Sunday, December 30, 2007

Halloween Road Kill

While organizing photos on my computer, I came across some forgotten Halloween photos that I failed to post. My favorite photo of 2007 is the orange blob image. It is of a halloween cake that Nephew received. I don't remember what it looked like before, but it looks pretty mad at having been dropped...

Oh, and that guy in the uniform is not in costume, in case anyone was wondering. He dresses like that all the time. And although it looks like a shakedown was taking place, Nephew did get his candy back from the Chief.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Photos, courtesy of JAY, circa 2004.
All of these were shot from the Denver apartment, a third-floor, low-rise in Capital Hill. Every window had a great view. The snow-on-the-mountains photo is for the transplanted Kansan photographer who asked (begged) for snow a few days ago (I hear the rain on the roof as I upload these photos, grrr), the sunset photo is for the officer of the law who is a connoisseur of sunsets and sunrises (I suppose the 6 to 6 shift supports your habit-imagine having this view every day), and the night time photo is for me and my family who should recognize this view as the one from my toilet (crazy, huh? Like I said, there were no bad views in this apartment, not even from the freakin’ bathroom).

Christmas Morning

Sister called this morning to give us their game plan for the day so we would know when to expect them and cook accordingly. In the background I could hear what sounded like the drum solo part of a concert going on in her living room. Nephew was playing the drum set that Santa had given him for Christmas. As sis made her way through the kitchen and out into the laundry room with the phone, the drumming became less and less pronounced. “He’s frustrated,” she said. “Why?” I asked. “He was watching a Dream Theatre DVD and sat down at the drum set so he could play along with the musicians and when he couldn’t, he dramatically threw himself across the set, proclaiming, “I can’t play like it!” Oh the melancholy-ness of being four years old on Christmas morning and unable to play drums like Mike Portnoy.

Extra holiday bonus material, courtesy of my friend, the conductor of a youth orchestra (it is a rant on Pachelbel):

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pop Art

Hils finally relented and painted one of my most disturbingly favorite images...the Piggly Wiggly. And what's even better, she gave this to me for Christmas. It now graces the very large and formerly blank wall in my office, the one I swore would be home to my subway poster of Miles Davis Kinda Blue. If I turn just the right way in my chair, I am able to look squarely at it (and I do). As a matter of fact, I caught myself gazing very fixedly upon it a number of times throughout the day yesterday. What is even more cool is that the pig is missing one eyebrow. Hils is going to fix it today (over my protestations-a one eyebrowed Piggly Wiggly is more of a conversation starter than a two-eyebrowed Piggly Wiggly). If she must, she'll have to do it in my office as I can't really let it out of my sight...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So Saith Sonic, So Saith the Lord...

Disconcerting new obsession of mine…tater tots. I was just at the Sonic in RBC and ordered a breakfast burrito meal, which consisted of a burrito, a pod of tater tots and a Coke (I can’t believe that I’m even admitting to having eaten these items). Now, for me, any kind of fast food meal must be commenced with the eating of the fried item first. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that fried items just don’t taste as good once they’ve cooled (not to mention the fact that they lose a lot of their crispiness if one doesn’t consume them fresh out of the fryer).

So, I was sitting there alone in my car, eating tater tots and thinking about how good they tasted. I mean, I’m really thinking about how good they tasted, even though I know that they would undoubtedly upset my stomach later in the day (my body no longer likes fried foods). They were so good in fact, I began reading the menu again, looking for other combos that featured tater tots with, or in them. I was aware that there was a southern trend of using tater tots in recipes, such as tater tot topped casseroles and tater tot omelets, but what about something like tater tot fried catfish? It seemed like a natural progression from chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken, right? Wasn’t the whole idea behind chicken fried anything was that you were creating a fried-chicken-like crust around some food product in order to provide a crispy crunch surrounding a moist center? I mean, maybe I was completely wrong about this (and I expect someone to correct me if I am) but I thought that was how it was written in the Bible.

There were no foods on the Sonic menu with tater tots cooked into the main part of the meal, but a number of meals where tater tots played a plum role in the presentation. In fact, all of the meal deals came with such weapons of mass destruction as fries, tots or onion rings (just like Iran, Iraq and North Korea or, what I refer to as the Axis of Fast Food Evil). I was horribly thrilled at their abundance on the menu and at how especially fine the tater tots were tasting at that moment, but I realized that I’d almost finished off the whole tot pod without having taken the first bite of my burrito.

It was so small and cozy down in the bag, I almost hesitated to reach in for fear that I might wake it up from its nap. But, it was a burrito forgodsake! I opened it up, ate the end off of it so as to create a better receptacle for the salsa, doused it and took a bite. It was not as satisfying as the tater tots, but it did its job. With no more tots left, I turned the tot pod up and shook all of the tot grundies into my hand and ate them, because they were crunchy, and good too (so saith the Lord).

Quote of the day: "But, it looked like there were tots in the burrito..."

Reading: Naked by David Sedaris
Listening to: Andrew Bird (specifically, Tea & Thorazine)
Watching: Northern Exposure Season One (when I have time)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sacred Images?

It Could Happen, Part I

This was a little something I put together last year as a joke for the ladies with whom I was working at the time. They both were taking some time off at the holidays, and were leaving me alone in the Tech Services area. At one point, I believe that they considered finding me a sitter...and although I thought about it for the sake of this letter, I was not involved in the stealing of a fish from Broad Street. This may have only been funny to me and about three other people. Please forgive me if you are bored.

