i have reached the pinnacle of geekdom!

so, as many of y'all know, shayne and i have been "playing a little warcraft". we share a level 36 Paladin named Viskey (after a funny typo the pharmacist made on some medecine for shayne's cat). we periodically yell out such gems as "WILLOW PANTS OF THE MONKEY!!"

we have a guild, and some of our "guildies" are ten, or youger. which is good, because warcraft changes all of your cusses into &^%$#@!

we have a pet kitten in the bank, safely stowed in a carrier.

and we have a very generous benefactor who occasionally buys us trinkets and bad-ass armor.

but if all of this isn't geeky enough -- we have reached a new height! yessiree folks. we trolled another warcraft player on youtube.

i am a little ashamed. but stand by what i said. shaman's wear dresses and thus will never be truly menacing.


tis the season...

most of you know that the holiday season tends to leave me cranky and annoyed at the world. look at my holiday post from last year. it's just not my thing.

but this year i am more grateful than most. and perhaps a wee bit more emotional.

and sometimes there is a small part of the holiday season that touches me in an odd way.

this year, i found that small thing.

this year it was the runaway reindeer.

it made my small heart grow three sizes.


sorry, i couldn't blog.... i was washing my cat...

whenever i don't want to do something, and i need to come up with a totally transparent excuse, i say "sorry, i can't do {insert avoided activity here}, i have to wash my cat." it's such a blatant lie that it easily conveys the sense of hell no, i would rather do any inane act than do whatever it is you want to do. cat washing -- the universal avoidance tool.

so have i really been spending the last two blogless months cat washing? nope. just once. and let me tell you, once was enough. scoutie and i were making breakfast one morning, and whiskey came running through the kitchen. her face was *covered* with cobwebs. we grabbed her to get them off, and realized that our usually white kitty was black from the belly down. next, boo came trundling by, and he had the same affliction. clearly these cats had been doing something naughty. we discovered that the cats had somehow gotten into the attic, which is full of roofing tar. boo has been trying to get in that room for 8 years. fucking roofing tar! so we threw them in the bathroom together while we finished our breakfast, grabbed the camera, and readied ourselves for the task ahead. cat washing.

for those of you who have never washed a cat, i have a suggestion. don't. but if for some reason you absolutely need to, let me walk you through it.

  1. dirty boodirty whiskeyFind a very dirty cat in need of cleaning.
  2. Decide that once you are going through the hell, maybe your miserable cat would like company so he doesn't feel so foolish and alone. Grab another cat.
  3. Fill up a small tub with warm water and a dash of Johnson's Baby Shampoo.
  4. Grab the cat with a death grip around his middle that shows you mean business. this is no time to worry that you are holding him too tight. hold him tighter!
  5. wet booDip the cat in the water, and squoosh him down until he is up to his neck in the water. Careful, this is often where they get a little pissy. Hold 'em tight and whatever you do DON'T LET GO!
  6. Don't worry too much about scrubbing. The cat will be fighting and biting and clawing so much to get out of the water that he will likely lather himself up with the effort.
  7. Once you figure he's been tortured enough, take him out of the small tub, and set him down. Pour warm, clean, water over him until there are no suds left.
  8. wet boo (2)Take the pathetic, shivering, cat, and wrap him in a towel to dry him off.
  9. By this point, all the fight has probably gone out of your cat. He will just lay there licking himself dry and glaring balefully at you. Take this opportunity to grab your camera and take photo's of his tiny chicken feet.
  10. Repeat with the next cat.
  11. wet whiskeyBlow them dry with a hairdryer set on low if needed. Be careful not to point the dryer directly at their eyes or ears. They don't like it, and I don't blame them. Have you ever accidently suctioned your contacts to your eye by not paying attention to where the hairdryer is? It sucks. And the poor cat has been through enough, don't you think?
  12. Now the cat is clean and dry, and you are probably soaking wet and bloody. Get out that first aid kit and clean yourself up.
so, sorry for the hiatus folks. as you can see, i've been busy. i was washing the cat.


welcome to the world, louisa...

may your life be filled with light and love and happiness!

Louisa Sullivan Carter


unordered update with several postscripts

  • i took the GREs. not great scores but perfectly serviceable. hopefully they'll get me in to the grad programs i'm looking at: UNC Chapel Hill, University of Washington, University of Denver, University of Syracuse, and the University of Illinois
  • the fall semester has begun. i am a senior. huzzah!
  • i received a letter telling me that i've been "nominated by the Simmons College Faculty to be a member of Academy. Academy is the honor society of the undergraduate college." apparently my gpa places me in the 94th percentile of the class of 2007. of course my first thought was, 'dammit. i knew those 2 A-'s would come back to bite me in the ass... i should be in the 99th percentile!!'
  • i've drastically cut back on hours at JP Licks and i'm happy as a clam at high tide working for the digital librarian at a private economic consulting company downtown. i scan and index documents and have plenty of time to do homework (or screw around on the internet, whichever comes first)

so that's my life in a nutshell. or bulleted list, as it were.

p.s. you're all welcome to attend the honors convocation at 2:30pm 9/13 at Simmons, where i will be awarded the Academy Scroll and pin.
it's going to be ever so much fun.

p.p.s. the above postscript is entirely sarcastic. if i see anyone i know there i will bash you with my scroll and stick you with my pin. if you don't believe me i'm sure i can supply several references attesting to my violent and agressive nature.


possibly the worst marketing campaign ever...

so i am watching tv with scoutie tonight, ignoring the commercials and tapping away on my laptop, when i see something out of the corner of my eye, and startled, i look up. there, on my tv screen is a weird brown brick, with arms and legs. and everybody who touches it gets slimed. brown snail-trails are left in it's wake. skidmarks, if you will. scoutie informs me that it's name is "fudgems". and apparently this is supposed to encourage me to buy pizza.

the good folks at Domino's think that this little mumbling, dancing, giggling "brownie" is going to make me more likely to take them up on their Two-for-Tuesday deal.

i look at it and think, as i feel most people will, "oh look! dancing poo!"

i also think that the good folks at domino's need a new ad agency.

check it out for yourself. tasty treat? or dancing poo? i think the answer is clear.


tales from the crime lab...

a of days ago i celebrated my one year anniversary at the Crime Lab. yup, i have been gainfully employed for a full year. almost doesn't seem possible. and working for The Man at that. it's been a fun year. i have hired more people than i have fired. i have watched our budget balloon to new heights. we opened one new lab, and in October we will open another even larger one, and move our main offices. i have learned a tremendous amount about state government, crime control, and forensic science. and i have actually had a lot of fun along the way.

some of the fun has been funnier than others.

the crime lab isn't open to the public. we don't give tours, or allow the press inside. although we fly the state flag, the building is fairly innocuous. it's a converted school house and the sign on the front of the building is small. most people can't even find the doorbell.

and yet don't underestimate the public. they're tricky. they can sometimes find their way in.

of course, they make it no further than reception. and generally that means that i get brought up to the front desk and shoo them away. but sometimes i listen to what they want first. and what do they want?

