Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Menu

Cheese, crackers, spinach/artichoke dip to start

Copious amounts of red wine

Alton Brown's Turkey

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Katherine's Granny's cornbread stuffing

4 korn kits—prepare day ahead
4 biscuits—prepare day ahead
4 eggs
2-3 cans chicken broth/stock
1 bunch celery
2-3 large onions
2 sticks butter
½ container dried sage (I’m not kidding—mad sagey)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sautee onions and celery in 1 stick of butter. Add salt and pepper. In a large casserole/roasting pan with a tight fitting lid, break-up cornbread and biscuits and add sautéed veg. Combine and add sage, salt, and pepper. Add broth—it should be fairly loose, but not too soupy—you still have to add the eggs. At this point, taste and adjust seasonings then add whisked eggs and combine. Pat down into dish. Cut the remaining stick of butter into cubes and top the dressing with joy and abandon. Cover—this cooks like a soufflé and sort-of puffs up—and cook for about 1 hour. You can remove the lid close to the end to check for superdelicious browning—if necessary, remove for last few minutes, but I don’t think anyone ever remembers to do this.

Spoon full of bacon drippings—delish
Stray cigarette ash…

Glazed Carrots

Green Bean Casserole (Dana and Jennifer are bringing)

Brandied mushrooms


Thanksgiving Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

All Souls Day

Uncle Herman. My great uncle Herman was deaf, as was his brother Julius. He lived in Cleveland and I saw a lot of him as a child when we would go there to visit my grandmother. He used to play billiards with me and he taught me to sign the alphabet. He and my grandmother had their own special language, including hand gestures and sounds, that no one else quite understood. It wasn’t ASL, it wasn’t quite lip-reading, and it sounded strange and a little scary. Herman could wiggle his ears, and could raise his eyebrows independently of each other and to several different levels. He had a big heart. I seem to recall being told of his death while on an airplane. There was never any funeral, or formal remembrance of him. He was just gone. I don’t think I was more than 8 or 9 years old.

Ricky. I rode a pony in high school named Ricky who went suddenly blind at the beginning of my sophomore year, and a decision was made for him to be put down (I’m still not sure why this had to happen). I took him out for a walk on his last day to the apple orchard, fed him an apple and let him graze freely. Then I brought him back to the barn and went down to my house, where I sat with my dormhead’s dogs and cried while the vet put him to sleep and they buried him under the manure pile. I wrote a maudlin poem about the whole experience which appeared in the high school literary magazine.

B.D. My father’s father died at Christmas-time when I was 16 years old. The funeral was in New York. I never was very close to my grandfather. We would talk on Sundays when I was home and he would ask me how school was going. He was remarried to a flamboyant French Jew, Sonia, who used to take me to Neimann Marcus when we went to visit them in Miami Beach. I flew down to New York and spent the day comforting my step-grandmother, who was quite tearful especially at the gravesite. My grandfather’s children weren’t overly fond of her, so the comforting fell to me. This was my first funeral as a quasi-grownup. It was a full-on Jewish funeral, too, with a rabbi. There was no sitting shiva, however. The whole thing was bizarre, considering how very secular that side of my family is. I got to see the family plot in Queens, including the grave of my grandfather’s sister, for whom I was named. It’s a little spooky, seeing your own name on a gravestone. Coming back I had a strange conversation with a Boston cab driver which I turned into a short story and which – surprise! – turned up in the high school literary magazine.

Mona. Mona (pronounced Mah-nah, yes I know that’s stupid) was my first pet. She was a fantastic Siamese cat who took no crap from anyone and had pretty much all of us at her beck and call. A real princess. She had been a stray who showed up at our back door one night and never left. She was my most precious companion through the separation and divorce of my parents, through all the moving, through all my mother’s boyfriends, through all the rockiness of pre-adolescence, always on my bed, always letting me cry into her fur. When she died I was devastated.

Gaga. Gaga was not my mother’s birth father, but he was the only grandfather I ever knew on that side. He was funny, kind, gentle, smart, tolerant, and wise. He kept my traditionalist grandmother and my rebellious mother together through the rockiness of the 60s and 70s, and all the years that followed. He always had a smile and a bear hug for me. When he was diagnosed with cancer everything moved very quickly. I went down to Florida to stay with them for a couple of weeks, shepherding him to doctor’s appointments. He was in a lot of pain, and I heard him swear for the first time at one of these visits, letting out a very weak “oh, shit” when a catheter was installed. My grandmother fell apart before my eyes during this visit, suddenly forgetting to turn off the oven, gazing out the window, crying, and asking me “is he going to die?” Gaga was furious at himself for getting sick, furious at her for not coping well, furious at the unfairness of it all. Jack is named for him, and I think he inherited his stubbornness, as well as his humor and good nature.

Grandma Lil. My father’s mother. We knew each other well, as I spent a year living with her when I was 18 years old, in Cleveland. Amazingly enough, she lived through that particular experience. Eventually, though, her heart gave out. She died as she lived, in a completely controlled fashion, under her own terms, at home. She had gone out to dinner with friends, come home, gotten ready for bed, and then had a heart attack and died very quickly in her own bedroom. I miss her still. She was smart and strong and fiercely independent, a fantastic role model for me.

Uncle Julius
. The circumstances under which I was not allowed to know Uncle Julius until I reached my late teens are stupid and petty and mystifying. Thankfully, eventually, he came back into the family and we all were able to enjoy his company before he finally died. He loved me and spoiled me, always taking me aside to give me extra money, or special things that had belonged to his wife, whom I never met. He was mischievous and funny, and very sweet. Not as bear-like as his brother, but just as deaf. My sign language was a little better by the time I got to know him, so we were able to communicate fairly well. He put me through college, an act of tremendous generosity considering the way he had been excommunicated from his family for so long.

