Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Showering in the Stream of Consciousness

Yesterday I stepped into the shower without my glasses on. Which, well yeah, of course I took my glasses off. But I usually wear my contact lenses in the shower even though you're not supposed to because you can lose them, which has happened to me exactly zero times in 26 years of wearing contact lenses. Without them, I can see clearly for about 3 inches past my nose and what is I want to shave my legs? They're way the hell down there where I can't see without my contacts or contortions that are dangerous to perform while standing on wet porcelain. And pink eye=no contacts=glasses.

OK, so I stepped into the shower.

  1. Oh crap, there's a roach on the soap.
  2. I'd better put on my glasses and deal with it.
  3. Gah!!!!!
  4. GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Bee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. There is a bee hanging out, climbing up the side of HA's shampoo bottle.
  7. Gah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. Flash on this episode of the UK version of Coupling:
  9. Obtain disposable plastic cup and one of those magazine subscription cards, donning a bathrobe in the process because this isn't that sort of blog.
  10. Watch bee hang out on shampoo bottle, which of course, has no flat surfaces thereby prohibiting capture.
  11. Hey, I should take a picture of the bee for the blog.
  12. No, that might scare it and scared bees are sting-y bees. (Not stingy bees. It's not like I'm going to be asking the bee for a donation.)
  13. Wish we had a screen on the bathroom window, but we rent and the likelihood of receiving a window screen for a narrow (therefore nonstandard) window is less than the likelihood of the bee leaving of its own volition.
  14. Bee falls off shampoo bottle.
  15. Gah!!!!!! Where is it now???
  16. Move shampoo bottle and other items to the sink.
  17. Place cup over bee right before it starts climbing on the conditioner bottle.
  18. What the hell is it with this bee and Head and Shoulders?
  19. Am I being visited by a bee with dandruff?
  20. Because that would be horrible for a bee. Little dandruff flakes falling from it as it flies along, getting in the honey, the other bees back in the hive whispering behind her back. That's no way for a bee to live.
  21. Slip card under cup, thereby trapping the bee.
  22. Look up at the window, which is open at the top, too high for me to reach.
  23. Open bedroom window, including screen, which doesn't want to stay up, but is staying up enough to fit the cup through.
  24. Those keeping kids from falling out of the window guards will make this difficult, but I'll manage.
  25. Observe bee in cup, not freaking out too badly.
  26. Start to lift cup and card. Realize that card is flimsy and could allow bee escapage.
  27. Slip several other magazine subscription cards underneath the card.
  28. Release bee into the wild.
  29. Except that I didn't see it fly away.
  30. It's not on the cards.
  31. Is it in the cup? Eek!
  32. It didn't seem to be in the cup, yet I managed to drop it out the window, so it's definitely gone now.
  33. Oops.
  34. Call HA.
  35. Say, "Bee!!!!!!!!!!!!" as soon as he answers.
  36. Request and receive assurances of my awesome bravery.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let's Recap, Shall We?

A week ago Saturday, the whole Crazy Old Bitch shoplifting episode.

Tuesday, was the fun trip to the Emergency Room.

Thursday was a trip to a new doctor was a regularly scheduled checkup. A doctor who runs her office on island time. When I made the appointment, I was told that she doesn't go by appointment times, but the sign in sheet since some people may need her longer than planned. I was not told that this would translate into a 2 hour wait to see the doctor.

Who discovered I had an infection I didn't know about and prescribed a single pill to take care of it.

A pill that gave me nausea and abdominal pain.

For 3 days.

But I had to leave the house on Friday to follow up with my internist about the leg thingy that sent me to the ER in the first place.

But there was Mr. Softee truck near the doctor's office when I went in, so I'd be able to get some well-needed protein and stomach-coating ice cream.

But I was running late, so I'd see Mr. Softee after my appointment.

Except that Mr. Softee didn't know that we had a date and left by the time I was finished. Because right outside Central Park on a hot day isn't a good place to sell ice cream. Or something.

Saturday--leg still hurts, stomach still troublesome, I wake up with a migraine and.......PINK EYE!

Any bets on what will go wrong with my body next? Since I'm feeling like Job, I'm guessing boils.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


So I went to the Emergency Room on Tuesday. Here's how it went down:
  1. Hey, my thigh looks kinda weird.
  2. Poke, poke.
  3. Hmm...painful swelling in that one spot. I didn't hurt myself there, so WTF?
  4. Hmm...could be a dangerous and potentially fatal blood clot. I should look that up online. Maybe I'm wrong.
  5. I should call my doctor after breakfast.
  6. Make breakfast.
  7. Begin to eat breakfast.
  8. OK, so the internet agrees about the clot, but also says it could be a varicose vein about to happen (oh, joy) or a rare disease only found in the elderly. Or a bunch of other stuff that it isn't.
  9. Yeah, I'd better call my doctor for an emergency appointment just to confirm that I'm not going to drop dead today.
  10. Take a vitamin, take another vitamin.
  11. Shooting, crushing pain up to my jaw and down my left arm.
  12. OK, now you're just having a panic attack. Cut that the fuck out.
  13. Apparently, I don't have that kind of power over my body.
  14. My arm is shaking and looks kinda scary. I think I'll just put these vitamins down and call my parents for a ride to the hospital.
  15. Because I am totally in a condition to be calming my mom the fuck down right now. I'll call an ambulance.
  16. After I get ready. There's a lot of waiting time in an emergency room.
  17. And drink my tea. I'll get a migraine if I don't and the pain's gone, so no need to rush.
  18. Start to gather things and plug in cell phone because of course it's almost out of juice.
  19. Call HA, yelling about where did he put my water bottle because I need it for the Emergency Room.
  20. Gather things, including a book to pass the time. Decide that contact lenses can wait until after I call 911 and put them in my purse.
  21. Call 911, unlock door as per dispatcher's instructions (in case I collapse and can't let them in.)
  22. Get dressed and wait for ambulance.
  23. Read blogs to keep calm.
  24. Resist urge to stop by my Farmtown farm to harvest the cows and hens since that would be fucked up.
And so forth. The heart monitor on the ambulance confirmed that I hadn't had a heart attack, so that was nice. That part was a panic attack after all. The hospital ran some tests including an ultrasound of my leg veins, since I was right about that whole needing to rule out blood clots.

