Saturday, October 31, 2009

And a Happy Halloween to All

It's gray and rainy here in central NC today. When I was a kid there was nothing that could crush me more than rain on Halloween. Halloween has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember, followed by Thanksgiving. I loved dressing up, and I still do. I used to start planning my costume in June. It drove my mother nuts. Trick or Treating was fabulous, but I never really ate much of the candy. I'd pick out the Reese's and eat those, I'd eat the Mary Janes (LOVE THEM), and I'd eat the Tootsie Pops. Pretty much everything else went to my mom.

I think my favorite thing to receive in my pillow case was the coupon for a small fry at McDonald's. Do they still sell those?

When I was at Target yesterday I was looking over all of the bagged things they sell these days to put in Trick or Treat bags. Tiny boxes of crayons, small cheap games. Loads of fun things. My mom used to give out nickels, because she figured kids could go to the Manor and buy their own candy. And they could have. They still had "penny" candy when I was a kid.

I know the other kids hated her for that. I knew a lot of kids who hated the people who gave out coins. Weirdos.

Remember Whistle Pops? I wonder if they still sell those too. I still remember the commercials for them that they would show during It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

I never ever had the opportunity to cut holes in a sheet and dress as a "ghost." In retrospect I wish I had at least once. In junior high I dressed as the Grim Reaper one year and went to the dance with a scythe that I had fastened black electrical tape to so the blade wouldn't hurt anyone. They confiscated it until the end of the dance anyway. I argued my case, but I lost. These days I would have been arrested for walking into the building with it.

No one Halloween stands out in my head as the best. I loved each and every one for different reasons. Actually, that isn't true. I remember the worst Halloween of my life. It was 9th grade, and my best friend and I dressed up and started our trip from house to house. After the first several houses greeted us with, "Oh I'm sorry, we're only giving to the little ones this year," we went home. I walked into my house and sat down and cried. It wasn't the candy. The candy wasn't what mattered. All I could think was, "NOW what do I do on Halloween?" I think I was crying for the loss of childhood. The loss of my favorite day of the entire year. At that point it hadn't occurred to me that I could do many many things to make the day special as I got older. I didn't yet understand the real meaning of the holiday.

As an adult I threw a Halloween party one year where I went all out. I roasted a turkey, and I filled tiny little gourds with a barley and sweet potato concoction and basically went nutty. It was fun, but I'll never do that again. I spent so much time working on it that I didn't get a chance to really enjoy it. With the move to the new house I do plan on Halloween parties again, but smaller ones. And we'll be far enough out from Raleigh in most folks' eyes I don't know if anyone would attend.

Today we carved the big pumpkin into the standard Jack-O-Lantern face and then I handed livvie paint and a brush and let her paint on the small one. I went out in the rain and collected leaves into a bowl and I'm letting them dry a bit before we glue them to paper and make leaf collages. I've got a pot roast in the crockpot, and there's beer in the cooler. I'm contemplating making a loaf of bread or some cookies. I've decided the extra place at dinner tonight will be Emma's. I miss her so much. I'll put her bowl down by the kitchen door where she used to eat, and will not actually fill it due to Ginny being a food hound.

It's chilly and rainy and gray out there, but it's warm and light and smells good in my house. This is as it should be.

Happy Halloween. Happy Samhain.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I dissed you all yesterday

In order to watch baseball. I hope you'll forgive me, but goldang if that wasn't one of the most enjoyable games I've ever watched in my life.

I don't really get to "see" too many actual ghosts. I usually end up seeing or feeling stuff happening rather than getting a peep at an image? whatever you want to call it.

Shortly after my father died, I'd say a few months later, every night once I went to bed and shut my eyes I would feel the edge of the bed on my side press down as if someone was sitting on it. I was fairly freaked at first, but when I realized what was going on I was ok with the situation. It went on for quite awhile and then stopped. I was a bit sad when it did.

One day, I guess I was about 15, because my Grandmom had already gone into The Pit of Despair Nursing Home, and I was all by myself, I was sitting in a wing chair in the living room and I sneezed. A very deep, loud man's voice said, "Bless you." I launched myself out of the chair and ran to my friend's house until my mother got home.

My mom used to bowl every Wednesday night in a league. I slept upstairs, and I always knew when she was home because of the sequence of events that would take place. One Wednesday night I heard the front door open, and all of the doors moved in their frames as they usually did. I heard the door shut and I heard her keys hit the dining room table. So I went to the top of the steps and called, "Mom!" and there was nothing. So I went down and everything was dark. I opened the front door and the driveway was empty. So I went back upstairs and laid back down. A few moments later I heard the same series of events, and this time I went straight downstairs. This time she was home. I told her what had happened, and the only thing we could come up with was that she had been exhausted and in a hurry to get home... so part of her had.

In my bedroom in the one apartment I lived in my outlet was halfway up the wall, and there was no overhead light. I had a torchiere lamp plugged in, and I, being an intelligent person, had hung a shirt on a hanger on the plug so I could wear it the next morning. I was reading a book in bed, and I saw something from the corner of my eye, so I looked over the book. The shirt had moved about 5 inches away from the wall, hovered, and then fell to the floor.

In the same apartment I was walking through the hallway and passed the living room doorway and I saw an old woman sitting in our rocking chair. When I backed up to look again she was gone.

Very recently I was sitting on the bed in Jonas's room, and the book Fool by Christopher Moore was on the top of the 6 ft bookcase so Livvie couldn't get to it and screw with it. It tossed itself at my head. It didn't slide off onto the floor. It launched itself about 3 feet away from the bookcase before dropping to the floor.

There are a few more, but these are the things I remember most. What are yours? I know you have some.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And so we begin theme week...

Or we did last night. Hush.

I like to present myself as a very rational (shut up Rich), scientific minded person who prefers fact to conjecture. When the subject turns to ghosts, though, I go all Fox Mulder. Or worse. I don't want to believe. I do believe (I also try to believe in the Chupacabra because the idea of a Mexican Goat Sucker tickles me to no end).

I'm going to tell you right now. Tennessee is haunted.

Not just a little haunted. Not just a spectre popping up here and there. The Native Americans referred to Tennessee as "The Dark and Bloody Ground," and they pretty much hauled ass out of there and left it to its own devices. And then the idiot white folk stumbled upon it and went, "Oooooo. Pretty." and set up house because Captain Obvious was not around to slap them silly.

The first time I drove to visit my friend in Tennessee I started through the Smokey Mountains and instantly felt something watching me. It wasn't a pleasant type of something. I did not know yet about the history of the area, and I thought I was crazy. As I drove through the state on my way to Nashville, though, I noticed more and more areas where I simply felt uncomfortable. Even one place as innocuous as an overpass near a field. Nothing felt right.

I mentioned it when I got to her duplex, and she told me that the land was absolutely batshit crazy, and I had not been imagining things. So we went ahead and got drunk on loads of Jim Beam, and I went to bed on the futon in her living room. In the middle of the night I heard a noise from upstairs, and it sounded like she had fallen. So I got up and went to the stairs and looked up, and there was a dark gray mist hovering at the ceiling. As I stood there she came to the top of the stairs and asked if I was ok because she had heard a noise. I pointed. We sort of simply nodded and both went back to bed.

