so as i mentioned yesterday...

i have a new temp job. i am currently working at a flag and banner company, and will probably be here for the next couple of weeks. it's good to have work again after a long temping dry spell. i was a little ambivalent about this gig at first. the people who come in to buy flags (particularly before the July 4th weekend) are a bit... er... enthusiastic. the phrase that keeps running through my head is "knee jerk reactionary jingoism", which i used eloquently in a college paper on John Walker Lindh.

the president told people last night to go hang out some flags, and by golly, these people are going to hang some flags. for many of them, this involves a process whereby they look at their old flags and realize that they look like crap. that's unpatriotic. so they come here to re-stock with something new and proud. i now know more about the various pro's and con's of nylon vs. pollyester vs. cotton vs. all the other kinds of crap than i ever wanted to know. and getting rid of the old flag leaves them with a dillemna. to properly dispose of a flag, you need to do this overly complicated ceremony that involves some intricate folding, some somber words, and then you burn it. i keep biting my tongue due to the urge to warn them that the government wants to make that illegal.

but the good news is that i spent my lunch with my coworkers (it's "chinese food wednesday" here) talking about psychiatric disorders, 80's music, and whether or not it is safe to drink urine. in other words, i have found my people.

rhinestone cowboy

silicone+rhinestones+car=happy scoutie!i started gluing rhinestones onto my car last week. yeah that's right, i said 'started'. as in i'm not finished yet. i suspect gluing things onto my car will be a never-ending project.

why? why am i arting out my car? if you have to ask why, i can't explain it to you. no one wants to lose their car in a parking lot (and that's a small part of my motivation) but there's something magical about driving around a car that i think looks beautiful. so i thought i'd make her as shiny and sparkly as possible. we've got a long way to go, but here's the beginning.

driver's side

check out my wicked cool hood ornament.
hood ornament

luckily enough, now i have somewhere to drive my car: work. i'll be taking over management of the west roxbury j.p. licks as of july 4th. no more 7-minute-walk commutes for me.

  • it's unlikely i'll have to call the cops in westie because of a homeless man lying on our front bench with his dick out and pee all over himself (mainly because there's no bench in front of the store, but also because west roxbury just isn't that kind of place. to be clear, west roxbury is very different than roxbury, in fact the two towns don't even abut. does abut has one t or two? i don't know... but west roxbury is basically south brookline as far as i understand, which means it's physically way nicer than davis square but the people are a lot more snotty)
  • i get to be bossy without feeling too guilty (that's a pleasure i may have been waiting my whole life for!)
  • i get my own ibook for work. i don't get to keep it, but it's still pretty neat
  • and i will hopefully be able to get thomas, the j.p. licks handyman, to come over and fix various issues around the store (which means he'll bring his power tools and i'll get to help him)
  • west roxbury is really really really far away
  • i may get eaten by the surly teenagers who work there (i worked in westie with a few teenage girls recently - for the first time i understood what my mom meant when she repeated the following phrase to me as a teenager: "it's not what you say, it's how you say it." i'd like to take this time to apologize to my mom for being a teenage girl with an attitude problem. sorry, mom!)
  • and the biggest disadvantage: i love the davis square store and staff, and it's going to be very sad to leave it for 2 months. but it's only 2 months and it will be quite a challenge to (mostly) run my own store
please come visit me in west roxbury, even though the store is basically in dedham and might as well be on the other side of the world. please!


Good grief. At my new

Good grief. At my new temp job i am selling flags. All flags all the time. I didnt love the 4th of july before, but now i am learning to hate it.

i cannot sleep.

it is 1:37am.

RIP SCUL Pilot PigPen.

i have been laying in bed thinking of you for hours.

you were always so alive i just can't imagine you...not.


the perfect summer day

oh, man. there are some summer days that are just fabulous, and yesterday was one of them.

we went to a fun party on saturday night in allston, and then pete, alex and i headed to quincy to see becky ride in a horse show!!! she looked terrific, and she and the horse she rode, mambo, won two first places and one second. it was wicked hot and sweaty out, but we got to poke around the barn and pet horses and smell the barn smell.

if anyone would like to get me something, i would like biscuit, the pony up above. if you visit my flickr page, you will see this photo. if you cannot in fact acquire biscuit the pony for the betterment of the casa, i would love it if you photoshopped me into the picture riding biscuit instead of the currently shown rider.

after the horse show, we got some tasty pizza and headed to walden pond for the most perfect swimming ever. the only thing that could've made the day better was ice cream - and oh yeah, we did that too.

