Saturday, March 15, 2008

I know that Blogger has switched to the 'sign in through gmail' route for a while now ... but I still don't like it. I have a mental block about my gmail password (probably because I begrudge the fact I had to sign up for a gmail account at all), so every time I try to post a new entry I have to reset my password. Blech to technology.
The whole pharmaceuticals in the water situation is also almost too gross for words. Female fish are developing male traits, vultures are dying from kidney failure, and the official story from the EPA is that they don't "have all the data" yet to determine a plan of action. Or to even determine if this unhealthy to humans ... but how could it not? Why would I want to drink water tainted with traces of anti-psychotic medicine, estrogen, veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics?
Our national policies are amazing sometimes.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ella (a.k.a. Ellie) in a candid cat moment.

Jason and I came home from work (work! work! Who invented work anyway?) earlier tonight to find the electricity down. A fitting end to a week of modern mis-wonders. On Tuesday night (late, because these sorts of things only happen late at night) while walking Piper, Jason and I smelled gas outside the house. There was a large leak in the main gas line, so we had no hot water, heat or stove for a day and a half. I know it could have been much worse. A gas leak is serious.
And our electricity is on now ... we went out for Mexican food (shrimp, mushroom and spinach quesadillas!) and the power was back on when we came back. So I should stop complaining.
Oh, but complaining is what I do best. Especially about work. Especially when we are understaffed and underpaid at work, and the constant drudgery makes me feel like knocking my head against my ever-increasingly dusty desk. And wow -- I am such a "reliable" little worker bee. Good for me.
Most of us will waste our life away working, trapped in gray cubicles (and that only if we're lucky), daydreaming about what we'd rather be doing 40-60 hours a week. Then we come home and crash on the couch, too tired and miserable to do anything but watch TV. Or, if you're me, watch Netflixed movies and knit way too many hats/scarves/bags/ponchos.
And then, if we're lucky enough to retire with a pension of any kind, most of us will spend most of the rest of our lives feeling aimless and incomplete, missing the quiet routine of 8-5. Watching television, buying lottery tickets, maybe a crossword puzzle or two.
A co-worker was "let go" earlier this week. She called me this morning -- she's delighted to be severed from her life as an administrative assistant, to have her severance pay and unemployment, to finally be able to go back to school to finish her degree, to move away from this city of endless yellow bridges, to go forward in life.
I am delighted for her. And I am so very jealous.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In Dunkirk for the night. Tomorrow afternoon we go home to the cats and to prepare for another week of 8:30-5. I'm glad I'm not on the twilight shift anymore. Very very very very glad.
Jason's on new medication for his bladder infection. It's the last resort -- if this one proves inefficient, the doctor thinks he might have to have his bladder removed. Within the year. But so far so good.
What else? We tortured ourselves by getting an oil change at Wal-mart. We were there for over two hours, and Jason kept talking about getting a butterfly net. I'm not sure what the connection is there, except the automotive section's caddycorner to fishing/hunting/butterfly netting. I did get half a yard of neat Elvis material, and sewed Audrey another pillow once we got home. It has four squares of young Elvis dancing with a microphone. I think Jason's the only one in the world who prefers fat, cap-adorned Elvis.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blogger just pressured me into getting a Gmail account and switching to the nifty-sifty bloggy thingy. I don't like getting pressured.

Must go hear a talk on genocide now. At least I have a blue cupcake in my bag.

Friday, February 09, 2007

"Visit to the Zoo" (a poem about my mother scaling an empty animal cage fence at the Honolulu Zoo for a peacock feather) was accepted to Inkwell two days ago. And then, umm, it was accepted to SLANT yesterday.

After a few minutes of freaking out Wendi-style, I composed a polite letter to SLANT (a lit journal, by the way, that doesn't accept simultaneous submissions) describing the situation and apologizing. Jason told me no one paid any attention to the no-simultaneous submission policies, because no lit magazine ever chose the same poem. Much less in two days, right??

I've only written one poem in the past two weeks. My shift change (2-10 -- so far a temporary situation) and my new zeal for my Hello Kitty sewing machine makes it hard to concentrate. Plus Jason was sick again; he had to go back to Dunkirk this past Monday to have out-patient surgery AGAIN. Now he's on medication for a bacterial infection.

What I've sewed so far:

Jell-O green HK shirt
cloud pajama pants
an Elvis pillow
HK pillow with the leftover material
half a blue silk shirt -- I need a visit to my Mom's to figure out the tricky collar situation.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another poem has been accepted for publication. "Throat" to Ship of Fools. It took a bit of sleuthing to figure out which literary magazine it was, though -- the editor wrote on lined paper (no letter-head), and with no mention of which magazine he represented. But I figured it out.

These acceptances are encouraging, though frankly, I'm not inspired to write anything at the moment. My temp assignment ends next Friday, and the supervisor of my supervisors took me aside and asked if I was interested in working permanently for the company. Now here's the weird part. I am. I like the 34th floor. I like researching stocks and bonds, and most of my co-workers (hmm, let's say 96%). It seems so remote to the rest of my life, my identity as a writer, that it feels refreshing. She mentioned one twilight shift (2-10 PM) and God knows how many night shifts (midnight-8:30 AM). I talked to Jason about the twilight shift, and decided the hours were really better for me. I hate getting up in the morning, and I like to write late at night. But when I spoke to the supervisor, she said she'd forgotten they offered the position to someone a few days before she spoke to me. So far, no word on whether that someone accepted it or not.

I felt crushed. Is that weird? I kind of think it is. My goal in life is to become a published writer and creative writing teacher, not a financial personnel. So this twist is a bit startling.

My computer time at the library's about to end. Must get internet again at home soon!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Am wearing my new turqouise and brown cowboy boots, dressed like a cowgirl. Well, kind of -- I guess cowgirls wear pigtails.

Jason's mother's surgery went well. At first, her leg was so blocked they couldn't insert the stint. And then, once the stint was in place, her blood pressure dropped, so they had to go back in and re-insert it. She's at home now, with no pain and a lot more energy. Jason came home last night -- picked me up from work, actually, which was great, because I bought my cowboy boots during lunch, and lugging it home on the bus wouldn't have been much fun.

Rumour is Dan Jackson has a girlfriend!! Woo-woo. He should EMAIL ME and tell me about it sometime.

My posts are always so schizo. I'm a subject-jumper. There's a couple of movies (Little Children, Miss Potter, and The Painted Veil) that I want to see at the theatre, but we can't ever seem to find the time to go.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wow. Just realized what a showboat I am. I never mentioned the BIG, BIG news, that Jason won the Pavement Saw first book award. Right now he's wrangling over his table of contents with the Editor. It's exciting to say the least. His poem, "Barcelona," was also recently accepted by Pearl.

In toot-my-own-horn news, my poem "Portrait of Marriage" was accepted by Plainsongs, a lit journal from Nebraska. Two poems so far this reading period -- I think that's not bad. Another couple this year would make me ecstatic. Oh yeah, and a published story would be verrrry good too. Seeing as I'm supposed to be a fiction writer and all.