Emma. My sweet kitty, who turned into a raving monster during the last few years of her life. You couldn’t pet her without a wild look coming into her eye and the teeth coming down on your hand, but I don’t think she meant it, really. She was all grey, a very pretty cat. I picked her up in college and kept her with me through all that moving. She came down with diabetes and kidney disease, and managed to sneak out of the house just before we moved away, presumably to go off and die somewhere quietly. I was overwhelmed with a 2-year-old and a newborn, not to mention unbearable financial stress and what amounted to an eviction from our apartment, so I never quite processed this departure.

Bampi. My mother’s mother was the quintessential cookie-baking grandmother. We never quite connected, but I knew she loved me and I loved her back. She lived for years in a nursing home and I felt tremendous guilt about not spending more time with her. The day she was dying, the nursing home called my mother, but she could not or would not go to her side. My cousin Janie and I met in her room – I had baby Eli with me in his little car seat. We sat in the room and told stories and just waited while Bampi, already heavily dosed with morphine and unaware of her surroundings, slowly melted away. She was 98 years old.

Harpo. Harpo was our angel cat who only lived three years before being hit by a car in Salem, Massachusetts, outside my sister’s house where we were house-sitting for the summer. The best cat EVER, was Harpo. Smart and funny and much too young to die. We took him up to my dad’s house to bury him in the garden, and a local Episcopal priest actually agreed to come out and perform a funeral with us. We sang “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and I buried him in my favorite sweatshirt. He was a love.

Polly. My stepmother died on May 30, 2001, just a few weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. I’m not sure I can write any more about this today. No single loss has been so hard as this one.

Lee. I found out about Lee in the middle of labor. Whatever it was that prompted me to answer my cell phone while trying to cope with a 9 pound 4 ounce baby making its way through my vaginal canal found me standing naked in the hallway clutching that same phone and crying hysterically while my friend David delivered the news. He died too fast, and too meaninglessly, shutting himself off from his friends, refusing to reach out to any of us, and refusing the treatment available to him which would have allowed him a much longer and healthier life for years if not decades. Instead my idiotic, wonderful, sweet college friend died very, very swiftly of AIDS. I got in the shower, cried some more, shook it off, grabbed a towel, and went back into my bedroom to push out a baby, after first propping up a picture of Lee on the nightstand. I think maybe there’s a little bit of Lee in Javier.

Dee. Brian’s grandmother fought valiantly against heart disease, coping all the while with shingles and plenty of other aches and pains. This went on for all the years I knew her, and she held up like the Texas broad she was – always gracious, always perfectly coiffed and manicured, even in her hospital bed. I loved Dee, she was a straight-shooter, with a wicked sense of humor and a sharp tongue, although she was very kind and welcoming to me. She died at home in her chair last January, and we buried her ashes on the ranch, next to her son and her first husband.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Diorama, Cha Cha Cha

Somehow I survived the Great Diorama Event of 2005. There will be more dioramas to come, but this was the first diorama, and as such caused a great wave of anxiety to come crashing over my head which lasted from the moment it was casually mentioned (in August, at the open house), until last Thursday night when all the dioramas were revealed to the parents at PTA Night, and I could heave a great sigh of relief that Jack’s diorama was neither a) so obviously and completely created by an adult that all the other people in the room were snickering in disapproval nor b) so totally and utterly crappy that everyone passed it by sadly, shaking their heads, hoping the poor kid didn’t feel too bad about his lousy diorama which his parents obviously didn’t help him with at all. Whew! We were plumb in the middle, which was what I was going for. Plumb in the middle, mind you, involved a $40 shopping trip to the craft store and a five-hour session last weekend of gluing, taping, and other fine motor skills which do not come so easily to yours truly. It also involved a lot of tongue-biting in the face of Jack’s hasty and poorly thought out coloring job. Between the two of us we did a downright mediocre job, and I’m mighty proud.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I hate these and yet am strangely compelled by them. Sorry.

I found it on Melly's other blog. I can't give you the url. So there.




There were Sarahs on both sides. Mostly I was named for my grandfather’s favorite sister, Sarah.




The one I’m picking my nose with.


Last night. Whatever, it’s that time of the month.


I don’t dislike it.




Picking my nose with this finger.


CD? Shelf?


Yes. Then at least I’d have a friend.






I kill bunnies.


New York City. Skyscrapers, and everything.


Much too much.


I didn’t really have a favorite toy. I liked playing outside.


I don’t think any classes are useless. Some teachers, however…




Yeah, right.


I’m not that kind of girl.


The ability to mix a drink, change a diaper, give a good foot rub, and rock me ALL NIGHT LONG.


When I was little people called me “Sarah Boo.” I hated it.


Maybe for money. But I wouldn’t pay to do it.


Untie? You mean like laces? I don’t have shoes with laces. I live in Texas.


I have strong, pointy teeth.


Whatever you have in that bowl, there.


8 ½


Greens and blues.


Wait, where did my pointy teeth go?


All the dead people. Why did you have to bring that up? Now I’m crying again.


And Pierre said, “I don’t care.”


A truck backing up outside. The AC. A dog barking. My brain slowly draining out of my skull.


A Nutter Butter cookie. That was breakfast. Your ice cream looks good.


One of the fathers of some of my children.


Drink-mixing ability.


With all my heart.


I was fine until you reminded me of all the dead people who I miss and how little I’ve had to eat. Now I’m sad and hungry.


They make drinks without alcohol?












2 half, 3 step.




Anything Italian, anything Japanese, pretty much anything, actually. Like your ice cream, for example.


The Life Aquatic.


Thanksgiving. It’s all about the food.






Air kisses.






I gave up books right around kid #3. I read the New Yorker as I’m falling asleep…


It’s clear plastic.


