Monday, March 30, 2009

I couldn't make this up if I tried

My mother and I were sitting in the OR waiting room today, quietly reading and minding our own business in general. The situation was awkward enough without talking to anyone else, since those of us who were prepped for surgery were wearing hideous gowns and paper caps and had been swaddled in heated blankets (the hospital wisely keeps the waiting room at a fresh 58 degrees). We'd been waiting for about an hour, when in came a sixty-ish woman, similarly attired but with an enormous nimbus of hair that completely filled her paper cap. She plopped down in an upholstered chair and promptly inquired what the rest of us were "in for" - like one might do in prision. I demured; I'd been reading Emily Post's biography and felt sure that Emily would caution against sharing such information. The woman to my left was in for a bum knee. The man across the way remained silent, broodingly pulling at the too-short hem of his robe. Undaunted, the woman continued, "Well, I'm here to get my vagina cysts removed, and they ain't putting me to sleep, neither."

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Lights out from 8:30-9:30. Think of something fun to do in the dark. I know you can.

a well-turned phrase

So, my very wonderful mother (who is on her way here as I type!) really doesn't like it when I use profanity on the blog, and I believe she found yesterday's post a mite offensive and markedly without happy. I have to disagree - for two reasons.

First, let's look at the issue of profanity. I'm not, perhaps despite appearances contrary, an advocate of using expletives willy-nilly. Swearing can be greatly efficacious when used appropriately, but nobody benefits from poorly utilized f-bombs. Example: Yesterday, I had some f*cking cottage cheese for lunch. See? Totally superfluous and distracting. But, with practice, profanity can be used judiciously to convey emotion in powerful ways, which is what I strive for.

Secondly, and more importantly, let's ignore the pottymouth and look at the purpose of yesterday's entry. I had been angry - nigh on furious - all week long. After yesterday's entry, I felt better. Relieved. This may sound eight kinds of hokey, but writing it was cathartic, and, really, that's what this blog is about. I'm trying not to let my anger fester unexpressed; that shit will eat your insides (see: generations of Southern women). I'm not talking about being rude or snarky or banging your fists on your steering wheel. I'm talking looking at what's really pissing you off and giving it the old one-two. Knock that shit out, and then you can deal with it without killing anyone. Remember, you're doing remarkably well.

So, if you're not a fan of the occasional expletive, then maybe this isn't the blog for you. I mean, it's a blog, not a Christmas letter. I hope you enjoy it. I really enjoy writing it. And that's about as touchy feely as I can get.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Remarkably Well

This week has just been dripping with idiots, and I'm amazed that I've refrained from doing anything criminal. But, I'm about to P90X with my fuzzy little man-peach, and then we're cocktail bound. That's right, I'm excited about P90Xing; the week was that shitty.

I did, however, discover my new favorite response. When some bovine, mouth-breathing idiot asks you how you're doing, smile beatifically and say, "Remarkably well." You needn't even follow it up with "considering how much sh*t everyone around you is forced to endure - I mean it f*cking gushes from your mouth every time you draw a f*cking breath - it's f*cking remarkable that I'm able to look at you without bursting a vein in my forehead. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!" Nope, just leave it all implied... Much more powerful that way.

In other, disturbing news, n.o.c. just emptied the vacuum, and I am amazed that any hair is left on my head.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

heigh ho

I'm back at work today, clearly as industrious as ever. If I told you that spring break made work seem better or more rewarding, I would be lying; all it did was emphasize how much I dearly love not working. But this is getting awfully close to a whine, and that's far too self indulgent for someone who has just done a fat lot of not much for a week and a half.

I had the good fortune to spend a few days of my vacation with one of my college roommates. She lives in Morganton, NC, a teensy town about an hour from Asheville. Bizarrely, I've since stumbled on a whole slew of folks who've had their own Morganton experiences. Small effing world.

Anyway, whenever I'm in a place like Morganton where the cost of living is low, I feel compelled to compare prices. I fear that this generally puts me in a bad light, and I end up sounding like some incredulous, tightfisted Yankee that David Sedaris might write about. "You paid how much for your house? For a whole house?! Ha! That wouldn't get you a cardboard box and a shared pickle jar where I'm from! " or "You paid what in taxes? For a whole year?! I could find that in my couch cushions!" or "Dinner for two for twenty dollars! I've had bagels that were more expensive! Cripes, you people have it made!"