The problem with working full-time is the lack of time leftover for writing. The last time I wrote a poem was the week before Christmas, a first draft of a story the first of December. I'm slacking off.

Jason came back from his outpatient surgery in Dunkirk Saturday afternoon, good as new. No more hunching over from the pain, pale cheeks and low grade fever. He goes back to Dunkirk Tuesday night, for his mother's surgery.

Much obsessive nail-painting. Today it's black, yesterday glittery purple. Lipstick too. Jason said, "Hey, what's going on here?"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I've discovered that the 9-5 job brings out the consumer in me. The superficiality in me as well. Today I went to Eckerds and bought a tube of hair conditioner and lipstick in a bruised red color. That's part of my New Year's Resolution -- to be more conscious of my appearance. I'm working into it slowly -- jewelry first, then nails, hair, lipstick, clothes. It probably won't last very long, seeing as I'm more inclined to spend my free time NOT in front of the mirror.

Jason has been ill, biding time before his scheduled appointment with the urologist. Poor Jasey.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A nice Christmas. Now I'm sad about leaving. I miss my family when I'm in Pittsburgh.

This year's present theme was Hello Kitty. A calendar, two toothbrushes (Hello Kitty cowgirl and Hello Kitty something involving a pink dragon), bubble bath, bedsheets and pillowcases, Pez dispenser, and a blue sewing machine on its way.

Reg invited a friend over for Christmas dinner -- a shy guy from Wendy's -- and afterwards everyone piled into the van for Marie Antoinette at the dollar movie theatre. I appreciated the fashion ideas, and a few long, lingering camera shots of Kirsten Dunst staring vacantly into open fields, but otherwise the movie was a disappointment. And the quick shot of Converse sneakers in the shoe-frenzy montage seemed heavy-handed and clumsy rather than clever. Maybe we should have really gone and seen Happy Feet? But -- the fashion was very very good. Especially now, when I'm having daydreams about all the skirts I'm going to make on the new sewing machine.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

More pictures. Ella as a cowgirl, Jason being scandalous at the Duquesne Incline.

So far, we've had a busy Christmas Eve. Lots of last minute shopping -- I always have a mild freak-out at the last moment, thinking that I didn't buy enough presents -- so I go out and buy some more. We also went to a new used bookstore in the Hamburg Pavillion, which was AMAZING. Not Strand majestic, but far better than anything we have in Pittsburg. I bought an Alice Munro book for $3.99, and there were dozens of other well-priced, well-preserved books I coveted.

Then dinner at the local Chinese buffet. A bit disappointing -- no crab tonight, and the food was less tasty and fresh.

An amazing amount of presents under the tree this year. So much it actually doesn't fit under the tree. I'm not quite sure what's happening. Maybe it's hoopla because Jason's spending his first Christmas here?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ella, who doesn't really look like a kitten anymore.

Back in Kentucky, breaking my brother's laptop by typing too vigorously.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A good week. Since Tuesday I've been temping at Mellon Financial, which provided me an opportunity about writing a self-deprecating poem about stocks and bonds tickets. I spoke to Susan Ryan about re-enrolling at the University of Louisville and finally getting that pesky MA in Lit. AND -- Karamu accepted a poem!!!! "Salvation, Snow" will be published in the Spring 2008 issue. Only hope I have the patience to wait that long.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Got the font color back, luckily. Thanksgiving away from home. Jason, Jee Leong and I are in Dunkirk, resting from a festive dinner at Jason's uncle's house. It was a nice dinner -- Kelsey and Abby, Aiesha's little girls were especially hyper-cute, but I miss home. :( I am a homey-type girl.

Will skip early morning black Friday rituals. It's not fun without my Mom, anyway. Instead, we might grocery shop for Jasey's mom, and then spend a few hours with Jason's father. Then back to Pittsburgh, hopefully in time to show Jee Leong the glory of the Duquesne Incline.

Hey, no option for font color is showing up! That makes me cross.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just returned from my interview at the library. I want this job! The hours are good, even though it's only 20 a week, and there are BOOKS lining the walls! Books!!!!!!! I want to work somewhere filled with books. And the higher-uppers seemed nice, too. And did I mention the books?

Another interview tomorrow morning with a temp service. Blah. I want to work in the library.

Jason tried to read our gas gauge thingy (to the house), and the customer service rep at Dominion Peoples told him that if the reading is accurate, our next bill will be $1,000!!!! I went outside and noticed a suspicious green tape around the pipe, which had been broken off. Is there a gas leak? Someone's coming to check it out on Saturday, between 7 and 4 PM.

Why is Dominion Peoples not Dominion People? That bothers me to no end.

Oh-- Jee Leong is coming to Pittsburgh/Dunkirk for Thanksgiving! Yay -- we miss that Taskmaster.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dinner at the Indian restaurant was a fiasco, though the food was very good as well as reasonably priced.

The first part of today was very productive -- knit like mad, gave Piper a much needed bath, read, wrote more of the story I'm working on, and watched The Apartment with Jack Lemmon. Which I liked very much -- I just found it puzzling that the blurb on the DVD case called it a "frolicking comedy" (or something to that nature). It wasn't very funny to me. Anyway, Jason came home early from work today, with the news that they only have enough "stuff" for him to do on Wednesday, that's it for the week. I have the interview on Thursday, but even if I get the job, it'll only be part-time. So right now I'm thinking about applying to other part-timeish type jobs, or finally, finally contacting Kelly Services and becoming a temp again.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Vegetarian Indian restaurant tonight with Ben, Nina, and Nina's new boyfriend. Hope it's a good time. Back at Squirrel Hill, just to find out that Bathtub Gin isn't taking poetry submissions until June of next year! Which annoys me, because I wrote a really weird poem last night ("Nursery Rhymes in the Long Green," inspired by Frances Farmers' autobiography) that went well with the packet I wanted to send them. Also, Glimmertrain and One Story are still "in process" of reviewing "Bouquet." And -- I'm impatient.

At home we've been having a Tennessee Williams festival. A few weeks ago we watched Night of the Blue Iguana. Yesterday -- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And we borrowed Rose Tattoo from the library. I've learned bits and pieces about Williams' lives from the biographies I've been reading lately -- Carson McCullers and Truman Capote were both friends of his. Soon it might be time to actually read a biography about him.

The spinach rolls from the Turkish deli were good, but a tad dry. And for $1.25, I thought it might have a little more feta cheese.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back in Pittsburgh. Jason and I are running errands in town. Right now we're in the Squirrel Hill library (derth of books, but free internet and lots of computer terminals). Afterwards, to Target for more printer ink -- we're going through a cartridge every three weeks, due to the amount of work we've been printing out and submitting. There are also yummy spinach rolls in the car just waiting to be devoured!

Jason's mom has been out of work for a month now, waiting for her vascular doctor to set up a surgery date -- she needs stints put in her leg. He can't give her an actual date (sometime after Thanksgiving??) or even bother to fax back her disability papers. Grrr. Her birthday's on Tuesday, and if neither of us are working, we plan on driving up there for a day trip.

