Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow (Ice) Day


The rain turned to sleet which turned to snow. It's beautiful outside and potentially dangerous (the dreaded black ice!).

An incredible artist friend of mine once did a series of comic-like drawings of people who are forced to share space...a group of pregnant women in an OB/GYN's office for instance. My favorite, though, was titled "In Line at Wal-Mart, Expecting a Snowstorm." It's genius because it's an experience most of us can relate to. We just braved the neighborhood IGA and every cart was taken, a total madhouse. But I got pizza makings and hot chocolate and rock salt so we're all good to go.

I freakin' love it when it snows in Arkansas because people go apeshit. It's an impromptu holiday. So go ahead, leave work early, put on your sweats, have a glass of whiskey....it's what I'm doing after all.

$17 Million Per Film

So apparently Nicole Kidman is Hollywood's highest paid actress. Um, okay...but whateverthefuck for? Seriously...her last five movies were Fur, Bewitched, The Interpreter, Birth and The Stepford Wives which collectively, I'm guessing, earned barely $200 million. I can see why Reese Witherspoon or Drew Barrymore are highly paid, as they've got the lucrative romantic comedy market cornered. Not to mention those last five Nicole Kidman films STUNK TO HIGH HEAVEN! Well, I don't know about Fur; I haven't seen it, but come ON, Nicole Kidman as Diane Arbus? I don't even think she's that great of an actress. Her Best Actress performance in The Hours? It was nowhere near as good as Meryl Streep's. But clearly, no one's paying me for my opinion. You bargain hunters get that for free.

More Gems From The Crime Reports

8: 28 a. m. A woman at Higher Self Foundation and Personal Best, 524 W. Sycamore St., reported a client threatening to hurt and kill her and her family. (Sounds like a ringing endorsement for their services!)

9: 18 a. m. A caller at Van Nail & Hair, 1702 S. Walton Blvd., reported a man keeps calling after watching pornographic movies. (Who doesn't want to talk to a manicurist after watching porn at 9am?)

10: 20 a. m. A man at 12744 Little Elm Road, Farmington, reported a man he hired stole steaks, rebar pins and $ 800 cash.

2: 26 p. m. A caller at 700 Picadilly St. reported a man asked if he could sleep on his couch.

4: 44 p. m. A woman at 51 Holly Drive reported youths throwing dead animals in her yard.

6: 11 p. m. A man at 14631 Union Star Road, West Fork, reported a man across the street playing a snare drum.

8: 17 p. m. A caller on West Jess Anderson Road, Fayetteville, reported her ex-husband stole a chain saw, weed trimmer, a saddle and a set of pearls. (In other words, her dowry)

11: 22 p. m. A man at 1370 N. Oakland Ave. reported people on a back patio singing “Happy Birthday.” (Arrest them, officers!)

Wintry Mix!

Hard rain right now...sleet and then snow to follow. It's possible my last two days at this job will be snow days!

This is perfect because all I want to do anyway is stay home and make soups. Just this week Angie made a roasted red pepper pureed soup and I made potato leek soup from leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stupid Wanderlust

What'd I say earlier about living on a budget? Check this out - I just found a way to get from Arkansas to Köln, Germany the week of my birthday for $411. Köln is the only city in Germany where I know someone. And I could also squeeze in a very quick visit with my sister (Kate, the AR-NYC leg was only $144!! - Expedia).

Why did I have to find this deal right before Christmas?

....So You Better Treat Her Right

I’ve spent the past two years, but this year more aggressively, working to get a stronger financial foothold. My history with money is a classic tale of growing up poor and struggling to escape that mindset. We weren’t poverty-stricken but I definitely felt a strong sense of lack. I had one Swatch watch, or pair of Guess jeans, to my friends’ four or five. We never took vacations. I shared a room with my sister. I didn't have access to a car so I didn’t learn to drive until I bought my first car at age 20 (using student loans..but we'll get to that). We had just enough to assimilate, though. We passed. My sisters and I worked and made our own money and developed our own style based on bargains and thrift stores. It's hard having champagne taste.

I moved out as soon as possible and promptly got myself knocked up....not necessarily the best way to learn fiscal responsibility. I got my first credit card when Stella was a baby and I was a 20 year-old single mom, the same year I took out the first of many, many student loans. Oh, that first loan check of the semester, how I loved it so when suddenly my bank account showed thousands of dollars! Miraculous! But really, it was the only viable way for me to finish my degree with no child support. After college I took a noble, fulfilling extremely low-paying teaching job. At that point I had several credit cards, several store cards and $40K in student loan debt. Reality hit me hard....also known as depression. Things spiraled out of control. I felt like I was at the bottom of a whirlpool and didn’t have the energy to fight my way out.

I climbed out slowly (still climbing), thanks to a goulash of medication, eastern & western medicine, friends, family, therapy, yoga, detox diets, exercise and sheer will. I tried a little of everything until something clicked. What they say about baby steps really is true. Imagine that. I defaulted on some student loans and got on repayment plans. I cut up all my cards and incrementally paid them off. I moved in with my mother. I worked two jobs. I got the state to take over the child support struggle (it’s amazing how effective the threat of jail time can be).

