31 October 2009

Wonder Woman: the Lost Years

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photos courtesy of the fabulous Jeff Beene

28 October 2009

It's hard to keep your feet dry when you're kicking in a skull

In other news, it's hard to keep up with your blog when most of the month has been like this week: by the time I go home tonight, I will have spent 32 hours in the office. I have an hour commute each way.

More areas of excellence for me: my husband arrived home at 2 am Monday morning after 10 days away. I have since seen him for a grand total of 4 hours. (Not counting sleeping time, of course.)

Yes, I am typing this from the office at 8 pm - while I'm on hold with Bing's search support center.

If you are baffled by this blog post title, check here for the reference.

29 September 2009

Words Cannot Express ...

... how much I love this video.

via Swiss Miss

Obvi, I am not a graphic designer but I do get requests like this (for my industry) all the time.

"So my buddy has this website about cardboard boxes, just a hobby. Tell me for free how he can make big bucks without putting any work or thought into it?"

"I want to start a website about chicken farming. How do I go about becoming a powerful thought leader in the chicken farming industry? I only want to post new content once every three months and I'm totally resistant to any suggestions you might have about ways to build an audience or interact with others in the industry."

"I'm interested in starting an online business selling yoga bolsters. How do I get started with an e-commerce website?"

... go fuck yourselves, people. There's a reason you don't already know how to do what you're asking me to do for you: it requires a lot of time, a lot of technical expertise, and a lot of effort - and that's before you get to the money you'll be required to invest in your online venture (and not including the money you didn't offer me.)

Note to my brother (who I don't think actually reads this blog, but anyway): I was totally happy to consult on your side business website (and I'll update this post with a link including great anchor text, if you like) because you approached it like a normal business project. So the above comments are NOT directed at you.

21 September 2009


I have the day off and it's gorgeous fall weather. I took today off because we went to New York this weekend. New York was great. It sort of breaks my heart a little every time I go because there is just so MUCH available. It helps that we always either stay with my sister or friends, so that is like a built-in guarantee of a worthwhile trip. I would move there in a heartbeat IF the cost of living wasn't so high and IF I didn't already really like my life in Somerville. I mean, I know I bitch about cat barf and being tired a lot, but apart from being so damned busy it's a pretty good life. (Inty barfed on my laptop keyboard while we were gone, by the way.)

Anyway, whenever I go on any kind of trip, even if it's only an overnight in New York, I like to take the day off after I get back to get caught up on things. I usually just end up with a migraine from the stress if I don't take the day off anyway, so planning for it is better.

So instead of having a migraine and feeling bad about missing work, I'm guilt-free and ready to do some yardwork (gotta start getting the garden ready for winter), baking (a James Beard fresh fruit pie and some espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies - that's a Dorie Greenspan recipe adapted by Smitten Kitchen. The James Beard recipe is from his American Cookery, a copy of which was given to me by my wonderful friend Lysne, and I'm going to be making some of my own modifications to it.) And other stuff - grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming, catching up on some stuff for work. Dave took the day off too so I bet he will help with the yardwork and the shopping.

Maybe I'll take the camera out and try to get some pictures in the pretty september light. I haven't made much progress lately on the photography front, technically - don't think I have time for that today but we'll see. I'd better tear myself away from the Wire soon if I'm going to get any of that done, though. (I really like the Wire, but I wonder how accurate it is. Most of the time when I'm walking around in bad neighborhoods, there aren't millions of cops around like there are in the show. That's partly what makes it a bad neighborhood - no cops.)

15 September 2009

Vietnam, redux

Who swapped my Tuesday with a Monday? It's not bad enough that Lucky saluted the morning today with vomit, I also got to work a 12 hour day, listen to some drinky-smelling cabbie's hard luck story on the way home (which of course resulted in my giving him a 50% tip), get home to hungry cats, one of whom has barfed AGAIN during the day, scoop the litterboxes, and the clean up the welcome-home barf that Lucky produced, this time selecting Dave's lyrics to throw up on. Simone also followed her usual starving-alley-cat routine. This time I wasn't as fast and she helped herself to a pretty sizable serving.

Just by barfing twice (possibly thrice) today Lucky spent $50 bucks; he's diabetic and vomiting can be a sign of high blood sugar so I'm going to have to take him into the vet for a blood sugar stick so we can see if he's become unstable. It's going to suck if he has to go back on insulin, less because of the expense than because it's a pain in the ass to give him a shot once or twice a day and time it with his meals. We do have a diabetes testing kit at home but for some reason getting blood out of Lucky is like getting blood from a stone. Maybe I will make the vet tech let me practice drawing blood when I take him in. Refill strips for the blood glucometer are a lot cheaper than a vet visit.

It fucking stinks like Simple Green in here because that's what I used to clean up all the barf with. I can't open a window because the windows in my office have their storm windows down; Dave went around putting storm windows down on Saturday and of course the weather warmed right back up on Sunday. I could open the storm window but I don't think I have the strength, after a meagre dinner of Chex Mix. Lucky thing my fingers are still working well enough to type.

The only positive outcomes for today are that at least I'm not driving a cab and Dave seems to use waterproof ink for his lyrics. THANK GOD.

Good Morning Vietnam

Sometimes I like having a blog because it's not a place where anyone can tell me, "that's not an appropriate story for this audience" or "way to overshare." So you've been warned.