i want a scientist to tell me, or at least an office manager:
a man walks into the crime lab with a zip-lock baggie. in the baggie is a clod of dirt with a chunk of something in it. the man found the clod/chunk in his backyard when he was digging up a tree stump. he thought it was suspicious looking. he thought it needed a trained professional to tell him what it was. he thought it could be a piece of wood. or a bone. but he wasn't sure. he was concerned and wanted a scientist to analyze it. i told him that we didn't do that, and that he should contact his local pd if he was worried. i told him he needed to leave and tried to hustle him along. he didn't want to leave until somebody in authority told him their professional assesment. it wasn't going to happen. finally he beseached me, and begged me to tell him what i thought. i replied "i think i write purchase orders for a living!" he nodded, sagely, took his clod and left smiling.

i want you to tell me if this smells funny:
a lady walks into the crime lab, clutching an disposable coffee cup, filled with what looked like... well... coffee. she sets it on the counter, and tells us that somebody is trying to kill her. every time she walks out of the room, they put a little more poison in her coffee cup. or maybe they pee in it. she's not sure. she wants us to run toxicology tests to prove that someone is out to get her, and she wants to know what the poison is. if it's urine, she wants us to run DNA tests so we call tell her who is out to get her. we explain that we don't do this, and that she needs to contact her local pd (noticing a trend here...?). she asks me what she should do. and i tell her, with a perfectly straight face, that i think she should stop drinking coffee.

i want to spy on other peoples kids, just not piss off my own:
a lady walks into the crime lab, clutching a magazine. slathered across the cover, in big type, is lurid details from the latest high profile pervert who was using myspace. she launches into a long, garbled, but very passionate ramble about how horrible dangerous the internet is. she has two young daughters, who use myspace, and she worries about them. she wants to teach kids about internet safety. she wants to help. she looks at me and wails "I WANT TO HELP THE FBI CATCH INTERNET PREDATORS ON MYSPACE!" i explain that we don't do that, and that she needs to contact the freakin' FBI. i also told her that she probably didn't need her help, but that maybe she should sit down with her own daughters and see what they are looking at and using, and explain to them about how to be safe. she looks at me, very affronted, and says "oh. they wouldn't like that. i like to give them their privacy".

these things never happen on C.S.I.


house of neuralgia

i'm now officially the second member of the casa to have a weird nerve problem.

i blame you, kate.


the Dove Foundation called me tonight...

i normally don't answer my phone, but for some reason when the state of Michigan called me, i decided to pick up. only it wasn't Michigan. it was The Dove Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to family decency in films and television. they said they had a short survey that would take less than 90 seconds, and asked me if i would participate. i was feeling generous, so why not. here's the transcript of the call, to the best of my recollection:

DF: decent, good, kind people are concerned about the morality of television and movies going down the toilet, and are worried that the average american can't do anything to fix it. do you agree that the content of television and movies is often objectionable?

me: i don't think there is enough obscenity on television.

DF: what?

me: there should be more obscenity on tv.

DF: "click"

that's right. it all took less than 90 seconds because they hung up on me. so if you are reading over their survey results (which they swear are "unquestionably accurate and without prejudice") and wondering how middle america is feeling about decency on tv, the honest answer is -- no one knows. they hang up on folks who don't agree.

so to level the playing field, here's what i suggest. if you feel as though their research methods are shoddy, please take this survey. you don't have to tell them you want to see more tits and ass on tv, but you should tell them your opinion in a way that will be more of a pain in the ass for them to delete from the database.


out with the old

the casa is generally a cluttered world of books and mail and the occassional cat-hair-tumbleweed slowly blowing across the floor. the bathroom and the kitchen are cleaned regularly but they are exceptions to the rule. we tidy up here more than we clean - moving piles from one surface to another, vacuuming the dust bunnies in the corners, shuffling books/dvds/videogames back to where they live (even though they always manage to migrate back to the coffee table/top of the tv/floor). i took a few hours of my days off to tend to a few of the forgotten realms, the areas we always look at and say, 'we really should clean that' but then dinner is ready and 'jeopardy' is on tv and then somehow the whole night has slipped away without getting anything accomplished.

stovetop i scrubbed the stovetop, soaking the drip pans and burner rack thingys (i don't know what they're called) for an hour in scalding soapy water. i thought the soaking would losen some grime but it still took 45 minutes, copious amounts of bar-keeper's friend, and plenty of elbow grease to get most of the baked on crud off. unfortunately it didn't occur to me to take a 'before' picture. oh well. recent houseguests may be the only ones who appreciate the full glory that is now the stovetop.


this was living in the fridge. i think it used to be a bowl of
tomato soup (the chunky tomato bisque is amazing!). i know it's mold and therefore disgusting, but look. it's kind of beautiful, too.

i also tackled the primary living space with a few garbage bags, some furniture polish and rage (ha! this was a typo too good to fix... i meant to say rags), and the vacuum.

i found some peace in the process of scrubbing, of cleaning so hard i sweated, of going through the accumulated dirt and effluvia and finding things i had forgotten about. already the house has lost its sharp, clean edge. the piles have slowly started to sneak back onto the coffee table and
i'm pretty sure i just saw a baby tumbleweed making its way into the kitchen. but i have to start carmelizing onions and chopping cucumbers for dinner tonight and then 'jeopardy' will be on tv and then... well. you know how it goes. why didn't anyone tell me how humbling cleaning a house is? and why did it take me so long to find the joy in the whole process?


fifty bazillion problems...

so the latest headline regarding the big dig debacle reads "Romney: 1,454 problem areas in ceiling tiles".

really? you want to go on record with exactly how many tiles are a problem?

honestly, i would just stop counting at this point and proclaim "it's all just rotten". because let me tell you, this Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve reverse countdown to total tunnel collapse is just getting ludicrous.

on a related side-note... look closely the next time they air a bit on the news about the tunnels. you will see tiny white tyvek tags used on all the evidence. i helped buy those. that was my work. so maybe that can be considered my donation to the fifty bazillion dollar price tag as well. i've done my part.


this week i...

-made a tshirt
-got a new job (don't be alarmed - i'll still be serving ice cream for your pleasure from time to time)
-fell up the stairs 3 times
-broke 2 sales records at the ice cream store
-dropped: a box of spoons and several ice cream scoops on the floor at work, a container of gorgonzola and a container of oats on the kitchen floor, and a whole pizza (luckily it landed cheese-up so dinner wasn't ruined)
-visited my doctor for a fun-filled annual physical (apparently my blood pressure is *very* good!)
-made some cookies and sent them to portand, oregon
-reread several delightful young adult books
-read a new young adult book
-took whiskey out for a jaunt in the backyard in hopes of slimming her down a bit. she gives kathryn's garden two paws up.

i think that's about it. further updates as events warrant.


i was a sullen teenager...

me at 15i am not sure if the 80's were kind to anybody, but they sure seemed to hit me particularly hard. in most pictures from that time, i am staring out at the camera, unabashedly, with baleful eyes. you can see the same look reappear from age 16 to 21. i am sure that i smiled during those years, but it sure doesn't get captured on film a lot.

