Product of the Times

Rob got a haircut yesterday, and it is officially Cute™. His stylist, whose name is also Rob, persuaded him to buy product, the same product I was persuaded to buy last week when I got my hair cut. Rob has not bought product for his hair since nineteen eighty-five, and it was probably Dippity-Do. And by “Rob” in the last sentence, I mean “my husband” and not “the stylist.” Honestly, I don’t know when Rob the stylist bought product last, but I suspect it was more recent and not Dippity-Do.

The purpose of product in the aughts is to make your hair look dirty and messed up, a condition I achieved in the eighties without even trying. Speaking of the eighties, this directly contradicts the purpose of product in those troubled times, which was supposed to freeze your hair into brittle, elaborate, and usually hideous formations. The purpose of product in the tens will probably be to protect all of our bald scalps from further damage by the pollution and radiation resulting from the Bush Administration’s environmental policies. We’ll all be dead by then anyway, but when our alien overlords land, they’ll remark upon our corpses’ shiny heads, and it all will have been worth it.


Things That Make You Go “Ouch”

Yesterday, I discovered that my fascia (the connective tissue that holds muscles in place) are like the “saggy lining of a trench coat.” This from Jeannine, the Rolfer I consulted about the unimaginable damage chronic stress has done to my body. Saggy fascia are just the latest plot twist in this decades-long drama: I also have TMJ, severe back pain, spinal curvature, strain in my right shoulder and left knee, and tendonitis across the tops of my feet. Basically, if someone could remove my brain and put it in the body of an android, I’d be much better off. (If the android were indestructible and powerful enough to take over the world, it would be a happy turn of events, but this is not strictly required. You can only ask so much of an android, especially one containing the brain that has held me back for so many years.)

The next most effective cure may indeed be Rolfing, which is a form of deep myofascial massage aimed at permanently realigning the body and releasing it from the hold of chronic stress and injury. I’m not holding my breath, but things are looking up after just the first session.

In other news, I gave Goblin a bath over the weekend, after which she smelled strongly of Neutrogena shampoo for the rest of the night. Whether this is better than her normal smell of pungent dog is a matter of preference; her current aroma, a combination of the two, is a inarguably a poor compromise.


What Am I to Do?

I have a list of things to do. Against all odds, this is known as a “to-do list”; mine is so extraordinarily long that it is actually a “to-do encyclopedia.” It could also be called a “to-do bible,” a “to-do phone book,” or a “to-do treatise on how the Republican Party is transforming America into a fascist regime.”

It’s that long.

Naturally, I ignore it as much as possible, but that leads to embarrassing phone conversations with unpaid creditors and with charities to which I pledged money I did not get around to sending. These people, when they call for the first time, are exceedingly polite, as if they have taken a page from Miss Manners’s book. They beg my pardon and maintain the pretense that there must be some inadvertent mistake, but could I please look into the situation? The next time they call, the mask of etiquette begins to slip a bit. They are in the collection business after all, and minor hints are dropped about ruined credit ratings and blacklisting. The third time, all bets are off.

It’s a wonder I answer the phone anymore. But I do because I am astonishingly social for a misanthropist, and because my to-do list is so long that ignoring its existence takes all of my willpower, and it never occurs to me to call my friends on my own steam, and some of the people who call are my friends, and I’m never in the right room to check the call waiting before answering a ring.

I wish I still had my personal assistant, but I roll with the punches.


I Will Not Resort to a Rabbit’s Foot

Not last night, but the night before the night before the night before, those pesky witches were in our back garden, holding hands and chanting about the autumn solstice. There were candles and sparkles of magic in the darkness.

At that very moment, unbeknownst to the witches, I was having a television installed. Maybe the electricians offended them, but boy, things sure are starting off sucky this week.

Oh, ye witches, have mercy! I thought you were a lovely group. My back garden is your back garden, as we say in Spanish. I just really need things to be good for a little while.


Creepy Is as Creepy Does

Twenty days ago, my dear friend Faustus ordered a singing telegram for his boyfriend, E.S.’s, birthday. The singing telegram arrived in the shape of a chicken that serenaded Dr. E.S. in the cancer ward in which he was working.
Last week, Faustus emailed me a photograph of the event. Because he wanted to post documentary evidence of the chicken on his anonymous web log, I volunteered to optimize the image and at the same time obscure E.S.’s face to protect his identity. The problem was that Faustus finds the traditional methods of hiding features in photographs—pixelization or a black bar across the eyes—”creepy.”