So no clots or anything else to freak out over, but I was given stern advice to follow up with the regular doctor, which I'm totally gonna do because it still hurts and I don't know what the fuck it is.

HA joined me in the ER and when they let me go (and not a nanosecond before), we called my parents for a ride home.

Now, let me make it clear. It's not that I don't want to see my Mom, but I didn't want to freak her out unnecessarily. My Mom isn't usually a hysterical lunatic, but when it comes to her kids, it's a whole different ball game. It's much better for everyone that I didn't call her saying that I was just heading over to the ER to make sure I wasn't going to suddenly drop dead. Just trust me on this. Or take my brother's word for it. I called him that evening so he'd hear about it all from me.

Me: I didn't call Mom until it was time to go home.
My Brother: Right on. Good call.

I come by my high-strungness honestly, is what I'm saying.

While we were waiting for the doctor to come and talk to us about the test results, HA told that I'd be getting ice cream. I said wha? and he explained that's what the song says.

He then brought up the Hospital from the Fat Albert record, which he had on his iPhone, placed his headphones on my head and played it. It does, indeed, promise ice cream.

I was issued hazelnut gelato when we got home. But I still think I'm going to need some Carvel or Mister Softee. The song is stuck in my head, and every time I hear it in my brain, I want more ice cream.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Got Caught Stealing

I like the Jane's Addiction song as much as anyone else, but it's not like I watch the video for helpful hints.

So I went to Duane Reade to buy some eye cream. As you may be aware, Olay has 3 or 4 lines of lotions and I can never remember whether I use the Age Defying or Total Effects or whatever, so I take the empty jar with me.

I found the aisle where they keep that stuff since this is my first time buying eye cream in my new neighborhood (those little jars last a long time, which is why they cost so freaking much). I then began the eye cream purchasing process.
  1. Take out old, empty jar.
  2. Look at old jar.
  3. Look at products on shelf.
  4. Look at jar.
  5. Look at shelf.
  6. Jar.
  7. Shelf.
  8. Resolve myself to the absence of my particular eye cream on the shelf.
  9. Put old jar back in my bag.
At this point, an old blonde woman who looks like she brushes her hair only slightly more often than the average bag lady gives me a dirty look and puts herself and her shopping cart between me and the shelf, making a big show of finding the lotion that matches her coupon. Instead of fighting with the crazy lady, I start examining my eye cream options on an adjacent shelf. I compare the two Loreal eye creams and put one back. The Crazy Old Bitch, henceforth to be referred to as the COB for short, finally goes away and I settle on the ROC eye cream, which is on sale and is the only one they have that I haven't tried before.

Any suggestions on an eye cream that will actually do something about the dark circles under my eyes instead of just claiming it will? That would rock.

I wondered what this woman's problem was and assumed she thought I was shoplifting with a COB 5 inches away from me. Because dishonest people are stupid.

WTF did I care? I didn't steal anything and only had my Envirosax bag with my wallet and a few other things tossed in it, so I could prove my innocence quickly if it came to that. It's not like I never thought I'd have to explain the old jar in the years I've been doing this. White privilege probably kept things easy for me. Someone browner and younger than I am might be watched more closely and with less trust. Which sucks, but I'm the last person to say that the world doesn't suck.

I get on line and discover COB standing next to the registers since rude people don't need to stand on line. She starts talking to herself about batteries, walks over to the batteries, takes a package of AAAs, says "These look short," and asks the guy in front of me what kind you use for remote controls. The guy mumbles and I and the guy behind me both say, "It depends." COB says, "I was talking to him," as me and the guy behind me ignore her and keep explaining batteries.

COB goes back to her cart and starts unloading her stuff when the person who was at the register finishes. No one objects because who the fuck is going to bother fighting with a COB over cutting the line when there are two cashiers and things are moving quickly. Some things are just not worth it.

The other cashier frees up and COB leans over and says something to him. He starts ringing up my products and picks up the phone and asks "Did you finish that thing?" or something like that. This is clearly Duane Reade code for Code Red because another guy came up and my cashier asked him to finish ringing me up. Also, a manager (a thin, authoritative woman) was standing by the exit. I checked my receipt to make sure I got the discounts I should've gotten from the rewards card because I bought HA 2 deodorants to get the discounted price and I'm not going to smell a different brand on him for that long without a discount.

I stepped away from the counter and the manager asked me to come to the back. I said, "Sure," in an emphatic, I've got nothing to hide, you're just doing your job way. In the back room, which contains a table, a couple of chairs and small lockers for the employees (I cringe to think this is where they have to take their break--no wonder Duane Reade employees are known for being grouchy and unhelpful. Though this is the magic Duane Reade where the employees are consistently nice, so credit where credit is due.), I go to the table and start emptying my bag. When I get to the old, empty jar, I show it to the manager, tell her why I have it, explain that the COB saw me putting it in my bag and complained about COB getting in my way when I was trying to shop.

For the non-eye cream consumers in the audience, the jars come in boxes and are usually see-through enough so that it's obvious when they're full or empty. I've been bringing the old jar with me for years without trouble because it's so obviously an old jar.

I'd suspected that it would come to this, but I was still shaking in anger and embarrassment. I'm 39 for fuck's sake. Plus, the last time I shopped in that Duane Reade, my credit card didn't go through because someone had stolen the number and tried to spend $996 in India, which the credit card company flagged as suspect. So I'd had enough issues in this one location for one week.

The manager apologized and explained that they have to act when someone makes an accusation (even when they're COBs) and I left.

I kept my eye out for COB because I'm from Brooklyn and do not take it lightly when someone fucks with me.

She was hanging out outside the store, waiting for the cops to haul me away, I guess. I'm assuming her line jumping was also so she could rat me out.

I walked up to her, staying out of hitting distance, because COBs are not necessarily beyond violence. I said (and I admit that this isn't my classiest moment), "I didn't steal shit." You know, because I'm from Brooklyn and that's how we talk when we're pissed off.