I just started looking for work again, and have an interview for a part-time library position on Thursday. Hopefully it's very low key, data entry and filing, that sort of thing. I like the idea of working in a library very much. Also, it'll give me a much better idea of whether I should invest my money and time into a MLS degree.

This morning Ella rode on Piper's back like a rodeo! For almost thirty seconds. Very exciting, daredevil stuff. She's also still tightrope walking across the back of the kitchen chairs, and attempting chin-ups by hanging onto the kitchen cabinets and pulling herself up by her paws.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This is the video game I covet. Rule of Rose. It's about 1930's England, juvenile girls in some strange cult called the Red Crayon Family, all told in a fairytale format. Also, it's a survival horror game.

Another drowsy morning in Kentucky. I need to really start a writing routine -- since Thursday night I've written 0 poems and 0 stories. It's like my writerly self is broken. Or just excessively distracted. Because in Pittsburgh Jas and I don't have a humongous projection screen HDTV television, much less cable. We also don't have a fenced-in backyard and screened in porch. Even my reading schedule has been knocked askew -- I finished Amanda Davis' Wonder When You'll Miss Me and just, just began Rebecca Godfrey's The Torn Skirt.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Finally got to see Pixar's Cars and liked it! Yes, I know that's kind of dorky. But I enjoy kid, pre-teen, and teen movies. For example: Monsters Inc. and Sky High. Not ashamed to admit it.

Considerably less enjoyable was the dollar theatre we saw Cars in -- located at the back of a shell of a Mall (with only five or so stores and a ghost-town food court). The theatre itself smelled vaguely like defrosted meat and dirty toes. Also, it was cold. But I guess I can't really complain when the movie was only 99 cents.

I'm in Kentucky for two weeks. I miss Jason! And Piper too, who I left behind to keep Jason company. The cats are with me, barricaded in my room, hissing at any approaching dogs or cats.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Thursday, October 05, 2006

The weather's getting colder, which means I'm furrowing back into my knitting obsession. I'm going to sell some hats and scarves at a craft festival in Kentucky in a couple of weeks (using a tiny bit of space at my mom's booth). However. My lack of progress frustrates me. I ventured into felting bag land this summer, which was all howdy-doody. But -- I need to do something more. Like socks. Or (gasp) the inevitable sweater.

The problem is, knitting patterns remind me a little too much of high school math classes. My eyes cross. I get dizzy. My self-esteem plummets into the ground. I only knitted the felted tote bag (from pattern), because Jason's cousin Aiesha did it and told me it was easy ... and Aiesha hasn't been knitting for very long. I don't know if I could knit a sweater from a pattern.

And in related crafty news, I want a sewing machine. Specifically, a Hello Kitty sewing machine from Target. It's pink. I'm convinced that sewing would be infinitely easier than knitting. My mother used to sew matching muumuus and aloha shirts for our entire family -- though now she claims she sucked at sewing, and that it was a difficult and tedious hobby. I don't plan on sewing muumuus for anyone. Maybe lots of pajama pants though. And prairie skirts that fall to the ankle. That sort of thing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My new literary obsession is Carson McCullers. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was very good -- plain and to the point, with compelling, well-developed characters (especially Jake Singer and Mick Kelly). I'm eager to read The Member of the Wedding and the once controversial Reflections in a Golden Eye. In the meantime, I thought it might be a good idea to read a biography about McCullers' life. Seems I picked the wrong one. The fact that it was translated from the French should have served as a warning sign -- and it almost did, until I convinced myself that I was being ist-y. After all, doesn't a French woman have the right to write a book about an American Southern writer, strange as the combination sounds?

And of course Josyane Savigneau has that right -- if only she actually wrote about McCullers. Fifty percent of Carson McCullers: A Life is spent refuting earlier biographers, especially a notorious Virginia Spencer Carr, who "seems to have interviewed every other witness to Carson McCullers' existence -- however minor or ephemeral" (Savigneau 3). This on page 3. If Savigneau spent half the energy expended on Carr's biographical downfalls to actually write about McCullers' life, it might have been an interesting book. Instead it just gave me a headache. Equally tiring was Savigneau's argument that, despite falling in love with various women throughout her life, McCullers wasn't bisexual or a lesbian.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Much of the same. Completed a short story and fifty-one poems, am submitting to three journals per week. Soon the rejections will come. Jason's already been rejected from three magazines, but he still has twenty-two submissions out (and counting). My mom came to visit us in Pittsburgh last weekend, which was nice -- she was strangely mellow, not at all upset when we didn't leave to sightsee at the crack of the dawn. We went to the Dusquesne Incline and, oddly enough, to Steak 'n Shake. She brought her chocolate lab, Smoky, and kitten Lexie with her, which made it quite a full house, but also rather nice. Piper really liked the dog company, though Ella was pissed off about having to compete with another kitten.

We're in Dunkirk tonight, until Friday night. We brought Ella and Piper, but left Rue at home for Nina to cat-sit. Jason's mother isn't doing so well. She's going to have blood tests done tomorrow morning -- she's fatigued and has a pinched nerve in her back. So we'll try to help out as much as we can.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oh, forgot to mention the monstrous pile of poetry books (courtesy of Carnegie Library's awesome poetry collection) I'm reading. Jane Hirshfield's The Lives of the Heart, Ted Hughes' Birthday Poems, Natasha Trewethey's Domestic Work, Naomi Shihab Nye's Red Suitcase (I'm really impressed with her work), and a handful of books from poets I've never heard of before. Any suggestions out there for other great collections of poetry I definitely should read? I'm interested solely in contemporary (or nearly contemporary) poets at the moment.

Nearly finished the last of the new chapbook, Dreams of the Drowned. I've already written the ever-grim final poem in the set. But because I'm two pages short of the minimum requirements for a chapbook, I need to write a few more poems. Jason suggests they be slightly cheerful -- just to mix things up.

With the second chapbook almost complete (first draft, at least), I've also started writing the first pages of a new story -- utilizing my newly fine-tuned attention to language. So far, so good.

In domestic news, I smell gas in the stove vicinity. Last time there was a leak, after the gas company turned off the stove and tagged it, it took the Management Company five days to mosey over and fix the damn thing. We had a lot of pizza and mushy foods in the crockpot. Not having a working stove made me want to cook the most elaborate dinners and baked goods, and not being to cook made me grumpy. So we're going to call Dominion Peoples and start the whole grueling process over again.

Jason's temp job ended on Friday, and Kelly Services didn't have another for him to start right away. So today we're hanging out in the lesser library, and doing our reading/writing thing at home. Jason had already written a poem by the time I woke up this morning!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Just sent out submissions to River City, Inkwell, and Karamu. I think an average of three literary journals per week is pretty good.

I need six more pages of poem to complete my second chapbook -- a narrative cycle about a woman living at the turn of the century. Grim stuff, these new poems. I emailed the first chapbook to my mother and am sure I will hear comments like: that incident didn't happen the way you say it did. I never did that.