Balloon Lagoon.


I couldn’t get the fucking thing to work. Technology pisses me off sometimes. Remember when you used to plug a thing into the wall and press “On” and it would work??? Jesus.


Food cooking.


Allison always wakes me up. Sometimes I think of muzzling her. Then I go kill a bunny.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Same Old Same Old

Oh, what can I tell you.

It feels like everything and nothing is happening all at once. The hurricane didn't touch us, or maybe it whispered in our ears, maybe the trees swayed a little more forcefully than they normally do, but not a drop of rain fell, not a single power line came down, there was no need for the five 12-packs of bottled water that now languish in the living room. Austin is full of people, though, seeking shelter from both storms. Friday night we went out to dinner with friends to a Chinese restaurant on the north side of town (fantastic, by the way -- I've finally eaten a good Chinese meal in Austin) which was packed to the gills with Houston folks. One guy told me he had driven for 16 hours, which meant he left home at 3 in the morning or so, and had just pulled in for dinner. It's usually a 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive.

In the middle of all of this my father was outfitted with a shiny new pacemaker. Seems to be a growing trend in my family. Both my parents now sport one, which I guess means I'm a likely candidate down the road, unless they come up with something even better by the time I'm eligible. He's fine, it's no big deal, but somehow it is a big deal, too. Parents, know what I'm talking about. All that jazz.

And somewhere in D.C. my sister is maybe in jail tonight, having gone there with the intent of doing civil disobedience and getting arrested. There was no plan for a phone-call chain, so I have no idea what's happening. Hopefully it all went well and she got herself arrested, as planned.

People call and say "how are you? what's new?" and again I have this feeling: Everything. Nothing.

We're having record-breaking heat. I'm working. My printer is on the fritz again. We had pasta for dinner. All hell is breaking loose in the world.

What's new with you?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Here She Comes

Lovely Rita's on her way. I went to the supermarket last night to stock up, along with 75 million other people. The stockers were coming into the store with forklifts of water, and watching bemused while throngs of people descended upon them, unloading the packs of bottles before they could get them onto the shelves. There wasn't a single D battery to be found in the store, and I didn't have the propane tanks to refill, so we may be completely out of propane. Hopefully the gas will stay on, even if we lose the electricity. It's a little exhausting, contemplating the arrival of another hurricane, but at least we're not down in Galveston or Corpus. My friend Sharon and family packed up and left League City and headed for a hotel in Waco yesterday. I hope they get to return to a dry house. Brian's grandmother is safe in San Antonio. Our friend Kathleen was supposed to have a gallery showing this weekend in Galveston. Her paintings are still there, in the gallery. Watercolors. Who knows what will become of them. It's weird having this much warning, this much waiting. Strange to look out the window at a perfectly calm, blue-sky day, and think about that monster storm churning in the Gulf, heading straight for us.

Hold on to your hats, everyone!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

The second season of Nip/Tuck is now out on DVD, and we've been happily putting the babies to bed, grabbing our pints of ice cream*, and settling down on the couch for long stints of TV goodness. I know of no other show on television that has such a sublime combination of the profound and the schlocky, the comedy, the drama, the soap opera. It's sex and death, every single episode. Sex and death. Plus Famke Janssen!

Tonight, the famous Uchi, finally. I've been waiting to go to this restaurant for months now, and tonight's the night! A farewell party for Jason, who is going off to the wilds of California and leaving us here, crying in our sake.

*This pint of Cherry Garcia was shamefully short on cherries; I may need to send a disgruntled letter. Is it a short-changing trend, or just a bad pint? Shame on you, Ben and Jerry.

Friday, September 09, 2005


It's hard not to point fingers and lay blame right now. It's impossible to hear the stories of trauma, violence, victimization, neglect, and death, and not get angry. I finally was forwarded the email (you can read it here on the daily Kos) which is making the rounds, essentially accusing the mayor and governor of dropping the ball, and claiming the president and the dept. of Homeland Security to be faultless, a sort of chain-of-command argument which, under the circumstances of Katrina, frankly doesn't hold water, if you'll forgive the expression.

The sermon last Sunday was a bit disjointed, as was to be expected from our Louisiana-native priest. He talked about grief, and we are surely all grieving, and he talked about blame, and we are surely all blaming. It's in our nature to do so. I think what makes this whole thing so difficult, in part, is that this is not the story we want to tell ourselves about ourselves, and about our country. We want the story of people pulling together, not turning on each other, and while it's true that a tremendous amount of people pulled together, saved each other, got out, and survived, it is also true that we failed each other in so many ways, on so many levels. The thought of a hospital evacuation having to halt due to sniper fire still leaves me feeling cold and numb.

People across the country are pointing fingers at the Feds, the mayor, the governor, even the victims themselves. Here in Austin, people (at least on one email list I subscribe to) are getting seriously riled up about the Red Cross's handling of the volunteer effort, the lack of efficiency, the people wanting to help but being turned away, the inability to find places to take donations. My own email suggesting patience while the Red Cross tries to respond to the overwhelming number of would-be volunteers and donors was met with hostility. I backed quietly away from that argument; this is not the time. People are angry, frustrated, grieving, blaming, even blaming the relief organization, so determined are they to find fault and point fingers.

The second reading on Sunday was from Romans 12:9-21, and included the famous "Vengeance is mine..." quotation, but ended with an even more powerful statement, one that has stayed with me all week.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

I'm doing what I can. There is much to be done here in Austin for our 5,000 or so new residents. Some of them will be staying permanently, some moving on. The school-age kids have orientation today and will start full-time in the Austin public schools on Monday. I'm heading back over to the Red Cross tomorrow to sign up for another shift at the Convention Center. I want to find Dotty, and Curtis, and David, and baby Gerald. I want to see how the family of 24 is doing. This time I'll fill my pockets with trinkets for the kids, and I'll bring in some magazines for the adults to read.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers."