She accused me of getting scared and putting it back and I told her to go fuck herself. Again, not my best moment, but I suffer fools less gladly than most people. Of course, I didn't expect her to apologize. I was mad and I was letting it out. On the street. With people turning around to look. To my credit, I didn't take out the empty jar and throw it at her.

I don't lose my temper with HA because of his patented mellowness, so it made a nice change to yell.

She told me I should go fuck myself because I would know about that because no one would fuck me. Because astoundingly stupid criminals never get laid, I assume.

I walked away because I had gotten what I wanted out of the interaction and should've been at the laundromat helping HA fold the laundry. She shouted that she used to work for the cops. Not that she was a cop, but that she worked for them. Perhaps as an informant when her crack dealer boyfriend pissed her off enough for her to turn him in. Or maybe she was a file clerk who picked up super undercover skills while putting papers into folders.

As I walked across the street, she shouted, "What's in your underwear?" which I assumed convinced the onlookers which one of us was the COB. Also? I was wearing a maxi dress with a t-shirt underneath. Neither of my undergarments is exactly accessible in that ensemble for the purposes of stashing ill gotten booty, or for any other purposes, really.

Fortunately, I have a blog because after I ranted the whole story to HA, I had more ranting to do and the man can only be expected to put up with so much.

He says I should've offered the COB my sympathies for her being such an asshole. I wish I'd refused to go to the back and had the manager look in my bag in front of everyone, COB included.

So now what? Everyone who works in the magic Duane Reade will recognize me as the lady who may be shoplifter? Then again, both cashiers made sure to scan my rewards card and even gave me the $5 off I'd earned with my rewards points. You know, right before they escorted me to the back to see if they needed to call the cops.

Any more I shoulda saids?

Now, excuse me while I do something about these dark circles under my eyes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The apartment has been cleared of a metric fuckton of dirty tissues and I'm back to doing battle with my migraines. I just discovered that the lemons I've been squeezing into my water to control my acid reflux seems to be a migraine trigger. Well, hello, jumbo size container of Tums.

But I'm feeling great today thanks to some lovely pharmaceuticals. My old migraine medicine (which I used to be afraid to leave the house without) is dead to me. Dead! I was so eager to take the new stuff this morning that I tried to put it in my mouth while it was still in the foil pack.

My internal dialogue: Hey, I'm poking myself in the mouth with sharp plastic. That can't be right.

So I'm just back from my very first CSA pickup and I'm squee-ing all over the kitchen. If you don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A bunch of people pay a bunch of money in the spring, the farmer uses the money to buy seeds and when the seeds have turned into food, the people get a bunch of fresh vegetables one a week for 20 weeks. You can also get fruit and eggs and so on if you go for those options. You have no idea what you'll get every week, but it's economical and convenient.

So here's my haul:

Yellow squashes, a cucumber, green beans, tomatoes, curly kale, spring onions, beets basil and lettuce.

I realize that you care very little about my veggies, but there are a few things of interest in the photo that may amuse you. From left to right:
  • Recipe hanging from a skirt hanger hanging from hook on the cabinet door. The recipe is for cinnamon cake in a mug, which is a moderately effective treatment for my migraines in a way that eating straight sugar is not.
  • Turquoise and brown cocoa tin holding cooking utensils. We bought it on our honeymoon and it keeps the drawers from getting too cluttered.
  • Mesh vegetable basket shaped like a pumpkin.
  • Cheerios--the one processed food you'll have to pry from my cold, dead hands.
  • The glass thing with a black cover--it's a microwave popcorn popper that has rocked my world. It's on the counter waiting to be cleaned because I refuse to let it hang out in the sink waiting to be cleaned where it could be chipped or cracked (rendering it unsafe for the microwave) so it gets forgotten and then washed before each use instead of after, which works.
So what random crap is on your kitchen counter? Any favorite recipes for kale or beet greens?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back from the Land of the Phlegmy

I've been blogging less than I'd like because I was having an extended rough patch with migraines. I finally went to a specialist and started a new medicine/vitamin/supplement regime and felt so fabulous that I was staring at my prescription bottles adoringly.

And then I caught a cold because some deity hates me and heaven forfend that I feel good for 10 whole days in a row. The God of Viruses, Pain, and Keeping Me From Ever Getting Anything Done is such an asshole. I'm hoping that I can placate him by pouring libations of Robitussin.

I've spent the last 9 days going through 2 boxes of tissues and making up songs. Imagine me singing "Hocking Loogies" to the tune of The Village People's "In The Navy" with a sore throat. And then wonder why my husband puts up with me. I don't know either.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Catholic Funerals

Calm down, no one's dead. Well, people die every day, but no one I know has passed recently (knock wood, turn around three times and spit on someone who deserves it).

But a Facebook and Ravelry acquaintance just put out a plea for advice on Catholic funeral protocol since she's attending one tomorrow. Since the half of me that isn't Jewish is Catholic , here's the lowdown.

You don't have to wear all black and it's OK to leave tattoos and piercings exposed.

If there's a wake/viewing on a day before the funeral, you can attend that and that's it, depending on how close you are to the family.

If the viewing right before the funeral is family only, you won't be told when it is. If people are passing around viewing times, you can be sure that you're not intruding.

If they have a Rosary service, you can attend, but you don't have to. If they have a funeral mass, go if you want to or feel that you want to support the family. There are missals all over the church that contain much of the mass' text, so you can know when and how to respond to things. Kneel, sit and stand when the people in the front rows do, though the missal also includes those instructions.

If you are not Catholic, do NOT take communion. Protestants may hand out wafers to any Christian, but not Catholics. It may taste like styrofoam, but Catholics take that shizz very seriously.

Since there's just been a whole mass in church, the graveside service is small and is usually attended by family and close friends.

OK, now here's the thing that will impress the Catholics with your knowledge of their mysterious culture: Mass Cards. You make a set donation ($10-15 ish) to a group of nuns or priests and they say a mass for the deceased person. They may even add the person's name to a list of people they pray for regularly. The actual card is a greeting card informing the family. They're not expected from non-Catholics, but they're a nice touch. My mother won't leave the house for a wake without getting her hands on a mass card. It's kind of like a casserole in that sense.

