Saturday, December 30, 2006

I'm Driving Down Highway 40 in my Big Old Pick-up Truck

So, I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm posting a video. But this has given me such enormous pleasure over the last 2 days that I just had to share it with you.



I am a huge fan of Brak. We recently got the latest Brak box set and I busily set about learning all the menu songs because they rule. Picture me sitting at home and happily yelling "Choose an episode! 9-14 there all here: The Eye, Poppy, Bully, Mother, Did You Move My Chair?" Ok, maybe it's better if you know the tune. But singing Brak songs is one of my favorite pasttimes and I freaked a lot of people out at the grocery store today, wandering around with my husband and singing, "I'm driving down highway 40 in my big old pick up truck!"

We got home and pretty much fell straight into bed from exhaustion. It's been a long couple of days. 3 hours later, we woke up and my small voice ventured into the darkness: "I'm driving down highway 40 in my big old pick up truck."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Happy Glasses Time

So, I finally went to the eye doctor. After 10 years.

That was my much appreciated gift from my mom for Christmas--money for an eye exam. I went to Sam's Club today, armed with $200 and only spent 79 of it! So happy.

Then I went home and was planning to order my glasses from the Kim recommended 39 dollar glasses, but instead I ordered from 19 dollar glasses because I'm just cheap like that. But my glasses will be black and blue! And I'm so excited!

Let's recap: exam=$79, glasses (with shipping)=$20.40. Yes, it's true, I will be able to pass my driving test and renew my license in June having only paid $100 for glasses.

Why does God love me so much?

And does this mean that I can now order 100 dollars worth of seeds from the Burpee Catalogue that came today? Because I really, really want to.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Best Reading of 2006

So, I thought that in honor of the approaching new year, I would post some kind of list. I considered trying to do one every day until Sunday, but frankly, I don't have a lot to make lists of, and I'm too lazy besides.

I try, in general, to read a book a week. Sometimes I do better than that; sometimes I read only one book in a month, but as I've mentioned before, I don't get cable so that what free time I have can be devoted to reading, blogging, gardening and making stuff. Reading will always be first on that list. I don't think there's ever been a time in my life when I didn't have at least one book going, even if I was just re-reading an old favorite.

So I read a lot of books this year. And a few really stood out. Here they are, in no particular order. (Note: these are not books that came out this year. These are just books I read this year.)

The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
How is possible I waited so long to read this book? I'm so contrary sometimes. An amazing history lesson so tied into the fiction that you forget you're learning. More important to me than most, maybe, as my husband is in the comics business so, essentially, I was learning our bread and butter. But if you know me, you know that I read for story above ALL other things. A beautiful story.

The House on Dream Street by Dana Sachs
I'm slightly acquainted with Dana Sachs, so I put off reading this book for a long time. I never wanted to read it just because I knew her. But I got it at the library booksale for 75 cents. I left it to the bottom of my pile because I'm not so into travel memoirs. But this far transcends that genre. I was impressed by Dana's willingness portray herself fully, even when she was doing something that might make you think less of her. Brave, engaging writing.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Another one I kept putting off. It seemed so gimmicky and the first chapter was just. so. boring. But a bengal tiger named Richard Parker so charmed me that I was hooked. The ending of this book is masterful. If it doesn't, as it claims, make you believe in God, it at least forces you to know your own heart, which maybe is the same thing.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Once again, I'm a contrary bitch. And I would have stayed one, as far as this book was concerned if it hadn't been the voice of Alex which ran a lovely counterpoint through the whole novel.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I admit that I am an absolute sucker for a good love story. And to me, this is one of the best. It haunted me for weeks. This book asks you to give in entirely, to give up not just logic but its facsimile as well--I stopped even trying to follow the "story logic" of Henry's time travel--and it is this, I think, that leaves you so raw and open to the story, just like love does.

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
I read this after the controversy, so I knew what I was in for. But this novel swept me away anyway. I read it like a person on fire, reached the end, turned it over and started again. As I said, I read for story above all else. It was a great story.

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
Something about the imperfect relationship between the two main characters really struck me about this book and lent it, for me, something beyond the standard grief/love story. Also, I am a dog fiend.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I just finished this recently, so I haven't had as much time to reflect on it as I did the others. But it kept me sequestered for two days, grunting non-commitally in response to Thomas's questions and behind in my work.

Two old friends I revisted this year:

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
I hadn't thought of this before, but my feelings for this book are very similar to those for The Time Traveler's Wife. But added to this lovely novel is the insidious way that Amy Tan's dialect makes the world seem skewed and new, like seeing with different eyes.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Just finished this for the 4th time this morning. It was the perfect choice through my illness--familiar enough not to keep me awake with suspense when I needed to sleep, but elusive enough never to seem too familiar. There is something about this book that can never be owned no matter how many times you read it. I hate to make grand pronouncements, but this may be favorite book of all time. There's something so delicate about it, and yet it's as powerful as a sledgehammer.


Thank God for the library book sale and for the library of Ali, my sister, who keeps me in reading material all year long. I've probably read 120 books this year, altogether. For 8 of them to have been exceptional enough to mention seems like a great gift. 8 times this year, I sat up in bed, holding a finished book and crying, either for the characters, or because the book was over, or because someone in the world made something so true and beautiful that it made me afraid I could never do the same.

2006 was a good year.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas



WE DID IT!! IT'S OVER!!

No, seriously, I had a wonderful time. In spite of being sick as a dog--the kind of sick where your mouth fills up with canker sores and you can't breath through your nose so the back of your tongue kind of dries out and everything aches and it hurts to eat--my Christmas dinner (including ham) went very well, my family and Thomas's family got along together happily, I gave and recieved awesome Christmas presents, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I'm home now and no one can make me move off the couch for 5 whole days. Then I have to throw another party.

Highlights:

Gifts Given:

What Would Bacon Do? Folder to my friend Jennifer
Inanimates and Librarian Tattoos to both my mom, and best friend, Kasey
9 weight fly rod to my dad

Christmas Dinner Menu:

Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Waldorf Salad
Mashed Potatoes
Peas
Corn Pudding
Creamed Onions
Pumpkin Pie

Gifts Recieved:

Awesome new camera with docking and printing station from Thomas
Complete Freaks and Geeks from Thomas
and technically this is Thomas's gift from my parents, but it's too cool not to mention:
The Gnome Be Gone











All in all, a great success. But I am glad that there is a whole year before I have to do it again. Hope everyone else had a great time, too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Countdown

Today:

Presents returned, replaced, bought, wrapped. Done.
House cleaned except for vacuuming and sweeping.
Ingredients for Christmas dinner purchased.
2 pies baked.


My parents arrive at 4 o'clock tomorrow. We'll hold Christmas a couple of days early: tomorrow night is our Christmas eve. Then Saturday, we'll all open presents, I'll cook dinner and all of Thomas's family will arrive. Sunday morning, my parents will leave and Thomas and I will get in the car and drive to Southport to spend real Christmas with his mom and Jessica. By Monday night, I'll be back in the car, this time on my way home, with 6 gorgeous vacation days in front of me, Christmas gifts to play with, and no one to entertain.

Bring it.

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the holidays. No matter how much I hum bug, I love the sight of my tree all lit up (if slightly lopsided) and the way the house is so sparkly and full of good baking smells. I only see my family a couple of times a year, so I'm really looking forward to their visit. I got them some really great things this year which I will post about after Monday, just in case they read this before they come.

I'll probably be dormant until Tuesday what with everything going on, so Happy Holidays to everyone who makes this place my favorite part of the day. I hope your days are merry and bright.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bake-Bake-Bake, Bake-Bake-Bake, Bake your Cook-ie

Sorry to have been AWOL. The Christmas season, no matter how much I love it, takes its toll on me. In the last 24 hours, I have crocheted a hat, baked 5 batches of cookies, shopped, posed for Christmas pictures, wrapped 85% of the gifts I will give this season and written out 15 Christmas cards. Oh yeah, and I also went to work and slept.

Here is a glimpse of the Gilbert bakery:




For those I hold dear, including my waitress at Golden Corral, I have baked Irish shortbread, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia, and chocolate chip cookies.

Now, to finish the shopping, wrapping, card writing, cleaning in frantic preparation for my family's arrival on Friday and the subsequent Gilbert-Wittig family Christmas dinner on Saturday (I'm making a ham! I've never cooked a ham before! My mother in law will be there!), pie baking, and christmas cd burning. God help me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Naivete Springs Eternal

This post, over at the awesome bluishorange made me recollect again, with giggling and grimaces, how woefully ignorant I am on the subject of drugs.

Because, being 29 and mostly friends with artists, writers and other n'er-do-wells, I'm around people who are familiar with drugs of various kinds and legalities, and people usually assume that I, too, have experienced my fair share. Which would be totally wrong.