I was sitting at the computer a few minutes ago when I heard the pre-barf wail coming from one of the cats. Inty - usually the culprit due to her IBS - was right there next to the computer, so it wasn't her. No, it was Lucky, pacing on the living room rug with his tongue out. Pip and Simone had rushed to his side, which was sweet in the case of Pip and gross in the case of Simone, since I could see her sniffing around eagerly before Lucky had even tossed his cookies*.

And then he did barf, and Simone barely waited until he was done before rushing in to bat cleanup. She was gobbling so quickly that she was snorting because she's got a permanently blocked nose and couldn't breathe through it. But why let breathing distract you from a hot meal? She grumbled when I cleaned it up and settled back to lick the carpet a little. Happy Tuesday to me!

And now I need to shower before work. If only a shower would clean my brain.

* yeah, wet food for diabetics really. I bet you knew that we didn't actually feed him cookies.

10 September 2009


Every time I hear the New Pornographers' lyric "the easy call, the call of search" I think for a second that they're talking about the industry I work in. They aren't, of course - no one in their right mind would write a song about the deeply boring* subject of search engine marketing, especially not a song as stirring as My Rights Versus Yours. What the hell would you write a song about, anyway? Here are some catchy ideas:

Alexa's Metrics Versus Compete's
My Conversion Funnel Versus Yours
Google Analytics Versus Omniture
PPC Versus SEO

... Yeah. I thought so. It's total gibberish to anyone who isn't knee deep in online marketing - I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a whole other language, but it's definitely got dialect status.

The other super awesome thing about the lyric in the original song is I've been hearing it wrong anyway. The full verse goes like this:

Under your wheels, your chance is with
The easy call, the called-off search
The medicine, it still won't work
But there's dangerous levels of it here

And here's the song, if you don't know it. It rocks. I can't find a link to the album version but the Letterman show is pretty close.

The one time I saw them live, I was disappointed because everything they played sounded exactly like the album, plus the band looked bored. But whatevs - the album version is a great version of the song.

* I don't find the field boring in the slightest but you should keep in mind that I also regret not having the time to learn and practice the ancient art of bonsai. So there's your measuring stick.

09 September 2009


I'm currently reading Lorrie Moore's Self-Help and it's very hard to put down in the middle of a story. I love her prose - it's hard and sharp and clean-edged. I don't know how I would feel about reading a whole novel of prose like that - it might be like a visit to the chandelier factory. But the short stories are just the thing.

It reminds me of Elizabeth Stroud's Olive Kitteredge in that it centers largely on the female experience of the world*. Moore is almost aggressive in leaving men out of most of the stories (the ones I've read so far, anyway). Since the male experience, gaze, mindset are the primary lens for in the vast majority of the 'literary' books I have read in my life, reading these stories is almost like visiting Mrs Piggle-Wiggle's upside down house.

* still a white, middle-class experience of the world, but I'll take what I can get at the moment

08 September 2009

I've had worse

So I love my doctor but she has strange bedside manner. Strange as in she actually interrupted a recent pap smear to go answer an email. I didn't mind because I feel totally safe in the office and we'd been talking about the email (actually I think it was more like an instant message but whatever) and she had an idea while she was examining me and was all, "Stay right where you are!", stripped off her gloves, sent the message - I watched from the table with my feet still in the stirrups - then re-gloved and continued. In context, it was okay and I felt safe, but it was a classic "what not to do".

At least she finished with the speculum before interrupting the exam, which was good because during that part there were definitely some pauses and some "where is the cervix?" muttering coming from the bottom of the table, followed by speculum-cranking noises and attendant internal sensations. I don't have much love for the speculum, I have to say, but it's not that bad - I've definitely had worse sex. (Lisa suggested Worse Sex Than a Speculum would be an awesome band, which it would. And I will be the lead singer and guitarist in that band! I just need to find me some musical ability first.)

The entire visit to the doctor made me realize why some people hate going to the doctor. There was the "You've gained weight since last year!" comment. (Yes, and I'm wearing bigger jeans to prove it.) And also the "You should really be eating more calcium." (Yes, but I dislike the taste of milk and yogurt.) And the "You're still thinking about kids in a couple of years?" (HELL NO, which is what I said last time I was in to see you and you asked about it.) This segued into "You're taking how much Lexapro?" (Yes, I am on the maximum dosage because I have severe anxiety and depression, and while we're on the topic I'll also tell you that my husband is bipolar I. Quite apart from financial considerations, we're pretty reluctant to pass that kind of poisoned genetic legacy on to a kid. So can I get my tubes tied already?) It was like a horrible cross between a conversation with your mother and a high school guidance counselor, if either of those two had recently poked you in the cervix with a giant Q-tip.

Good thing I don't have to go back until next year.

02 September 2009


I have been re-reading Bleak House (well - listening to it) over the last few weeks. It's a novel I've admired for a long time, but I haven't made it through a re-read since my early twenties.

I am largely enjoying it, but I don't think Dickens had a very good grasp on female friendship. All Esther and Ada seem to do is call each other "dear one" and "my darling" and it's just cloying and fake. I don't really enjoy Louisa May Alcott more than Dickens but I do think she's got a better grasp on the way women interact with each other. Dickens kind of gets women wrong anyway, throughout his books. (I need to re-read Little Dorrit and I've never read The Old Curiosity Shop, but there's a plethora of evidence just in the books I've re-read in the last couple of years - Kate in Nicholas Nickleby, Dora in Great Expectations- all his women are either penitent sinners, brainless saints or the target of satire.)

