Thursday, October 31, 2002

A Conversation With Mother
(format ripped right off from Artichoke Heart)

Mom: Well hi! I wasn’t expecting to hear from you today.
Me: Why wouldn’t you? It’s your birthday, you know.
Mom: Exactly. Oh, I got your card; that was nice. Did you make it yourself?
Me: Um, yeah! [This was a lie – a friend designs greeting cards and it was one of hers]
Mom: It’s very nice, but I could tell. You know.
Me: Tell what?
Mom: That it was home-made.
Me: No, it's hand-made, there’s a difference. Home-made is what Girl Scouts do; hand-made is what Martha Stewart does.
Mom: It’s still a very nice card, even if it’s not from the store.
Me: (silent)
Mom: (silent)
Me: Are you finished?
Mom: Of course.
Me: Good. How’s your birthday been?
Mom: Very nice! Boob Job got me this enormous Hallmark card that plays the birthday song – the thing must be two feet tall!
Me: And you put the card from me right next to it, didn’t you?
Mom: Of course.
Me: Naturally.
Mom: Hippy decided she wasn’t going to get me a card because she didn’t want to be responsible for the death of a tree. Your father got so mad – he knows how much I love getting cards, see – and he picked a little fight with her. “You don’t mind the death of a tree when you get your paycheck, or when you light up a cigarette…that’s paper holding in that tobacco, you know!...” That kind of thing. It was very funny; it was probably the best part of my birthday.
Me: Ah, the ritual mocking of your own child always gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?
Mom: Well!
Me: So what about Ditz?
Mom: She’s not going to lose the baby.
Me: What? What are you talking about?
Mom: Oh, nothing – she was in the hospital, they thought she was going to miscarry.
Me: Why didn’t anyone tell me?!?
Mom: You’re just so busy all the time; I didn’t want to bother you with all of that. Anyway, she’s fine now. She got me a lovely card; it has lace on it. And she had a beautiful bouquet delivered to the house. I heard that a UPS truck got into an accident so I figured that’s why I haven’t gotten my gift from you, yet.
Me: Erm…
Mom: Remember that year you didn’t give me my present until Thanksgiving? Remember that?
Me: Mom, I was broke.
Mom: But you still managed to buy me a card instead of making it, didn’t you?
Me: (silent)
Mom: I think it was nice that you signed everyone’s name to the card. Did you do that just so the handwriting was all the same?
Me: Uh, yeah – well, I worked really hard on the card and I didn’t want the kids scribbling it all up for you.
Mom: And you signed Andy’s name for him, too. Was that to make sure he didn’t sign something sarcastic like he usually does?
Me: Erm – well, I thought it would detract from the beauty of the card.
Mom: Yes, the beauty of the card.
[Right about here is when I realize she’s figured out that I signed everyone’s name because I waited until the last minute to send the card and no one was around – it was either sign everyone’s name and get the card out on time or have everyone sign it themselves and have the card arrive late. Either way, I was screwed.]
Me: Glad you’re having a nice day. Oh, I wanted to tell you what the midwife said at my last exam….
Mom: You know, my birthday has been the same day every year of my life.
Me: Why, that’s very observant of you – well done.
Mom: It’s curious, that’s all. I find it a little curious, a little bit odd.
Me: Uh…that’s usually the way it works, mom. Same day, every year.
Mom: That’s not what I mean…never mind.
Me: Okay then. Anyway, what I was saying….
Mom: I just mean that it’s the same day every year and yet you always manage to send my present late. That’s all.
Me: That’s my tradition – if I send your gift to arrive on your birthday it gets mixed in with the gifts from everyone else. This way it’s like you’re getting an extra birthday a few days late.
Mom: Weeks late, usually.
Me: You got a frigging card on time, didn’t you? That proves I didn’t forget about you.
Mom: Sigh – yes, I did get the card. I just wonder if you forget my birthday on purpose to punish me for being such an awful mother.
Me: Jessica Christ, mom, I didn’t forget!
Mom: You always were very passive-aggressive like that. Sigh, I guess I deserve to be forgotten.
Me: (silent)
Mom: What were you saying about your midwife exam? You must be pretty close to having the baby now, aren’t you? Make sure you call when you have the baby but only if it’s not too late – you know how early we go to bed around here. Your father gets cranky when he doesn’t get enough sleep, so just wait to call until the next day if you deliver at night. We won’t be able to come up to see you so we’ll have to wait for you to come down to visit us to see our grandson. But don’t worry, I’ll make sure I send a card.
Me: Happy birthday, mom.
Mom: Thank you.