On that trip she took me to the oldest cemetery in Nashville. I try to visit cemeteries everywhere I go. The headstones fascinate me. I used to take rubbings before I discovered that the process is bad for the stones. "Common" understanding is that cemeteries and the like shouldn't be haunted, because by the time the bodies make it there anything that inhabited them is long gone. Before that excursion my camera was working just fine. These are the photos from that field trip.

When I got my photos developed everything taken outdoors in Tennessee was like this. All photos from before and after the trip on that roll of film (film?) were fine. I would LOVE to go back with a digital camera and see what happens.

On my second trip to visit her the babies had been born and I was there for 9 days helping her out. She was in a new house in a different part of town. One day I was walking through her hallway and a small dark figure trotted past me and into nothingness. I barely blinked, and when I returned to the living room I said, "So who's the little dark guy who just ran past me?" and she told me she figured it was her brownie. Apparently someone kept ripping down the kitchen curtains and screwing with the silverware drawer. This was my first real introduction to the fey. Looked them up when i got home. Some are not so bad. Some are very, very bad. In fact, at her previous house she had dealt with at least one who looked like an oversized, pitch black Jawa and it tried to push her down the stairs.

She's had some really crazy shit occur over the past several years, and I believe her completely. This woman is a very intelligent, educated person with a background in science. If she's willing to believe what she sees, so am I.

So my next entry will be what I've seen, outside of Tennessee. See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Veil is Thinning

If you believe in such things.

Death is odd, to me. Not that it happens, because goodness knows it has to happen or we'd be stacked like cordwood on this planet. But for some reason I have mixed feelings about the act of dying itself.

Everyone really would like to simply go to sleep one night and not wake up. Hopefully at a ripe old age. How old? That's a matter of personal opinion. I used to think 80 would be long enough. But my mom is 79 this year and she's still working full time and driving over 800 miles round trip a few times a year to visit us. When I think of possibly living to 100 I think I would be far too tired to even get out of a chair. But I read about a woman a few weeks ago who is 100 and is the secretary for her son's business. When is an appropriate time to die? While you're still healthy and hale and enjoying life? Or after becoming sick and starting to burden those around you?

And I often wonder about sudden death, and those who say, "Well it was his/her time I guess." Why would that even be? Is it that hourglass that has a certain number of grains in it? Could that even possibly be the case? Does Terry Pratchett have it right? (Actually, I'm sure he must. That man has a greater understanding of how everything works than anyone else I've ever read.)

I've noticed the veil thinning on our march to Halloween (because I do believe in such things) so I've been thinking about these things.

Let me give you an example. Today my mom told me that 60 kids in her school were out sick with the flu. Friday it was 28. Tomorrow will probably be worse. Now, we haven't been wigging about it too badly. We still go out. We wash our hands several times a day, maybe a bit more than normal if we've been out, but nothing excessive. We avoid folks who are coughing or sneezing. The issue is, Jonas is the most at risk person in this household, being under the age of 2. He cannot be vaccinated because he's not old enough. I will not be vaccinated because of my reaction to the regular vaccine on October 1st. I was going to get Livvie done, but then we pulled her from school and we really only play outdoors. I do not work. And Rich's only real interactions with people take place outdoors in the smoking area at work. Then I read that everyone here is running out of vaccine anyway. And then I read that doctors are saying the vaccine basically came too late. So my mom and I were discussing all of that, and then I hung up.

There are thoughts that are my own, I know I'm thinking, I've done it for 38 years. I know what it "feels" like. And then there are those times when a thought slams into my head so hard that I know it isn't mine (stay with me. I'm not schizophrenic). During the ice storm of 2002 at 9am I heard a crash and what slammed into my head was "That was your car." Now, it wasn't a feeling of dread, or a freakout, or anything pessimistic. It was a matter of fact, slam to the skull, "That was your car. Go look." I've always assumed it's my dad, but I guess it could be anyone. I'm pretty frigging sure it's my dad though.

After I hung up with my mom I was grabbing the laundry and suddenly my skull filled with, "Do not take those kids trick or treating on Saturday." So I played along this time and thought, "Why not?" and then I had an image of strangers handing over candy from their households. And only THEN did it occur to me that all of these little petri dish incubators with no idea they might be sick could potentially infect my kids.

Must protect The Jonas (as Livvie fondly calls him).

There have been other things going on this past week as well, but I won't get into them. I will, however, work on a way to honor the New Year coming as well as I can for cheap or free, and figure out how best to honor my ancestors who keep hitting me upside the head with bricks but seem to have moved to cinder blocks to get me to pay attention.

Happy Samhain Season.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Could I Be Any Cooler?

The first thing I'll say is that even though my mom is a Depression baby and saves EVERYTHING in case it might be useful someday, I am not quite that bad. I have a tendency to toss a lot of stuff because I hate clutter. I've been saving more lately, due to the economy and our financial situation. I now hold onto Smart Balance containers and sour cream containers to store stuff in the fridge. But I'll be damned if I'll ever start saving used bread ties.

Livvie has become a giant fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I don't know what happened. I had turned on Disney one day, and she was hooked. So I had to start DVRing them. Is that even a verb yet? Her favorite episode involves a treasure hunt. It was full of rainbows and shapes.

This morning I saw her come out of her room with a zippered plush bag that had contained small toys. It's roughly shaped like a house. She told me it was her treasure chest. I said, "That's great! Good thinking!" and then something clicked in my head and I said, "Do you want a real treasure chest?"

When Rich owned the bait shop he sold fine cigars from a humidor. When we unloaded the place I held onto a Mantequilla Tapa Negra box. It is, in fact, a tiny wooden chest with a hinged lid and latches on the front. I remember thinking that dangerous thought, "This might be useful someday." And I stuffed it away for the future. Really hadn't thought about it since then.

So I went and got it and handed it to her. I flipped the lid open. And she literally squealed, "TREASURE CHEST!!!!" and started putting things in it. I was impressed with myself and went about my duties. And then she came to me a few minutes later and said, "Key?"

I sighed. And then I told her it didn't have a key. And then I told her to wait a second.

You see, I have a treasure chest too. When I was a kid it was a regular cigar box. When I grew up everything moved into one of those cheap jewelry boxes where you lift the lid and the drawers slide out. Some of my treasures are these:

A small ceramic heart pin with a rainbow and my name on it that my dad gave me when I was little.

The ID tag my dog Bailey wore when we lived in Cary.

The charge plate from the record store I worked in when I was in my late teens and early 20s. The store was bought out by a large chain, and I snagged the original plate from the trash.

Many, many concert and movie ticket stubs.

The ticket stub from the Phillies game my mom took me to on my 21st birthday because I wanted my first legal beer to be at a game.

Perfect skipping stones.

The tiniest acorn I ever saw.

Small, green seashells that had been punctured by gulls.

The pin that US Cellular gave me when I had been there one year.

Actual jewelry.

A band-less Fossil watch.


A tiny, silver cash register key that says MGR that I was allowed to keep when I left my favorite job ever and moved to NC.