Not much else. Reading a nonfiction account of a family of dwarves in Auschwitz. Wearing my new pirate t-shirt, waiting for dinner with Nina and Ben. Sushi!

Oh, and one of these days I'll get around to posting a picture of Ella, the rapid growth kitten.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just finished a poetry chapbook, my first ever. It's called Entrails and Heartstrings.
Being writing -- poems at least -- like mad. Twenty two in the past two and a half months.
Jason says they're good, too!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The early birthday celebration was lots of fun (new prairie home clothes, Chinese buffets, things like that), but tomorrow means more driving. Five hours to Cleveland for a funeral visitation (which will take no less twenty minutes -- because we'll have three animals and a cooler full of food in the van), then two hours to Pittsburgh. Then --maybe if we're lucky -- we'll get home before dark.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

No progress on those window locks, but Pittsburgh is getting a little better. We've explored a little of the South Side (great old brick buildings, great little restaurants, used bookstores, little thrift stores and such) and drove past the Waterfront (Target - just two miles away from home! An outdoor mall!), which makes us feel better about where we're living. Oh, and there is a Joseph Beth -- my favorite independent bookstore in Kentucky. The kitten now called Ella (and sometimes still Bongo Bongo) is over her cold and working on the worm issue. Piper and Rue are still kind of neurotic, but doing better.

Today is being spent in transit. Jason's mom spent the night with us in Pittsburgh. Which was a great visit -- except she doesn't like driving. So -- we drove the three hours to Dunkirk on Friday night, spent the night, drove three hours to Pittsburgh on Saturday, drove three hours back to Dunkirk this afternoon, and soon will drive three hours back to Pittsburgh. The @*&#*! things we do for mothers. Next week we're obligated to drive six hours to and from Kentucky for an early celebration of my birthday (I'm going to be so old) -- or my Mom has threatened to cry. And supposedly coming to Pittsburgh is out of the question because 1) she bought peanut butter cookies from Kroger, 2) she can only ask her friend to watch the dogs when she's flying somewhere, not driving, and 3) there's nothing to do in Pittsburgh. Which are all awfully strange reasons, in my opinion.

Nina arrives in Pittsburgh Tuesday. She and Jake are supposedly bringing beer to our apartment, to commiserate being away from New York City.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

We returned to Pittsburgh Thursday evening, to find that the burners on the stove were fixed, but none of the locks on the windows. Lobos Management has been "really busy." Then today they send us a copy of the lease in the mail, only it's the old version, the one that says we can't have pets and that our rent is $25 more. After a long, exasperating phone conversation (the receptionist actually said: "I can't read the fine print on your lease. I'm not wearing my glasses.") and a visit to the management office, we finally have a copy of the CORRECT lease. But the windows remain unlocked.

The animals are all having issues. Piper loves the new/used couch, but has phobias about the small three carpeted steps leading to the bedrooms. Rue has taken to hiding in closets and shivering, and the new one (formerly known as Sophie, now unnamed -- though Jason suggests Bongo Bongo) is on two types of antibiotics for a nasty cold and worms.

Jason has found a temp job though. He starts work on Monday, in the Strip District. And yesterday we went to the Carnegie Library in Oakland, and was pleasantly surprised by the Documentary Videos and International Poetry section. The fiction section was lacking, though. But it's much better than the Astoria libraries.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Beer Garden, last weekend.

Pittsburgh so far is a big thumbs down. Filthy apartment -- the WD40 drenched carpet the management company promised would be replaced (for an additional $25 tacked onto our rent each month) is still with us. The day we moved in it hadn't even been cleaned -- after calling and complaining, the carpet cleaners arrived mid-afternoon and "did the best they could" by sucking what looked and smelled like raw sewage from the apartment. There are still ugly, dirty dark stains down the hallway steps, which the cleaners were unable to remedy. We went to Walmart and bought a vacuum cleaner, which sucked up all the dead bugs and glass shards and miscellaneous pills in the corners of the room, and hopefully made it cleaner. But how much cleaner? I'll be obsessively vacuuming every day. Got it in writing from the management company that rent will be $25 less each month, at least.

Other problems:
1) Too many spiders and weird little jumping bugs that look like fuzzy black sticks. A few ants, moths. One tiny roach. We sealed off any holes in the walls we glimpsed, but I'm sure there's more.
2) Only two of our nine windows lock. We've called and complained to the management company several times, but so far no one's come to fix them.
3) The refrigerator turns itself off for hours at a time, until all the food inside is warm. Then everything freezes.
4) Two of the burners on the oven don't work.
5) Filth. Unbelievable filth. Everything I scrub, from the ceilings to the windows, are grimy and disgusting.
6) The doorbell doesn't work. All the doorknobs are coming loose, and there's no logical way to screw them back into place.

Anxious about the pets, who are currently vacationing in Kentucky with my mother. I don't want them catching some kind of disease from the neverending grime, or getting bit by an exotic bug. Piper will stick mostly to the furniture, so I'm not so worried about her. But Rue gets herself into every little nook and cranny. And now we have another addition to our family -- her name is Sophie (named by my mother, not but us -- but at least it fits with the whole old-fashioned girls' names theme) and she's a tiny ten week old tabby with a rusty meow. We were supposed to get the three and a half month old Siamese, but Mom decided to keep her instead. Anyway, I shudder to imagine which grimy corners of the apartment she can squeeze herself into.

We're in Kentucky right now, having dropped Reg off from helping us move. I never appreciated how clean my mother's house was until now. Plush carpeting! Spotless bathrooms! I want Mom to come to Pittsburgh and help me clean!

Well, okay. There are a few nice things about the new apartment. The built in glass shelves in the kitchen, for example. And all the extra space. So as long as no one broke into the apartment while we've been gone, everything will be okay. Probably.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sad goodbyes at the Beer Garden. Yesterday we went to the Strand one last time, as well as some of our favorite things in the Union Square/Astor Place area. No St. Mark's Bookstore though -- too much temptation there.

Tomorrow our Pittsburgh adventure begins. We remain apprehensive and sometimes, vaguely optimistic.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Home at Astoria, at last. It feels weird to be back -- as if New York City has become expontentially larger and brighter than it was three weeks ago.

Itching from at least a dozen spider bites (shudder). On our last night in Dunkirk, Jason and I armed ourselves with brooms and cans of Raid, went outside, and killed spiders with bodies the size of half-dollars. It was raining, but dozens of spiders were there anyway, their fat little translucent bodies obscene in the street light. The next day, exterminators were supposed to finish the job, but Audrey thinks they were slacking. She's only seen one spider so far today, but the baby spiders climbing the walls and ceilings and bed sheets are tiny and translucent and difficult to see, and she doesn't have the greatest eyesight. So no idea if progress has been made.

Our overnight sojourn in New Jersey was okay. Lots of HGTV. A bed without spiders was a plus. Victoria the three year old was the most entertaining and interesting. She believes in biting the skin of her arm (vigorously) to keep her balance, and said, "Look. Me and the dog got haircuts!"