(And before anyone thinks I'm an awful daughter I should point out that when I had my youngest daughter my mother sent me a card two months after Bean was born - not only that but it wasn't a "congrats" card, it said, "Happy Birthday to our God-Daughter". But yes, it was store-bought.)

Caring enough to send the very best-ly,


Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I visited a psychic once when I was a teenager at the insistence of a friend who told me breathlessly, "She told me I was moving to California!" (He'd been talking about moving to California for years because he believed that as long as you had nice weather nothing bad could happen to you.) "Yea, she said I'm moving to California, and my aura is yellow, and that I'll develop an allergy to peanuts in adulthood - Natalie, you have to see her, she's the best." Well, if she was passing out medical advice regarding allergies, how could I refuse?

The psychic kept her place at a hair salon in a nasty part of town because she was renting space there to get started on her manicure business. It's always good to have a day job, I guess, in case the Other Side stopped speaking to you. She explained to me that in a past life she was a high-priced prostitute and her penance in this life was to give psychic readings and charge for them - apparently the acceptance of the money filled her with self-loathing and guilt. Yeah, sure, tell me another one! To be fair, she read me for well over two hours for $10 and did seem genuinely embarassed to be accepting the cash. Maybe she was embarassed because she charged $10 per half-hour and didn't know how to ask me for the other $30, I don't know.

It was actually a lot of fun and the she surprised me with a few true snippets - once she laid her hand over a face-down photo of my boyfriend and said, "I see many instruments surrounding him, but this one isn't for him. Discourage him from this." The picture was of him messing around on a guitar, and yes, he was gifted on many other musical instruments. Weird, huh? Now that I'm thinking about it I remember she told me that I would meet a foreign man and we would form a strong relationship based on sex and beer - and it happened! - but she also told me to not marry him. Oops; too late now. Sorry, Madame Mystical!

I also remember that she told me my spirit guide was a mouse but I don't remember what color she assigned to my aura. One thing I do recall very vividly was that a couple of her psychic buddies showed up near the end of my reading because they were all going out that night. One of the ladies peered at Jeremy and said, "When are you going to California?" and he about died right there. Secondary confirmation of his plan to move was all it took for him to pack his bags that night - I heard he's now a "screenwriter" out in LA living with some struggling "actress". I predicted this scenario the night he left but I guess since I didn't have the title "Madame" in front of my name my advice wasn't taken seriously.

Anyway, back to that night - this other woman squinted at me for a long time and didn't say anything, but she pointed out that Madame Mystical was shuffling these cards that I'd just been using. "Why are you doing that?" she asked Mystical, and Mystical seemed uncomfortable and said, "I'm releasing their bad energy - Natalie, you have a lot of bad energy surrounding you and I'm making sure it doesn't linger. I'm sorry." The air got heavy in the room and the mini-Psychic Friends/Drinking Buddies Network got very quiet and avoided looking at me. I didn't need Powers From The Beyond to tell me it was my time to exit.

I was thinking of this because I was chatting with a blogging friend that I'd met through a "blogging mommies" webring and mentioned a post on here and asked if she'd seen it. She told me that she only visited here once because she was "disturbed by my bad energy" and after she left she felt "a little dark and sort of dirty." I was pretty hurt at those comments, as I've always tried to edit myself on here and keep things "G" rated but I guess my bad energy still spills through. An old girlfriend of mine once commented on my "Baby" Halloween costume, "You're the only person I know that can somehow make a baby seem sinister."