what does get captured is a fascinating array of haircuts, some spectacular, some scary. and you can tell that my look vacillated from hippie to punk rock to downright preppy. i was clearly trying to find my nook, as most kids were probably doing. i was experimenting. and i was sometimes so unbelievably full of myself that it's hard to take my teenage self seriously.

i look back and wish i could have a talk with that kid. tell her that we were going to grow up okay, and that maybe we didn't have to fight so hard. my senior year book quote was Dylan Thomas, and simply read "do not go gentle into that good night". good lord. i was a pompous, self-aggrandizing, maudlin kid. thanks for all of you who bore with me. it probably wasn't easy!

me at 17, with mattme at 20me at 17


40 days as a non-smoker

i haven't said much about quitting smoking, and i thought maybe i would check in about. it's been over 40 days since i have had a cigarette, which seems monumental after 21 years, on and off, as a smoker.

there are very few things that we measure in days. a baby's age perhaps, a countdown since a birthday, or how many days late a period is. since i have no children, i'm fine with being 35, and my period isn't late, it got me thinking... what if i measured all my life events in days? would that make it seem better or worse. so here's my countdown:

last cigarette -- 43 days
last drink -- 6022 days
last kiss -- 23 days
last time somebody tried to kiss me -- 4 days
last laugh -- less than 1 day
last cry -- 3 days
last scream -- 8 days
last time i made a new friend -- 29 days
last time i pissed off an old friend -- 7 days

all in all, i think counting in days makes my life look okay. sure, i wish it had been a shorter span since my last kiss, and a greater time since i hurt somebody i cared about... but i guess i think that i'm doing okay.

and someday, when i start counting my time as a non-smoker in years rather than days, maybe i'll stop counting all together. seems unlikely, but maybe.


no, kate doesn't beat me...

i'm just *really* clumsy. i fell down the stairs on friday at my sister's house. here are the bruises on my back as they appeared on saturday evening:

back_bruises1 back_bruises2

and here they are with a little more color today:


and if those aren't enough to get me a little sympathy (okay, it was my own damn fault - never again will i wear flipflops in the rain), check out the bruises on my forearms:


the one on the right is particularly impressive (and painful). this might be karma from negative cheering in the world cup (i.e. cheering *against* a team instead of *for* a team). but i bet you a $2 beer that i don't learn my lesson!

**p.s. please note: i was completely sober at the time this injury was sustained.


for all of you doubters...

i have finally been vindicated by mass.gov. i was spending some time checking out the new citizen information pages, just to see what kind of face massachusetts was putting forwards to new folks. i would hate to think that people would come to the state and think that we spend all of our time debating the various merits of fluff. and at first, i was skeptical. for example, under the "practical guide to living in the state", there is a section for helpful hints. this has four hints -- how to find a doctor, how to find a dentist, how to find a licensed day care provider, and where you can get a nickel for your empty soda bottle. one of these things isn't like the other.

but i kept on, figuring there must be some wisdom in these pages, and there was. i am relieved to know that embalmers need to be licensed in this state. this could one day be useful. but the real kernel of wisdom was tucked deep in the list on the page of Unincorporated and Unofficial Names. there, about two thirds of the way down, right below Pocket and right above Point Independence, there it was!


i have been telling people for years that the mythical Podunk, who's name is synonymous with East Bum Fuck Nowhere, was actually an unincorporated township in Worcester. and now Mass.gov has validated this.

okay, actually nobody is totally sure where the first and original Podunk came from. maybe it was massachusetts, maybe it was near Ulysses NY, Hartford CT, or Wadsboro VT (all worthy contenders). and maybe the truth doesn't matter. maybe Pudunk is just a small, unimportant, tiny place within all of us. mine just happens to say "wicked" a lot, bitch about Mitt Romney, and drive around in an old beaten car that has a bumper-sticker slapped on it's ass that reads "Don't Blame Me. I'm from Massachusetts".


an update from the upper-half

so shayne and i both had the day off on friday (thank you bunker hill day, or breed's hill day, or whatever you want to call it) and we decided to head out to the beach. while this might conjure up images of long white beaches and vistas of endless sand dunes, we decided to be city kids and go to a city beach -- so we headed off to revere beach. we spent the day counting gold chains roped around overly-tanned old men's waddles. we saw a girl who was eight months pregnant in a thong bikini (and much to our dismay she looked far better than either shayne or i in our non-pregnant state). we got cheese fries at kelly's. and we played like children in the ocean.

the cats are recuperating nicely. boo is back to his old self, and trixie is learning to keep her tongue in her mouth without the aid of any teeth. i am simply amazed at their resiliency, and i am much relieved.

last night it was drinks at bones with the foundation, needs more meat, and the lower-half of the casa. we tried to get together with vontrapperkeeper, but for some reason our messages weren't getting through to his blackberry... there were endless movie quotes being thrown around. a lot of $2.00 beers were guzzled. and much to my dismay everybody kept singing that james blunt song "you're beautiful". that song makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a dull butter knife. however, i confess i like it a little more now that i have heard the parody "my cubicle" (which you can listen to here). good times.


the cat tooth-fairy owes me big time.

boo and trixie went in this morning for their dental appointments.

boo, who has genetically bad teeth, lost another three molars. i am not sure how many this leaves him with, but i think the answer is "precious few".

trixie, as i have mentioned, is allergic to her own teeth. while i was hoping for the best, sometimes it is unclear exactly what the best is. she had twelve teeth removed. this will, in the long term, make her much more comfortable, and she will adjust just fine.

i, on the other hand, am a wreck. there is something so overwhelming about seeing your own pets in pain. i can't explain to them why they hurt. or why i put them through this. i can't tell them that they will feel better soon. i mean, i do. but they don't exactly understand me, although i use my best baby-speaking voice. the best i can do is just know, in my own heart, that i am caretaking the best i can and that i am making the right choices for them.

sometimes being a grown up sucks.


allons enfants de la patrie...

le jour de gloire est arrive!!

why am i singing La Marseillaise, you might ask (if you know the french national anthem in its native language, which i happen to know all the words to for some completely unknown reason... i'm sure those brain cells could be used for something much more worthwhile)? because for the first (and probably only) time in my life, i'll be cheering on the french national football team tomorrow at noon. i don't feel good about it - i've been making a concentrated effort to support countries that have been victimized by imperial powers. this sometimes means that i have to deny my own heritage (actually, it pretty much always means that... apologies to the US and english teams but c'mon now, you guys are representing some serious assholes) and it often means that i'm supporting african countries that i'm only vaguely aware of their geographic location (i found togo the other day - turns out it's right next to ghana, who knew?), but i think i'm a better person for it. however, sometimes personal feelings take precedence over idealist impulses. so allez francais!!

allons-y, les bleus!


i've been meaning to post this for a while...

our love childif technology advanced, and scoutie and i ever had a love child together, it would look a little like this.

creepy, right?


setting the record straight

just so we're all clear: i told kate a month ago that we had critters in the walls. she thought i was insane.

i hope they find their way into her bedroom and scare the bejesus out of her.

one year ago...