My Agenda While Dee and Tallulah Are Away Friday, December 22, 2006

7:30-9:00 Discard books for bookstore; try to get all videos out before 9:00am to avoid being knocked out of way by crazed-VHS-buying-patrons (didn’t they read in the New York Times that VHS is so yesterday?).

9:00-9:25 Collect All Sharpened Pencils.

9:25-10:00 15-Minute Break.

10:00-11:00 Make prank phone calls to all other departments w/in GPL. Also call Bobby Welch from untraceable phone and ask if he’s got Prince Albert in a can.

11:00-12:00 “Borrow” library director’s SUV; steal the six-foot, fiberglass prototype of the Broad Street Big Fish from the bench in front of the Hardin Center just to see if it can be stolen. Leave the premises. Call Bobby Welch back and ask him if he knows where his fish is.

12:00-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1:53 Practice breaking my best-time record on riding book cart down delivery ramp at back door.

1:53-2:27 Explain to the cops that I really work at the library when they arrive after being called on a disturbance involving someone riding a book cart down the delivery ramp at the back door of the library.

2:27-3:30 Practice throwing pencils into ceiling above Tallulah's desk.

3:30 Go home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hit Me Again, Harder This Time

Just got to work and opened up the grant file upon which I was working yesterday and there was NOTHING there. I'm looking around for a camera at this very moment and hoping that someone is going to jump out from behind the door and yell, "punked! The last two weeks have been a big joke! You can go back to your normal life now!" I'm way-ting...

Current theme song for my life:
Haitian Fight Song (II B.S)-Mingus
It has nice statements and responses.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Can Bank On It

A disgruntled patron called the Reference Department Saturday afternoon and left a message stating that he did not like the way his taxpayer's money was being spent at the library and that he was going to kill everyone who worked there, "you can bank on it." There were other things that he said as well, I'm sure, but once someone says something about killing, I tend to not hear anything else.

Now, lucky for us, he made the same call to the president of the United States, so he has been incarcerated. This is a troubled person who has had some dealings with the law before, someone I hope I never have the misfortune to meet.

To think that someone would make a threat like that over thoughts of his tax money being spent in a way with which he disagreed, and being unhappy that there are pictures in the newspaper of children enjoying themselves at the public library...I'm trying to think of ways in which to exact some type of revenge that are of a library nature, book press, exacto knife, lots of overdue fines for the rest of his life, permanent banning from the library...none of them instill the same amount of fear that a death threat can to a person who has, for the last two weeks been faced with the mortality of someone they love, someone who needs them to be around for support and help. I'm feeling a little vigilanteism coursing through my veins. Funny, I felt the same way when our apartment was broken into in Denver. I slept for three nights on the sofa facing the door which was pried open to access our home, in the hopes that the larcenist would return so that I would have a crack at the person who had made my home a place where I felt uncomfortable. I had very detailed fantasies of where the thief came back and I blinded him with my bare hands and pushed him out of our third-story low-rise, supposedly secure apartment-with-a-view window. I was comforted only by the passing of time and a poem that JAY passed out to our neighbors the following week when we did not get satisfactory answers from the super or the police concerning how this could have happened in a secure building. It eloquently captures the disorientation and the desperate need to respond when one is faced with threat. It is one of Steve Scafidi's best poems.

To Whoever Set My Truck On Fire
But let us be friends awhile and understand our differences
are small and that they float like dust in sunny rooms
and let us settle into the good work of being strangers
simply who have something to say in the middle of the night
for you have said something that interests me--something of flames,
footsteps and the hard heavy charge of an engine gunning away
into the June cool of four in the morning here in West Virginia
where last night I woke to the sound of a door slamming,
five or six fading footsteps, and through the window saw
my impossible truck bright orange like a maverick sun and
ran--I did--panicked in my underwear bobbling the dumb
extinguisher too complex it seemed for putting out fires
and so grabbed a skillet and jumped about like one
needing to piss while the faucet like honey issued its slow
sweet water and you I noticed then were watching
from your idling car far enough away I could not make
your plate number but you could see me--half naked
figuring out the puzzle of a fire thirty seconds from
a dream never to be remembered while the local chaos
of a growing fire crackled through the books and boots
burning in my truck, you bastard, you watched as I sprayed
finally the flames with a gardenhose under the moon
and yes I cut what was surely a ridiculous figure there
and worsened it later that morning after the bored police
drove home lazily and I stalked the road in front of my house
with an ax in my hand and walked into the road after
every car to memorize the plates of who might have done this:
LB 7329, NT 7663, and you may have passed by--
I don't know--you may have passed by as I committed
the innocent numbers of neighbors to memory and maybe
you were miles away and I, like the woodsman of fairy tales,
threatened all with my bright ax shining with the evil
joy of vengeance and mad hunger to bring harm--heavy
harm--to the coward who did this and if I find you,
my friend, I promise you I will lay the sharp blade deep
into your body until the humid grabbing hands of what must be
death have mercy and take you away from the constant
murderous swinging my mind makes my words make
swinging down on your body and may your children
weep a thousand tears at your small and bewildered grave.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Parking Lot Pas de Deux or Hi, I'm Tracy!