One of Jason's oldest friends is acting like a prick. Not letting us know if he wanted us to come down to visit him in Atlanta, and then pouting because we didn't. Sending Jason cryptic letters about "true" artists and how Jason and his "friends" (whoever that means. Probably me) weren't "true" because they don't feel enough or some such shit. Jason thinks it's because we all got degrees in Creative Writing, so said friend doesn't think we're authentic artists. We're too educated or something. Prima donna nonsense, but he's been Jason's surrogate father figure for years, and J's getting upset.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Invasion of the Spiders

Staying an extra night in Dunkirk because of the spider invasion problem. Spiders everywhere. Baby spiders on the bed, horror movie spiders draped over the windows. Necessary good son/daughter-in-law duty: vacuuming hordes of baby spiders from the ceilings.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Oh yeah, and we saw this band play Saturday night in Buffalo, dressed in a similiar fashion (only Melora didn't wear feathers in her hair, she wore daisies). They played "Saline the Salt Lake Queen," Jason's second favorite song, and my two favorites from How We Quit the Forest: "Sign of the Zodiac" and "Watch TV." But Rasputina doesn't take requests. Jason and his infamous friend, Stormcock, tried to heckle the band into playing Jason's first favorite song, "Wicked Dickie," but to no avail.

Today is Jason's birthday. As of 23 minutes ago. But he's asleep. Everyone's asleep. In Cold Blood is too weird to read at night in a sleeping house, but I'm reading it anyway. And watching what appears to be a porn, disguised in a detective movie. I should have known immediately, just by the bad acting. Then all the women kept taking their clothes off. Jason's mom has ALL the cable channels, but there's never anything to watch on TV. The porn is kinda amusing, though. One of the woman says, "What is it about dirty money?" and then proceeds to take off all her clothes. </>

The cookout to celebrate J's birthday tonight was alright. We spent two hours picking Gladys up from Chautaqua Institute and then later bringing her home. Near the end of the evening, she yelled at me for introducing her to someone as Gladys, instead of Ms. Schwartz. I was offended, until Jason says she yells at him all the time for doing it. Aaron and Deidre brought the baby, and Moriah kept dashing out of the house and running around the neighborhood. Jason fell backwards over a hedge, while trying to collar her. His shoes were at a ninety degree angle. We both agree that that was the high point of the night. There were bees nuzzling the hamburgers and Jason's mom's cousin brought a weird chow mein noodle salad dish. All I wanted to do was read and finish an umpteenth winter hat, but that's nothing new.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Interrogation at the Canadian border:
Police Officer: What was your business here?
Jason: Visiting Niagara Falls.
Police Officer: How long did you stay?
Jason: Couple of hours.
Police Officer: What did you purchase in Canada?
Jason: A postcard and some candy.
Police Officer: Where did you come from?
Jason: Dunkirk.
Police: What?
Jason: Dunkirk.
Police: Oh. Where do you live?
Jason: Astoria.
Police: What's your relationship to each other?
Jason: We're married.
Police: When did you get married?
Jason: May 27th.
Police: So not that long. Where were you born?
Jason: New York.
Police: And you?
Me: Honolulu.
Police: What?
Me: Hawaii.
Police: Do you have your birth certificate on you?
And on, and on. The standstill traffic seemed to signify that everyone was getting sufficiently grilled. But still. What was the significance of asking when we got married? And why did he want to see my birth certificate? It's not like Hawaii's in a different fucking country or anything.
It made me grumpy. But Aaron's show was wonderful, and we rode the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls and got all misted. Then we bought a maple sugar lollipop. That was fun.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reading In Cold Blood and waiting for Jason to come back from the barber's shop. Will he have chopped off all his hair, like he said he would? Before he left he looked like he belonged in the world of CHIPS. Puffy, puffy hair. It's been a trip for haircuts -- I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I got all my hair chopped off in Kentucky. There's an inch left all around. If I'm not careful it poufs up too, and I look very much like my mother. Luckily there's enough hair gel in the world to keep that from happening.

Had dinner with Irv last night at the local Pizza Hut. There were half a dozen state troopers at the table next to us, eating enormous amounts of pizza (well, shoveling is a better term for it than eating) and clutching two liters of Pepsi. It was kinda obscene. Irv kept on threatening to say "fuck the police" and made numerous winks in their direction, accompanied by sopranoish renditions of church songs. He is one obscene minister.

When Jason gets back, we're to go to Niagara Falls -- the Canadian side. Then to Buffalo for used bookstores and Aaron's gig at a local bar. But right now it's me and the bear dog, and Jason's mom sleeping.

Anxiety about the new place. We were so deliriously happy that our credit checks came out all right, we forgot to ask for a receipt. We called yesterday, but so far no one's called us back. Supposedly our lease is being sent to us in Astoria. I'm usually so cautious about everything -- how could this have slipped my mind? Have we been tricked? I keep on having morbid fantasies about the realtor office turning out to be a scam, and us having no apartment to go to in August. All our things in storage, living on our mothers' couches, despair despair.

Also more general anxiety about moving. What doesn't the houses and apartments in Pittsburgh have bars on their windows? I'm starting to think that all residences should bar their windows. And where, where, where are all the people? The streets are virtually deserted. Even that crazy baseball hoopla produced only piddling amounts of tourists on the streets downtown. Nina keeps telling us that Pittsburgh isn't New York, and it's crazy to compare the two, but I find myself doing that, constantly.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We have a new apartment! It's a two bedroom in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, complete with a garage and Tudor style doorways. And it's 40% less than what we pay for our little studio in New York City.

Of course, the drawback of that is that it's not in New York. Jason and I already miss the city we used to enjoy bitching about ... those cavernous subways and sewage-smelling sidewalks ... Once we get back from Dunkirk (where we are right now), we'll only have ten days left to eat all the food we possibly can, visit all our favorite bookstores, see all our friends, and pack. Crazy to think about.

Monday, July 03, 2006

what can i say? gin and tonics in nicholasville, crazy animals, pork, gravy, and oh yeah, we adopted howard, a middle aged mongoloid whom we met and fell head over heels for at st. albatross church bingo nite! just married more than a month and were parents. liz and mitch will surely want to baby sit...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lexington doesn't have much in the way of art and culture, but we did manage to see Murder by Death perform at a local CD store (my own stomping ground -- where I used to buy all my indie music).

My mom has been sick since Thursday, so the rest of the day has been spent either at home, or running to the grocery store for flu medicine and salty stick pretzels.

It's good to hang out with my family.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We leave for our honeymoon road trip tomorrow! Kentucky, Asheville, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Dunkirk!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wrote another poem tonight. That makes nine. My goal, formulated while walking to the Keystone for brunch with Liz and Mitch, is to have fifty poems written by December. And a finished draft of the YA novel, of course -- can't shuck my fiction duties off. Oh, and I also need to revise my zombie love story by December. Maybe write a new story?

Writing feels good. I'm full of anxiety, though -- the time waiting between poems excruciating. Unless I'm vomiting or drunk, I can usually pound out a few pages of my novel whenever I want. But poems need more coaxing.

