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.