So I got it out of there and gave it to Livvie and she was delighted that her treasure chest now has a key. She's been playing with it all morning, sticking "treasure" in there and getting it back out. I'm sure one day she'll need a larger box for everything that she keeps for nostalgia. Right now this is fine. Although it would be interesting later on to see what she chooses to hold onto, I would never go through her box unless I suspected something terrible was going on.

What types of treasure have you kept over the years? What do you store them in?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back in the day...

Am I the only person on the planet who actually liked the school lunches? Or was my school cafeteria simply that bitchin?

We were poor. I was on the free lunch program for awhile, and then I was on reduced price. The problem for my mom developed on those days when I required two lunches. Yeah, some days the menu was so good I'd get two.

The grilled cheese was spectacular. It was served with buttered corn and apple crisp. The sammich itself was crisp where it needed to be and never soggy. The cheese melted perfectly. I got two of those.

I also got two of the stuffed pita pocket lunches. Those were essentially tacos stuffed in pitas to reduce the mess. Fabulous. Pizza day was a two luncher as well. The pizza looked just like that photo.

I remember there was this kid who would scoop chocolate pudding onto a potato chip and pile corn on it and eat it. Our superintendent freaked on him for it. I tried it. It wasn't great, wasn't bad.

On days when I didn't buy two lunches I'd pack an extra. And as indicated, I'd ask folks for whatever food they weren't going to eat. Apparently my dad used to do that at bowling banquets. Ah well.

There was a lunch lady/monitor named Mrs Johns and she carried one of those Tupperware yellow plastic orange peelers in her apron and would loan it to kids in need. I was so impressed that it was one of the very first Tupperware items I ever bought.

When I got to high school the food sucked. It really, really sucked. I got a meatball sammich once and when I bit it there were green things I assume were supposed to be fennel etc. It didn't look like fennel. The pizza there was ok. It wasn't the same as our elementary/junior high cafeteria's. They were going for "french bread" pizza but it was always limp and soggy. I didn't get two lunches anymore. I wasn't that impressed. And when I finally started driving and had a morning study hall I would skip out and go to Taco Bell and basically eat lunch at 10am.

I've looked over the menus of school cafeterias these days and they are boring as all get out. Nuggets didn't really exist yet when I was wee, but damn if these kids don't seem to be getting them constantly. I might have eaten them as a kid. Probably not. I wasn't a fan of mystery bits of meat ever. My school gave us pot roast on occasion. Sometimes beef stew. We always had real vegetables. And oh yeah, there were no vending machines until high school.

Some days I really miss that food. It was good. It was cheap as dirt. Even if the cafeteria staff hated us they never showed it, and it was a pleasant atmosphere. Except that time Keith Gibbs punched me in the stomach and I smeared my peaches down his back. Keith, if you're reading this, you were a douche.

I often wonder what's going to be offered to my kids. Maybe I'll just have to pack their little lunch boxes with fabulousness that keeps well with only ice packs. I only have 3 more years before we find out.

Today's ingredient is corn. Fresh or frozen. Livvie is corn crazy. Gimme some ideas.

Stream of Consciousness

Someone posted something like this today, so I'm going to do one of my own. My food post will come tonight.

I do not like a lot of things. I'd say more than is entirely necessary. We'll start with Do Not and end with Do so as to send you all off on a happy note.

I do not like the current culture of "____-nazis" At. All. I do not appreciate breast feeding nazis, or attachment parenting nazis, or food nazis, or book nazis, or film nazis, etc. See "Self Important Busy Bodies of the New Millenium." The great thing about opinions is that everyone is entitled to their own. Quit telling me mine is wrong. Stumbled across a message board a few months back where nearly every chick wanted formula to be prescription only to force women to breast feed. Let me tell YOU what to do with your body and see how you like it. I do not like being incorrect about something when I was certain I was correct. Over the years, though, I have learned to eat my crow sammich like a good girl and move on. I do not like having severe pain. I do not like creatures with more than 6 legs. I especially hate those with over 100. I do not like not being able to afford even the smaller things I would like, but I've learned to accept it and deal. Since I grew up that way from the get-go, I think it's easier. I think having to be the Bad Guy 80% of the time in this household sucks. I'm not very fond of disrespect. In anyone, to anyone. I absolutely hate liars, cheaters, and thieves. And if a person ever accuses me of any of those 3 they will feel a wrath unlike any they have ever known. I'm not a fan of most sitcoms. There have been a few over the decades that were stellar. I really can't stand pretentious "films." They remind me of The Emperor's New Clothes. On the other hand, I don't like most romantic comedies because I think they set too many gullible chicks up for disappointment. Plus they make me gag. I hate feeling the need to defend my love of old musicals and Disney flicks. So I no longer bother. I think the media's panic mongering sucks. I dislike when people don't have the balls to come right out and tell me how they feel about something they don't like about me. I really can't stand people who are "celebrities" for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I despise the vehicles that race past our house as loudly as they can. If you need to make that much noise to prove that you have a dick, you probably don't. I hate people who hurt kids or old people. I hate people who hurt animals. Doing any of those three simply proves that you are a giant pussy. I do not like humidity. There really is no escape from it on the east coast. Mosquitos, fleas, and ticks make me want to nuke the world sometimes. I think clowns are the epitome of evil. I suspect Hitler used to dress as a clown before he shtupped Eva. I really don't like things that are askew. Really. Don't. Like. I hate that a lot of folks who have met me originally liked me because I'm crazy, but then when they learned that's not going to change they retreated. Along those lines, I don't like when people expect me to be "on" all the time. My name isn't Robin Williams, and I don't have a coke habit. I don't like people who spend more time on their hair than they do on their responsibilities. I do NOT like people who make extended cell calls out in public. Loudly. I HATE bluetooth technology. People look like they're talking to the Great 'Possum who asked them to kill their neighbors. I don't like the fact that I never really got a "higher education." But I still loathe that woman whose coffee table I carried to her car who told me that "they" hadn't marched and protested for me to do manual labor. I told her I thought they had done those things so I could do and be whatever I wanted. I am mortified by some of the mistakes I've made in my life, even though learning from them made me who I am today. I don't like California. I really don't know exactly why. I think the designated hitter is a ridiculous idea. I don't like generalizations of any sort and try very hard not to make them myself. Sometimes I fail. I hate failing. I think people who believe there's only one way to be intelligent are sadly mistaken. I hate stainless steel appliances. Too OCD to deal with the smudges. I hate James Patterson's 2 page chapters. I really, really don't like people who equate "country" with "stupid." Or "southern" with "racist." See generalizing. I despise Greedo shooting first. I loathe "SyFy." I don't like watching Rich do risky or dangerous things. So I usually don't watch. I really hate that I stopped wearing earrings when Livvie was born so she wouldn't rip my lobes open, and the holes closed up. I think it's annoying as ass when Rich steals the covers. I simply can't stand spilling food on myself. I hate that so many I've loved in my life have died.

