people in our own way. I don't need a document or a nickname to remind me to do so.

Yes, the website could be a hoax, as pointed out on this Metafilter thread. Or it could be the work of just two or three people. Either way, the whole "God Bless America" thing that has been hanging over us since last September makes me break out in hives.

Lastly, I do not need to be saved. I am not a bad person because I do not accept Jesus Christ as my savior. I am not faithless or without any kind of beliefs. I do not want my soul healed, there is nothing wrong with it. I do not want you to send me pamphlets. I am not an empty vessel. I am not evil. And mostly, I do not want to limit, deny or take away your right to pray. Conversely, I want to keep my right to not pray and not be taken to task for it.

Meanwhile, people who have a hard time separating church and state should get their panties in a bunch over this. I always wanted to change the pledge to something more realistic:

One nation, under no deity, with liberty and justice for those white-middle-to-upper-class men who can afford it.

Now, let's kick off Holy Fucking Shit Day. Choire has already bought the domain name. I think we should all recognize the day by locking ourselves in the house with shotguns, canned goods and bottled water. Then we can play a fun game where we watch CNN all night and take a shot for every time Rumsfeld, Ashcroft or Cheney says the word "imminent." We'll all be so drunk we'll forget what date it is anyhow.

summermix2: new world order

SummerMix2: new world order

There were a couple of summers that my life was all about cheesy new wave and a club called Spit and spiking my hair up. This is the playlist for those summers:

The Smiths - This Charming Man
Tin Tin - Kiss Me
Trans X - Living on Video
Intaferon - Get Out of London*
The Alarm - 68 Guns
Aztec Camera - Oblivious
B-52's - Planet Claire
Blancmange - Living on the Ceiling
Fiction Factory - Feels Like Heaven
Gang of Four - To Hell With Poverty
Heaven 17 - Fascist Groove Thing
New Order - Blue Monday
Yello - I Love You
Split Enz - I Got You
Thomas Dolby - Radio Silence
Malcolm McClaren - Buffalo Gals

*pretty sad that one of my favorite obsucre 80's songs is now on an Olsen Twins soundtrack, eh?

I have the feeling this summer will be the summer that Eminem song plays repeatedly in my head.

more summer stories: 1976

More summer stories: 1976:

I'm still in this summer mode. I've only just begun.

Summer memory: On my 14th birthday I received Frampton Comes Alive. I sat with my friends behind 7-11, drinking beer hidden in Slurpee cups and smoking cigarettes. I had the album with me, in all it's vinyl glory, and my eyes glazed over in that 14 year-old girl way whenever I looked at the picture of Frampton on the cover. That hair! Those eyes! Swoon!

I never confessed that I didn't really like Frampton's music. I liked his hair. Ok, I went crazy over three songs on the album but the rest was crap. But I was cool for having it, and we went back to my house and listened to the stupid wah-wah pedal thing and when you are 14 and you just smoked some pot and the record player is emitting sounds of "do you feel like we do" played through some voice synthesizer, all you think about is some Charlie Brown special where the teachers are doing that wah-wah-wah voice and maybe playing some air guitar to Show Me The Way.

Holy shit! I was smoking pot at 14? You mean I only have about two years before my daughter comes home reeking of resin and bong water?

Anyhow. As much as Frampton's hair and synthersizer amused me, I had other musical avenues to explore. 1976 was the year the Ramones debuted. Kiss's Destroyer came out that year. Blue Oyster Cult's Agents of Fortune. Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak. And even though I had all that metal running through my brain, there was no way to avoid the musical vomit that came out of the tinny AM receiver that summer.

How many times could you hear Rick Dees singing Disco Duck before you wanted to go deaf? The song that defined my summer of 1976 in the worst way possible was Starland Vocal Band's Afternoon Delight. Sure, I was too naive to know the song was about catching a little noontime nookie but it annoyed the piss out of me anyhow. On one end of the radio dial you had Gordon Lightfoot mourning his Edmund Fitzgerald and on the other end was a constant barrage of More, More, More and Fly, Robin, Fly. I would always hope that somewhere in between I would catch Play That Funky Music, White Boy and I would close my bedroom door and do some spastic dance while pretending to be ultra cool.

I wore my Disco Sucks button with pride. And I spent hours in my air-conditioned bedroom dreaming up ways to change the music industry. I wrote my own lyrics, 4-chord save-the-world type lyrics that would show those white suit wearing disco freaks that there was more to life than dancing.

Save the whales, Save the whales
Send your money through the mail.

Later on, I would form a band called Pond Scum with my little sister and we would have revolutionized the music industry if we only knew how to play an instrument. Even though Lisa could bang out the Theme from M*A*S*H* on the recorder, we didn't think that was quite enough.

I would lay in bed that summer listening to the radio and Nazareth's Love Hurts would come on and I would cry. At 14, I knew nothing of love or hurt, but I knew that the voice coming out of my speakers did and his hoarse cry of sadness always made me feel as if love were nothing to look forward to.

1976 was the bicentennial of our nation, and while I remember the fireworks and the ships in the harbor what I remember most is the local theater only charging 76 cents to see a movie for the rest of the summer. Maybe we saw the Bad News Bears or maybe it was Blood Sucking Freaks, all I know is that at some point in 1976 I saw Burnt Offerings in a movie theater and complained that there wasn't enough gore or scares and that Oliver Reed gave me the creeps. And that year there was Carrie, which made me vow to never go to a prom or date John Travolta, and Taxi Driver, which made me leery of cab drivers and Robert DeNiro and Logan's Run, which made me think of plot holes and bad acting.

1976 was the year that there was all that hoopla about Red Dye #2 and I had to stop eating maraschino cherries by the dozen.

1976 was the last summer I remember feeling so innoncent, so oblivious to the world around me. 1977 brought the Son of Sam and loot-filled blackouts and the feeling that the world wasn't about some pop song and summer would never mean quite the same to me. At least not until 1978. But that's another story.

(And just for the record, Summer of Sam was one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life)

June 25, 2002

bad idea

Bad idea:

A group of people wants to turn September 11th into God Bless America Day. (link via Amy).

Let me detail for them all the ways in which this idea is just wrong. (This is an actual email I sent to them).

To the founders of God Bless America Day,

I'm sure you think your idea is the greatest thing since Thanksgiving was invented, but I do have some questions for you, and some ideas for you to ponder. Let's take it from the top, shall we? (all quotes in italics are taken directly from their website)

A new holiday remembering all victims of terrorism

All victims? Then why call it god bless AMERICA day? Many victims of the World Trade Center disaster were not Americans. They came from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, just to name a few. Are you memorializing the victims of a tragedy, or the fact that this tragedy happened in your country?

But September 11th was not the first act of terrorism. Don't forget Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City, an act of terrorism perpetrated by an American on Americans. So when we ask god to bless America, does that include the American people who commit acts of terrorism?

And we will ask God to protect us from future acts of terrorism, too.

Personally, I don't think this will work. I'm sure that after the first World Trade Center bombing, and after Oklahoma City, there were thousands of people asking god to protect the country from future acts of terrorism. We see how that turned out. And are you asking god to just protect America from future acts of terrorism, or the world at large?

This is a day that is looking for a name. We should establish God Bless America Day before a bad nickname sticks. Whenever you hear someone clumsily refer to that day as "nine-one-one" or even "nine-eleven" you should jump right in with "Why don't we call it "God Bless America Day?"

Why does this day need a name? 9-11 is not really a nickname. It's the date it happened. If it happened on October 18, it would be referred to as 10-18. And honestly, if anyone ever jumps into my conversation with the phrase "why don't we call it god bless America day," I will tie them down to the nearest chair and make them listen to all the reasons why this is NOT a good idea.

Some people think there is no place for God in America. They will say that we can't have a holiday with the word "God" in its name, much less one that is observed as a national day of prayer.

See, the real question here is, which god are you talking about? The Christian god? The Roman Catholic god? The god prayed to by Hindus or Muslims or Wiccans or Jews? They are not all one and the same. There are thousands of different gods prayed to daily by the myriad of religious observers who are Americans.

I'm not saying there is no place for god in America. But there is no place for god in a nationally recognized holiday. What about the atheists and the agnostics and the ethical humanists and all the other people who do not believe in a god? Why create a memorial holiday that only applies to some Americans and not all?

God Bless America Day will remind everyone that we are not an all-powerful nation. We are vulnerable. We DO need God's help. We must ask God to bless America.

How exactly is god going to help us? Do you think that the people trapped inside the World Trade Center didn't pray fervently that they would get out alive? Did god bless them or help them? What makes you so righteous that you think if you slap god's name on a national holiday that he will suddenly cover America in his blessings? Do you realize how many people a day pray to god for help and don't get it? The starving children, the people dying of diseases, the homeless man huddled against the rain in a cardboard box, the child being beaten by his own parents? These people pray every day, too. They ask god to bless them. They ask for his help. They die.

And why just America? Why not ask god to bless Canada and Italy and Africa, too? Why do you think he would bless just one country? We are not the only nation to fall victim to terrorism. Does Israel ring a bell to you? Do you see them lobbying for a national day of prayer to bless their country?

Yes, we have been attacked. But with a new resolve, and with God's help, we will rise up together and defeat terrorism. We will bring all terrorists to justice and we will make America a safe place to live peaceful lives.

Ok then. Let's just get rid of our Armed Forces. Who needs weapons and the Army when god is fighting your war for you. Oh, just a thought. Do you think that maybe the people in Afghanistan are praying also? Perhaps they think god is going to help them, too. What a conundrum for god, then!

God Bless America Day will be different from Thanksgiving Day. And what's wrong with having TWO days of prayer?

I had no idea that Thanksgiving was a religious holiday. I thought it was a day of giving thanks, celebrated by all Americans, not just Americans who pray.

This is a bad idea all around. There are many Americans who do not pray, who do not believe in a god. There are many people who are American citizens but who have ties to other countries. Are they allowed to ask god to bless those countries, too?