Monday, September 05, 2005


“When can I go to school?” was the first thing 12-year-old Curtis said to me, after he’d stepped off the bus and I had taken his bag. Not “where are the cots?” or “do you have any water?” The second question was “do they have basketball teams here?”

It was a long night, I carried a lot of bags and babies, and heard a lot of horror stories. Took a lot of people to triage, people with swollen feet they could barely walk on, people in insulin shock, people severely dehydrated. Women came in who had been gang raped in the Superdome. Dotty and Ron told me of their two nights spent on the floor in the shopping mall, which became overrun by looters and where they feared for their safety and their lives. She saw a woman who had been beaten to death with her own wheelchair, babies dying, bodies in dumpsters.

I listened.

People got off the bus tired, drunk, dazed, angry, scared. Some were happy to be there. Many were grateful, saying that we were the first people who had treated them with any kindness in days. There were groups of 24 who had stayed together all the way, groups of 12, groups of 13. They had suitcases and garbage bags full of clothes and shoes, their only remaining possessions. Some were barefoot.

Baby Gerald, five months old, was there with his mother, brother David, and sisters Kiere and Lisa, all of them tired and dirty, stinking of urine and wanting beds. David got a new asthma inhaler and a prescription for antibiotics for his brewing ear infection while I held sleeping Gerald, a perfect, fat little cherub, totally oblivious to the chaos around him. The family ate their burgers and fries and the mom gave out their medical history. When I had finally gotten that family to registration, I needed a new shirt. They would soon have showers and clean clothes, but who knows how long it would be before they had beds, walls, privacy, normalcy.

Between midnight and 8 a.m. Sunday we unloaded probably 60 Metro busses with 30 people on each one. As I was leaving, we heard of three more planes coming in with 575 more. More came throughout the day. And today there are signs up still on the highways, directing refugees to the Convention Center. When all is said and done, we’ll have 7,000 refugees in Austin needing help, jobs, schools, money, homes, cars, child care, and comfort. There’s so much work still to do. Happy Labor Day.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Music Meme

It's Meme Week in the Big City! Somebody STOP ME!

Here's how this one works: go to Music Outfitters, type the year of your high school graduation into the search function, select the top 100 most popular songs, cut and paste it into your blog and then bold the ones you like, strike out the ones you hate, and leave alone the ones you don't care about or don't know. Tim sent me this, having come across it on drublood.

Guess the year:

1. Careless Whisper, Wham!
2. Like A Virgin, Madonna I don't know, I can take her or leave her, but this song is so funny, "touched" is so obviously substituted for "fucked," that I'll bold it for sentimental reasons.
3. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham! I've lightened up on George M. & co. since back then. I hated Wham! with a passion in high school, but now I tolerate it for the most part...except for this song, which just gets right under my skin.
4. I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner
5. I Feel For You, Chaka Khan Uh huh. Best song of the top 100 I'd say.
6. Out Of Touch, Daryl Hall and John Oates
7. Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears I never want to hear this again, for as long as I live.
8. Money For Nothing, Dire Straits
9. Crazy For You, Madonna
10. Take On Me, A-Ha Take me on. Take on me. Was it a grammatical exercise, or what?
11. Everytime You Go Away, Paul Young Utter dreck. Made funnier since the book of Mondigreens came out, Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy, with the line "...You take a piece of meat with you."
12. Easy Lover, Phil Collins and Philip Bailey
13. Can't Fight This Feeling, REO Speedwagon
14. We Built This City, Starship On rock and roll? Seriously? Wow.
15. The Power Of Love, Huey Lewis and The News
16. Don't You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds
17. Cherish, Kool and The Gang
18. St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion), John Parr
19. The Heat Is On, Glenn Frey Bad, bad, bad.
20. We Are The World, U.S.A. For Africa This song plagued anyone unfortunate to be alive with working ear drums this year, and the year after -- I think it was released at Christmas-time, but I could be wrong. It followed us everywhere. It was piped into our houses, our supermarkets, our playgrounds, our coffins.
21. Shout, Tears For Fears
22. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder What the hell happened to Stevie?
23. Saving All My Love For You, Whitney Houston
24. Heaven, Bryan Adams
25. Everything She Wants, Wham!
26. Cool It Now, New Edition
27. Miami Vice Theme, Jan Hammer
28. Lover Boy, Billy Ocean
29. Lover Girl, Teena Marie (weird, huh? I don't remember either of them.)
30. You Belong To The City, Glenn Frey You belong in the trash.
31. Oh Sheila, Ready For The World
32. Rhythm Of The Night, Debarge
33. One More Night, Phil Collins
34. Sea Of Love, Honeydrippers
35. A View To A Kill, Duran Duran
36. The Wild Boys, Duran Duran
37. You're The Inspiration, Chicago Chicago, Foreigner, this was the year of the truly sucky supergroups that would not fucking go away.
38. Neutron Dance, Pointer Sisters
39. We Belong, Pat Benatar Come on, you know you love it.
40. Nightshift, Commodores
41. Things Can Only Get Better, Howard Jones whoa oh ohohoh whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh...great lyrics.
42. All I Need, Jack Wagner ...are some earplugs.
43. Freeway Of Love, Aretha Franklin Maybe Stevie and Aretha were playing an elaborate practical joke on us all.
44. Never Surrender, Corey Hart
45. Sussudio, Phil Collins What did it mean? Who gives a shit?
46. Strut, Sheena Easton
47. You Give Good Love, Whitney Houston
48. The Search Is Over, Survivor
49. Missing You, Diana Ross
50. Separate Lives, Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
51. Raspberry Beret, Prince and The Revolution
52. Suddenly, Billy Ocean
53. The Boys Of Summer, Don Henley
54. One Night In Bangkok, Murray Head This song is so...odd. But sort of endearing.
55. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, Sting
56. Obsession, Animotion
57. We Don't Need Another Hero, Tina Turner
58. Material Girl, Madonna
59. Better Be Good To Me, Tina Turner
60. Head Over Heels, Tears For Fears
61. Axel F, Harold Faltermeyer
62. Smooth Operator, Sade
63. In My House, Mary Jane Girls
64. Don't Lose My Number, Phil Collins
65. All Through The Night, Cyndi Lauper
66. Run To You, Bryan Adams
67. Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen
68. Voices Carry, 'Til Tuesday
69. Misled, Kool and The Gang
70. Would I Lie To You?, Eurythmics
71. Be Near Me, ABC
72. No More Lonely Nights, Paul McCartney
73. I Can't Hold Back, Survivor
74. Summer Of '69, Bryan Adams
75. Walking On Sunshine, Katrina and The Waves
76. Freedom, Wham!
77. Too Late For Goodbyes, Julian Lennon
78. Valotte, Julian Lennon
79. Some Like It Hot, Power Station
80. Solid, Ashford and Simpson
81. Angel, Madonna
82. I'm On Fire, Bruce Springsteen Bruce at his smokiest, achiest best.
83. Method Of Modern Love, Daryl Hall and John Oates
84. Lay Your Hands On Me, Thompson Twins
85. Who's Holding Donna Now, Debarge
86. Lonely Ol' Night, John Cougar Mellencamp I loved him back in the Cougar days.
87. What About Love, Heart
88. California Girls, David Lee Roth
89. Fresh, Kool and The Gang
90. Do What You Do, Jermaine Jackson
91. Jungle Of Love, The Time
92. Born In The USA, Bruce Springsteen
93. Private Dancer, Tina Turner
94. Who's Zoomin' Who, Aretha Franklin Oh, Aretha. Why?
95. Fortress Around Your Heart, Sting
96. Penny Lover, Lionel Richie
97. All She Wants To Do Is Dance, Don Henley
98. Dress You Up, Madonna
99. Sentimental Street, Night Ranger
100. Sugar Walls, Sheena Easton