Immersed in Anne Sexton right now. Simultaneously reading her collected poems, biography (read once before when I was a college freshman) and A Self-Portrait in Letters. I have the desire to write stranger poetry, but there is no John Ashberry in this apartment!

Demetrios, the Greek restaurant we brunched at, was very blue and showcased a giant fake Marlin, instruments, ships, and a fishing net attached to the ceiling. It was the best thing about the restaurant. Their scordalia was weak -- not enough garlic, not nearly enough. Liz was disappointed with her scallops, and Jason has had better spanikopita.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oh, my first felted bag is almost finished too. Just have to knit the strap, and then throw in the washing machine and watch (maybe? hopefully?) magic happen. Maybe magic. Maybe the bag will just fall apart in the spin cycle, as I'm not the best at stitching my knitting projects.

Three more poems in two days! One a prose poem, one a poem about a strange old man my brother and I encountered in the subway, and one about manufactured girlfriends. Jason has been helping me with line breaks and encouraging me to read Frank O'Hara.

Lately I haven't been able to sleep -- I'm too involved in revising and writing poems. It feels kind of ... manic. I know the creative crash will come soon, but hopefully not until we're only the road and properly distracted with apartment searching and sightseeing. Anyway, traveling helps me with writer's block.

We have lunch plans with Jee Leong and Winston tomorrow. Sushi has been promised.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wrote another five pages of my YA novel and a poem last night. I felt so industrious I decided to research more fellowships and residencies, and found a six-month residency for Jason to apply to, which he did. I gave him a long pep talk about how he should be submitting every single poem in Watering the Dead and The Direction of Light, instead of just the dozen or so (I think I used the analogy of the lottery) he circulates around. Then I realized I was being a terrible hypocrite, because only one of my stories have been submitted anywhere recently. So today I woke up and after much trepidation, submitted two more stories to journals. We'll see what happens.

Starting to get excited about our road trip. Talked to Nina last night, and she made Pittsburgh sound fun. I could use some fun! It's nice to know that Kathleen might move to Asheville, also. I like the idea of moving to place where we know at least one other person.

Still have to go to the goddamn grocery store. I hate the grocery store. It makes me lazy about writing, which, I know, sounds really lame. But it's true. I'm supposed to write at least five more pages of my YA book, but I know that once I'm back from the store I'll only want to laze around, read Anne Sexton, and watch the Ellen, Season 2 DVD I netflixed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Submitted poems to Stirring today. It's easier somehow to submit poetry than fiction -- it's not my genre, if they don't publish me, I don't feel all bruised up inside (or at least that's how I assume I will feel -- I just started submitting poetry the other day).

All morning spent researching literary journals. I need someplace to send my fiction before the end of the month. "What She Doesn't Know" has already been sent to Cimarron, but the rest are in limbo. I need to revise my zombie story too. And write a few more pages of the novel. And buy groceries -- out of paper towels, kleenex, almost out of toilet paper. Out of cat food and dog food and pasta!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Running out of smurf blue yarn for my loopy pillow project. Need to go to the yarn store on Ditmar's sometime to see if they have any more.

Also working on my first felted project -- a green and white striped bag.

I hate how hot New York summers are. Last year I climbed the stairs to the subway in the mornings and felt consistently like vomiting because of the humidity. Jason and I would crank up our broken air conditioner and sleep on damp bath towels.

This year we have a cute new air conditioner that works, but works slowly. It takes forever to get our studio apartment down four or five degrees. So it's hot in here. Eighty degrees hot. I'm surprised the pets aren't panting right now.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

There is sake and Dave and researching mail order brides. Another Saturday night in Astoria.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Finally finished A Paradigm of the Earth! Yay! In sheer gladness I stayed up half the night, zipping through Alice Sebold's gripping memoir, Lucky. I finished it when I got up this morning (well, it was closer to this afternoon), and am now reading Ann Patchett's memoir of her friendship with Lucy Grealy, Truth and Beauty.

I'm jealous of knitting blogs, especially the blogs that showcase 25+ completed projects every year. And not projects in the form of piddly scarves or hats, either. Sexy lacy shawls. Complicated cable sweaters. I'm frustrated at my knitting plateau. I don't want to knit fucking hats and scarves for the rest of my life. I want to go beyond the stockinette stitch!

My current project is a shaggy knitted pillow cover (from Stitch and Bitch Nation), which is a change. Then I think I might try my hand at felting a bag.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I am suffering through Canda Jane Dorsey's Paradigm of Earth, one abstract, ill-worded snippet at a time. This is sad, because the book has been on my Amazon wishlist for years now. I read some really enthusiastic reviews and felt certain it would be a great gender-issue, political, character-driven SF, perhaps in the mode of Octavia Butler or Connie Willis. What's also sad is the fact that I'm halfway through, and so therefore just can't stop reading and go on to something else, something new and better. Really I should be reading classics. I've never read any Faulkner. Or Hemingway. I still have to finish Anna Karenina. What a great thing to tell people - that I spent my summer reading classics.

But the sad, sad truth is this: classics, especially those written before the early 20th Century, almost never hold my attention. My eyes get jittery when they encounter long descriptive passages. I start thinking about potato chips, and kittens. I have the sudden urge to do the laundry.

Very sad. Very true.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and frozen pizza on a Sunday night.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The dinner party was fun, though no one got drunk. I was really, really hoping someone would get drunk. But there was some lively conversations about Catholicism and whether incest was morally, genetically or culturally/socially wrong. And I think people liked my tomato basil soup.

Today is reserved for slacking. Jason and I slept until 11:30, and probably would've slept indefinitely if not for someone calling on my phone for a "Tony." Later we'll watch a movie (maybe Grizzly Man, which I haven't seen yet) and drink wine!

Possible blossoming romance between a friend of Jason's and my mother! More updates later.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Armed with so many new dishes, pots, pans and veggie cookbooks (Jason has threatened to smash anymore new dishes that might appear to us in the mail), I've decided to try my hand at cooking beyond the Betty Crocker hamburger casseroles and chili. Last night I triumphed with doughnut muffins, though I didn't apply enough butter to the bottom of the muffin pans. That's right -- muffins by scratch. No box muffins for me!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, the muffins turned me into a bit of a food Nazi.

(Yesterday evening)
Me: Don't forget to eat the homemade muffins for breakfast.
Jason: Okay.
(Today, around noon)
Me: Did you eat the muffins I made by scratch yet?
Jason: I ate one and a half.
Me: Arghhh!
Jason: I'll eat the other half this afternoon. I promise!
Me: Did you eat the half a muffin yet?

Tomorrow we're hosting a dinner party. Mitch is a food fussy, so we're sticking to pasta. Two sauces -- a butter one for Mitch, and a veggie marinara. Plus tomato basil soup, and the pound cake (w/ strawberries and whipped cream) baking in the oven right now. Liz and Mitch, Jonathan, and Nina will all be there. I think that'll make for a lively time.