You can get a mass card from a Catholic person, since they probably have a few stashed in a drawer. The funeral home may also have them. Once you send in your donation to the nuns, they'll keep sending you mass cards for future use, so hold onto them. The nuns may also send rosary beads. Give them to a Catholic--they'll pass them along to someone who can use them.

If your co-workers do a condolence card and chip in for a charitable donation, you can take some of the money for a mass card.

Any questions?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sweater Quest

Adrienne Martini's latest book is about her quest to tackle the knitter's Mount Everest--knitting a highly complicated sweater from an out-of-print pattern that combines a lot of colors which makes substituting the original, out-of-production yarn a challenge.

I've seen pictures of Alice Starmore designed sweaters online and I haven't been stricken with the desire to make any of them. Since the many colors thing can look a little busy and the sweaters themselves are boxy, they're not the most flattering garments. But AS is considered a genius of color theory and sometimes making something complicated is the entire point of a project.

I figured so what if the sweater wasn't to my taste. I'm a little more than halfway through reading the book and I'm enjoying it. (And it explains the knitting stuff so that nonknitters can read too. It's not a knitting book as much as it is a book about following an obsession.)

Last week I saw Adrienne's finished sweater in person and holy crap is it beautiful. Looking at it broke my brain for a moment. I have a photo of the whole thing, but I'm not going to post it since AS is a bit litigious. (I'm not going to go into it. Read the book or look online for the story if you're interested. And also? Litigious and therefore controversial knitwear designer? This book is sounding juicer every moment, no?)

But here's a closeup of the design. My cell phone picture doesn't do it justice. But holy cow, right?

And this one shows how critical the color choices are in a project like this. Look at the garish green stripe in the square at the bottom and compare it to the olivey green that was used in the final sweater. Not all greens are created equal.

The book event where I beheld the sweater was at Om Yoga, and involved a 30 minute yoga class. I've been doing yoga since 2002, so ordinarily I'd be all over a free yoga class, but I was smited by migraine that day, so I went late so I could be there fore the reading and knitting. (Thank the knitting gods that the medicine I took for the headache actually worked that time. It doesn't always.) My migraines have really been kicking my ass the past few weeks, so it was a minor triumph to get out of the house for something besides a doctor's appointment. (If you've never suffered a migraine, I'll just say that if brain tumors hurt (which they don't because there are no nerves inside your brain) than a migraine is what they'd feel like. In fact, it hurts just to write or think about it, so I'll change the subject before I end up communing with my couch and an icepack.)

My knitting has been confined to making 150 elves which will be the favors at my brother's wedding on May 1. I can't remember a time when I wasn't knitting these things, but I'm on schedule to have them all done on time. But woe to anyone who gets in the way of me taking a picture of all of them together because you don't climb your personal Everest without taking a few pictures.

I Got the Church Giggles at Sedar

That pretty much sums up the entire story I've been meaning to get around to writing up. But really, the story of someone else's church giggles is only funny if they re-enact the entire thing and the real point of my telling you is to share the reason. I lost my shit while reading and pointing to the matzah because I couldn't stop thinking about Slate's 2 Minute Sedar.

It didn't help that the first section I had to read is summarized thus:
A funny story: Once, these five rabbis talked all night, then it was morning.

Because seriously? What is the point of that story anyway? They stayed up talking all night about the exodus. Well, good for them, but we have a dozen goyim waiting to eat and forcing toddlers to sit at a formal dinner table while forbidding them to eat is just mean.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Speaking of Obscure Songs

This year at the Corned Beef Fest, my Aunt Mel started the Does Anyone Remember a Song That Goes Like This? game. She only remembered the lyrics: I don't care if it rains or freezes, as long as I have my plastic Jesus on the dashboard of my car.

I made HA whip out his iPhone and look it up. (I have an iPhone too, but I keep it in my purse, which was way the hell on the other side of the room and he keeps his in his pocket.) And there is indeed a song about a plastic Jesus.

HA and I have both had the song stuck in our head since. We've even changed the lyrics to:
I love your coughs and your sneezes, and I love your cute, cute kneeses. I love you so much that I could plotz.

Because that's how we roll.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Corned Beef Fest

I brought with me:
  • 2 machine-baked loaves of rye bread
  • 2 pairs of alligator mittens (1 for an almost 2-year old and the other for my early-20-something godson who specially requested them)
  • 1 pair of hand knit socks that shrunk in the wash that now fit one of my cousins
I took home:
  • leftovers
  • 2 tins of vintage buttons (I now own both my grandmothers' button boxes. They deserve a post of their own.)
  • a big stack of knitting and sewing books and magazines (also inherited from Grandma)
  • a knitting machine (given to my Grandma by all my aunts and uncles together. We immediately placed orders for those afghans that she'd been making a lot of (me included) because no one realized that those afghans were CROCHETED. It's a testament to her patience and graciousness that she didn't stab us all with a knitting needle.
During the party, my cousin Caitlin (my Godsister* and recipient of the shrunken socks) came into the dining room and complained that she didn't know anything about old movies and someone had made fun of her for it the night before. (She's in her mid-20s**) She mentioned Singing in the Rain, so I asked HA to bring up the iconic dance routine on his iPhone via You Tube.

This is how she looked as she watched it:

Her exclamations included, "Oh, there's a cop, he's going to be in trouble," and "He gave that guy his umbrella. What a nice Gene Kelly."

I can't wait to fully indoctrinate her in the ways of the MGM movie musical and other classics. I'm thinking that Gigi, Top Hat and The Thin Man are must sees. What classics do you think that even a non-movie buff should see?

* We have the same Godfather and her mom is my Godmother.
**I refuse to do the exact math because it'll make me feel old.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh, Those Unicorns

I'm part Irish on my mother's side and usually mark St. Patrick's Day by refusing to wear green because nonconformity comes before ethnicity. Also, the biggest St. Pat's celebration for me rarely happens on the day itself. Every year, Aunt B and Uncle B throw the Corned Beef Fest, in which they cook 25 pounds or so of corned beef, plus cabbages, potatoes and carrots and invite over everyone they know to eat it all. When my grandmother was still alive, it was the one day a year, she'd have alcohol--just a little Bailey's in her coffee.