Of course, I've made certain trades for high mortgages and expensive dinners. For example, smoking in public establishments is not allowed here. I can dine at any of fifteen nearby Thai restaurants. Shade-grown, organic, free-trade coffee is widely available. Bars are open on Sundays. And, perhaps best of all, I seldom worry about running into people I don't want to see. After spending a few days in Morganton, I realize that these luxuries are worth the price. And so, here I sit, trying to look busy, so I can afford the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

home again, home again

We made it back home around three this morning, so I don't yet have my wits about me. While I gather them, here are a few pictures from our trip for your viewing pleasure.

Some local flavor:

n.o.c. stayed here:

I got to go here:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Odds and Ends

Good morning, faithful blog readers (so, that would be hounded family members and friends, and you three dear, dear people who have magically stumbled upon the blog)! I'm off to North Cackalacky, and I'm not terribly certain that they have internets where I'm going, so I may not be back until next week. Even if I'm not able to post, know that I'll be saving up tales of Southern gothic hilarity for your reading enjoyment.

In the meantime, I'll just leave you with a few random things that haven't made it into a post.

1) I don't like soda, save the occasional fountain diet coke when I'm feeling delicate. I also don't generally find advertising effective or clever. However, I'm enamored of this new Pepsi billboard. Sodypop is genius:

I wish I had a better picture, but the sign overlooks North Ave., so it's not really in a location that invites lingering.

2) I have elsewhere expressed my enthusiasm for the bootscrape. That was before I saw this one:

That's nothing but two penises playing jacob's ladder.

3) The pussy willow aftermath:

What would you call that little pile of nubbins? Good sniglet, anyone?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Soup to Nuts

You just don't see many articles on the preparation and consumption of mountain oysters. Apparently, folks used to peel and eat them like figs, fresh from the campfire. The history is quite interesting:
The tradition in Nevada is strongly associated with the Basque sheepherders who came to Nevada in significant numbers in the late 19th century. The yellowed pages of many a family cookbook include recipes for “bildoch pesta,” lamb fest or lamb party, with the ingredients — much to the consternation of outsiders — sometimes obtained with the teeth.

“It’s a Basque comfort food,” said Lisa Aguirre, 54, a descendant from Reno who was standing in the parking lot of the Bucket of Blood Saloon, waiting for the oyster tasting to begin. “Everybody is going to tell you they taste like chicken,” Ms. Aguirre added. “That’s a lie.”
The reality is fairly repulsive:

Although, I do wonder... If you're going to eat meat, can you really be fussy about what comes from where? Dead animal is dead animal. Right?

Image and excerpt from

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Devil Wears Flannel

Yesterday was my Mema's birthday. "Mema" is what I call my paternal grandmother - you know, she's The Rog's mama. She is very dear and lovely and ever-so-Southern. Our conversations generally go something like this:
Mema: Oh, honey. Your Pepa and I were going to the Walmart in Forsyth last week, and we got all caught up in the rush hour. Cars were zooming hither and yon, and I was just all of a dither.

Me: The whole population of Forsyth could fit in the Walmart.

Mema: Well, I reckon everybody was going somewhere at once.
So it was fitting when I unearthed an old Christmas gift from Mema while cleaning out my closet yesterday:

Yes, this is an ankle-length flannel nighty. I'm sure your impression of me just altered irrevocably. But, the nighty does have a funny history:
Mema: Honey, I'm afraid your Christmas is ruined.

Me: Why?

Mema: Well, I bought you something, but I'm not going to give it to you.

Me: Why?

Mema: Well, I think it might be Satanic.

Me: Why?

Mema: It has Satanic symbols on it, honey, and I'm just not going to give it to you.
I eventually convinced her to show me the Mephistophelian item, which turned out to be the above gown, and I assured her that worshipers of Satan did not generally avail themselves of flannel and snowmen, nor did they have a monopoly on moons and stars. She reluctantly handed it over, and it served me well on many a cold grad school night, particularly when I lived in a third floor bedroom that got so cold you could see your breath. But, I think it's time for Satan's sleepwear to head to the Goodwill; I just hope that it doesn't fall into impressionable hands.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break