I am not trying to deny your right to prayer. I am not denying that your god exists. I don't know the answer to that, I only know what I don't believe. If you honestly believe that prayer will help, by all means go and pray. But do not force your beliefs upon me in a national day of prayer to god. Do not ask the millions of people who practice different religions and beliefs than you to succumb to your ideas of how we should memorialize September 11th and the victims of that day. Do not throw a label on the day, or create a holiday around it. Do not use this act of violence as an impetus to get people to rally around your religion. God does not exist for all of us. And if he does exist, he is not a magician. Creating a holiday in his name will not cure what ails this world. Man made this mess, and only man can get us out of it.

June 24, 2002

summer songs: a playlist

Summer songs: a playlist

Codeseven - Boys of Summer (original: Don Henley)
Type O Negative - Summer Breeze (original: Seals and Croft)
Bananarama - Cruel Summer
Sublime - Doin Time
Deftones - My Own Summer
Husker Du - Celebrated Summer
Danzig - Dirty Black Summer
Mungo Jerry - In the Summertime
Style Council - Long Hot Summer
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince - Summertime
Frank Sinatra - Summer Wind

Add your own, title need not contain summer.



I am keeping a blog of my photo essays. I would like to do more of them, so I made a special place to keep them.

I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far for the Blogathon, but I can't because there seems to be a glitch in Blogathon's notification system. I know they are working on it, but in the meantime if you sponsored me, please let me know so I can make a list on my sidebar.

summer of fear

Summer of fear

It's not the heat or the elecricity that summer storms bring. There is a crackling in the air, a underlying current that every once in a while sends a suprised shudder up your spine.

It's called Fear. This is the Summer of Fear.

I had a summer like this once, when the Son of Sam was on the loose and you could see the panic in the eyes of every brown-haired girl. But that was an isolated, specific fear. Brown-haired lovers in New York, parked in their cars sealing summer romances.

Now, it's all of us. It's not just one crazed man who hears the bark of a dog telling him to kill. It's hundreds of crazed fanatics, and the fear they are instilling in us is only bolstered by the Axis of Panic known as media, government, conspiracy theorists.

They're coming for us and they are coming by land, by sea, by air. They have packed guns and bombs and airborne diseases and it's only a matter of time before they release the dogs of hell upon us. If you believe everything you hear or see, that is. Do you? Even if you believe only half of it, or a quarter of it, it doesn't matter. The unease has already settled into the air like a virus. It's contagious.

Every low flying plane or helicopter is regarded with suspicion. A clap of thunder can make you jump. A siren. A special news bulletin.

Fourth of July is coming. Independence Day. Perhaps they will shroud their dirty bombs in the explosions of hundreds of fireworks exploding over New York. The scrolling news underneath the talking heads on CNN assures us that the Fourth of July would be a perfect time for them to strike. Symbolism.

Or maybe, as the scrollbar on MSNBC says, it will be where we least expect it, when we least expect it. Maybe July 3, not July 4. Maybe not New York or Las Vegas. Maybe Casper, Wyoming. Just to throw us off.

As we approach September all over again, the sense of panic and dread that surrounds us grows. Has it been almost a year already? Do we have to relive that date all over again? How many of us will stay home from work on that day, afraid to leave the house? How many of us are already living like that, our brains fried into a permanent saute of panic, fear and unrest by too many newspaper headlines?

We almost forgot about bin Laden, didn't we? There was talk of Saddam to fill in the gap, always another evil enemy to take the place of the ones we couldn't capture. Like in any comic book, the evil guys eventually come back, with bigger plans and bigger devil horns and when you though they were dead, it sort of adds to the impact, to the element of surprise. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the water turns out to be shark infested.

Summer of Fear. That's what this is. No matter how much you say you do not fear them, you don't believe the hype, you don't watch the news, I am willing to bet that the drone of a crop duster flying over your house will send you running for a gas mask. I'm willing to bet that you feel it. You feel the the blanket of unease that our own security agencies have covered us with.

I'm waiting for the comic book ending. For the superheroes to band together and form an alliance and kick the shit out their enemies. Or at least foil their evil plans and put us all back into our safe, comfortable place, where panic doesn't spark the air, where our lives don't exist in a constant state of elecricity, like we just collectively stepped on a third rail.

This is our Summer of Fear. I think I'll just spend it poolside, in a constant state of denial. Anyone want to join me?

June 23, 2002

photo essay: summer is

Photo essay: summer is

Summer has arrived, and with it the heat and humidity have made me cranky and begging for autumn. Summer is for children, I think. That is, until I take camera into hand and view the beauty and joy of this season through a lens.

Summer comes with the start of something new, seeds planted in the spring and waiting for the heat and rain of this season to bring them to life. Summer starts with the end of another season, defeat sealed in a hazy heat of handshakes.

Summer is ominous storms that bring soaking rains, feeding the flowers and giving fresh color and life to the earth, leaving bright sunshine ten minutes after the storm has begun.

Summer is the smiles on the faces of children, looking forward to seemingly endless days of playing, catching , kicking, jumping. Summer is submerging yourself in the freedom of the days and not wanting to come up for air.

Summer is hiding from the bugs, and maybe even tasting a few of them.

It's decadent evening barbecues, the night ending by taking out the telescope and scanning the amazing summer night sky.

Summer is long drives to upstate New York, where the lake cools us off as we swing through the days.

Summer is here and despite the heat, there are so many things about it to savor.

June 22, 2002

death dream

Death dream

Three nights ago I had a dream that Justin went for a walk in the middle of the night. When he stopped in front of the deli to light a cigarette, a car hit him, throwing him off to the side of the road and killing him. The car took off and the deli owner came out later to find Justin's lifeless body laying by the curb.

I woke up with feeling that the dream was frighteningly real.

Very early Thursday morning, in my town (but not at the location in my dream), a 54 year old man went for a walk. He was hit by a car and killed. The driver took off, leaving the man's body lying at the curb. In front of a deli. The owner of the deli (the article says neighbor but it was actually the deli owner) found the man's body when he went to open his store in the morning.

Did I make this happen or did I know it was going to happen?

Either answer is NO, I know that. But still, it's left me feeling a bit weird.

June 21, 2002

michele is......

Michele is....

Fredo pointed out a fun new google game. Type in your name with the word is after it (you have to use quotation marks around the search or google will ignore the word is). So I put in "michele is" and came up with these gems:

Michele is a men's 1770 dress coat
Michele is available to come
Michele, is a professional stage hypnotist
Michele is ready to recharge your batteries
Michele is overpowered and tied to a fence by a group of men
Michele is back on the streets
Michele is everything I have ever wanted in a heterosexual woman
Michele is better than all the cups of coffee in the world and far more lasting
Michele is 28 going on Yoda
Michele is a Swedish cultural institution
Michele is quite clearly in the age of mastery
Michele is climate controlled
Michele is in fact a woman - and a damn fine looking one at that
Michele is touched daily

A silly way to kill a few minutes. So what are you?

ode to my sister on her 33rd birthday

Ode to my sister on her 33rd birthday

Sister Lisa
(sung to the tune of Night Ranger' "Sister Christian")

sister Lisa oh the time's arrived
this time next year you will be a bride, oh yea
Sell your WASP albums and your concert tee's
Get your head out of the 80's, conform...to the norm

head bangin'
with your hair sprayed up so high
blue make-up on your eyes
blasting bon jovi's cries

babe you know you grew up so fast
it was just yesterday when i kicked your ass - ok - its the other way
Sister Lisa you brought me so many joys
locked me in a closet and broke my toys
Its' true, I knew

Sister Lisa now the time has come
to admit you were the favorite one of mom...and dad
Times have changed and you're a grown up now
But you kept your teenage ways somehow, somehow

head bangin'
with your hair sprayed up so high
blue make-up on your eyes
blasting dio's cries

but you're still rockin
yea you're still rockin

Happy birthday, Lisa!

field day images

Field day images


June 20, 2002

final answer

Final answer

On July 27, during the 24 hour blogathon, I will be blogging for the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation was formed in memory of journalist Daniel Pearl to further the ideals that inspired Daniel's life and work. The foundation's mission is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications.

The Foundation is considering the following projects:

Awards, competitions, and internships that encourage creative, thought-provoking international journalism committed to truth and dialogue.

Children's books, radio programs, print journalism, and Internet forums that expose youth around the world to different cultures and religions.

I'm all signed up! Sponsor me here

Thanks in advance to everyone who will sponsor me or just keep me awake that night.



I'm going to jump in with some other people and say that the Smart case is not what it appears to be. Just a vibe I got from the beginning, and my inner psychic vibe machine (yep, I really have one) was beeping from the start of this one. I have my theories. Most of them point to Elizabeth herself. Just a thought. Anyhow, where I was going with this:

Tell me, what is the difference between this and this? Why does Elizabeth smart get 24 hour press coverage and Alexis Patterson is only getting a small story every two weeks or so? Why does one hold national interest and the other is only a blip on the radar screen?

2,000 kids are reported missing every day. Why does the story of Elizabeth Smart grab all the headlines? Is it because she is a rich, white, religious honor student? Does Alexis Patterson not get sweeping coverage because she is a black girl from a poor neighborhood? Does Elizabeth's story make for better sound bites?

I'm just curious as to why the nation is hanging on every word of the Smart family and the investigators, why millions of people are holding their breath for the safe return of this girl, and the other 1,999 people who went missing that day, and Alexis Patterson remain buried in newspaper filler stories.

June 19, 2002

you knew i would all along

You knew I would all along

I'm going to do it. I'm taking the plunge. The deciding factor was that the kids will be in Cleveland that whole week with their dad and his girl and her kids (yes, people do go to Cleveland for vacation. Go figure). So this means that I can recuparate in peace, maybe even take the day off on Monday and rest some more. It's been ages since I stayed up 24 hours. I'm such a wuss, I know.

The only question that remains is what charity should I blog for? I have narrowed it down to four, and each one means something to me in some way. Take a look at them, make your pick and comment. Winner takes all.