P6260030 P6260036



beach time!

today, erika and i took the day off from work and went on a little adventure to singing beach. we took the commuter rail and got off at manchester by the sea, then 'followed the crowd' to the beach! it really is a nice beach, and the sand more squeaks than sings. but it certainly is novel. we went to the 'other' end of the beach where there was more space than people, and i got pretty sunburned.

i think next time we'll bring more ladies and an umbrella and maybe a nice little picnic with fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. maybe some pasta salad...

fortunately we remembered my polaroid big swinger camera, and took old timey beach pictures.
more singing beacherika and kathryn at singing beach

there were some super, super nice houses out there - they even had a bandstand in the commons; it seemed like a really pretty yet potentially weird place to live. too perfect? i guess i can just imagine living there and being trapped.

everyone on the beach was so tanned and toned and perfect looking. it's only within the last few years that i've felt so self-conscious at the beach.

but here's something weird: i've never wished i had a tan before, and i did on friday. this person i dated recently...i'm not really his type, i don't think. he talks about liking pretty little blondes who go to the beach and hang out on the vineyard and nantucket. and god; i've always been so confident in myself. and for the first time in a long time, i thought maybe things would have been different if i'd been different - more normal? it's not a 'real wish' - i don't think there's any logic, or that things would have actually worked. but it's just this nagging little thing inside of me that i can't seem to shake.


busy busy bees


well, it was another busy sunday at the casa. kate and i put black plastic down in the backyard to smother the remaining weeds. no rain, no sun, no air - dead!!! i'm committed to using environmentally friendly methods to control the weeds, but i just don't have the time and patience to hand pull all the weeds. as you can see, we've included a 'before and after' picture. in two - three weeks, hopefully all the weeds and their little seeds will be dried up, withered, and dead. and then: it's roto-tiller time.

P6190084 P6190088

kate clipped the weeds to the ground so the plastic would lay a little flatter, and i demonstrated my (patent pending) method for opening yard waste bags. i think she was impressed.
P6190087 P6190086

we used brick fragments and grocery bags filled with gravel from the casa driveway to weigh down the plastic. it took a lot of time, but i think it will work out in the long run. kate and i felt terrific after working outside all day - i know we'll both be sore tomorrow, but it was a fun afternoon and now i'm the good kinda tired.


an invitation

spencer anderson! i would like to formally invite spencer anderson of "design on a dime" to visit the casa at his convenience. with his mad carpenterial skills and adorable glasses, i think he would make a perfect addition. i wonder if he likes cats...



new steps when i first bought my house, within a week or two the front porch, a huge 2-story number, started falling off the house. it was roped off, demolished, and a new porch was built. the first thing i did on my new porch was jump up and down on it really hard. i wanted to feel how solid it was, and to convince myself that the money was well spent on a lasting piece of architecture. eight years later and the porch is still standing. a few months ago my homeowners insurance warned me that if i didn't replace my side landing and steps, they were going to revoke my insurance. i can't blame them. the side landing was a rotting liability. it was surprisingly hard to find somebody to replace it. contractors and porch builders didn't want the job because it was too small. but carpenters and handymen didn't want the job because it was too big. months went by and i cringed every time i had to walk on the stairs. then, just last week, i called a man recommended by Peter & Brenda. not only did he want the job, he could do it immediately. within a few days the old landing was gone and a new structure in it's place. it's gorgeous. pressure treated base with a fir top. these steps will last. and yes, the first thing i did was jump on them.



when i was a kid, going with my mom and sister to englewood nj felt like a special treat. my grandmother lived there for most of my life, with my great aunt and uncle just a few minutes away in hackensack. we would drive down for a weekend and spend time eating food, hanging around, and jessamyn and i would find things to do to amuser ourselves. i remember one trip where the amusement jess and i discovered was taking a small pink rubber ball (names Pinkify) and bouncing it up and down the stairs to each other, while pretending it was a small child that nobody wanted to take care of. while in the recap this sounds bleak, the THWACK of the ball and the fun of playing in the dark smoky staircase was actually a joy.

this weekend my mother, sister, and her boyfriend greg all went to a family get together in hackensack. my grandmother and great uncle have passed away, and i no longer get down there as often as i should. we spent the day lounging around the house, eating food, and catching up with my mothers four cousins and their children. the house in hackensack has always felt a little like a museum to me. it holds an amazing collection of art that i can stare at for hours.

jesus sculpture watercolor dining room sculpture

and hackensack also has a calming continuity. few changes happen in the house, and my great aunt always serves the same food. each meal is guaranteed to be accompanied by a side of bakes rice and potatoes. for all i know they made one gigantic batch of it in the 1970's, and we have been reheating leftovers ever since.