But everything else is good and I'm enjoying the re-read a lot. He plots so well, and I forgive him for some of the schmaltz he deploys because it's often in service of social justice. And he's really funny. I mean, he's not writing with the wonderful subtlety of Henry James but he's not trying to, either. Henry James is sort of like NPR anyway - really great stuff, and all smart and well-intentioned (although Henry James definitely doesn't try as hard to be liked as NPR does) and a little prideful - and after a while, a total downer. (Trollope is actually my favorite of the Victorian men - he's funny AND subtle and he gets women. The politics could possibly be dry unless you are the kind of person who is fascinated by office politics, as I am, in which case you won't find it dry at all.)

31 August 2009

domestic goddess

So sometimes I get a wild hair up my ass and turn into what I think is some kind of superwoman. Today was one of those days. I worked from 9 until 5:45 (technically leaving early, but whatever), went to the chiropractor, cooked dinner (teriyaki turkey tips with a big salad with homegrown tomatoes. I love having a gas grill and the tomatoes were totally worth the trouble. I put them in giant containers, the biggest I could find, and next year I'll stake them better but it just worked perfectly.


I also got a loaf of cornmeal bread underway (I love having a Kitchen Aid), made the bed, put away some dishes (I love having a dishwasher) and cleaned up the kitchen.


And before I got to bed I'll have folded a load of laundry, taken the bread out of the oven and cleaned the litterboxes. I wish I had time to get some embroidery done, but unless I want to stay up until midnight there's not time for that. I am also not going to get around to my mail pile tonight, which I totally don't mind missing.

But for right now, I'm totally going to take an ice cream break and watch A&E's Hoarders. Fascinating! Mental illness! Makes me feel better about my life!

Also I was a little overconfident in trying to get everything done and left the bread on top of the stove, which got super hot from the oven preheating beneath it and kind of cooked a little. I pulled off the weird crusty edges and punched it down and am letting it rise as usual; I think it'll be okay, just slightly smaller loaves than usual. So as a superwoman, I still need some work.

13 August 2009

Thank dog for implants

I am old enough to remember back in the early nineties, before breast implants were widespread, how hard it was to find bras with a small back and a large cup. Even when you could find G or H cup bras in the Ladies department of Filene's, you could never find them smaller than 36 inches. In addition to having no range of sizes, they were all old-lady bras and went for about $50 bucks a pop. For a fifteen year old buying bras with her babysitting money on furtive trips to the mall, it was a pretty sucky situation. I was relieved to be able to dispense with Olga-brand beige cups the size of your head (as some humorous smaller-boobed friend demonstrated) when I got the breast reduction at 18, and moved on to the much easier-to-find world of the 34D. It wasn't a piece of cake, but it wasn't so impossible to find pretty bras.

At some point when I was living in the UK, bras suddenly started showing up in a much larger (heh) range of sizes due to the widespread popularity of silicone breast implants (and later, saline). That was a relief since I had only been able to find 36Cs in the UK before that and the band slid up my back and hormonal birth control had given the girls a boost (unwanted, but I made the best of things by ensuring they didn't go unappreciated.) Then I moved to New Zealand, lost a bunch of weight because my first marriage was breaking up, and found that 32DDs fit me better. And ever since, I've been wearing this one sportsbra that I bought over there (Elle MacPherson brand, which I couldn't find here.) That was in 2005. I have been wearing the same bra at least once a week for four and a half years. Jesus. I've put on 20 pounds in that time.

So I decided it was time to get fitted for real. Lo and behold, I've graduated to a 32E. I'm still kind of gobsmacked. That seems like a big size when I have been thinking of myself as a D all these years.

Modelling the 'do rag
Hard to argue with the evidence, though.

It has been a week of self discovery, in fact! I went to the dentist also, and confirmed that I grind my teeth in my sleep. (I had been hoping that all the times Dave woke me up in the night to tell me to stop grinding were freak isolated occurrences, like hurricanes in Florida in September. All just isolated freak occurrences.) The hygienist informed me that I have also been chewing on my tongue. She could tell from the calluses along the sides of it. Jesus H. Christ. Who chews on their own motherfucking tongue? I mean, obviously I do, and there are enough other wackjobs like me that it's a known phenomenon, but what the fucking fuck? I was all happy about not having cavities and not getting yelled at for flossing wrong until I found out that the dentist-provided mouthguard costs $550 and usually isn't covered by dental insurance. I guess I'll be chewing on my tongue for a while longer, because I just spent all my money on new 32E bras.

Then the hygienist asked me if I have dry mouth and I was all, "No way!" until I remembered that I'm constantly thirsty and made the connection. Apparently one can treat dry mouth with the help of toothpaste, mouthwash and serum. I tried the toothpaste and mouthwash tonight. It was definitely less delicious than my regular toothpaste, but whatever, it seems to be working a little. Bring on the serum!

Man, apart from some blog entries I've read about mastitis, this was the unsexiest post I've ever seen that was all about boobs. Yay me! Setting new records for internetian naval-gazing!

30 July 2009


Things I am thankful for:
1. Alcohol
2. Earplugs
3. Rides home from the club

29 July 2009


This is how I know summer has finally arrived: tonight in yoga I did a faceplant out of a balance pose* and now I have a big red mark on my forehead. I may have to wear a hat to work tomorrow. The reason I fell out of the pose was because it's so fucking hot and steamy in Boston and my sadistic ashtanga teacher turns off the a/c in the summer to promote sweating. I just slipped in a puddle of my own sweat and hit the motherfucking deck. Headfirst. I've never taken a Bikram class and I never want to, but I think it may be a similar experience.