Other traditions of that day include:
  • men wearing green, white and orange tams crocheted by Grandma.
  • people telling my (Jewish) Dad that there was once a Lord Mayor of Dublin who was Jewish.
  • cries of "get down, get ethnic!"
  • discussion of The Unicorn Song.
You see, for years, my Grandma would tell us about this song by The Clancy Brothers in which the unicorns are too busy frolicking to get on Noah's Ark and that's why there are no unicorns. And not a single other person in the family would remember hearing the song. And we have a large extended family, so that's a lot of people gaslighting Grandma, asking if she just imagined the hoompty-backed camels and the chimpanzees. This being the dark days before the internet, grandma we couldn't just go online and solve the controversy.

And then my Uncle B started dating Aunt B and the Corned Beef Fest came around and the mentioning of the song occurred and Uncle B knew the song perfectly well and looked at everyone like, "what's the matter with you people? Of course there's a unicorn song." The next year, he even brought a record of the song and played it for everyone and no one ever accused Grandma of making up the hoompty-backed camels again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Here's the story...

Friday night, a.k.a. night one of this weekend's monsoon (umbrella slaying winds, fallen trees everywhere, one of the windows in my building's lobby smashed by a branch), I got up to use the bathroom, as one does. I lifted the lid and discovered that the toilet was full of laundry suds. So many suds that they had spilled out from under the lid. Like an episode of the Brady Bunch.

I summoned HA to come have a look because, obviously.

He mentioned that he'd heard some gurgling noise coming from the bathroom while we'd been watching TV. I either didn't hear it, or ignored it. The laundry room is one floor down and down the hall from us, so we figured that...well, whatever. It's not like suds are dangerous or unsanitary.

I was so nonplussed by the whole thing that HA de-sudsed the entire area while I went to the other room to get away from the weird. And then I felt like a bad blogger because I hadn't grabbed a camera to take a picture of my sudsy bathroom to post on the internets for all the world to see. Which is a weird thing to do, but pre-blogs, people would take pictures of these things to show to their friends and family and at least we can get away from the crazy blogger with their toilet pictures without having to pretend to be impressed and interested in pictures of their toilet.

Are you pro- or anti-photos of weird stuff?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Vampire Theory

I've been completely traumatized by the Nightline debate, "Is it OK to be fat?" (it starts playing automatically, so be warned.) Yes, we had a nationally broadcast debate on whether or not it's OK that my body is the shape it is. Sometimes it's really embarrassing to be a human being.

The only reason I watched is that one of the participants was the awesome Marianne Kirby, who I've met at a book signing and have a mutual friend with. Since I couldn't make it in person, I figured I could at least watch it online. In pieces so I could only watch as much as I could handle throughout the day.

I still have post traumatic stress and start thinking of things I'd say to MeMe Roth if I were ever stuck in a room with her. MeMe, for those of you fortunate enough not to know, is a Manhattanite with fat parents and a fat grandmother. She has a certificate in nutrition from a diploma mill and has started her own organization (of one) to fight obesity. Sadly, this is enough for her to be treated as an expert in the media, even though she's been known to steal ice cream from the YMCA during an ice cream social and makes her children place all food they're given in school in a tupperware container to take home for her inspection. Her description of her diet and exercise regime suggest an eating disorder and in conversation, she comes across as crazy and irrational as she quotes studies that don't exist. I can't stand her, but I suspect her behavior is driven by a lot of emotional pain.

I think the politest thing I could manage to say to her would be a quote from a Republican ex-co-worker of mine. I told her about fundamentalist christians who picket new age bookstores and she said, "Some people need to go save a whale." Of course, MeMe would probably turn it into a fat joke, but that's her problem, not mine.

In the debate, MeMe did most of the talking and sounded irrational, the anti-fat author was clearly threatened by Fat Acceptance, which is understandable. Telling someone who's lost 200 pounds that diets don't work and there's a 95% chance that they won't be able to maintain their weight loss for 5 years is going to make them feel threatened and scared. I reacted the same way when I first heard about FA--I didn't want my hope taken away. Marianne and Crystal Renn came across as reasonable and intelligent and clearly won the debate.

Yet even though the only anti-fat debaters they could get didn't come across as reasonable, anti-fat sentiment and dieting culture is so pervasive that we're surrounded by people who foam at the mouth at the thought of a fat person spilling over into their space on airplanes or public transportation. People who talk about dieting constantly, or feel the need to comment on the caloric content of other people's meals. But these people don't see MeMe Roth talking crazy and start to rethink their views.

If crazy people agree with you, then maybe you're wrong.

Which leads me to my theory on the raging popularity of vampires, particularly vamps who don't kill people. There have been theories put forth that women and teen girls are attracted to the sexual restraint shown by these vamps. This makes sense since vampirism as a metaphor for sexuality. But...

I was watching Being Human and realized that Mitchell doesn't drink blood at all. He eats food, and probably meat, but no blood. And Angel only drinks pig blood, or human blood stolen from the hospital blood bank. The sparkly vamps only kill wild animals and go days if not weeks between eating.

Their self restraint is a turn on for some women because they're the ultimate dieters. See, we yo-yo diet because diets don't work, but we blame our failures on our own lack of self-restraint. And if Edward can keep from eating Bella even though she smells like a giant Twinkie to him, then we should be able to resist having a bite of our own birthday cake. These women don't want to have sex with abstinent vampires--they want to be them.

The sparkles and Angel and Spike all get by on animal blood, kind of like having a nutritious shake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And even Spike can't take it without adding a little Wheetabix for texture.

In a season 2 episode of Being Human, Mitchell tries to make all the vamps stop killing since they need to be on the down low for a while. He actually tells them, "you will not feed," and holds up his own abstinence as an example that it's totally doable to unlive without nutrients.