Last week I ordered all three copies of my credit report. Yikes. It wasn’t pretty. But it’s getting better. I’ve made progress, chartable progress. Yesterday I completed paperwork to consolidate my student loans. I have an IRA. But damn, this shit is hard, yo...doing it all by myself. I still hate thinking about money and I feel like punching Suze Orman in the face, even though I know she’s right. It is empowering to take control.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thicker Than Water

I'm very excited because this weekend, for the first time since I think May, all three of my sisters and I will be together again. With the two youngest on opposite coasts and Jess and I squarely in the middle, you could say our country has been stabilized by Massey girls. Or not.
One of my favorite photos of us doesn't even show our faces.
I swear we're not witches. That we know of.

Asian Pear Salad

I'm so going to make this soon. I'm thinking it would be good with sesame-crusted seared tuna and that nice bottle of cold sake given to Angie.

Morimoto’s Asian-Pear Salad

1 large Asian pear
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup plum wine
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, finely minced
6 ounces olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
4 bunches mâche, washed
1 tablespoon fresh chives, cut into half-inch pieces
2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

(1) Cut the Asian pear into julienne strips. Place in cold water with the lemon juice and reserve. For the vinaigrette: In a saucepan, bring plum wine to a simmer and reduce to 1/4 cup. (2) Combine with the vinegar, minced shallot, and the olive oil. Season to taste with the salt and white pepper. (3) To plate, toss the julienned Asian pear with the mâche, chives, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Adjust seasoning. Place in the center of a plate, drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust

Pamela Anderson is divorcing Kid Rock. Shocking, right? It's a buyer's market on the Hollywood Singles Scene these days.

It's too bad. I sort of loved their lottery-winner brand of trashy glitz.

Thanks

The main reason I've barely written in the past week is because I haven't been seated long enough. Thanks to the ego-stroking I got over the weekend, people asking me why I hadn't written or saying how much they enjoyed reading this, I have the motivation and reason to keep up this exercise. This one's for y'all.

We fed 14 people on Thanksgiving. Our family is complicated, but it was still a good day, even if my mom made my grandmother cry (Mom was justified in feeling upset but this was Thanksgiving, fer chrissakes, can't we just let some things go on this day?). My mother's cousin, his wife and their FIVE kids drove down. Their kids....they're just so GOOD. It's crazy. They're not annoyingly good, all treacly and ass-kissy. They're genuinely really good kids; they're sweet and polite and funny. I worry I'll corrupt them just by talking to them....that I'll slip and say "shit" and that'll be it.....I wonder how they'll turn out, though, if they'll keep a happy and secure view of the world. Is that even possible? I spent that night with another family of mine and played with kids the next day. Then followed a debaucherous and joy-filled weekend, the details of which would cause my five little cousins' hair to curl.

Here are pictures of Stella's desserts (I also made a kickass coconut cream pie).
chocolate meringue
pumpkin cheesecake w/ caramel topping
pumpkin
cherry

I have a lot to be grateful for - Good friends and a huge, extended family (blood and chosen), a daughter who is smart, hilarious, talented, beautiful and creative, new exciting job, a warm and comforting home, adorable pets, delicious food...I could go on. Holy shit. I sound happy. Those of you who are intimate with the journey I've been through the past three years know how monumental that statement is. Don't worry...I'm still cynical and pissed off and sarcastic....I'm just happy to be RIGHT HERE.

Beauty is where you look for it.
Even the parking lot of Target. (or is that....ESPECIALLY in Target?)

Big Faker

I've always bought (or cut down myself) real evergreens for Christmas trees, justifying it by knowing the old trees are recycled to use as fish habitats in local lakes. Although I love the smell of a fresh tree, I wanted a change. I got a vision of a shiny pink house.

Here is the girliest (or gayest) tree ever:
And then these little ones are up on the mantle:
I can't tell you how happy it makes me to have the living room covered in pink and silver.
Chickie likes it too.

Oink

How much fun was my holiday? Fun enough that I'm drinking dandelion tea instead of coffee this morning, hoping to give my poor liver a little respite. Way too much rich food, wine, quality time with family and friends, pink champagne & yoga at 11pm, marathon shopping, nekkid hot tubbing at 4am, driving back and forth, games with kids, leftovers, girls' nights out, no rest for the wicked, dancing with the gays, planning parties, telling stories and laughing loudly. Maybe this dandelion tea won't make a difference. Maybe I need the Keith Richards treatment.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quick One

Sorry, dear readers...I've been busy l-i-v-i-n'.

It's an insanely beautiful warm day and to spend one more minute inside would be an affront to Mother Nature.

Hope everyone enjoyed your holiday as much as I enjoyed mine. Pictures and descriptions of the pies on the way...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thoughts On: "Lactivists"

Salon reported today about the organized "nurse-ins" at airports, protesting the removal of a woman on a flight for refusing to cover up while nursing her daughter.

I nursed my daugher everywhere I felt like it and was only asked to go elsewhere once - at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Just let that irony sink in a bit. Because really, I can't think of a single place outside of the Playboy mansion where you'll see more exposed breasts than in an art museum. And my boobs weren't even really exposed! But anyway....my point is that I was an out-and-proud breastfeeder. I went to La Leche League meetings, fer chrissakes so I can understand people getting upset about this but I just think women and mothers particularly have bigger fish to fry than one woman's ousting from a flight. Such as, oh, lack of suitable places for nursing or pumping milk in the workplace. What if women organized protests all over the country like this for equal pay or better family leave policies or employer-sponsored daycare? I think it's good to get riled up about things you don't like....but probably better to put those things in perspective.