* crow pose, or bakasana if you want to be all correct about it.

28 July 2009


So it turns out homemade creme caramel icecream with maple syrup on it is fucking delicious.

Also, i got an iPhone last month and I love it so much (I am writing this entry on it!) that I just pointed it at the tv, thinking it could be the remote from now on. Because it can pretty much do everything else. It will very nearly go down on you (unlike that lying Dyson Animal) - there's a vibrator app.

24 July 2009

Friday night bachlorette

So Dave is down the Cape tonight playing a show and I'm on my own. I also left my phone at work (curses!) so I was feeling all lonely and isolated when I first got home from work. Then I watched 3 hours of What Not To Wear and realized that nights home alone can be pretty sweet after all. I even got really excitable and changed the battery in my camera, then (surprise) I futzed around taking pictures for a while. My embroidered apron is coming along.

I finished the space ship.
There are a lot of tiny little hairs on that apron. A lot.

Lucky is always ready to help out.

Bet you're no longer wondering how the apron came to be covered in cat hair.
The underside of the flame embroidery is a hot mess. too bad. The front is hott.

All your robots are belong to us.

When he dies, I'm going to have a taxidermist make him into a wallet that says "Bad Motherfucker" on it.

02 July 2009

This is why I can't be trusted with sharp things

So, it turns out rubber bands start to melt if you bake them at 375F for half an hour. It took me a while to figure out why the cherry-nectarine buckle didn't smell as good as I expected. For those of you who are in the dark, a buckle is basically a streusel-topped coffee cake with fresh fruit in the cake part. I messed with the recipe a little, but I didn't expect anything crazy to happen. (I used cherries instead of blueberries - by the way, pitting a bunch of fresh cherries and peeling nectarines are a huge pain in the ass, in case you wondered.) Then the house started to smell really weird.

Good thing I checked on the cake, because the rubber band that I put around the end of the springform cake tin had snapped and was starting to melt onto the oven rack. Chalk that one up to "it seemed like a good idea at the time." We're theoretically going to a friend's backyard barbeque tomorrow and I thought it would be good to bring something. Theoretically because if they don't have a covered area of their backyard, I'm not going. They're good cooks and all, but I'm totally not down with standing in the rain for hours for the sake of two beers and a damp-bunned hamburger.

Just in case the barbeque occurs, I decided to be all smart and forward-thinking and bake the cake in a pan lined with parchment paper for easy removal. But the parchment was kind of refusing to stay in place and I didn't have the cake batter ready yet to weigh it down, so I stuck a rubber band around the outside of the springform pan and that kept the parchment paper in place pretty nicely. However, I failed to take off the rubber band when I put the cake in the oven. It's like I thought the rubber would be impervious to heat or something. Why don't I ever learn? Tire fires are a running joke on Simpsons! The entire MBTA system smells like burning rubber! Putting rubber bands in a really hot oven is probably not a good idea.

Anyway, I hope it turns out okay despite the burning rubber thing. The french chocolate silk pie for Dave's birthday came out really well. We ate pie all weekend. I think it's the best birthday dessert I've made for him yet. I guess I'll find out if he requests it again next year.

25 June 2009

For Annie Lennox

I have spent most of the evening picking up shards of glass off the kitchen floor. With my bare feet. One of the cats (probably Pip the asshole) knocked the butter dish onto the floor and it shattered into a thousand tiny, greasy pieces. All the cats wanted to lick butter off of the broken glass.

It was worth it, though. It was in service of a french silk chocolate pie for Dave's birthday, which is tomorrow. I hope it sets properly, because when I licked the bowl it was pretty good. I will be bummed if all I have managed to make is a big puddle of pudding inside a pie shell, although I suspect that even if this happens, I can just freeze the pie and that's probably going to be super good too. Maybe we should freeze the leftovers even if it sets. (That is, if there are any leftovers. Apparently Dave ate a whole cheesecake once. I can only hope to tempt him to such heights of gluttony tomorrow. I'll let you know how it all shakes out.)

Claire Danes is the only Juliet I've ever seen who isn't hugely whiny. Even Olivia Hussey, although I love the Zeffirelli version. Also, this song makes me nostalgic for the good parts of being sixteen.

Enjoy your fridays, kids. I know I'll enjoy mine.

21 June 2009

typical blogger cat pictures

Sorry about the unscheduled blogging hiatus. I had a cold and then we threw that whiskey party, so that stuff kept me away from the computer. Here's what's been happening, in my absence.

I gave Pip some catnip again.

Lucky has discovered that laptops are made of warm.

Simone is as plump and as bursting with sweetness as always. (Yes, I stole that from the copy on the raisin box. Me and my copy-thieving ways.)

Inty is costing a million dollars, as usual.

Her IBD started flaring up again - puking at least once a day - so I took her to the vet. This time we didn't wait until she got so skinny she almost died. $250 worth of testing later, we can rule out thyroid and diabetes and be pretty sure that the increased levels of cat barf in our house are because of Inty's IBD - which, you know, is what we figured was happening before we took her to the vet.