The Crohn's/Colitis Foundation
AMT Children of Hope
Variety Child Learning Center
Nassau County Firefighter's Burn Center
Squad Co. 252 Fallen Firefighters Fund

Worthy causes, all.

flirting lessons: a grade 3 primer

Flirting lessons: a grade 3 Primer

DJ embarasses me yet again, at Raising Hell:

Do you have any idea what your son is doing? she says, predictably.
Do I want to know?
He is standing at the front door trying to pick up a 17 year old girl.

Instapoll part 2: you decide my fate

Instapoll part 2: you decide my fate

I'm rethinking my stance on the blogathon.

Not only will I most likely go ahead and do it, but I am going to pull a double. Raising Hell and here. At least at RH, I'll have help. And Mike has promised to help keep me awake with entertaining Instant Message conversations.

I have charities I want to blog for. The Crohn's/Colitis Foundation. AMT Children of Hope. A slew of others to choose from.

I could conceivably stay up for 24 hours. I could. Really.

Ok, this is where you decide for me. Voting stays open all day today. Yes or No. Do I blog myself into a coma on July 27th or not? The decision is up to YOU.

5:45am: scratch ass and yawn

5:45am:scratch ass and yawn

I'm in a rut. Not in my life, but in the day to day, minute to minute ways in which I go about my life.

Get up the same time every morning. Follow the exact same routine: Put on glasses to keep from crashing into kitchen counter. Turn on computer. Make coffee. Take shower. Put in laundry.

Then I sit at the computer. I realize today that I have an exact, never to be deviated from routine that I go through every morning. Check blog for comments. Check stats. Obsess over hits, then chastise self for obessesing over hits. Check mail in both places. Reply if necessary. Delete spam from Indonesian man who wants me to take part in a bank heist. Read local news, laugh at idiots who seem to gather in large groups around these parts. Read CNN. Get disgusted over the state of the world.

Wait, time out. Take out laundry, put in dryer. Put more laundry in. More coffee. Take Paxil.

Ok back to the computer. Read some blogs. Talk to Mig on AIM. Try to get inspired. Write insipid post detailing every move you make in the morning, leaving out that part where you go into the bathroom and close the door.

And so it goes the rest of the day, following exact instructions that are written down in my brain, packing first Natalie's lunch, then DJ's, stop at store for gum and water, take the same exact route to work, varying only when the driver in front of me annoys me to the point of murderous rage and I have to turn off somewhere before I act upon the urge.

I need change. I need to break the routine. I mean, many things happen during the course of the day that don't happen every single day. Each night brings something different - another place to be, another trip to the store, another family outing. It's how I get to these things and the moments around them that are driving me crazy. No matter what I do I cannot stop myself from opening my office door, making coffee, turning on computer, sorting mail. In that order. Every day.

I want to make a left at that light some day. I want to make the second pot of coffee at 2:00 instead of 1:45. I want to take a different way home, and when I get home reverse the order of my routine. Check messages, kick off shoes, look longingly at the bed. No, no. Kick off shoes, check messages, stare blankly into the fridge. Just the thought of rearranging my nicely planned out routine is enough to make me break out in hives.

I like the knowing. I like having a plan in my mind and everything all structured and detailed, and I can get from point A (morning) to point B (bedtime) by following a graph that is drawn only in my brain and maybe relying on my mental pie chart once in a while.

What happens when my neat little plan gets messed with? When there is a traffic detour or a kid gets sick or I wake up late? The rest of the day is garbage. It soils everything. On those days even my hair won't cooperate and I go to work looking like I just fucked someone in the back seat of my car, with my hair poofing out all over the place and my wrinkled shirt and inside out sweater. And by the time I am driving home from work, I am screaming out the window at little old ladies who are just trying to get across the street and I may kick my uncle's dog as I get out of the car and everyone knows. Stay out of my way.

Ok, gotta go. 5:31. Time for the second cup of coffee.

June 18, 2002

instapoll: blogathon edition

Instapoll: Blogathon edition

Should I do the blogathon 2002? If you think I should, what charity should I blog for? Do you think I could actually stay awake for the 24 hours straight necessary? Am I out of my mind? Would you sponsor me if I entered? Would you supply alcohol, drugs or blogging material?

Answer all or some. Persuade or disuade me.

Disuade me. Please.



I wake up from a dream about Shel, where he was despondent over something and I could not console him because I had to spend an hour digging through dirt looking for the catch to a brand new necklace.

I sit up, eyes wide open, totally awake. My keys. I have no clue where my keys are. I have my car key, because I gave it to the window guy the other day, but the rest of my keys....clueless. I need them to get into my office. Was my dream telling me to dig through dirt? If so, too bad. I ain't digging anywhere this early in the morning. Shel? Do you have my keys?

I am awake and exhausted and it's on 5am and I am thinking about how many hours it is until I can get back into bed. Why is it I want to sleep only when I can't? When I do finally crawl into bed at night, I want to be anywhere but there. But during the day, all I want to do is crawl under my desk and take a nap.

I started three different posts this morning. One about how I hate waking up to another day with W. as our president. But it was too depressing to write. Another about death and destruction and our planet slowly eradicating itself, but I'm not in that frame of mind. One about...well, I don't remember what that one was.

I am not obligated to write here every morning. No one is going to come knocking on my door to arrest me if I haven't posted some drivel in this spot before 7am. But it has become so ingrained into my routine, so much a part of my day, that it would seriously fuck up my psyche for the day if I did not do it. I am a slave to routine. If I left this spot alone one day, I would be walking around like I had an inner ear infection, off balance and crying in pain.

Sometimes my strict adherence to a schedule of events annoys me. What if I want to make the coffee last, instead of first? What if I want to open boss 1's office door, then boss 2, instead of boss 3, 2, 1? I think I would need to lay down, that's what if.

So I write here, even if it's only a meandering series of words designed to look like coherence but is really just filler. I write here because, even though I have nothing to say at the moment and I'm sure I will have a plethora of things to say later on, it is 5:30 am and I must get on with the rest of my morning list of things to and the order in which to do them.

Tap.Tap.Tap. My fingers drum on the desk as I pour over CNN and Newsday looking for stories to sink my teeth into. There are a ton of them. But they all make me alternately angry or sad and I don't feel like doing that right now, not with my eyes half closed and my brain 3/4 closed and my fingers working so furiously to type this nonesense in, and who am I to not listen to my fingers as they tell me I do not want death and destruction and the demise of clean air and skies today. They want frivolity. They want gibberish. Well, they got it.

Did you know that I hate carbonation? I don't drink soda. The only time I will take just a few sips of soda is when I have pizza. Because soda and pizza, they just go together. Like open toe sandals and summer. Like Radiohead and a rainy day. Like ramamlamaramalamaramalamadingdong.

A small victory: more filler than a fat-free hot dog.

Gotta find my keys.

June 17, 2002

ode to a hot dog

Ode to a hotdog

(or: the delirious thoughts that come into your head while an incredibly self-absorbed person is talking to you.)

ode to a hotdog

i think that i shall never eat
a substance more devoid of meat
than the hot dog i ate last night
but damn, i did eat every bite.
and when i was done i ate another
so did my sister and my mother
i would have gone for three or four
if there had been any more.

hot dogs are the food of gods
despite the arteries they clog
in the oven, on the grill
floating in a watery swill
mustard (yellow), saurkraut
that's what summer's all about
pile them high upon the plates
don't talk to me about nitrates

no turkey, tofu, chicken filler
real meat hot dogs are what's killer
so please don't call me a big ol' meanie
when i won't share my all-beef weenie.



Jhames wants us to declare our love. Now that I'm trying to write not-so-hokey wedding vows, or at least compose something light and airy yet full of hokiness that I can read at our wedding, this would be a perfect opportunity to declare my love for Justin, and why I love him so.

It's not just about the compatibility and our shared obessions with comic books and action figures and spending all of our money on DVDs. It's not just about the sex and our willingness to indulge each other's fantasies. It's not just about that lustful attraction that is still as strong as ever. I love him because of all those things, but not limited to those things.

I love him because, after more than three years, I still get butterflies in my stomach when he looks at me.

Because he knows how to say he's sorry.

Because he very rarely has anything to be sorry for.

Because he doesn't care that sometimes I am a complete slob when it comes to housekeeping.

Because he does most of the cleaning.

Because he loves to cook.

Because we giggle when we watch cartoons together.

Because he never makes fun of me when I watch Lifetime movies.

Because he makes fun of me when I listen to cheesy 80's new wave, but in a good-spirited kind of way.

Because he listens to Sade and doesn't care who knows.

Because he cried when Natalie said Happy Father's Day to him.

Because he spends hours playing baseball and soccer with DJ, even though he hates playing both those things.

Because he never secretly lets DJ win at video games.

Because he shares his beloved colored pencils with Natalie.

Because he taught me how to enjoy a foot massage.

Because when I have to run out the door five minutes after I get home from work and I don't get back in until 9pm, there is a hot dinner and fresh pot of coffee waiting for me.

Because when he crawls into bed an hour after me, he will wake me up just to tell me he loves me and ask me if I have enough pillows, enough blankets, enough love.

Because he knows that loving me is loving my flaws, too.

Because he never tries to hide his own flaws or make excuses for them.

Because he never makes me feel lazy when I want to spend Saturday afternoon on the couch, taking turns sleeping and eating nachos.

Because he stuck it out through some very harsh emotional times with me.

Because his smile lights up a room and his laugh is contagious.

Because he loves me with a love that is so fierce and so strong it makes me cry when I think about it.

Because he is really good in bed. And on the floor. And in the car.

Because he recognizes my moods instantly and knows how to ply me with oatmeal raisin cookies or a kiss on the back of my neck.

Because he always recognizes my need for space and no longer pouts when I ask for it.

Most of all because he has made me love who I am.

Because. A million becauses. A million reasons why I want to spend the rest of my life with a man who is 18 years younger than me but so much more mature than me in many respects. A million reasons why he is my soulmate and my perfect partner. Because I will never in a hundred million years ever find anyone who lets me just be me like Justin does. Because we both realize that perfection is not flawless, that perfect is a skinned knee, that flaws and bad habits and ugly birthmarks make us human and make us that much more loveable.

That is love.

