Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This Cat is the Boss of Me

In fact, I believe this cat is the boss of everyone in our entire neighborhood. If there were a neighborhood association, this cat would be the president. Meetings would be held in his home, except, oops, that's my front garden.

He has dug out a little section of my garden that he likes to sleep in and created a hole in the lattice so as to be able to quickly escape underneath my house. This morning I found a big, nasty, coughed up hairball in my lantana. And yet, I cannot stand up to him.

When I come home from work, he stands up, meows angrily and stalks away, but the second I am in the house he comes immediately back and resumes his post, only giving me the illusion that I am in charge. My dogs bark unceasingly at him, but he just lays there blinking, as if to say, "Dogs are so pedestrian. How boring."

He is allowed complete reign over the entire neighborhood, sleeping on our cars, mating with our housepets, digging in our gardens. The feral cat population in this neighborhood is astounding. Between the train and the yowling, it's a wonder we sleep at all.

end rant.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dream Job

So I've spent the morning painting this piece of fake architectural salvage black. I got it for 8 dollars at Old Time Pottery, plus a 2 dollar can of rustoleum, versus the 65 dollars or more that the real thing costs at the Ivy Cottage or what have you. We've got a big space that needs filling in the dining room and we cannot afford real art yet, so we're going to use this for the time being.

I've been enjoying these minor home improvements immensely, and it's been a pleasure, watching our house take shape over time. It just makes me think, though, that what I really wish I could be when I grow up is an interior designer for poor young people. I'd like to do dorm rooms and first apartments. I'd like to remake bachelor pads and help with first homes. I'd like to be sent yard saling and flea marketing, I'd like to be buying fake architectural salvage in bulk. I mean, it's a silly dream, because poor young people inherently have no money to spend on interior design, but I'd love to be choosing fabric and sewing curtains, making pillows and planting things, to get to budget someone else's decorating money and indulge someone else's style. I love my home, but I hate when I see something wonderful and I think, well, it just doesn't go with the house. I'd love to think, but it would be perfect for insert name here.

But see, look what happens. You send me to Old Time Pottery and I come home with all these notions in my head.

Sim Life

As I am about to be unemployed, I've been thinking about the ways that I would spend my time if I could. Although it has drifted down my list to #3, following gardening and blogging, playing the sims is still one of my preferred leisure activities.

The sims is all about control and wish fulfillment. If you have a crush on someone, you make your sim and their sim. Soon, they will fall in love and get married. If you hate someone, you can make their sim, not pay the bills and watch as they fall into despair as everything they own is slowly repossessed. You can redecorate and buy beautiful furniture for your sims, spend hours shopping online for new clothes and hairstyles, even when you, yourself, are broke. My sim drives a barbie pink classic VW beetle, my lifetime dream.

Sometimes I wonder if the Sims appeals primarily to writers, or at least in a different, more direct and obsessive way to writers, as I have known many of us with more than just a passing familiarity with this game. I think it speaks to our need to order and control the world and its presentation to the general public. But seriously, dude, I could play this game for 48 hours without getting up to pee. Back in my MFA days, lazy weekend days like today were spent shopping for and playing the sims from about 12 in the afternoon (when I woke up, naturally) to 10 at night (time to go to the bar). There were times when I encountered people for the first time after 2 days of playing and I felt like I should be clicking on them and choosing "Share Interests" instead of just saying hey.

My love for the sims has not waned over the years. I'll still paypal a site up to 6 dollars for the greatest hair I've ever seen. I buy each expansion pack within a week of its release. I expect that, someday, my sim will have to trade in her beetle for a station wagon, and she'll have a toddler on her hip, but I'll still be playing, dammit.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Ah. I'ts finally Friday. Of course, X Men 3 opens today, and as the first lady of comic books, I'm required to attend the promotion this evening. Fortunately, I did not have to see the movie at midnight last night, as I have in the past. I'm actually kind of looking forward to this movie, even though I cannot think of a rhyming catch phrase for X Men 3, as I have for X Men 2: Electric Boogaloo. Very sad. But I enjoyed X Men 2, so I have some hope for this.