Anyway, now she has a new steroid ($35) and $60 worth of a new prescription food. We've changed from low ingredient - i.e. proteins she probably hasn't encountered and thus isn't allergic to - to a hypoallergenic food. Basically to make the hypoallergenic they denature the protein molecule and chop it up all small in the hopes that the immune system won't respond to a smaller molecule the way that it does to normal big protein molecules. If she keeps barfing and doesn't respond to the steroid, we'll put her back on an anti-nausea drug. And maybe re-start a regime of giving her B-12 shots periodically. That's all if, though, and I'd kind of like it not to progress further because: expensive. Also, the strain of keeping all that chemistry in my head just reminds me of why I never did pursue my childhood dream of becoming a vet: not good enough at chemistry. Or math in general. As an adult, knowing a little bit more about how much vets get to deal with poop and barf and what their earning potential is, I'm kind of glad that I was a quitter when it came to chemistry.

No comment.

No photos in this post were staged, though some were retouched afer they came out of the camera.

16 June 2009

grab bag

Dave has a show tonight at T.T. the Bear’s, so this is going to have to be short.

Best thing I saw today: buncha Tibetan monks in saffron robes sitting outside the Starbucks on Boylston St. (Right in the middle of the Back bay, which is a ritzy area of Boston, for my non-local readers.)

Best lie I heard today: my friend Lisa told her mom that the tube of KY on her bedside table was “for the dog’s paws, to keep them from getting cracked in the winter.” Heheheheh. That’s a great story, not just because of Lisa’s quick thinking but because her mom didn’t know what KY was.

Watching the Squirrel Channel:
this shot was not staged. heh.

And that’s all I’ve got.

P.S. I totally got Lisa’s permission to use that story, I am not that rude. Thanks, generous lady!

P.P.S. "Computers" almost rhymes with "uterus". There's a joke in there somewhere, but I haven't figured it out yet.

15 June 2009

online reading

in honor of this monday being as shitty as most mondays, here's a post with some links to crap I read on the internet which you might like to read, too. Most of this stuff is pretty well-known, so don't be surprised if you don't find anything new here. It's more of a reflection of my tastes than anything else.

Angry Black Bitch. She has such a great voice and she's wicked smart. She writes a lot about the intersection of race, gender and class politics. Totally different angle from the mostly white, mostly middle-class well-meaning liberal young women who are kind of at the forefront of the third wave of feminism (in the blogosphere, at least, the big mainstream feminist blogs tend to be pretty white and pretty middle class. And pretty boring after a while.)

538. I visited this site daily during the run-up to this year's election; it has really good analysis of polling outcomes and techniques. Obviously this kind of thing makes me happy, since I have much love in my heart for data and analysis thereof.

sociological images. I'm kind of a new reader so I'm a little at a loss to describe this blog; basically it takes collections of images (or one image? Usually there is more than one, though) and makes an argument based on the messages given by the images. A recent post on a Harper's Bazaar photo shoot, for example, decodes a pretty clear message about appropriate roles in family life. Sort of like going behind the scenes at Disneyland, if Disneyland was the country's collective unconscious.

Indexed. Funny and smart commentary on a lot of wacky stuff.

Style Rookie. Okay, this kid is like 13 and she totally kicks my ass for creativity and awesomeness and style genius and the balls to wear her creations. I so wish I had been her, or had a friend like her, when I was in seventh grade. Instead I will read her blog as an adult and marvel. She totally inspires me to dress better. (thanks to Lisa for sending me this link.)

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I read a lot of random shit, so maybe I will do a post like this again at some point.

14 June 2009

Lasted: one day

I couldn't take the guilt. I moved the roses to the dining room where I wouldn't be the only one enjoying them. I suck.


And as long as I'm confessing things, I'll admit that every picture I post taken inside my house is kinda staged.

the dark blobs under the table are Pip and Simone grooming each other. Not staged

I mean, it mostly looks like this but I'd say that there's about 20% more clutter. (Hmmm, maybe 20% is giving us too much credit. Kay? Can you weigh in on this?) But the booze is only temporary. We're having a whisky party next weekend so we're all stocked up on single malts and bourbon and whiskey. And also wine and beer and rum and vodka in case you want to come to the party but don't like whisky, whiskey or bourbon. (I got kind of carried away at the liquor store.) Also if you're reading this and you're local, I probably know you personally so consider yourself invited and that I am just dumb and forgot to email or facebook you.

So, party, yay. We haven't had a party since my birthday last year, which makes it over a year, which is too long. I have been fussing with my hanging baskets for weeks so they will be party-ready.

this picture was not staged. I don't count "choosing a good angle" as staging.

Okay, that's a lie, I have been fussing with the hanging baskets since I got them and that's because it's the first time I have ever grown flowers and not killed them right away. But this year something has clicked in my brain (regular watering ?) and I'm nuts about gardening.

This picture was not staged. Fuck, now I am obsessed about staging versus not.

When I say the gardening bug has taken hold, I will tell you that I have begun saving the water from when I clean the fishtank and use it to water the plants. Fish poop is rich in nitrogen, apparently. I also made an all-natural aphid repellent from dish soap, wesson and water. So far it doesn't seem to have done much to deter the aphids. It's a bummer since it's cheap and I felt like a virtuous hippie when I was making it, but I think I will go back to the all-natural shit they sell at the garden center, which at least seems to kill the fuckers. I question their claims of "able to use on day of harvest" but it says it's for organic gardeners, so it can't be too bad. Right?

Anyway, I should shut up now. I have dishes to do, laundry to fold, litterboxes to scoop. Miles to go before I sleep.