a weekend of escape

thursday, 9 june: i began my day witnessing a suicide in the davis sq. t-station. the day was spent at an exhausting conference, and when i got back to the casa, my relationship of 8 months ended. friday was unbearably sad, and after getting completely wrecked by 9pm that night, it was time to get out.

central park sign(ish)

destination: new york. some folks go to nyc to party and live it up. i go to stay with my friends becky and matt to re-center and think. i took the train down, and spent hours just looking out the window and thinking. i just needed the quiet contemplative alone time. the scenery from the train is my favorite: marshes and the seaside, contrasted with the waste of our existence.

view from the train

i relaxed with becky on saturday afternoon, and spent the night reading, relaxing and watching the tropical fish in becky and matt's apartment while they visited with friends in queens. the next day, we spent time playing super mario three on the original nintendo, and then headed to central park!

becky and matt.  too cute. becky and i in central park

i'd never been before; and it was just lovely. we took the requisite pictures, making sure to include the ginormous police horse. after settling on a nice shady spot in the lawn, and we played boules - a lawn 'sport' that i gave them for their wedding. it involves throwing big silver balls - har, har - and trying to get them near a smaller wooden ball.

P6120053 boule me preparing to kick matt's ass!

after some tasty ice cream, we headed to matt's office to take advantage of the beautiful view of the park.

the hudson river! don't step back! central park view thanks, arclight!

i looked at the park for awhile, and watched the tiny little people-figures walking around. do you ever wonder if anyone else's feelings are hurting at the same time as yours are? what was the person at davis thinking when they jumped? i think about that on the T a lot, or when i'm riding my bike to work and peeping in the cars at a stoplight. what's everyone thinking about? are they happy? is there a phonecall that might come, making their day? what's the thing in life they're trying to forget? i'd like to make some sort of a survey to hand out and get some sort of consensus. make myself feel better and less alone. i'm not heartbroken; i'm not hopeless. but i'm a little sad that the potential i saw didn't materialize. and things move on and time goes by, but just a moment of silence for the potential of the future was all i needed.

some time to myself to sort things out and - yet again - start over. thank you to becky and matt, for always being there.


i fear for this country sometimes

so, because i have a degree in criminal justice, i find myself applying for a lot of state and federal jobs. while i would much rather have a job at some socially conscious non-profit, the fact of the matter is that they are few and far between. plus, the government has good benefits, and i am a sucker for health insurance.

i am sort of on the fence about this, as it often would mean aligning myself with a current government that i find appalling. but i like the believe in the possibility that maybe i could affect more change from within than from without.

yesterday i was filling out an application for a federal job, and i had to answer all sorts of questions about my professional background, my educational backgroup, my previous drug habits, and a plethora of other personal stuff. and there, in the midst of it all, they threw *this* in:
Are you a member of any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group or combinations of persons which is totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive, or which has adopted, or shows a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny other persons their rights under the Constitution of the United States, or which seeks to alter the form of Government of the U.S. by unconstitutional means?
communism? really?!? because it seems to me that these days, this nation and it's government has *far* bigger problems to worry about than communists. and what do you suppose happens if you check the "YES" box after that? to even get to this point in the application i had to offer up my full name and address and social security number. how quickly do you think they would come knocking at the casa door?

it's the internal dialogue like these that makes me think that maybe i am not cut out for affecting change from within. maybe it's just time to go stockpile the arsenal and wait for the revolution.


a sunday in the lower third of the casa

we had a very busy day today! i think i must've been in a manic sort of mood, because i woke up wicked hungover. my bike is still over in inman because i started riding home and realized there was a good chance i wouldn't make it. ended up taking the front wheel off, locking the frame and rear wheel up, and catching a cab. i don't think i've been that hammered in awhile.

christina and i started the day at christopher's in porter, then to the hardware store and grocery store. i was whiny and tired and my feet hurt, so i made us take a cab home.

tasty treats were in order, so i whipped up some blondies from the most recent cook's illustrated. kate had made some earlier in the weekend, which came out really good. mine came out good-ish; i think maybe using salted instead of unsalted butter was a poor decision on my part. but, they sure looked good (before and after!):

tasty blondie browniestasty brownies cooling

while the blondies were baking, i worked in the yard for a bit. naturally, i wore my special gardening gear - hat and clogs, yo!!
me in my special gardening hat my special red gardening clogs new garden growth

the garden is looking pretty decent - it's a little sparse as things take root and begin to grow, but i am psyched that my black bearded irises have blooms forming, my poker primroses (Primula vialli) are kicking ass, and my veronica (Veronica spicata 'Red Fox') are also budding.