i was lobbing lemon wedges up into the gutter trying to dislodge the pigeon squatters that had moved into my gutter. after taking out a generation of pigeons-to-be with a broom, they finally began viewing me as their natural predator, and they wisely moved on.

their damn cooing was driving me insane.

and now i have found something evening more annoying than the maniacal sighing of a nesting bird -- squirrels. in particular, clumsy squirrels, tripping and falling and generallry galumphing through the walls. it sounds like we are under attack.

now, i am a pro at getting rid of pesty varmints. i got out my trusty broom, and started whacking the walls.

so far, all i managed to do is disrupt some dust bunnies.


why is this cat screaming...?


okay, technically that isn't true. apparently she has lymphocytic-plasmacytic gingivitis stomatitis (LPGS), which means she is allergic to her own plaque.

since you can't really have teeth without plaque, it's basically the same thing in my eyes.

at least now we know why she smells so bad.

sorry trixie.


you may already be a winner...

it's killing me. who knows what this truck does?!?!?

somerville works

seriously. i know... i can be obsessive. it's true. i perseverate. and i ponder. and certain things get caught in my head. and then the more i think about them, the more they begin to nag...

so help me out folks. i saw the truck in the somerville parade. i know it's part of Somerville Works. but that's all i know. and now i can't stop thinking about it. it looks a little like one of those crap vacuums that they have in european cities, that do nothing but drive around and suck up dog poo. but it has that fancy winch in front, as if it will be rescuing small children from the bottom of wells. yet those tubes on the sides look like they could launch rockets. and it's oh so very shiny, like a toy. what does the DPW need with a crap-sucking-timmy-fell-down-the-well-scud-missile-launching-tonka-truck?

and i mean it -- a dozen homemade cookies to the first person who can tell me what the heck this thing does!!


casa highland gets in on the action...

so kathryn came home from her college reunion yesterday all tired and possibly (heck, probably!) hung over. she was just in time to watch the parade go by. the arts council had made a special float, which she helped put together. i was of the mistaken idea that she would actually be *in* the parade, but apparently this was not to be.

until shayne and i started instigating.

and nagging.

and cajoling.

and *inspiring*.

so up the street she ran, where she hopped on the float, and rode it down. throwing out old expired art beat dog tags to the adoring crowd. making art for freedom.

arts council

i scream, you scream, we all scream...

i like my job. in theory, i derive pleasure from increasing other peoples’ happiness quotients (giving people ice cream makes them happy!). however, the reality of my job is that it's filled with the tedium of answering the question, “what is cow tracks?” roughly 139 times every shift (it's a sweet cream base with a fudge swirl, mini peanut butter cups and chocolate chips, in case you're wondering), calling the cops on the bum who’s peed all over himself in front of the store, and getting yelled at for the high price of homemade ice cream (like i'm personally profiting… i’m not exactly moneybags mcgee over here, people).
a few days ago when some guy asked me how thick our frappes are (milkshakes for you non-new england natives). i answered him in my driest tone, ‘they’re about an 8 on the viscosity scale.’ he smiled and said
sincerely, ‘that sounds great!’ i guess stupid questions deserve stupid answers that involve fabricated measuring systems.
then there are the questions that completely dumbfound me. ‘what does your black raspberry taste like?’ uh, it tastes a lot like black raspberries. hence the name. 'what's coffee oreo?' we're not exactly ben & jerry's - no lyrical and obtuse names like the gobfather, vermonty python or phish food here. if it's called 'coffee oreo', chances are good that it is in fact coffee ice cream with oreos in it.
the other day some girl asked me what the hardest ice cream to scoop is, then promptly ordered it. great, now the customers are intent on making me work even harder for my just-above minimum wage hourly rate. carrying 6 buckets (roughly 90 lbs) of ice cream up the stairs at the same time clearly means that I’m slacking and I need to be working harder. why doesn't everyone just get whatever’s hardest to scoop so shayne’s right bicep becomes even more freakish! hey, at least I know that if this ice cream gig doesn’t work out, I can join the circus freakshow as the amazing lopsided woman.
however, my favorite of all the weird questions/feedback at the ice cream store has to be the customer comment card that was filled out last year complaining that our ice cream tastes too much like what it's supposed to be. the example this astute customer used was the oreo ice cream - it tastes just like actual oreos, not enough like vanilla ice cream with oreos in it. they should definitely stay away from the chocolate ice cream, then. it tastes suspiciously chocolately.


... tiny american flags for others!

marching band

one of the joys of living on the main drag in somerville is that all of the parades go right by the house. i can wander out in my bare feet, sit on the stoop, and enjoy the wonder that is somerville. this place, while being the most densely populated city in MA (and in the top ten of the entire U.S.), still struggles to rest somewhere between modern metropolis and small town. nothing highlights this better than an olde tyme parade.

for two hours, shayne and i watched a long slow trek of people celebrating the holiday. there were marching bands, cheerleaders, armed forces (and not so armed forces, such as the transit police), bagpipers, clowns, nuns, flag girls, weird cars and trucks, little league teams, clydesdales, civil servants, shriners, shriners, and more shriners. if it weren't for the shriners, i would guess that the whole thing would have taken 45 minutes tops.

which left me to wonder about the shriners. they have appeared in most parades and celebrations that i have seen in the U.S. and yet i was left scratching my head, wondering "who are these men, and what the heck do they do??". so i pulled out my trusty "international encyclopedia of secret societies & fraternal orders" and did a little research.

shriner wheeliethe shriners full name is The Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. no wonder they thought to shorten that. and they are an offshoot of the Masons (Ancient, Free, & Accepted). any master mason of the 32nd degree, or a Knights Templar, can get in. they are the wacky side of the usually very serious Masons.

according to lore, it was started because the Masons were teetotalers, and these men wanted to drink booze. they almost got kicked out of the Masons for being boisterous drunks, until they started turning some of their extra energy to good works. the shriners hospital kept them in the good graces of the Masons, and generally kept them from getting arrested for all of their wild shenanigans. it has not, however, kept them in the good graces of people who are followers of Islam. the shriners have ripped off and bedazzled a lot of their rituals and apparently generally piss them off.

shriner scooterand, as i suspected... ladies can't be shriners. if you are the wife, mother, daughter, or sister of a shriner, you can join the auxiliary Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America, but you can't get the sparkly fez or drive in the tiny cars or get elected to Most Illustrious Grand Potentate.

basically what i learned is that the shriners are even weirder than i initially thought.


i confess...

many of my friends and family have heard me brag about my mad culinary skillz. i will talk your ear off about the importance of cream of tartar in making the perfect snickerdoodles, or how a little bit of lemon juice really just brightens up any meal. while i might not be able to pick a decent table wine, i can find a ripe melon, or a juicy lime, or generally tell if pork has been infused with water and salt prior to packaging. i own more specialty kitchen gadgets than a kitchen of my size should have. a zester. a ginger grater. a marble mortal and pestle. a freakin' cake fork for christ's sake. i have a hand cranked bread maker from the 50's, and an electric one from the nineties. i own more cookbooks than i own dictionaries.