1985, a very, very bad year indeed. I think it's best if we just forget the 80s, and move on already. I could have added even more strikethroughs, but enough already. I wasn't listening to the radio that year, anyway, so I only had to contend with most of this crap when I went out in public. I remember being mostly obsessed with the Talking Heads (not ONE song on this list???), my boyfriend's band and some other local Boston bands long since forgotten, The Clash, The Police, The B-52s, and Elvis Costello.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I want my Meme!

Jodi, my prom queen, your meme tag is my command:

7 things I plan to do before I die:
1) Learn to speak Spanish, at least passably well.
2) Take a vacation that lasts more than 5 days and does not include any work. Preferably, do this every year.
3) See the Grand Canyon.
4) Buy some horses and ride them a lot.
5) Oh god, the cliché: finish my screenplay(s) and television pilot(s). Jesus. Now you know.
6) Take a nap.
7) Forgive.

7 things I can do:
1) Cook.
2) Run a business, take care of five kids, fry it up in a pan, and never, never, never let him forget he’s a man.
3) Sing almost 3 octaves. Maybe all 3 on a good day, it’s been a while.
4) Navigate. I’m good with maps.
5) Get pregnant. Yes, indeedy!.
6) Stay calm.
7) Change a tire. Well, I did it ONCE! I think that was 20 years ago. I'm sure I could do it again if I had to...

7 things I cannot do:
1) Snap.
2) Bake cookies, except for Toll House cookies. I really suck at the cookie thing.
3) Kill a bug. Especially a big bug, or a flying bug, or the dreaded big flying bug combo.
4) Keep my mouth shut.
5) Snorkel.
6) Drive a stick shift.
7) Touch my nose with my tongue.

7 things that attract me to other people:
1) Pretty eyes.
2) Strong but not overly muscular build.
3) Wit.
4) Big smile, easy laugh.
5) Kindness.
6) Creativity – whether it’s music, writing, painting, photography, or something else.
7) Big feet.

7 things that I say most often:
1) I don’t know.
2) I didn’t do it.
3) God DAMN it.
4) What?
5) Where are/is my keys/sunglasses/babies/debit card?
6) Dinner’s ready!
7) I brought you into this world, and I can TAKE YOU OUT.

7 celebrity crushes:
1) John Cusack
2) Robert Mitchum
3) Charlize Theron
4) Johnny Depp
5) Tinky Winky
6) Gary Sinise
7) Russell Crowe. I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

7 people I want to do this (anyone not on the list who'd like to play is invited, and no one I've tagged should feel obligated):
1) Jody
2) Mrs Otto
3) Tim
4) Yvonne
5) C. Monks
6) Shelley
7) Lauren

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Spoiled Rotten

I was there at the beginning of Six Feet Under, hooked like a fish from the very first episode, but somewhere along the way HBO (cable, actually) became a luxury we could not afford, and so a few seasons have come and gone without my viewing. Not to worry, I told myself, it will all come out on DVD, and then I can watch the episodes in a feverish, glazed-over state, taking breaks only for the bathroom and to heat up a frozen chicken pot pie. I love to watch TV that way -- we watched the entire first season of Nip/Tuck in a matter of 2 days, sitting in a stupor on the couch, forcing the kids to make their own meals and drive themselves to and from school. Besides, it was a great way to avoid actually conversing with my mother, who was here for a visit at that time.