I love the fact that I was directed to Harry Potter before the hoopla that would have discouraged me from reading them. I like finding tiny strawberries in the lawn. I think that the simple, circular, rubber disk jar opener is one of the most brilliant inventions ever. I love food. I love drink. I love smoking (sadly). I think the smell of a fireplace is awesome. Especially when it's far enough away that you only get an occasional surprise whiff. As far as smells go, I think the greatest one on the planet is that of tomato plants on your hands after pinching off the suckers. I love that the growing season in NC is so long. I think it's awesome that I can grow every plant but basil. Why not basil? I don't know. I love reconnecting with old friends and making new, good ones. I love my crockpot. I think it's great when things don't turn out as expected, but in retrospect are better than expected. I like the fact that I can cry over movies and books without feeling shame. I really like the marks left behind in a freshly vacuumed carpet. I find great happiness in beating the shit out of other characters in fighting video games. I adore the afghans my mother has knitted for us regardless of the fact that they're acrylic. I'm ecstatic that I quit biting my nails when I was 22. I love it when life gives you proof of the absurdity of it all. I love card games, but pinochle gives me a headache. I think it's great that I once installed a new phone jack in my old apartment and that I can change the battery in a car all by myself. I think the sharp, metallic smell of snow is fabulous. Especially on mittens for some reason. I think the Tom Collins is the perfect drink on a hot summer's day, followed immediately by the gin and tonic. I love Shark Week beyond belief. My heart gets all happy when someone sends me a card for no reason, and I need to send more cards of my own. Bacon. I love opening the dishwasher and sticking my face into the steam on cold days. I really like the fact that Jack Bauer does all the things I'd like to do to some people and Gregory House says all the things I'd like to say to some people, leaving me somewhat karmically safe. I really dig books that hook you so hard you suck them down in hours, sometimes reading all night. I love me some movies where shit blows up or giant animals eat people and those that have incredibly non-PC humor. I think the internet is fabulous because I've "met" so many different people who do so many different things. Plus without it, I'd have never met Rich. I love having intellectual disagreements with people when the disagreements don't become emotional. I love learning. I really like it when people make me think. I am exceptionally happy that my father taught me enough about boating that I could take a boat out crabbing in my 20s and still find my way back to the marina. I loved the smell of my Uncle Eddie's cigars but his sarcasm was even better. Dry humor rocks. I appreciate wit, but I'll still laugh at a fart joke. I think the critters found in tidal pools are amazing. The teeny clams that dig back into the sand after a wave breaks make me squeal with glee. So do Horseshoe Crabs. I really liked it when living with my mom I was receiving mail from The Institute for Human Origins and she was getting mail from The Society for Creation Research. On the same days. I think it's awesome when people in any service industry take the time to remember you and what you like. I'm really happy when Rich brings me flowers from the yard instead of spending obscene money on a florist. I was utterly thrilled when my brand new wedding ring started getting scratched and dinged. I love catching episodes of much loved TV shows in the middle of the night. I love listening to my mom's stories of the Depression and the War, and I hope I remember enough of them to pass them along. Her story of being sprayed by a skunk is legend. I love romance, and I love reality, and I'm absolutely thrilled when those things intersect. I love being in my 30s, and I wouldn't go back to the 20s for a million dollars. I love that I can't wait to see what's next.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh the Fantasy

My mother has pretty much hated the Yankees for her entire life, because she's always felt they are a bunch of entitled, stuck up fucktards who are so full of themselves they're more like bloated ticks.

Her hatred was cemented during the 1950 World Series.

She and every other good citizen of the Delaware Valley were forced to watch Satan's Team sweep the Phillies in 4 games.

Bitterness? Check. Resentment? Check. Gut seething fury? Checkity check.

Whitey Ford can suck our left ones.

As a child I was raised with Yankees hatred which I accepted in good faith until I was old enough to understand that yes, they are a bunch of entitled, stuck up fucktards who are so full of themselves they're more like bloated ticks.

And then I happily hated them all on my own.

(At this point I feel it is my duty to report that we've already trained Livvie to say, "Boo Yankees!" with glee. Someday she'll understand).

As an adult I've actually been tempted to snatch Yankees caps off of people's heads and piss on them. So when the Sox beat them down in 2004 I was absolutely delighted.

One thing that bugs my mom and me is Jeter. We agree that he seems like such a nice boy, and we can't for the life of us figure out why the universe would allow him to embrace the Dark Side.

Oh sure, there's the monies. And I guess there's the whole wanting to play for a *gag* winning team. But truly, wouldn't such a nice boy want to uphold balance in the universe?

Yeah. Shut up.

So last night the Phils took the National League again. In this family we've got the joy joy joy joy down in our hearts.

On the one hand, it would be poetic justice for the Angels to defeat  The Devil's Own. On the other hand...

We want a rematch.

We want a rematch so badly we can taste it. We want Hamels to shut those fuckers out. We want to flip NYC the bird and dance on the batting helmeted skulls of our enemies. We want to beat their kneecaps with Louisville Sluggers and stuff their faces full of Citizen's Bank Park.

The Angels would probably be an easier win. But we need revenge.

I'm going to be pulling for the Yanks. This curdles my stomach. But I want to see them go down hard in the City of Brotherly Love.

Do it for Harry, boys. He's watching.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Break It, You Buy It

We walked the inside of that doublewide yesterday. I should say Livvie ran the inside of that doublewide yesterday. It's 2052 sq ft. She ran. And ran. And then she flung open the front door into the wall, the ONLY door without a door stopper, and she took a chunk out of the wall.

I guess we're required to buy it.

It is probably the nicest home I've ever looked into living in. I know Rich's house prior to this one was far nicer, but for affordable housing this thing is the shiznit. It's a happy place. It's warm and inviting. It has kitchen cabinets out the nose. It has 4 bedrooms, and considering the master bedroom is the size of Alaska and has a sitting room attached to it, Rich's office will go in there, and we'll actually HAVE 4 bedrooms.

It has a heat pump. The song in my heart due to potentially never having to deal with the propane company again is the sound of trumpets and angels.

The master walk in closet is of a size that Jonas could live in there. We don't even have enough clothes to fill that closet. There are no linen closets, but honestly, with that walk in they aren't even needed.

We don't even have enough furniture for this house. We have a minimum of furniture here due to living in less than 1000 sq ft. When we move this stuff over there the house will still echo. Crazy. The place has a "formal" living room when you first walk in and a family room off the kitchen. Our furniture would go in the family room. The living room would be bare until the Christmas tree goes up.

Speaking of, the thought of putting up a tree without blocking the front door makes me giddy.

The agent and I were talking about the kids, and she made a remark about still having room for more. We told her we were done, and I mentioned that we're done for sure, as I'd been snipped. She told me she had done that after her second too, and in talking I mentioned that I'm 38. She did the legitimate double-take that I've gotten used to over the years, and she told me she thought I was about 24. Which would have made my white-haired husband a scoundrel. She was actually the only real estate agent I've ever met that I liked. She was very country, and showed up in jeans and a sweatshirt instead of all dolled up the way they usually do. She and I went out to smoke in the driveway, and she was loads of fun to talk to.

All of the appliances are new, and I double checked the oven interior to make sure there was room for turkeys etc. It's a closed surface stove, and while I really prefer gas stoves, the thought of simply being able to wipe it down is squee inducing. The very idea of having a built-in dishwasher and not having to push and pull Ole Bessy around made me almost wet my pants.