13 June 2009

Great Expectations

I wish my desk looked this clean all the time. This picture is totally staged though. The roses (from my little pots) smell like summer. I feel a little guilty that I'm the only one who will get to enjoy them, since I am the only one who sits here. Not guilty enough to move the vase, though.


Anyway, so fake cleanliness. Recently I bit the bullet and bought a new vacuum. I actually forked out five hundred bucks for a Dyson Animal. It was the reviews on Amazon that did it to me. They were like, insanely positive. There were reviews titled, "This Vacuum Changed My Life." I am not even making this up.

So when it I arrived I got all excited and insisted on vacuuming at 10 pm and testing each attachment in turn. This made Dave very angry. I think he wanted to sleep or watch TV or relax or something. I don't know the specifics because I wasn't really paying attention. I decided a long time ago that he's lucky to have a wife who gets so pumped up about vacuums and keeping the house clean.

I am kind of disappointed in the vacuum though. I think maybe my expectations got over-inflated by all those long, lovingly detailed reviews by people who now referred to their Dysons as "Jesus". So I was pretty much thinking that the second I plugged it in, all the dust in the house would race into the vacuum's gaping maw of its own accord while the vacuum gave me head.

It didn't work out quite like that, though. I mean, it worked fine and smelled better than the 15 year old Kenmore we have been using, which emits a steady stream of something that smells like a dog fart from its nether regions, but it definitely didn't make the earth move. I dunno. I think I was kind of stupid to buy into the hype in the first place. So I guess the moral of this story is, even a $500 vacuum won't go down on you.

12 June 2009


Sigur Ros. My favorite album is called ( ), and they released it with all the tracks untitled. The whole album is sung in a made-up language called Vonlenska. Later on they went back and gave the tracks names and translated the invented language. It's really pretty, and they are very hip, in part because they aren't that well-known. Plus Pico Iyer is a fan! How can you go wrong?

This is the first track on the album. It is a beautiful haunting sad song (I listen to it a lot at work for this reason).

The video is unsettling and creepy. In a good way.

11 June 2009

june showers

Obligatory blogger's photo of rose with raindrops

The pretty roses have less-pretty aphids

This shrub rose is called wingding, which makes me think of the font. Hee.

Hairy tomato stems. Also well-equipped with aphids.

And besides growing things in containers, we've been "pruning", aka whacking the hell out of the plants in the garden which are overgrown (which is all of them.)

I call this one "Hacked-off hedges, flanked by giant brush pile"

Another contributor to the brush pile. This thing used to reach the second floor. In winter it got so bowed down with snow that the branches made the sidewalk impassable anytime we had a storm. Since we got 64 inches this winter, that happened a lot.

This picture of the brush pile doesn't do the real thing justice (and I'm not far enough along on my photography lessons to know how to take a better picture) but at least the cars are there for scale.

It's been raining a lot lately, and cold. It didn't help either of our moods to come home today and find that the cleaning lady had had a festival of breakage. She broke the hot water faucet handle in the bathroom, the step/lid thingie on the kitchen trash can, and although this isn't technically breaking anything, I unwisely left out one of the buckets that I use for cleaning the fish tank. She used it to do something else with - probably cleaning the floor, which is good, but with chemicals, which means I won't be able to use it for the fish again. Dammit. She also forgot to lock the house up when she was leaving. Gah.

09 June 2009


worked late, home even later (around 8) because I allowed some poor Irish girl standing on the street corner in the rain to talk to me about the charity she was hawking. twenty minutes later something called "children international" has my credit card details and will be taking $22/month to give to impoverished girls in India.

Guess I had sucker on my forehead tonight because on the T some I allowed some rando to strike up a conversation with me, all because I said, "fuck!" when the train stopped and the lights went out. The rando accompanied me all the way to the Harvard square T stop, interrogating me about my job and telling me about his life history. Judging from his pinpoint pupils, he was on drugs of some kind, but totally harmless. Plus he was so tiny I could have snapped him in two with ease.

am writing this hurriedly while the water for my polenta comes to a boil. bet I will find typos galore when I re-read. More than usual, I mean, since I never proof before posting. i'm slack like that.

anyway, so here is a nice picture of me and Dave taken at some gig somewhere, sometime in the last couple of months.

I think we must have been sitting down, since I am not usually taller than him.

update: I think I must be sitting on his lap here.

08 June 2009



in the ocean is one of my favorite things. Unfortunately, though our hotel was right on the beach, the surf there was too rough to do much swimming (not if you wanted to keep your bathing suit on, anyway.)

But we did get to do some snorkeling one day, and I bought a disposable underwater camera and took pictures. None of them are great, but some of them give you an idea.

I have to say, turtles that are actually in the water are fast motherfuckers. They also have moss on their shells.

They kind of look like they're flying through the water.

Swimming with the fishes!

The people running the cruise made us all wear stupid deflatable life jackets that wouldn't deflate all the way, so I couldn't dive as deep as I wanted - so all the reef pictures look kind of faraway.

Also apparently underwater cameras need to come with a flash, because this parrot fish just looks blue, like everything else. Underwater cameras also seem to have strange and interesting results in the film, which compensates a little.

This is more like what a parrot fish looks like in real life. I didn't take that picture, though. these people did.

07 June 2009

gardening etc

We spent most of this sunny weekend outside. Well, got a good chunk of time outside, anyway. We ran a bunch of errands yesterday, including a trip to the the hardware store for a serious pair of pruning scissors, the kind that can take down live wood with a two inch diameter. These things could take your hand off at the wrist.