Dream big and act bigger, ladies. Oh, and dudes? You furtively look at boobs all day but you freak out, visibly, when you see a mother nursing. Get over it.

Tentative Menu

Main Dishes
Turkey (duh) - my grandmother is baking it.
Salmon - me, haven't decided what I want to do with it; I just want an alternative to turkey.

Sides
Stuffing - me, traditional cornbread 'n' sage stuffing (or, technically DRESSING since we're not stuffing the actual bird).
Green bean casserole - Jess...and god how I wish she'd branch out and make something different, tastier and healthier. How f'in hard is it to throw some cans together and shove it in the oven? For the love of god, please show some innovation one year. Okay, sisterly rant over.
Squash dish - me, haven't decided yet....leaning toward a butternut squash gratin.
Bread - Jess...again, will probably be frozen or pre-packaged rolls. I shouldn't complain; she's a busy woman. But I do because I'm a food snob bitch.
Salad - Mom. I have complained plenty about her cooking when I was a kid but she can make a mean salad.
Rice dish - Mom. I'll reserve judgment until I've tried it.
Sweet Potatoes - ME, goddamnit, because I can't stand that covered-in-marshmallows shit.
Cranberry relish - me (cook fresh cranberries down w/ orange juice. That's it).

and...the best part...

Pies (My grandmother and Stella are making all but apple tonight)
Chocolate - family recipe, meringue-topped
Pumpkin
Pecan
Coconut Cream - not sure about this one but I'm really hoping they make it
Apple - Jess
Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Caramel Swirl - Stella and I are making this tonight, per her request

Wines
Just keep 'em coming. I will be with family all day, after all.

Pounds to be gained - approximately a kajillion

Thoughts On: Today's Headlines

Flying While Muslim Bias - This story shows how completely insane and ridiculous the whole "airline safety" business has become. First of all...if some "islamofascists" REALLY wanted to commit acts of terror on a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix, do you think they're going to draw attention to themselves by praying in the airport before the flight even takes off?

4 out of 10 Births Last Year Were To Unwed Mothers - I always knew I was a trendsetter.

Keroack Has Prescribed Birth Control In The Past - Remember this guy? See, all you feminazis freaking out about him working for a Christian organization...he's totally modern and open-minded! Birth control! Even for unmarried women! GROUNDBREAKING!! I feel so appeased.

More NW Arkansas Crime

8: 26 a. m. A man at 2605 N. Villa Blvd. reported someone kicked his front door open and stole a Dr Pepper.

10: 33 a. m. A caller on West Sixth Street and South Razorback Road reported people running in and out of traffic, stopping cars, holding signs and screaming “Go Hogs.” (10:30 am? I guess it's never too early to be a hog fan.)

3: 29 p. m. A woman at 404 N. W. Fourth St. reported finding an air compressor in the bed of her pickup. (around here we call that a gift, lady.)

3: 41 p. m. A woman at Baptist Ford Cemetery in Elkins reported finding a bullet hole in her parents ’ headstone.

7: 27 p. m. A man reported he mistakenly gave two $ 100 bills that he thought were $ 10 bills to a man for basketball tickets and the person ran away with the money.

2: 46 a. m. A woman at 2285 S. Cody Circle reported a man refused to leave her residence and wrote on her with a permanent marker.

2: 58 a. m. A woman at EZ Mart, 2124 W. Sunset Ave., reported two men bought nuts and then grabbed money from the cash register. (It was the nuts part that got me.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Oh no, no, no

Robert Altman died.

I knew he was in really poor health but still....we lost a good one. He directed some of my all-time favorite films: McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts.....

Sick

Yesterday was one of the worst in recent memory. I became suddenly violently ill around 3am and stayed that way all day. I rarely get sick, especially like yesterday where I couldn't even keep water down.

All I could do was lie in bed and moan. I watched four, count 'em FOUR, Kathy Griffin stand-up specials, three episodes of CSI and all the Six Feet Unders they show on Bravo on Mondays.

I'm feeling much better today. I might even go to work. Naaaaah.

And now my system's all cleaned out and ready for all the pies we're baking tomorrow.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Functions Like Bhaktin's Carnival

Sometimes I need a break from parenting and working and just BEING so badly I think I will implode.

So I go somewhere, by myself, and experience a short period of time in which I'm not a mother, or an employee or daughter...and I get a taste of what it's like to not be needed or have behavior expected of me...and in that small window, it's absolutely intoxicating.

Of course there's the inevitable eventual hangover and soon I crave, with every cell in my body, to be back at home with Stella and Angie and the pets. But not before I've gotten to do exactly what I want.

Birthday Girl Kristin
Kelli singing Elton John by the fire.
Tortilla man at Casa Mañana.
Their flag is bigger than yours. You know what that means.
Arkansas's nuclear reactor. I was in a hurry to get home. And I was driving with one hand.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bad News For Women

Oh, isn't it ironic that a man was director of an organization called A Woman's Concern. And now he's heading the Office of Population Affairs. I just love theocratic governmental appointments.