Today is the first official day of my spring break. Yes, yes, having 11 days off is lovely and could potentially be jealousy-inducing, but before you decide to hate me, let's look at the facts.
1) It's 40 degrees and rainy.
2) I began my first morning of freedom with our first session of the P90X: Extreme Home Fitness.
3) See 1 and 2.

n.o.c. is a sucker for infomercials. When I met him, he owned one of those abtronic belts that shocks you every few seconds in order to render the fat from your abs of steel. Let me be more clear - he purposefully purchased and utilized a device that sent electric currents through his person in hopes of a six-pack. So when I noticed him watching a P90X: Extreme Home Fitness infomercial at the gym two weeks ago, I suspected that he may once again succumb to the siren song, which he did the next day. So now we own the 12-dvd set, plus books on "How to Bring It!" and "Nutrition for Power Performance!" And, since it's a home fitness jobbie, we spent part of yesterday running P90X errands, purchasing two sets of dumbbells (funny!) and an over-the-door pull up bar.

Accouterments procured, we got up early this morning to do the first routine: Core Synergistics. Now, I am possibly the least perky person on the planet (though, since I am Southern, I can pretend convincingly for hours on end), and I am certainly not someone who gets motivated by a bizarrely muscled numbnut and his crew of trapeze artists, professional dancers, and genetic freaks cheering for me to "bring those knees to your ears!" But that's what I did this morning. For an hour.

Why did I do this? Why - particularly after I'd already run eight miles this weekend and was well pleased with my fitness regimen in general? I did it because n.o.c. was excited about it, and if pushed on the real reason why one might get married, I think I'd have to say it's so you have someone who is contractually obligated to endure your ridiculous fixations, even those that involve rolling on the floor in a poor imitation of ludicrously toned superhumans doing an exercise called the Magic Banana.

If we look like superhumans in 90 days, I'll happily eat crow. Until then, I'm just pleased to know that the pull-up bar is multipurpose.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Last year, I made a visit to the optometrist. I hadn't been in a while, and little things were starting to concern me. Like my inability to make out the identities of people more than ten feet
away. Or the realization that I could no longer read street signs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was diagnosed with 20/70 vision, and I picked out a pair of glasses.

Unfortunately, I seldom wear those glasses. I don't need them to read, I don't drive often, and I've found that smiling at every approaching blob works out better than my actual responses might if I knew the blob's identity. Also, I think of my glasses as an accessory - like a great belt or big earrings. No matter how cute (and the glasses are very cute), you just don't wear them everyday. If you did, they would cease to be kicky and become tired necessities, like headgear or my work identification tag.

So, most of the time I live in a slightly blurry world, and I don't mind it. Or I didn't mind it, until this morning, when I bent to pick up what I thought was a bit of lint or a leaf and it turned out to be A LIVING F*CKING ROACH, a conniving, evil, douchebag roach that stayed very still until my fingers closed around it. I nearly died from an epic case of the icks. I'm getting contacts immediately. I'm also coating our very clean and organically inclined apartment in all manner of toxins to ward off any other little beasts who might be feeling feisty in the warmer temperatures.

In other, far less disgusting news, the Christmas Cactus is having another go. For St. Paddy's day, I suppose. Sláinte!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Last week, n.o.c. watched an infomercial for the P90X while we were at the gym. Yesterday, ours arrived.

The great reducing may be getting out of hand.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

blow up your t.v.

We don't have a television. n.o.c. thinks I tell people this just to sound like an intellectual snot who enjoys being wholly ignorant of popular culture and considers sticks and rocks stimulating toys for children. While that may be true, allow me to offer a few caveats before you click away in disgust. First, I can waste time on the internets like nobody's business (see: I Have Happy and the blog roll to your right). Second, we do have a projector, so we can watch movies or anything on the internets deemed a worthwhile use of the projector lamp.

This brings me to our recent encounter with Arrested Development, which was recommended by my little brother, Keb'm, on the basis of its hilarity and availability. We began watching on Monday night and have since watched 13 episodes. Don't you judge me. I have spent five of the last 48 hours watching internet television, and I don't feel bad in the least - we've popped corn (the real way - in a pot with olive oil), had quality couch time, and were well entertained by AD. Please, God, let me be that mother some day. She's fantastically evil.

This isn't the first time we've succumbed to a series. Last year we watched every episode of Deadwood, which took up at least a month of weekends and left us speaking like filthy, well-read barkeeps - e.g., I remain in a perpetual state of f*cking wonderment over your hoopleheaded inability to purchase a c*cksucking carton of soymilk. In its lamentable absence, do me the kindness of pouring me a f*cking whisky, before your deficiencies earn you a punch in your c*cksucking face.