I was trying to think of a non-boring way to describe how much crap we took down, but I'll just tell you that the resulting brush pile is about the size and shape of a sedan. Something like a Ford Taurus. I think we're going to have to rent a woodchipper to get rid of it. (Speaking of woodchippers, the closest I have ever been to one is the movie Fargo, which we watched last week. It's held up well.)

When I got one particularly big branch, the old guys sitting on the porch across the street clapped for me. Then one yelled, "Don't hurt yourself!" which was a little late since I'd already been hit in the head several times with falling branches. Eventually I learned to get out of the way.

Then today was more errands and yoga, and then we both fell asleep in the afternoon. I took the extended version of the nap while he got up and went for a bike ride. Then I played with the flowers - we have hanging baskets with scarlet verbena and pink petunias and I spent a while deadheading those and the baskets of impatiens.

I also went after the aphids that infest my tomatoes and roses with a "natural" organic pesticide. In a couple of weeks, I think I'll have roses and tomatoes should start being ready a few weeks after that. When the current batch of insecticide runs out, I think I'm going to make my own from dishwashing liquid, mineral oil and water.

I'm really excited about the gardening stuff this year for some reason. I've made various attempts before at container gardening, but I've always proven to have a black thumb. Hopefully this year will be better, because I really like flowers and homegrown tomatoes.

For dinner tonight we grilled some steak tips (just the Whole Foods "santa fe" marinated steak tips) and some veggies (videlia onion, summer squash and zucchini tossed in a mixture of olive oil, fresh thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.) I love my new gas grill - means the grill is ready to go in ten minutes - and the nonstick grill pan I used for the vegetables. We had sweetcorn, too. I love early summer corn.

All in all it was a pretty restful weekend. A good break from the work week (although actually I should be catching up on some work stuff rather than sitting on the couch blogging and catching up on other blogs. Oh well. I so need to make this rhubarb-berry jam soon. Although I originally went to David Lebovitz's site because summer has got me wanting to start making ice cream again. I'm dying to make this Salted Butter Caramel icecream, which I think will be delicious but looks like a pain in the ass since you make 2 kinds of caramel as well as the custard for the base. Bet it will be worth it, though.)

04 June 2009

cop out picture post

It's thursday and I don't have a lot to say for myself, so here's an old picture of Simone nursing Pip.

kittens nursing 014

And I've downloaded a bunch of lessons that will be an intro to DSLR, since I really am not using the camera's functionality to the utmost. The lessons will take me through the technical stuff and then towards the end you learn some basic rules of composition. I think it will be exactly what I need to make my pictures better.

03 June 2009

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah

So Dave brought home flowers for me last night, which was a nice (and timely) surprise, given The Night Of The Candles.


I love flowers, and it's not that I'm glad Zoe is dead or anything, but I totally don't miss her habit of eating all flowers that were brought into the house and then barfing up piles of gaily colored petals right underneath the dining room table. None of the other four seem interested in eating flowers, so yay - more flowers for me!

After work tonight I made dinner (one of those desperation meals that ends up being surprisingly good. This was a lentil-chickpea-tomato thing with a bunch of fresh coriander I clipped a couple of days ago from the "garden", aka a couple of containers of tomatoes.

Roar! T-Rex cooks dinner!

Check out my vintage apron. I fucking love that thing. I bought it from a htrift store in outside of Buffalo on one of our trips there to visit his family. I used to wear the apron as a wraparound skirt the summer after I'd had mono and had lost twenty pounds. It was very short and very breezy. Perfect for hot days!

Mono is no fucking joke when you're a grownup. Most people can't just take two weeks off work or whatever the way a kid who's in high school or college can. Anyway, I certainly didn't have that much sick leave or enough job security and didn't feel like I could take the time off to get well. Plus my mono went undiagnosed for about two months, which gave it time to get really bad. I kept going to the doctor and telling them my throat hurt and I was really tired and feverish all the time, and they just kept diagnosing me with strep throat and giving me antibiotics. I did have a whole bunch of strep infections but they were a side effect from the mono, which knocks out your immune system. I got really terrible colds during this period too, the kind with a big fever which throws your ass on the floor. At one point I thought I was actually going to get fired because I'd taken all my sick time and all my vacation time.

But then Mom suggested I get tested for mono, so I asked the doctor to do that along with the usual strep test, and it turned out I did have mono. Then at least it made sense why I was falling asleep in traffic and at my desk at work and any time I sat still for more than 30 seconds. The way I knew I was finally getting better was that my insomnia started up again. Then I knew I was done with the mono. But that didn't happen until I'd been sick for about 9 months, and I'd gotten reaaaaal thin.

Overexposed Going home
I overexposed the crap out of this photo so you can see how scrawny I'd gotten.

I can't say I miss the mono - it sucked, I didn't see any friends for the whole time because I couldn't stay awake long enough to leave the house - but that flat stomach was nice. Oh well. My boobs are bigger now. You win some, you lose some.

And just 'cause, here's a sneak peek at my first embroidery project. I am, by the way, totally loving the ability to do a little photo tweaking in picnik from within flickr. Now, Yahoo, if you could get this right, why can't you make your search engine better?


It's an apron, of course, because I am that freak who collects aprons. Some day I should do an apron round-up post. That would probably be the most boring blog post ever, but that's what the internet is for, right? Saving toenail clippings and showing off your aprons?