Fayetteville = Dodge

In about 2 hours, I am getting in my car and driving south for several hours. I can't remember the last time I left Fayetteville and went somewhere all by myself. I will listen to loud classic rock. I will drink gas station coffee. I will open the sunroof and let the late Autumn sun warm my scalp.

I had no idea how badly I needed this until I made the decision to JUST GO!

Tell Me About It, Marilyn

I took this picture (with a crappy disposable camera, sorry for the quality) on my first trip to NYC a few years ago. This was stuck to some plywood construction walls somewhere on the Lower East Side. Who couldn't have written this?

Sexy Men Who Are Not George Clooney

What a way to start the weekend!

In light of People magazine's boring, repeated George Clooney pick, Salon published their choices for the Sexiest Man Alive and, surprise, surprise, I agreed with nearly all of them (except the tennis player. I don't pay attention to sports). I would like to go on record, though, and state that Lori and I were all over Mark Ruffalo years before Salon.

Here's a few more I would have chosen as alternatives to the safe, bland People choices:

Angie and I both have the serious hots for Peter Dinklage. What a treat to see him on Nip/Tuck this year, having an affair with Joely Richardson. If you haven't seen The Station Agent, then you might not understand.

Rainn Wilson. Okay, love the hippy name, loved him as Arthur in Six Feet Under and now I really love him as Dwight in The Office.

I've had a crush on Kevin Corrigan since his role as "The Ugly Guy" in Walking and Talking. He was also great in The Slums of Beverly Hills.

John Edwards. I'm such a sucker for Southern Democrats with drawls that'll melt your panties.

What other sexy men are underrated?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon

It happens to every woman but you dread thinking of it happening to your daughter.

Today my daughter was sexually harassed for the first time.

A boy on the school bus was allegedly "saying gross things" about her body to another boy and then, when she was exiting the bus, he slapped her on the butt. Oh, how I wish I could have a word or two with that boy. I think I might enjoy making him cry and grovel, though, so maybe it's best I will probably never see him.

I remember being her age and the boys in class snapping my bra straps or commenting on my boobs. There was also the infamous "list" the boys kept of which girls they thought were prettiest. The school bus, though, was by far the absolute worst. My best friend and I were harassed (sexually and then regular ol' harassment) by the older boys on a daily basis. Just once I wish an older girl could have embarrassed them or put them in their place with just a few choice retorts. They have air marshalls on planes...they really need marshalls on school buses, where kids are terrorized every day. I still can feel the the anger bubbling up inside when I'm catcalled on the street or told, "Why don't you smile for me, sugar; you look so much prettier when you do."

Email to the principal requesting a meeting? Check.
Conversation with Stella encouraging her to stand up for herself? Check.
Blog post venting my anger at the sprouting seeds of sexism? Check.

How were you ladies out there harassed when you were younger?

Rape In The News

Oh, this'll be a real fun entry, won't it?

Yesterday, Pakistan's Parliament voted to amend the Islamic rape laws that required the victim to provide four male witnesses to the rape in order to prosecute. This amendment also allows rape cases to be tried in civil, as opposed to religious, courts. It has yet to pass the senate and yet still it angered some conservative members so much that they stormed out of the session. That's a lot of anger for an amendment that shouldn't affect them if they're not rapists. Those guys win my vote for Misogynistic Assholes of the Week.

No, wait. That award would go to the U.S. soldiers who raped an Iraqi girl and then murdered her and her family. It was all premeditated because, one said, he "hated Iraqis."

I can't even write more about that case because I feel so sickened and angry and need my happy place.

Yeast: It Gets a Rise Out of Me

I am completely intimidated by any baking that involves yeast. I have made so many inedible loaves of bread that I don't even try anymore. I'll just leave it up to the pros and buy it at the bakery, where it's guaranteed to be good and I won't feel like a failure.

However, my fear of yeast does not extend to pizza crust. It's the one thing I KNOW I can succeed with. Homemade dough is infinitely better than that chewy, flavorless crap you get in a can or with a mix. I like to make a big batch and then freeze fist-sized balls of dough so we can easily make personal pizzas. Which is what we did last night for our "Top Chef Isn't As Much Fun as Project Runway But We Enjoy Cooking On Wednesdays So Much We Don't Want It To End" night.
Check it out: Stella's homemade tomato sauce (it was her first attempt - turned out very good), fresh basil & spinach, olives, green onions, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, turkey pepperoni, garlic, a tiny drizzle of truffle oil and fresh mozzarella.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Grossest Idea Ever

I totally freak out on the commericals for the KFC Bowls. Layers of mashed potatoes, corn and fried chicken topped with gravy. Mmmm....potato flakes, unidentified fried chicken bits, canned corn and gravy from a powder...Just imagine it all solidifying into a solid white fatty mass in your intestines....

Even this picture is more appetizing than the commercials. DisGUSTing!! Who eats this crap?
Next up: Sonic steak and egg breakfast burrito. Gag.

Spam Gold

I don't know what drugs these spammers are taking, but has anyone noticed how bizarre and awesome the text of your spam messages have become? Why did they start doing this? Is this some sort of bad poetry bot that sends them out?

These are two excerpts of text surrounding some spam request to invest in a stock.

This one almost makes some sense:
It hurt relatively bad whenever I stepped directly on it, which happens quite a bit when it is in the ball of your foot. I evangelized for you before the masses knew of your glorious burritos. Amazingly, it never bothered me when I went running.