One of my dearest and oldest friends, The Senator, waltzed into my office on 7 December at approximately 3PM and asked me if I wanted to go see the Alabama Ballet’s The Nutcracker in B’ham on Saturday. I vacillated on whether or not to go because of Dad just being out of the hospital and all, but after talking with Mum, decided to go. You see, I wanted so badly to see this version of The Nutcracker because the Alabama Ballet was one of only six companies this year to have the rights to perform Balanchine’s version (choreography and story much more child-friendly than Baryshnikov’s adult verson). Balanchine happens to be my all-time favorite, classic choreographer. He was pretty good at what he did. So good in fact, he was responsible for pairing Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev together in the 60’s, thereby establishing what I believe to be THE quintessential ballet partnership of all time (another favorite partnership of mine, not of Balanchine’s making, was Baryshnikov and Kirkland-if you see the famous early 80’s production of The Nutcracker with those two in it and you will never want to see anyone else in the roles of the Nutcracker and Clara).

It was so nice to be back in a city with noise and traffic and sidewalks! In typical fashion, running late to the opening curtain, we literally had to run around the BJCC to find the correct entrance. Upper Tier, right smack in the middle (my favorite spot), great view! Was thrilled with this particular Heir Drosselmeyer; he was vampire-like with black hair and white skin and flew about the stage like a clock pendulum, black cape flapping like bat wings. The children in the audience were speechless at the sight (it was almost frightening and worked very well for building suspense). Clara was played by an absolute doll of a girl, diminutive and fetching, with beautiful technique (Jacqueline Cannon, who will probably become a principal in the company one day). And the Nutcracker was a fine danseur, but looked like post-surgery, post-eighties Michael Jackson in the face (were those his REAL cheekbones and was that his REAL nose? I tried to not think of this as I watched him dance, but it was his face after all, which was quite hard to avoid looking at).

It was a delightful production, mice and spice and soldiers cavorting about (youngsters and preschoolers who are notoriously unpredictable on stage, but huge crowd pleasers with their accidental stepping on each others’ tails and exaggerated helping-of-each-other-up-when-you-fall sort of behavior). If any of you blog readers have a chance to go see this production, please do. And take your children with you. It is a wonderful ballet to introduce young girls and boys to the dance world with.

A fun and extraordinarily distracting day (especially because I was miss-introduced as Tracy early on, and everyone purposefully continued to call me by that name all day). My thanks to the Senator, his staff and his company’s business trips!

Post Script: Notice the jazz hand of The Senator and the "I'm trying to hold my turnout" look on my face. Parking Lot Security was watching us closely (because we looked like professional dancers?).

Friday, December 7, 2007


Dad was released late Monday evening. I like this photo most because we were waiting alone together. About an hour before, Dad had been told that he was getting to go home, this after thinking most of the day that he would be released on Tuesday. Mom had gone ahead to fluff the nest. We knew that he had a couple of hours left in the hospital because he still had that ever-so-helpful IV in his neck (when removed, the patient has to recline for forty-five minutes before rising), and was waiting for the novel that would be his post-surgery instructions and prescriptions. Dad was super happy at this moment. The food tasted pretty good to him and he had real pants on for the first time in five days. I love the Bill Clinton thumbs-up he's giving me.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Good night with Dad last night. Chest-tubes out, catheter out. Some time after dinner, I had Nurse Deb show me how to unhook his oxygen from the wall and hook him to the oxygen on the wheelchair so that we could go for a stroll when he wanted. The set up is like this: oxygen is hooked to the back of the wheelchair, heart pillow is placed in the seat (just in case he needs it), Dad gets behind the wheelchair and pushes it around the hall until he gets tired. I accidentally gave him a bit of a tougher workout last night by forgetting and leaving the wheelchair breaks on. I’m still saying some Our Fathers for that.

I can tell he’s feeling better by the number of times he gets up and the conversations we are having about the news. We are in agreement on the impact of political candidates’ infidelities on their ability to be efficient leaders and whose business those infidelities are (none, and no one except those involved).

Was able to catch a flick last night while sitting with Dad. I had earlier in the day purchased a copy of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang because it was a well-received independent film and it had Robert Downy, Jr. in it (what a glorious actor). Oh man, I can’t believe that I had missed this film (no, I guess I can believe that I missed it, because I’m sure it never had a showing in Gadrock). I highly recommend it to anyone who likes brilliant dialogue and film-noir send-ups. I warn you to stop the film and use the loo about halfway through so that you don’t pee on yourself when you see the accidental finger-chopping-off scene (it’s true, someone’s finger accidentally gets lopped off in the most hilarious way and I am racked with laughter right now just thinking about it). It has what some folks would call gratuitous nudity and lots of cursing (two things of which I’m not personally opposed to), therefore, I will never be able to show it at the library (it is now lumped with some of my other non-library-appropriate favorites like Snatch, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, etc.).

I must ring off now. I’m tired and have to try to get some shut-eye so that I can make it back to the hospital in the AM. Also, I’m having great difficulty concentrating right now. I am currently sitting in my car in the parking lot of the local library, taking advantage of the wi-fi so that I can upload to my blog in a timely fashion. Across the street is a house that is ostentatiously decked out in holiday illumination and is playing the bleeding Carpenter’s Christmas album at a bloody awful volume (those of you who work at the library and the po-lice department know what I’m talking about). Occasionally, the monotony is broken up with Tchiakovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Funny, I used to like that song.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Dad is healing well; all of his incisions are so perfect in their cleanness. We have yet to see the big incision on his chest, but the ones on his leg and neck are very thin, tight looking and have no redness or swelling. Dad heals well, always has. He’s following orders quite well, drinking water when we give it to him (we need more output, if you know what I mean), performing his breathing exercises when it’s asked of him and walking the halls when the nurses make him. He’s quite good at the walking-the-halls thing, going farther down the hall with each venture. He’s always been a travelin’ man, he’s just a little slower on these trips.