I'm often at a loss to try to explain how very, very inexperienced I am. But this story fairly well sums it up: When I was 18, I was hanging out with some kids from DC, going down to the Mall to see the fireworks. I grew up in Metro-area Maryland, so this was a pretty-near annual occurance.

If you've been to the Mall for the 4th of July, you know that in addition to some kick-ass fireworks, our Nation's capital also hosts the Great American Smokeout. When I was a kid I assumed that this was a group of people marching on Washington to abolish cigarette smoking.

So, here I am, laying on my blanket next to my way-cool friends. The fireworks are booming around us and I smell their familiar, pungent smell. I take a big sniff and sigh. "Don't fireworks smell weird?" I say to no one in particular.

Everyone looks at one another as if to decide who will get the glee of making fun of me for this. "Meg, that's pot," someone says.

Oh.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tis the Season to be Yacking

This is one of the few days that I'm glad I don't have children.

The last week of school before the winter holiday is hard enough: the kids are wired, sleepless, restless, overexcited, filled with Christmas candy snuck from santa dishes, and then conversely lethargic, grumpy and full of attitude. But today one of my poor little girls yacked EVERYWHERE.

I have to give my class credit: for a bunch of elementary school kids, some under 6, no one screamed, threw up in response, or held their noses. In short, they did not make her feel any worse than she already did, but that was already pretty DAMN BAD.

I cleaned it up--just mentally adding it to the list of bodily fluids I've had to touch in the years I've been teaching--held her, got her some water, told her no one was going to hate her, that this happens to everyone. I regaled her with the story of when Greg Miller threw up on my desk in 2nd grade, got her to smile. But it was nice to hand her off to her mother, to know that I won't be up all night checking on her, that my puke duty is over for today.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

When Doves Cry

So, this afternoon I let the dogs out and after a few minutes they scratched at the door to be let back in. They often do this when it's cold; they're not wearing their winter coats yet.

I went into the spare bedroom to lay down and read with them for a while before I started my school work. Gertie was prancing about, ready to jump in bed and she'd brought a big toy with her. Gertie doesn't usually play with toys, so I was happy that she was feeling playful.

"What have you got?" I asked her. And then, for real, "What have you got?!?"

I didn't recognize that toy. And it was really big and gray. What the hell could it be?

"WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?????"

It was a huge dead dove.

I ushered her out of the house post haste, but she would not drop the dove. I offered her cheese and carrots; I screamed and yelled. Finally I had to go put on gloves and pry the bird out of her mouth.

I suppose I should be thankful. Years ago, the only other time she's done this, I came stumbling home from Lula's at 2 in the morning, never turned on the light, peeled off my clothes and crawled in bed. With a disembowled bird.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Nipples

It is really, really important that everyone read this post.

I've been giggling over it for days.

Godzilla!

Well, the tree is up.

Poor Thomas, I dragged him all over town because no one had the right Christmas tree, and I'm very intense about my tree. Last night, as we lugged the tree home and tried desperately to get it to stand up, I cried copiously and wished terrible things on the tree and everyone and everything around me. Finally, after being poked in the eye 3 TIMES by the tree, we got it up and I hung the lights. But, of course, we'd just begun.

I have 3 humongous boxes of ornaments. And by humongous, I mean really fucking huge. Triple stacked, each one. It took us almost 3 hours, all told, to get everything onto the tree. At one point, during the last stage, which is the little tiny balls that are the size of blueberries, I referred to myself as "determined" when it came to the tree. Thomas sort of chuckled to himself. "I'm not sure 'determined' is the word I would have used," he said.



We like to refer to our tree as "T:3, Return of the Tree," inkeeping with our tradition of naming our trees. Last year's was, of course, "T:2 Electric Boogaloo." We'll start working on a rhyming sequel name for next year ASAP. What rhymes with four? "T:4, It's blocking the door"?

In my family, the tree was serious business, and involved a complex series of compromises between my parents' family traditions.
Rules:
1. The tree must be a Douglas Fir.
2. The lights must be the large old kind. They must be colored, and they must wink intermittantly.
3. Ornaments must be glass ONLY. They can be any shape or color, as long as they are glass.
4. The tree must be finished with tinsel.

Thomas and I have a douglas fir for the first time, but sadly, I cannot afford the big winky lights. And I despise tinsel.

Very early on in our relationship, Thomas's mom was cleaning out her house and offered us a huge box of Christmas ornaments. We looked in, and there, in the box, was one of the most amazing collections of old glass ornaments that I had ever seen outside my parents' house. There were many, many that I recognized from my own tree. It was one of those moments in which I knew we'd be together forever. It's nice to be able to uphold some of my family's traditions and still be using his family's ornaments.

Though our tree is 99% glass, we do have some exceptions. Ornament spotlight of today:

Godzilla!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy Wednesday

I miss posting every day. No, really.

Recently, I've been enjoying many happy displays of what Thomas and I refer to as "Dog TV." We don't have cable, and we watched our new box set of the Sopranos in one crazed, drooling bout, and so we have returned to the entertainment provided by the two small, red maniacs that happen to live in our house. (P.S. Whose good idea was it to release the Sopranos season 6 in two parts so that I would have to pay 60 dollars TWICE to get it? Much like when Stephen King released the Green Mile by chapter, I have to say, Um, I think you're rich enough. But thanks for playing. However, unlike me, my husband could not wait).

Episode 1: Triangulation.

These dogs


are watching this cat, out the window

who, in turn, is watching this squirrel, up a tree
None shall move for over an hour!


Episode 2: Drunken Brawl




Episode 3: Beagle Racetrack

Gertie is approaching the speed of sound in her efforts to outrun....no one.


I know, I know. When am I going to grow bored of taking pictures of my dogs? The answer is NEVER. Dude, they are 9 and 14 now. If I were going to get tired of this, I would have done it a long time ago.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tom Fleming: A Photo Diary

Tom told me this weekend at our first oyster roast of the year that he feels he must act out every time we get together so as to make it onto the blog. He asks himself, is this blog-worthy? I had no idea there was some motivation for his antics. I thought he was just like that.
(Note to Tom: of course I know you're just like that).

Here are some fine images of my friend Michelle trying to throw a hat onto Tom's head.





Then Tom started trying to throw it onto his own head.



I'll let you decide what he has created here:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Things In My Purse

I know I should be on vacation from this blog, but I can't be. I'm all devoted and stuff now. Anyway, I just want to tell you about some things that have made it into my handbag over time.

My mom used to say that you could tell she was a mother by the contents of her purse--not because there were bottles or diaper pins in there, but because there was a hammer, some crazy glue, 5 carrot sticks and a butter knife. Because who knows how those things got in there? I needed them! I'm a mom!
Once she went to some event at the White House with my Dad who used to work on Capitol Hill and was detained by security because there was a screwdriver in her purse.

Though I am not a mom, except to Gert and Gonzo, my purse seems often to fill itself with strange and interesting things.

There used to be a great picture of me sitting in a bar with a pile of things around me from my purse. I'd been looking for my cell phone. In my left hand, I'm holding the cell phone. In my right, I'm holding up a package of potato nails, because they had been in there too. (For those not familiar with potato nails, they are long aluminum nails that you put in a potato to help them bake more evenly and quickly. People always ask me that when I tell this story).

Once, in Jackson's Barbeque, the hushpuppies were so good that I decided to wrap the extra ones up in my napkin and carry them home in my purse. Then I forgot about them. There are still traces of hushpuppy goodness in there.

I had a wrench in my purse for almost a full year because my friend Jennifer needed help building her grill and I brought it over to her house in there.


All this occurred to me because last night, at my terrific friend Michelle's house, I put a tomato in my purse. The aforementioned Jennifer had brought nice ripe tomatos from her garden. I took one, and having no better place to put it, I stuck it in my purse. Miraculously, it made it home in one piece.

Once I put a lit cigarette into my purse by accident. I was sitting at the bar, and someone told me it was time to go home, so I started packing all the things around me away into my purse. I'm surprised I didn't add the whole ashtray, a couple beers...
Clearly, it really was time to go home.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

It's over. I did it.

This has been a really interesting month for me. In some ways, I felt like blogging every day has been good exercise. There were days when I had nothing to say and a big white box in front of me and I felt I rose to the occasion, and was able to make something out of the mundane. There are other days were I just took up space in my own archives.

I had a great walk-and-talk with Cue today. Through talking to her, I realized that my sense of how and why I was doing this changed with a changing audience. I was more aware of people reading my blog than ever before--not that it affected what I wrote but who I wrote it for. I had fun, overall. And there's always a sense of accomplishment in completing a goal you set for yourself, even if it's a list you made filled with things like getting up and getting dressed, just so you could cross them off.

