Archive for March, 2008

Glass House

I know intellectually that I’m a smart person, but my actions very often suggest otherwise. It’s like some sort of trigger goes off in my brain to respond to a problem with a completely nonsensical solution while the part that knows better is screeching, “No! NO THIS WILL NOT WORK.” And yet, I press on. Remember the paint incident, wherein I ended up pantless in my garage? Yes. Like that.

Such is the case this afternoon when I stepped out onto our front porch faced with a very icy set of steps and instead of pulling out the bag of rock salt, I ended up taking out the salt shaker and delicately shaking the teeniest bits of salt through six tiny holes thinking that would work better. Ha ha, it didn’t, because they are TEENY TINY HOLES with microscopic grains of salt and the steps are big! So big! Yet I pressed on, my brain screaming “YOU ARE STUPID. STOP.” After all, when the movers hauled in our stuff, the guy had a big container of Morton’s and said it trumps rock salt any day of the week. And in retrospect, perhaps that’s true, but not when you’re shaking it out of a salt shaker the size of a miniature doorknob.

See also: when Roger Clemens was thinking of coming to the Sox for half a season and I blindly asked, “Which half?” (Oh the FIRST HALF, genius. Because pitching isn’t important in the playoffs!)

I also achieved a minor leave of my senses this morning when I … well, there’s no way to sugar coat it: I lost my damn mind. I mentioned yesterday that Adam’s been sick — so sick that we ended up in the ER on Sunday, because dude was hacking up bits of lung all over the place and was near-delirious with fever — and while I casually mentioned that no one was sleeping, what I really meant was that no, actually, NO ONE WAS SLEEPING. I haven’t slept more than three hours a night since Friday night and forget about naps, just forget it. Didn’t get one of those until this afternoon, but still, I am … I am stupid.

The perfect storm of hacking and broken heater and I don’t even know what has left me sleepless and stupefied. And more than a little cranky. Ergo, this is how I ended up screaming (well, in the cold light of the following day, it was more like a solid yell, thank God) at Adam for I don’t even remember what, from the kitchen all the way up to the bedroom for what felt like fifteen minutes today, but was probably more like five. There was also plenty of door slamming, as these things are wont to include, and I’m … well, I’m really sorry and I’m not particularly proud of it. I like to think we’ve all been there, but I don’t really know. You’re all probably more together than I am, and I wouldn’t blame you.

What a lovely way to introduce yourself to new downstairs neighbors, yes? How delightful! Who doesn’t want to live underneath the COMPLETELY INSANE screechy woman upstairs with the overtired yelliness and colorful language? I’m sure they heard it if they were home — and such was the nature of my blind, sleep-deprived fury that I didn’t even think to look — and if so, how would they know that I am an otherwise rational person who does her best to keep the irrational overtired yelling to a minimum?

So I ask you: would you, if you were me and screamed your fool head off in a foggy state that seems so far away after a solid nap, say something to them like HAHA, sorry, I’m nuts, but really I’m usually not like that, now hey ho! Would you like to go out for coffee? Or would you let it go? I’m HORRIFIED, if it isn’t obvious.

Personally, I like to think that everyone goes through these things and if I heard another couple –errr, wife — being nutty, I would be RELIEVED that they were normal. But … that’s not everyone’s version of normal. I mean, not that I do that every day or even every WEEK or MONTH, but … oh forget it, you know what I mean. I hope.

(Incidentally, we rent a house with a basement apartment downstairs. They’re lovely and the wife and I have become friendly. This is also why the furnace is outside and around the house — it’s in the basement, yes, but I have no direct access.)

Onward to happier things! Like paper wasps! Wait, where are you going? We’re inundated with overwintering queens, and I kill approximately five a day INSIDE the house. And Dr. Google tells me that this isn’t something to panic about, but it’s hard to take a rational tack when you’re faced with the fifth wasp OF THE DAY. They’re sluggish and tired from hibernating in their fertile little state, and no, they don’t emit swarming pheromones, but that doesn’t make them any less horrifying.

Well, aren’t I a blast today! Hey, anyone want to go for coffee? Would you like to come over? I promise not to scream at you. Or make you clean up wasp carcass.

Here’s to a happy, well-rested Tuesday.

*Ani DiFranco

23 comments March 31st, 2008

Fix-it Men

Well, I sincerely hope your weekend involved excitement and non-stop thrills, because mine sure did, and sadly, those thrills did not involve gazing along bucolic Vermont roads in search of the best sugar-on-snow as planned, but instead, revolved primarily around various and sundry bronchial and HVAC woes.

Mmmm, HVAC woes. Scintillating topic of conversation, yes? The shortest version is that the reset button on our oil furnace keeps mysteriously going off, and who doesn’t like to wake up freezing and trek outside in the snowy Vermont winter to the furnace room to reset the button, ONLY TO HAVE IT GO OFF AGAIN A MINUTE LATER? AND A MINUTE AFTER THAT? AND A MINUTE AFTER THAT, TOO?

Also, I watched I Am Legend this weekend and trekking around in the dark after that is unappealing, to put it mildly. There could have been Darkseekers out there ready to gnaw my face off like a chicken leg, for chrissake.

Which brings me to scary movies: enjoyment or lack thereof. I hate them. Hate. And I realized while watching “I Am Legend” that I am rarely more miserable than when I am watching a film designed to startle and/or frighten me in any way. I don’t see how being on edge is enjoyable, for I find fewer things things less pleasurable than being terrified ON PURPOSE.

Horror movies make me cry. I get so stressed out about what might happen that I just break down. I … I truly don’t get it, and when I’ve queried various people who love them — notably Adam and TwoBusy — many cite an unexplainable thrill in being scared, particularly in the theater. Plus, there’s that whole “It reminds me that I’m alive!” argument, but God no, I’d rather clip my nails to the quick and BLEED for that reminder, thank you. I can handle anything else: dramas, tearjerkers — minor thrillers, even! I was fine with What Lies Beneath! FINE! But things JUMPING and bloody people and DARKNESS, oh my hell, no thank you. No zombies, either. NO ZOMBIES.