I've already decided where the new herb garden will go. The veggies are another matter.

I called the utilities today to get an idea of what goes on out there. The power bills, summer and winter, have been lower than ours are here. The neighborhood actually IS in the cable company's service area, so we'll be able to simply transfer our service. Good news, because we had signed a 2 year contract.

So now we make an offer and hope it's accepted. I sure hope it is. I can see us being very happy there for a few years at least.

Anyway, to those I know, a guest room means come and visit. You're always welcome.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our time is short

Given that your projected life span is 10-12 years, that means we probably have 4-6 years left.

Which means our time together is simply too short.

You didn't walk into my life, you were carried in inside a wire crate with your litter of puppies. You looked like absolute shit. Your black hair was gray, every bone stuck out, your eyes were bulging from your skull, and your nipples were practically dragging the ground. Our eyes locked and you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I knew you were MY dog, even if you went home with someone else.

You bugged the shit out of every roommate you had, and they all got adopted, but you stayed. I managed to finagle you into my home by begging the landlord. When I brought Emma to meet you first you did everything right. You deferred to her and ended up keeping to yourself and not bugging the shit out of her. I brought you home with me, and you destroyed my living room one day. So I hid things all over the apartment for you to find. It never happened again. I think it dawned on you that I would be coming home.

You raised every foster kitten I brought home as if it were your own. You pottied them, scolded them when they were assholes, gently, and kept them warm and loved. The things you put up with without ever showing aggression were astounding.

For a dog that requires as much exercise as you do, you've been remarkably good about being an indoor dog whose exercise is a walk at the end of a 6 ft leash. It tickles me to no end that you had been a starving street dog and your breed is intended for outdoors, but your favorite place is in front of a space heater.

I thought when the kids were born I had lost you to them, because you always have to know where they are and what they're doing. It hasn't escaped my notice, however, that at bedtime you are wherever I am. I think your bed in the kitchen as new and fun for awhile, but I've noticed that you will park yourself on the hard floor if it means being near me. In Jonas's room at night when he's been a handful and I'm barely sleeping, it makes me feel a thousand times better to toss my hand over the side of the bed. I know that even if you're half asleep, you'll know it and snug up under my hand while I scratch your head.

You have been taken for granted over the past few years. Part of it has been parenting stress, but I think a lot of it is that you've been one healthy animal, even though your start was rough. It rarely occurs to me that one day you won't be here. I need to rectify that.

Yeah, you can be a pain in my ass. You're always right underfoot, and you're a sneaky bitch who will snag food just as soon as my back is turned. You hate to poop in the rain, and it leads to annoying trips outside. It delights me though, that Livvie is finally, desperately in love with you. Yes, she needs to stop slipping you french fries and pizza at the table. But she throws her arms around you and kisses your face and every inch of me melts.

I need to get this house for you. The thought of turning you loose on so much room to run is joy. The thought of being able to open the door for you to let you escape when the kids are losing their minds makes me so happy. I need to stop taking you for granted and enjoy every year I have left with you.

I had a cat of a lifetime once. You might not be my first dog, but you're my dog of a lifetime. I couldn't ask for better.

Thanks for choosing me.

(In honor of Emma, Dante, Zoe, and Jinx)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zen and the Art of House Hunting

It's odd, the things that will do it for you.

We went to see the other house yesterday. When we got there we noticed that the entire acre was fenced. The front and one side were chain link, the other side where there was a neighbor had a wooden privacy fence running to the back, and across the back property line was a stock fence that was bent down in several places. So I walked back to check it out and determine how many rolls would be needed to replace it, and when I got to the wooded area back there my feet crunched.

I looked down and saw thousands upon thousands of acorns.

When I noticed the acorns it occurred to me that the fence was bent due to the deer jumping it to eat the acorns.

I couldn't tell you why, but it was a very peaceful realization. Even though that fence must be replaced to make sure Ginny doesn't jump it, and even though the deer will most likely beat the new one down too, for some reason I got warm fuzzies.

When were were done checking out the yard and exterior we drove down the rest of the street to the circle to get an idea of what the neighbors were like. All homes were well cared for, the yards looked nice, and I saw zero Beware of Dog signs. On our way back we noticed a carnival ride on a trailer in someone's driveway. That was pretty cool. At the very next house we noticed they had hung actual traffic lights on their carport.

We really don't know why, but that's our kind of bizarre.

This house is about 15 miles from the closest Target. The nearest grocery store is about, oh, 8 miles away. There's essentially nothing out there but a Tractor Supply Co.

We have no problem with that.

I made a note of where the ABC store was. Not close enough to be dangerous, but close enough to not be a pain in the ass.

The entire front fence is covered with 30 foot arborvitae that block the view from the street. I could see us losing our minds and deciding to light them at the holidays.

The agent called, and she's walking us through it Wednesday afternoon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bite My Shiny Metal Ass

I do not like the way Vicodin makes me feel. If I take it before bed I never really sleep. I drift in a sort of daze like I'm half in a dream. I don't like having to take it during the day, either, because I have 2 kids in my house that might require emergency transport somewhere at any moment.

So to the pharmacy tech who rang up my refill yesterday and gave me a Look, I say, "Fuck you."

I've had some pain off and on in my life, but chronic pain is a new and different animal. When Livvie was born they gave me a scrip for Vicodin and I took a few after I got home and then didn't touch them again until about 8 months later when my migraines came back and I had no meds in the house for them. It has driven people to the verge of bitch slapping me because I'll mention that my head hurts and they'll say, "Did you take anything for it?" "No."

Last fall I had serious pain. The docs could only assume that the pain was being caused by the re-absorption of Jonas's twin for some reason. They gave me Vicodin. Eventually that pain went away. I thought I was in the clear, and then for some reason in late winter I developed something called ligamentitis. The ligaments connecting my crotch area to the tops of my thighs were inflamed, and I could barely walk. For awhile I tried a cane to help me, and then the doctors took pity on me and prescribed Vicodin again. By the time Jonas was due I was freaking out that so much had been pumped into his system during the pregnancy, and I asked for an induction so my pain would leave and he wouldn't be getting anymore. The nurse I spoke to told me he wasn't likely harmed. It didn't really make me feel any better.

After my C-Section I had some pretty severe pain. Other than wisdom tooth removal I had never had surgery in my life. And abdominal surgery fucking hurts. This time I took my pain meds until I ran out. I started to go through what I can only assume was withdrawal. I felt like shit. I was happy that I didn't have to take meds anymore, though. When I was a kid my parents couldn't get me to take pills. I was a liquid meds kid. I used to gag on pills.

By August 19th, though, my back was in severe pain. I had assumed it was from trying to sleep on a cramped little sofa with Jonas trying to push me off it all night for a couple of months. But then my legs went numb. Yeah, no. Marched my ass to Urgent Care and the doctor pointed out that the locus for the pain was right where the idiot had repeatedly jammed my epidural catheter when she couldn't get it placed correctly. I wasn't given any meds. It was recommended that I have an MRI.

The details of the next month are boring to even me.