In the end, I think it's best that we don't have a television. I need to get my false sense of superiority from somewhere, and we are clearly not a people who can handle the electric immediacy of television's bounty.

Monday, March 9, 2009


When you have a day that's simultaneously excellent and sh*tty, I recommend giving a big suckaroo to the great reducing and having some unscheduled beers. Preferably Belgian-styled, with 8% alcohol or greater. You know, more bang and fewer calories for your buck.

Add a few prematurely springy bunches of ranunculus.

And bring it all home with a dark'n'stormy or two.

And that, my friends, is how an excellent sh*tty day gets motherf*ckin' schooled.


Here were the highlights of today's meeting:
  • Gotcha! Moments
  • Affinity Groups
  • Feedback
  • Sharing
  • Journaling
  • Small-group work
  • Leaning into discomfort!
  • Revealing ourselves to others!
  • Self-revelation sharing

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Warm Today.

We're sitting on squashy sofas in a cafe, and I am directly in a sunbeam, so it is nearly impossible to stay awake. I persevere because I am a dedicated blogger, and I have come to rely on your approval. I've been working on the following post for a while now, trying to make it funny, but I've finally come to terms with the fact that it's just not funny. It's f*cking horrifying. Anyway.

A while ago, I accompanied one of my dear friends to the humane society. She was looking for a kitty - something calm and low-key, like a furry, purring throw pillow with a litter box. Her godfather, a former cat owner, met us at the shelter to offer his professional opinion on her selection.

Though there were cats aplenty to choose from - some practically tap dancing with cuteness and enthusiasm - we all fell for an enormous black cat called Snoopy. He was the kitty equivalent of a joint, made to be held and passed around, mellow as you please. We were smitten, and my friend decided to take Snoopy home.

Before she signed the papers, one of the helpful volunteers suggested that we spend some time in the "bonding room," which turned out to be a broom closet full of hay, litter, and really acrid smells. As soon as we entered, Snoopy began to behave oddly. He hunkered low to the ground, prowling and sniffing like he knew that some bad sh*t had gone down in the bonding room.

We let him adjust, and then my friend tried pet him. Snoopy hissed. We gave him more time. His behavior didn't change, so we decided that we'd all had enough of the bonding room. The Godfather approached Snoopy slowly, let the cat sniff him, then carefully picked him up. All seemed well until, without so much as a meow, Snoopy went f*cking apeshit on The Godfather's hand, mauling it and PUNCTURING AN ARTERY in the process. Shocking amounts of blood spurted from The Godfather's hand in great scarlet arcs, spattering the floor and the trashcans and the cheap laminate cabinets. By the time I dragged the helpful volunteer into room, the f*cking cat was quietly lapping blood in a corner, and The Godfather's hand was the size of a football.

The now-terrified volunteer shepherded the cat from the room with a mop, and we decided that a trip to the ER was necessary in case the torn artery required surgery. Now, at best, my friend and I are lackluster in emergency situations. At worst, we're fragile, useless, whimpering ninnies. So once we arrived at the ER, we called her mother (who is also The Godfather's best friend), and implored her to hurry to the hospital and bring some scotch. Trust me, the only way to endure a traumatic event and an afternoon in the ER is with scotch, cheese bagels, and potato chips. A little tip from me to you.

Thankfully, The Heroic Godfather To Whom My Friend Is Eternally Indebted did not require surgery, but the cat did manage to spray his shoes during the debacle, so he was not merely in the ER on a Saturday afternoon; he was in the ER on a Saturday afternoon smelling of cat piss. Also, we discovered that the cat had neither been properly quarantined nor given a rabies shot, so The Heroic Godfather To Whom My Friend Is Eternally Indebted was required to endure a full round of rabies immunoglobulin, which, as everyone knows, is terribly unf*ckingfun.

So, that's that. The moral of the story? Be wary of strange cats, avoid bonding rooms and always - always - travel with scotch.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I have had sufficient.

So, not having the internets is beginning to wear.