I've been tagged by Velocibadgergirl with the same 6 weird things meme. And because she was so sweet on her blog about my "about me," I will capitulate. I think this happens to me over and over again because this entire blog is essentially a running log of all the weird things about me. I've gone back and chronicled for myself all the slightly-off-center things that I've already revealed to you, my anonymous internet friends, and I will put it in a separate post so that you don't have to wade through it unless you want to, but here are the new ones:

55. There's a Jolly Roger flag flying in front of my house.
54. I've memorized and can rap along with at least 15 Eminem songs in their entirety.
53. Two naked hula people named Jorge and Evangeline grace my dashboard.
52. Lately, I am constantly convinced that there is fuzz on my face. I don't know if this is an OCD or if there actually is fuzz on my face.
51. I hated Pirates of the Caribbean.
50. I finished NaBloPoMo '06.

49 Other Weird Things About Me, In Order of Their Appearance

49. I don't eat purple food.
48. I rule at Megatouch Erotic Photo Hunt, which I call Touch the Boobie.
47. I practiced for a long time so that I could give the finger like Eminem.
46. I like to watch myself in the mirror when I talk.
45. The only thing I've ever won was a 3 foot chocolate rabbit.
44. On our first date, Thomas took me to see a giant urinal.
43. I can't help but tell people what I just bought for them.
42. I swear alarmingly when building furniture.
41. I hide upsetting books under the bed.
40. Our toothpaste tastes like shrimp.
39. I'm required by law to wear a portion of my food on my chest.
38. I can hurt myself just by sitting in a chair (and often do!)
37. Apparently, when I made this list, I left off number 37.
36. I'm afraid of worms. Seriously.
35. I'm deafeningly loud when I get excited.
34. I've never had cable tv.
33. I love karaoke. Particularly Love Shack and Gloria.
32. I have the cutest feet ever, in my humble opinion.
31. I collect garden gnomes and fake mustaches. In fact, the favors at our wedding were cards of fake mustaches, resulting in my entire wedding album being pictures of drunk people in fake mustaches.
30. By 30, I'd hoped to own a barbie pink beetle.
29. My dogs know "Cheese" and "Night Night" instead of "Come" and "Lie Down."
28. I know a lot of people named Tom.
27. I cannot function without cherry chapstick.
26. I am tragically unhip and cannot wear my own glasses for feeling like a poseur.
25. I once went on a blind date with a guy who had two hearing aides and an unholy obsession with Willy Wonka.
24. I consider my pre-Thomas poor choices in men to be a direct result of my love for the Breakfast Club and Dirty Dancing.
23. I harbor ridiculous regrets from childhood concerning unfinished French projects and fake 4 leaf clovers.
22. I am most comfortable in the company of boys.
21. Gas station attendants totally love me.
20. My favorite phrases are: Crap in a bowl, How exciting, Fucksie ducksie, Whatev, Whaaaaat? and Dude.
19. I did not learn to drive until I was 23 and consequently have no bump of direction.
18. I dress myself almost solely in black v-neck tee-shirts.
17. When I was little, I was afraid that if you cut through all 7 layers of your skin, well, sucks to be you, that's all you get.
16. I dress my pets in tutus and kiss them on the mouth.
15. I'm a Quaker.
14. I count when I pee.
13. I think it is appropriate to have only as many pets as you can remember names. I feel confident I could remember 100.
12. I can't eat enough pizza. Thomas orders 3 just for the two of us.
11. I have a very large head (in circumference, not ego!)
10. I am obsessed with the grammar of billboards.
9. I constantly mishear song lyrics and prefer my own.
8. I have to imitate any strange or electronic sounds that I hear.
7. When people are sad, I offer to dance a jig.
6. Whenever I hear the title of a movie sequel, I feel compelled to add "Electric Boogaloo."
5. I'm afraid of zombies.
4. I threw away all the attachments to my vacuum cleaner.
3.I hate Bob Dylan
2. I love freaky tv ad personalities, a la The Burger King (I dressed as him for Halloween last year) and locally, Pat and Ashley.
1. I eat Cool Whip for a snack.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Day 29--Almost There

I've seen a bunch of blogs this month. Many of them were really great. Some of them, I'll read long after this NaBloPoMo (or NaBlowMe, as Alexa at Flotsam so aptly put it) thing is over.

One thing I've really enjoyed is seeing people post excerpts from their adolescent journals on their blogs. I would love to do this, but I have no adolescent journals. As I've pointed out, until this blog entered my life, my journals generally read like this: "Monday. Cold. Went to English class. Why doesn't John love me?" The end.

So I will have to post for you excerpt from my 2nd grade journal. Spelling and grammar mistakes left intact.

Here goes:

I got a gernal its neet. I like it. and I can right my name in cursof look:

I rote a story 12 pages long. It is about a party and plan's to get the thing's. My birthday is in 4 months and 24 Days. I will have a teddy bear party. there will be prizes for the oldest, the best dressed and the best loved teddy bear. It will be a sleep over and it will be fun. I forgot the teddy that can do the most things.

On friday I will sleep over at sneha's house. We have a plan for geting cherry soda. Today I swiched bus stop's. I had to run home because I didnt no the ruls.

Whene I move wich might be soon we will get a nother dog I get to name it so I will name it ruff I wonder will be like. Fang won't no what to make of ruff I hope they will be friends.

[Editor's notes: I really did have a friend named Sneha (pronounced Snay-ha). I used to tease her that if she married a boy in our class named Oliver Ha, her name would be Snay Ha-Ha! Boy, did she hate that!!!

Also, our family dog was named Fang. My dad called all dogs "Fang" much in the same way that I call all dogs "Boo Boo."]

Where I would Like To Travel I would like to travel to kansas because my babysitter said she saw Dorothy and I want to see her too.

Brinkly and Luck followed me to the bus stop. they almost got on the bus. it was lucky, nobody likes dogs on the bus. boy am I glad they didn't.

We, meaning sneha and I are setting up a sleep over. We have a color colecion. We can dance to materil girl!! Tomaro we will go on a metro trip. I call Metro Met-Ro! Tee Hee!

[The same babysitter who told me she saw Dorothy (of the Wizard of Oz, natch) in Kansas used to bribe me to go to bed by offering to show me a picture of a duck billed platypus in the back of her Biology textbook.

Funny story concerning Material Girl: once on a long road trip to one of my parents' college reunions, I was gleefully singing along to my Madonna tape in the backseat, when my parents stopped the car and asked to talk to me. While they had no problems with my rendition of Like a Virgin, they wanted to be clear that it was not good to be a Material Girl.]

Ok, so maybe that wasn't as fun as other people's angst concerning big bangs, the roller skating rink and sex ed, but I had a good time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A B C My Brains Leaking Out My Ears

So, I've been talking and talking about the ABC drama, and the longer it's been going on, the less I want to post about it. But I promised, and I'm a woman of my word, so here it is.

My grandmother is an artist. A very talented artist. That is the nicest thing you will ever hear me say about my grandmother. Ok? Enough said.

Many, many years ago, perhaps while she was at Bennington, she did a series of paintings of a clown discovering each letter of the alphabet, henceforth to be referred to as the ABC paintings. Soon you will know why I cannot bear to try to take a picture of them to show you.

A while back, my grandmother moved from her home of 50+ years into an assisted living facility, and much of the work she'd done, that hadn't already been claimed by a family member, went to live in my sister's apartment. I went through what she had and thought to myself, wouldn't that be nice for a nursery someday. Oh, how I rue that day.

I took the ABC paintings home and enjoyed them and thought about how one day I'd have a nursery that took on their bright primary colors: no pink and blue for me. Then my mother called and said that my grandmother wanted the paintings back because she wanted to show them. I pointed out that if I "lent" them back, I'd never see them again.

My mother agreed, and so we decided that I would just "forget" to send them back. I faithfully forgot for a year or more.

The morning that I was leaving for MD, my mom called and left a message on the machine to bring the ABC paintings with me. I called back and asked my dad if this was a message that "I missed," or whether my mom was actually instructing me to bring back the ABCs.

Apparently, I was to bring home the ABCs. My mom insisted that we would be able to dismantle and copy them and reassemble them in time for me to bring them home, something that I seriously doubted. So I packed them in the car, bitching and moaning the entire time about how it was all just so unfair. (You see, I admit that I had my part in all this drama).

From the moment I got to MD, the ABCs came up approximately every 2.5 minutes. How would we dismantle and copy the ABCs? (Scan them into the computer/Copy them on my parents' printer/Take them to Kinkos). Who would be allowed to disassemble them? (Me, to whom they belong. My mom, talented and able to fix anything. My grandmother, 87 and apparently unable to lift a mug of tea without groaning with exertion). Were the ABCs original or copies of the original? We fought on all these points. Extraneous opinions on paper quality and disc management were raised and dismissed.

