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Late June 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tuning out

It's been quite a family sort of day. Up and out of the house fairly early for a donut treat, and a triple-crazy treat; iced decaf flavored milky coffee! Wild times, man. Then shopping for the little one's birthday (Darth Vadar voice-activated mask, electronic color change light saber, walkie talkies, kid binoculars, crash dummy smash-up car, and a little tool set for building a wooden birdhouse,) and some groceries, and we got two baby rosy barbs to round out the aquarium, which was in need of a little youth and color. This evening we drove up to Menlo Park Mall (28 miles north) to have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in honor of the June birthdays.

Then we had to cruise through the Apple Store, and now we're back home but there are three boys in my bedroom, who, along with their dad, are searching for educational meaning in some Chinese movies, by watching the dvds in the matching Apple Powerbook, over there on the futon, and the dog is in here, and I'm so exhausted of noise and people that I have my ear buds plugged in but am not even listening to any music. I'm just sort of pretending to tune out my surroundings somehow, without having to use alternative noise replacement.

The situation probably requires some Stan Getz, but I'm holding off for now.

I won this dress from eBay today:

--with shipping it came to $9.85, so I'm happy about that. Only I think it needs me to weigh 5 pounds less in order to fit well, so I have to actually make some sort of effort regarding that issue, which I've been avoiding. I knew today would not be a healthful one for eating, though, so I plan to start being conscientious tomorrow. Also? Today took all the money in the world, people. Days like this don't come around often.

Okay, Chinese chick screams; I launch iTunes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

It's Wednesday

I've spent a great part of the day doing heavy maintenance on my aquarium. Sadly, I'd let some of it go, lately, just doing the minimum required. And as you know, the minimum of anything isn't so great, and after awhile becomes sub-minimum.

Then I went out and got a pleco, which I hadn't had in several years, because when we moved to New Jersey we gave away our fish and didn't get a replacement one of those. He's here to clean the algae off the rocks. But I got a baby, and we couldn't find him a couple hours after I put him in. We were all freaked out because the first time we got one, 7 or 8 years ago, it crawled out of the tank and we found it dead on the floor the next morning. We watched over the next one like it was a newborn child, and had it for a couple of years, before the move.

It began to look like the dog ate this latest one, somehow. It was actually just hidden in a corner, though, so no bad news had to be broken to the child who had already named it Pedro.

I can't really type now; I cut my finger on this sort of amazing knife earlier, which was part of a set that cost me $1.94, but are startlingly useful. Probably they will dull quickly, but for now, wow! Only, also, ouch!<

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I coined a word just now.

Illiterati: People who frequent internet news forums, willing to offer an opinion on any and every subject no matter how little they understand the matter or how much they've actually read about it, and who post these opinions in one tremendously long, unbroken paragraph, generally filled with spelling and grammatical errors, many examples of poor and twisted logic, and incorrectly-cited or downright false statistics.

But yeah, sometimes I can't resist challenging them either. It just burns inside you now and then, doesn't it?

The ways of youth

I had to run out on an errand and told my 15 year-old to watch the movie in my absence, and tell me what she thought. Here is her crudely-rendered synopsis. If you haven't seen Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, first of all, why not? But second, this probably won't make a great deal of sense to you, though it's still kind of funny.

Party sucks and those children keep singing.
Maggie goes upstairs and Brick says Big Daddy is going to die.
Brick is packing and Maggie says we have to suck up and get the money cause those ugly people with kids will otherwise.
She says she was always a poor girl and you can be young without money but not old.
They babble about some guy named Skipper. Who is dead.
Brick tries to kill Maggie with a crutch and a little girl bursts in.
Maggie yells at her and she says you're jealous cause you can't have babies.
Brick says I can't stand you.

Party comes in and singing and this movie makes me ill.
Uh oh. Maggie and that ugly chick have sass. Brick got Big Daddy a cashmere robe. Big Daddy yells at Big Mama and Big Mama says you never believed I loved you.
Everyone's sad. Big Daddy wants to talk to Brick and yells at Ugly Chick.

Uh oh. Big Daddy is coughing. He says if Brick don't like Maggie then divorce her. He's wheezing. Blah Blah. Yelling and fighting. Big Daddy is dying. Yelling.
Yeeeeelling. Big Daddy's a bastard. I hope he dies soon.

The yelling appears to be ceasing. Big Daddy says you're passing the buck. He says Brick is drinking because of Skippers death. There is a storm. Yelling ensuses. I think Big Daddy thinks Brick is a saw-doe-mite.

Um. there was something between Skipper and Maggie. Brick thinks it's Maggie's fault Skipper died. Yelling. Maggie and Brick. And Maggie thinks..........this is dull. I'm confused. Maggie hated Skipper. And slept with him. Because of hate. Or not. Nothing happened? Skipper was not good at football. Skipper got drunk and smashed things.