June 16, 2002

wedding planner

Wedding planner

We have really, finally set an official date for the wedding.

We are getting married on my 40th birthday, August 25th, in my parent's backyard. I can't think of a better way to welcome my 40's in.

And to prove that Paxil is really working, I have given up all of my control freak sensibilities and handed my sister a blank check to plan the entire wedding, from invitations to food to whatever else it is you do at backyard weddings. I will know nothing until I get there that morning.

We have opted for the "party atmosphere" wedding, with none of the traditional trappings. I did that once already. Didn't quite work out that time. So we are just having a big old barbeque for 70 of our closest friends and relatives (including some of you New Yorkers and future New Yorkers - and you and you will fly in, right?).

*This just added: Entertainment will be performed by Melly, who will do a ventriloquist act with Mattie.

Two months. I'm getting married in two months.



A poem for my dad on father's day, 2002

when i was little
i knew one kind of father
the kind that tells stories
and makes pizza
and pull splinters out of your feet

i thought every father
was like my father
brave and strong
and ready with hugs

i thought every dad
was like my dad
and loved their kids
to the moon and back

when i got older
not much older
but old enough
i met other kinds of dads

angry fathers
and mean drunk fathers
and fathers who never told jokes
and never bought ice cream
and never, ever hugged

when i got older
old enough to know
that it takes all kinds
i heard of other kinds of dads

absentee fathers
uknown fathers
fathers who hit and screamed and yelled
fathers who walked out
turned their backs
and never returned

and as i got older still
i realized
that people with bad fathers
always tell the stories
and the people with good fathers
never did
maybe because they didn't want
their friends to be jealous

so i told my stories:
my dad tells jokes;
my dad listens to me
when i tell really boring
drawn out dreams;
my dad makes banana splits
on sunday nights;
my dad loves me
to the moon and back

and sometimes
kids would come over
and not want to leave
my dad listened to them
even when they told boring stories
he taught them really bad puns
and let them swim in the pool
and track water in the house
and leave their wet towels on the lawn
and he never yelled or chased the kids home

and then i got older and realized
first hand
what it's like to be a parent
and i could see how
i caused him aggravation and heartache
and more than once
i caused him to shake his head in disbelief

he wished my kids on me,
whispered to them when they were babies
'cause as much trouble to your mother
as she caused to me'
and he grinned while he said it

and the older i get
the more the more i know
of how hard it is to love your kids
to the moon and back
without ever once
wanting to jump ship

Thank you dad, for sticking by me, for always being there, for accepting me for who I am, and most of all, for being there to fill in the spaces in Natalie and DJ's lives.

June 15, 2002

kiddie consumerism

Kiddie consumerism

A quick run through the grocery store reveals several things:

1) We are in the era of convenience. Possibly to the point of calling it the era of laziness instead.
2) Packaging has gone out of control. I thought that by now most companies would be of the tree-hugging variety and offer minimal packaging instead of boxes that take 5 hours and three different types of pliers to open.
3) The health and nutrition of children is of paramount importance to no one in particular.

I see a woman in the vitamin/drug aisle. She is filling her cart with all kinds of natural remedies. Green tea and ginseng pills and some vitamin made out of onions and garlic and split pea soup that allows you to have twice the energy of your ordinary superhero. Also in her cart are 4 boxes of high-sugar cereal, 2 oversized packages of Oreos and a case of Code Red Mountain Dew. Mixed messages in that wagon.

I stand in the cereal aisle, scanning the shelves and feeling thankful and a bit smug that my children like "healthy" cereal like Special K with strawberries and Rice Krispies. Cookie Crisp makes me gag. A bowl of cookies for breakfast? Doesn't that seem a bit absurd? Breakfast cereals made with Reeses and Nesquik and maple syrup. Mmmm delicious and nutritious! When I was young, at least they called them what they were. Sugar Pops, not Corn Pops. That's right, the word SUGAR was right there on the front of the box. Now they just pretend to be healthy. At least my parents were honest about it. Here, have some sugar, dear. Now it's, Who wants corn for breakfast?!

These kids today. Everything has to be bright and flavorful and represent their favorite television/movie icon. As an adult, I find it quite disturbing to submurge Buttercup in a bowl of milk and then munch on her. I bought the SpongeBob crackers and the SpongeBob mac and cheese, but I can't bring myself to chew Patrick's head. Don't even get me started on the Nsync gummies. They have a moist liquid center that squirts a refereshing blob of Timberlake into your mouth when you suck on them! Eww.

Nothing is ever left alone. Ketchup is purple and green and pink. Margarine comes in colors. French fries come slathered in chocolate and cinnamon. Margarine tubs talk to you. Applesauce is blue.

Sometimes I wonder, do these things appeal more to the kids or the adults. I have seen more grownups squealing over Star Wars cereal and Kellogg's Mickey Magix than kids.

I know that convenience appeals to adults. Looking in people's shopping carts I can see that it is all about pre-packaged, pre-cooked foods. Meals in a box for people on the go. Doesn't anyone cook anymore? Doesn't anyone like to linger over a simmering meal, stirring and basting and boiling? No? Is everyone in that much of a rush?

Not me. Nope, not me. You will not find any of that stuff in my house. I don't care about brand new flavors. I don't fall for movie tie-in promotions. I don't fall for tv characters sales pitches. I don't believe in convenience or too much packaging or funny colors.

Not me.

June 14, 2002

good friday

Good friday

Good customer service stories are so rare that you should tell 'em when you got 'em.

9am: At work, remember that I need to get my window fixed. I call my insurance company, expecting a) to have to go through all kinds of paperwork to get my window fixed and b) to be without a car for a few days.

Hello, State Farm.
Hi, my rear window got smashed last night. I need to replace it.

I give her my pertinent information.
Ok, I'm going to connect you to Linx, our special line for window replacement. Have a great day!

Hello, Linx, can I help you?
I need to have my rear window replaced.
Ok here's a list of glass repair shops in your neighborhood.

She runs off a few.
Oh, it looks like Active Glass does in home replacement, and they are right down the block from you. Let me connect you. Have a great day!

Hello, Active Glass, how can I help you?
I need to have me window replaced. State Farm sent me to you.
Ok, where do you live?

I give her my address and other information.
Well, it's raining like crazy right now. It would be hard to do an house call. Could you get the car here today?
Well, I'm at work, I could get there by 3:30 the latest, though.
That's fine. We should still be able to get it done today. See you then!

Two minutes later my phone rings.
Hi, this is James from Active Glass. I'm in the truck right now and I have someone with me, so we could just swing by your house and pick up your car so it will be ready when you get home.
Ok, I'll call my fiance and tell him to leave the key in the visor. Thanks!
No problem. We'll call you when it's done.

Problem: Justin isn't home. Two minutes later the phone rings again.

Hi, this is James again. The key isn't there.
Yea, I thought he was home but he wasn't. But the key is on my kitchen counter and the door is open.
(I live in a block of houses all occupied by my relatives, most of whom are home during the day. Locked doors aren't really necessary)
Umm, I don't want to go in your house....
No, it's ok
I tell him where the key is. He stays on the phone with me.
Ok, I have the key. I'm leaving the house. Do you want me to lock this door for you?
No, that's ok.
Hmm, alright. Why don't you stop by the shop on your way home from work? The car should be ready then.
Great, thanks!
Have a great day!

One hour later, the phone rings.
Hi, this is James. We finished the car up so I just brought it back to your house. It's in the driveway. I left the key on the counter, I hope you don't mind.
No, not at all. Thanks again.
Oh, and I noticed your side view mirror is gone. Why don't you stop by the shop tomorrow and I'll fix that up for you?
Wow, ok. Thanks!
It's been our pleasure.

Time elapsed from phone call to insurance agent until window is fixed and car is back in my driveway: 90 minutes.

I got a ride home from work from Bonnie, waited for the kids to get home and took Natalie to Target where I spent $159 on crap. But fun crap.

Dropped the kids off at their dad's for the weekend, came home to handmade Mexican pizza and a six of Heineken, watched a really bad movie featuring Henry Rollins, Flea and Anthony Kiedis, and here I am at 9:41, glowing over my perfect Friday.

And I broke 100,000 on Dynomite today.

Does it get any better than this? Yea, it does. I've got some business to take care of now.

suburban legends

Suburban legends

Remember the telephone game? One person would come up with a sentence and you would sit around in a circle and whisper the sentence to the person next to you, who in turn would whisper it to the person next to her, etc. By the end of the line a sentence like we have no homework today turns into eric wears dirty socks.

That really happened. Fourth grade. I was the last person and had to announce the eric wears dirty socks line to the class but I had a crush on Eric and didn't want to embarass him so I ran to the back of the class and hid under the coats instead, thus embarassing myself and and suffering further distress when I realized Eric was laughing at me.

Anyhow. This is how rumors get started. It always starts out with the truth: There was a robbery.

But there are several parts to the truth: There was a robbery and a carjacking.

There are people who like to embellish things a bit: There was a robbery and a carjacking and you should have seen the guns they were carrying!

Then there are the people who, in order to make you believe their embellishments, will lie that they knew someone who saw the whole thing: My sister's neighbor's daughter's boyfriend was driving past and he saw a bloody guy laying halfway out of the car.

It just snowballs from there. Did you hear? There was a kid in the car they hijacked. No, but did you hear that they were escapees from the jail? I heard they took someone hostage. They were running through the school! They were firing shots at houses! They were terrorists!

So, by the end of the day the story goes like this:

There were four prisoners who escaped from the jail, were thrown weapons from a helicopter rented by an accomplice, robbed a jewelry store/Carvel/florist/drug store, kidnapped a teacher, robbed a car with an FBI agent in it and a baby in the back seat, set a house on fire, killed a cop, started the war between Pakistan and India, fixed the 1918 World Series, stole the Stanley Cup and pissed in it, brought down the Roman Empire, dug up Jimmy Hoffa and shot both J.R. and Mr. Burns.

This is how urban legends get started. This is how rumors spread about earwigs forming a nest in someone's brain and kidneys being sold on the black market and the one armed, one legged man who sliced the babysitter in half with his hook arm.