Frankly, by the time that my up-for-sainthood husband took my grandmother to the Baltimore art museum, leaving us to actually complete this project, I was ready to just hand the damn things over. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE, I must have said, dramatically, 100 times.

So, my mom and I dismantled the frames and discovered that the damned panels were glued to the mats. Who does this?!? We lamented loudly and repeatedly. Finally, amongst much consultation, we agreed that the only thing to do would be to take them to Kinkos and let them copy them as one enormous panel and we would cut them apart.

Long story short, as this is already sucking out my will to live again, the Kinkos employees were rude and totally unhelpful, the manager looking at us condescendingly, taking a step back and putting his hands on his hips. "Yeah, I can't help you," he says. "The color copiers are over there."

So, you're saying I can do on a color copier over there, what you, a professional cannot do?

Well, we've got different equipment back here.

So you're saying that the color copier here for public use is better than what you have back there?

Well, I've got a lot of important orders to take care of.

I didn't ask you to do it now. I asked if I could place an order to have it done.

No, like I said, the color copiers are over there.

He's just lucky I don't believe in guns.

Because at this point, grandchildren having been invoked, my mother was determined to get this done, so we did it. All 26 panels, glued to four enormous mats, on color copiers in Kinkos.

Then we ran home, reassembled the frames and stuck them back in my car. They are now safely back in my closet and I am left wondering, what just happened to me?
I supposed this is what is supposed to happen on Thanksgiving: you are supposed to be reunited with your family so that you can all bitch and annoy one another and eat too much and generally turn things into international incidents (tm) when they need not be.
But now I think I need a drink.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Accidental Hostess

Because I am the queen of all that is sane and logical, after we arrived home yesterday, we threw a small party. One of Thomas's high school friends came into town, which involved the inviting of another friend of theirs (and ours), who happened to be seeing a movie with a friend of mine at the time...

Next thing you know, I've consumed a bottle of wine.

I slept terribly, wracked with guilt and worry at having to teach in the terrible condition I was in. I dreamt that someone forced me to drink Mercurochrome. It was not good.

I know I'm supposed to be posting about my grandmother and the ABC paintings, but I just don't have the strength. So here are some pictures of my mom's pies. They were good, but I had to walk 5 miles today to even begin to erase their memory.




You might also be interested to know that my mom REALLY likes Elmo.


















Also, her car rules:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Weird Girl Arrives Back at Home

First off, let me say how good it is to be back. Thomas and I arrived back in lovely Wilmington at 2:30 and were greeted by the shrieks and whimpers of the two greatest and most sorely missed dogs in the United States.

Secondly, sorry my blog has sucked for the last few days. It was hard, posting from home.

Thirdly, where the hell is everyone? I know it's been Thanksgiving and most of us were travelling, but STILL.

Fourthly (In the fourth place?), I have a fine blog planned about my grandmother's artwork and the longest-running, most-annoying discussion ever, but that will have to wait until tomorrow because:

I'VE BEEN TAGGED!

Kim has tagged me to reveal six weirdnesses about myself. Unfortunately, I covered many of the most weird in this post, but I'm a tough girl, so I'll do my best.

1. On our first date, Thomas took me to see a giant urinal. It resides downtown in Longstreet's Pub and it really is giant. I could fit my whole self into it. We visit it from time to time, just to reminisce.

2. Other than the recently discussed costume contest, the only thing I've ever won was a 3 foot, solid, chocolate rabbit. (I'm actually planning a whole post on this later). Suffice it to say, my friend, Dorothy, ate the whole head and had to go to the hospital.

3. I like to look in the mirror when I talk on the phone to see what I look like when I make my standard facial expressions. I'm actually mesmerized by this and cannot sit by mirrors in restaurants because I will just stare and stare at myself to see what I look like when I'm eating.

4. I practiced for a long time to be able to give the finger like Eminem--you know, with all the fingers bent at the knuckle and the middle one up. I think it looks cooler like that. I trained both hands to do it. During that time, my friend Bryan once remarked to my friend Craig, "Have you noticed that Megsie's been giving the finger a lot?" How embarrassing.

5. I am the MASTER at the Megatouch game Erotic Photo Hunt, which I like to call "Touch the Boobie." There was a time when I had the number one score at every machine I encountered in three states.

6. I don't eat purple food. Eggplants and grapes are ok, but anything that is "Grape flavored" is the elixir of the devil to me. I carefully separate out all my purple candies, popsicles, etc. Things that will stain my teeth purple are also in this catagory. I pretend to be allergic to red wine, but really, I just hate having a purple mouth. There. The truth is out.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

My Most Popular Post EVER

has been this post about the Wizard's top 100 Greatest Villains of All Time. At least once a week, most often once a day, this blog is hit by someone who searched for "Wizards Top 100" or "100 Greatest Villains." Seriously. And it's like, one of the most boring posts ever. Well, now apparently it's gotten itself involved in some web battle taking place here. I haven't managed to figure out what they are arguing about, but it sounds an awful lot like the inside of my husband's comic book store.

Also, I'm getting hit by this argument about 30 times a day. Which makes this DEFINITELY my most popular post ever. And I thought NaBloPoMo was bringing in traffic.

Life is weird.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bloating: The Day After

Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm in a bit of pain. I don't think I've eaten this much in a year or more. The six pies were excellent, and I've taken pictures that I will post as soon as I get home.

My parents had a shed erected in their backyard today by Amish people. I told them that it seemed a little crazy to have a barn-raising for a storage shed, but dear God were these men efficient. I've never seen anything like it.

I feel snarky and I don't want to post snarkily from home, so I think I'll be done for today. I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful Doesn't Begin

So, we made it. I'm here and blogging from Maryland. The drive was long and rainy--I was tired and cranky and stiff and hungry when we got here.

When we went upstairs to bed, there was a big roll of paper sitting on the bed.

Let's back up 10 years.

I used to be a HUGE Beatles collector. The records I still collect, but back in the day, I had some amazing original posters from the 60's, gorgeous stuff and HUGE! Posters weren't kidding around back then. Just one of my posters could take up my entire dining room wall.

Proud of them, I was. My collection was really arresting and it meant a lot to me emotionally and I felt, at the time, that it defined me and who I wanted to be in a lot of ways, when I still wasn't too sure about all that. 2 years into college, when I was moving from room to room, as I did every year, I lost my entire collection in one fell swoop. It was in one big poster tube and I never saw it again.

The loss was devestating to me. I didn't talk about it a lot at the time; I was moving in with someone who wouldn't have let me put up all those posters in the first place. But I missed them always, and when I finally met and married someone who not only would have let me put up those posters, but would revel in them, I missed them even more.

Over time I grew bitter about it, and I'm sorry to say that I began to wonder if that long ago roommate hadn't "lost" or sold them.

I guess you already know that the paper on my bed was my posters. All of them. All wrapped up together and in immaculate shape, having sat in a closet in my parent's house all these years. I cried as I unrolled them. I feel like someone gave me a huge, tangible piece of my life back. I have no idea how they got there.

I can't wait to get home and re-do that music room.

So I'm thankful, today, for this evidence of a 18 year old girl who loved the Beatles. And I'd also like to say I'm sorry to that person who I've maligned in my heart these many years.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Queen of the Wusses

I just totally drove to AutoZone and made them put my windshield wipers on for me.

It looked so inexplicable! But the man kind of rolled his eyes and snapped them on like it was the easiest thing ever, and now I am left feeling like...a girl.

Oh well.

Getting ready to leave...packing, cleaning, etc. Also just did my first Christmas shopping, courtesy of Pen's suggestion, Perpetual Kid. Way, way cool. Note to all those expecting Christmas presents from me: The Gilberts are strapped this year. There will be a 10 dollars or less rule applied across the board.

This is difficult for me, as I am fond of being known as the crazy-no-holes-barred-present-giver. Gift giving is my absolute favorite thing in the world, and I am often totally unable to wait until whatever gift-giving holiday is at hand to reveal what I have purchased. Yes, I am the girl who will call you up and gleefully tell you what I just bought you. I also like to be the one who hands you not just one package, but a mound of them. I don't know if this is a crazed attempt to get people to like me, or what, but like cooking too much food, giving too much present seems to be hardwired into my DNA.

Usually, I'm totally finished shopping by this point, but this year I just don't have the means to shower those I love with gifts.