Skipper approached and kissed Maggie in the hotel room.
They did screw. Oh wait no. Nevermind.

Maggie is leaving. Brick is a bitch and so is like, everyone else in the movie.
After Skipper jumped out the window he said that he had talked to Brick on the phone. And Brick hung up on him.

But they didn't screw. Skipper and Maggie. Skipper was scared that Brick would blame him for the football team losing and cried and um...

So it was Brick's fault. And Big Daddy is yelling at Brick.

Big Daddy thinks Brick is a kid running away from life. And Brick has spilled the big secret to Big Daddy. And Big Daddy looks scared.

Brick tries to drive away. Gets stuck in the mud and Maggie and Brick are walking together.

Big Mamma is trying to talk to poor Big Daddy. Doc is talking to Big Daddy.
Big Daddy says why should I take off my wet clothes? Afraid I might die?

Poor Big Mama. Denial isn't just a river in egypt.
This is sad. "There aint nuthin wrong with Big Daddy but nerves!"
Poor sad Big Mama. Brick has a sexy bod. Oh goood.
Ugly Chicks name is May. I wish she'd die.
Big Mama wanna know bout her husband.

May spews it. Big Mama cries for Brick. Mays husband is a rat bastard. And his name is Goober. He's trying to get Big Mama to put Big Daddy on morphine already.

Big Mama and Maggie are talking. She wants everyone to be happy.
May and Goober are saying No No! He can't leave this place to Brick! He needs to leave it to Goober. They are so soooooooooo evil. They're trying to make Big Mama tell Big Daddy to leave them the money.

Goober is being obnoxious. They're having a conversation about Big Daddy's money without him. Big Daddy is unhinged. I'm stopping now.

It's Tuesday

Sweet Bird of Youth is on, followed by Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Much preferable to Passions today, as I read ahead and learned that if I watched it, I would be angry and miserable over the latest proceedings.

I know the Cat movie is considered a bit cheesy by some, but honestly, how can you not love a drunk-acting, vaguely Southern, young Paul Newman? It's a pretty, pretty movie, and makes me actually like Elizabeth Taylor.

I'd like to see a modern treatment of this film, though, with the Brick character portrayed as Williams intended it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Fish weather

I do live nearly 8 miles from the beach now, or maybe 7 if I go that other way. And according to my non-native standards, I'm sadly about 1.5 miles west of what I'd call properly "at the shore." But summer rain is still the same here; if it rains while very warm out? It smells like fish. Ocean fish. I opened the windows this morning to get some fresh air after three days of really humid hot weather, during which the a/c was running, but that never feels fresh to me. It's supposed to rain off and on all week, so I was hoping the a/c wouldn't be needed. However, fish. I'd forgotten that happens since it feels like forever since last summer or any summer, for that matter.

It's really not unpleasant, even though you tend to only smell fish when they're dead. Let's say it smells like water in which fish have been swimming.

Honestly, having spent my first 35 years in the midwest, I still think it's pretty cool.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I woke up with Dream Baby, by Roy Orbison in my head. Isn't that nice? I don't know where that came from, but maybe I was subconsciously worrying over mowing the lawn, which I'm a little behind on. I have a Roy Orbison album on my iPod which is nice to play while mowing. But I haven't heard it in a month, probably.

Look what the ol' LP just gave me before heading off to the train station! I'm kind of honored. You don't put grocery lists in one of these things, you know?

All the cool travel-writing cats have one, you know. They're not really expensive, though more so than most notebooks, and they're available online here. (You can get a smaller one for a few dollars less; this one fits in my purse just perfectly.)

Even though I don't draw nearly as much as I write, I have always preferred sketch books to journals. So I'm happy to have this variety. I love the thick, creamy paper; the way it feels and smells and sounds when scratched upon with pen or pencil.

Just a notebook, you say? Stories of past users perhaps apocryphal rather than cold, certain fact? I am sorry for you and your lack of imagination and romance!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Hey, don't argue with Science.

40 really is the new 30.

One thing the article mentions is how we act younger than our parents did at our age. In my case, that probably isn't true, at least with my mother. She was always youthful-acting, until a couple of years before she died, at 53. But she maybe looked older at 40 than I do, even though she was thought of as lovely and young-looking. Sadness and stress took their toll all her years after that, though she tried to always be light-hearted, loving, and fun. I want to believe my hardest years are behind me, instead. I've got a lot of living to do.

Okay. I found out that eHarlequin has free romance novels to read online. Yes, just--don't, okay? Anyway, I'm currently perusing one called Texas Bride, about a woman who has to pay off her brother's debt to a rancher she used to be engaged to, by working for him as a cook for two weeks. Or something. The point is, I'm going to share some of the interesting phrases and metaphors with you, right here.