Chronic, unceasing pain basically leaves you wanting to put a bullet in your head. It leads to depression. Having reduced mobility and being unable to complete even simple household tasks leads to deeper depression.

I finally saw a back pain specialist and got some pain relief. I am aware that taking pain meds on a constant basis can lead to a rebound effect, so there are days when I push through it and then pay dearly the next day. There are days when it doesn't hurt badly enough to require meds at all. There are also days when the prescribed dosage won't even touch it and I have to take two at once. Instead of the big guns she prescribed the Fisher Price My First Vicodin. 325mg. I really don't think that's a bad thing, because it probably won't lead to as many problems. Although I fully expect one day to see my liver leap from my throat and scuttle down the road.

So, yes, holier-than-thou pharmacy tech. Fuck You. Try living like this someday and see how you end up.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Well Sheeyit

It's a lovely house, isn't it?

We need to move. NEED. To move. Rich has hated this house since day one. I did not, but we have something around 1000 sq ft, 2 kids, and a 54 lb dog. The house is early 60s bullshit, in that it's laid out terribly and everything is falling apart. Rich has looked at houses online almost every night since I met him. The other day he sent me the link to <---- that one.

Screened in porch. Fireplace. Wet bar. Yeah yeah, nice. Our primary wants are space, land, and privacy. This one has 1500 sq ft, is on four (FOUR) acres, and is surrounded by trees. And it was about $88k. Score.

So today we drove on out there. It's in the county just north of us, and it isn't really near a whole lot. That really isn't a problem. We figured we'd have to go out of county to afford anything we wanted anyway. We drove up the highway and started looking for the street, which was supposed to be right off the highway.

We couldn't find it.

So there was another street intersecting the highway, and we turned there. Got to a T crossing and I told Rich to go right. We traveled a ways and Rich told me we were looking for Scarlet. We reached a street. There were two very large black dogs guarding the street, and as we approached they made damn sure we knew they saw us. I assumed that their other two heads had been removed for cosmetic purposes. I looked at the sign. Scarlet. Naturally. So my first thought was that if we got this house there would be massive vet bills in my future as a result of taking Ginny out on leash and having her rushed by marauding dogs.

Livvie yelled, "DOGGIES!!!! Go see doggies?" and I said, "Um, no."

So we turned into the compound. Really, that's the only word for it. The road was clay. No gravel even. Just clay. And all I could think about was the fact that neither of us has 4WD and if it snows or ices we'd be fucked. The road was full of craters. Not potholes. Craters. And lining each side of the road were trailers surrounded by fences and EVERY SINGLE ONE had a sign that said "Beware of Dog(s)."

I have absolutely nothing against trailers. They are fabulously cheap housing that can suffice perfectly well as opposed to an apartment. If you're ok with being picked up in the wind and tossed a few counties away. However, when you see chain link everywhere, and warning signs, you start to fidget. And then Rich said, "It's right up ahead on Rhett."

"Wait, we turn off of Scarlet onto Rhett?"


"Then Scarlett is spelled wrong."


" Oh look! It's right after O'Hara Court. Of course it is."

So we found the house. And it was the only house I could see that had any trees or privacy at all. There was no For Sale sign. The listing had mentioned that there was something pending, so apparently it went through.

I wasn't all that upset.

At lunch I said to Rich, "Just how insular do you think that little neighborhood was?" And we discussed that they were either tight-knit as hell, or they all hated each other's guts.

We just found another one online. Country? Yes. One acre. Over 2k sq ft. A little over $100k. We're going to go see it tomorrow. It has a fenced in yard, so I won't be as worried about loose dogs getting to Ginny or my kids.

If we get it I'll probably hang a "Beware of Dog" sign on the chain link.

Constant Vigilance?

On Livvie's birthday Rich's dad took us all out to dinner. While I was getting dressed I wondered where my license was, found it, and stuck it in my pocket. Rich asked me if I was planning to drink. I told him no, but if we were in a bad enough car accident they might need something with which to identify me. He told me I was morbid and that I thought too much.

I disagree. I think "morbid" would be assuming we were all going to die and worrying over it to the point where I couldn't enjoy myself. All I do, every time I leave the house, is slide my license into my pocket as a precaution. It's something I've always done.

When I was a small child our local police came to our school and fingerprinted us all. They sent the cards home with us for our parents to keep on hand in case of emergency. My card is in my firebox. I've carried that card around for decades, and I've let everyone I've lived with know that it exists. I don't belabor the point, I simply pull the card out of the box, say, "Just in case anything ever happens to me, this is available." Is that morbid or macabre? I really don't think so. If the police in this area do the same sort of thing I am absolutely getting my kids printed. I don't dwell on these matters daily. Sometimes, though, when I am not managing to avoid the news and a story comes up about a missing kid it flashes through my mind that my kids need printing. Then the thought is gone.

I mentioned to someone the other day that an added benefit of having tattoos is that you have very distinguishing characteristics in case something terrible happens as well. I very much doubt that most men even consider these sorts of things. I'm a woman, and one time when I was walking to the train after class at Rutgers some guy tried to grab me. He reached for my necklace as if to admire it and his other hand went for my arm. I yanked myself from him and yelled, "Asshole!" to get attention and he scurried off. Broad daylight.

I'm a big fan of "managing the situation." In pretty much all areas of life I take steps to make things easier in the long run. I really see nothing different about any of this. None of it consumes my every waking thought, simply because I have put measures in place.

Why am I bringing this up? Yesterday Rich went under the house to try to fix our heater, and he took his hunting knife with him in case he encountered snakes or critters. Smart. This morning when I got up and went outside to smoke I discovered his knife sitting on the railing at the top of the steps. Not smart. He was exhausted when he left it there, so I'm not blaming him. But flashing through my head was the fact that if someone came to the house for any nefarious purposes whatsoever, and had not thought to bring a weapon with them, we had provided one for them which could only be more obvious with balloons and a spotlight.

Is that morbid?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh No He Di'nt...

Since it's essentially all I'm thinking about these days (ok, sleep too. but talking about sleep is boring), I have decided to designate every Friday as Food Day here. Food fascinates me. People's tastes fascinate me too. So off we go.

When I was growing up I thought I had a fairly developed palate. I ate clams and oysters. What could be grosser than that? One day when I was not yet 20 my then boyfriend Mike (hi Mike!) took me out for Middle Eastern food. Falafel sounded ok. Chick peas? I loved chick peas. FRIED chick peas? I'm there.

He ordered stuffed grape leaves and offered me some. I think I made a face. I'm pretty sure I made at least a small face. It was probably a split second, but he noticed. And when I declined he literally snarled, "You are SO fucking pedestrian."

Wait. Whoa. Back the fuck up there dude. Me? Not on your life. So I glared at him and grabbed one and ate it. And then I ate another. And his nasty little dig was one of the best things ever said to me.

It took some practice. A friend tried to talk me into sushi and I thought he must be joking. But I tried it. And I loved it. Miso soup? Oh yes. It has tofu in it? Alrighty then. Not a problem. The first time I tried Indian food I thought my body would melt into a wet spot on the chair.