Try to keep on liking me. I'll try to find the coolest under 10 dollar gift you ever got from anyone, ever, in the history of time.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

All Hail the Hand Turkey

So, it was my students' last day of school for the week. They made startling works of art that took me hours to cut out, including the hand turkey, who holds a special place in my heart. Today's random questions included desserts that are on fire. I don't know where they encountered sweets en flambe but they were mighty intrigued. And very relieved when I told them that you put the fire out before you eat it.

We're frantically getting ready for our trek to the DC area...beginning tomorrow at the horrific hour of 5 pm. Just in time to hit every bit of traffic between here and the beltway. Ah, well, work. What can you do?

To appease my father, we put new tires on my Daewoo (Dae-WOO!) yesterday, but are still trying to figure out how to attach the damn windshield wipers. Very necessary in this hurricane-like weather we are having. I'm always very nervous about this trip, not only because (say it with me now) I didn't learn to drive until I was 23 and still don't consider myself to be the (a-hem) greatest driver in the United States, but also because I'm slowly going blind as a result of losing my glasses at a production of the Vagina Monologues back in 2001. I still suspect that the glasses were so shocked by the all the euphamisms for vagina that they jumped off my face and hid under the seat in shame.

Night driving is really scary for me, particularly in the rain. Everything looks like one enormous ring of light and I can never see the lines on the road and then I begin to get...testy. Ask my poor long-suffering husband, there is nothing worse than driving with me in the dark unless it is building furniture with me.

I'm good at building furniture, really I am. It's just that I find the whole process easier if I'm uttering every ugly thing that's ever crossed my mind. I plan to display the wide range of my vocabulary when I tackle those windshield wipers tomorrow.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Stomach is Seceding from the Union

I don't know if it's this INSANE weather, or what, but my internet (that's my internet, not your internet) is really slow tonight. This always makes me freaked out and paranoid that I've gotten a virus.
I don't have a virus. Right?

Also, at lunchtime today, I consumed a small amount of fake chocolate. And we all know what this means: for the last 7 hours, my body has been in frantic EJECT mode. I don't know why I continue to eat the fake chocolate.

Actually, that is a total lie. I know exactly why I continue to eat the fake chocolate: because it is the only chocolate I can have, and sometimes, you just need chocolate. Even if it will haunt you for almost 24 hours. Hey, it could be worse, right? I could be wearing the chocolate like a floatation device for the next two years. Instead I get to rid myself of it immediately, along with anything else I might have eaten in recent history.

As has been previously documented, I suffer from a severe weakness for pizza. I consider myself a paragon of virtue when I do not eat two pizzas in one sitting. Pizza is the only food that I allow myself to cheat with (excepting situations in which politeness is the rule, or when one or two french fries accidentally fall into my mouth at high speeds) but when I declare pizza day, dude, pizza day is on.

Mostly I try to eat all my pizza at once, to save myself from the hideous temptation of left over pizza. But sometimes I pretend to be a paragon of virtue and then come home from work the next day to be a total depraved idiot. Recently I did this and as I suffered a great deal of remorse, I thought....fake chocolate. If I eat the fake chocolate, all this will be gone. (See what I mean about synthetic foods breeding new and improved eating disorders?) I struggled for a few moments over this moral dilemma and then quickly ate two handfuls of fake m&m's.

Nothing happened.

Apparently, if you consume a great deal of bread and fat before eating the fake chocolate, it renders the chocolate impotent.

Good on the eating disorder front--Bad on the front in which I just ate pizza and then chocolate.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Manipulate Me in One Easy Step

I will agree to anything if I've been drinking.

There are two categories of questions that are asked of my inebriated self.

Category 1: The favor
Paint your bedroom? Watch your cats? Drive to Raleigh? Pick you up at the airport? No problem. I'm really very agreeable. Sadly, people tend to call to remind me of these things the next day. Crap.

Category 2: Let's hang out
Let's go see a movie tomorrow! Want to go plant shopping? Hey, let's drive to the beach and go swimming. Hey, wanna fly to Africa with me? To these I always respond with "YES! OF COURSE! THAT SOUNDS GREAT! CALL ME IN THE MORNING!" (I'm also very loud when I've been drinking.)

Usually I'm forgetting about my 45 previous commitments. But that's ok, because no one ever really calls in the morning, because generally their enthusiasm was drinking induced as well.

However, today, all those people who made plans to have lunch and see a movie today actually peeled themselves out of bed, called one another on the telephone and left the house. Including me. Miraculous.

So, (there's that damned "so" again) I went with Thomas and our friends John and Steve to see Borat. I saved up this post all day so that I could write about Borat tonight, as I was led to believe that I was about to see THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL MOVIE ON THE EARTH, EVER.

My friend Steve, who is a comedian himself, told me last night that it was either, "The worst movie I've ever seen, or the bravest, most incredible satire ever." The incredibly funny Kim Shable recommended it. Gina over at Just Another Day panned it. Other friends of mine claimed not to understand it. Steve told me that the first time he saw it, 18 people got up and left the theater. I was apprehensive.

Afterward, I can't say I feel I've seen anything particularly noteworthy. Maybe it was all the hype (I'm notoriously contrary about hype. If a movie is supposed to be the best thing ever, I tend to feel blah about it) but I didn't feel particularly offended or enthused. Parts of it were funny. Parts of it were gross. Parts of it were offensive. How is this different from, say, Freddie Got Fingered?

In further musings on today's experience, I realized that in almost 6 years of being friends, this is the first time I've ever made plans and hung out with Steve or John when there was no drinking involved. I can't figure out if this says something about our friendship or just that I need to lay off the booze.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Just Hide it Under the Bed

Random Thought: every time I start a blog post, I type "So," and then I go back and delete it, because if I didn't, every single one of my posts would begin "So," as if this were all some sort of endless conversation.

So, this morning, I got up at 7:30 and planted 100 bulbs in the yard. My lovely sister got me tulips, allium and hyacinths for my birthday and I've been putting off planting them for so long that I was afraid totally laziness would take over and they would all die. I kept telling myself, "You live in North Carolina. It's not too late until the last week of November," but this morning I got a bee in my bonnet and just got it done. I felt very accomplished at 8:30. By 11, we'd cooked breakfast and cleaned the house. Woo! All our tasks were done for today! Then we wondered what the hell to do with ourselves and ended up watching a fair portion of the new Sopranos box set.

Because we don't have cable (I'm not opposed to TV, I just know that if we had it, I would never read, blog, crochet, garden or grade any of my students' work) we see most of our tv shows after they've been released to box set. We hadn't seen the Sopranos in over a year, because the makers of the Sopranos box sets hate me and want me to die. Starting up the first disc, I felt like when your high school friends visit: you're excited, but nervous that you won't have anything in common anymore.

I've pretty much cried my way through every episode so far: the sixth season has started off very heavy. I'm worried, because this is how I stopped watching Six Feet Under, the greatest show ever. By the end of the third season, I was growing noticably depressed, like, time to go back on Paxil depressed. At the end of every episode, I'd stand out on my front porch and look at the sky and wonder why the world is such a horrible, horrible place. Tres dramatic, I know. Sometimes, I have to ask myself why I want to watch beautifully written and portrayed scenes of horror and anguish.

I think maybe TV gets too intense for me because I can't put it down. When I'm reading and I reach something that is just too tense, too loaded, too, too, too, I take the book and stick it under the bed until I feel better. How sad to admit that. But you can't hide your TV shows under the bed. Especially not when someone is watching them with you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Things I Never Want to Hear

I'm in the bathroom yesterday and I'm brushing my teeth with this new Arm and Hammer toothpaste that we got because it was on sale.

I yell to Thomas, who was in the other room, "I hate this toothpaste!"

He yells back, "I know, it tastes like shrimp!"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Curry is the New Black

Tonight I had a lovely dinner at Double Happiness, a new Chinese place in town. Pricey, but totally worth it, and nice to celebrate my friend Christa's birthday. I had a wonderfully rich and spicy chicken curry, a large portion of which is currently decorating my right boob.

Why?

Apparently, it is totally impossible for me to eat dinner in a restaurant without accessorizing with my food. There is a famous family photo of me, circa 1997, in a Japanese food restaurant. I'm wearing a heather gray shirt, except that, oops, my left boob is charcoal gray because I'm wearing the white sauce.

I swear that I do not do this at home.

Last night I cooked a true fall meal: butternut squash soup, pork tenderloin, asparagus, acorn squash and nests of carrot, onion and kale. It was yummy AND I did not trim my shirt with any portion of it. Which was miraculous, considering I had company and hence an audience.

I like to think that I was blessed with a larger than average rack in order to catch the food I was destined to spill, and therefore to protect my expensive shoes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Accident Prone

I am the master of ridiculous accidents.