If you, uh, feel the desire to borrow any of these phrases, don't. Someone actually worked hard to make them available to you, out of their own, desperate-to-write-for-a-living head.

"Faded denims molded his powerful thighs."
"It had been a long time since his heart had felt like a sledgehammer in his chest."
"His large muscled frame ate up most of the buckboard's seat."
"A gentle breeze carried Jake's scent of leather and man.

Oh, darn. We've come to the pressing and wanting and straining and whimpering. Sigh.

Yeah, right. She climaxes a few minutes after he tears her maidenly barrier? In which universe did this occur?

Sorry. Moving right along. They spoon, I swear, that's what it says, then they fight, then she realizes she's where she belongs, he goes to fight for her, but she's already his, and boom, over.

Next: Cara Out of Control. This is the blurb. "Cara Wilder is a woman in control. From her environment to her appearance, and even her emotions, Cara's got a firm handle on things. But she's in for a week of surprises — and the biggest one is seeing the boy next door all grown up…and realizing she still harbors a crush on him!"

Here are some tidbits:

"Rick Fields, the boy she hadn't seen in years, stood outside her car. But, yowza, he'd definitely grown up to be all man."

Oh--I kinda dig this bit: "Somehow the fact that it was a sunny April morning, still early enough for the breeze to be chilly, rendered the desire she felt even more inappropriate. As though lust were like hard liquor, and nine-thirty was just too early in the day for a decent person to be having it."

But then sadly, it's followed up with: "Then again, it must be happy hour somewhere in the world."

Well. Apparently, all these books end with a marriage proposal, just like they did 20 or 30 years ago. Only now they get to have the sex first, instead of just some wanton kissing and reigned-in lust.

I really can write a whole book, you know. Something that could be taken seriously. And I really will accomplish this soon. I just need a little time to unwind.

Gong fu Lysistrata

No, it's not exactly like this:

I will live at home unbulled...

Beautifully dressed and wearing a saffron-coloured gown

To the end I may inspire my husband with the most ardent longings.

Never will I give myself voluntarily...

And if he has me by force...

I will be cold as ice, and never stir a limb...

I will neither extend my Persian slippers toward the ceiling...

Nor will I crouch like the carven lions on a knife-handle.

And if I keep my oath, may I be suffered to drink of this wine.

But if I break it, let my bowl be filled with water.

It's more like, early to bed and early to rise, and early to New York three times a week makes a man fit to be called an intermediate student of Northern Shao-lin Praying Mantis Kung fu.

So it's Friday night, and I didn't go see Batman Begins, and my bedroom is dark and all in the house are admonished to quiet, lest the student not get enough sleep before class in the morning. Therefore, I am here, on my cushy, cushy yard sale couch, drinking a glass of Spaten Optimator. I might drink three of them. More on that in a bit.

Today was my littlest bit's birthday. He is seven years old. We had a pretty good day, got a little wading pool, and just finished making cookies, which we'd put off doing for about two weeks. Also, we sang karaoke at supper time. Last weekend, we got a karaoke machine at a Boy Scout yard sale for three dollars. It works great, and even though it's set up to play cassettes, we can connect the computer to it, and sing along with iTunes, instead.

I was singing Sundown, by Gordon Lightfoot. The only time I ever saw real karaoke was last autumn, I think, at the lounge of the Sheraton in Eatontown. And this guy sang that song so awesomely I was just knocked out. He was middle-aged and kind of tubby, and seemed quite ordinary, but wow, what a voice. They called him Elvis, because he did Elvis songs beautifully, too.

So. The beer. I've mostly only tasted wheat bocks from Germany? And--I hate them. I hate the whole wheaty experience, which makes me feel as though I'm going to have an asthma event. This, though, is just plain beer. Water, barley, hops, malt, yeast. It's dark and heavy and would turn anyone off who's used to a nice pleasant Yuengling sort of lager. But I like the texture, and the afternotes or whatever, kind of dig it more than most beers I've tried lately. I don't know if I can drink three of them, but that's how many were in the refrigerator, and yes, yes, five pounds, I get it. I think Nero Wolfe would like this beer, or anyway, Rex Stout, and I liked his writing and I want to write.

If you see it and try it, make sure it's only lightly chilled. These heavily-malted beers are better if they're not overly cold, as you get a more complex blend of flavors around 50 degrees or so. I'm no expert or anything, but I do study the food I eat and drink, to get the most out of the experience whenever possible.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Third try.

Every time I try to publish, the post is lost. Stupid blogger. It's so personally humiliating to try to recreate something that was fairly pointless to begin with, just so the effort won't be lost.