And then I got this cliché-filled treat:
Going the whole nine yards. Haste makes waste.
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If wishes were horses, then beggers would ride, but you better not think about going outside. Every dog has its day.
Alternative version: Good things come to those who wait. Gospel of Matthew 26:41 Never shove your Granny when she's shaving.
If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain.. Long absent, soon forgotten. It's better to be silent and thought a fool, then to speak up and remove all doubt. What a tangled web we weave.

Iraq War Timeline

It's been over 3 1/2 years since we first invaded Iraq and if you're like me you may have forgotten how, exactly, it all happened. Ummm, something about Weapons of Mass Destruction and al-Quaida in Iraq or something?

Well go here for a handy-dandy timeline that shows all the actions from 1990-2003 that led to our current FUBARed situation. Just kick back, read the timeline and revel in the inaccuracies, irony, and lies.

Maybe There's A Reason We're Called The Hogs

It cracks me up how entitled and greedy some politicians can be. Our outgoing governor, Mike Huckabee, has raised eyebrows and media attention because someone set up gift registries for his wife and him in order to furnish their new post-governor's mansion home. The wedding registries are online with Target and Dillard's. They have been married for 32 years. In fact, theirs is a covenant marriage so they're like EXTRA married.

It's just too amusingly tacky. The Huckabees just bought a half-million dollar house and yet they need help furnishing it? When our governor (pushing for an '08 Republican white house bid) was confronted by reporters he got all huffy and mad, first saying it was a women's thing, that "men don't go to their wives' showers," then saying it was all a blogger's fault for bringing attention to it. What're you getting so worked up for, Mike? Because you know (like ALL true southerners know), deep down, what's tacky behavior and what's not? Because you know you've been paid $80,000 a year for the past ten years with virtually NO living expenses while the average annual income in Arkansas is $28,000?

Buy your own damn towels because you're looking the fool!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thoughts On: A Case In Which Everyone Lost

I might like to know more about this case. A man pled guilty to sexually assaulting a woman 20 years ago at a fraternity party. He wrote her a letter admitting to it as part of the Amends Step, Step 9 of the 12 Steps in the AA program. They had vastly different perceptions of the incident (hers was much more violent) and it upset her enough to call the police and report it. He'll spend two years in jail. He would have faced life in prison but it wasn't clear if he was the only man who had assaulted her that night.

I hope this doesn't discourage other men from looking honestly at their past experiences and owning up to any injustices or from making amends. Acknowledgment and forgiveness are powerful for both parties. This case also highlights the fact that the pain resulting from such an act doesn't ever really go away.

I don't know. I feel for the guy in a weird way, too. It's noble to make amends and memory can be fickle. I remember, too, that sex and sexuality were so confusing as a teenager. I found myself in a situation back then that wasn't 100% consensual (in a frat house of all places....imagine that), but also not 100% sexual assault and didn't really know how to feel afterwards. Now, 14 years later, I think that guy (who I'd known in high school) was a clueless, drunken asshole. Was he even aware he crossed over the line? Did I make it clear enough? Men should understand how sexuality and attractiveness and approval are all twisted together in women's brains (no matter how much I wish they weren't). Even more so, I would argue, in young women's brains. Sexuality is usually a girl's first taste of feeling powerful but girls aren't taught what do with this power or how to honor it so that power is sometimes wielded in drastic ways (Lolita, Monica Lewinsky, etc etc, anyone?). Younger women often don't have the experience or knowledge to feel powerful in other ways. Also, We (this goes for all humans) don't always know what we want and sometimes it isn't until after it's over that we realize, "Oh, God no..I never wanted that." It seems like every message is a mixed message when you're young.

So I propose that everyone should only masturbate until they're 25 and have gone through extensive empathy training.

Tough Choice

What'll It Be: Bird Flu or Psychosis?

Last week's excuse:
"It was a botched joke. You just didn't get it."

This week's excuse:
"It's not my fault I'm crazy. It's the Tamiflu."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

BEFORE:AFTER:
Poor Gunther. He is in a very weird mood now. Doesn't he look mad? But I really love his sleekness and lack of dreadlocks and cat poo-encrusted tail fur.

P.S. Band-aid method for giving notice worked great! I didn't even feel guilty!

Odds n Ends

I carry a little notebook with me and write down observations. I came across some old notebooks yesterday. Here are some favorite bits:

"I have about the same interest in jewelry that I have in politics, horse-racing, modern poetry or women who need weird excitement - none."
Cary Grant as John Robie in To Catch a Thief

"Ch_ _rch. What's missing? U R."
Seen on a church billboard in Lufkin, Texas in July, 2004.

"De Ja Loser"
A term Jessica F. made up that describes the experience of going for the same dudes over and over again.

"Man walks past me, excited to hear a Scorpions song, growls audibly."
Witnessed at some bar in Little Rock, October 2004

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Much Healthier Than Punching The Poor Bastard

The living room floor this morning:
I should start doing this for money - throwing Cathartic Art Parties. Combine art supplies, good wine, good music, good conversation and anything else that loosens the mood and see what comes out. Here's what came out of three adjusting-to-being-single-again women last night:




Saturday, November 11, 2006

Housebound By Choice



I can't say I blame her.