So, yes. There are three or four mostly unwatched seasons out there for me to digest at my leisure, and I was scrupulously careful to avoid any mention of the grand finale last week. Which is why I was horrified when last night, while innocently reading the New Yorker in bed (go on, make fun of me, but that's what I do for entertainment), suddenly a spoiler appeared, right there in the middle of the article, what do I learn but that Nathan is dead. Which, actually, was not too much of a shock, even if it was information I'd rather not have had thrown in my face. But then AGAIN, today, while reading the fantabulous Heather Havrilesky, another more shocking spoiler rears its ugly head. Heather, she's usually so careful with the warnings. But not today.

Please, for the love of everything HBOly, don't tell me anything else!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Oh. Ow.

So, I've got this stiff neck thing happening. It's that horrible feeling where you can't turn your neck to look over your shoulder when you're driving the car which makes changing lanes extremely hazardous to your health. Furthermore, I have an odd pain just under my ribcage, mostly on the right, but now sort of gravitating over to the left, that causes me to say "oh!" and "ow!" at odd intervals and to no one in particular. I'm feeling a little crazy this morning, what with all the aches and pain. There's also the early warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, which I'm trying to ignore, because if it explodes into full-blown carpal tunnel syndrome, I'm pretty much screwed as far as my business goes. I think that about sums up my health complaints.

But enough about me, let's talk about my KIDS! Jack and Eli have started school in my neighborhood, and a fine, fine school it is. Eli is now officially a kindergardener, Jack is in 2nd grade, each of them already has a best friend, all is right with the universe. Eli, as usual, is a big hit with the ladies, although with any attention from them he looks very much like he would like to be swallowed up by the floor -- especially if I'm anywhere nearby to witness it.

Javi or Javy or Javier (maybe I should conduct a poll?) is doing great at his new day care, and the girls love it there as well, and will be starting full-time next week, praise Jesus. Their new obsession is Teletubbies ("tebbytubby! tebbytubby!"), favorite food is PB&J, favorite pastime is climbing like monkeys all over everything. Brian caught them on the piano just a few days ago, playing the keys with their feet.

It's hot here, I'm swamped with work, my body hurts, and although I yearn to be doing just a spec of something creative and personal, I find it next to impossible to carve out time for this little experiment. Still, I think things will get better now that the kids are occupied more of the time, so I'll try to check in more often. It's good for me, although has little or no effect on this weird ribcage pain. Ow.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Computer, She Has Crashed

Honestly, people. I am TRYING here. I was posting every day, even. But technology has turned against me. Thank god for this old workhorse desktop computer -- computer which I shunned and scorned and spurned! Which I pratically gave away to my children! But now I've come crawling back, and at least I've got something to work on while the other machine is in the shop, because that thing is DEAD, as dead as any speck of affection and good will I ever felt towards Tom Cruise. As dead as the rat Brian killed with his bare hands in our back yard. As dead as the same rat still was when it ended up getting tossed by the trash guys NOT into the garbage truck, but back onto the street, where I nearly stepped on it when I got out of my car.

Actually, I've got something even better than that old thing, which is a fabulous, glitzy, beautiful, fancy-schmancy laptop, even more shiny and exciting than my one in the shop. This new puppy, you could set it up in your living room and watch DVDs on it, you could. It's practically the size of a plasma TV. I'll be working on it soon enough, and then I have a feeling I'm going to be very, very spoiled, and not want to part with it. Meanwhile, I've been eyeing it furtively from across the room as it displays its glorious screensaver and plays its pretty music. Is this some dastardly trick that the computer store is playing on me? Trying to get me to fall in love with the loaner?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

My Son, the Mafioso

Jack: Mom, when I grow up, I want to be President.

Me: Well, that's quite a goal! But if you put your mind to it, I'm sure you can become president...

Jack: ...President of an Italian organization!

Me: Oh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's The I-Can't-Stop-Hyphenating-Shit Post!

Well, hey there! Have I mentioned my crazy mother? It’s on my mind these days after yet another visit-followed-by-a-serious-letter special combo platter. Is your mother more interfering, advice-giving, meddling, worrying, nagging, needling, and bullying than mine? Really? Prove it!

Have I mentioned that she is a psychotherapist and therefore Knows More Than God? Uh huh. Yep, we’re a mess down here in Texas, and there’s only one cowgirl smart enough, strong enough, and in possession of enough free time (conveniently during the winter months) to save us! Wow, Mom! Thanks for the offer! But seriously, leave me the fuck alone! My mom, in all of her crippling anxiety (and where did that come from? She wasn’t like that when I was a child, I don’t think) seriously thinks that we are doomed. And I mean doomed, like, there’s no hope for us if we don’t get her specialized round-the-clock, hey-I’m-a-relative, but-I-can-practice-psychotherapy-on-you-anyway, boundary-issues-don’t-scare-me treatment.


I love her, really, but sometimes I forget why.

P.S. Please send your phone to Frankie.

Monday, July 25, 2005

FrankiePants News Flash

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled boring reports of drunken parenting to request help for Frankie, a former coworker's nephew who was recently diagnosed with mucopolysaccharide III Type A or Sanfilippo Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder.

Frankie is lacking a key enzyme. Without treatment, Frankie would lose the ability to walk and talk. Life expectancy for a child suffering from Sanfilippo is 10-15 years of age.

Frankie is living at Duke Medical Center for about six months with his parents while undergoing an umbilical stem cell transplant, chemotherapy, and recovery.

The family is working w/ COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) to assist them with fundraising. COTA has given Frankie's family a goal to reach of $85,000 to assist with all of his transplant and treatment needs.

This is where YOU come in, my readership of 7! Frankie's aunt Lauren will be collecting cell phones, even/especially NON-WORKING ones, from now until NOVEMBER 1, 2005. For each cell phone she turns in, $3.00 gets contributed to Frankie's fund. If you have a cell phone to donate, please contact me via email, and I will send you the mailing address.