So I invented a new way, which Faustus finds so supremely creepy that he won’t post it at all. Luckily, I have no such qualms:

To make the image less spine-chilling, I employed the following attempt at joviality, which he claims is creepier still:


Honestly. Some people are never satisfied.


These Are the Things I Can Do Without

I want to write about yelling. My friend jwer is of the opinion that the reason people watch Fox News is not necessarily to become informed about issues (which would be like trying to learn about the sun by burying yourself in a dark, airtight tomb fifty miles underground), but because they like to witness the blowhard television “personalities” yelling at their guests. At first, I found the idea that the sort of people who tune in to Fox News would find yelling entertaining decidedly unsurprising. But then jwer lumped Judge Judy in with the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and I was all, like, oh no you di’n’t!

Judge Judy yells at people, and I enjoy it. I don’t, on the other hand, find this entertaining in the same way I find, say Monty Python entertaining, or “I Love Lucy.” Rather, it appeals to my sense of justice and my low opinion of the American public. When Judge Judy gets some mouth-breathing slimeball in her clutches, someone who has selfishly or ignorantly or cruelly hurt someone else, and she verbally obliterates that person, it lifts my spirits after a day of watching that sort of person prevail.

When Bill O’Reilly yells, on the other hand, he does so not to clarify matters, not to achieve justice, but rather to obscure the facts, drown out logic, and control the debate. It is, in other words, the bray of a petulant, manipulative child—and that is the exact mindset he appeals to. Bill O’Reilly is the very sort of person Judge Judy would destroy on the spot with laser beams that shoot from her eyes. So I don’t put them in the same category.

I have been thinking a bit about yelling lately, in a variety of contexts. One of the things I most love to do, for example, is listen to music. (For this reason, you’d think it’s fortunate I married a composer, but I very infrequently get to hear Rob’s creations first-hand.) I used to listen to the radio while I was driving; I have a variety of stations programmed into my car’s tuner. But a funny thing has happened lately: my formerly favorite stations have been virtually unlistenable. I’ve had to flip from frequency to frequency in search of disc jockeys who aren’t shrieking insincerely and commercials that aren’t a blaring cacophony. Even much of the music, music I once loved, is now fingernails on a blackboard. Ordinarily, I’d think that I’m just going crazy and becoming more sensitive to noise, but I truly suspect that society at large is going crazy and becoming more insensitive to noise. It seems like most of our public conversation has transformed into desperate, interminable screaming.

The infantile Bill O’Reilly’s famed catchphrase is, ironically, “Shut up!” If nothing else, that’s a sentiment I’m starting to appreciate.


It’s Easy Being Green; Aquamarine Is Problematic

On Saturday, Rob and I drove down to the Green Festival at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center. That’s “green” as in “environmentally responsible.” It was more of an expo than a festival, but I won’t quibble; it was so totally groovy to be surrounded by sensible people for a change. And by this, I mean “largely sensible,” as some of the people were most certainly insensible.* Several times during the day, I was minding my own business, or perhaps forcing Rob to sample one of the large assortment of organic coffees, when a parade came by. It was not a different parade each time; it was the same parade, going in circles, wending its way between the booths and stands in that moderately sized room for hours at a stretch. The parade consisted of people carrying signs I could not be bothered to read no many how many times I encountered them, and several of what appeared to be seagulls fashioned out of bed sheets. I find seagulls menacing anyway, but these were so abnormally large and so utterly without context that I just didn’t know what to do.

They may have been doves, but in my experience, doves are not typically that monstrous.

They may have been albino emus.

We had lunch at the festival. This consisted of a bowl of organic rice topped with slimy translucent noodles, one tiny spear of broccoli, a “drumstick” of soy chicken, and an interminable blaring rant by an anti-war poet. I’m as anti-war as the next person-in fact, I’m infinitely more anti-war than the next person-but I don’t want to hear about it while I’m trying to choke down a soy chicken “drumstick.” That’s just too cruel.***

Then we looked at some windmills and organic shoes and cruelty-free yogurt, and then we went home.