Hawg Wild

This is one of the most exciting days in recent history. Oh? You hadn't heard? Why, today's the day that the Razorbacks are playing Tennessee! Both teams are about evenly ranked (I think? I pick up Razorback knowledge like lint - can't avoid it). ESPN is in town to broadcast the game. The RV tailgate park was filled up by Wednesday. I've felt the collective energy rise all week and now it's at college football-mania fever pitch. I'm pretty sure if the Hogs don't win tonight, there will be quiet shedding of manly tears.

This is an example of every conversation I've had this week:

Them: God, I can't wait for the game on Saturday.

Me: God, I can't wait for Saturday.

Them: It's gonna be AWESOME! Come on! You're not gonna at least tailgate?

Me: I'm gonna clean the house and make collages. I can't wait.

Them: Well I'll already be drunk by noon and will go anywhere that they're wearing red and cooking meat over an open flame. Think about it! We could get a bowl game!

Me: Mmm hmm.

Them: DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT THAT WOULD MEAN?

Me: Umm....That the Razorbacks would play a post-season bowl game?

Them: Fuck! Wouldn't that be AWESOME?

Me: Uh huh.....awesome.

Halle-f'in-lujah

That good news I hinted at a few weeks ago?

Well, I'm very pleased to report that I was offered a job that I really wanted. A job that I can care about. I'll be working with international students who come to the University to learn English.

I really needed this.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday - 3:30pm

The time when I start to fantasize about car accidents and ambulances and bomb threats and starting fires...anything to get me out of here RIGHT NOW.

Proof I'm Living With The Right Person

Angie:
"We have to download this rockin' song I heard on the way home."

Me:
"Who was it?"

Angie:
"I think .38 Special."

A wine expert AND an appreciation for classic rock? I think I'm in love.

Representative Government?

On NPR this morning they said that with this election we now have, I believe, 70 women in the House of Representatives, 16 in the Senate and 9 female governors.

That's 70 out of 435, 16 out of 100 and 9 out of 50.

Have we come a long way, baby?

Pillow Talk?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

80 Degrees on a Thursday Afternoon

It's an obscenely beautiful and hot day here for November. I trumped up some reason for leaving the shackles of my desk and drove around with the windows down and music up.

Northwest Arkansas is beautiful....most of the time. It's also home to shit like this:That's a church, viewed from the interstate. Remember back in the middle ages when Europe had all that pride and competition for building the most elaborate and beautiful churches? Yeah..I always think of that when I see a huge, boxy metal building converted into a church. Or a gaudy, barn-like one like this one. Jesus must be so proud.
Outside Springdale on 71....I hate this strip. It depresses me.
This does NOT depress me. My favorite taqueria in the state. I had un taco al pastor y un soda tamarindo. Gringolicious.
My bill came to $2.20.

Why I Care About Gay Marriage

I'm kinda pissed that one of my Google ads up there says "Gay Marriage Bad." That neanderthalic statement really sums it all up, huh? But I have no control over that ad...just like I have no control over other people's bigoted, insane, governed-by-irrational fear attitudes that cause them to do things like vote to ban gay marriage.

I grew up in a small, artistic community that many claim to be an oasis in the South. It's an interesting mix of people who've moved from big cities seeking a slower pace, religious zealots, artists, hillbillies and lots of gays. A sociologist from the university here apparently studied my hometown and estimated that 30% of the population was gay.

When I was growing up there, my parents never talked to me about homosexuality (they didn't really talk to me about ANY kind of sexuality, which still strikes me as a little odd considering their hardcore hippy mentality) so I never knew that some considered it "wrong." Some of my strongest examples of healthy partnerships were provided by gay couples. And I love that they were just completely integrated into the community, no need for gay bars or coalitions.

One of the first weddings I took my daughter to was a lesbian wedding. My friend L. walked out first in her tux, to which Stella didn't bat an eye. Then L.'s bride walked down the aisle in her white dress and Stella turned to me and exclaimed, "But she's a girl too!" I said, "Yeah. She is. Doesn't she look beautiful?" Stella nodded vigorously. It was a very sweet moment.

I hope my daughter gets to attend many, many more lesbian weddings in her lifetime (or have her own, if she's inclined). Weddings that will be celebrated openly with all the loved ones and recognized by The State.

I guess I can't shake that hippy upbringing.

Back to Politics (deal with it)

"Okay," I told myself this morning, "Looks like a Democratic majority in the Senate too...awesome!...let's keep this up, keep the momentum going."

But then I did a little research on our (unconfirmed) new Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. He's Mormon, pro-life, supports stem-cell research, faught hard to get an investigation into pre-war intelligence, opposes most gun control and once strangled LaToya Jackson's husband when he tried to bribe Reid (favorite fact by far). In other words....sometimes you have to take what you can get, something I'm very used to with politics in Arkansas. He seems like a complex man and has changed his position on some key issues, such as immigration....and that's okay, it's okay to change your mind.

So I'm reserving judgment for the time being.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lifespring Memories (politics-free post)

This picture was taken outside a motel in Little Rock the summer after I’d turned 13. The look on my face tells me a lot about being 13 and hating my family and wishing I were alone all the time to read my magazines and listen to The Cure. My parents hauled us all to Little Rock for a Lifespring graduation and decided to turn it into a family vacation...if you can consider one extra night in a motel a vacation....and I totally did. Cable TV! Vending machines! Air conditioning! Flushable toilets! All luxuries for a family living in an 850 square foot farmhouse with no septic system on 120 acres in the middle of the Arkansas Ozarks.