There are things I do still refuse to eat. I will not eat anything that I have baited a hook or crab trap with. That means no squid. No octopus. No sardines because they look like minnows. I will not eat organ meat because I actually paid attention in bio and remember that the organs are where the body's toxins are processed.

Ok, that's a lie. Once every few years I absolutely must have a liverwurst and onion sammich with yellow mustard or I will die. And I do very much love the giblet gravy that BFF made.

I dated a douchebag guy who made pizza for a few years and learned to try odd things on pizza. I still prefer regular old boardwalk style pizza that you have to blot with a paper towel to avoid a coronary, but he made some pretty good pizza. My favorite ever was a regular cheese and tomato sauce pie with pepperoni, banana peppers, and feta cheese crumbles. Try it. Seriously.

For about a year Livvie survived on soy chik'n nuggets and some form of potato, and I was terrified. But then one day she was watching us eat and she wanted some. I can't even remember what was for dinner, but it was a step. She kept trying new things. If we ate it, we offered it to her. Currently her favorite vegetable is brussels sprouts. Seriously, if I ask her what veggie she wants with dinner she asks for those. It took me 26 years to like brussels sprouts. She eats green and black olives. She picks onions out of food to eat them. I'm so thrilled I could plotz.

So my tastebuds are currently eager for the new. I'm going to ask for recipes. Each Friday I will toss out an ingredient (allez cuisine!!!!) and request that you respond with something for me to try.

Today's ingredient is... the lowly russet potato. Honestly. What, you thought I was gonna say chard? Lob some potato creations in my direction. I have a billion potatoes that need going into something.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cosmic Wonder

<------ See that fabulous redhead in the picture on my sidebar? That's Heather. She was my very first friend in North Carolina, and for awhile she was my only friend. I ended up marrying and divorcing her cousin, but that's neither here nor there. We met in Ireland in 1994. Know what I remember? At the pubs the men were all over her. And some drunkard looked at me and told me I needed a haircut. I'm pretty sure he thought I was a guy. She and I actually held hands and skipped through portions of the country, we were so happy to be there. And we were in our 20s.

There's a photo of her that I have where she's walking through a graveyard and her hair is blowing in the wind and it's just earth shattering. That photo is tucked into an album which is itself tucked away though. This one will have to do.

Heather loved to cook and I loved to cook, so we bonded over food. She invited me to dinner at her apartment and I was stunned and envious that someone even younger than I could have so much on her own. But she had an education and a good job, and that made all the difference in the world back then.

My first Christmas here we spent together, eating junk and watching a movie. We went to Waffle House. If you don't know Waffle House I suggest you check it out, if even only once.

Life interfered, as it almost always does. We spent less time together. I remember though that when she met her totally awesome husband I marveled that you could meet someone on the internet and fall in love. Ha ha. Ha.

Her cousin and I did not end up divorcing amicably, so I figured that was that. There was also my horror at being unable to attend their grandmother's funeral, as I had a raging case of mono at the time. I adored their grandmother, and I was heartbroken.

Why am I writing about Heather today? Yesterday I was going through my grandmother's recipe box, trying to find something I had written down so I could pass it to a new friend, and I came upon a folded sheet of paper. I unfolded it and it was an email from Heather containing a recipe for German potato salad. I looked at it and wondered how she was doing.

Today I remembered to check my gmail for a change. Heather had emailed me. Yesterday.

Our paths shift and meander through life and we never know where we'll end up. People come and go, but I like to think that the folks who have been the most influential and special are always connected by even the most fragile thread.

I'm really looking forward to seeing her again.

Should I Do It?

Should I just change the name of this blog to "What a Size _____ Looks Like?"

Because that is the number one searched phrase that lands folks on this blog. I'm talking several times a day. People from everywhere. Two days ago someone in Delhi searched a version of that and ended up here. Because of this.

So in the spirit of things I'm going to update everyone on the matter.

I had a hard time gaining weight while pregnant this last time. To be honest it was freaking my bean. I was searching Dr Google for all types of issues that could arise from lack of weight gain. Stay away from Dr Google. Dr Google is like that quack who hands over the good pills when what you need is better nutrition and more exercise.

So Jonas was yanked out of me, and he was a decent size. I guess. Seemed small to me, but not overly so. Apparently he was average weight and above average length. Not bad, as I had only managed to shovel on 26 pounds this time. A couple of weeks later after the majority of the swelling went down I figured I'd squeeze into my size 10s and that would be it. I was tired of wearing maternity jeans, and they were starting to bag in the ass. I got out the 10s, put them on, and could have managed to shove Jonas inside with me too. Oops.

I felt rising panic and dug through the closet shelf. I had managed to hold onto ONE pair of 8s. The rest had gone to Goodwill. I put them on and they fit. They didn't fight tightly, they FIT. So I got on the scale. Folks, I'm not going to tell you what it said. I will tell you that the panic worsened. I was trying to eat. Jonas was a handful, but I was managing dinner and several grazings a day. Or so I thought.

I started paying attention. Nope. Eating dinner, sure. Other meals and/or snacks? Not so much. I was busy, but if I could manage to get lunch on the table for Livvie I should certainly be able to stick a yogurt down my throat. But I hate yogurt. Turns out I'm not fond of most types of convenience foods. I had bought some Hot Pockets, but they were morphing into dessicated bricks that would almost certainly leech all of the fluid from my body in order to replenish themselves. Hot Pockets are scary critters. I don't think I'll buy anymore.

I've been a natural Atkins since I was a toddler. If you offer me protein and carbs I'll go for the protein. I like carbs ok, especially in the form of beer, but my body demands protein or Bad Things Happen. Trick or Treating and Easter baskets were a waste of time. Every Easter there would be nasty, stale candy left from Halloween, and every Halloween the reverse. It drove my mother crazy.

So I started stuffing myself with carbs this summer. And I obsessively weighed myself every morning. The number kept going down. Full blown, nail biting dread. When I was 21 I had a friend who would lift me and do arm curls with me. I didn't want to go there. I mock the deliberately skinny, having been a not so deliberate one. The LAST thing I wanted was to walk down the street and hear, "Eat a donut!"

I managed to hit a plateau. The issue is this: those 8s are now bagging on my ass. I only own that pair. I have refused to go buy new jeans because I'm terrified that I will require a smaller size.

I miss my size 10 ass. I miss having a booty and the strut that comes from being womanly. There is no photo of my current ass in this post because, frankly, I don't want anyone seeing it. Besides, asses in baggy jeans = not sexy. Asses in baggy jeans = Stacy and Clinton arriving at your door to throw away your super hero t-shirts.

Don't fucking touch my super hero t-shirts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slinging some bull

Ok, let's be honest. If it's October, I am GOING to go all Taurus-y and consume everything in my path. Beer, food, men. It really hasn't mattered. If I'm going to get in trouble at all, you can bet it's October.

I'm not sure if I believe in the Zodiac. I know for sure that I think my horoscope is usually bunk. I also know that if you look up "Taurus" in The Big Book O' Sun Signs or whatever it's called my photo is right there.