* FYI: “insensible” is not the opposite of this usage of “sensible,” nor does its actual definition fit in this paragraph. I just thought it would be fun fun fun to type.**

** Boy, was I wrong.

*** The “drumstick” was actually eerily tasty.


Undisclosed Location

Where was I? “I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you.” This is a joke, yes? Surely, I wouldn’t actually kill you. I don’t have a history of killing people, or anything larger than a germ. I’ve killed billions of germs, however, and that adds up. Just this morning, I used Listerine like you wouldn’t believe. Perhaps, in lieu of actual death, I could simply aim my morning breath in your general direction. That’s probably good for a wrinkled nose or two.


In case you were actually wondering, I wasn’t on a spy mission or in hiding because of the fruition of any nefarious plans. I was only sulking. Thursday afternoon, I got into an argument with someone. Although I had truth, logic, and any amount of documentary evidence lined up behind me, it was no match for the petulant screaming of my opponent . . . the petulant screaming of senselessly outrageous claims, incidentally.

I must hasten to point out that this was a business argument, not a political one, although I realize that I have just described the entire debate between Democrats and Republicans. (Guess which side is which!) I have been sulking because of how quickly I sank to his level, losing my cool, raising my voice, and hurling out accusations as fast as he could make them.

This depresses me. I’ve worked so hard to become a better person. This is relative, of course; I was already a pretty darn-good person. But a key to evolving beyond the primitive animal core of humanity is to not let the ego dictate one’s behavior. Thursday afternoon, my ego was running the show, and I’m only now wrestling it back under control. On Friday, when I met Zenchick for lunch, I was barely able to function. I have given up on my quest for enlightenment, I told her: if after all the work I’ve done, I can still be so easily goaded by incivility, there must be no hope. Luckily, she talked me down from the ledge. Or maybe it was the turkey potstickers that talked me down from the ledge. Or maybe I wasn’t on a ledge; maybe I was on a chair. Turkey potstickers can be awfully persuasive, though.

I think one of my chief issues in life is coping with a lack of genuine appreciation for my considerable efforts on the part of others. The argument essentially consisted of a person I was actively trying to help accusing me of complicity in sabotage of his business. But it’s the ego that requires appreciation in order to function; good works are supposed to be their own karmic reward. The gist of the matter is, even though I was entirely right, I completely blew it. The repercussions could be staggering, and I don’t seem to be in a mental state to deal with them. But I have no choice but to coax my ego back into the cellar of my soul (where a night chef is waiting to feed it omelets), clear a bit of the wreckage, and try to pick up where I dove off the evolutionary trail.



So I finally figured out how to take over the world: via the United States Postal Service. Everyone likes to receive letters. That’s why some companies go through all that trouble to make their junk mail look like personal mail. They just need you, the recipient, to open the envelope with feelings of goodwill, and you’re hooked by whatever nonsense is actually in there. Credit cards, herbal Viagra, wigs, finger puppets, what have you . . . get people to open the envelope, and they’ll take anything. Zombies.

So anyway, I have this plan. If I send personal letters to everyone in the world, thanks to the power of the written word (I will use the Montblanc pen I expect to receive as a wedding present), people will do whatever the letters instruct them to do. If, for example, I order them to create one world government under my absolute control, in the process establishing a harem of handsome thirty-something stud muffins to be at my beck and call, they will.

Oh yes, they will.

(I will probably have to offer a bonus gift of a knife that can slice through a can, or a can of spray-on hair. The devil is in the details.)

But wait, there’s more.

Naturally, everyone in the world will have to come to my house, lift me up on their shoulders, and carry me off to my new palace, right? But how will they know where I live?

That’s where John Kerry comes in. You see, a few weeks ago, I donated money to his campaign. In the intervening time, I have received solicitations from countless liberal charities, many disguised as personal letters and all containing millions of customized address labels. I now have enough address labels to sink a ship, enough to send a list of demands to every man, woman, and child on the planet.

Um. Anyone have six billion stamps I can borrow?



Yesterday, my ex-boyfriend Michael came over to drop off a wedding present, a set of delicate colored martini glasses that balance on narrow bases. As it was also his birthday, Rob and I offered him some homemade ice cream.