If you don't have a cell phone to donate, but you still want to help out, you can make a donation directly to COTA on behalf of Frankie. Please note that ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Donations can be made to Frankie's fund through his link on the COTA web site (Frankie's Fund) or mailed directly to COTA at

2501 COTA Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403.

When mailing in a donation to COTA, please make sure to write "Frankie D" in the memo field of your check.

Thanks for all your help!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Okay, So it Came out in 2000, So Sue Me

Finally watched State and Main last night, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had been bracing myself for some heavy-duty Mamet-style dialogue, which reminds me of the horrors of acting classes in the 1990s, among other atrocities. But truthfully it was hysterically funny and not terribly choppy, with lots of great throaway lines ("Did you see the gross for Ghandi II?"). Great script, great cast. The only weak link seems to be Sarah Jessica Parker, who just cries and vamps, and seems out of her league. I highly recommend it (for those of you who are even lamer and slower to get to movies than I am).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

So Ronery and Sadry Arone

This week is, without a doubt, the hardest I have ever worked at any job, but I'm just trying to keep the customer satisfied, and keep my ass from getting fired (again).

Things were already slipping further and further behind, and then came the trip to New York. Did I mention the trip to New York? I didn't? Possibly that's because I haven't been mentioning much of anything at all -- just haven't had the blog fever of late.

We spent two days in the Catskills for a family reunion of my very Jewish family in a very Italian-American resort. It was certainly entertaining to walk down by the pool for a good dose of tattoos and gold chains and very, very, very big hair. I would say there were a lot more Anthonys than Jacobs running around, but we did our best to keep the place diversified. I have a great family, and they took it all in stride.

We then drove down to the city for 24 hours before flying back to Texas. My sister the bellydancer (no, really!) took us out for Cuban food that night, then in the morning we headed for downtown Brooklyn and breakfast at Junior's (eggs benedict). We then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge...this was my first time ever doing this. How it took me so long before setting foot on that bridge is beyond me, considering all the years I lived in New York. It was the highlight of the trip. We walked across lower Manhattan to the Village, where we dined with the famous, fabulous Jodi at the Village Natural. Then did a little poking around inside ABC Carpet, before catching a cab back to my sister's place in Brooklyn, retrieving my rental car with the $45.00 (!!!) parking ticket, and heading back to La Guardia. It was wonderful and heart-wrenching all at once to be back in New York -- the best city on earth, and the place I would be if the planets would only align properly and make me a millionaire. For now, I'll have to settle for annual family reunions.

Anyway, came back home to an even greater work crisis, and I've been strapped down to my computer chair ever since, although the pace is finally letting up. For several days in a row I was working until 12:30 or 1 a.m., going to bed, getting up at 6:30, getting to work at 7:30 or 8, working until 6 p.m., breaking until 8:30 p.m., working until 12:30 or 1 a.m......yowza.

Took the night off last night for the first time and we watched Team America: World Police, which was so funny it made me cry. Trey Parker is my hero.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sea Change, My Ass

What was that crap all about? Why didn't somebody SLAP ME.

I've been sick as a dog for going on four days now*, my mother arrived a complete, limping wreck and had to plied with narcotics and muscle relaxants for two days in order to recover, just in time to return home. After depleting my carefully hoarded supply of prescription drugs, she took two of my precious offspring away on a plane without me and off into the wilds of Boston traffic and onto Swan boats and beaches and rotaries and God knows where else and really I'm FINE with that. Just fine.

I had to miss the Keren Ann concert due to a combination of me being sick and my mother being totally stoned. We were out at a farewell party for my neighbors (see list of shitty things below) when it finally dawned on me, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, that my romantic night out was not happening. I actually went table to table, pitching my poor little Keren Ann tickets to happy looking couples, who all regarded me with a weird combination of horror and pity, until I finally slunk away to the front desk of Central Market and asked the guy to try to give them away for me. I hope someone picked them up and had a good time. Hey! You did? It was on me. No really, don't thank me. I'm just glad someone was able to go. The whole failed attempt at giving stuff away was so humiliating that I went back to the playground through the parking lot so I would not have to see those people, with their pitying faces, ever again.

In other shitty news, my favorite people in the neighborhood are leaving not just the neighborhood but the country. I can't even come up with anything more to say about that except: totally shitty.

So let's recap:

1) Unspeakably sick.
2) Unpleasant visit with frail, aging mother who then left with two of my kids in tow.
3) No fabulous night out date after all.
4) Best friends leaving forever.

Everything is SO GREAT!

*I'd tell you the gorey details, in fact I feel strangely compelled to, but I once read a post by Jodi admonishing all who choose to reveal certain intimate details about their illnesses, and since Jodi is my Prom Queen, I do whatever she says. (Sort of. If you click the above link, take careful note of the picture on the right. Looks just like my gorey details!)

UPDATE: A guy just came to my door offering a good deal on steaks. Hey, my luck might be changing! Would you buy a steak that just fell off a truck?

SECOND UPDATE: The magnanimous Jodi took busy time out from grooming her cat and her DOG, searched through her archives for me, and came up with this post. I hope she'll forgive me for breaking her rules, and not force me to eat ten pounds of spicy eggplant when we dine together in July.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Day Care

I should be used to it by now, the crying. On Jack's first day ever, way back when, I left him at that day care center bawling his eyes out, drove straight to work, marched into my boss's office, shut the door, and burst into tears. It was heart wrenching, which was exactly what Jack wanted it to be, for me. But he quickly got used to the place and eventually stopped the show of tears every morning. The truth was, he loved it there, and he and I both knew it. Javy, who is the Most Unflappable Baby on the Planet, never shed a single tear. It's only now that he has turned two and feels the need to demonstrate some degree of willfulness that he will occasionally lie down on the floor and sob in protest when I leave him. Even Eli adjusted pretty quickly to the whole day care thing and hardly ever cried when I dropped him off.