Anyway, ha HA, did you notice way back up there that I said winter? Because I don’t know if it’s spring where you are, but it seems when someone announced that spring was here, they totally spaced on informing Vermont. And this morning when I woke up, it was 45 degrees INSIDE THE HOUSE and hello, snow! So nice to see you again.

Also worth noting is that no one is sleeping due to what we have affectionately referred to as Adam’s Bronch, and our poor visiting houseguest endured two solid nights of hacking and wheezing through the paper-thin walls, and yes, there is a lesson here: If you come to visit us, DO NOT HAVE SEX unless you’re an exhibitionist and want us to hear every bump and grind.

And finally, I made Persian meat patties for dinner tonight and lo, they were fabulous. I discovered the recipe on CityMama after being strangely riveted by the whole J&J brouhaha and I now believe the whole thing happened because God wanted me to find the recipe for those patties. Yes, it was all about me. They’re delicious! And simple! Except, if you make them, might I recommend that you add an extra half teaspoon of salt? Not to go all Tom Colicchio on you, but they were well seasoned, but in dire need of salt.

I hope you had a great weekend. I am looking forward to the dawn arrival of Furnace Fixing Man so that I may stop venturing outside to a very scary furnace room. Because did I mention that thanks to I Am Legend, I am now TERRIFIED of the dark? I just ran from the dark kitchen to the bedroom, because there could be someone THERE. TO EAT MY FACE.

*Reindeer Section

(Random side note of major importance: If you haven’t heard of the J&J mess by now, might I urge you to stay away, even though I mentioned it? I know this makes me a hypocrite, but man, everyone enjoys getting their vicarious Internet Dramapants on once in a while, but this was so PAINFUL, and I am now regretting joking about it, but feel like a tool editing it out. I think … I think I would rather read pages and pages of extremely sanctimonious women proselytizing about breastfeeding and attachment parenting vs. CIO than endure such absurdity again.

Unfortunately, this is a lesson that I seem perfectly content to learn over and over again, and next time someone sends me a link to something, will I remember this? No. No, of course not. I will read it and waste several hours of my precious time. In other words, do as I say, not as I do.)

23 comments March 30th, 2008

Which Will

Honestly, the last two days’ events make me wish that you all were here for MenstruCon ’07, otherwise known as the Era of the Diva Cup. Because man, y’all are funny. I would be particularly interested in Shelly‘s comments during that time, because she’s certainly provided some interesting fodder for us to consider during this laundric era, did she not? From bleached loads to glandular issues, I’d never given my underwear so much thought.

I’m almost hesitant to move on, because I still feel like there are still FEELINGS here, but alas, we cannot talk about poop molecules forever.

I would like to think that naturopathic medicine is a good idea. I would — I really, really would. In theory, I get it. I see how eating certain foods fixes certain things, and God knows I’ve all but shoved slippery elm powder down a certain husband’s throat during tummy upsets. But when I go to an actual doctor, I have to tell you: I’m disappointed when they don’t seem all that into traditional medicine. No, I don’t need to be prescribed buckets of Prozac because I’m having a rough day and I do think there is some truth to the overmedicating of America. I mean, I’m all for psychotropic medicine, but I also think that maybe some people could do for some talk therapy, too, you know? Medications are miraculous and I’ve taken them myself, but augmenting it with therapy is something I feel kind of strongly about, at least at first. In other words, don’t just shove a prescription in someone’s face and say “All better!” as so many do, without also looking at the whole person. (It’s been done to me , “Here, take some Paxil! Would you like some Topamax, too? All better!”)

Anyway, above and beyond Mr. BBT, I had an intro phone conversation with a prospective primary care doc today and she seemed skeptical on the need (the BURNING need, I might add) for synthetic thyroid hormones for my Hashimoto’s disease. Instead, she suggested that perhaps instead of follow up bloodwork after dosage increases, that I might consider avoiding cruciferous vegetables and other thyroid-inhibiting foods?

Yeah, um, no. Not so much. Especially when mistreated thyroid disease can cause infertility and/or early miscarriage and, if the pregnancy makes it to term, it can also cause developmental delays and physical disabilities. Is avoiding broccoli going to keep my kid from having fins and antennae for ears? I think not.

And finally, a note to parking-lot walkers of America, or at least Vermont: Look, I get that it’s a parking lot and not a highway, which is why I’m driving SLOWLY. This is your place to mingle, really it is. Get your shopping cart on — it’s totally okay. I am not out to run you down, but maybe you could not walk in the middle of the aisle like it’s the MALL? Maybe? And perhaps — just a thought — when you see me driving behind you at a virtual crawl, you could PRETEND to hustle to the side. Like mothers of kids on a screaming plane, I feel for you — I really do — but all I need is a fake effort, really. I don’t need you to break into a RUN or anything, but a little look my way that says “Oh! I realize I’m wildly meandering like I’m on Main Street USA in Disney World! LET ME TRY TO MOVE OVER A LITTLE” would really go a long way. Perhaps then I would be a little less inclined to plow you down like an arcade game.

Incidentally, the same rules apply to pedestrians crossing at an inopportune crosswalk. I will stop for you — with pleasure, really — but when you cockily mosey across the street talking on the phone and stopping to tie your shoe in the middle of the street, it only adds to the appeal of mowing you down like a yellowjacket.

We’re having a visitor until Saturday, so I may or may not see you before the weekend rolls around. If I don’t, I hope you have a great weekend. For our part, it’s the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend, and I am totally playing tourist and hitting up some sugar shacks, I don’t care who sees me.