“We should serve it in these lovely glasses,” I suggested to Rob. He scooped the ice cream into the glasses, balanced them on the accompanying tray, and brought it out of the kitchen. He actually made it into the living room before the glasses tipped over on their precarious bases; one fell off the tray and shattered on the floor right at Michael’s feet.

“Well,” he said. “Now you can’t re-gift it.”


Last week, I planned to go to New York City for an afternoon. I had my last appointment with my therapist, and then Rob (who was already there, teaching) and I were going to meet to look at apartments.

Except that the train was over an hour late, and by the time I got to the therapist, I only had about ten minutes left of my appointment. And the real estate agent never called me back (I had given very short notice), so we had no apartment viewings lined up.

So I immediately got back on the train and returned to Maryland.

Sometimes I worry that I’m becoming just like everybody else, but I now hold the distinction of being the only person in the history of the universe who traveled from Baltimore to New York for ten minutes of therapy and a cup of green tea from Starbucks.

I suppose that’s something.


Harder than the S.A.T.

When I came out to my parents more than ten years ago, one of the first things my father said was, “You can still lead a chaste life.” I wanted to say something droll, like, “Oops, too late,” but it was a serious moment, and I understood the impetus of his comment. My father is a devout Catholic, and the official position of the Catholic church on homosexuality falls along the lines of it being a burden that the gay person must shoulder throughout his or her life, never giving in to the dastardly impulse to actually love someone. The gay person is not considered at fault for his or her “condition,” but neither is it allowed to be acted upon.

In other words, homosexuality is a special test of self-denial from god, for a select few to endure.

As this is slightly more enlightened than the Catholics’ previous policy of beating us to death with rocks, I suppose I must give them a modicum of credit, a few moments’ pause before declaring that this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

La la la.

A few more seconds.

Do de dooo.

Okay. Are we all ready?

That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

If there is a god, and if it is the white-beard, throne-sitting, cosmic yenta sort of god that gets its jollies devising catch-22 emotional traps for random humans, isn’t it equally—if not more—likely that the “test” of homosexuality is not on the homosexuals (who have already suffered trials of Jobian proportions at the hands of society), but on the so-called religious people who have to deal with the homosexuals in their midst?

Christians on the whole have never been masters of self-denial. This is true from the top of that religious food chain—from the pope with his trillion-dollar palace and fancy dresses, and the televangelists with their mansions and theme parks—all the way down the line to the priests who sexually molest young members of their congregations and the Puritans whose few generations of hardship spawned the fattest and greediest nation in the history of the world. This is how a religion designed to help raise people above their base animal nature quickly transformed into a vehicle for propagating and magnifying those very instincts.

So maybe homosexuality is a test from god for the people who purport to follow him, a test of self-denial of those primitive instincts. A test of love and compassion. A test of acceptance, appreciation, and celebration of the range of differences the god programmed into humanity. A test of getting past fear and anger and bigotry, of using logic and intelligence to question and transcend the outdated junior-high-school health textbook called Leviticus that somehow found its way into their bible. A test of creating a community and a society based upon mutual respect, rather than driving away people they disagree with.

A test of practicing what they preach, or used to preach before they assumed the role of thought police for the Republican Party.

Christians are fond of saying that they are made in god’s image, but it’s infinitely more likely that the reverse is true. If a god exists, it is by definition unknowable by our limited experience. In the face of this not-knowing, the god Christians imagine is not incomprehensibly loving, but rather the ultimate expression of their own selves, base instincts and all. Thus are their own tedious animal natures reinforced, mainstreamed, and glorified above the actual tenets of their own religion, which ask them merely to evolve.

I started out talking about my father. Ten years ago, he imagined I could be a chaste, miserable martyr to my sexuality. Two weeks ago, when I told him Rob and I were getting married, he advised me to follow my heart. If that’s not evolution, I don’t know what is.

(Of course, he’s still a Republican, so no ground is actually gained. But credit where it’s due.)