Had a lovely dinner with Cue earlier in the week during which we discovered this mind-blowing fact: my favorite hipster wine, Evolution, is a pinot-grigio blend. This may not seem exciting to the general populace, but for those of us restricted to the incredibly variable, often sour Pinot for dietary reasons, it is perhaps the best news since Taylor won Idol. Of course, I found this out before Taylor won Idol...but whatever.

It seems only appropriate to blog about wine today as I appear this week to be made out of wine. As a rule I don't drink at all on the weekdays, because it is just too hard to get up at 6:15 and teach small children while hung over ("Go BACK to your FUCKING desk!"). But this week, for various reasons and engagements, I ended up drinking wine every single night. Friday, hilariously, will be my first night off.

Tax refund check came in (finally) and I go meet with a staffing company on Tuesday, so hopefully I'll be solvent and employed relatively quickly.

It seems like a lot of funny things happened that I should blog about but I have no idea what they are/were.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fried Chicken

Happy Birthday to Garbonzo "Gonzo" Bean Gilbert who is 9 today. In his honor, we played his favorite Pink Floyd song (Dogs, of course) and let him eat a piece of his favorite food, fried chicken (separated from the bone, of course).

I am a sad, sad dog parent.

This is the same dog who takes Chinese herbs and recieves acupuncture in our home, and no I am not kidding.

This is just to say...

or something about some kick ass prunes in the icebox.

Just checking in to say I'm still alive and that I hope you are, too. This has turned out to be one of the crazy busiest weeks of my life and I am looking forward to winding down at some point in the next few days and doing some real blogging.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Platypus of DOOM

You cannot escape the Platypus of Doom! muhahahahahaha

Monday, May 22, 2006

Feeling Stressed

Today has just been one of those days.

I was woken up too early by Thomas snoring, and yet still couldn't seem to get myself out the door on time. Paid bills, checked online classifieds, forgot to water the plants. Went to the grocery store, then accidentally drove to Thomas's work instead of my own (?!?).

Finally finished up at work, was delayed by seemingly endless conversation about nothing with my boss, drove home, found all plants in ailing condition, fear I killed the petunias.

Called for vet appointment tomorrow, now have to drive back to work to be reminded by some crazy state employee how to give EOC tests (which a monkey could do, yet this is required).

Almost accidentally consumed silicone packet that resides in pepperoni bag. Help!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Amazing Striped Woman

I am so in love with my digital camera.

I have this problem where I just refuse to want any new technology. For a long time I thought that it was somehow part of being an English teacher--you know how your English teacher could like, never even operate a tape deck? Some kid would always have to come up to the front of the class to push play? I thought my inner English teacher prevented me from understanding or desiring new, high-tech things.
But really, I think it may have been strange luddite tendancies in my parents that caused me to feel that no one needs these things. We never had cable or call waiting or a CD player. I didn't even own a CD player until 2001. I have no cell phone...I still use dial up....The little old man in me always says, "we got along fine without that all this time." Probably I just know how much I would enjoy these things and know I don't have the money so I pretend to disdain them.

But dude, this camera rocks. So please bear with me as I shower you with boring pictures.

My house!

My back garden: note hidey gnome

I grew an eggplant! (granted, I had to throw it in the trash, but still)

The lovely view from our back deck

My legs are stripey!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mix Tapes=Love

Though most people inherently understand this and accept it as true, lately I have felt the need to reiterate this important fact. Mix tapes=Love. If he makes you a mix tape, your friendship has crossed into the murky no-man's land where anything can happen. If you share these mix-tape feelings, all the better. But otherwise...proceed with caution.

I've come to believe that like The Nod, the mix tape is a covert form of male communication. The message, whether it be "hey" in the case of the Nod, or "I love you" in the case of the mix tape, is recieved by the female, but she is never really sure why the message had to take such cryptic form.