What is a Lifespring graduation, you ask? Why, it’s a celebration of the culmination of four or five days of intense “vacuum therapy.” Those quotations are mine because I just made up that term. “Vacuum” therapy because the kinds of breakthroughs that occur in those hotel convention rooms are hard to translate to real life. It’s a purposely-controlled environment that is supposed to encourage emotional catharsis - a bunch of people thrown into a room with only scheduled bathroom breaks from the long sessions of therapeutic exercises. You comfort your inner child and work in dyads and cry a lot. My parents and their friends were really into it.

We drove to Dallas in a borrowed Taurus to do the Family Training. The next summer I helped facilitate another Family Training. Is this all sounding a little Scientology-esque? That’s not surprising. I figured out early on that there was a short honeymoon period after the trainings when my parents would want to be Fun! and Cool! and Motivated! It was unsettling and I smelled bullshit. I told them they were being brainwashed. They were trying to convince themselves they could be completely different in every way forever. Two weeks later they’d go right back to their familiar dysfunctional ways.

And I would give them that look.

Christmas Comes Early!

Rumsfeld Stepping Down.

Maybe he can take his groovy hand jive on the road.




You can't deny it. The man's got moves.

Purple America

Where ever did the term "shit-eating grin" come from? It's disgusting. But it's what I've got today. The sun is out. The high today will be near 80 (not a typo). Our neighbors to the north, Missouri, had the decency to elect Claire McCaskill AND allow stem cell research. See...we're not AS RED in the middle as everyone thinks. Maybe more like purple. People are starting to catch on. Maybe. I hope.

Good Things To Wake Up To

First female Speaker of the House.

South Dakota rejects ban on nearly all abortions.

Democrats in top 3 spots in Arkansas. (Sometimes you have to take what you can get down here.)

No hangover.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Too Much CNN

I think I'm drunk and the Virginia race is making me a nervous wreck.

I'm polituckered out.

Election Night Dinner

We wanted something comforting, something delicious, something LIBERAL for dinner tonight. So we put down our lattes and turned off the NPR and Jon Stewart long enough to make wild mushroom risotto, Addictive Salad & Serenity Farm sourdough bread:

Wild mushroom risotto:
1 lb assorted mushrooms (I used baby shiitake, crimini, porcini & maitake mushrooms)
1/2 c. chopped shallots
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 c. arborio rice
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. white wine
3 TB butter
1 TB olive oil
1/4 c (I dunno...small handful) chopped fresh oregano & marjoram
1 c. grated parmesan, asiago & pecorino romano

First I sauteed the shallots & garlic in the olive oil and butter, then added the mushrooms and cooked them for about 6 minutes. Then I added the rice and mixed it until it was coated and turning translucent. I added the wine and stirred it all until the wine was absorbed by the rice. Then begins the laborious stirring process. The chicken broth MUST BE KEPT HOT. Angie added it ladle by ladle, stirring constantly and adding more as it was absorbed. At the very end we added the fresh herbs and cheese.

The salad was mixed greens with herbs, baby spinach (a big "F You" to the fearmongers), sliced fennel bulb, crumbled peppered bacon, diced dark heirloom tomato, toasted pine nuts, Kalamata olives & capers with a dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, honey, shallots (all sauteed together), balsamic vinegar and a few spritzes of Bragg's.

The wines were the Sebastiani pinot noir and Penfold's Bin 389 cabernet/shiraz.

That shit was soo good I almost don't care who got elected. HA! Not really. SO LONG, SANTORUM!!!

Another Foundation of Society Crumbles

Britney Spears checks self out of institution of marriage.

But it's the gays who would tarnish it, remember....

Vexing Votes in Virginia

I'm not liking what I'm hearing....what's this with voting machine problems in Virginia, the one state where I want every single vote counted? From what I understand, voters then have to use paper ballots but those are grouped differently and aren't counted for 10 days....not much use unless there's a recount. Come on, Virginia....you don't want to be like Florida (a state I wouldn't mind sacrificing to the effects of global warming).

You know, voting machines really should be one piece of technology in which all the bugs are worked out BEFORE unleashing it on the public. Is that a crazy thought or what?

See....I tole you to use paper!

Excuse du Jour

"It was a botched joke."*

A JOKE...get it? Sheesh..where's your sense of humor, people?

New plan: rehab for bad jokesters.


*Punchline: "Botched joke?" I feel like the past six YEARS have been a botched joke.

Restore The Luster, Y'all

Tom Ford, when asked about this year's elections:
"Hopefully, we can find someone who can restore the luster we once had, because I think George Bush, at least for me ... Well, let's just leave it at that. I'm not going to do a Dixie Chicks moment."
Right. Because Tom Ford doesn't want to stir up controversy or offend anyone. Or what...he'll offend women but doesn't want to offend Republicans? Jackass.
Pamela Anderson, Tom Ford, and Mamie Van Doren in the Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue he edited.