On Disgust:

A bird had become trapped in the train station. It flew frantically from window to window, seeking freedom. It swooped. It pecked. Feathers flew. Who could say how long it had been in this dilemma, ignored by the station employees and passers-by? It could have been starving or dying of thirst. It could have had a mate that was worried about it or a nestful of tiny beaks to feed. From one window to the next, it circled and flapped. Thirty feet above my head, it didn’t approach the floor. There was no way for me to escort it safely out. There were no custodial employees in sight. When it was announced that my train was delayed by thirty minutes, I knew I could not spend that entire time in the presence of that poor creature, silent witness to its agony, so I got up to buy a chocolate-chip cookie.

That’s when my multiple personalities declared civil war.

“How dare you eat a chocolate-chip cookie while that bird is suffering!” part of my mind demanded, a particularly shrill part of my mind that has heretofore chiefly concerned itself with slowing the fascist dismantling of our democracy.

The other part of my mind-the complacent part, the lazy part, the look-away part, the coward part, the dead part-was almost insanely reluctant to approach anyone about the issue. “You don’t need to worry about it. Someone else will do something, sometime. Buy a cookie! Eat, eat, eat!” I wanted to comply, to recline back into my American haze, but after staring for some time at the cookie, insulated from the world in its case of spotless glass, I peeled myself away and forced myself to speak to the Amtrak officer in charge of Information.

“Um, I don’t know if you’re the right person to ask about this,” I began miserably.

“Uhhhhhh hummmm,” she said. There was a matte finish to her expression that indicated I had picked the wrong person to ask about anything, but I soldiered on.

“Well, there’s a bird in here. Flying around over there. It looks like it’s really upset.”

“A bird?”

“Yes. Over there. Inside.”

She didn’t turn to look. “It ain’t a pigeon, is it?”

“No, it’s some other kind of bird.” I wondered if it mattered terribly what kind. Having lived in New York, I know my pigeons. Some people don’t like them, and some people do. Clearly, the Information officer was one of the former. Perhaps I should have claimed it was a parrot, or a turkey. Something Technicolor or tasty would capture the imagination.

She looked at me as if she was George Bush and I was an AWOL document. “All right,” she said after several moments, seeming incredibly put upon for someone who otherwise had nothing to do.

“All right? You can call someone to help?”

She made a vague noise; against all evidence, I chose to interpret this as affirmation that she would not rest until she found someone to take care of that tragic bird. Relieved, I went for that chocolate-chip cookie, my heavenly reward for selfless behavior.

Back at the gate, I couldn’t help but notice that the bird was still there and that nobody else was. I crumbled part of my cookie onto the polished floor, but it sulked on a high windowsill and wouldn’t come down to eat. Until my train came at long last, we faced each other, the bird and I, over that inadequate pile of crumbs. Neither of us moved until I escaped through the heavy door, down the crowded stairs that led to the underground platform, and the bird turned back to the window and looked out at the sky.


We Are Fam-i-lee

I read today how an entire family upped and joined the Navy, as if someone had been playing Village People records in the background of their down-home suppers. Why they chose the Navy over the carefree lifestyle of the YMCA is a cosmic mystery, upon which the only light shed is the fact that they are from Alabama. Not that I can talk. My own family has recently revealed themselves to be a pack of terrifying hillbillies planning a weekend-long fiesta of beer and hunting in honor of one of my brothers’ upcoming marriage. It may not surprise you that these are the same people who largely ignored my own wedding a couple of weeks ago, but at least I know why: my tastefully engraved announcements lacked references to booze, ammo, illegal fireworks, and four-by-four vehicles.*

Yesterday on “Judge Judy,” a woman sued her sister for stealing thirty-one hundred dollars out of a bank account that was in both of their names. The defendant was a spiteful harpy who had the gall to announce in a chillingly Southern accent that she didn’t care of Judge Judy believed her story or not. The audience gasped as one, in what I believe was genuine horror at her brazen tone. Nobody, and I mean nobody talks to Judge Judy that way; for the rest of the trial, Judge Judy treated the defendant as if she were both moronic and certifiably insane. Goblin in particular watched with interest as this drama unfolded. She has not seen her own sister for almost four years, and I cannot imagine the situation in which they might end up on opposing sides of Judge Judy’s courtroom, “She took my Hippoo!” not being an actionable charge.

The Village People were sort of silly, if you ask me. If nothing else, I don’t believe that one was really an Indian chief.