So, I’m thankful for good pain medication and for people who respond well to it. Dad happens to be one of those people who responds within five minutes of receiving meds. Sometimes he waits a little longer to ask for it though. I can tell when he needs it by the way he breathes-short, shallow and sometimes, not at all. One of the major functions of the pain meds is for him to relax and breathe deeply. I believe the other function of the pain medication is to prevent him from remembering that he had a full body shave before the surgery. Shaving is quite necessary in this instance, as well as the pain medication, for if you are a man and have ever shaved your body for aerodynamics (biking and swimming—you men who have done this know who you are, and so do I) and then allowed the hair to grow back, it is not a pleasant experience. Your entire body feels like what I would imagine the antlers of a male elk in the spring would feel like, itchy (I don’t know this for sure, as I’ve never asked a male elk what his antlers feel like in the spring). But, the aerodynamic quality of the whole shaving thing is pretty cool. As a matter of fact, I think this little detail may put Dad at an advantage over some of the other patients on the eighth floor. I’m envisioning hallway races and bookies taking bets…I’ll place my money on the Irishman.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Fighting Irish

The routine heart cath that Dad went in for yesterday morning ended up being anything but routine. One triple-bypass surgery on three blocked arteries (one at 100%, one at 90% and the other at 80%), two aneurisms, and one severely blocked carotid artery later, they had Dad stabilized and very heavily sedated in the SICU. Did I mention that the anesthesiologist told Dad pre-surgery that he’d had a heart attack at some point in the near past? They kept asking him if he’d had any episodes in the last year or so that would’ve possibly left him dizzy or weak? He said no, not that he could recall, and that he really had felt just fine until he had been slung up into the emergency room in B’ham during his yearly physical (to keep his volunteer DAV van driver clearance) about a month ago for a racing heart rate-his heart was clocked at about 130, when it is usually at a lawful 56). He was a little peeved at all this fussing, because it was keeping him away from his grandson.

All of this happening to the toughest, but kindest man I’ve ever known. As a child, he held the record for running away the most times from the orphanage in which he was placed. He was briefly jailed in Lisbon, Portugal while serving in the US Navy for throwing a man through a plate-glass window while defending the honor of a woman. Rescued countless individuals on and off the road while making a living as a truck driver (one bridge-jumping suicide attempt, numerous car wrecks). Saved a child from choking at the local YMCA by performing the Heimlich manuver. Drove non-stop out to Denver four days after 9-11 to retrieve my sister and her then boyfriend (now husband) who had been stranded with me on their late-summer vacation by the horrific events and then drove them back to Alabama. Came out to Denver again a couple of years later to retrieve his other daughter (me) and bring her back to Alabama after her nine-year marriage was over; again, almost a non-stop trip, but one that instead of being emotionally draining, ended up being one of the best and most memorable trips that he and I have ever had together. He has volunteered to drive countless disaster collection trucks to the ravaged areas where they needed to go. He’s given a handful of family vehicles and odd jobs to folks who were down on their luck. He even decided to allow the thief who hijacked his eighteen wheeler, stole all of his stuff and then showed up in court wearing his boots to keep said boots because he felt the man needed them more that he did…in my opinion, he shouldn’t’ve been diagnosed with a heart that had blocked arteries, it should’ve been an enlarged heart because it’s so fucking big.

So, here we are, very happy to still have this extraordinary man with us. He looks a little different right now, a little frail, but he’s doing very well considering what he went through yesterday. He’s a scrappy Irishman from the Appalachian Mountains, the hardest kind of man to keep down.

Thank you all for your continued calls and prayers. This has only begun, and I expect some really difficult times for him ahead. But you know that with the bad, there’s always some good, and I’m certain that there will be some very hilarious moments too (there already have been, and I will share those soon). Keep thinking about us!

Listening to: Charlie Parker (he's always there when I need him). Reading: Andrew Weil's Eight Weeks To Optimum Health

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Does the city engineer know about this?

Och! Went to the council meeting this morning to support the appointment of a new library board member and learned a valuable, unrelated lesson. Today’s lesson was: City Hall is inhabited by men who do not lock the CO-ED (may I put exclamation points here or later?) bathrooms. I discovered this little fact after starting to innocently make my way into the UNLOCKED CO-ED bathroom on the fourth floor outside the pre-council room. I almost ran into a gentleman making an exit from said bathroom into which I was making my way. When he saw that it was little ol’ me (a girl), he put his hands on my shoulders and backed me out, saying, “There’s someone in there.” I replied, “Well, yes, but isn’t this the bathroom, and isn’t there a lock for when someone’s inside?” “Why, yes, but he didn’t lock it” (“he” meaning that there was a man in the bathroom at that moment using the facility, I’m assuming the urinals, and “he” didn’t lock the exterior door). I thanked him for saving me from such a terrible embarrassment and kept backing away. You see, I was there for the council meeting, but I was not interested in seeing a councilmember.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Painful Walk Down Memory Lane

It's been over fifteen years since I last had these on. I got them out so that I could show nephew how ballerinas dance on their toes. It felt like a sledgehammer was taken to my feet. Hard to believe that I used to spend at least four days a week in these. Now, I can barely spend four minutes in them...

So, what did nephew think? He promptly wanted to try them on himself. And so, we let him.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Is Happy!