Waiting For The Miracle

Well, I did it. I exercised my civil right to vote. I was pleased to see that the Green Party of Arkansas got quite a few candidates on the ballot...if only to see another choice beyond Greedy, Bigoted A-Hole or Pretends Not To Be A Greedy, Bigoted A-Hole, plus I'm "a friend of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko fags." I don't like feeling bullied, either, into voting for the Democratic nominee just out of fear the Republican will win. Let him win! If that many people vote for him then maybe it needs to get that much worse before people will wake the fuck up.

But I'm feeling hopeful today. It's still early enough in the day that I can wish for the best.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sad Story Gets Sadder

Update on Adrienne Shelly's death: She was murdered. For complaining about a loud neighbor. Jesus.

Be Strong, Ye Men of God

In light of Ted Haggard and Mark Foley (and, to an extent, Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Bass and T.R. Knight), there's been a lot of recent discussion about gay men, Christianity, "moral values" in politics, etc. Is it a coincidence that there seems to be a massive de-closeting going on?

This article makes an interesting case for why the Christian Right is particularly obsessed with gay men. Women have been cast biblically as temptresses, seducing men away from righteous matters (Eve, Delilah, Mary Magdelene) but if, as the modern Christian Right would have us believe, women are now properly subjugated by their Promise-Keeping husbands, now the seducer to be wary of is the gay man. Look out, guys...they're lurking everywhere...in Denver hotel rooms, in boy bands and even in the halls of Congress....just waiting to pounce on your tender, straight, god-fearing flesh!

Source: Feministing

All About The Benjamins

This article in today's Northwest Arkansas Business Journal about municipalities and universities using lobbyists to secure national funding bothered me. I don't study business or politics enough to cite why, exactly, this feels wrong...it just seems to me like yet another example of capitalism being our form of government more than democracy. When a lobbyist (professional ass-kisser, palm-greaser) can secure more funding than an elected official for these towns and universities, I can see why they'd want to hire one. Of course they COULD hire or train people within their own employ to write grants and work to secure funding. I don't know...it just doesn't sit right with me, this notion of hiring other people to schmooze for public funding, essentially.

The Crazies ♥ Me

I just narrowly escaped a prolonged interaction with a crazy person. This didn't surprise me as I am a crazy people-magnet. A crazy people- magnet and a public masturbator-magnet but that's another story. I think they can just tell I'll sit and listen to their ramblings for longer than most people. And the truth is, I really DO sympathize with crazy people. Well, the REAL truth is that I empathize with them...I might be halfway on their plane. So the crazies seek me out. And where I work is located just close enough to the campus, the homeless shelter, stockyards, the Salvation Army, the library and the battery place that buys aluminum to really get an interesting daily parade right outside my window. I should have been more on guard but I'm gullibally (I think I made that up as an adverb) nice (to an extent). *

Thank god I escaped so I can describe it. He wasn’t the diaper-wearing kind of crazy; I think he’s able to pass as semi-normal most of the time, but he was definitely crazy. You know when you encounter a stranger and they ask you a question and because you’re a nice southern girl you try to find the answer? Then the longer you talk to them (trying to help!), slowly the realization dawns on you..."Oh no. This dude is crazy."

I should have known when I saw that he was wearing athletic socks with sandals. On a rainy November day. When I (stupidly) asked about his dog that he said didn’t belong to him but "follows (him) everywhere," he answered by telling me all about "the funny Star Trek movie" in which they say "the hell" a lot in order to seem normal in the future. Then he spoke some German and told me that he'd been awake for over 16 hours and that I have "thin tires" on my car. At that point I had gone into battle mode, drawn the bridges, and shut down all forms of nonverbal communication in order to send him one strong message – GO AWAY. Crazy people never seem to know they’re not being listened to. Eventually he left but somehow I don't believe I've seen the last of him.


*I think of Borat and how he could have only made that film in the south where people are friendly enough to at least talk to those who we don't understand.

Cheese of the Day

Sage Derby. I've been eating it slivered on crackers but yesterday I melted some on rye bread which I topped with organic chicken sausage, arugula and poached eggs, a tasty brunch for one.

That fortified me for our day of housework. The house is really coming together and it feels so good, really comfortable - the kind of house you want to come home to. It's good that Angie and I have basically the same taste and opinions on how things should be organized and arranged. We now have the combined CD collection that could rival a college radio station's (not in content, just in number).

Is It Just Me?

Or is election time exciting? I have hope that minor changes can beget major changes. Not that I have tons more faith in the Democratic party but I would like to see a Democratic majority in Congress. I want all the theocrats out. I want anyone running on a "moral values" campaign out. I want anyone from Fayetteville reading this to remember to vote on paper and not electronically.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Easy Like....

There is nothing bad about Sunday Mornings. They are, without a doubt, the best time of the weekend. Friday nights are still jittery, Saturdays are for TCOB, Saturday nights are a crapshoot...but Sundays a given. They're relaxed and quiet and follow their own path. They're staying in bed longer; they're steamy tea or coffee; they're crossword puzzles and This American Life and CBS Sunday Mornings; they're lazy brunches; they're ignoring the Shoulds for just a few hours...they just fucking rule, Sunday Mornings.
View from the couch.

Sunday mornings feel the same even when it's sunny. Hopper got it right.
The Velvet Underground got it right too; there might always be a tinge of melancholy. It's fun to do a Flickr search for "sunday morning" tags. There seems to be a hazy solidarity in the pictures, understanding the intangible feel of right now. Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. I hope you get to do exactly what you want.