And I guess I'm a little less susceptible to it now. I'm certainly not crying as I write this, just like I'm pretty sure the babies aren't crying any more. And also, don't get me wrong here, I love day care. I love dropping my kids off somewhere where there are other kids and grown ups and things to do that are different from the things to do at home. I love being able to stop by my house and take a shower or do the dishes or have a cup of coffee and not be instantly tackled and needed and distracted into child care instead of whatever the hell it was I went home for. I love letting someone else change their diapers and play with them and otherwise entertain them so I can just be myself for a change, so I can be ALONE for a change.

It's been a week, now. They're going for two half-days and two full-days each week until the end of August, when it will be full-time. I know they're having a good time there, I like the teachers, the classrooms, the outside play spaces, it's all good. But Lordy, I hate leaving my babies in tears.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sea Change

It's been a rough couple of weeks, full of illness and bad neighbors and a negative cash flow. Friday I was running an errand, babies in the car with me, rather far from home, when my car started to pulsate and my check engine light began to flash. My heart sank. I drove it to the dealer, afraid every second that it would die on me or blow up before I made it there, pulled under the service canopy, and got out.

Jesse was nice, took my information, asked if I had an extended warranty, told me it would cost me $85 just to do a diagnostic on a check engine light, but they would take that out of the total bill. I told him I had no warranty. He sat for a long time in the driver's seat, listening to the motor. He said they were too busy to look at it until Monday, and he got me a ride home in the Courtesy Van, driven by the world's slowest driver who spoke no English.

That was my morning. I was a wreck. Went to work in the afternoon, came home to make dinner for the babies. At 5:30 the phone rang: Jesse. Do you want the good news, or the bad news? I said give me the bad news first. He said, just kidding, there is no bad news. You had some fuel injectors go out, we replaced them, and everything was covered under your extended warranty. My what? You have an extended warranty, it's in the system, and you're good to go. No $85 charge? I asked, incredulous at my good luck. Nope. When do you close? We're here til 7. So, off to the dealer, picked up my happy car, went out for a celebratory dinner, home to bed, and woke up to the sound of B. puking his guts out at 4 in the morning. So, I guess it wasn't a sea change for everyone. But still, I'm taking it as a sign.

B. spent the day in bed yesterday, so it was a long day for me, what with all the feeding and cleaning and nursing and walks to the park and diaper changes and baths and more feeding and preparing of food and breaking up of fist fights. I fell into bed at the end of the day, exhausted, and put on the radio to help me to sleep.

Keren Ann (warning: audio link) came on the radio, and the DJ offered tickets to the 6th and 7th callers to see her next Saturday night. I picked up the phone.

Mom will be here next weekend which means the babysitting issue is all taken care of. Brian's better today, and I'm going to try to get some work done.

I'm calling this a sea change, a change in the weather, a seismic shift.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Things I Don't Love About the Weaning Process, #296

Having the neighbors comment on my expanding...tracts of land. Really? They're bigger? No kidding. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

It's day two of day care, very exciting stuff, but not the most comfortable experience for me or my acreage. I'm just eliminating the lunchtime feeding, so it really shouldn't be quite so PRONOUNCED.

Just please, whatever you do, DO NOT HUG ME.


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Camarones En Chipotle

If, dear reader, you have not figured out yet that for me it's ALL ABOUT FOOD, then you haven't been reading very carefully.

So listen: it's ALL ABOUT FOOD.

And tonight I had a kick-ass dinner at this place:

Guava Margarita
Camarones en Chipotle
Mexican Salad with Jicama
Tres Leches with mango sauce

I mean, come on. Who can be sad in the face of such wonderful food? Can I tell you? The shrimp? Perfect. Best shrimp I've had since coming to Texas, in fact.

On a side note, the girls have developed the very annoying habit of climbing out of their restaurant high chairs almost the instant they are placed (and yes, strapped) into them. They aren't able to perform this neat little trick at home, where they are restrained by both belt and tray, but restaurant high chairs are a breeze for my little Houdinis to climb out of. They would so much rather be hopping up onto the table so they can stick their paws into the hot sauce, or knock over your drink, than to sit still in their chairs and, God forbid, be fed something delicious like a tortilla spread with beans and rice and nicely rolled into a little taco. The boys NEVER, and I mean NEVER wiggled out of their restaurant high chair restraints. Not once, not one of them, never.

I blame their father.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Here...But with Reservations

It's been a not-so-beautiful week in the neighborhood, and I've had to rethink my whole way of dealing (or not dealing) with the world. Not to mention the fact that B. and I have different philosophies on what to keep private, what to keep public, what to disclose, what to withhold. Recent events have startled me into realizing that I might have a tendency to be a bit too trusting, a bit too open. But I also don't want to change what I feel is a fundamentally good way to approach the world and the people around me -- with love and trust. I feel like if you put it out there, it comes back to you. Is that so naive?

It's a struggle.

And having a blog is a struggle, too. B. wants me to make it a private thing, but for me one of the fundamental pleasures of keeping an online journal is its accessability to strangers. I like reading other people's blogs, and I like them to read mine. It's part of the fun of it all, building up a readership. I don't write this thing just for me. I write it for the person who stumbles by, and likes it so much she adds a bookmark so she can come back tomorrow. If I didn't feel that was happening, or could happen, it just wouldn't be worth it to me.

But I have kids, and B., and "anything you say can and will be used against you..."

I just don't know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

For Evah and Evah and Evah

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% Yankee

25% General American English

15% Dixie

10% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

I Think I'm Maybe Back

...just getting my feet wet.

ooh! cold!

Lycopene is good for you!