From wrapping my legs around a barstool and then forgetting and standing up to running full-tilt-boogie into clearly visible solid objects, I have spent more than my fair share of time in the emergency room and/or covered in bruises and bandaids of various sizes and shapes.

Yesterday, as I was driving to work, I was fumbling around in my purse for the all-important chapstick when I felt something small and sharp make its way forcefully into my finger.

When I removed my finger from my handbag, an ancient gnome button that a nice old man had given me at the flea market was sticking out of it. I pulled the button out and inspected my finger, which was, seriously, gushing blood. Why doesn't it do that when I prick it for blood sugar tests? The pin part of the button had left a dark, rusty looking area in my finger.

I know for a fact that I have had a tetinus shot in the last ten years...but still, if I die of lockjaw, you'll know why.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Incredible Edible Intro

It's day 14 of NaBloPoMo, and I'm getting hit by the randomizer from all damn over the place, which is awesome. It's slacking off now, as we all get tired of this constant blogging and so, being 5 steps behind the average, as usual, I'm choosing now to do what everyone else did at the beginning:
An intro to me.
I'm going to try to make this interesting so as not to be boring to those of you who know me inside out and backward.

My name is Meg. Don't call me Meaghan. No, seriously. Don't.

I have an MFA in creative writing that has been so useful to me that I teach elementary school in a one room schoolhouse. Ok, it's two rooms, but still. My school is K-12, with elementary and middle school in one room and high school in another. This is not quite as Little House on the Prarie as it sounds. We're more like an alternative private school where kids are encouraged to learn at their own pace. It's the most frustrating and rewarding thing I've ever done. Though I've tried to leave it for more lucrative options (is that McDonald's returning my phone call?) I just can't.

I collect garden gnomes and fake mustaches.

If the house were burning down, in addition to my two dogs, I'd try to save my Steve Madden fuzzy leopard print slippers.

I have the cutest feet ever.

Secretly, I adore karaoke. Give me some beer and dare me NOT to sing Love Shack.

My husband owns a comic book store and yet, I've only read, like, 10 comics in my whole life. But Adrian Tomine rules.

I've lost a grand total of 35 lbs this year.

I have never had cable TV.

My laugh can be heard several states away. In fact, it's possible that my voice can be heard several states away. I once worked in a library and that was a bad, bad scene.

I totally un-ironically use the word "Whatev" in everyday life.

I am deathly afraid of worms.

I want "Graceland" and "Carolina in my Mind" played at my funeral.


This is my dad wearing a fake mustache (in addition to his real one) at my wedding.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Things I Love Most About my Husband

include that he brought this home for me:


I know that you, too, are dying to color Easy E.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ode to the God of Parking

The God of parking does not like negativity,
So save it.
The God of parking doesn't care if the light is red and that bastard
is about to take your space.
He has bigger fish to fry, my friend.
The God of parking likes good vibes, french fries and freshly lit cigarettes...
Please throw donations out the window. Let him worry about the God of litter.
The God of parking has saved you this perfect space.
The meter is off for the night.
All hail the God of parking.

(for Michelle)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

By 30, I'd Hoped to Own a Barbie Pink Beetle


It's been quiet in the blogosphere. Maybe I'm just being boring, or maybe this overposting is taking its toll. I've been a quiet commenter lately, myself. I always have trouble commenting. I know I should--I know it's the right thing to do--but I find it difficult for some reason. I think I'm just a lurker by nature.

Happy 30th birthday to my brother-in-law, Chris. We had a nice time hanging out in Carolina Beach last night, though sadly, there were no oysters to be had. I'm very excited and aware of the fact that I will turn 30 this year. It's such a nice round number.

Though I love to get older, I suffer from the same insecurities as everyone else does: Have I done enough by this point? Am I the person I thought I would be? Most of the time I look around me and feel deeply satisfied by my life: this beautiful house, my incredible husband, the dogs, a job I don't just tolerate but take real pleasure and pride in. Mostly, as my new friend Kathy says, I feel pleased with the calibre of people in my life.

I wish that I had been able to hold it together in enough in my early twenties to secure for myself now the things that I need--more money, health insurance, etc. I wish I were able to have kids in the next couple of years instead of worrying about getting my teeth back in order, replacing the very necessary glasses that I lost in 2001, buying a house.

And yet, I don't feel sorry about the way I've lived my life. I know that I didn't always behave very responsibly during the years I was in graduate school, but I had hell of a good time, even when it was hard and frightening. I met some great people. I figured out a lot about myself and what I need.

Still, I struggle most with being too passive. This has been a difficult week, and what I felt last friday is still very much with me. I think I'll always feel that the price of confrontation is too high. I'm the kind of person who doesn't speak up until it is far too late, until I am too angry, too hurt to go on. I've worried at it all week, until I came to the conclusion that part of what I value most in myself is the ability to suck it up. I don't know. Everyone argues with me on that point, and I value what they say. I just know that I'm resting easier knowing that I don't have to hurt anyone.

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's Friday

Not to be a total walking cliche, but THANK GOD. This is one of those days you don't really count on when signing on for NaBloPoMo. I'd factored in that I would be away for Thanksgiving and would have to blog from my parents' house, but I figured that would just give me an excuse to take pictures of the SEVEN pies my mom makes for Thanksgiving and that would be cool.

But today, I have to go celebrate my brother in law's 30th birthday, so Thomas and I are heading to Carolina Beach in about an hour. Mmmm...first oysters of the year...

Speaking of which, the other day, Thomas and I were in the car, talking about these nice girls we met who are our friend's neighbors. She refers to them as "the gaybors." Anyway, we were talking about how we'd like to have them over for our next party. As fall is approaching, we've been eagerly looking forward to oyster roasts. So I knew what Thomas meant when he turned to me and said, "Do you think they eat oysters?" But I still almost peed myself laughing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Orange Julius--The Update

So, did I ever mention that Orange Julius (the stray who we were going to adopt) is a girl? We realized it about a week after Thomas had named him with the greatest name ever and by then we were totally attached to the name (perhaps more so than to the cat).

We considered Orange Julia, but we both really like the name Julia. And once you name a pet that...there's no going back. "Mom, why'd you name me after the cat?"

And so I refer to him/her as "Orange Julius, the transgendered cat," or OJTTC, which I guess is technically incorrect because he's really more of a transvestite.

Anyway, I think Orange Julius is pregnant. S/he has a certain, shall we say, rotundity. The other day s/he snuck up on me as I was leaving for work and I actually screeched aloud, "Orange Julius! You are pregnant! Get off this porch!" I'm thinking of sending her to a home for wayward girls.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And, Oh Yeah, The Election

Thank you, Vintage, very much for this incredibly succinct and uplifting post, during the reading of which, I actually cried tears of joy:

Ladies and gentlemen, America has spoken. And by “spoken,” what i mean is that “America has kicked the ass of the Republican party into minority status.” Welcome to a new day, a new America, a rejuvinated democracy. Welcome back to an America where checks and balances once again are in place and will be utilized for all they are worth. Hopefuly, I hope we can also be welcomed back to a bipartisan America with far less polarization; only time will tell if we can overcome partisan divides for common good.

Democrats have thus far picked up 28 seats in the House of Representatives. They needed 15 to take control.

Democrats have thus far picked up five Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Missouri and Montana. Democrat Jim Webb is ahead by 8,000 votes in Virginia. Should Virginia go to Webb, the Senate will be controlled by the Democratic Party.

Democrats have picked up 6 state governorships. They now have a majority of governorships for the first time since 1994.

Democrats have won the majority of state legislatures across the country.

The Democratic wave has virtually ensured the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives; Democrats elected the first African-American governor in Massachusetts history and only the second in American history; Democrats have elected the first Muslim to Congress.

In Missouri, a bill advocating and protecting stem cell research has passed

In Arizona, a ban on gay marriage has failed

In South Dakota, a ban on virtually all kinds of abortion has failed

President Bush has accepted the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.

There have been a lot of tough days, a lot of tough years, a lot of disappointing elections. The loss of 2004 still stings, but this year’s victory has rejuvinated the party and the hope in America that courses will be changed, minds will be opened, and progress will be made. This is a good day for Democrats, for America, and for the world.

In the History of Weeks that Suck

This has been way up there. I don't want to bitch and moan about it endlessly, but dude. Interpersonally, professionally, and in the backyard cat-eating arena, things have been better. Also, for the record, I am currently suffering the second illness of this school year.



I would like to wish a very happy birthday to Miss Gert E. Girl, 14 year old beagle extraordinaire. Gert has consumed an alarming amount of cheese today, and also a gift from one of my students, because oh my god that's cute.



Cheesy school anecdote of the day (please god let no one else compare me to reader's digest): This morning, a bunch of little boys were singing the song that goes "Boys go to college to get more knowledge. Girls go to Jupiter to get more stupider!"