I don't know what this all means, except that I'm now considering hiring some online mystical to sweep the bad energy out of my source code. There are people that do that in your house; they come in and release whatever bad energy is pent up inside the walls in order for you to live a more harmonious life. Something wicked is lingering on my blog and I really think I need for it to get gone, if not for me, then for those sweet readers that are afraid to hang out over here.



How sweet is this? I'm listed as a "new love" over at Simple Grace. Ah, there's nothing quite like new love, is there?



Tuesday, October 29, 2002

As far as I’m concerned, yesterday did not happen. The day was a total non-event, a waste, a mauvais jour of the first order. I had to drive my eldest to school to return the classroom snails we’d been in charge of all weekend – you wouldn’t think that people could possibly fear snails but I discovered that I do. I fear them, loathe them and want to smash them into tiny pieces with a hammer. So it was with great relief that I was returning them, even if it meant going out into the cold with a hat shoved over my hair to hide my bed-head. I jabbered to the teacher for too long, of course, because I am so starved for real human interaction that I’ve developed a nasty habit of latching onto any person who makes the mistake of looking even vaguely interested in speaking to me. Honestly, I’ve become that pathetic. Once upon a time I was a very adept conversationalist but that skill is long gone – now I’m like a child. If there are people around I become Motor Mouth Mabel and get very, “Look at me, mom” in my attitude. It’s probably best that I stay out of public whenever possible – it’s pretty bad when you’re in the middle of a conversation and realize that you’re even boring yourself.

My task for the day was to weather-strip the doors and windows, which was a bit of a mistake to do by myself. There’s this caulk stuff that you can apply to the seals around your windows to make sure they don’t leak air and in the spring you simply peel it off. So this product is specifically designed to stop air flow, yet in huge red letters on the side it says, “Warning – use only in a well-ventilated room, fumes can cause nausea, vomiting and light-headedness.” Needless to say, my pregnant ass got stoned; but I don’t mean in a happy, “Let’s discuss the relative merits of ‘Fruit by the Foot’ versus ‘Fruit Roll-ups’” kind of way, I mean in a “is that clock upside down?” kind of way. I wasn’t sure if the inside of my mouth was bleeding or if I’d been sucking on pennies – I literally had to stop and think, “Did I just put money in my mouth? Did I swallow it?” It’s no fun being messed up by yourself, especially since there’s no one there to appreciate how funny it is to say, “Who’s your daddy…Hoosier daddy” over and over again. I mean, it amused the hell out of me and I think the dogs got a kick out of watching me laugh hysterically while waving a caulk gun around, but something about the whole experience left me feeling a bit empty.

I came down off my high in time to run some errands last night and thought I was fine until I started coming on to Andy – and not in a very subtle way, either. I think I was trying to be sexy (which isn’t so easy when you have a watermelon for a stomach) but he cringed and said, “Would you please stop? You’re creeping me out.” I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure I actually used the phrase “baloney pony” at one point in my amorous advances – I would have rejected me, too.

So nothing good came out of yesterday and I’m not counting it as “a day in the life of”. The sad thing is, though, that today is well on its way to not being counted, either, even without getting stoned. Not that I would mind getting loopy again – that caulk could quickly become my equivalent of the typical housewife’s “ten o’clock vodka rock” if only I had any windows left to seal up. Then again, the stuff does peel right off, and I have a couple more tubes lying around…

Reluctantly sober-ly,


Monday, October 28, 2002

Nevermind about the previous entry - Andy very graciously donated some of our own space for my blog stuff. He occasionally throws me a few crumbs like that - he's a good fella.

Sigh - bad news. Looks like my boomspeed account is going to be deleted. That's where I keep all of my images and stuff, then link them to my blog (which is why the crap doesn't load half the time, grrr!). Many of those free sites don't allow you to remotely host your images, but boomspeed does - though my use falls under "non-eBay, non-Boomspeed" use - didn't realize it mattered because I, like most people, don't read TOS's. Even when I do read the TOS I think, "Well, sure, they say that but they'll never enforce it against me - they won't even notice me!". I guess my excessive bandwidth theft caught up with me - who'da thunk it? Since I don't want to clog up my own space with all of this crap I'm on the lookout for another free hosting site - if you know of any, please let me know, as I have a week as of today before my account is deleted. Sigh.