i started the charcoal and made an easy-peasy yet tasty marinade for chicken and onions from the most recent issue of martha stewart living. before and after!! :

marinating chicken tasty barbecued chicken

our kitchen windows haven't had any curtains since we moved in, and i'm tired of worrying that the neighbors see me in my undies making coffee in the morning. i thought it would be nice to make half-curtains, so we can still get natural light and run around in towels without offending anyone.

i bought one large, tabbed curtain, measured it, and then cut it up to be re-structured into two curtains with no tabs and minimal hemming on my part. i also didn't have white thread, so i just used handy fusible webbing with my iron and added ribbon detailing: two layers of metallic ribbon and one of piped grosgrain per stripe. the more translucent ribbon really needed two layers for the intensity of shiny color i wanted. we're pretty happy with the results.
new curtains a detail of the ribbon

tonight, i'll put the ribbon on the other curtain. it's always amazing how much time seeminly 'simple' projects can take. fortunately, everyone's favorite movie, the fast and the furious was on tv, so i was entertained.

then it was bedtime. whew.


tales from the front porch...

porchso kathryn and i were having a smoke on the porch yesterday, and this little old man walking by stopped to chat for a few. now, k and i have both had recent unpleasant experiences with hostile little old men and women. so maybe i was a bit wary. but this guy has chatted before, and he's pleasant. if i had to guess i'd say that he was mildly retarded, although i'm not sure. he's just a bit *off*, but nice. so we chatted and i mentioned that k and i were heading out to the country for the day. and for some reason, when he asked where we were going, i felt the need to throw in a bit of misdirection. i do this often with strangers. i just lie a little. we were actually heading out to maynard for a good friends b-day, but i said we were going out to boxborough. i figured that wouldn't engender further conversation. wrong! turns out that the little old man, who i have been saying hello to for years, is the brother-in-law of Fran Riley, who was the vice principal of my high school! the world is just too damn small sometimes.

now, i don't have very fond memories of Mr. Riley. i spent a fair amount of time in high school in trouble, and frankly, i hated my high school. but to give the man his props, he was the only one who stayed clean during a huge scandal at my school soon after i graduated. my principal got in a fist fight with the other vice principal at a school function because they were *both* having an affair with the head secretary. after that, the whole house of cards crumbled. word leaked out that the principal had lied, cheated, and harassed for years. he went down hard. and i was gleeful.

through it all, Mr. Riley, who is retiring this year, stayed out of it. good job Mr. Riley. and congrats on your retirement. you sure earned it!

in other unrelated news... i may soon have to change my nickname to the No-Armed-Bandit. my right arm (which is the one that I *didn't* have surgery on) has now developed mild peripheral neuropathy. it will get worse over time and will need surgery at some point. how come when Jaimme Sommers/Lindsay Wagner got all those surgeries she got super powers, and all i get is big scars?


and i'm back on the road...!

licenseSo after meeting with my neurologist yesterday, i finally got my "loss of consciousness" form signed for the RMV. and i got my damn license reinstated. for those of you who don't know, i have epilepsy, which requires me to get cleared by Medical Affairs at the RMV before i am allowed to get my license. the annoyance of this whole thing is that i have to get the L.O.C. form signed which basically states that i *never* lose consciousness. the RMV is a bunch of dimwits, who made an epilepsy policy which i must adhere to, but which in essence doesn't apply to me. they make me sign an affidavit about when my last seizure was. which, given that i don't have convulsions, is a bit of a crapshoot. my neurologist and i agreed on a date that we pulled out of thin air, and i swore to it. the RMV forces me to lie.

but my license is back. the grannnymobile, my smooth ride, is working and back on the road. and i feel whole again.

pretend pregnancies and poop

so apparently, penelope has been having trouble pooping because she thinks she's pregnant. i took her to the vet, and she is having a false pregnancy: he went to squeeze her "swollen mammaries" to see if there was milk. i'm standing there thinking "no fuckin' way does she have milk", but sure enough, two little droplets came out.

then we were talking about how pumpkin was working to keep things moving inside of her. he rubbed her tummy, looked at me, and said "yep! there's poop in there!".

we're getting her spayed in two weeks. in the meantime, she will nest, produce milk, and have to have metamucil with her kitty kibble to keep her 'regular'. what the hell is it with the casa and cats? i blame kate and scoutie - i don't know how, i don't know what they did, but i know it was them.