and while my tastes tend to run to the comfort food, it's always just a little fancy. meatloaf wrapped in bacon. macaroni and cheese made with gruyere and gorgonzola. toasted pine nuts in everything.

and yet... i do confess... i have a love of junk food. and i don't mean junk food in the "twinkie" sense (although i did once make the loved and feared twinkie casserole for shayne), but in the convenience food, there's-no-real-food-in-my-food, sort of way.

i am terribly embarrassed about this.

so, to purge my guilty conscience, i do hereby avow my deepest love for the following:

suddenly salad mix in a box
magic shell
cake mix
peperidge farms frozen garlic bread
any kind of doughnut, the crappier the better
cheese wiz
coffemate creamer
pilsbury crescent rolls
any mini sausages, preferably with tasty dippin' sauce

whew. i feel better now.



friday night shayne and i went out with peter and brenda to catch a night of amateur porn. it was the seventh annual "You Oughta Be in Pictures" show, sponsored by local women-friendly sex shops Grand Openings and Good Vibrations. people spend all year sending in submissions for the event, which is run three times. three master dvd's are made, and at the end of the night, each is ritualistically destroyed.

the clips are all shorts, which run from the funny to the dirty to the down-right kinky. but really the whole thing is just a celebration of sexuality. the actors appear to be having a good time, the audience is enthusiastic, and Kim Airs, the curator of the fesitval has a good sense of what plays well to a mixed crowd.

it seems like it's a great chance for everybody to get their preferences validated. there was an homage to men in thongs, a sneak peek at the sexual life of doughnuts, some intense gender-bending, and a deep respect for the sexuality of the older generation, the younger generation, and everybody in between. gay, straight, plushie or s/m. it was all there. and the audience loved it.

perhaps the funniest clip of the night was the last, which involved an erect penis and a lamb chop puppet. since we had already seen so much debauchery, we were expecting it and resigned, except for the young man behind me who blurted out "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! NO, LAMB CHOP! DON'T DO IT!!". but she did, and now we are all educated as to where baby lamb chop puppets come from. i think Shari Lewis might be turning over in her grave.


standing around and eating snacks for hunger

standing for hungershayne and i just did our annual volunteering for the Walk for Hunger. she and i have done this together most years for the past six years or so. our old company used to organize troops to help marshall crowds and direct walkers through busy intersections. while most of us no longer work for the company (and in fact, tend to call ourselves "survivors" of the place), we still show up year after year, to hold the same signs, and stand on the same corners, to help out.

and eat snacks.

one of the great ironies of this gig is that they pack up snack bags. free chips and drinks and coffee and doughnuts and candy bars. so while other people are trudging 20 miles to stamp out hunger, we lollygag, smoke cigarettes, eat free snacks. i felt a little guilty about the whole thing.

do i still feel like what i did contributed? sure. in that old lady sort of way. i dread becoming one of those people who no longer gives their time or energy, just their money. although that's valid, too.

helping out comes in many forms, and i was raised to raise my voice for what i believe in. when i was younger, i donated blood and marched on washington. i went to peace vigils and took back the night. i once even went so far as to lash myself to a trident nuclear submarine. i spent four years donating my time as a rape counselor, being on call for the hospitals for victims of sexual assault. i saw the worst that the world had to offer. and yes, when i was a teenager i even actually walked the Walk for Hunger.

and i just realized that i trudged those 20 miles, back in 1987, eating snacks, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes.

maybe i really haven't changed that much at all.


the lord giveth...

and the lord apparently taketh away my magical blizzard toaster.

it's gone.

as quickly as it appeared on the roof of the car, it vanished from the casa porch. who wanders around the homes of somerville, desperately searching for a free small kitchen appliance?

i dunno.

maybe it gets more at the redemption center than the bounty of diet coke and seltzer bottles we leave in the recycling. maybe some tufts kid, all hopped up on goofballs, had the munchies and desperately needed a pop-tart.

and maybe i imagined the whole thing.

but i swear it was there.

ride me sexy.


ride me sexy!

there is something slightly magical about the casa. i don't know if it's our magnetic pull... or the junky look of the outside of the house... but it seems to be the repository of other people's unwanted crap. and i am not talking about the detritus of the inhabitants. nope. people just leave their trash here.

ride me sexythis weekend somebody left us an old stairmaster. we don't know where it came from. but there is appeared in front of the casa. a few hours later, somebody added the "ride me sexy" sign. and a few hours after that, it was gone.

this isn't the first time stuff has just shown up here. during this winter's blizzard, a toaster automagically appeared on the roof of one of the cars. it's cord was laid out straight behind it, trailing down the back window. and the snow drifted around it. who carries around a toaster in the middle of a blizzard. and why?

earlier this year it was a copy of the book "Schnozzola: The Story of Jimmy Durante". it appeared on the roof of the grannymobile, open to a winsome picture of the big-nosed man himself.

why us? why here? and what the heck is going to appear next??


the hilarity gets us every time...

so it's time for a new bulletted list, which has it's genesis in the personal shame i feel for having let the casa blog lapse. what can i say? i fell victim to too much hilarity.

kathryn had a nasty accident on her bike, which resulted in a casa family field trip to the ER. shayne and i went along, since any chance to play doctor is a good one in our book. pics from the visit (yes, i brought my camera just so i could blog about it) can be found here.

* shayne and i discovered a new way to amuse ourselves a few weekends ago. i decided that it was my mission to find shayne a new boyfriend. so i posted a personal ad for her on CL. i thought it was a witty ad, and apparently many men agreed with me. shayne got me back by writing a personal ad for me. over 50 responses in 24 hours poured into my new email account datemyroomie@gmail.com. we spent the weekend fielding emails for each other and corresponding with some great men. no dates came out of it, but it was probably a step in the right direction for both of us. if you care to read the ad that i posted for her, please check the comments section.

* and finally we celebrated easter in high style with a pub crawl that started at the thirsty scholar and ended in a hot tub on the cape. i am not sure how these things happen.

too much hilarity has resulted in both shayne and i being sick and lying around the living room moaning "i don't feel so good" to each other. it's the casa family motto, and we wear our coat of arms proudly.


welcome to the world, xavier...

may your life be long and happy and filled with love and laughter and beauty... i'm sure it will with such wonderful parents (and aunties and uncles and grandparents!! :)


birthdays and rocket launchers

so i turned 35 on thursday, or as Marc put it... i've made it way past Jesus age now. the whole thing was a lot of fun, and i find that i am not one of those neurotic people who gets mopey about getting older. i got two stuffed llamas from a guy i work with, which was sweet. a gift certificate to dunkin donuts for many cups of coffee, and various cards from the women i work with. got to chat with many friends and family and field a plethora of emails. the whole thing made me feel quite loved.

scoutie not only took me out for sushi (okay, we actually ate sushi in our jammies on the couch in the casa), and bought me flowers, but she made me a tower of home-made whoopie pies. she remembered that i had mentioned it three months ago as what i wanted for my birthday. i, of course, had totally forgotten this. man, you haven't had a sweet desert unless you've had a fresh baked whoopie pie.