Instead of spending our evenings enjoying the separate togetherness of simultaneous surfing, n.o.c. and I are forced to have conversations about fulfillment, the economy, the efficacy of the great reducing, finances, etc. In these troubled times, such things should really be avoided. I feel certain that one of us will end it all if we have to go another week without the pleasant, numbing distractions of Go Fug Yourself and online poker.

To add insult to injury, whenever we come up with pressing and important questions - like, What happened to the members of Def Leppard? Did that bankruptcy bill pass the house? How many calories are in a pencil eraser? Do Norwegian Forest Cats have a history of attacking humans? - we must simply wait and wonder. Take a moment to process that.

And now I have to blog furtively, while I'm "working." This hasn't been a problem until lately, but with the economy in the sh*tter, folks are getting titchy about spending 22k on a 5th grade education. What can I say? People are cheap. As a result, things around here tense, and activities like blogging, napping, and online shopping are increasingly frowned upon. People have begun to say things like, "Don't forget! Your attendance at the meeting is required!" and "You are talented, creative professionals! Engaging, enthusiastic classroom experiences will help ensure that students love our school!" Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't know what these people are smoking, but I'm just here to work on my novel, read, and wear enviable shoes.

I'll let you know as soon as conditions improve. Until then, waste some online time for me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

wheat berries

We're still without internets. It blows, but we just pretend that we live in olden times. We turn off the heat, read our kindles by candlelight, eat rancid meat, and shove greasy rags in the chinks around the door. We've also stopped bathing and brushing our teeth so that we really feel authentic.

In other news, we have a new-found fascination with the wheat berry. (WAIT! Keep reading!) Cook it in the rice cooker, top it with a poached egg, or maybe a little peanut butter and honey, and damn! - you've got yourself a breakfast that is HAR-TAY. Now, if it were merely a hearty breakfast, I wouldn't bother sharing; I'm here to laud other, lesser known properties of the wheat berry.

Wheat berries include every bit of the wheat seed - endosperm, bran, germ, teeth, trachea, ex-boyfriends, running shoes, etc. - so they are very healthy and really f*cking chewy. Half way through a bowl, n.o.c. typically says something like, "I have a cramp in my jaw. It would be easier to chew erasers." Suck it up, p*ssy. Your jawline will look like Johnny Depp's in no time.

Though wheat berries only have four grams of fiber per half cup, you'll also receive emails like this throughout the day:

Something to those wheat berries. I just turned myself inside out.

So, they also add a bit of spice to what could otherwise be an uneventful day of ordinary bowel movements.

Well, that's the end of my paean to the wheat berry. I must now turn my attention to a pile of papers that say things like, "Throughout the years of religion in China, many religious leaders have come along." No sh*t, Sherlock.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

it's the little things

Since my day began at 5:30 and includes both a doctor's appointment and a faculty meeting, it's in danger of being real sh*tty. So, I thought I'd get us off on the right foot with some funny:

Why didn't I find these before Valentine's Day? More funny available here.

Special thanks to Peonies and Polaroids.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

technical difficulties

Good Tuesday! We had a snow day yesterday, and I fully intended to spend it working on what I hope will be a goodish post. Most unfortunately, our internets are down until Wednesday, so I'll only be able to blog clandestinely at the office, which bothers me not at all but does tend to run toward the inconvenient.

Anyhoo, in lieu of blogging, I spent yesterday reading one of my very guilty delights - historical romance novels by Georgette Heyer. If you've not had the pleasure, I highly recommend, if for no other reason than you'll instantly be able to add a bit of dash to your vocabulary. For example: After reading one Heyer novel, I'm absolutely ripe for a spree. Winter puts me in the hips, but I had a devilish good time. I'm dead put out about teaching today, particularly since all these foppish pinks and dandy bucks are only interested in trumpery and bits of muslin. But put on your patches, make your leg, and we'll have nuncheon!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm pickled.

At some point, I will again have interesting things to share, but tonight, friends, I am simply too stupid. For now, here's what I've got: a second round of steaks - post-dessert! - is never necessary, though it can be amusing. Same goes for two a.m. pâté. Avoid additional cocktails when you've already had too much wine to make a decent showing in trivial pursuit. Finally, if the sixty-somethings are undeniably the most attractive people at a table full of thirty-somethings, you have two choices: 1) decide that people simply improve with age, prop up your feet, eat a ding-dong, and wait to get gorgeous or 2) seriously reconsider your health and beauty regimens. I'm leaning toward the first.