*Nick Drake

25 comments March 26th, 2008

View from a Blind Eye

Wow, who knew such passion could be elicited by the discussion of laundering undergarments? I have to admit, I have a few lingering questions, not the least of which is, how can you justify the extra loads? (Heh, LOAD. You know how some words come out as dirty, even though they aren’t? Sadie did it again: LOAD. See also: CHUNK). I did a quick scan of my underwear and realized underwear is SMALL, dude. I … I don’t even know if I own a full load’s worth of underwear, and that includes Adam’s. I realize we’re only two people, but still … if I held out until we had enough for separate loads, it would be all period underwear, all the time.

Also, I’d like to say that while I do care about the fact that there might be — how did H put it? — POOP MOLECULES on my Threadless T’s, I find that theory discomforting no matter what the situation. I mean, I don’t want to be spreading more poop molecules onto my most delicate bits and by putting them all in one load, aren’t you CONCENTRATING the poop molecules? Better to spread them around, I say.

Incidentally, my favorite quote from all of you is from Katie, who said, “I don’t exactly think you’re gross for combining, but it’s kind of un-kosher.” Kosher! It’s so funny! It’s just I imagined the underwear salted and brined, like gefilte fish. Oh … forget it, it’s not that funny! Except it is to me! UN-KOSHER!

Also, those who offered to e-mail recipes? I love you. And yes, please. jonniker at gmail dot com OR jonna at jonniker dot com. And my, what a lovely blouse you’re wearing!

Aaand, let’s abruptly shift gears, if you don’t mind (though really, y’all are more than welcome to natter on about washing underwear because I am strangely riveted). I have ruined my dog. I treat her well — I do! — and therein lies the problem. She’s … she’s spoiled, and spends the majority of the day at my feet, usually walking between them so that I am afraid I’m going to snap her head off like a dandelion. And when she’s not with me, she’s clearly devastated by my absence and it breaks my heart. She just WAILS until she’s sitting next to me, and if she’s not touching me in some way, it’s obvious that her world is crashing down in some deep, crushing way. And worse? Her favorite thing in the world is to be carried like an infant and I know I’ve fucked this up, I KNOW. I coddled her for her entire life and now I’m paying the price I KNOW. But honestly, right now, she’s asleep on my leg. I can’t help it, and apparently I deserve whatever shit I have coming my way. Cesar Milan would not approve and would likely have me committed.

And finally, nothing says snorefest like a rant about the economy, but seriously, folks, say it with me now: We’re in a recession, no matter what the definition is. Emotionally speaking, anyway, for Jesus, could there be more doom and gloom and talk of penny-pinching? I’ve read no fewer than five articles full of economic armageddon, and though it mercifully has a rock-bottom feel to it, it frustrates the living hell out of me. Mostly because, as we all know, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we talk about it, the worse it gets and consumers tighten their belts and wallets until they’re CONSTRICTED. TO DEATH. And those who haven’t choked to death are eating Spaghetti-O’s out of a can to save a few bucks. At this rate, we’ll all be in line at the sausage factory waiting to see if they have any job openings for people who can squeeze mashed pork into pig’s assholes. I’m so sick of it.

And I’m tired — OH SO TIRED — of the stock market being used as an indicator for the economy’s health. It’s meaningless to the Average Joe, and further, there is not nearly as much of a trickle-down effect as the rich white men of the world would like us to believe, and have I ever told you that I wish I’d gone to school to become an economist?
Well, I do. It interests me tremendously, and always has, though most recently as an avid media whore and a person who unfortunately owns a house in one of the worst real estate markets in the country. (I’ll say it again: a normal house with a normal mortgage that I could afford that I did not overpay for. And I LIVED IN THE HOUSE.) (YAY!) (Am now renting it, if you were wondering.)

Also, dude, economist is one job that is recession proof, no? They live for this shit, man.

And might I once again throw out a hearty “fuck you” to subprime lenders and the asshats who built their investments around them in any way possible? Sit and spin, douchebags! I’ll give you something to invest in, like this giant steaming bag of fresh dog poop. The ROI will likely be greater than the pile of shit you’ve found yourself in, and thanks to you, I am also swimming in that pile of shit.

And lastly, I have to get this out so that someone can tell me it’s meaningless. About six months ago, I had this dream that some creature was trying to eat me — the creature was invisible, and it came sweeping up this giant hill into my house, which was mysteriously in the country. It was like that weird Lost thing that ate Eko, if you will. And though I woke up before it happened, it was understood that I was EATEN by this invisible force.

And blah blah, dreams, no one cares, but the point is that the giant hill the creature loped up to assist me with my eventual demise looked startlingly like the one that is now my backyard, and it freaks me out EVERY DAY. Or more specifically, like right now, when we’re experiencing winds up to 35 MPH and it sounds like I’m about to be devoured inside. So tell me: should I stay awake nights, waiting to be snacked on like a crudite platter, or should I just chalk it up to coincidence?

Happy … is it Wednesday? I’ve lost track, apparently.

*Emily Wells

23 comments March 25th, 2008

Devil’s Right Hand

My mother informed me today that she never washes underwear in the same load as her other clothes and further, she’s repulsed by the idea that anyone would do otherwise. I mean, she was genuinely shocked that I washed my underwear with the rest of my clothes and I’m wondering: is it just me? Am I universally disgusting by some standard of which I had no idea prior to this revelation? I don’t know if she just started doing this, or if I was utterly oblivious for the majority of my childhood but I promise, I’ve never heard that she does this before and … consider me mystified.

Further, and along the same lines as Laundry: Demystified, I feel strangely obligated to share this post from Susan Wagner on cashmere because really, I had absolutely no idea that I wasn’t supposed to be dry cleaning my cashmere sweaters, and I own a surprising amount of cashmere sweaters for a general slobby-type person. Baby shampoo, y’all. I’ve been doing it wrong for so long it’s almost criminal.