friday i went out for drinks with some close friends. i find that my birthday is a great excuse for my friends to get hammered. this time the evening wound up with all of us in underbones in various arm-wrestling matches. the one-armed-bandit wisely decided to take pics instead of wrestling. i like to think i get smarter as i get older.

and to end up a good week, my staff and i got to spend some time hanging out with the guys from the ballistics department. i feel like my job at the crime lab is finally paying off... since they let me hold a rocket launcher! there are not many jobs one can get and play with a rocket launcher, short of being in the army or being a terrorist. and let's face it, those two occupations seem to come with "don't ask, don't tell" policies that make me uncomfortable.

so it's been a good week. many thanks to all who played a part in it.


the making of a bridesmaid dress & a wedding!!

my dear friend sara got married on 25 march, and i was lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids. i was supposed to wear a pink dress, and as usual, i dreamed up a dress but then couldn't find anything that quite worked. cobi and i tried going to new york to find the perfect pink silk shantung, but didn't have any luck. finally, my sister and i headed down to chinatown and stumbled on a watermelon fabric. there wasn't enough, so i had to modify the pattern slightly. it still came out well.
i am always fascinated by processes. so, here's some pictures of the process!

i started off by laying out the pattern on the lining and silk. all the pieces were then cut out, and i pinned little labels on each piece (1 right = piece 1, right side) so things didn't get confusing, and so that i was sure to use the 'right side' of the silk and that everything matched. nothing is worse than finishing the dress and finding out you've sewed a right-side to a wrong-side. reading the directions was key: normally i like to blunder my way through projects, but i only had one shot at doing this right and was gonna be damned if i screwed up beacuse of my hubris. i read each direction carefully and, as dad always said, measured twice and cut once. i did my best to balance confidence with hubris, and it worked pretty well.

penelope was kind enough to supervise the sewing and cutting, chewing on the fabric edges and chasing thread when needed. every night, she re-arranged the sewing table by batting anything she could onto the floor, just to watch it fall. i wore the special kathryn-shirt that rd and ben made for my birthday - it has special powers, and i needed 'em.

carefully sewing the silk - the hardest was yet to come, and i struggled royally with the boning at first. the zipper went in alright, but i was dumb enough to try putting the boning in the front seams (curved for the bust) first, instead of doing the (non-curved) side seams. this was the first project for which i'd used boning, and i have to say it was a lot easier than i thought. next time i plan to have some masking tape on hand to hold the boning in place - it will make it easy, i can sew through the masking tape, and then just tear it off without having to struggle with pins or (as i did) simply winging it by going slowly and holding the boning as i needed.

the lining and dress itself, waiting to be united in some nice even seams. as you can see, i barely made it in terms of thread. i started using different colored thread on the boning and non-visible seams in order to conserve the matching thread for the hems and sewing the lace together for the ruffled petticoat that was attached to the bottom of the lining.
my outfitlast minute preparations
and, the result with my cute little green shoes. i got a pedicure with pink to match the dress, and also covered a headband with the pink fabric. i couldn't find any reasonably priced green jewelry to match, so i made a necklace and some earrings to match. maybe i'll post some close-up pictures of those as well. some observations:
  • the boning of the dress was well worth it, especially for the shape and bit of support it provided.
  • i was worried the shoes didn't match, but tying the color in with accessories was key
  • patience, patience: the only time i started making mistakes while making the dress was when i was tired and had been working on it for hours. from now on, as soon as i make a mistake or get frustrated, i need to put everything down and return to it after a good night's sleep
  • the pattern, fabric, and notions were $75. i spent about 14 hours on the dress - so if you have more money than time, i would recommend just buying a dress. that being said, the sense of satisfaction i get everytime i look at it is worth a whole lot. it was just the fabric i wanted, and i was able to tailor the fit to my figure - it's hard to find things that fit just right
and, the wedding:

the bridal party!
me, sara, christine, and joey (the man of honor)

completely lovely. sara looked fantastic, and the ceremony and reception were very sara & chris; not too formal and just right. it's always nice to see someone who is in love with your friend - it's like it gives you an automatic connection: "hey, i think she's awesome too!!". in different ways, but you know what i mean. anyhow, i'm not gonna get all emo right now, but it was really wonderful to be there and spend more time with chris.

when i got there i had some nice time to spend with sara, and we got to just relax and chat at the swanky corporate apartment we stayed in. i also got to hang out with joey and run errands and he understands about alone time, and chitty-chat with christine, which was really nice. i love visiting NC and wish i could do it more, though i am excited because i'll be back in august for my ex-boyfriend potatoes' wedding. fortunately sara and chris are going as well, so i know the trip will be super-fun. you can visit sara & chris' wedding photo page for more pictures. oh, weddings - so much fun! i could really go on - the bachelorette was awesome, and sara's friends are so nice and were hospitable and helpful, the reception was great fun and we danced and drank and...you know...one of those fantastic weekends that i desperately freakin' needed.


i hate to be the one to tell boo that we're jewish.

boo loves to pretend that he is one of santa's reindeer:

on the mend...

so i have been sick as a dog this week. i was doing fine until tuesday evening, when i was horribly stricken with something mean. my fever didn't get below 102 until thursday morning, and at it's peak it reached 104. as an adult, fevers that high are rare, and i think it cooked my brain a little. now i am just left with a garden variety cold, and the feeling that my body is recuperating from a long illness. i lost five pounds and let the cats fend for themselves while shayne was gone. now that i am mostly better, i spent a chunk of the morning cleaning up cat poo. i think they managed to get every room in the house.

Happy bday momin the midst of this, my mom had a birthday. while last year my sister orchestrated a great little flickr project... this year the best i could do was a weak little phone call in the morning. it might not have been the most exuberant birthday greeting, but my mom knows i love her and that she is often in my thoughts. happy belated birthday mom!

on a random side note -- i am getting very interested in how unknown strangers find the blog. this is such a little personal account of life at the casa, that they must find it strange. so, for the first half of the month of march, here is a partial list of google image searches that have brought folks to the blog:
  • nekkid
  • tasty deserts
  • naked kate
  • letterpress printing
  • blondie brownies
  • nice house on the beach
  • dancing chicken
  • franklin, tennessee
  • barn smell
  • see down her shirt
  • gardening hat
  • marinating
  • jesus sculpture
  • penelope pumpkins
i think this shows that, if nothing else, this blog is an eclectic mix. and that the casa must be a damn interesting place to live...


mormon country

yeah, that's right - i went to utah this week. i went to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends, who luckily works in a ski store and got me free rentals and lift tickets. thanks, malik! you're the best...around!! nothing's gonna evah bring you down!! i skiied at 3 different mountains in park city (park city, deer valley, and the canyons), read 5 books (including the last 3 dark tower books by stephen king, good stuff), and watched 2 movies (star trek: nemesis and underworld... nemesis was great, underworld was just as crappy as i expected, but mildly entertaining nonetheless).