I'm excited about showing off our new square plates and bowls. I know that makes me sound like a housekeepin' geek. Also equally exciting is going to Jason's office for lunch tomorrow.

No writing as of late. Can't concentrate. Too much seltzer water, too much of Sims 2 and Wiccan YA books. Also still sad and missing brother and mom.

Monday, June 05, 2006

More pics.

Jason stayed home from work today, and the three of us went to see the new X-men movie, which is never a very good idea. I'm not an X-men fan, but even I was offended when they killed most of the main characters off by the middle of the movie. Also, the movie theatre parking lot was ridiculously hard to find.

My brother leaves for Kentucky tomorrow morning. The two week visit went by so quickly. Also -- I never thought I'd say this, but I miss my mom.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

oh yeah -- and the biggest news.

jason and i are hitched! the wedding was fun ... at least, after the unity candle incident(jason dropped his candle, and for a moment we thought he might accidentally burn the chapel down). lots of food, good friends, a beautiful reception hall, and live music from a few of the said good friends. and despite the heavy-handed comments about christianity, baptism (i'm not baptized) and marriage being between "one man and one woman," we were glad irv officiated the marriage. he's been like a second father to jason for at least twenty years.

it's still hard to think of myself as being married. not that our lives are much different than it has been for the past year. but mrs. wendi lee? that's just too bizarre. i don't feel old enough yet to be a mrs.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Just came back from a daytrip to Connecticut. We visited Dave at his WCSU studio and admired the paintings completed this school year (I wish I were as prolific with my writing). Reg bought a pretty oil landscape for $85. Then, after a pit stop to Dunkin' Doughnuts and the local Goodwill, back to Astoria. We're planning on meeting up with Suzanne and Ero, who are playing an open mike Bob Dylan gig at O'Hanlons.
Dave just suggested Chinese take-out, which sounds good.
In other news, I miss Dan Jackson. I wish he'd update his angryandsloppy soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Reg just called. His flight is getting in an hour and a half earlier than he thought, which means I have to be at the airport in less than five hours. I'm only a fourth through my to-do list. Don't think I'll get in much writing today, which puts me in a bad mood. I am really entrenched in Stephen King logic right now. To paraphrase: write every day, or your novel-in-progress will feel less like play and more like work. I've written 50 pages of Sugar, my young adult novel, since quitting the dreadful R+R. I don't want to lose that momentum, even if I am getting married this weekend. Quitting my job was like dousing myself in cold water. Suddenly, my priorities are clearer. I can't be a writer if I don't finish my novels. Conversely, I can't be a published writer unless I start sending my stories out -- something I'm going to need work on.

The convoluted book I'm reading right now (Seek the Living) isn't helping. I can't tell if it's the language and plot that doesn't make any sense, or if I'm just too scattered to read. The author, Ashley Warlick, wrote The Summer After June, a novel I read before coming to SLC and remember liking quite a bit.

J. and I are getting a windfall of books in the mail, though. I love used books under $1.00. Some of my titles include:

1. Truth and Beauty (Ann Patchett)
2. To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf)
3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Carson McCullers)

Our bookshelves are schizophrenic. Jason reads a majority of male writers, a good deal of poetry and philosophy; I read almost exclusively female writers, mostly fiction, almost rarely poetry.

I'm stalling. I don't want to clean the litter box. I don't want to walk to the grocery store for grenadine. I just want to write. I'm midpoint through my novel, introducing new characters. It's an exciting period. My Anna (main character) is wandering around Honolulu, coping with the alienation of coming back to a place that was once home, but is now altered, a strange mixture of the familiar and the foreign.

A picture of us (and Nina in the backseat) in Dunkirk. We think it was taken during the infamous flower thievery incident at the local Dunkirk factory. which might account for Jason's shocked expression.

My family will be in New York in 12 hours. !!!!!!!!! Still have to do the laundry, buy cat litter, return videos, sweep and mop, and maybe clean the bathroom a little. Oh, and write at least five pages. I know the apartment isn't up to my mother's standards of cleanliness. Probably not up to anyone's standard of cleanliness, actually.

Think I'll wear my hair in pigtails today. That seems appropriate for repeat visits to LaGuardia in the evening. Why couldn't my mother and brother come in on the same flight, or at least the same time? That might have made things too easy.

Tomorrow we're doing Manhattan in a huge sweep. The DMV for Jason's replaced driver's license, the farmer's market in Union Square, Time Square and Rockefeller Center gawking for my mom. Maybe even the Japanese toy store for my brother.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I am obsessed with Bjork's music video, "Triumph of the Heart." I have to watch it every day. It has it all -- general weirdness, dancing cats, paper hearts, lots of people making noises with their mouths.
Bjork, by the way, is nothing at all like Cher.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


That's right. This post is all about cat food. The wet, chunky kind.

Iams pouch wet food is the only food on the market that Rue likes. The other brands she'll snub 50% of the time. So I'm basically buying Iams food in bulk.

And then the other day, I went on Peta's website. There's a whole section dedicated to boycotting Iams, because they allegedly torture and kill cats and dogs in their health/pet food research ventures. There's an especially grisly piece about experimenting at University of Kentucky, my (gulp) alma mater.

I read the articles, and decided to stop buying Iams. I couldn't in good conscience buy pet products from a company that murdered pets. So I went to the grocery store and bought all the other brands of wet, chunky food in the hopes there's one or two Rue won't mind so much. I signed some petitions online, and even emailed Iams to voice my dissent.

Tonight Iams emails me back, with an url to their website. There are articles discounting Peta, and some pretty solid animal foundations (The Humane Society, for one) to back them up.

So what do I do? Who do I believe? How do I know what I'm doing is right?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Crazy weekend.

After our excursion to Flushing, we decided to take the van to the ever-exotic Target for dog food in bulk and chocolate drizzled pretzels. Melissa took the subway back for a family dinner, and J and I headed back to the car.

Which was dead.

And by dead, I mean it wouldn't even turn over. Not even a whine.

Jason tried to flag people down for a jump, unsuccessfully. We got ahold of the parking lot security, who said he wouldn't be available to jumpstart us until one of the cars on either side of us left.

We sat in the car for an hour, bitter and hungry and tired, before I realized we could just put the van in neutral.

Security man gave us a jump, and I drove straight to Sears Automotive for a new battery. Hopefully (fingers crossed), that's the only problem with the van.

Saturday we met Jonathan in the City for fish and chips, a quick jaunt to the automotive store for a steering wheel lock and gas cap lock, and then onward to bars, bars, bars.

Sunday was Nina's lovely Easter shindig, with the best vegetarian food ever.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Flushing is amazingly close to Astoria by car. What a revelation! When Jason and I take the 7 to Flushing, it takes an hour. This morning we went to the DMV, which was an experience akin to elementary school and church. We were yelled at, told to sit on pew-like benches, etc.

"That's not proof of insurance!"

"But it says it is on the top of the paper."

"I don't care what it says. You need to get me an insurance card!"

After two hours and several hundred dollars later, we were free to go. Melissa and I bought unnutritious breakfasts from the hot dog stand right outside the DMV, and Jason screwed on our new license plates. It's official -- we can now drive our van.