Separately, I have to tell you, and I’m sure Adam would concur — I am a completely different person when not in the throes of PMS. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that I am a miserable cow when besieged by hormones and it’s not, as I would like to believe, entirely in my head. I noticed today that I have been in a stellar mood since the day the P abandoned its MS comrades, and it’s truly frightening, the way I am all sweetness and light and I can’t help but whine for a mere moment that it’s just. not. fair. Hormones, man. They ruin everything.

And finally, two completely classless observations that are entirely unrelated except in that they are both … well, classless. I haven’t mentioned this before because frankly, I’m embarrassed, but I’ve been watching CBS’s first-ever winter Big Brother season, and while it pretty much sucks, I remain as invested as ever in a new set of completely vapid and truly hateful houseguests. But to take this one step further into the truly pathetic category, I’ll tell you that I got a free year of Showtime and I have, on occasion, caught a TiVo’d episode of Big Brother After Dark (shut up. It’s background noise while I work, SHUT UP). For non BB9 fans, this is a slice of unedited footage of the houseguests and it’s ridiculous, is what is, and I am rightfully embarrassed to be talking about it, but if you can believe it, that was not my point.

The point is that Showtime is CONSTANTLY airing ads for The Tudors, which apparently has an upcoming season, but to Alert Commenter Sadie’s point, do you know how they’re selling it? With NON-STOP FOOTAGE of Jonathan Rhys Meyers having an inordinate amount of torrid sex. And, if you missed our earlier conversation in the comments about it, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is … well, honestly, he’s gross and effeminate and not the least bit attractive. Take, for example, this photo of him that is reminiscent of Jame GUMB, for crying out loud (“Put the fucking lotion in the basket!”). I mean, there is NO WAY I’d be interested in watching him make creme brulee and serve it to a band of puppies, much less have sex, I’m sorry. And it looks … it looks like graphic sex, too. Ahem. No. Thank you, Showtime, for turning me off The Tudors.

And finally, I have to ask: what do you all typically have for dinner? Now that neither one of us is chained to the homefront, we’ve been eating at home, and I have to tell you, I cook, but by “cook” I mean things like broiled chicken breasts and rice from a box. Shake ‘n Bake (totally delicious, mock if you must). Baked beans and … Tater Tots. Vegetables typically found in a BAG. In the FREEZER. Lasagna made with sauce from a JAR is a special occasion. I have this vision of everyone whipping up gourmet meals from scratch each evening because remember, I ate out for two years straight and I don’t know how normal people live, but honestly? I don’t have the energy to perform such feats and I am childless and work from home. And if I don’t … who does, other than Smitten Kitchen? Do you?

*Johnny Cash

60 comments March 24th, 2008

Iceblink Luck

Sometimes a magical miracle comes along that pushes an already sweet life right into overdrive and this weekend, that miracle was the discovery that Damn Good Beef Jerky is readily available right here in Vermont. Previously only available via expensive online orders I can now get it anywhere! In stores! In gas stations! Everywhere! The WORLD HEADQUARTERS is only two hours from here, and I’m tempted to show up to demand a tour and a lifetime supply of teriyaki flavor. I know I’ve talked about this before, but if you’re a fan of beef jerky, this is the Cadillac of beef jerkies, if you will. Side effects include Stay Puf-like bloating and puffiness from vastly increased salt intake, but let me be the first to tell you that it’s totally worth it. I can’t button my pants right now, but I’m quite satisfied.

Anyway, how are you? How was your Easter? We completely ignored/forgot that it was a holiday until we attempted to go to the grocery store and were DENIED because everyone else was at home eating a pineapple-glazed ham and searching for eggs. Ultimately, we ended up doing our best to make the newly resurrected Jesus proud with some leftover pizza and beer. Festive!

And if you were wondering, as I was, the Miller “Chill” chelada-style beer is foul. Always the marketer’s wet dream, I had fantasies of a salty-sweet beer experience — like a Corona rimmed with salt and lime mixed with a margarita. It is not, as they promised, muy refreshing, and in fact, is muy disgusting, but I’m not sure what I expected from a Miller Light product, really. Do you have something you’d like to market to me? Because believe me, I’m dumb enough to buy it if the pitch is good enough. (See also: Sweet Simplicity at-home sugar waxing kit, purchased via an infomercial)

I don’t know why I feel like I have to explain this, but I got a little bit of (polite, mostly e-mailed) shit yesterday about me perpetuating Vermont stereotypes and while I get what some of you are saying — I do — I take a few more liberties than I should, perhaps, because I like it here and in a weird way, these are my people. New England is my home in all of its oddities, from the terrifying wilds of rural New Hampshire to the posh Back Bay to the granolati of Vermont, and I am so grateful to be back here — ergo, it kind of feels like making fun of my family. My default behavior trends towards the uber-liberal, and it’s refreshing to at last poke a little fun at a place that incorporates the most extreme characteristics of myself, rather than the enduring endless days in a land where I saw glimpses of my personal sensibilities in almost no one.

I did my best to lay off the mocking of Florida (but often failed) because it felt unusually cruel, for it was far too ill-intended — I really hated living there, and to cope, I took on an obnoxious tone of superiority to console myself from the near-constant feeling that I was an outsider. I’m not going to deny that there were times when that edge was perhaps warranted, such as the afternoon a man sporting a swastika tattoo and a rifle — along with his his camo bikini-clad girlfriend — popped out between two houses on a Confederate flag-emblazoned ATV announcing, “Well, darlin’, we done found ourselves in a new location!” But that had more to do with the antics of one moron and not a generalization of an entire state — as much as I wanted to play the “it’s not me, it’s YOU” card with the Sunshine State, the truth was, it was me. Most of the time, our differences could merely be chalked up to the fact that my part of Florida just wasn’t my cup of tea, and it was no one’s fault.