the skiing was amazing - this is a full mountain picture of the canyons, which was probably my favorite mountain. the trails are all set back from the village/condo part of the resort - you have to take a gondola over a huge canyon in order to get to the slopes. it's also the biggest of the three mountains, but because of the terrain (lots of canyons, just as advertised), it felt the smallest. it took me a while to get the feel of it after not having skiied for 7 years, but once i remembered how to shake my hips (the fact that i'd forgotten proves that i don't get out enough these days), i was just fine. as i left park city, a huge storm hit, dumping about 31" of snow over 3 days. i bowed my head and apologized to mother nature for all the complaining i do about new england snow.

good company, good skiing, good books. but most importantly, i managed to avoid all the mormons, returning just as heathen as i left. which is good, because i've been informed that if i turn mormon i have to live in the basement. and it's scary down there.


some recent casa accomplishments

well, we've had a very busy weekend here at the casa. friday night, casa-friend dan had a party at his beautiful new house. kate, shayne and i headed over to bring greetings, bad champagne, and homemade mac n cheese. i'm particularly impressed that i pulled the mac n cheese together, having been out of work sick on wednesday and thursday, and a shitty day back on friday.

regardless, i rallied and we trooped over where i had a fantastic time seeing CL people, and getting pretty tossed and stoned. i never smoke pot, so i'm always particularly entertained with myself (and everyone else for that matter). i told the party stories of stupid things done while drunk, including playing 'nails'. this involves a tree stump, some drunk friends, and a hammer being tossed in the air and caught, with a rapid whack on someone's nail. it's the best freaking game ever; i only wish we had a stump in the backyard. i could be found every summer night, inebriated with a box of nails and some cute boys, standing around a stump.

anyhow, shayne and i got trashed and kate stayed sober, and we trooped over to marc's house. fortunately he had cupcakes for us to eat, unfortunately he only had gin with a weird sports drink as a mixer. shayne and i, always the troopers, didn't let that stop us. and: it was weirdly good. we headed home, where i passed out in bed after sending someone a text message. i can't remember what i wrote, and i didn't save it, but the rather ...er... curt response would indicate i got some things off my chest. oh, kathryn, you're such a funny girl! hahaha. anyhow, i woke up face down with all my earrings in, hair still all done, socks on, but no pants. *shrug* it's beyond me.

saturday was spent sleeping and washing dishes. saturday night my dear friend alison and i went out to a nice sushi dinner. we caught up, and had a really nice time. the trouble started when we headed to charlie's kitchen, where we ran into a bunch of friends upstairs at a table. they're a bunch of dudes who tattoo for a living, and they like to drink. they particularly like to do shots, ordered in rounds, for the entire table. alison was bright enough to leave after a few beers and two shots, but i decided i needed to finish what i started. more shots, more cape codders later, i was pleasantly hammered and decided to go help my sister downstairs (she was bartending). she gave me water till everyone had cleared out, and i washed the bar top and helped clean up, then went home. it was a fun night!

which brings us to today. i met my friend joe for coffee at 10:30. we had a nice chat, and caught up. i walked him to work and then headed home. napped, sat, smoke cigarettes, and did a lot of thinking. i've had some weird personal stuff going on lately - i'm pretty confused, and things can't get worked out for another few days due to scheduling. it's definitely got me in really bizarre headspace, and if i sit and think, i drive myself insane.

so, i cleaned the oven. for three hours, with a toothbrush. i just sat there in my sweatpants and shirt from yesterday, scouring the goddamn oven. i took all the knobs off and thoroughly washed them, i soaked and scoured the burners, the pans, everything. it was really therapeutic. and i felt accomplished. not wanting to quit a good thing, i did the following things as well:

  • washed all the kitchen rugs
  • scoured the dishrack
  • washed the microwave, inside & out
  • washed the fridge
  • cleaned all kitchen surfaces
  • put out all trash and recyclables
  • washed both penelope's dishes
  • washed penelope's little orange placemat
  • cleaned penelope's litter box and put in new litter
  • swept
  • washed the floor
  • dusted and swept the living room and dining room
  • swept the bathroom
  • washed the bathroom floor

needless to say i'm sitting pretty fuckin' pretty over here at the casa. once the floors dry i'll clean the bathroom, and then go to bed. or get started on the bridesmaid dress. or the invites for the bachelorette. fuuuuck! i need a personal assistant.


weekend round up (from last weekend)

i have been trying to be better about updating the blog. so i am going to at least catch up on last weekend. maybe later i will do this weekend. i make no promises.

after an incredibly stressful week at work, and the promise of an even more stressful one the next week, i decided to split town. shayne and i went up to VT to visit our respective sisters.

catholic churchi started the trip by going to a turkey supper at the catholic church. they needed a new roof, so for $8.00 i got a full dinner and some interesting conversation. the guy next to me scared the pants off of me by wanting to talk about the Pope. i felt edgy enough about being in a catholic church, the last thing i wanted to do was get into a theologic conversation. it turns out that the dude wanted to bash on the Pope for being a nazi youth. boy, was i relieved.

the rest of the weekend was spent eating, and walking, and futzing. my sister figured out a nifty little cellphone hack so that i could create my own ringtone. now, when my phone rings, it plays Lonesome Magic Vice Harvest (aka -- the music from that Geico commercial). it makes me happy every time it happens. i got to see the school my sister swims out, and the legal clinic where greg works. and i got to pick up some of my favorite VT doughnuts and other assorted junk at the dented can store.

i returned much rested and ready to face the chaos at work.


not quite sleeping, fast in bed.

so i'm up for my usual insomniac bout. reading a book, texting truncated conversations with an absence.

i just had a cigarette on the front porch. the smell of the air reminded me of a night in august four years and two apartments ago. it was so hot that night - i don't know how cold air and hot air can smell the same, but they do.

it was the first time brandon had slept over, but just slept, and on the couch. i was a strangely naive 23, and still not sure how to make the jump from couch to bed. we had bare feet, and i was wearing a slate blue tank top and pj pants - pink with hearts, a valentine's day present from my mother. there was a top that matched. it was overkill and i gave it to the goodwill, but good pj pants are something you keep.

i had brushed my teeth and was walking down the hallway. it was an awful hallway, running the length of our almost railroad apartment. there was a flourescent light at one end, and it was wood panelled and narrow. two doors at opposite ends, with nothing in between. somewhere there's a picture he took of me walking to the living room, with little drops of water and toothpaste staining my tank top. he loved that picture because i was so real and honest in it, and i realized that there is an intimacy and purity in unadultered reality that i'd never known before.

neither of us could sleep that night, and we ended up sitting on the front stoop at 4 in the morning, with our respective pj pant legs rolled up, touching knees and whispering so that we didn't distrub the city.

one year (one heartbreak, four months of space, one semi-back-together) later we were riding our bikes on the fourth of july. i had already fallen once because of him, and we took another tumble on the way back from playing in some sprinklers. there are pictures of our skinned knees together on the curb. he got it worse than i did, but the accident was caused when he grabbed the back of my bike and pushed - well intentioned but poorly executed. friends at the party were angry with him for not being more careful with me. i still took care of us: washed cuts, ibuprofen, water.