02 June 2009

01 June 2009

Just like the pioneers

I am typing this in the dark, with Lucky draped over my left arms and part of the touchpad - every time I click the mouse he gets offended, but not offended enough to disembark. I can't touch-type so the screen is bent towards me at a less than 90 degree angle so I can see the letters on the keys by the romantic backlighting of the LCD.

The reason I am typing in the dark is because Dave is in the midst of a full-blown manic episode and is trying to calm himself down ironing by candlelight. Just like the pioneers did! Earlier we had a stimulating round of, "Why can't you read my mind" wherein I failed repeatedly to read Dave's mind. Maybe if I just try harder next time, I'll figure it out and he won't get so mad! Just kidding. Maybe next time I will wise up and start drinking early in the evening. I bet the pioneer wives did that, too.

Anyway, so I should stop typing now so I find out what further excitements the evening holds for me. Also I think it's time to get into my jammies. Jammies are the best.

30 May 2009

Happy Caturday


Lucky had oral surgery* this week and held a grudge against me for like 5 days because I was the one who dropped him off and picked him up from the vet. I think he's forgiven me now though.

*The cost for the op came in under $1000. What a bargain! It's almost like I saved money. Except that it still cost about nine hundred dollars.

29 May 2009

The Lazy Woman's Way to Blog

... reposting a Facebook meme. So sue me. It's Friday and I'm on the couch in my jammies and just realized I forgot about a friend's birthday. I feel bad, but not bad enough to get dressed again and go out out to a crowded bar. (Sorry, dude. I'll buy you a beer soon, okay?)

Fifteen books that stayed with me.

1)The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. It's funny, it's perceptive about what makes people tick, it's learned, it's well-plotted and the devil shows up in a bunch of cameo roles.
2) Hamlet - Shakespeare. I re-read Hamlet periodically, mostly when I'm feeling really sorry for myself, because no one knows more about self-pity than Hamlet.
3) Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It's kind of fashionable to despise Dickens as a schlocky wordbag, but unpalatable as that kind of saccharine is to the modern reader, he was usually using those moments to make a larger point about a social injustice. Once he was rich and famous he used his writing as a platform to call for social reforms, which rocks. Plus he is capable of some genuinely gorgeous passages and can create as complex a character as any in literature.
4) All the Calvin & Hobbes books - Bill Watterson. I learned a lot from watching Watterson toe the fine line between funny and bleak, and I respect the hell out of him for stopping at the top of his game.
5) The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken. McCracken's prose is simple and beautiful, and she navigates the weighty themes of love, death and the frailty of the human condition without ever breaking a sweat.
6) The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. I have a weakness for re-told fairy tales and Carter's lush, dark writing.
7) Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. Another fairy tale re-telling. The plot reads as though it grew organically but she's got layers and layers of classical references in there. I think it is technically brilliant as well as a sympathetic portrait of the extent to which children are disenfranchised.
8) Portrait of a Lady - Henry James. I really think it was James's work that first got me interested in psychology.
9) The Chronicles of Barchester - Anthony Trollope. What can I say? I have a thing for 19th century drawing room stories. Plus the man can plot.
10) Everything Jane Austen wrote. There is nothing new I can say about her.
11) The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. I have loved this since I first read it at 15 and now that I'm 31 I still love it. It is just so beautiful.
12) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - a hundred years later, this is STILL a creepy story as well as, you know, a discussion of good vs. evil and a virtuoso example of literary showmanship. I always think Hitchcock must have learned a lot from this book.
13) The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis (pretend I put the accent over the a.) Admittedly strange reading for an atheist, but this got me through a lot of long, hard nights in my late teens and early twenties. Pain is pain, yo, whether it's religious or secular.
14) The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I'm not normally a short story person but oh my god, these were so wonderfully written.
15) From Hell by Alan Moore. This was the book that made me finally understand what the big deal was about graphic novels.

What are y'all's 15 big books? I had a hard time narrowing it down and probably if I did it again tomorrow, I'd have 15 different books, but still fun.

28 May 2009

A Day In the Life

Things I have done tonight since getting home:

Dropped Dave off at a bandmate's house
Fed and medicated the cats (this is a much bigger pain in the ass than you'd think.)
Petted the cats
Practiced smiling at myself in the mirror to prepare for the new license picture I will get tomorrow, god willing and the crick don't rise
Noodled around on the internet

Things I still need to do:
clean litterboxes
make dinner and clean up
go to bed early so can actually get into work at eight like I've been meaning to do all week

How can such boring stuff keep me so busy? WTF?

25 May 2009

Up to

The trip to Barbados for our first anniversary was fantastic.

We hung out with old friends from our last trip and made a few new ones.
clearly that ten pounds hasn't budged since the last time I posted about it.

We went ziplining in the rainforest.

We went sailing on the catamaran and snorkled over coral reefs and a sunken ship. We swam with enormous, friendly sea turtles. (We'll see if any of my pictures from the disposable underwater camera actually come out. I petted one. Its back was surprisingly mossy.) The view was gorgeous.

And the boat had an open bar for the whole trip.
What ten pounds?

We had many romantic dinners.

Isn't the decor just awesome?

I chased reluctant crabs with my camera.

We did plenty of lounging around, too.

The cats were happy to see us when we came home.

Since we've been home, I have done approximately one thousand loads of laundry, made meringues and puttered around with the container "garden", aka a couple of tomatoes and a few hanging baskets on the porch that I'm desperately trying to keep alive. Also I dyed my hair blond.


And that's all the news I've got for now.