Nephew likes to play in my hair. He makes me stand very still with my hair cast over him. Sometimes he laughs and looks back at me as if to make sure that it really is his auntie's hair that is disorienting him thus. Notice the spittle on his chin. Disorientation.

Johnny Cash Friday or, Soft Serve Ice Cream With Corn

Is everybody wearing black? I like to wear black on Fridays because of my long-standing Johnny Cash Friday tradition. If you visit the interior ladies bathroom of the library on any given Friday, you may hear me singing Folsom Prison Blues. If I know that you're there, I'll stop singing though.

Yesterday I picked up some poop in the Children's Department of the library. I did not go into work thinking, "Gotta touch base with the new Adult Services Librarian, set up for my independent film, write on that damn grant else am I forgetting here? Oh, yeah, look around for some stanky shit to pick up." Honestly, I didn't go looking for it. I just heard some stiffled screams coming from the C.D., saw some of my co-workers fleeing the area and knew that whatever was happening was going to be too good to miss.

Let me set this up further for you guys who were not there: Cute rug with little images of a school house, police department, church...nice quiet residential tree-lined streets...a couple of late-model die-cast emergency personnel vehicles (too late to stop the perp, it seems)...and what looks like two piles of soft serve chocolate ice cream with corn-topping. "It looks like it's firmed up, but damn, that's sick," claims my friend and co-worker the ebony enchantress. I look at it and observe that this is not something that has slipped out of a diaper. This was calculated trou dropping. Man, I'm cursed, right? This is because I love the word scatological, right? No one wants to touch it, and frankly, I don't blame them. I'm momentarily taken back in time to Warren Tech Horticulture where I would have to double-bag and pick up the dead rabbit carcases that were unceremoneously left behind by the greenhouse cats (because my students were usually frozen by the sight of something that was a little too real-life and unsanitary for them-when it is still warm and has an odour and is right at your feet, it's just a little different than TV).

So, when I'm faced with a problem like this, I just act. I double-bagged and picked up both piles. I admit that my gag reflex kicked in once, but only because the enchantress had been wrong. It had not firmed up.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The A-Team

This shout-out goes to my SLIS Sisters: Chex-Mix, Power Point and the Lady G (you'll get your nickname on the next round). I can't imagine fighting library foolishness without ya! See you in January, if not before then.
Answer Sheet

Addendum courtesy of Chex-Mix:
Ten years ago, in 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chick-O-Stick, you're my only friend...

Smarties...I kinda like you too.

The Bi-Polar Express

I’m trying to write some kid-friendly publicity for a holiday event and I’m having a hard time rhyming with the words North Pole. The only thing that's coming to me is parole, pistol, skoal, hellhole and a little poem that I wrote to one of my brother-in-laws many Christmases ago (he had accidentally set him leg on fire one night):

Don’t go drinkin’ and playin’ with fire
Or your leg will go up like a funeral pyre.
So, here’s a nice tip from the North Pole,
Always remember to stop, drop and roll.

Am I wrong? Maybe I shouldn't be writing for children.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I will be at the Falls tonight to represent the library and to (more importantly) give away candy. Lots of candy. I will be dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (Scourge of the Black Creek), but will look like a cross between the velvety 80’s fashion of Vivienne Westwood and the French Revolutionary style of John Galliano. Any way you look at it, I will be foppish. Yes Sister, I should have borrowed Nephew’s Captain Feathersword hat with the broken feather sticking out of the top. That would’ve been a bit of a “three sheets to the wind” touch, don’t you think? Actually, I’m going for more of an Adam Ant look to be truthful (be still my heart). As a matter of fact, I’ve taken Radiohead out of the CD player and replaced it with Adam Ant. Please, don’t anyone think less of me (I know that there are some closet Kings of the Wild Frontier listeners out there), and I will be back to my Radiohead self by tomorrow.

Off to maraud!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dry & Fresh

There have been a few questions about the deodorant in the eye incident. At great risk of humiliating myself more so than I usually do (oh, what the hell), I am posting the letter to P&G explaining in detail what happened that late summer day. With my documentation skills blazing a wide trail (all those years working with high risk and special needs teens), most of the letter gives great, boring details about the accidental application of the deodorant to the eye and what happened to the eye throughout the day. I have to say that Old Spice High Endurance is still my favorite deodorant, and I use it to this very day. And, I have to say that it kept my eye dry and fresh all day long. As I mentioned to Ms. Field, I think that the last three paragraphs sum up the experience. Feel free to skip (although if you do skip, you'll miss my conception in paragraph 8).

To Whom It May Concern:

In regards to the incident that occurred on 9/27/06: At approximately 5am, I prepared to put in my daily-wear disposable contacts. After washing my hands, I moved the deodorant aside in order to retrieve a new package of contacts, which I have kept in close proximity of each other for the last six years or so with no incident. In moving the deodorant, I must have dislodged a piece of deodorant from the cap or side of the stick. I put my left contact in without any disruption, but when I put my right one in, I immediately experienced a burning/stinging in the eye. I quickly removed and discarded the lens and noticed a small white particle stuck to my eye, just below the iris. I dabbed at this particle with my wet finger and was able to remove it. My eye continued to water for about 4-5 min.; I did not notice anything remaining in the eye and did not immediately experience anymore trauma. The outside of the deodorant container did not specify any measures to take in the event of any type of internal exposure, and since I did not see any more deodorant in the eye, I continued to prepare for work and wore my glasses in the place of contacts.