I'm looking forward to the coming popularity of werewolves. Now those are some supernatural beings who know how to just dig in to a meal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Bedbug Story, Part 2

In Part 1, I discovered a bedbug in my shiny new apartment. After that it all turns into silly putty, which is probably all for the best.

A friend of mine tells the story of a cousin of hers. The cousin and her husband buy a house that needs to be completely renovated, so much so that the architect moves into the attic while the work is being done. The day after all the work is finished and the architect moves out, the kitchen ceiling collapses. The woman takes to her bed with some sedatives and leaves her husband to deal with the entire thing. She doesn't rejoin the world until after everything has been fixed.

Upon finding that bedbug, I completely and totally understood how she felt and how she could just check out like that.

I called the building's management company and they scheduled an exterminator right away. Both the management company and the exterminator say that there have never been bedbugs in this building, so we probably caught them from the moving truck despite their precautions. The only other (unlikely) possibility is that we had some in the old apartment, but the roaches were eating them all.

Everything was under control except for one thing. Before the exterminator comes over to spray for bedbugs, you have to bag all your clothes and toys and move everything away from the walls. I had moved 2 days earlier. All I had were boxes piled up against the walls. Boxes in which I used clothes to top off the boxes without adding too much weight.

This was Friday afternoon. Saturday, we had to go clean out the old apartment and the exterminator was coming at 12:30 on Sunday.


My parents came over with a box of industrial sized clear garbage bags and started unpacking like crazy. We could leave books on the shelves, so we made a mad effort to unpack books so we could get rid of some boxes. I left my parents to do that and unpacked the kitchen things, shoving them into cabinets with no regard for where they actually belonged. Towards the end, we were just putting entire boxes in the plastic bags.

It wasn't the sanest day I've ever had. I called HA and yelled, "next time, you get to be the housewife!" Every time my mom tried to calm me down, I yelled, "it's apartment herpes!" an expression I'd picked up online referring to how bedbug infestations may keep returning (although I have friends whose problem was solved after one visit from the exterminator).

We did manage to get everything ready on time. Every stitch of clothing I own was in OPEN plastic bags next to the bed (we even found a dead bug sitting on top of a shirt) so it all had to be washed in hot water to kill any critters. We took most of it to the laundromat while the exterminator was committing bedbugocide.

Two weeks later, we're almost caught up with all the laundry. The kitchen is finally almost unpacked properly. We're on track to having this place functional. The only bugs we've seen since are roaches. I can sleep without twitching. Life is returning to normalish. We're leaving some things in bags until after the follow up bug killer visit. I'm trying not to be too upset that we had to throw out our cardboard boxes instead of pass them on to someone else.

And then I was smited with pink eye. I really have to find out which deity I've pissed off so I can make amends. If you need me, I'll be outside pouring libations.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One World, One Heart

I'll get back to the bedbug saga soon, but for now, I want to give you all a heads up on a big giveaway going on now. It's called One World, One Heart. Over 1,100 blogs have signed up. You visit each blog, leave a comment and that enters you to win whatever that blogger artist is giving away. I entered last year and won a lovely piece of art and a handmade scrapbook. I never got around to blogging my prizes, but it may still happen yet as I unpack and try to stick to a regular blogging schedule.

Since I still have unpacking to do, I won't be visiting any of the OWOH blogs this time around, but that doesn't mean you can't. You have until February 15, which isn't much time, but with the snowstorm maybe you'll get to quite a few and maybe even add some to your regular blog reading.

The blogs are listed on the right sidebar here. If you manage to win anything, be sure to let me know.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Story, Part 1

As the unpacking began, I started writing a blog post in my head (as on does) doing a funny little compare and contrast of the old and new apartments. I had all these cute comments about water pressure and floodlights shining in the bedroom window, but I had no internet access except for my iPhone and the weak wireless connection belonging to a neighbor that we were able to jump on.

So I went about opening boxes with my blog post in my head and then...well, let's go back into the stream of consciousness, shall we?

  1. Oh look, a bug on the bed.
  2. I'm going to kill it.
  3. Sigh. After the roach problem in the last apartment (completely unrelated to our housekeeping and completely related to the construction in the apartment below ours that chased them all up to our place, combined with too infrequent visits from the building's exterminator), I never wanted to see a roach again.
  4. Where'd it go?
  5. Its on the floor now.
  6. Boy, it's moving fast.
  7. (Before we moved into that apartment, I was a strict catch and releaser. But we were on the 7th floor and had roachageddon going on. Towards the end, I had a rolled up magazine called the Bug Smacker (as in Cletis, bring me my bug smacker.)
  8. Hey, that dead bug doesn't look like a roach.
  9. Oh fuck, that is not what I think it is.
  10. To the internet!
  11. Thank all the Gods and Goddesses that we have one neighbor with an unsecure wireless network. I'm so grateful, that I'll stop thinking of them as dumb and start thinking of them as generous. I wish I could send them a thank you note.
  12. OK, assholes, when I google how to identify motherfucking BEDBUGS, show me a picture. This is not the time to be dicking around with me.
  13. Image search.
  14. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
I'll leave off the story here for now. I need to approach this in small bits. It was so traumatic that I couldn't even come up with an appropriate Facebook status, even though FB statuses now pop up in my mind unbidden all day long. That, plus I didn't want to admit to being unclean even though I know several people who have had them.

So as not to leave you in suspense, I'll just say that I had a nervous breakdown for a few days, but I'm feeling much better now. Better than I have in ages, in fact. It's like the lack of stress hormones feels better than any infusion of happy hormones.