Surely many people will try my faith by submitting instances in which mix tapes did not equal love...but I think, on the whole, you know I'm right.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Interview Update

Blarg. It went fine...but these people's idea of full time with benefits was a little creative. Upshot: even if they like me, I couldn't work there, so I guess today was for practice only.

Can I be considered to be boycotting Idol in protest of the cut of Chris Daughtry if my husband is watching it in the next room and I can still hear it?

All I want is chocolate, dude. Lots and lots of chocolate. Do you remember when we were kids and everyone would say, You know what dude is, Dude? It's the hair on an elephant's butt.

Wish me Luck

Job interview today....
ack, my first in 3 years. I'm nervous and excited. This is the first time I've really believed I could do something besides teaching....well, ever.

Sadly, I hit myself in the head with the front door yesterday, and though I may be the only one able to tell, it left a small mark. This reminds me of the time I fell into a hole walking to work on my first day at a new job. I had to arrive, announce myself as the new girl, and excuse myself to go home and clean up my bloody knees. I'm sure they always thought of me as the new girl who fell in a hole.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Potentially Wrong, Useless Advice

Lately I have noticed that I am often thinking of the same few pieces of strange advice that I've been given or have read about over the years. My life and thoughts are oddly governed by this list of rules, so I've decided to compile them. I will start and hopefully you guys will add weird and potentially unfounded prescriptives.

1. Never go pee unless you can pee for the count of 8 (source: The Camera My Mother Gave Me by Susanna Kaysen)
2. Never shave your thighs. If you don't, the hair will just rub off eventually (source: my friend Tanya's mom when we were ten)
3. If your poop floats, you are either sick or eating too much fat (my ex-boyfriend Tony, who was a bicycle racer. This supposedly came from his trainer)
4. Do not buy dented cans; you could get Botulism (source: my dad)
5. If your hands are perfectly dry when you use a shovel, you will not get blisters (source: again, Dad)
6. Never turning off your computer will prolong its life (source: ex-husband)
7. Squeezing the air out of a two liter (squashing the bottle when closing it) will keep your soda fizzier (and make a terrific popping sound in the fridge, sure to scare the shit out of you!) (source: old roommate)

edited to add these pieces of advice recieved in the last 24 hours:
8. Dark chocolate is good for you; Milk chocolate is bad for you (source: my friend Christa)
9. Never touch your eye--most germs get into the body that way (source: my sister)
10. Never accept or offer a gun for free. It should always be purchased (source: my brother in law)
11. Only steal plants from other people in the evening (source: my mother in law, who seemed to feel that this rule was not about hiding under the cover of darkness, but about keeping the plants alive)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Googling Returns to its Place of Honor in my Life

Hooray! I found my camp-best-friend from 1988!!!

Seriously, I have been looking for this girl for 10 years. I was actually going to post her name on the blog so that if she googled herself she's find me. She's an elusive one! But it turns out, she just graduated from the University of Florida with her MFA in fiction. How weird is that?

Nikki was just one of those people who made a really big impression on me when we were very young. We both went to Camp Echo Trail, a girl scout camp in Pennsylvania. I actually had to pay dues and be a girl scout until I was 16 so that I could continue to attend this camp. I'm sure it was run of the mill as girl scout camps go; I went to a couple, and they were all pretty much alike, but I always loved Echo Trail the best. It was huge and far away from home...there's still a part of Greenfield Lake near the boat rentals that smells like woods and latrines in the hot sun that takes me back instantly to camp.

I was so in my element there--the first time I went, I was 8 and I went for a week. My mom carefully packed me a day's worth of clothes in a plastic baggie for each day that I would be there, but I never went past the top layer of my duffle bag and so just wore the same thing for the whole 7 days. When I got home the "terrific tan" everyone thought I had came off in the shower. It was dirty and messy and dramatic and intense the way only young girls can be when living in tents together away from home for weeks at a time. Nikki was from Pennsylvania, and she was my summer friend for about 6 years. We always arranged to be in the same program each summer and she came to embody to me the whole meaning and pleasure of camp. I was so sorry when we lost touch.