Within the hour, I began experiencing what seemed to be a film over the affected eye, a film that could not be blinked away. After trying to continue with my first job of the day, I left to return home in order to contact Proctor and Gamble for advise on how to remedy the blurred vision. By this time the blurring was bad enough to have affected my depth perception which made driving more interesting than it normally would have been, but the blurring had seemed to arrest, making my eye about twice as blurred as it was under normal circumstances, even with my glasses on.

At approximately 9am I contacted Jill at P&G’s customer service, after I had unsuccessfully searched for the product’s MSDS on the website. Jill took my information, apologized for my situation, and when asked by me if this was going to cause permanent damage, consulted her supervisor. Her reply was that none of P&G’s products would cause permanent damage. I should flush the eye for 15 minutes and that the blurring would eventually go away.

After rinsing with saline solution for approximately 5 minutes, I had to return to work. For the next hour and a half, I noticed that I was unable to read my computer screen and that the eye was beginning to blur more. It was at approximately 10:30 that I contacted my eye doctor to get advise from him. They said that the antiperspirant in the deodorant was probably drying out the eye and that I needed to come in to have it looked at. By my 2:30 appointment, my vision in my right eye had deteriorated to the point of not being able to see to read the eye chart (I could see shapes, but no details).

Dr. Klingenbeck irrigated the eye twice, treated it with an antibiotic, a steroid and a lubricant and was able to note, in detail, the abrasion left on my eye from the deodorant. I was then given a prescription for the same three medicines he had just used to take for the following week and was told that if I had not come in to have it treated, the blurring would not have gone away on its own and that I would have ended up with an infection within 24 hours. At that time, he could not say if the abrasion to the eye was going to result in permanent scar tissue.

Due to the fact that I did not wait for the blurred vision to go away on its own and the aggressive treatment by Dr. Klingenbeck, my eye began to regain vision approximately 12 hours after the initial exposure to the deodorant. Two days later, at my follow-up appointment with the doctor, the vision in my right eye was back to normal and I was healing nicely.

I have attached copies of all the receipts for the doctor’s visits and medications (all except the bill I shall receive from Blue Cross and Blue Shield once they have processed it) to show the type of treatment I received. Dr. Klingenbeck was also good enough to give me a condensed version of his lab notes for your records as well.

As I told Jill on the 27th, I am a stockholder with P&G and completely believe in your products. As a matter of fact, I would not exist at all if it had not been for P&G as my parents met and began dating over 39 years ago while working at P&G. I can’t tell you all of the P&G products I currently use, Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant (it works the best, although I don’t recommend it for the eye), Oil of Olay beauty products (what don’t I use in that line--they are divine); I could go on, but you know how good your products are (no need to preach to the choir). And I will continue to use P&G products because I have found them to be the best.

The only concern I have is the lack of information on the product’s label concerning how to deal with a situation in which a product is accidentally introduced into the body in a way it should not be. I worry about someone who is less likely to go ahead and call the doctor after speaking with a P&G representative and wait for the blurring to go away, or for the swelling to go down. I believe that Jill did and said what she needed to on the 27th of September when she spoke with me, but neither of us understood the possible trauma or gravity of the situation. It was only after I found myself driving about twenty-five miles per hour in a 55mph zone because I couldn’t tell how far away the other cars were that I realized that this could be a bad situation and that I need to seek treatment (and get off the road) because it wasn’t going away on its own. In fact it got much worse before it got better and it is my understanding that it was not going to get better without medical treatment of the eye. I believe that with antiperspirant in the eye, it would be best to recommend not just flushing of the eye, but irrigation of the eye and a visit with an eye care professional.

I hope that the information I have provided to you will assist in future phone assessments of accidental/wrongful exposure to one of your products. Accidents do happen, more often than we would like them to.

On a lighter note, one result of this accident has been the astonishing swiftness and capability of my friends and coworkers to make up the most remarkable jokes about deodorant in the eye. This too shall pass, of that I’m sure.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If I’d known, I’d have worn lederhosen for the occasion.

The package looked as if it had been played like an accordion. It had gotten caught in something along its trip to me and had been squeezed. The contents were clearly visible from outside the package, that’s just how damaged I’m talking about.

Sometimes it’s just a pea that rolls into your mashed potatoes that sets you off. Something small like that, something that you wouldn’t normally even notice.

I guess what pissed me off most was that it was the photo paper I’d been waiting for. A diversion from the mundane that I was looking forward to. I shot off an email to the seller.

"Yikes! I have just received my package of Ink Jet Glossy Photo Quality Postcards, and the package is horribly damaged. Not only is the box partially open and wet, but it looks like someone tried to play it like an accordion; obviously it got caught in something (what, I can't possibly imagine). I don't even have to open the box in order to see that the purchase is damaged beyond use. What are my options? I needed this paper today for a project and can't get it locally. Will you be able to replace this and do you even want me to send the damaged paper back to you? If you would like me to send you some very lovely pictures of the condition of the box, just let me know, I've photographed it.

I’m pretty sure that they’ll make good on it. At least that’s the experience I usually have with retailers who’ve been in business awhile. I mean, look at what happened with P & G after I got deodorant in my eye last year (Your eye, you ask? Yes, of course my eye, why the bloody hell not?). I sent them a letter, being completely honest about what had happened, explaining what a moron I had been, and they sent me a check to help cover the cost of doctor visits. They probably laughed at me too.

Well, it’s like what Ms. Donaghy always used to say, “Whaddareya gonna do aboudit? Nothin!”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finally, some Thai that I didn't have to cook myself.