The story continues soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Swimming in the Stream of Consciousness

My thoughts this morning:
  1. What should I do while waiting for the Salvation Army to pick up all that stuff we're donating?
  2. I should call the cable company and get them to pick up the DVRs before we move.
  3. I'll need the account number, probably.
  4. Since we went paperless, I'll have to find an email bill from them.
  5. Go to Gmail.
  6. Search for Time Warner.
  7. Ooh, "Warner" makes me think of Blair Warner. I wonder if it does that for anyone else. I bet I could find episodes of The Facts of Life online.
  8. No, no. Moving in a week. No 80s sitcoms for you. Back to Gmail.
  9. OK, wait. I clicked on the link in the email they sent me and I still need to log in?! I sure hope I have that info around here somewhere. I thought paperless was supposed to be convenient. Fuckers.
  10. OK, the user name and password I have didn't work. Why would I have a user name and password written down if I wasn't registered with the site? They must've redesigned the site, requiring new registration. Fuckers.
  11. OK wait. I need my account info to register even though I entered the email address where they've been sending me stuff. Fuckers.
  12. Good thing they kept sending us paper bills for a while after we went paperless.
  13. Good thing I'm a filing ninja who (eventually) puts all the paid bills in a folder marked "Bills".
  14. Except, apparently, the cable bill, since that's paid automatically.
  15. Oh wait, here it is.
  16. Oh, look, the electric bill. I have to call them too.
  17. Create user name and password that I had written down.
  18. What stupid security questions. Favorite movie? Favorite teacher? I can't possibly be expected to think of these things before noon. Fuckers.
  19. Invalid security answer? What? It looks like they don't believe that Buckethead is my favorite musician. I picked him because I'll remember his name. He's one of my favorites. But what makes Time Warner Cable think they know my favorite musician when I don't? Is even the cable company questioning my taste in music? Fucking music snobs.
  20. Oh wait, I used an ampersand in the title of my favorite book. That's the problem.
  21. And now Safari won't let me log in because the Time Warner website has redirected me too many times. I don't even want to think about the wisdom of that.
  22. Search for the original email again. Try not to think about Blair Warner.
  23. Click on link in the original email.
  24. Logged in automatically this time. God, I hate these people.
  25. Tried the online chat. Am told I need to call. Am not shown the promised survey to comment on the poorly designed online chat (don't need to be asked how I'm doing when I've already typed the question and can't copy and paste it, so must retype). Am filled with hate.
  26. Happily press 1 to continue in English. Think of friends who xenophobically complain about that. It's to keep English speakers from having to listen to all the different language options. No wonder we have such badly designed technology all over the place. People don't recognize good design when they see/hear it.
  27. While on hold, receive an email with the online chat transcript that the email says I requested, but I didn't. Want to hit the analyst who designed that process with a rolled up newspaper.
  28. Where the hell is the Salvation Army? If they stand me up, I'm so screwed. And my screwed, I mean carrying a large dresser through the streets of Queens to the Salvation Army store.
  29. Chat with cable person about my impending loss of BBC America. Can we deal with my account now? Goddamn, people in Wisconsin are chatty.
  30. Whew! I was sure the Salvation Army people were going to show up while I was on the phone.
  31. Of course, they couldn't have someone come pick up the DVRs on the days we needed, so the account will be cancelled when we drop off the equipment, so after all that, NOTHING has changed.
  32. Am afraid to call electric company after all that. Make eye doctor appointment instead.
  33. Decide to chance it. Open Electric bill (also paid automatically, so never opened).
  34. Is that what we've been paying? Damn, that lack of natural light sure takes a toll.
  35. They're here!
  36. Am wearing pajamas since their window of arrival was 8 am - noon and there was no way I was getting showered and dressed by 8. Refuse to care about allowing 3 men I don't know into my apartment while I'm in my jammies.
  37. Regret not wearing a bra, though.
  38. Wow, this place looks empty.
  39. Bravely call electric company.
  40. Automated message tells me to cancel my account online. Resist urge to smack head on desk. Stay online since I'm technically transferring the account and not closing it.
  41. Well, that was surprisingly painless and quick.
  42. Make note to fax marriage certificate to electric company on that magical day when I can be assed to get my name changed on my electric bill.
  43. Hope I get a utility bill at the new apartment soon, so I can get a new library card.
  44. Realize I feel wide awake. Wonder if human contact could manage to get my brain going before lunch on every day.
  45. Think back to when I worked in an office and realize that, no.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


New apartment has been secured, packing is in full force and blogging will continue to be sporadic for a while, as will my ability to think in a straight line.

In the meantime, I'm also posting for Skirt! Today's post is here.

When I post for another site, I post the link on Facebook. If you want to keep up with me there, friend me. You can find me using my email address: jenumlas at gmail dot com.

If you want me to post links to my other posts here (because you don't do facebook or just want to keep all blog posts in your blog reader), let me know in the comments. If I don't have time to post, I certainly don't have time to figure out how to put a proper poll in a post, so just speak up in the comments. If you think posting links to other posts here is an obnoxious way to handle thing, speak up too.

If you like reading what I write, then I love you for that and would like to make it as easy as possible for you to keep doing that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I don't do New Year's resolutions because I can't possibly be expected to turn over a new leaf while still recovering from the holidays. Instead, I'll make resolutions throughout the year as needed and possible, such as deciding to do a little yoga daily.

Since we're moving at the end of the month, we have new apartment resolutions. They all revolve around having a cleaner apartment. When this plan fails, we can always just shove stuff into boxes and put them in the huge, walk-in closets so we can create the illusion of clean.

Last year, there was a group online who resolved to read a book a week. I didn't play along, since it would keep me from reading longer books that I couldn't read in one week. I decided to keep track of the books I read instead. I won't bore you with the entire list, but I still managed to read or listen to 45 books in 2009. Six of them were much longer than the others. I'm talking 900 pagers. I'm going to continue keeping track of the books I've read. I've enjoyed looking over the list and remembering the books.