* I am being unfair . . . the brother who is getting married drove up to attend my ceremony and take photographs, and another called me on my mobile phone to say congratulations. My mother also sent some lovely flowers, but she is also not attending this boozy shotgun festival in the hills, so her refinement was never in question.


The Hood

It’s warm outside, but there’s a faint prickling in my arm hair, a certain tinge to the air, that tells me that autumn is right around the corner. I can’t tell you how happy I am. Nothing depresses me as much as the sultry transition from spring to summer and the endless succession of broiling days that follow. Autumn is my favorite season, and Goblin’s too. She and I were out this morning when we encountered a woman walking with two very small children, one in a stroller and one toddling behind, grasping something that resembled three walnuts.

“Oooh, can I pet the dog?” the boy with the walnuts asked his mother.

“You’ll have to ask the dog’s owner,” she said, but he was already reaching for Goblin, who seemed quite anxious to keep walking.

“It looks like that dog wants to go,” said the mother. The boy with the walnuts looked crestfallen. “Well, she has squirrels to chase, that’s all,” I said pleasantly. I’m trying to be a more pleasant person.

And then it happened. Why, oh why did she say it?

“Those squirrels must not be afraid of that little dog,” said the mother. “She doesn’t look like she’s much of a threat.”

Goblin, upon hearing this, instantly devoured the one child (spitting out the walnuts, ptooie ptooie ptooie) and eyed the other one, in the stroller, who began screaming. “Don’t worry, she’s not much of a threat,” I said, dragging Goblin away from the mother, her remaining child, and the three glistening walnuts on the sidewalk.

Later, taking a break from working, I was watching “Judge Judy” and eating pasta salad when the doorbell rang. I had changed back into my pajamas earlier, but I opened the door anyway. A timid looking man stood on the stoop. “I’m here to apply,” he said.

“To apply for what?” I asked pleasantly. I’m trying to be a more pleasant person.

“For the job.”

“What job?”

His eyes hardened. “For the night chef’s job. They told me to apply at this address.”

“Who told you? I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“This is the address,” he insisted, looking around me into the foyer, as if I were keeping an entire restaurant secret from him.

I sent him away.

Autumn is in the air. It affects things.


Last night, Rob and I were invited to a Labor Day party thrown by friends of the couple who used to live in our house, Scott and Jerry. It was a lovely evening, although rather unusual, to be sure. Not only were some of the people I had never met before intimately familiar with the inside of our house and the workings of its erratic plumbing, some of them have been reading this web log and were intimately familiar with the details of my life. I don’t know why I’m always am stunned when I encounter people who read what I write or who can knowledgeably discuss the sewage pipes in our basement, but I just am. Later, Goblin came over and charmed everyone, and I drank wine and discussed the Bulgarian fairy tale about Baba Metza with anyone who would listen.

Then I came home, reveling in the cool breeze in my arm hair and the warm glow of new friendships.

I am always a more pleasant person in the fall.


I’ll Bet My Mother Wishes She Didn’t Cancel that Barbeque Now

I am so high, I can’t tell you.

Update: I mean high on life, of course.

Update: Yeah, right.

Update: Hee hee.

Update: Blah.

Update: Oh god. So this is why I’m not a bon vivant.

Update: I just drank, like, a million glasses of wine, in case you’re wondering. If you could harness the pain in my head, you’d have an awful lot of pain at your disposal.

Update: Hoo boy, ain’t nuttin in my stomach no more, I ga-run-tee.


Chirp. Chirp.

Over the past few days, I have found three crickets on the second floor of our house, and these were not your garden-variety fluffy-bunny crickets but giant, mutant crickets that look like tarantulas or spotted zombies. The first one joined me, Norman Batesesque, in the shower; the second came ambling along the baseboard last night as I read before going to sleep. Both times, I summoned my fearless husband from the other end of the house to vanquish them, but he went all Captain Picard and set elaborate traps so he could release them into the wild.

(“They eat bugs,” Rob said. “They are bugs,” I said.)

Early this morning, having pried my gluey eyes open, the first thing I saw was yet another, larger cricket monster in the same place as the last. “Crickets are good luck, honey,” Rob mumbled into his pillow.

“Yay, good luck. Get it out.”