The only way that I will eat iceberg lettuce without shame is if it is used as a vehicle for something else of much greater taste, like teriyaki chicken with ginger, green onions and water chestnuts. And damn, if it isn't that sauce again...I've got to find the right-tasting recipe to replicate it. The spicy basil beef was a mite tasty too. Thanks, Sister.

Scare Tactics.

In training...

Monday, October 15, 2007

You Ought Not To Do That...But, I did. And here are some of the photos.

Alarming color

Tami called the color June-bug green. And the alarm on it was going off not like a normal car, but as if someone were hunched down unseen in the seat, mashing randomly on the horn at possible car thieves walking by.  It was pretty, but noisy, sort of messing up our chances at a quiet drink after work. I couldn’t concentrate on what Tami was saying. Who’d own a car that color? And who would install such an alarm?

I saw the car driving down Broad later that week, too far away for me to get a look at the driver. Wish I could’ve kept up with that car. If I tied a string on one of the tires, I could keep up with it better...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Putting the groom at risk.

This is a journal entry from Saturday, June 16, 2007. It is a gateway into my psyche at the time. The photograph is of the groom hanging his head in shame for what he participated in with me that day.

J and I are driving through A, headed to see the old motel his grandfather used to own. When I see the rusted B M sign out front, I have to get out to take pictures. “No Trespassing.” I wave off J's reading of the sign taped to the Office & Boss door. We won’t be here long. He stays in the car while I shoot. Not even five minutes later, about the time I am walking back towards the car, a truck pulls up with an evil-eye casting old redheaded woman in the passenger seat and a irritated looking man in the driver’s seat. He pulls in behind us, blocking our only exit. “Can we help you?” In my best out-of-towner voice, “Oh, no, just taking some pictures.” “What for?” “A photography class.” At this, evil-eye says, “You ought not to be doing that.” How true. The man, puzzled, asks, “For WHAT kinda class?” “Photography. But I’ll just delete them.” Again, evil-eye, “You really ought not to be doing that.” The man tells me that folks have done stole all of his copper wire and run off with various other stuff. I nod and say that yeah, I’ve heard of such happening these days. “But really, I’ll just delete them, the pictures...” The camera beeps as I’m going through the photos. “Done. I’m really sorry about that. We’ll go.” He moves his truck out of our way with evil-eye giving it to us the whole time. I’m in the car and we’re pulling out. I apologize to J for putting him at risk the week before his wedding, especially for a couple of photos. He asks if I really deleted them. No, I just forwarded through them, making the camera beep in the hopes that they would believe I was deleting them. I’m such a freaking liar now, but I didn’t want to lose the photos. J jokes that, “You ought not to have done that.” I think I’ll work on a coffee table book of trespassing photography entitled You Ought Not To’ve Done That.

I’m drinking some Sand Mountain scuppernong wine and looking at the first of my series of trespassing photos. Well, there are other trespassing photos that come before these, so they are not the first. Perhaps they are the first with a purpose…what that purpose is, I don’t know yet.

I’m heading out tonight to see my other friend J win a tiara for himself to sleep in. He’s always dreamt of having his own. I completely understand wanting one, as I have had my own tiara for quite some time now (I, however do not sleep in mine). I absolutely love and adore him! He WILL win, I just know it!!! I was hoping he would be going by the shocking name of Ms. Anna Phalactic, but he’s using Suzanne Michaels instead. “Suzanne” for Suzanne Sugarbaker of the Golden Girls, “Michaels” for the name of the first gay bar in Tuscaloosa. I absolutely cannot wait! It should be quite a show. I will be looking for my own man tonight. You see, after much thought, I have decided to date gay men only. I know it doesn’t seem right, but I really don’t see the point otherwise right now. Mr. G did not work out, despite a great start, and he was hetero. I really think I am rightest only as a fag hag. So, I’m off to T D B for what should be a smashing time.

Almost five hours, two vodka tonics and a number of steamy spins around the dance floor with Uncle Jeffery later, I had had enough. Don’t get me wrong, I was having a fabulous time and Ms. Suzanne Michaels had placed second, thereby winning a much coveted crown to sleep in, but I was tired to my bones (mostly from defending my low-maintenanced self to Uncle Jeffery who felt I needed to kick it up a notch in the hair and make-up department in order to find a man) and wanted to go home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Un Chien Andalou or My Molested Eye

Visited the eye doctor today. I am beginning to not enjoy the visits for emergency mishaps. The doctor always performs some fancy move involving the flipping of the eyelid or some such maneuver. Flipping someone's eyelid is a little too intimate for me. I feel like I should go home and shower now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

For Those Who Want To Pee Their Pants

Visit this website for a number of good laughs.

Something to admire.

Hart Crane by Walker Evans.

His Name was Slim Jim and He Looked and Smelled Like Beef Jerky

The following is an old email that I sent to friends after I moved back to the South in 2006. I was suffering from culture shock and missed my pals badly. This was sent out on 13 August.

I realize that this past weekend in G-town was an oddity in that there was more than one thing to choose from for entertainment. We had our first tax-free weekend to encourage shoppers to get out and spend some major dough (you remember my first experience with a tax-free weekend was when I lived in New York and worked at Lerner—all I can remember from that weekend was the night-sweats and the distant sound of a cash register opening and closing). Second, there was the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which, you know as well as I, should be called the World’s Crappiest Crapsale. Third, we had the opening of Will Farrell’s The Legend of Ricky Bobby, which has caused more fuss than a Southern Baptist accidentally walking into Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ. I think the movie looks hilariously close to the way things really are at Talladega. But, since I’ve never been there, I have to rely on what everyone else claims. Last,we had the Annual Boy’s and Girl’s Club Rodeo, which is where I was found, see’n as I had so much fun at Colorado’s Annual Stockshow and Rodeo in January. I was looking forward to the smell of hay and poop. That evening…Ed "Dry Wall" Jackson, my friend’s father, is leading us in our rodeo recon. He is called Dry Wall because he poses as Stonewall Jackson in the Civil War Reenactments he takes part in.