One of the little boys, in some fit of political correctness, said, "You guys are saying that about Miss Meg and Miss JC!" Another little boy looked over and said with great disdain, "Miss Meg and Miss JC are women. They didn't go to Jupiter to get more stupider."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Past Humiliations Revisited

When Thomas and I moved into our first apartment together, I was so excited to show it to my parents that I took a whole bunch of boring pictures of every room before we went home to Maryland to visit.


They looked at all the boring pictures and oohed and aahed over everything, just as good parents should. It wasn't until later, when we had some of their friends in for dinner and I was showing the pictures that I noticed this:




Yeah. Those are the emergency kitchen condoms. Just in case.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Peddling Misinformation to Today's Youth

One of the greatest things about working with the kids all day is the hour before school starts in which I get to talk to them as little people instead of little students. They tell me all about their lives (sometimes alarmingly so) and ask me questions about anything they can think of.

One of my favorite discussions with them in the mornings is the "What have you eaten?" discussion, which usually goes something like this:

"Miss Meg, have you ever eaten brains?"
"Miss Meg, have you ever eaten a squid?"
"Miss Meg, have you ever eaten an alligator?"
"Ewwwwwwwwww!"

A few years back, one of my students started playing little league baseball. One morning, he asked me who the guy was who wore black and white and said, "You're out!"
I told him that was the umpire.

Several days later, I had totally forgotten the conversation and in the midst of fielding 35 other random questions, the kid asked me, "Miss Meg, where do the vampires live?"

This puzzled me, but it was really no different from any of the other weird questions I get asked on a daily basis, so I thought about it for a minute and said, "Well, maybe they live underground."

The kid stared at me for a moment. "Underground?" he asked.

"Yeah, underground."

"The vampires live underground?"

"Well, you know, honey, it's dark down there. And the vampires don't like light."

His eyes got wider. "The vampires don't like light?"

"Well, the light kills them."

His eyes got huge. "The light kills them?"

All of a sudden it dawned on me that he thought we were talking about umpires. UMPIRES!

"Miss Meg is so silly," I said, "Don't listen to what she says. The umpires live at home, just like you and me."

He went back to his desk, still looking vaguely alarmed and I wonder if to this day he looks at the umpires askance.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sometime the Universe Throws You a Bone

Well, I'm happy to say that after my existential despair on Friday, I was rewarded by the universe with a good cackle and many beers with 3 nice girls who at this time appear neither moody, unmotivated, nor crazy. Many thanks to Michelle, Kathy and Susan for restoring my faith in the goodness of friendship and sorry if I was too loud.

Thomas's website just changed hosts and now has a rather freakishly detailed counter on it. We were looking at it today and it has a section called Robot/Spider Visitors Top Ten. Thomas told me that yesterday when he was going over the site with his web guy, he was like, "WHAT are Robot/Spider Visitors??!!" And I totally stepped into the mind of my comic book reading husband and thought of all the crazy possibilities. Awesome.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ok, so....onward.

So, I've been doing a little tweaking. I was afraid to host the new background images on photobucket, for fear that I'd run out of usage and the blog would be black with red type. So I had to create a bellsouth homepage and host the images there, but I can see that it's taking longer for some browsers to load them. What is going on at your house? Is it black with ugly red type? Or are you reminded of that lovely peach living room I used to have? Please let me know if it looks crazy. IE (I know!) doesn't always do the best job of letting me know these things.

And now, here is why, at my house, we tend to yell the words cheese and night-night a lot.

When Gonzo-bean was a little boy, I tried to be a responsible parent and take him to dog school. He was only a year old when I got him and he was obviously very bright, so I figured that it would be no problem, shelled out the 60 dollars and started taking him to Petsmart every Tuesday night.

Gonzo did not like the dog school. He did not like the other dogs. He did not like being in such close proximity to great quantities of food that he could neither eat nor pee on. He did NOT like the teacher. In fact, every single time the instructor tried to speak, Gonzo would begin barking as if the teacher were at that moment breaking into his home and harming his family.

The teacher was game, of course. He tried to use Gonzo as an example of excessive barking and demonstrated to the class that when your dog barks at the door or at a passerby, you should shake a tin can full of beans at the dog. This will startle the dog, redirect his attention, and teach him, over time, that barking is not acceptable.

Gonzo took the beans as the greatest possible insult. I think in dog language, the teacher was calling his momma a ho. His barking only increased 10 fold, as if he were trying to drown out the sound of the insulting beans.

After three weeks, the teacher took me aside and indicated that Gonzo was a disruption in the classroom environment. In short, my dog was kicked out of dog school.

I've never had a really big problem with that. If you've met Gonzo, you know that he is crazy-laid back, doesn't bark a lot and is obsessed with the rules. This is not a dog that will eat your underwear or chew up the bathroom trash. He feels bad if he throws up in the house--he's certainly never going to do anything else. He sits only on the furniture on which he is allowed and seems to know instinctively which pieces those are. He is a good dog. And he's small. So if he's doing something I don't like, I can pretty much just pick him up and move him.

His sister Gert is also small. However she is often found on the furniture, eating pencils and pens, and pooping in the corner. I pretty much didn't bother to take Gert to dog school because Gert, God love her, is dumb as a post. It doesn't matter what you say or do, Gert will never follow the rules because Gert cannot remember the rules for more than 25 seconds. She's just a lump of cells in the shape of a beagle, and a better natured dog you will never know. She adores people and turns into a pile of tummy shaped mush in their presence. She almost never barks or makes any kind of sound except to snore. She's amazing. But if you say "come" or "stay" to her, she'll just roll over and show you her tummy again.

In our house, when we want the dogs to come, we yell "Cheese!" Both of them know exactly what cheese is, and woe to the man who tries to substitute carrots at the last minute. We do, in fact, occasionally yell "Carrots!" into the backyard, but we've learned (our education continues, though theirs has ended) that there is a higher success rating with "Cheese!"

When we do not like what the dogs are doing, or if they begging to go outside during dinner or up too early in the morning, we yell "Night-Night!" We can be routinely found yelling "Night-Night!" at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Night-Night! (tm) means go to your chair and lay down. Both the dogs recognize it as a command and though sometimes they look around like, "really?" They almost always obey it.

Thomas and I were laughing the other day about how we've trained the dogs by accident, though I don't think they could get a diploma for obeying our commands.

In further news of animals learning to associate different stimulus and response, I've found that because the previous tenants of our house had cats that liked to pee into the radiator vent, I've begun to associate the smell of cat pee with winter and Christmas and lovely warm evenings indoors.

Night-Night!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Yuckus

This was supposed to be a funny post about how my dogs do not respond to traditional commands. But, no, you will have to wait for that piece of hilariousness until tomorrow, because right now I am weepy and feeling sorry for myself.

Why is it so hard to be friends? I know I've talked before about how it's easier to be friends with boys and I still (for the most part) think that's true. But I crave female companionship. I'm always up for girls' night. I love the things that makes girl friendships special: that ability to hold hands, tell the other person you love them. The way you can lay yourself wide open to your best girlfriend--tell her exactly where and how it hurts and expect that she'll reciprocate, and that feeling that once she's showed you, you'll protect that wound with your life, crochet a bandage over it, stand between it and the world, love her no matter what. That's what I love about girls. I love being able to say, "Dude, if you find a uterus on the ground, it's mine. Right now I think it's working its way out of my body by force." I love the way girls can laugh and laugh and laugh and didn't even have to be that funny.

But damn, it gets so hard. I think I've spent the better part of this year wrapped in drama after drama, feeling used, feeling manipulated, feeling forgotten, feeling not good enough. And some of that's just the way life is. Because we all hurt each other without meaning to, just by being alive. As a species, we were born to disappoint. But some of it, I have to say, is just so intentional. And I'm not saying that I'm any saint, not by a mile, but I will say that I don't hurt people on purpose. Not ever. Not even when I want to really, really badly. Because I think that's the point of being friends. I think that being a friend is knowing where it hurts the most and never, ever using it.

As I get older, I start to understand how it is that people turn inward and stop trying. I've heard so many people say it: that they've just had enough, that they don't want to be wide open for anyone else. And I've always felt like I could never understand that. I'm a very hopeful person. I don't tend toward despair. I always have this sort of horrible optimism that the next person I meet will be the person with whom I share some kind of terrific bond. But right now I just feel like: I give up. Boys, girls, they're ALL moody, unmotivated, or crazy. And I don't have any more stamina for trying and getting hurt, trying and getting hurt anymore.

In order to ward off the nagging guilt that I always feel after reading other people's unhappy blog posts, I will say this: if you are reading this, it has nothing to do with you. Promise.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Toms I Know

These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.
These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.