Years from now, my kids will be telling the story about the day that they were forced under the desks at school to hide from machine gun fire that was being sprayed by escaped mimes who were revolting against labor laws and forced their way into a drugstore where they held the NyQuil salesman hostage. And how their principal fainted at the site of the police helicopters so the kids took over and overcame the mimes and fed them to the circus lions.

And someone will say, oh my god if i had just left work two minutes earlier and turned left instead of right and backtracked around the traffic circle and drove 33 1/3 miles per hour, I would have been right in the middle of it!

June 13, 2002

and then....

And then...

i love the sound of breaking glass.

My car. Shattered back window courtesy of my neigbor's landscapers.

Did I mention that on the way to work today I saw a utility pole fall on top of a deli?

Bad karma is stalking me like a deranged fan. Don't get too close.

But thanks Robyn, for this. It made my night.



I decided to go home for lunch today. I'm headed down one of the main streets, where it just about turns into my town, and two cop cars pass me, sirens blaring. No big deal, I think.

Another cop car. Two obviously undercover cars with flashing lights. One Emergecy Services vehicle.

Then the helicopters. Police helicopters. Low and circling.

I get to the next intersection and there on my left is about 10 police cars. There are men who are brandishing what look like shotguns.

And then another helicopter.

I meet my sister at the diner and we discuss it and come to the conclusion that it must have been a jailbreak. We haven't had one of those in years.

On my way back to work, the crowd of police cars and detectives and all kinds of official looking vehicles have moved a block down and across the street.

And there's another helicopter.

It looks like they are searching through bushes. I move on and head back to work.

I sit at my desk and worry. The scene of the unknown commotion is equidistant between Natalie and DJ's schools. I leave work early. It's about time for school to let out anyhow so I head over to pick up DJ. The bell rings and the kids run out the doors, flushed with excitement and yelling about a lockdown.

I hang around, waiting for other parents or teachers to clear up the story for me. If you ever need information about your town, just hang around a schoolyard at dismissal time.

Long story short: There was an armed carjacking at noon on East Meadow Avenue. 3 guys with guns. There was a brief manhunt, during which time the local schools went into lockdown. The alleged perpetrators were eventually captured.

I don't remember the last time I heard about a violent crime in this town. Especially not in broad daylight on a main road. This is really bothering me. I feel like someone has snipped the little safety net I had wrapped myself in.

The kids, of course, were thrilled and scared at the same time. Rumor around school was that they caught Osama bin Laden shopping at the local florist.

All in a day.

*update: It was a jewelry store robbery with a subsequent carjacking.

another update: bahahaha. the car they tried to carjack was being driven by an off duty police officer

end of the world, in four parts

End of the world, in four parts

Driving along the Meadowbrook Parkway, there are signs that read Coastal Evacuation Route. Except I don't see those words. I read the sign as, Hey, head this way if Long Island is suddenly being deluged by a tidal wave. But I have to tell you, traffic is hell. You may as well stay home and drown in the comfort of your own bed.

After I passed one of those signs yesterday, I got to thinking about tidal waves. Suppose they (they being any enemy of the state) dropped a bomb in the Atlantic Ocean, just for the sake of totally fucking with us. Tidal waves and earthquakes ensue. I live four miles from the ocean. I'm pretty much fucked in this scenario.

Even if there was some warning, a general announcement like you have one hour to get the hell out of the way, I doubt I would go anywhere. Like the imaginary sign in my head says, I would much rather die in my own home, clinging to my loved ones, than drown while sitting in traffic on the Grand Central Parkway, trying to get off the island. Or maybe I would head over to the Marriott Hotel, check into a room on the top floor, and hope for the best. I already sat in flood waters on the Long Island Expressway once, when I was about 14. We saw a coffin drift out of a hearse. I'll pass on having that experience again.

June 12, 2002

bring me the head of anyone!

Bring me the head of anyone!


I asked Philo to bring me the head of Scott Stapp. And he did.

He certainly knows how to sway a judge.

So who wants to bring me Ashcroft's head on a platter?

Testiing a theory

Testing a theory

Women fart.

Women also do other things in the bathroom besides pee. Poo, I mean.

I have even seen some women pick their noses or pee standing up. I have seen women pick wedgies and scratch their crotches. And I know at least ten women whose could belch some men under the table. I have seen a woman - a very sexy, beautiful woman - belch out a love poem to her fiance.

Women do all these things.

But most of all, women fart.

saying nothing in millions of words

Saying nothing in millions of words

I woke up unnerved, trying to catch the fading memory of another exhausting dream. You have to catch these things as soon as you wake up, before they run off and you spend the rest of your day left with fragments that make no sense.

Not that dreams make much sense anyhow. In last night's episode I was frantically trying to get to my house because I forgot to take my Paxil. The house was at some points on fire, so I couldn't get it to it, and at some points sealed off so the men in black could look for signs of contamination. And it was always my mother's house, but I was calling it my own.

I was told to wait in a doctor's office, where the nurses chastized me for never having a mammogram. My father shows up, with his best friend Pete trailing behind him, and behind Pete is another Pete. It's Pete Ganci. He is wearing his fire gear and following my dad and the other Pete around like those silly little animated cursor thingies. You know, when you move your cursor, little butterflies follow it around. That's what the other Pete was doing.

So I never did get my Paxil and I never did make an appointment for a mammogram and I never did find out why my house was sealed off or why Pete was following my dad and his friend around, never saying a word, looking a bit like a shadow.

You can analyze that all you want, but this one is pretty simple. I fell asleep watching Pete and Pete last night. Iggy Pop was in it. So I'm thinking that reruns of Pete and Pete will make you dream of two Petes that you know. Also, earlier in the evening we were discussing dead crows and West Nile Virus and odd things washing up on the shore, so that's where the contamination comes in. But I'm sure that forgetting my Paxil represents a whole other thing here.

I wonder where I would be without my little pink pill. I wonder if I would have killed someone by now had I not chosen to medicate myself. If not killed, then severely hurt someone, at least. Or maybe Justin would have killed me by now. Or left. Looking back, I cannot imagine how he put up with me. Living with a passive aggressive person must be hell on earth. I'm sorry. I apologize to anyone who ever felt the wrath of my mental instability. I'm sorry to anyone who ever had to deal with my martyr/murderer routine.

I am not sorry, however, for harboring evil thoughts against some people. That has nothing to do with brain chemicals, honey. It has to do with you being an asshole. There was a time when the only emotions I felt were hatred and a deep, all consuming sadness. And I didn't mind because the only thing scarier than feeling a hatred that manifests itself into self-hatred is feeling nothing. And depression, well there's something darkly romantic about it, no?

Where was I? I lost track of my thoughts once again. I better stop this train before it wrecks itself.

This has been another post brought to you by sleep deprivation.

June 11, 2002

credit cards accepted

Credit cards accepted

For sale or rent: 2 children.

One 12 year old female. Will vacuum and dust on demand, but unfortunately will not clean her room. Tends to be sarcastic, defiant and moody. Good for laughing at dumb jokes with, but will mostly just laugh at you. Needs to be fed constantly.
Likes to sleep and whine.

One 9 year old male. Does not do housework of any kind. Will entertain you by singing and dancing but only in a crowded restaurant, and only something with inappropriate words in it. Tends to be oppositional. Comes complete with addiction to video games and ESPN. Needs to be fed only once a day, and will only eat chicken nuggets, grilled cheese or Apple Jacks and will only drink Snapple iced tea.

Both are completely housetrained, except for the odd instances where one might pee in a Millenium Falcon. Female requires a broadband connection and AIM. Male requires a Playstation2 and the Yes Network.

Experience with children not necessary. A prescription for Prozac or a stocked liquor cabinet would probably come in handy.

Leave message below if interested. Best offer.

(I will also considering paying someone to take them if I don't get an offer soon).

lunatic fringe

Lunatic fringe

Speaking as a lifelong Yankee fan, one who bleeds pinstripe blue, one whose greatest moments of her life would include a certain Bucky Dent homerun, I can only say this:

I hate Roger Clemens with a venom usually reserved for members of the 1986 Mets.

He is an asswipe.

That is all.

dead or alive?

new qod: worst.song.ever.

Dead or alive?

Let's keep with the death theme, shall we? It's just so much fun.

So, John Gotti finally kicked the bucket. It always strikes me as odd when celebrities - famous or infamous - die. At some point, a famous person becomes a bit like a cartoon character or a work of fiction. Once they do a commercial for a long distance telephone company or make a movie with Ben Affleck or appear on the cover of a national magazine, or become part of an urban legend, they cease to be real. They become characters in some great cosmic storytelling contest.

It is said that when a neighbor accidently killed Gotti's young son when he struck the poor kid with his car, that the neighbor subsequently disappeared, poof! just like that. And if you believe the legends, please pick and choose which one you believe. That neighbor was either a) driven to a car compacting place, where he was tied up in his auto, the one that he was driving when he killed Gotti's son, and the auto was placed on the car compacting block where the guy was eventually crushed like an ant under a shoe; b) the guy became fish bait in the East River; or c) he is hanging out with Jimmy Hoffa in that tomb of the unsolved disappearances.

I look at the tv and see Gotti has died and I tilt my head like a kitten watching a goldfish and I think, how can he die? He's not real. Oops. My mistake. He was really a human being. A souless human, but alive nonetheless.

Douglas Adams, Joey Ramone, Thurman Munson. Oh, Thurman. I lived in a state of complete disbelief for days when Thurman died. Your favorite ballplayers just don't up and die on you, do they? Especially not during the baseball season.

And then there are the death announcements of people you thought were long gone anyhow. I mean, Perry Como died last year and I could have sworn he left us ages ago.

I'll be that way when Bob Hope finally goes. Wait, is Bob Hope dead or alive? There are hundreds of those people who, when their names are mentioned, everyone asks, hmmm is he dead yet? I'm not sure, let's check IMDB. Holy shit, he's still alive! Lorne Greene? Can't remember. Did Nixon die? Did Reagan die yet? Does Keith Richards know that he's dead?