I’m just saying that because I’m sure I’ll do it again. So I guess, in summary: lay off with your nicely judgy comments on my judginess. For I shall judge again with affection!

Moving on. I’ve mentioned that I have aversions to certain words that include, but are not limited to: wetness, panties, napkins and nipples. In fact, I believe I’ve already proposed an alternative word for nipples that I’d like to reintroduce for those who may have missed it the first time: fleenies. Fleenies! So much more pleasant. Use it today!

This brings me to the latest word that’s disturbing me so much that it’s actually grossing me out and I can’t get it out of my head: nub. NUB. What the hell? Doesn’t that imply some sort of bloody stump, like a lopped off TOE? NUB. GOD.

BLOODY NUB. God, once again, it reminds me of “Boxing Helena” — a movie I saw once, in a moment of really bad judgment, and has been haunting me ever since.

And with that, I’ll leave you with an image from the road right near our house after a recent ice storm. Pretty, right? I had no idea how beautiful it was here year-round.

After an ice storm

Happy Monday!

*Cocteau Twins

21 comments March 23rd, 2008

Post-Punk Progression

Yoga was … yogic, I suppose. Let me preface this by saying that until yesterday, my experience with yoga was limited to three power yoga classes at my former gym and an astonishing number of half-assed attempts at Brian Kest’s Power Yoga DVDs that mostly involved me grunting, sweating and heaving through the poses, as well as a terrifyingly bad form. So this was my first “real” yoga experience, if you will.

Have I ever told you, by the way, that I have an issue with nervous laughter? HAHAHAHA, I do, and trust me, it’s fantastic — particularly at funerals, where I am the life of the party. I don’t know where it comes from, but when I’m supremely uncomfortable, I get the giggles. As anyone with this problem will tell you, it’s not that I find the situation at hand funny, really, I don’t, it’s that I’m so full of discomfort that the only release my body deems appropriate is to snork heaving laughs right through the nose. I have laughed at every funeral I’ve ever attended and it’s about as horrible as you would expect — and when something genuinely funny happens at a funeral, I’m screwed, for while everyone else is chuckling softly, I’m barking with loud, inappropriate “HAR HAR HAR”s for I am so RELIEVED to be able to let it out.

At Adam’s grandfather’s funeral — a man I genuinely loved and was crushed to lose — about six years ago, there was a moment of silence, as funerals are wont to incorporate, and at the exact, and I mean PRECISE, moment the silence began, someone bumped our niece’s Buzz Lightyear toy, which promptly announced, “TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!” to the silent room of mourners. Everyone chuckled politely, and I? I. could. not. be. stopped. And later, when Adam, who was a pallbearer, got trapped behind the out-of-control coffin, his disembodied head floating above the floral arrangement as he yelled, “HOLD UP! HOLD UP!” I was also inconsolable in the most inappropriate fashion possible.

See? Life of the funeral right here.

So you can imagine how gracefully I handled yoga, where there were all sorts of CONTRAPTIONS and STRAPS and BOXES and BLANKETS to behold, and where it was even less inappropriate to bust out laughing at the peak of my discomfort. And — the part where I really lost it — the whole session ended with my instructor SINGING (chanting?) some Buddhist thing that was supposed to be uplifting, and in actual fact, probably was, but for some reason I found it unintentionally hilarious. Suddenly, in the midst of my silence and namaste-laden happy thoughts, there was this CHANTING and whaa? IS SHE SINGING? OMG, SHE IS. This may have been because at the exact moment of her chant, I was strapped into this wild pose that involved no fewer than six blankets, a wooden block and some sort of purple belt-like thing that would be at home in any S&M closet.

Seriously, why didn’t anyone tell me there would be PROPS? I thought yoga was one of those things you could do anywhere, sans equipment? Why was I all strapped in? It’s worth noting as well that at one point my instructor came running over, her soothing voice sounding strained as I strapped myself into what was apparently a dangerous position, “Oh Jonna, oh Jonna wow, UNSTRAP THAT. That looks tight and you could really kill yourself there. RELEASE THE STRAP. No, not there. Oh no. THERE. RELEASE THAT.” (It was around my knees and waist, if you were wondering, and I imagine I looked somewhat like a balled-up and very precarious Weeble.)

That being said, giggles aside, I felt very warm and stretchy afterwards and will very likely go back, with less snickering this time. Although in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I internally rolled my eyes when my instructor busted out in her unitard and unshaved armpits because OF COURSE. I AM IN A YOGA CLASS IN VERMONT.

(And look, I know all the feminist arguments against hair removal and let me say that while I find it admirable, I couldn’t do it, and it freaks me out a little, okay?)

(Also, I nearly killed myself at the thought of putting on a unitard myself, because it would actually look like I swallowed an entire tire, in fact.)

(And also! Since more than one person commented on it, I also should tell you when I write that these stereotypes happen, it’s not that I actually believe that EVERYONE is like this! No! Not everyone in Vermont!. For example, I’m aware that most people shave. Or even if they don’t, it really doesn’t matter, but part of me does sort of do an eyeroll, I’m sorry. It’s just that when something happens to fit the stereotype, I’m sorry, it’s … it’s funny as hell, because it’s just so what everyone expects to see, but rarely does. Imagine, if you will, being in Southie and seeing a large portion of men with bad accents in Fila jumpsuits. It’s like seeing someone from central casting!)

Anyway, as if yoga wasn’t enough excitement, when evening rolled around, I found myself attending open mike night at a local coffee house at the invitation of my neighbor, whose sister is in a Japanese J-punk band that was headlining the evening as part of their North American tour. And let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a 19-year-old Japanese student flailing around on the ground and playing air guitar with a rubber chicken. I should note that they were actually quite good, rubber chicken oddity aside.