Last night I bought a pair of conservative yet vaguely hip brown leather Mary Janes for work, and hysterical pink furry boots reminiscent of Big Bird. They were both 70% off. It was the best shoe store in the world.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sufficiently grumpy from little sleep and the prospect of having dinner with someone I've never met before, one of J's friends from undergrad. It would be okay if it was just dinner, but then she's to sleep over as well. I have to be consistently receptive and chatty for God knows how many hours.

I wanna be indulged in my hermit inclinations every once in a while. But Jason is too much of a social butterfly. The "mayor."

Queasiness from the lack of sleep. My stomach always riots when I get less than six hours. Constant trips to the bathroom, which was fine, since I didn't have any work to do anyway.

It's a scorcher outside, summer come too soon. I don't want summer. I want fifty degrees and a light jacket.

I wouldn't mind a Japanese-speaking watch either.

Does being repulsed by someone having an affair with a married older (much older) man mean that I'm old-fashioned? Am I not hip with the times, or whatever?

Today is my Friday, but I'm without sufficient work. Time passes slowly when you're only pretending to be busy.

Matisyahu is great. Jason and I listened to him last night, and then I imported his CDs on my ipod and listened to a mix of his music and Neko Case's on the way to work. Hassidic Jewish reggae and alt country is a fine combination.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In the end I was the mean girl
Or somebody's in-between girl
Now it's the devil I love
And that's as funny as real love

-from Neko Case's "Hold On, Hold On," the song that is playing and playing in my head.

Everyone's blog lives are more exciting than mine.

Dan Jackson just became an uncle.

Other people are going on sexy first dates, and making important life decisions.

Last night, Jason and I made sure our van was still parked where we left it. We ate dinner at the Bel Aire diner, and ran into Dania as she was jogging.

We made the usual complaints about not having time to do anything. We pet the animals, and checked our email, wrote a bit in our paper journals, and went to bed.
Is this what married life is?
And is it wrong to confess that I still want a little dancing and glitter and madness in my life?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another day at work.


Well, at least I brought an almond poppy seed muffin.

And hopefully our car is still where we left it yesterday.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It took us two hours to find parking tonight.

Jason was ready to have a nervous breakdown.

At work. It's fifteen minutes before lunch, thank God. Mondays always drag on and on.

But it's a short work week because of Good Friday.

Me: I love Good Friday! Every Friday should be Good Friday!

Jason: Why? Because you like crucifixions?

Witty Jason. I wish I had brought money for Subway, but instead I'm doomed to an hour in our pit of a lunchroom (flickering fluorescent lights, stagnant air, an ancient TV that produces more static than picture and is always on, broadcasting soap operas).

Jason told me he wanted to get me an actual bunny for Easter -- only he didn't know where to purchase one. I convinced him to wait on the bunny until after our trip to Dunkirk. Rabbits + cars are not a good mix. Rue + car is already a complicated equation.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

As of this morning, Jason and I are the proud owners of a used dark green Ford Windstar minivan. Yes, a minivan. We can't drive it yet, because we need to get new plates and registration, etc. etc. But we paid for it. It's parked half a block from our apartment, green and formidable. Ours.

It's strange to own a car in New York City. I guess this is concrete proof that we're really planning on leaving. In the meantime, I plan on using the car to go to Brooklyn and Target and the grocery store when we've bought too many paper towels or whatnot.

The weekend was good but whirlwind. We saw Neko Case (see pic of Neko Case shaking her hands above) on Friday at Webster Hall. She was incredible, as was the venue (aquarium bars and ornate decoration everywhere). I wasn't so impressed with the guy in front of me though -- he kept on stretching his ass out like an oversized ballerina, and hitting me with it. Halfway through the concert, Jason and I switched places, and Jason whacked him every time he protruded. Twice.

I finally found a dress I like on Saturday -- at Century 21, a place I never want to visit again. But I guess the half an hour wait for the fitting rooms was worth it. Everyone else waiting in line with me had shopping carts filled with clothes. It was madness. Next step in the wedding preparations: finding a soft faux-fur jacket to wear with the dress, and a pair of stunning shoes. Oh, and probably some decent pantyhose -- not the kind I usually buy at Target for 99 cents.

Afterwards Jason and I wandered around the East Village. We looked at a small boutique selling overpriced clothes and Hello Kitty stationary, but they also had ugly box watches that say the time in Japanese. We went into M to M and thought about buying a pound of kimchee and mango ice cream mochi, but decided they were both impractical. We had a beer with Suzanne and Ero at the Continental, which has the most intimidating bathrooms in NYC. And then dinner with Jonathan at Veselka. It was vegetarian borscht night, yay! Jason and I were both slightly drunk from the Continental. I kept on mentioning the Japanese watch and giggling, and asking everyone what a lime rickey was. Lime juice and cherry syrup with soda water -- not nearly as exciting as I thought it might be.

And today, the buying of minivans. But afterwards Jason and I mellowed out. We saw Thumbsucker, which didn't resound with me as deeply as it would've, had I watched it when I was nineteen. We braved the grocery store for Iams wet cat food and clam juice. I made a pot of fish stew, a new recipe, before realizing that I don't like fish stew. So now I'm making Shepherd's pie.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wrote a poem today at work, the first since my I-love-Jason poem (six months ago? More?). Poems are so pleasurable and manageable. They're good salve to my ten+ maniacal novel/novella/longish short story projects that I can never finish.

Jason says the poem's a good one. I'll revise it a little and then mail it on to his friend in Fredonia, whom Jason sends all his stuff to. Then, with J and Gerry's advice, I'll revise it again and try to send it out for publication!

Work was so stupid. I retyped an inane safety pamphlet that said things like "This procedure will save your life, but more importantly, save our company money!" Shameless.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Saw V for Vendetta last night. I came out of the theatre with mixed feelings, and apparently I wasn't the only one.

The people behind us on the escalator had this conversation:
"I couldn't believe there were only two fight scenes."
"I know. And they weren't even that good."
"Not like the Matrix. The last one was kinda --"
"Bloody. But not like, wow or anything."
"There was too much talking."
"All the characters did were talk."
I didn't have quite the same reaction. I did love the first Matrix when it came out. My brother and I rented it at Blockbuster, and then ended up re-renting it every Saturday for a month, before deciding that we both needed to buy our own copies. But I don't expect (or want) every Wachowski Brothers movie to be another Matrix.
I liked aspects of V for Vendetta very much. I love tales of dystopia, and the echoes of 1984. I liked the Inspector.
But the movie as a whole made me feel uncomfortable. I didn't understand certain key characters' motivations. Things that should have been made clear were "artistically" murky. I don't want to get any more specific than that, just in case there's someone reading my blog who hasn't seen the movie yet, and wants to.
I'm irrationally pleased that Silent Hill has been made into a movie. I always thought those video games would make great movies.
Tonight Jason and I finished printing out the last of our invites. Now we might actually have time to watch Thumbsucker with a bowl of popcorn.