Good thing there's a dead people server, because I have to check every couple of weeks to see if Walter Matthau died. I can never remember.

And I read the obituaries in the local paper every day. Just to make sure my name isn't there. What a bummer that would be, to wake up dead.

June 10, 2002

victory lap

Victory lap

yea, so both teams take the victory lap. It's a nice thing. And DJ was worried before the game because his best friend was the opposing team's pitcher. He was afraid the kid would be upset if he got a hit off of him. I asked him if he thought Peter would be that caring if he struck DJ out. Nope. So DJ went out there and smacked him for two line drives down the center. Peter grinned at him both times..

Final score, 10-2. DJ was 2-4 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs. He was the game's MVP.

Next game, Saturday at 3.

Thanks for the good vibes.

Ball talk

new qod: worst.song.ever.

Ball talk

Two quick notes:

DJ has his first play-off game tonight. Its a one game elimination tournament, so its the proverbial do or die for his team. When I say he is uptight and anxious about this game, its an understatement. So everyone, please send him your good vibes and good luck for tonight. If they lose, there will be no consoling him. Ok, or me.

Also, for you golf fans out there, my dad is working at the U.S. Open as one of those guys who shushes the crowd when their polite golf claps get too unruly. So if you are watching the Open on tv, look for the guy who is yelling shut the fuck up you idiots! instead of just using the proper hand motions. Its in the genes, what can I say.

the waking life

new qod: worst.song.ever.

The waking life

I don't know why I am on this introspective-checking your life-death awaits us kind of thing. I'm not being morbid about it. I'm just doing a lot of thinking.

This all lead me to laying in bed at 3am and thinking about wakes. Wakes are perhaps the most bizarre ritual known to modern man. Think about it.

You are sitting in a room with a dead body. You sit in the back, chat with relatives you haven't seen since the last family member died, and all the while there is a corpse on display in the front of the room.

Now, I am Italian. Maybe it is just inherent to Italian people to treat wakes like get-togethers. We talk, we laugh, we tell stories. And while everyone else is doing the meet and greet thing, I am always looking out the corner of my eye at that coffin. I just keep thinking. Dead person. Dead person in room. Yea, that's a corpse over there. Aunt Mary is laughing and Uncle John is cursing the Yankees and some kids are hunched over a Gameboy. And there is a corpse up there on display. Why not just prop the dearly departed up in a chair, put a beer in his hand and everyone could go up and take pictures with him? What? That would be any less surreal than discusing your golf score while leaning on your uncle's casket?

My grandmother's wake was turned into a party. Sure, I had a hand in it. We were all sitting around the funeral parlor, watching people go up and kiss the lifeless body of grandma, and I remarked that I needed a drink. A stiff drink. No pun intended. Really.

We broke into action. Within twenty minutes, there were about 40 of us outside in the parking lot, the back of my brother-in-law's truck opened up and stocked like a fabulous bar. Someone ran to 7-11 and got cups. Someone made a quick run to the liquor store. And we sat there in the parking lot of a funeral home in a cold December drizzle, telling stories about grandma and giggling nervously whenever anyone said She is going to haunt us for this, you know.

I think we do things like that at wakes because sitting in a room staring at a dead relative is a bit unnerving. What's more unnerving are the things people say while staring at the open coffin: (all true)

-Staring at coffin: Oh, he looks fantastic!
-Looks like he lost some weight before he died! Finally!
-Well, he is getting the peace he never got while he was alive. Oh, I didn't mean that as an offense to you. I'm sure he loved you.
-His fly is open.
-So, can I have his golf clubs?
-So is this dress she's being buried in like a last little prank on her?
-Mom! Kevin is checking to see if Aunt Ellen is being buried with underwear on!

As the death related introspectiveness of my week comes to a close, I would like to say, right here in print, preserved on the internet, that when I die, there better not be any wake. There should just be a party with jello shots and tequila and chocolate layer cake and music. Maybe someone will strip and dance on the table by the end of the night. Everyone should just have a great time, not talk about me at all, and be happy that your last vision of me was not my decaying body displayed in a pine box. Unless you intend on propping me up and putting a beer in my hand and taking pictures of yourself on my lifeless lap. Then by all means, go ahead.

June 09, 2002

blogger insider: the coincidence edition

Blogger insider: the coincidence edition

Keith, who runs the Blogger Insider project, pairs everyone up completely at random. So it was a huge coincidence that this time I was paired up with someone who not only shares my first name (though she spells it with two L's) but who works in the same town in which I live. And we are alike in many scary ways.

My answers to the thought provoking questions she asked me are in the link below. Her answers to my questions should be up tonight on her beautifully designes site, gigasprite.

1. What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Not much. I'm lactose intolerant. Then again, it depends on who was offering me the Klondike bar and what he wanted me to do for it.

2. If you could single-handedly pick our next president, who would it be and why?

Tough question. Probably Spongebob Squarepants. We would spend our days jellyfishing and eating burgers and annoying our neighbors and reveling in the ensuing hilarity. (yes, I wussed out of that question)

3. Are there any products or corporations you refuse to patronize on principle?

I try not to buy any Nike products, because of their past transgressions as far as labor issues go. It's a tough place to be in because if I was really adamant about this issue, I probably wouldn't be wearing anything but a grass skirt. Almost everything we buy passes through a sweatshop at some point. Also, I have a strict policy about not buying anything that says Martha Stewart on it.

4. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Lust, yes. Attraction, yes. Love, no. Love is built on friendship and familiarity and a trust that cannot come instantaneously.

5. Who are your top five female musicians of all time?

Patti Smith
Karen Crisis
Ani DiFranco
Siouxie Sioux

6. If your name were a symbol (a la Prince), what would it be, and how would you pronounce it?

It would be a middle finger and it would be pronounced Misanthrope.

7. Are you as addicted to Behind the Music and E! True Hollywood Story as I am?

I love BTM. And I have been known to watch True Hollywood Story when no one is looking.

8. What is the best joke you've ever heard?

Q: Did you hear about the new pirate movie?
A: It's rated ARRRRRRRRRR!
Second best:
Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?
A: Because it was dead.
Q: Why did the second monkey fall out of the tree?
A: Because he was stapled to the first monkey.

9. Do you have a favorite Pokemon? (Yes, you do.) Which one?

Psyduck. I just identify with him in a strange way.

10. Are there any songs which make you cry for no really good reason?

There are plenty of songs that make me cry with good reason, but for no reason, I guess Stabbing Westward's "Waking Up Beside You" because it is incredibly sad and heartbreaking.

11. Why "A Small Victory"?

It's the title of a song by my favorite band ever, Faith No More. The lyrics are probably the most meaningful words ever written in regards to my ex. I get a surge of adrenaline and hope every time I sing it.

12. Name one unusual physical attribute that sets you apart from the crowd.

I have nice tits. Ok, that's not unusual. Honestly, there is nothing about me that is anything more than average and plain.

13. Can you already predict a suitable profession for each of your children, and if so, what is that based on?

Natalie will be a starving artist. And she will be perfectly happy doing that. DJ - there are so many ways he could go but I'm thinking that he will either be a professional baseball player or a serial killer.Which is not really a living, unless you rob your victims, too.

4. Have you had chicken pox?
Yes, a nasty, nasty case of them when I was about 10.

15. If you were allowed one hour alone with one celebrity of your choice, who would it be, and what would you talk about?

I would hang out with Henry Rollins, given the chance. And we would talk about everything under the sun.

16. Describe DJ and Natalie using only five words each.

Natalie: Beat of a different drummer
DJ: hard shelled with soft interior



(I spent my entire morning doing this. You will click on every link. Thank you.)

I get the urge for change. I move furniture and rearrange cabinets and decide to come clean and binge and purge myself of the clutter that's stuffed away in bins and bags. Attics and basements hold too many things that I should be rid of, boxes hold pain and scenarios better left forgotten.

I go through photos and watch the news at the same time and I realize that if I ever go missing and they needed a recent picture that the latest one of me is nothing more than my cleavage fronting a bowl of oranges. Missing woman, 36C, black bra, last seen with bowl of fruit. I find pictures of people I don't want to remember and people I don't want to forget and reminders of a day that never ended.

A drawer holds reciepts of items long given to garage sales and garbage dumps, manuals for appliances since replaced. There's an old game piece behind the couch, a Death Star on the shelf and the memories of that party and the occassional happy moments that were imbedded in those bitter years.

There are placemats in the unused microwave cabinet; no one here uses placemats anymore. We eat standing up, ready to go, on our way out to another game, another activity, another hour or so away from home.

There are books that bring back memories, that haven't been read in years but mark the passing of one stage to another, growing up, moving on. Songs on vinyl that make you think of long summer nights and the sweat of a dance and the secret kiss in the parking lot.

When was the last time we watched that tape or used that game or listened to that cd? When was the last time we needed this or used that and if I don't know the answer it goes in a bag, headed for a shelter or a clothes bin or the garbage truck.

I linger over things; letters and school projects and holiday decorations. It takes so long to purge your collection of junk because you hold each thing and feel the moment it was created or bought and live the memories and decide if you want to keep that thought or not.

Life is fleeting. Life is not a box of chocolates, but a box of photos and train tickets and hastily scrawled poems. Life is ripping pictures in half to cut away the pain and putting in frames the parts of you that you want to display. Life is cleaning out closets and grinding the skeletons into dust until your shelves are lined with smiles and your heart is no longer broken.

June 08, 2002



No real content today because most of the day was spent at the little league field, watching my son's team get their collective asses kicked by the two best teams in the league. Season over. Playoffs Monday.

Anyhow, the only thing I have to say tonight before I drag myself onto the couch to watch cartoons until my eyes bleed is:

I find myself strangely attracted to Bill O'Reilly.

Mull that over until tomorrow.

bad mommy

Bad mommy

Scarred for life: How my explanation of baby making ensured that DJ will never have a normal sex life in the future.

If they could fire mothers, I would be standing on the unemployment line right now.