And so Google is redeemed. It may have told me that my ex-husband is sick, but it delivered Nikki back to me and with her my very first pinnacle moment--

It's the greenest summer in the woods--shady and lush--and our unit is having a cookout. Nikki and I are standing at the top of the hill looking down at the rest of the campers--our counsellors are grilling hamburgers on a charcoal grill, there's a swing set, the rest of the girls are running around and screaming. Someone calls to us and Nikki takes my hand and we run down the hill toward everyone else...and in that moment, I just know that she's my best friend forever and that I will never be happier than this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shock and Dismay

Not to post about American Idol, but I am totally destroyed over the elimination of Chris Daughtry. I don't know if I want to watch Idol ever again. And I VOTED! A lot Dammit!

For Daisy, whose name is sadly on this list

As per Daisy's request, I am going to post the 73 dog names. Of course I must start with my own dog's names and like the doting parent I am, I must show them off.

Gertie ************* Gonzo

Ok, on with the list..

George, Pudge, Mr. Chips, Jezebel, Maybelline, Superman, Daisy (sorry!), Lariope, Helen, Angus, Arthur, Higgins, Fonz, Muttsy, Ginger, Boo-Boo, Flora, Lulu, Franz, Felix, Zippy, Dracula, Oscar, Yoda, Rodeo, Ferdinand, Frank, Groucho, Hazel, Junebug, Cooper, Zoro, Flopsy, Sambuca, Schmirnoff, Juniper, Roger, Bert, Lex, Stinky, Herman, Sadie, Ernie, Tully, Radar, Holly, Gretchen, Harry, Elmo, Clifford, Zinnia, Penelope (sorry again!), Athens, Zelda, Luigi, Aphrodite, Rugburn, Jim, Biscuit, Creme Brulee, Ant farm, Barbie, Catfish, Duncan, Beetle, Eleanor, Martha, Ferguson, Izzy, Rusty, Taz

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

2 down, 98 to go

Whenever Thomas asks me what I want, I tell him that I want a pony, a barbie dream castle and 98 more dogs. Recently, he asked me, why 98? I said, because we already have 2 and I don't think I could remember more than 100 names. My only internal limit on the appropriate number of dogs to have is no more than you can remember the names of.
So, he challenged me to come up with 100 dog names, counting Gertie and Gonzo. Right now I have 73. Anyone have a favorite to suggest? I have this perverse hope that if I can come up with 100 names, we could have more dogs. Cause that's what I need.

Also, I just remembered that years ago, my friend Allen called me one day when I was upset. We talked for a while and then he asked me if another dog would make me feel better. I said yes to which he replied, "Great! Then you'll only be 97 away from being the crazy dog lady!"

Monday, May 08, 2006


Tonight I ate an enormous steak dinner--you know the kind of dinner where you want to take off your pants afterward and are sort of in pain? The kind where you have to keep drinking your drink just to keep sliding the food down and compressing it, making you have to pee like 30 times in the next hour? Yeah, that's me right now.
I seem to have problems hitting the stop button sometimes. Particularly in restaurants. I always feel like if I don't eat this, it will be waste, and not only that, expensive waste.

The only thing I can't stop with at home is Pizza. Seriously, someday I'm gonna be like that guy in se7en and I'm going to explode from eating pizza. I would say that without any discomfort or difficulty I could sit down and eat 3 pizzas, probably more if they were thin crust. My husband is very kind to me, and when we order pizza, he orders 3 so that I will not feel pressured to share. I do not share pizza. I stab those who try to eat what is mine.

Years ago, when I told this to my friend Lauren, she said, "Oh my God, those class pizza days must have killed you!" I love that she said this because: a. You're damn right! Hello, who eats two pieces of pizza? Who? For whom is that enough? Seriously, you're going to dangle the pizza in front of me and then socially pressure me to act as if I'm totally satisfied by two pieces of pizza? and b. It showed that she completely grasped how serious and committed I am to this matter. Pizza is the heart of all good things. Though I do feel a little bit dorky that I have the same favorite food as my elementary school students.