This was preceded by a well-known local playwright jamming on a harmonica and a man who, again, seemed like he stepped right out of central casting. His act, if you were wondering, involved strumming a guitar laden with Tibetan flags and desperately trying to find the proper chord as he wailed, “THE EEEEAAAARTH. WE ONLY GET ONNNNNE. SAAAAAVE IT.”

His denouement, however, was a song called “February Snow” and he introduced it by saying, “This is a song about February. And snow. It’s called ‘February Snow.'”

Of course it is.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Happy weekend to you!

*Snow Patrol

**Please note that I am ALL for saving the earth, really. Finding humor in this portion of our show doesn’t mean I want the earth to ROT. I recycle! I conserve! I COMPOST for crying out loud! I LOVE THE EARTH AND REALIZE THAT WE ONLY HAVE ONE, OKAY?

25 comments March 21st, 2008

Borrowed Time

I’m grateful that other people are as horrified as I am about a person leaning inappropriately. You know, it seemed so ridiculous, and I just envisioned being in a court of law, a la Hand That Rocks The Cradle and trying to explain that yes, a person can LEAN in a LECHEROUS MANNER and having people laugh at me for insinuating that leaning can be anything but accidental.

“But .. but I was in a PAPER ROBE!”

“Yes, but come on, he was only LEANING.”

See? It sounds ridiculous. And then the doctor’s wife would steal my baby and all the world would go to hell in a handbasket. Except that you KNOW Peyton Flanders’ husband didn’t kill himself over a misdirected LEAN.

Anyway, enough of that, really, because SURPRISE! What a great day to have one’s husband’s coworkers read your site! Lecherous gynecologist day! Never let it be said that I do not have spectacular timing.

That reminds me of a recent situation where a former coworker, upon my departure from my last job, felt free to share his personal blog with me — basically on my last day, so that he knew I would be safe and wouldn’t tell anyone. When I read it, I was genuinely shocked to see that none of it was really true and some of the stuff he talked about — pretending it was happening to someone else — were things that HE did. He talked about a coworker’s annoying habits, but in actuality, was talking about himself. Oh God, this is all sounding very meta and frustrating, but the point is, I was so disillusioned and surprised because none of it was him — either that, or the person I knew at work was a lie — and while I am always a little irrationally spooked when someone from my in-person life reads this site, I am not ever in fear that they are going to read something that isn’t true or isn’t me. I’m pretty WYSIWYG that way, for better or worse. They may know more about my menstruation than any human being needs to, but at least they won’t be surprised.

(Or, as Swistle reminded me, “men-STROO-ation” and I love her, because dude, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Or was it Deenie? No no, totally Margaret. Deenie was the one with the scoliosis, right? OH DEENIE. I LOVED YOU. I also don’t remember you being about masturbation, but it seems my memory is off, given the vast amount of banning you seem to have gone through.)

Anyway, I was honestly about to launch into the spectacularly slow Sunday we had, wherein I turned on a mysteriously TiVo’d copy of the Adult Film Awards and laughed hysterically at people who were totally taking awards like “Best Anal Scene” SO SERIOUSLY but … honestly, the whole thing was too much. People were UPSET when they didn’t win an award for the most absurd things, and I wish you were all with me to see it. The adult film industry is full of such unintentional hilarity, I can’t help myself. I mean, they have awards for BEST ACTOR. BEST ACTOR. IN A PORN MOVIE. I’m not the world’s most avid fan of porn myself (I’ll bet they all say that), but really, if I had to make an educated guess, I’d say that pornography is not really the place where people go to showcase their acting skills in the traditional sense.

It’s also worth noting that Jenna Jameson made this big, embarrassing announcement where she refuted something US Weekly said (really, Jenna? WHO DOES THAT? It’s not like it’s PEOPLE, even! It’s US WEEKLY. A RAG.) and announced that she would “never spread her legs in the industry again.” This naturally prompted an entire legion of actresses to proclaim, each and every time they got up on stage, that they would GLEEFULLY be spreading their legs in the industry repeatedly. Every chance they got, in fact. And oh dear, I’m afraid this isn’t translating well, but honestly, they were like CARTOON CHARACTERS. And it underscored to me that despite the fact that I have never had any interest in participating the adult film industry, the people were so absurd that even if they were a group of brilliant writers to which I aspired membership, there is no way I could be in the presence of such vapidity without wanting to beat someone over the head with the nearest manhole cover. And wow, wasn’t that a bad parallel?

I’ll say it again: People were genuinely outraged that they didn’t win for their stellar work in an anal sex scene. I mean, I’ll give them credit in that it’s no doubt work, and who doesn’t want to be the best at what they do? But really. REALLY. THEY WERE PISSED. (Or perhaps pooped would be more appropriate? HA. I kill me. And also gross myself out.)

Which brings me entirely incongruously to Flies, Lord of: our otherwise perfect house has a housefly problem. They’re EVERYWHERE, and I think what’s upsetting me most is that they’re clearly breeding somewhere. There are HOUSEFLY EGG NESTS somewhere, and I can’t find them, and worse, we just moved here, the place is spotless and there isn’t any food anywhere for them to eat. So tell me: WHERE ARE THE FLIES COMING FROM? I must kill eight or nine of them a day, and if you think “PAH! Eight or nine is NOTHING!” try living with the perpetual sound of buzzing in your ears and see how long it takes before you start wildly stalking anything that moves with one of the thousands of copies of US Weekly lying about (what?). And I haven’t even talked about the giant wasps, of which we have brutally murdered three. Did I mention it’s very clearly winter out there? And it’s VERY CLEARLY NOT WASP SEASON?