I WAS SAYING, that I miss being funny. I found some funny pages on my old blog just a little while ago, and also this inexplicable tribute to the lousiness of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Then I got distracted at how great I look in these jeans, wow, until I lifted my top to reveal the middle section that's really not so great. I mean, it's not exactly this here--

and yeah, that file is called "backat34" but it really could also be called "back at 4 months ago," and I just want it back now!

Five pounds, people. That is all. On most women, that wouldn't even register. But on me, it's like the difference between a kitten and a momma. For real, y'all.

Hah. You think that's a weird metaphor? You should have seen Lost Post #1, in which I mentioned finding gold dust in the sewage of humanity! And I had an even better one in Lost Post #2, but I don't remember it now.

Anyway. The fleshy, sticking-out-ish midsection. Has got to go.

Hey, look, you have your pride, and I have mine. My teeth embarrass me, and my jaw just gets heavier, like I always knew it would whenever people noticed the resemblance between me and Grandma Kelly, god rest her dear quirky soul, and I'm a huge weirdo, so at least grant me the peace to enjoy having a youthful figure. Which isn't, so much, but can look that way in the right clothes, weighing 5 pounds less than at this moment.

Now, moving on. Am I the only one who thinks that the 2nd and 3rd verses of Alone Again, Naturally should be switched with each other? Because, that's still bothering me. Someone was a little confused about that earlier, but I was loving and forgiving and moved on. Only not really.

For want of a brain, the point was lost.

Last night, and the night before, I dreamed of having a sort of encounter with a strange man. I don't remember much about either dream, except that nothing much happened, just all that essence and feeling and intent, but if this is the start of Manweek? All I can say is, where have you been for the past 6 months? Why are you at least a full week ahead of what might be termed a reasonable schedule? And can you try to hang around, please? Everyone said that turning 40 is hormonally unpredictable. Sheesh.

Oh! I remembered the original point from an hour and two Lost Posts ago. It was that within the past year, every single human in the universe has become a wizened social commentator, all full of sarcasm and faux irony and junk, and even though I rise above all that, they have sort of sucked the material dry. And from there we proceeded to Lost Metaphor #1, mentioned above. And aren't you tired of looking for some news each morning, only to find it's all about Tom and Katie, or Blonde Brad and whoever, or that Surprise! eyes chick who ran away from her dull, non-sex-having fiance? See? How wrong is it that we know this about him?

So. Manweek. Is it here to stay?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Good evening

It was a good evening. We got Chinese food and went to the Long Branch promenade to eat it. Only, as there was a crazy bad storm earlier, the benches were too wet to sit on. So we sat in the car facing away from the water to eat--you can't really park there so you're facing the right direction. I learned how to operate my new phone, and then we walked up the promenade, which becomes a boardwalk after a short way, and kept going as far as you can go right now until construction bars the way. It's being transformed into an upscale condo-and-shopping HQ, but regular locals will always maintain a presence; walking, jogging, going out to the beach to fish.

There are bicycle patrol cops rolling past, and two new sports bars facing the water. We looked at the monuments to all the presidents who used to hang out there in the summer, and peeked into the hotel lounges. If we make this a weekly practice, maybe we'll actually go into one now and then. But mostly it's just good to be outside, inhaling the breeze, listening to the rhythm of the tide.

This fun article will tell you a little bit about how things used to be there, and at the bottom, you'll see pictures of the construction as of about a year ago. It would be unrecognizeable now, as most of the projects are near completion. Many people are upset that it's all so upscale, with condos selling for 600k and more, but pinball arcades and ferris wheels are things of the past, you know? There's not much middle ground, just to look at it. However, Long Branch is an extremely diverse city, and I want to hope that the money will trickle down to, rather than shut out, the people who live on the other side of Ocean Avenue. Some good things are already happening there, and it definitely feels more alive than it did when we moved to this area 5 years ago.

One lousy thing is that we drove past the bowling alley, and there's a sign out front now that says "Siperstein's Plaza, now renting." That just blows. I'm never shopping there.

But it was a good evening.

It's summer.

The solstice occurred around noon yesterday, so that makes today the first full day of summer. I need this summer to be a restful one. Last summer was enormously stressful and painful, and the past few months have just been tiresome.

I don't know if I get to take the summer off from stress, anxiety, or being inflicted upon by the drama of others, but I've decided to claim a few spaces of personal peace, just in case. One is my closet. Half of it is empty right now, and therefore full of possibilities. I could put any old thing I wanted in there, and it would just be mine, in my own space. I kind of need that.

Another is this bit right here. When it got to the point where even writing was stressful, I knew something was amiss. Since I am compelled by nature to continue writing no matter how I feel about it, then I gotta have a place to do it where I'm not even keeping my own score. No point, no plan, no goal at all, except to write something in it every single day.

So there.