So it's been somewhat strange. I don't know if October figures so prominently because Taurus is right overhead, hoarding the seven sisters from Orion, and I go outside, look up and see those horns, or what. I do know that back in the day, one had better lock up their boys and their liquor cabinets. And the pie closet.

I met my husband in October. I actually met him for the first time at a greenway so we could take a walk. I had pulled my truck over to park and wait, and he swung himself out of his Silverado wearing jeans and chewing gum and he had that same deliberate walk that Henry Fonda did. I managed to behave myself until the end of the World Series, but the Sox were up against the Yankees in the rematch of the century, and I told him if the Sox won he'd be a very lucky man. I don't think he believed I was serious. Yes, I do hate the Yankees that much. The Sox won.

Even if I've been cooking the basics up to that point, in October I start following my taste buds and my capacity. Last week I bought 2 turkeys. Oh you can bet they'll be gone by the end of the month, even though one weighed 16.5 pounds and the other weighed 20. I also snagged everything I need to make a sage sausage stuffing. And 10 pounds of potatoes.

I've been drinking Yuengling Light with Rich all summer. Today I walked into Total Wine and bought Old Rasputin imperial stout, La Fin du Monde triple, Victory Storm King stout, and Left Hand milk stout. These will not be sipped from their bottles. They will be poured lovingly into their proper glasses that pretty much only leave the cabinet for a couple of months each year.

I have realized that if I lived in Ireland I would devour everything in sight, essentially because for several months a year their weather mirrors east coast autumns precisely.

My son is a Taurus, and he's an abnormally large boy. When he hits puberty I might issue a PSA urging folks to hide their beer, food and women.

Put it this way- today I passed a large deer carcass on the roadside and mourned the loss of edible meat.

Now I have to go get that turkey out of the freezer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Beware the Autumn People..."

I know what Ray Bradbury was talking about when he put those words to paper. And it wasn't me.

Autumn, though, does things to me. A very good friend of mine doesn't do well in autumn. I feel bad about that, because it's the only time of year I might even be halfway close to normal. I react the way people are supposed to in spring. My mind is sharper. More cleaning gets done. The small things outdoors get noticed. Last night I caught an earwig on the deck staring at me, so we had a conversation. The quality of the light and the position of the sun in the sky give me clarity. I feed on this time of year.

To be honest, this probably isn't normal. It's probably hypomanic. I've been this way every fall since childhood though. My favorite month for as long as I can remember has been October. I have incredibly distinct memories of walking through crunching leaves on my way to school and the smell of the mold underneath the wet ones. I love that smell.

Last autumn I was in physical hell with my pregnancy, and it was the only year in my memory that I took no enjoyment from it. Last autumn I lost my faith in the Universe. I felt nothing. I had no connection to anything bigger than myself. I don't know if it was the constant pain dragging me down, or if it was the fact that I was a few months into a surprise pregnancy that scared me to death. I don't know if it was because I was still carrying a dead twin inside me. I only know that it festered and blackened into hatred because I wasn't used to feeling so alone.

I let my garden go to shit last fall. I didn't cut back a single thing. I would walk outside with the dogs and see the sage turning brown and crunchy, and I'd simply turn my back.

It comes as no surprise to me, this year, that it was October 1st when I nearly died by almost blacking out behind the wheel. My initial reaction was to curse the start of the month and call it foul. A funny thing happened though. I felt a tingle. My memory sharpened. I can remember exact details from that day that have nothing to do with the emergency workers or my ER visit. I can tell you how the light was falling onto the sign at the entrance to the dump. I can tell you what the gravel looked like under my feet when I stepped out of the Ford. I know exactly which trees were on the opposite side of my car.

I can feel my body going cold and breaking into sweat and the gray take over my vision. And I can feel the struggle in my brain as I fought it. It felt like swimming in pudding.

For a few days after I was a joy to be around, according to Rich. He didn't put too much stock in it, because he's learned over the years that the downturn follows quickly. And I did fall into despair for a few days. The cats had stopped eating, and the house went berserk, and I couldn't keep up with anything. He pointed out to me that I was in a fog and couldn't think. He was right. So I decided to fight it.

I go outside to smoke several times a day. I generally smoke and come back inside as quickly as I can. I've made the effort over the past couple of weeks to pay attention while smoking. Even to the act of smoking itself. My connection is returning. I notice that I'm not alone anymore. It's a good feeling, that sense that everything is connected. I couldn't tell you what's out there, but it's something.

I'm an Autumn Person again. And now I'm going to go start some bread.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Back

Are they gone yet?

The ones who were beginning to creep me out for some unknown reason. Are they gone?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

I was 6 years old.

My father took me to the movies. Mom took me to see Bambi and Snow White et al. Dad? He took me to see Bond films and Airplane and a little movie called Star Wars.

Back then, you see, it was simply Star Wars. You said those words and everyone knew what you were talking about. A single movie in which a whiny little punk got hisself the Force and saved the day. No one asked you which episode. The titles were the titles. Everyone knew what "Empire" was. Everyone knew what "Jedi" was.

In my fantasy world of rainbows and unicorns Episodes 1-3 do not exist.

So Dad took me to the movies, and I came out of it changed for life. If you're in your late 30s or early 40s it's pretty much a given that it changed you for life. Unless you have a heart of stone. And if you do, I don't want to talk to you.

I wanted to be that whiny little punk. Leia was ok, and back then I had no idea that Carrie Fisher was to become my goddess of all things crazy, but I really wanted to be Luke. I got Star Wars people. Did anyone call them action figures yet? I don't think so. Everyone I knew called them Star Wars people. And they got played with. Holy hell they got the kid treatment. I walked down the street one day and discovered that my friend Alan had hung one of my Luke guys by the neck from the sycamore tree in his front yard. If I recall correctly, he got a beating for that. They went on mad adventures in my head. I was too self-conscious to have them speak aloud to each other, because I always got caught. In my head though they had deep, meaningful conversations along the lines of "what shit do we blow up next?"

And I was a girl.

Circa 1982 my father bought me the Millenium Falcon. Oh that toy was rad. I carefully applied the decals to it, being OCD even then, and loaded it up with guys and they would fly around my house like crazy until the sheer size of it would prove cumbersome and the whole thing would crash to the floor. I lost a windshield panel. The dish on the top of it broke. I played with that thing until it essentially fell apart. I was in my 20s.

But I still have it.

In the late 90s when they rereleased the violated enhanced versions of the movies they reissued the toys as well. The action figures were oddly buff, but I bought some anyway. I bought an X-Wing. And I bought a Falcon. I justified these purchases by claiming that they were for a kid I knew I would never have. They got packed away, from place to place, until they ended up in the attic here. I never even considered trying to sell them someday. Toys are for playing. Even if I dug them out at age 60, they would be played with.

Along came Livvie. I decided they would be hers. Every September brings me closer to the day I hand them all to her and tell her to go to town. Today she had no interest in the movies yet, but hey, she's 3. I figure when she's 6 I'll sit her down to watch them. I'm halfway tempted to give her the Falcon now. I know it would end up destroyed though and not be available when she finally gets it. So I occasionally cast my eyes to the attic steps and feel a niggling sensation in my chest. It will happen someday.

And Jonas is gonna be so pissed.