(They’re totally breeding here, aren’t they? WHEEEERRRRE?)

And with that, I hope you all have a great Thursday. I’m heading to my first yoga class tomorrow, and like Lawyerish, am living in mortal terror of either a) having some bodily function go horribly wrong; or b) being “Ohm”ed to death. Of course there is always the possibility of c) I totally love it and decide that wearing hemp clothing is the only way to be.

*A Fine Frenzy who, by the way, I have changed my opinion of, and actually like more than I used to, and can I tell you how much it bothers me that I changed my mind? I got into this raging pisser of a fight with an Amazon reviewer (because I think, for some reason, that I can totally win at Internet) who didn’t like my critical review.

14 comments March 19th, 2008

This Charming Man

I apologize in advance of this post for its lengthiness and abject RANTING MC RANTYPANTS nature — oh, and totally farked punctuation, grammar and … ANYTHING, but Jesus.

Well, THAT was interesting. If by interesting, you mean eye-pokingly awful, then yes, my visit to the gynecologist was interesting! I’m trying to control myself here, but if you’ll allow me a moment of totally freaking out, I would really appreciate it, because what I really feel like doing is screaming something like this:

EW EW EW EW!! GET AWAY!! GROSS!! OH MY GOD!! DO NOT TOUCH ME!! YOUR TEETH!! YOUR CREEPY HANDS!! YOUR EVERYTHING!! OH MY GOD!! GAAAAAAAH YOU ARE HORRIBLE!!! YOU CREEPY AWFUL GYNECOLOGIST!! OH MY GOD!! STUFF YOUR BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE CHART WHERE THE SUN DOES NOT SHINE PLEASE!! I MEAN DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE, AS IN NOT IN FRONT OF ME!!! OH MY GOD!!

There. I feel a little better, don’t you? And you should know that I did scream these things in the car on the way home, and I also stopped for a bottle of wine and it took all the resolve in the world not to bust it open and start drinking at 3 p.m. because again: GAAHHH EW OH MY GOD! (Imagine those written in cartoon letters over my body, like in Batman! POW! VOMIT! FURY!)

So yes, in other words, THINGS DID NOT GO WELL. I don’t even know where to start really, except to say that my Florida gynecologist was about half an inch away from pumping me full of Clomid and progesterone for what is likely a luteal phase defect, but because it was like Groundhog Day every time I talked to him coupled with our impending move, it never materialized. Well, that, and a whole year of finger-pointing between my gynecologist and my endocrinologist in manner of “It’s her thyroid!” “No, it’s not!” “Yes it is!” “No, it’s GYNECOLOGICAL!” “No, it’s her thyroid!” and so on …

Back to the visit: the doctor not only didn’t want to discuss my thyroid OR my menstrual symptoms and within five minutes of our conversation — which was held in his office, with the door open for all to hear — he announced that his solution was to get me started with a basal body temperature chart and that, surprise! Did you know a woman is only fertile at a certain time of the month and that if I want to get pregnant, I should focus on SPECIFIC DAYS OF THE MONTH? BREAKING NEWS.

It is at this time that I stabbed him in the face with his monogrammed letter opener.

A BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE CHART. THAT IS YOUR SOLUTION. Never mind that I *have* charted in the past, and I *have* used one of those goddamn fertility monitors and OH YES, I have USED THE STICKS, TOO. This isn’t my first rodeo, buddy. THIS WHOLE THING CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF A CHART. THAT I BROUGHT WITH ME. HELLO. HERE IS MY DEFECTIVE, LUTEAL PHASE DEFECT-LADEN CHART. WHICH IS WHY MY LAST DOCTOR WAS ABOUT TO PUT ME ON CLOMID AND PROMETRIUM. BUT YOUR CHART, THAT’S WAY BETTER! THANK YOU!

Oh, and he considers a luteal phase defect to be a “trendy” diagnosis from the 1980s and he doesn’t believe it’s an actual problem and he seemed dubious on anyone having fertility issues ever (“If you’re charting properly, it shouldn’t be a problem!” Ha. HAAA. Infertility: It’s All In Your Head) and I was waiting for the suggestion that I pee under a baobab tree in lieu of actual treatment. And really, a holdover from the ’80s, Mr. BBT? Like a BBT chart is the most modern tool ever to cross his desk? A HOLDOVER FROM THE ’80S.

HOLD THIS, BUDDY.

(Disclaimer: charting is lovely! Really! I have “Taking Charge Your Fertility” too! I AM AWARE OF HOW IT WORKS. BUT IT IS NOT A SOLUTION, ONLY A DIAGNOSTIC TOOL.)

OH OH AND: Do you remember “While You Were Sleeping” with Sandra Bullock when there’s that whole scene where someone is LEANING, and she’s all, how can you lean inappropriately? No? Well, why would you, but anyway, I am here to tell you that leaning can be inappropriate. BECAUSE HE LEANED. He leaned against me inappropriately. HE LEANED. He was SHOWING ME THE BBT (please kill me now) and HE LEANED. AGAINST ME. HIS WHOLE CREEPY BODY LEANED AGAINST ME WHILE I WAS IN MY PAPER ROBE. He did this despite the fact that I was VERY CLEARLY leaning in the opposite direction. AND HE WAS SORT OF LECHY. NO NO, HE WAS TOTALLY LECHY. I know, you’re thinking leaning isn’t that bad! YOU WOULD BE WRONG. LEANING IS VERY BAD AND VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.

It is at this point that I contemplated dying, and it is also at this point that I will tell you that I am flat-out ashamed of myself in that I let him proceed with the examination of my ladybits anyway, DESPITE being TOTALLY CREEPED OUT and I sort of hate myself for not standing up and running away and I am an idiot. And I’m also way grossed out and kind of … well. That’s enough of even thinking about that. But if you could see my face right now, it looks like I ate a plate full of unsweetened limes coated in Sour Patch Kids. GLARGHKETUHGH. I’m horrified. I’m just thoroughly horrified beyond all words and I can’t even go into the details because it sounds so VAGUE, but you know how it is: creepiness is always vague, unless someone is forcefully ripping your pants off. (There was no pant-ripping, I assure you. Only vague lechery and BBT charts.)