After extended persuasion, fueled by my mounting panic as it came closer to the bed, Rob rolled to his feet, took a cup, and tried to trap it. This one, having learned well the lessons of its brethren, was not so easily caught, but it eventually exhausted its bag of tricks and was pinned down. Only after Rob threw it off the back porch did I notice something left behind on the carpet.

“What’s that?”

“Uh, its legs.”

“My good luck!” I shrieked, unspeakably devastated. “Um, do they regenerate?”

“I think so.” Rob carefully plucked the discarded legs out of the carpet fibers and threw them in the bathroom trash can.

At least it got us out of bed.

But now I’m worried about that stupid cricket, hoping both that it can survive, legless, in the wilds of our back garden and that it won’t hold any hard feelings against me. Maybe I’ll try to find it later and hand feed it the carcasses of some less-fortunate bugs as I beg it to forgive me.

I need all the luck I can get.


No Good Deed . . .

Yesterday, Rob and I went to grocery shop at Whole Foods and decided to stop in at Starbucks first. As we passed through the parking lot, I noticed a car with its headlights left on. It was a blue Escort station wagon.

Kind soul that I am, or am trying to be, I diverted into the grocery store for a minute to have them make an announcement, then it was off to brave the queue at Starbucks. As we approached the head of the line, Rob asked me what I was going to have.

“That chocolate-chip cookie,” I said. I’d had my eye on the chocolate-chip cookies since we’d entered the establishment. (That branch of Starbucks never has chocolate-chip cookies; I usually have to get shortbread cookies, which I love but are not very substantial.)

“Can I help you?” asked the barista of the man directly in front of me.

“Yes,” he said, “I’ll have two chocolate-chip cookies.”

I watched, horrified, as they gave him the last two in the display case. What does someone need with two chocolate-chip cookies, anyway? When it was my turn, I asked if there were any more. There were not. Nor did they have my old standby, shortbread. I ordered only tea.

Maybe god is trying to tell me I’m too fat. Maybe . . . but I spent the rest of the shopping trip cursing fate. If I hadn’t been such a good person, I would have gotten to the café in time to get my cookie.

When I got home, I took the parking space someone else was aiming for without batting an eye. The other guy had probably just come from saving a kitten from a tree, or smacking a Republican, or some other good deed that diverted him just long enough for me to dart my car into that spot. You snooze, you lose. That’s my new philosophy, all thanks to the cookie thief.

Today, we took Goblin for a walk in the park and encountered a mobile petting zoo of two ponies, a miniature cow, a goat, an enormous bunny, and some ducks. It was a child’s birthday party. Goblin, who did not receive a petting zoo for her birthday last month, was so livid that she studiously avoided looking at the other animals—even the goat, which was pretty cute.

Sorry, Goblin, the world is cruel. God thinks you’re too fat, anyway.



Autumn is coming, the goose is getting fat. The College of Art kids have moved back into their dorm on my street and spend their days passing hither and yon outside my front door. They are quiet and respectful and have captivating hair. Most of the boys are as thin as I am, or thinner. Perhaps I missed my calling to go to art school. I would have made a terrible artist, but I would have looked fabulous in a beret.

So what is it about ghosts, then? I’ve encountered a few, which I’ve documented in other sections of this site: in slaves’ quarters and murder scenes. Energy is everywhere, like butter and geraniums. (I hate geraniums, but Rob likes them.) Sometimes I go to this site to look at ghost photos with labels such as “Haunted by a Head!” and “Man with Tall Hair Seen!” and “Demon or Ghost on his Knees?” Ghosts spend an awful lot of time looking out windows, if you ask me. I don’t suppose they have much else to do. Maybe the ones who are thin enough can go to art school, but the rest are virtual shut-ins with green faces and wide eyes.

I like being married.


Here Comes the Terrier, All Dressed in Black and White

Once again, I heartily thank everyone who posted those very moving comments in the past few days regarding my big revelation. Your support is so important and meaningful to me. I’ll change the topic soon, rest assured, but if you can stand my bridezilla act for one more day, you can see a few small photos of the occasion below. My photographer brother took these, so they are extremely good. Faustus was, at the time, worried about what he feared would be the gap in quality between his digital photos and my brother’s. Luckily for him, his camera ran out of battery power immediately before our ceremony; now I can remember my special day with photos of all the lesbians Faustus found saucy enough to immortalize.