it's strange to think that someone who left me so bereft is now this beautiful set of memories and things that float along at night and have a taste and smell to them. tonight there is a sense of things going on: some sort of activity in the ether that can't be spoken or even defined with words. like you just reach up and pluck the past out of the breeze, to look at for a moment, and then let it drift off again. i am in love with the idea of somerville keeping my secrets and memories safe on its porches and stoops and quiet streets.


hunkered down...

low visibility we had a nice weekend hunkered down at the casa. saturday was spent in tense anticipation of the coming storm muttering "where is the damn snow". the damn snow didn't come until the wee hours of Sunday morning. Shayne and i went out to the sligo with half of the duffless foundation and MDG and some other friends. we camped out in the sligo until the jackass with the giant beer hat on filled up the place with kids. we tried to hold our ground, we tried filling up the jukebox and drinking our cheap beer in plastic cups. duffless and i even shared a massive mind meld moment when her songs came on, and we talked about mix tapes from the 80's. for some odd reason, almost any mix tape i got from a dude in the highschool included the song Troy by Sinead O'Connor. as i was telling her this, the song cued up on the jukebox. it was magical.

once we were finally forced out of the sligo, we wandered over to underbones, which was quieter and warmer and knew the difference between tonic water and club soda. we stayed until they kicked us out. and like any fairy tale must end, we put a slightly tipsy emily into the Banky Cab and made him promise to get her home safely.

hi!yesterday the storm roared through, dumping almost two feet of snow on us. i hunkered down at the casa, shoveled and cooked and caught up on my mail. sometimes the snow really brigs out the best in people. the neighbors chat and wave. the dogs frolic in the drifts. the streets are quiet and sedate. when i went out on my porch this morning to have a smoke, i looked down at the fresh two inches of powder on my walkway, and saw that somebody had left me a message. there was also a heart on the back of my car. thanks to whomever left it. the little gestures remind me of why i stay in new england.


gains and losses...

no, not really. let's just say it wasn't the best of weeks. nor was it the worst. it might be a little out of place above the picture of me jauntily posing in kate's huge underwear, but i'm feeling introspective tonight, so if you're just here for the laughs, you might want to move along. i'm sure there will be more shenanigans and hijinks soon enough, stay tuned.

Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe."
from "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

i worry a lot about the kind of love i give - is it wicked or violent or weak or stupid? or is it just flawed and imperfect and complicated? i know that sometimes my love comes out all wrong, it gets twisted up inside and i don't know how to untangle it. all i know for sure is that my loved ones make me want to be a better person so i can better return the love that's shown to me (even when that love comes out messy or mean or confused...). i hope i'm on the right path. if the people who love me are any indication, i'm pretty sure i am.

thank you all for loving me so well.


finally -- an update!

okay, so i am finally caving to all the peer pressure, and doing a little update. sorry folks. i suppose having a blog is much like having a pet -- it needs constant care and feeding. thankfully the blog, unlike the pets, seems to have no problem "keeping it in the box". trixie, on the other hand..

i made it through the holidays just fine. my sis came down and we did some nifty art projects for gifts for the family. when i finally get the pics uploaded, i'll post 'em. they turned out really nice. spent some time at my dad's house. ate a lot of food. spent scoutie's bday (otherwise known as new years eve) eating yet more food and watching a foot and a half of dvd's.

the crime lab continues to be odd. the joy this month is that somehow they let the maintenance contract for the air conditioning lapse. so we can't get it fixed. in the whole damn lab. and who gets to hear all of the complaints about this? me, of course. am i the facilities manager? nope. just lucky i guess. crime is up in massachusetts right now. gun violence is particularly up. watch your backs, folks. could be a dangerous year.

in other news... most of you have heard that i have an underwear buying problem. i own more than 100 pairs of panties, over 75 bras in a rainbow of colors. and the money i have spent on all of this (i have expensive tastes) could probably feed a small nation. it is a problem i am getting mostly under control since my finances got tight. now, what most of you probably *don't* know is that i have a deeper, darker, underwear problem. one i am ashamed of. one i can't control no matter how had i try. my problem is this:


i have been wearing underwear on and off for 35 years. and somehow i still have no sense of what i wear. a 6? 7? 8? medium? large? extra large? i can't figure it out. so i have an entire bag of never worn underwear in my room that just isn't my size.

lately, perhaps overestimating my recent weight gain, i have been buying underwear that would fit *around* an entire small nation. really big. at that size, it isn't called "underwear" anymore. it sure isn't "panties". it's just plain ol' big underpants.

here's shayne wearing my latest mistake:

big underpants


a few lists.

things i like about vermont
  • trees, streams, lakes and clouds
  • filmmakers
  • white river junction
  • what feels like the space to be outdoors and creative
  • green things in the summer, white things in the winter
  • small towns and cats

things i would like to do
  • go to grad school at NYU and study visual culture
  • get a new rear wheel for my bike with a new hub
  • rake & mulch my garden. i know, i know...i'm running behind. done! 01.22.06
  • take up handset letterpress again
  • mo.ti.vate.!

things i have done recently
  • gone to philly for new year's with the ladies
  • lost and found my wallet - thanks officer nieves. and, if you ever want to did the do, you know who to call.
  • had a friend over for dinner
  • gone to a friend's for dinner
  • cried twice
  • gotten pretty hammered a few times
  • driven to vermont and back

i have no pictures i really feel like sharing. but hopefully there will be some visuals soon.
oh, and one thing i would love to see more of: cute butchy-dykes on home improvement shows. ai yi yi...hot.


my gains and losses for the week

  • got out of my parking ticket fine: +$45
  • received package from hickory farms: + (meat and cheese)
  • had first part of root canal/crown procedure: + painful drilling, -$1,800
i got a parking ticket when i parked on the street in powder house circle a few months ago, but the nice man at the somerville traffic and parking office let me off. thank you mr. whatever-your-name-is, i'm sorry i wasn't paying attention when you introduced yourself but i'm grateful for your leniency.

kate and i finally got our xmas gift for each other - a discount meat and cheese platter from hickory farms. behold the bounty!!
we decided to go high-class this year, hoping to avoid the figi's fiasco from last xmas, most of which went uneaten and can still be found in kate's office. figi's gave us many cheese products, none of which contained any cheese at all, and some interesting meat products. our favorite was the mettwurst - we still sing about it today (to the tune of 'sound of silence')...
hello mettwurst my old friend

i've come to eat you once again
from figi's we did get you

only to find you taste like a shoe

the root canal wasn't painful, just creepy. i kept picturing the dentist poking his teeny tiny little pick deep into the roots of my teeth and pulling out bits of pink tissue (wondering what a root canal is? the american dental association can explain it better than me). by the end of it i had messed up my neck from being tense and couldn't turn my head for a few days, but next time i'm make sure he gasses me or i get some valium. yeah, that's right, i have to go back! root canals take at least 2 visits, sometimes many more. but eventually i'll be able to eat using the right side of my mouth again and when it happens i will eat potato chips and jelly beans for every meal!! it will be glorious.

oh and i started school today. this time next week i'll be programming my very own lego robot. my hope is that it will be able to act as my monkey butler, getting me food and drinks so i never have to leave the couch.