I do have 2 knitting resolutions.
  1. I'm want to knit up my stash until I can declare stash bankruptcy*. My yarn stash is boxes of stuff I bought when I first started knitting and didn't know better, and stuff I've been given. If I see a pattern I'd like to make, chances are, there's nothing in the stash that would work and I own too much yarn to justify buying more. So I've been grabbing stuff from the stash, picking a pattern that works and making it. I'm going to continue doing it as part of knitting resolution #2, which is,
  2. Build up a substantial gift stash so that I won't spend next December cursing my extended family for being so numerous. A minimum of one knitted toy a month should do it. I realize that what I'm doing here is just moving the yarn from one part of the closet to another, but then it'll all get cleared out by the holidays.
*I'm not saying that I want to have zero yarn stash because I need to have some supplies handy. But I want to have the space to have my dream stash, which includes:
  • Several cones of dishcloth cotton, because it always comes in handy.
  • A few balls of sock yarn, since I'm getting the hang of knitting socks and HA and I don't have too many handknitted socks yet.
  • Project leftovers, suitable for knitting and crocheting toys and other stash busting projects.
  • Whatever yarn I need for the next few projects.
  • Scrumptious yarn that I just had to buy and will be able to use without having to dig through all the other yarn.
So what are your resolutions, if any? And what's your dream stash of yarn, craft supplies, hobby supplies, etc.?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dream Spiders From Outer Space

I had a bad dream Monday night. There was a lot of stuff going on, and then for perfectly reasonable reasons, there was a very large spider of extraterrestrial origin on HA's pillow. Actually, there were 2 of them. He wasn't on his pillow, so the spiders were all my problem. So I started hitting his pillow to brush away the alien spiders. Which I then started doing for real. Bam! Bam! Bam! on his pillow.

My thrashing startled him and woke him up completely. He asked what was wrong, but I said "nothing," rolled over and went back to sleep. I was aware that it had been a dream, but I was still completely convinced that there was a spider from outer space still on his pillow. But that's just crazy, so I had to leave the alien spider there and go to sleep.

It turns out that I could've finished brushing the dream spider away because HA was so awake that he went to the couch to watch a DVD and fall asleep (which he does fairly regularly because of his insomnia).

The amazing thing? He's not pissed that I started beating his pillow in the middle of the night. He says that I didn't do it on purpose and he's probably just relieved that I wasn't having a seizure.

Though maybe I should be mad at him for leaving me in the bedroom with a dream spider that was trying to get me. Because that's just rude.

Monday, January 4, 2010

More Stuff I've Gotten Rid Of in Anticipation of Moving

  1. One dozen bras* that no longer fit me, but are in good condition. Time are tough and the craigslist** "stuff for free" postings reach a lot of people who need free stuff. They went to a single mom who previously owned only one bra. Hands down, the best thing to come out of my recent weight gain.
  2. Craft supplies, given to a local nursing home, including 2 crewel embroidery kits and some 1970's vintage macrame cord. Although a few people are taking up macrame again, finding them is a challenge. You can buy macrame cord on eBay for very small amounts of money because it's so uncommon. So if you're looking for a cheap hobby, that may be the one. And yes, I thought of the nursing home because macrame is something done by people who were adults in the 70s (such as my mom, who would've probably thrown it out if I hadn't taken it) and well, not that I'm calling you old Mom, but, well, you are of retirement age and not everyone in your age group is as healthy as you are. The more you accuse me of calling you old, Mom, the more I'm gonna call you "spry", so it's on.****
  3. Partially used bottles of vitamins. Craigslist free stuff listings FTW.
  4. Party decorations from my parents' 30th wedding anniversary surprise party. Their 40th is this year and it's taken me all this time to realize that I have no need for a big banner that says "Happy 30th Anniversary". The "30!" candle was lit, but not long enough to actually melt at all. I've carried this stuff with me through 3 moves. Craigslist again.
* Until last year, I thought you had to wash a bra after only one wearing.*** After a discussion with my knitting group and asking the saleswoman who fitted me for my current batch of bras, I found out that you can wear them 3 times between washings as long as you alternate bras instead of wearing one for 3 days in a row. At the time, this felt like life-altering information.

** Unsurprisingly, I got an email from a guy who wanted my undies. I mentioned this to HA, who responded, "Well, not for free." Surprisingly, I only heard from one of those guys and not a multitude.*****

*** Therefore, I owned 2 weeks worth of bras because hand washing is a bitch. My cheap bra secret is buying them on eBay from someone who sells them on behalf of a homeless shelter. The company donates the bras and if there's no immediate need for that size, they sell the bra to support the shelter. Since there are no tags (since they were donated), the $30 bras go for about $10. But they're new, so it's not icky and I feel safe buying. If you're interested, e-mail me and I'll send you the name of the seller I use, but you can also just look for "New, No Tags" and then contact the seller to find out why there are no tags. That's what I did.

****Yes, my motherfucking parents read my blog now. I wonder how much profanity it would take to scare them away.

***** Considering how many mentions of underthings there are in this post, I suspect I'll be hearing from a lot more.

Random Stuff

I'm moving at the end of the month, which means that between packing and finding a new place, I'll be busy, harried and crazed. Posting will be affected accordingly.

In addition to here and Work Her Way I'm now blogging for Skirt! My first post is here and you can access all my future posts there via my profile.

Things I have managed to get rid of in anticipation of the move:
  1. Several dozen large yogurt containers. Stonyfield Farm used to take them back to sell or give to Preserve to be turned into toothbrush handles. So I saved up a whole big box to mail. Now that Preserve is collecting them directly, Stonyfield Farm doesn't take them anymore. I could've mailed them to Preserve, but they have a collection point at Whole Foods, so I was able to drop them off on my way to a Doctor Who event last night.
  2. 3 old pairs of sneakers. Someone on Freecycle is collecting them to send to his country, where sneaker quality is less important than here.
  3. My old blueberry iMac. My mom will use it at school in place of her old one which runs OS 9. I hadn't recycled it because it's cute and yummy and will be a collector's item someday. But we're not going to pay extra rent for a place big enough for me to store an old cute computer. Buh-bye, Blue.
  4. Two (recycling) garbage bags of papers. I've been keeping my writings since high school. I'll be scanning in a copy of each story, but I no longer need handwritten manuscripts, comments on my grad school novella by my workshop classmates, or form rejection letters from literary magazines. I'm torn between a) publishing some of my old stories here in a Cringe-worthy Wednesdays feature and b) keeping my dignity. B is winning, but I will tell you that the stuff I wrote in high school is much less embarrassing than what I wrote post-grad school. It's not that what I was writing was pretentious. It's that I thought everything I produced was BRILLIANT LITERATURE (hence the saving of illegible handwritten manuscripts for POSTERITY. I think that the whole trying to be literary instead of commercial/funny is what stalled my writing career in the first place. More on that subject someday maybe.
So what's new with you guys?