PS. After my egg commercial dissertation in the last post, I was thinking of other industries that have had commercials:
Pork: the other white meat
Beef: It's what's for dinner
Milk: It does a body good
Behold the power of cheese
Anyone have any other ones?

I appear to be obsessed with commercials, though I never noticed that before and I don't even have cable. The only thing I watch is Idol, I swear! Yet like 90% of my posts seem to have at least one commercial reference in them. It's baffling. What does this say about me?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What's in a Name?

I just wanted to put this here in case someone from the planet Mars was unfamiliar with the terrific egg commercials of the...eighties? early ninties? beyond? As soon as I heard the commercial I stuck my own name in there and have happily been singing the song ever since: The in-credible ed-ible Meg! (This may have something to do with the fact that my sister called me Eggie for the first 6 years of her life). However I'm always concerned that people just think I'm gross and referring to my own promiscuity or sexual preferences or something. Not that I have any promiscuity or sexual preferences to be referring to. Or something.

In addition to Eggie, my family called me Meggers, Meglegs and Meg-onnaise. My sister (Ali) was referred to as Al-a-dind (yeah, I don't know either) which morphed into Dinder, before she forbade us ever to speak of that again. There were actually people in our neighborhood who thought my parents had a 3rd daughter they'd never met named Ali. They only knew Dinder and Meg.

But Meg is short and difficult to come up with a good nickname for. I've been called Meggles and Megling, Megalomaniac, Meggie...but I didn't get one that really stuck until a bartender at Lula's named me Megsie. I've been Megsie for almost 4 years now and it hasn't died off yet. My friend Bryan and his ex-girlfriend Michelle shortened it to Megs and that's my favorite. We so rarely get someone to name us acurately; it feels like a gift. I love nicknames and the affection they imply. I'm so often guilty for making up crazy or cumbersome ones, as if the weirder the nickname, the more I proved my love for a person. I had a friend in high school I called Randiferophyta. Weird or not, it's nice to have one of my own.

I guess you could say that Meg itself is a nickname since my actual name is Meaghan. Shh. Don't tell anyone. No one calls me that at all, except on job interviews, and it's stopped feeling like my name. I'll jump if you call it, but only because I think I'm in trouble. But Meg I named myself,so it's not really a nickname, after a sadistic first grade teacher called me Meaghan W for an entire year. Meaghan W? Are you kidding me?

People often comment on the spelling of Meaghan, and on more than one occasion rather than try to pronounce it, a new teacher has spelled it. Telemarketers call me Me-egg-han (there's nothing worse) and I've often felt that my parents were just feeling indecisive and so stuck in every letter they could think of. For a while, during an unfortunate stint with a crazy last name, I seemed to be trying to cultivate the most difficult name on the planet.

But once an old Irish lady kissed me on the street in DC and told me I spelled it the right way. So that's nice.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Nod

As differentiated from the Todd, a scary guy I went to high school with.

The nod is that inexplicable head twitch that boys seem to do in lieu of saying hello. It seems to be used predominantly as an acknowlegement: I see you but I don't know you well enough to say hello. Variations: We slept together but I don't know you well enough to say hello; We know each other well but I'd prefer not to be associated with you; We are friends but you have pissed me off; And my favorite: We are friends but I am too cool to speak out loud.

The upward nod seems primarily to be the one used in blowing off, the downward for better acquaintances.

I've been noticing this strange behavior (less common in the South) for years and meaning to document all its subtleties. I'm reminded of it daily while walking around the lake--I can usually rack up 3-4 nods per walk.

In general, the nod and all too-cool-for-you behaviors piss me off, but this one is so pervasive that I've decided it must be some secret part of male culture that I must study and understand.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Not much new going on. I seem to be cycling back and forth through the melancholy and productiveness of the last several days. Work sucks, but I only have a month left, so thinking about it inspires panic....

I did see a limosine getting towed by a towtruck yesterday and that was pretty cool...like an ant carrying away a french fry. While on the subject of limosines, I'd like to note that no matter how far you stretch an SUV, it's still not a limo. But thanks for playing.