And the worst part is that he’s one of several OB/GYNs at the local hospital and all I can think of is that I’m going to eventually have a baby and he’s going to be the one on call and the FIRST FACE my child sees upon entering the world will be his and I think we might have to move. Except not really, because thank God, I got a recommendation for another one from a sympathetic nurse and THIS IS WHAT I GET for taking a recommendation for a gynecologist from a dentist, is all I’m saying.

Hey, um, happy Wednesday! MAY IT BE BETTER THAN TUESDAY.

*mumbles angrily about a basal body temperature chart. OH THANKS, BUDDY. A BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE CHART. HOW INNOVATIVE. Oh, he told me that I would need a thermometer. THANKS FOR THE TIP. I DIDN’T KNOW THAT’S HOW YOU TAKE A TEMPERATURE. I THOUGHT YOU HAD TO BAY AT THE MOON.*

**The Smiths, of course. And he was anything but charming.

41 comments March 18th, 2008

Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’ New

It’s colder than a witch’s … chestal region here, so much so that my nose is cold indoors — the worst sign of being chilly, in my opinion — and my boogers are rapidly forming icicles the very moment I set foot outside. Fifteen, y’all. It’s FIFTEEN out there, and even the trees look shriveled and small, like they’re turning inward to gather the remaining reserves of warmth. I .. forgot that feeling, and I kind of love and hate it, all at the same time.

We had a big melt last week, and the creek out back spread like too-thick arteries on an x-ray slide; they’re now frozen, our own miniature ice skating rink. March mystifies me and seems to be one of the universally hated months, with its schizophrenic weather and woeful lack of meaningful holidays. I mean, other that St. Patrick’s Day, which I’ve ignored every year but one — Split Day, wherein a variety of students attempt to outdrink one another with those miniature beers. I believe that day was followed by a staggering blackout and some quality time with my head in the bushes. No, no, St. Patrick’s Day is not for me. Down with March.

The cold means that the dog is alternating between being all up in my grill — near my face, to be specific, complete with tongue — and wandering around outside, too cold to poop, which always leaves me standing there trying to talk to her rationally, like she’s human. Today, I actually told her that it was too cold to go to the backyard, and I thought I’d fall down the hill if we tried, so let’s poop in the front yard today, FRONT YARD. I said this out loud like a fool. And a fool I am, for I’m typing this somewhat one-handed, for she snores mightily, her head on my left wrist. I’m thirsty, but too lazy to move her, and besides; she’s cute.

Thank you all so much for the movie recommendations — I really appreciate it, and my Netflix queue does, too (and hey, yes, to answer Jen and a few others: keep them coming! Love movies! Love!). Sometime in the last year, while we were in the midst of the Floridian nightmare, we stopped watching movies. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but our lives really sunk into one hell of a black hole during the latter half of our stay — we desperately wanted to leave Florida, but couldn’t sell our house, and renting had not yet occurred to us, because we’re dumbasses who can’t see the forest for the trees — and I didn’t realize until now the extent to which our normal lives ceased while we waited for the next phase to begin. I mean, Jesus, we weren’t even watching MOVIES.

This reminds me of a rule of working from home that I’ve broken all of twice in the last two weeks, only to be reminded of its cardinal nature, assuming you don’t have spawn demanding your attention: get out of the house. Aside from dropping off something to Adam, I worked from the couch today and can I say it again? UNWISE. Adam and I have each learned through our at-home experiences that working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

There are wonderful things, certainly — the ability to make your own schedule, the flexibility to skip out on showering if you want to — but those same benefits can cut both ways, and do little other than act as glass walls that subtly shut you out from the rest of the world. A 9 to 5 schedule, while unappealing, brings you in step with most of the working world, and while it’s tempting to skip the shower in favor of pajamas, the best advice I can give is: don’t do it. Please shower. Clean hair and a little mascara will go miles in terms of making you feel human.

And for the love of God, find a Starbucks and try, at least try, to work when everyone else is working, lest you isolate yourself like a vampire, but without the built-in network of other vampires to go neck-sucking with. It also stops you from farting around to the point where you think you’re actually getting things done, but in actual fact, your laptop is in front of you, but your attention is actually on Bravo beyond it.

I didn’t do any of those things today, save for putting on actual clothes, and it explains why it’s now 9 p.m., my laptop is surgically attached to my body and further, I got neither jack nor shit done today because I spent far too much time gazing off into space and getting sucked into the frillionth episode of The Real Housewives of New York City (thank you, Bravo!), and if you haven’t seen it, I am torn between urging you to TiVo it now and demanding that you run for the hills and never see a single minute of it, ever. The women, they are ABHORRENT, yet oddly compelling and I can’t even talk about it further without little balls of spit forming in the corner of my mouth, so I’ll stop.

I intended to talk about more than this, including my gynecologist appointment tomorrow with a brand-new doctor, wherein I sincerely hope they don’t stick an ether-soaked cloth over my face and steal my ovary or something, but it’s a can of worms and apparently all of this procrastinating has made me too tired to deal with it appropriately. I am, however, hoping they can explain to me what’s up with my … lady parts and maybe help me figure out how to get a PERSON inside these lady parts, which sounds awfully creepy, and more than a little gross, but isn’t that what all the kids are doing these days? All the kids who aren’t firmly ensconced in someone else’s lady parts, that is.

Have a great Tuesday! And remember: GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.

*The Roots

20 comments March 17th, 2008

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