This is Thomas Gilbert. He is my spouse. He likes to collect records; We've got two jukeboxes in our house.










These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.
These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.

This is Tom Fleming. His art is really cool. At his 40th birthday, he chased some kids into a pool.
















These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.
These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.

Some of them are Thomas,
but most of them are Tom.
They all have their own hands
but they come from different moms!

These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.
These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.

This is Tom Miller. I met him at the bar. He drinks gin and tonics and there's a bug on top of his car.









These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.
These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.

This is Tom Kunz. He has his own blog. Once I gave him my favorite record because he listened to me sob.













These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.
These are the Toms I know, I know,
These are the Toms I know.

Some of them are Thomas,
but most of them are Tom.
They all have their own hands,
but they come from different moms.

These are the Toms I know, I know.
We are the Toms she knows, she knows.
They are the Toms I know, I know,
They are the TOMS!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

La La Blogland

Just spent approximately one hour trying to decide whether or not to try to change over to Wordpress. I don't know why, but there's something just inherently more appealing to me in the layout of wordpress blogs than in blogger blogs. This was something I knew absolutely nothing about when I started blogging. Why I care now is open to debate. However, having read numerous posts about the incredible hassle of trying to convert a blogger blog to a wordpress blog...I surrender. I hope I'll like Blogger Beta when I finally get around to upgrading.

I came so late into the blogging world that I'm only just now getting around to reading the "staple-blogs," my absolute favorite of which is definitely Dooce. I think Thomas would be really happy if I stopped sitting slack-jawed in front of the computer for hours, trying to inhale the last 4 years of Heather's blog in one week. But I think reading her has really moved me as far as what I would like to be able to do. I mean, I sit about, berating myself all the time for not writing--but I consider what she does as writing, for sure. So am I really writing all the time? Maybe I can't take it to Writers' Group, but I'm writing. Maybe I wish I hadn't spent an astounding amount of money on graduate school so that I could keep this blog...but still. I am writing.

I've been pondering whether or not to reveal that I'm trying to participate in NaBloPoMo, in which the goal is to blog every day for a month. I guess I've wanted to keep it to myself because I don't want my posts to come across as forced or required. But I'm definitely coming to realize how much this little bit of webspace, this little bit of writing, means to me and I'm trying to encourage and foster that in myself wherever possible.

Today I had planned for you a lovely little ditty that I have composed in honor of the Kids in the Hall, which I have recently discovered. Thomas and I were discussing my woeful lack of sketch-comedy references...so we've been netflixing SNL, SCTV and Kids in the Hall. I've wandered around with The Dave Song in my head for a week. But damn blogger won't upload my pictures today. More tomorrow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Attention: I Won a Costume Contest!

Most Original Costume: Spy vs. Spy
So I'm not actually delighted with this picture, but I'm waiting for further images to show up from friends. If all else fails, I will force Thomas back into the costume and invite people over to capture our glory on film. But I will say this: I won a costume contest. I'm so excited about this! I WON A COSTUME CONTEST!

When I was little, my mom fashioned the absolute best and most amazing costumes for us, year after year. We would begin making requests a year in advance, and believe me, we gave her doozies. Mom, I want to be a dragon. A caterpillar. A lion. I'm sure she was thinking, wtf is wrong with these girls? Why don't they want to be a nice princess? My mom's costumes won contests. Easily. So easily, our neighborhood stopped having a costume contest because my mom's costumes always won. But this I did all by myself. I love to dress up, and I think I've always made nice costumes, but this is the first time I've done something prize-worthy all by myself. Now, I know that it can't compare technically to my Mom's seamstressery, but still. I did this, and I am proud.

Here is what we won (the devilish one on the left):









What I love about this arrangement is that you can't really tell what it is the little guy wants. Is is the kids, or the mom? And who wouldn't want such a tableau in their bathroom to contemplate whilst pooping?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canine Epilepsy and Other Woes

Following an absolutely blissful half hour in which Gonzo-bean slept on my stomach and left a large drool patch on my right boob, he launched into a nearly 10 minute long seizure.

Gonzo is 9 years old now, an astounding number, particularly when I consider that I have only started to adequately care for myself in the last 4 years, and this has been a part of our lives together since the first week that I owned him.

The struggle of having a dog with epilepsy is the incredible agony of loving something so much that you would cheerfully throw yourself in front of a moving vehicle to protect him, and finding that there is something that attacks him from within, something you have no power to stop, let alone to understand.

I know I should be very grateful that he is doing as well as he is. Two year ago, we started seeing a holistic vet, as Gonzo's seizures were becoming more frequent and debilitating. I've always resisted the traditional epilepsy medications because they come with such high risks. Phenobarbitol, the common drug, does great damage to dogs' livers, in addition to the fact that it is a rather whopping sedative. My bean--you should see him--is such a bundle of life and personality; I can't imagine sedating him for, well, ever. And I've been lucky, too, in that his seizures, while much, much longer than average, only come about once or twice a month, and so I haven't been forced to choose that option.

Brad Kerr, my unbelievable, understanding, talented and absolutely irreplaceable vet, tried acupuncture on Gonzo for a while, but finally Gonzo's anxiety about it made it seem like a ridiculous option, because Gonzo is an anxious dog to begin with, and we've always considered that part of the problem. So now he takes Chinese herbs at every meal and eats a low carb diet and that seems to be controlling the epilepsy to an enormous degree. This was his first seizure in 3 months and while it was long, he leaped up afterward as if nothing had happened, rather than skulking around, hiding and immediately having another seizure, as is his wont.

As a dog-mommy, I can't help but wonder if this happened because I finally made him stop taking a nap on top of me, or because I marvelled aloud to Thomas yesterday about how well Gonzo's been doing. I have to admit that I superstitiously stopped saying the word seizure about a year ago. That always seemed to bring them on.

When a dog hits one year without a seizure, you're allowed to declare them seizure free. In the last 8 years, we've only ever come close once. Oh, well. Clock starts over.....now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

One Year Ago Today

The weather suddenly turning cold always makes me nostalgic. I read somewhere that people who are grieving often have sudden bouts of acute sadness during season changes. Our memories are so often triggered by feelings and smells that at the season change, we are suddenly bombarded with memories of the year before.

I keep feeling as if this fall is an anomaly--has there ever been fall in Wilmington in the six years I've lived here? Don't we always go directly from flip-flops to winter coats? And yet, last year, when we were moving into this house, I can distinctly remember being cold, in fact wearing my winter coat, while we hauled our stuff around.

A fine day, our moving day last year. Rainy and freezing. Thomas and I were shuttling things that we really wanted to move by hand from house to house in his truck: the records, some glassware, etc. Around 6 o'clock, both of us exhausted from working a full day and then moving, and sick of driving around in the rain, we decided to give up for the night. I went inside to call my friend Jenn (we were going to borrow her truck that evening) to let her know that we were going to quit after all, when suddenly, the most deafening boom I have ever heard shook the house. My first thought was: earthquake. My second thought was: terrorist attack. Everything was moving. I screamed, "What the FUCK was that?!" into Jenn's voicemail and hung up.

I looked at Thomas. He looked grave. He said, "I know exactly what that was," turned and walked out the front door. "What?" I said. "What???"

I walked out to see that his truck had rolled down the hill and smashed into the side of our (soon-to-be-ex) rental house.

It's times like these when you really get a good sense of whether or not your marriage is going to make it in the long term. These are the moments you didn't count on when you said, "for better or for worse," and this was the first moment of real disaster since we'd been together.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but Thomas is a total neat-freak. He can't leave the house without wiping down the counters and doing some last minute vaccumming. And he's particularly particular about the car. So although I could tell that the car probably wasn't totalled, I knew immediately that his brain was about to explode. DAMAGE!! TO THE CAR!! AND THE HOUSE!! AT ONCE!!

I didn't know what to do or say. I knew that if it were me, I probably would not want to be touched or consolled, so I sprang into "let's get the car off the house" mode. Together we pushed it up the hill and began to survey the damage.

Damn, were we lucky. The car came within an inch of shearing the electrical box right off the side of the house. As it was, the cover was torn off, but we were able to replace that easily. Thomas's truck lost a headlight and part of the front bumper and had a pretty hefty gouge running down the whole right side of the car. Also, some minor crunching.

At that point, our kindly neighbor Doug came over to see what happened. Thomas hissed at me through his clenched teeth, "Not now. NOT now."
"Okay," I said. "Okay, okay," and summarily led Doug away.

We stood out in the rain for about 45 minutes until Thomas could speak again. Then I was able to put my arms around him and we stood there for a while longer, holding each other beside the wreckage, and I knew my marriage had legs.