As my friends and I enter the rodeo gate, we hear some program hawkers saying that if you purchase a program, you have a chance of winning a Dodge Ram pickup truck. The thought, “I’ve been gambling throughout my life, so why not.” I purchase a program, look at the stamped number on the front and immediately joke with my friends, “I wouldn’t drive the gas-guzzling thing if I won it,” and walk on to look at the tiny, toddler-sized spurs and no-fail plastic lariats for sale.Once we move to the top of the grandstand, the announcer begins rattling off sponsor names and banal jokes, and the more he speaks, the more he sounds familiar. Who can this old guy with a slurringly loud voice remind me of? Just then, another friend leans over and asks me, “Have you ever seen Will Farrell do Harry Caray?” It clicks. Of course. I can’t stop giggling to myself (I have so many private moments in public now). It’s true, he does sound like Harry Caray. He sounds like Harry Caray all the way until he calls out the numbers of the 13 lucky contestants in the “Roll the Dice, Win a Dodge” contest. And guess whose number he calls? And you know how excited I get when it comes to game playing. And throw in a crowd of several hundred people and at least 40 or so odd barnyard animals to watch, and I’m really excited. As I sign my name, give a blood sample and promise not to sue anyone should I not win, I notice a guy beside me who’s also one of the“lucky 13.” He’s sweatin’ and shiftin’ his feet and I think I see a little bit of foamy drool out of the corner of one side of his mouth. I ask him if he’s okay. He can’t answer. He just licks his lips, swallows and keeps shiftin’ his feet. He continues this way for the next half hour, while we wait for intermission. The rules of the game are to roll five foam dice to spell the word DODGE. Contestants have two chances on the first go to roll a D, and possibly an O. Then, you get to the back of the line and have one more shot after everyone else. I’m standing alone, digesting the rules of the game, still thinking that I wouldn’t drive the truck if I had it. I’m cool. Then my friend Hilary comes down out of the stands to check on me and give me some encouragement. She’s like, “Would you ever have thought six months ago you’d be standing here in this spot?” No. And then she’s telling me how great it would be for me to win, cause I could sell the truck and make a down payment on a house, and how I have as much of a chance of anyone else does of winning (the odds are 1/8000, which were stated in the fine-print of the rules packet Dodge gave us contestants to read—I may not be good with math, but I know when the odds aren’t in my favor)...I’m calm up until that moment. Then I begin balling my fists and kicking out at my imaginary fellow contestants (who had, thanks to Hilary, become my enemies), saying things like, “You bet I could win! I got just as much a chance as…those other mother f@%#ers are gonna win my foot up their a$$, is what they’re gonna win!!!” Hilary eyes me with one eyebrow up. She looks around at all the families with little children, local business owners, church ladies and livestock and decides to not try to encourage me anymore. She wishes me luck as she’s backing away.

When we are called to que up for the game, I notice the drool-guy again. This time he looks as if he’s experiencing shortness of breath. Again, I ask, “Are you okay, do you think you’re gonna make it?” He finally answers with a bobbing nod of his head and stutters out, with pauses in between words, “I…think…I….got….two…..chances, okay.” I just nod back as if I understand, and say, “You’re a bit nervous, aren’t you?” He nods “yes” and stops shiftin’ his feet all of a sudden, standing so still. I begin worrying about whether or not he’s gonna lock his knees and go over like a bride’s maid at a wedding, but then I am starting to worry about what my friends are going to do when it’s my turn to throw the dice. Are they gonna yell, “You throw like a girl!” or “Bed wetter!” They shouldn’t yell the latter, as I haven’t told them much about my childhood yet, and certainly not that little fact, and some things should remain private. And of course, I’m already thinking about how I should throw the dice. Granny shot it, and live with the consequences? Or, should I throw like a girl, because I am a girl? I do neither. When my glorious moment comes, with friends shoutin’ what may be obscenities at me from the grandstand, I blow on the small, bowling-ball-sized die as if I were in a glittering Las Vegas casino and throw with a technique akin to pitching/bowling/skeet-shooting? and actually roll a D. Since I’m the first contestant to do so, and possibly because of my patently impressive and effective throwing style, the crowd roars (only in my head; although my friends are now defensively and deeply yelling “YOUGOTIT” Jersey-style). I feel magnificent and invincible. I’m going to win a cute red Dodgetruck. A redhead in a red truck. And even though I don’t plan on keeping it, I may drive it around for a week or so just to be seen in it, before I sell it to make a down payment on a house in this very neighborhood, so I can be close to the fairgrounds where I won my new, red Dodge truck. I’ll tell the story of how I won the truck that I sold to make the down payment on this very house with the beautiful cool porch upon which we are now sitting…And then it’s over. No one wins. Imagine that. With such craptacular odds, too. But, I have a hellofa good time that night. And three days later, the master cylinder goes out on my clutch and I have a choice of Mom’s white van or Dad’s red Dodge truck.

So I’m driving to the CCA in Dad's red truck, thinking about how great it would have been to have won that truck…