June 07, 2002

and when it came out it went drip, drip, drip

And when it came out it went drip, drip, drip

Nancy knows I am all about the phallic symbols. After all, I am the person who wrote an limerick ode to a gay man's leather clad package.

So when a got a plain brown paper wrapped package in the mail from Nancy the other day, I knew it would not be safe to open in front of the kids.

Lollipops. Phallic, cum-dripping lollipops. As you view the following pictures, keep in mind that these pops are marketed to children.

still virginal

ready for action

the head


finishing up

By the way, it tasted like ass. At least it wasn't salty.

And no, you cannot have the pictures of me sucking on it.

( I should mention that they are made with REAL FRUIT JUICE!)

here's how to order

Here's how to order

Sometimes I fall asleep with the remote in my hand, my finger still poised above the channel up button. Eventually Justin will wander into the bedroom to question why I am watching Die Hard in Spanish only to find me sitting up, sound asleep, probably drooling on the remote. And, according to him, snoring. How sexy is that picture?

I find myself strangely attracted to movie-of-the-week type shows, the ones where the woman is unfairly accused of a crime and ends up in jail, crying to Meredith Baxter-Birney to help her find justice. Or the ones where the woman is falsely accused of stalking and ends up in court and at the last minute they realize it was Melissa Gilbert all along, but too late, because Melissa Gilbert has disappeared, only to resurface in the 1am showing of a movie about a woman who is unfairly accused of killing her rotten, violent husband, and they find out later it was really Valerie Bertenelli, even though she looks so innocent taking care of those kids she adopted in the last time Lifetime movie.

There are strange things on the television at night, stranger than former cute-as-a-button child stars playing whores in bad movies, stranger than watching Die Hard in Spanish and knowing all the lines anyhow, even though the last time you spoke Spanish it was to tell the busboy at the restaurant you were managing that he had a small dick. Tu pengo es muy muy pequeno, Paco. And that's when he threw the tray at you and quit. The truth hurts, my friend.

I don't watch the informercials because there are only so many times you can watch a man rip the hair from his back. And there are only so many times you can hear Set it and forget it! before you want to jump out of bed and ram your fist through the tv, straight to Ron Popeil's mouth.

But I do watch those odd movies that show up only when the programmers think no one is watching, those bad 70's horror movies or Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns or tv reunion sagas. Every once in a while The Omen II will appear on one of the 190 channels I have and I'll watch it just to see the part where the guy gets it with a pane of glass. And sometimes Class of 1999 will be on and I'll watch it because that is the type of movie you watch only when you think no one will see you enjoying it.

I usually fall asleep long before the Lifetime movie wraps up its ending in a neat little package, with justice served and revenge exacted; long before Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis get their men or Ron Popeil shows you his fantabulous dinner; long before Nomi Malone does the swimming pool scene....no, no. I did not watch Showgirls the other night. Did. Not.

It's not my fault what happens to my mind late at night, when the cough medicine or the NyQuil or the exhaustion of the day sets in. It's like a whole other part of your brain comes awake during those hours, the part that never surfaces during the day, the part that likes tv dinners and cheap beer and Elizabeth Berkely on her back.

Have you ever fallen asleep masturbating? That's where I was really going with this.

June 06, 2002

needles and pins

Needles and pins

There is electricity in the air as a storm makes its way overhead. It is so humid you feel like you could swim through the atmosphere. The sky threatens us with thunder and lightning and a flood watch scrolls its way across the bottom of my tv screen. The wind brings with it dark clouds that swarm in like an army. Outside it is thick and heavy and the feeling of bad vibes rushes through the wind as the birds take to higher ground for shelter. An eerie darkness rolls in and a shiver runs up my spine.

And Dee Dee Ramone is dead.

fortune is smiling upon you

Fortune is smiling upon you

Virgo: Success on all levels is filling your life and making you feel absolutely wonderful, michele. The downside of this, however, is that you might find yourself a little too conscientious. Are you putting in a lot of extra hours? Be discriminating about this - don't work harder than you need to. You could stress yourself out to the point where you tax your strength too much - and that won't get you anywhere. Pace yourself.

I don't believe in horoscopes because it's all kind of silly. It would mean that everyone who is under my sign will be having the exact same day. Of course, I still read the horoscopes. And I wait for it to say this is the day you will strike it rich, and then I will suddenly believe. And I'll sit at home and wait for the money to start falling from the sky.

Success on all levels is filling your life and making you feel absolutely wonderful, michele. Well, no. See previous posts this week for how absolutely unwonderful I feel. Although, when you think about it....I do feel very vibrant and sexy and alive this week. Even if it is negative adrenaline that is giving me the powerful vibes I feel. I wouldn't exactly call that success but then again, couldn't success be construed as not giving in to your urges to spray a random crowd with machine gun fire? If that's the case then yes, thank you horoscope! I am successful and wonderful!

The downside of this, however, is that you might find yourself a little too conscientious. Are you putting in a lot of extra hours? Be discriminating about this -don't work harder than you need to. Me, conscientious? Hmm. I have been conscientious about keeping the work on my desk from getting done. And yes, I have been putting in extra hours. I've been staying late as to avoid going home to housework and homework and fighting children. And, dear horoscope, you do not have to tell me to not work harder than I need to. Put in the minimal effort and spend the rest of the time either flirting with a female co-worker or plotting the death of your enemies. I shall take advice from my little fortune cookie here and not be so conscientious about who or what I run down on my way to inner fulfillment.

You could stress yourself out to the point where you tax your strength too much - and that won't get you anywhere. Pace yourself. Ok. Good point there, moon man. Wouldn't want to get myself so stressed out that I couldn't enjoy a weekend full of sex and debauchery. Pace myself. Yes. Maybe I will only curse at three people per hour instead of five. And I will play one game of Collapse per every decision I type today. That's pacing. Must save my strength for important things like leaning on my horn in traffic and giving the finger to evil clowns.

So maybe there is something to horoscopes after all. Of course, my Onion horoscope opens a whole new door of opportunity for me:

It's all over but the shouting, but don't worry: It's going to be great shouting.

That's more like it. Short, to the point and realistic. I am now ready to take on the day.

June 05, 2002

i'll swallow your soul

I'll swallow your soul

Alright, you primitive screwheads, listen up: THIS... is my BOOM STICK!

I'm in the mood to kick some ass. Who wants some?

(south park person that looks remarkably like me courtesy of planerium)

have a drink, a pot of coffee

Have a drink, a pot of coffee

Things seen on the way to work today:

7:30 this morning, at 7-11: a middle-aged man sitting on the ground outside the store, extra large bottle of some cheap beer wrapped in a brown paper bag. He was wearing expensive looking shoes and a business suit that was about 3 sizes too small and showed his grungy white socks. He had on a Yankee cap and headphones and when I got into my car he seranaded me with some country song, but the only words that didn't get slurred were heart, car and what sounded like trucker but could have been something else.

7:45, on the road: A pick up truck with Virginia license plates that read 4BIDEN - and then:

7:48, on the road: A Toyota Celica with NY plates that read: 4BIDDEN

7:50, in front of a drug store: A person dressed in a clown suit, holding balloons with one hand and waving furiously with the other. He/she waved to me as I passed by and when I didn't wave back, jolly old sales-clown gave me the finger.

7:52, on the road: A father walking his son to school, but stopping to take a piss against the wall of a gas station while his kid looks on.

8:00, work parking lot: mr. bling bling.

Sometimes I feel like I live in a comic strip or a bad made for tv movie or I am just the result of someone's acid trip or fever-induced nightmare.

I kinda like it, though.



Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be drummers. Why? Because at band concerts, drummers stand all the way in the back or all the way to the side and not only are they almost impossible to see, but forget getting any decent pictures of them. Unless your child is freakishly tall. Then it all works out for you.

Also, don't try to sneak up the side stairs that go up to the stage and stand off to the side to try to get one decent combined picture for all the percussion parents out there or the chairman of the music department will come shoo you away, thus embarassing your daughter so much she misses the part where she clangs the triangle.

Also, if you are going to a social event, please do not eat anything gas-producing beforehand. Not to harp on the farting thing, but the woman in front of me at the concert had enough gas to power a fleet of SUVs.

Also, talking during a performance is quite rude. Just because your child was in chorus and they already did their number, it doesn't mean you can start up a conversation with your husband about your summer vacation while my child is valiantly playing the snare drum.

Also, 12 year old girls should not be made to wear white shirts for concerts. Most of them are still at that stage where they are uncomfortable with their new appendages and the bra that holds them up, and white shirts just make it a news flash.

Also, 12 year old girls should not be wearing mini-skirts that are no bigger than a hand towel or pumps that were last seen on a hooker and they should certainly not be coming to school concerts with their belly buttons sticking out of their "hottie inside" t-shirts and the crack of their ass slyly peeking out of their Britney-style hip huggers.

Also, Natalie plays a mean drum. And triangle. And that brushy-thing that sweeps on the drum during dramatic moments of this one song. The triangle, by the way, is not some pansy instrument that is given to the most untalented in the band, as previously thought by certain people. No. The triangle is of utmost importance during critical moments of musical compositions.

Also, I have made it through day 2 of the 30 day stretch of life in end-of-school hell and I am mentally and physically intact. If the weather cooperates and it rains tonight and baseball is cancelled, I get not only a reprieve, but a chance to re-charge my batteries.

Also, it's pay day. It's Wednesday. It's not hot and humid out. And I spent a good portion of last night on the phone with the most beautiful of beautiful people and all is good today. The birds shall not be decapitated.

June 04, 2002

breaking wind (instrument)

Breaking wind (instrument)

No, I have no idea what he was doing in that picture. Farting, I suppose.

I'm not finished with kid pictures yet, so don't run away screaming until later. Nat's concert is tonight. I promise she won't fart while I'm taking pictures.

lord vader has spoken

Lord Vader has spoken

Lord Vader, the Lord Vader that wears comefuckme pumps and derides blogwhore contestants, is quite pleased with the results of the administered whippings so far.

Blogwhore contestants may leave their groveling notes, bribes, offers of sex, video games or comic books here.

I am not your father.

yelling with my mouth shut

Yelling with my mouth shut

The birds that seemed so lovely and life-affirming just yesterday are now making me want to decapitate them. Or at least throw rocks at them. The squirrels? I want to shake the tree until they all fall out of the branches, plopping head first onto the ground. Don't even get me started on the screeching seagulls. Yesterday, they reminded me of the beach and tranquility. Today, their screeching is reminiscent of my fourth grade teacher. Must.Kill.Seagulls.

I feel that familiar tightness in my chest and anxiety coursing through my veins. There's this distant anger simmering in my bones and I know where it's coming from and part of me wants to stop it and part of me wants to just let it all go until I find myself on the ledge of a clocktower, rifle in hand.

Maybe when this week is over, I will calm down. Maybe after today's recorder concert and tonight's 6th grade band concert and tomorrow's baseball game and Thursday's basketball game and the pile of work on my desk finally gets down to manageable levels and Natalie gets through the Regents ok and my sister is feeling better and the house is clean and I get some cooperation and. And. And.

I just want a moment. One moment of utter, complete silence. I want the silence to be around me as well as within me. I want the machine that is constantly whirring inside my head to shut down for a moment. I want the birds to stop singing and the cars to stop honking and the cries of I want, I need, immediately, yesterday, to stop for just one moment. I want to close my eyes and not dream of world destruction or people chasing me or death or monsters made out of chinese food. I want to sink into the pillow and bedsheets and wrap myself around the darkness and silence and breathe without struggling. For just one moment. One single moment.

I want the anger and bitterness to dissipate. I want to live without those feelings constantly tickling my brain, reminding me that they are there. I want to let go of things I should have let go of a long time ago, but keep coming back, thrown in my face again and again. I want people to grow up and move on and realize the damage left in their trail. I want them to put a stop to that trail. I want people to stop being self-centered and making life miserable for others just to make themselves feel as if they won some battle that I'm not even playing.

I want peace. I can certainly give myself that peace. I know how. Despite the busy schedule and breakneck pace and moments where I want to kill innocent little birdies, I am at peace with that life. It is only when the selfishness and destructive behavior of others invades that peace that I want to take the rifle to the clocktower. It awakens the bitterness and anger and makes everything in life seem impossible and hard. It destroys what tranquility modern medicine has given me.

Which means he is winning this private little mental war. No matter how many of the small battles I win, he still racks up the points by letting me take his cruelty and insensitivity and making it my own problem. His issues are not my issues, right? They are when they invade my inner sanctum, thank you Miss Therapist.

On with the battle, on with the war. Another day that I will fight the good fight and hope that I can win this battle with my silence.

The small victories, the cankers and medallions. The little nothings, they keep me thinking that some day, I might beat you. But I just keep my mouth shut.

It shouldn't bother me, but it does.

June 03, 2002



If I were someone else and somewhere else and not this person I am now I would be living on a different coast and my body would be covered with art and I would have some wild hair style in a totally unacceptable color and I would wear unsensible shoes, or no shoes at all. I would work for some independent bookstore and write a poetry magazine that I would sell on the racks there and at night I would drink too much and hang out with people described as rough and stumble into my doorway at five am, fumble uselessly for my keys and pass out on the porch. I would not own a computer and my cell phone would be used only to make drug deals and I would chain smoke no-filter camels and watch infomercials when I couldn't sleep. I would shave my legs only once in a while, when I was sure the night would end in an orgasm and sometimes I would have sex with powerful people who live in Beverly Hills just so I could get a part as an extra in a movie so my parents could point me out to their neighbors and tell everyone I'm an actress even though I am really just a strung out bookstore clerk who writes bad poetry. I would read comic books on the subway and kick stray dogs and play mini-golf with Rugter Hauer and never write to my old friend from back home. I would spend Saturday nights playing my old vinyl, Pink Floyd and Culture Club and the 12 inch dance mix of Tin Tin's Kiss Me and dance spasticly and drunkenly until Rugter came to pick me again for another round of golf.



For the forseeable future, I will be taking on hosting/commentator duties - along with Jill and Ernie - over at blogwhore: the webgame.

I will be mean and cruel and decide the fate of contestant's based on nothing more than my mood at the moment. To those conestant's who have stumbled by here, bribes are accepted. Cash only. Play nice.

morning soundtrack

Morning soundtrack

I wake very early in the morning, before the sun even. It's still and quiet until around 5am, when nature shakes the sleep off of itself and begins the day with a cacaphony of sounds.

First there is the owl, who sings the same song every day, over and over, the tone or infliction never changing. WHOO WHOO whoo whoo whoo. Eventually the birds join him. There a million different birds around here; red birds and blue birds and brown birds with white tails and white birds with brown tails and screeching seagulls. They each make a different noise when they greet the dawn. Tweet, chirp, screech, caw, whistle.

So by 5:30 a.m. I am hearing: WHOO WHOO whoo chirp screech caw WHOO whistle tweet chirp.

The squirrels come out then, playing hide and seek with the birds and making them swoop out of the trees in a flurry of beating wings and they make sounds like twhpp thwpp. The squirrels themselves chatter to each other as they rustle through the limbs of the tree, making the leaves of the tree scratch against the window. Chatter, scratch, chatter, rustle, thwpp, thwpp.

So now there is a whole chorus outside my window. And the song goes: WHOO WHOO chirp tweet chatter rustle scratch thwpp screech whiste WHOO caw rustle and so on and so on.

At 6am the garbage truck makes its way down the street, brakes grinding and compactor whirring. The garbage cans clang and bang and the men shout ALL CLEAR! when the truck can move down the street. '

WHOO WHOO chirp tweet chatter rustle scratch thwpp screech whiste WHOO caw rustle grind whirrr clatter ALL CLEAR! rustle tweet screech.

By 6:30 it's bedlam. The high school buses roll in with their whiny brakes and the recycling truck with the beep beep beep as it backs up and people starting cars, alarms going off, planes and helicopters roaring and humming overhead. In the distance, the train whistles as it flies by a station and I can almost hear the clatter clatter of the wheels on the track. A bee buzzes by, adding an underlying hum to the mix.

All these sounds together are the soundtrack to my morning. They are the noises of life, the music of nature, the sure sign that here is another day full of wonder and hope and life.

June 02, 2002

about disasters, fires, floods and killer bees

About disasters, fires, floods and killer bees

So New Jersey is on fire, hurricane season is upon us, London's burning, and the threat of nuclear war hangs in the air.

Yet, through it all, I am steadfast in my mission to discover the thrills of every day life - to discover new things about myself and the world that can only move me towards a more fulfilling life, nuclear fallout be damned.

For instance, just today I discovered that I am horribly allergic to Steve Guttenberg movies and that the Angry Beavers were really more cynical than angry.

And (like I told my amish tech support person tonight) if there is in our future a nuclear war, and if I end up one of the survivors and it turns out like the last few chapters of The Stand and I have to spend my post-armageddon existence with a bunch of freaks, I am going to go all Darth Vader on their asses and form my own dark side.

come for the murder, stay for the beaches

Come for the murder, stay for the beaches

Nancy has an interview for a job on Long Island. What does this mean? It means she will be working but a ten minute drive from me. It means that she and I can hang out whenever, wherever and will New York ever be the same if me and Nancy and the blonde and Baz and Choire and mg hang out together? I think not.

Now I just have to convince Nancy that she wants to move from the loony bin that is Florida to the shopping mall/parking lot that is Long Island. She says "but what would I blog about," meaning that a lot of her blogging material comes from her insane and alien-like fellow state dwellers. Oh but Nancy, Florida does not have a stronghold on wacky newsmakers. I promise should you move here, there would be a ton of blogging material, plus a myriad of things to keep you busy when not blogging. Witness:

Give us your wackos, your murderers, your satanic youth begging to be today's top news story. That should be the motto for Long Island, chiseled in stone on a statue of the Amityville Horror House.

What do you think of when you hear the words Long Island? Probably Long Island Lolita, right? Do you get stories like the Fisher/Buttafuoco saga in Florida? We've also got serial killers, mass murderers. And did Florida ever have a teenage "satatnic" killing immortalized in a song not once, not twice, but three times? I think not.

Oh, the good things about Long Island? Plenty. They say when you are on LI, you are always ten minutes from anything you want. More or less, it's true. The beach to the east, the city to the west, grand parks and sanctuaries and museums, a great hockey team, crazy night life and plenty of shopping. You may have to put up with a lot of this, and maybe this county is one of the most expensive places to live in the nation and our senator is Hilary Clinton, but it's a pretty good trade-off to be my neighbor, no?

Think I convinced her?



Finally saw Planet of the Apes. My review:

Cannot put into words all the ways in which this movie sucked ass.

The end.

June 01, 2002

and don't call me sweetie

Results are in from the great rock and roll poll

and don't call me sweetie

question: How many times do you allow a condescending waitress to call you "sweetie" before you stab her in the neck with a spork?

there's no crying in little league, is there?

there's no crying in little league, is there?

Gratuitous pictures of DJ playing baseball:

big helmet or tiny head?
stealing 2nd
stealing 3rd

Since when did 9 year olds become so serious about sports? At least one kid cries every game, or throws a helmet or spews out a string of words I never even heard of. It's not like the coaches put any pressure on them - they seem to be putting it all on themselves. When they were in mini league they didn't even care what the score was at the end of the game, as long as they had snack time. Now, they are serious and focused and have this "must win" mentality. And when they don't win, it's somehow their fault.

After Thursday night's game (a loss to the best team in the league), we had a little talk in the car:

"It's not your fault. That play was very hard to make. You know what I always say, win as a team...."
"Yea, yea, lose as a team. I know the whole speech by now." He sighs. "It's just not easy being a 3rd baseman. It's so much responsibility."
"Would you rather be a cheerleader?"
"Funny, mom."
"Seriously, you could wear a dress and everything."
"You're not funny mom. I don't feel like laughing anyhow. I'm really upset and not even your jokes will make me smile."
"What if I farted? Would that help?"
"You're such a dork, mom."
"Thank you."

And then a trip to Burger King made all the pain go away.