On a totally different note I received an email today from a nice young fella known as "Raisin Head" who also has a fixation with pickle juice, though he's since moved on to olive juice and the juice left over from pickled okra. I've never tried either but I think I will on his suggestion - I'm assuming he means green olive juice as opposed to the sludge you find in black olives. Mmm, just the thought of green olive juice has my mouth watering now; I wonder why I hadn't thought of it before?

I'm now off to draft-proof my basement windows - envy me and my rich, fulfilling life!



Saturday, October 26, 2002

Things overheard at an STD clinic in St. Paul - unceremoniously ripped off from City Pages.

"I have reason to believe my penis was exposed to LSD. When I ejaculate I have flashbacks."

"My hair is falling out and the sun hurts my crotch."

"I went to a party, had a few beers, woke up in a closet later on and my face stunk and my dick hurt."

"My last period looked like meat."

"My balls feel soft and mushy."

"I be messin' with these nasty women from Minnesota and they don't tell you they got something unless they mad at you."

"How am I supposed to do lap dances smelling like a dead fish?"

"I got the dripper."

"I have food chunks in my urine."

"Had sex with my daughter's fiancé and then douched with Lysol--feelin' a little raw down there."

"Scabs on my butt and I'm losing my mind."

"I'm releasing semen when I take a crap."

"I was poked in the rectum with the infected finger of a 70-year-old homosexual man."

"I live at the VA and my roommate has his girlfriend from Minneapolis over. They throw ticks at me that bite my neck and when I pop the sores, they smell like vagina juice."

"Can't you put the swab in further?"

"I had sex with my baby's momma, sex with my other baby's momma and my other new baby's momma has disease."

"Last time I had sex I passed something that looked like Cream of Wheat before it's cooked."

"My cervix hurts when I jiggle."

"The seam in my circumcision split open."

"I be messin' with my ex-wife and my girlfriend and I don't trust either of them."

"My whole body smells like a menstruating woman, especially my armpits."

"From the looks of my penis, I believe they are sucking the adrenaline out of me."

"I think they hypnotized me and put implants and poltergeists in my brain and had sex with me."

"I think my boyfriend knows what's going on. He's been calling me a 'chlamydiahoris.'"

"My pee smells like ham."

Sexual healing-ly,


I've been trawling for odd stuff on the internet because I'm so bored I can no longer amuse myself and found my new favorite website: Black People Love Us.

I think my second favorite site at the moment is Sucky Ways To Die.

That is all.

I have an awful hairstyle. It’s not even a style, it’s just a cut, really – I am one floral print shirt away from changing my name to Valerie, referring to my jewelry as “pieces” and decorating my kitchen in hunter green.

I saw my midwife yesterday and met one of the students who’s going to be present when I have Nic. She was nice, but she and the midwife ganged up on me for taking Tums instead of the herbal counterpart for my heartburn – apparently, I don’t want to “be buying into the type of calcium that they’re selling.” Who knew there was bad calcium? Well, they did – they “know” all sorts of little secrets that they love to dish out to me to prove how ignorant and brain-washed I am.

Since I’m so close to my due date and will probably deliver early this visit was pretty much to review what I could expect from the experience and what was expected of me. The midwife asked me if Andy was planning on taking “the full six weeks” off from work after I have the baby, which shocked the hell out of me. Do people really do that? I know that the mothers usually take their full family leave after birth but fathers actually do that, too? I scoffed at the idea and told my midwife that under no circumstances could we survive for six weeks without a paycheck, who could? She got a little condescending and said, “Well, most people find the money to afford it if they really want to.” We’re paying her too damn much money (as insurance doesn’t cover homebirth) for her to speak to me that way so I snapped, “Maybe, but we’re not the kind of people who can live off granola for six weeks.” She’s a bit of a hippy in her lifestyle and is very politically-correct in her speaking. Women don’t “labor”, they “experience the birthing process” – she doesn’t “deliver” the baby, she “assists the mother in the natural progression of introducing her new child into the outside world.” She won’t ask about menstrual history, she’ll inquire about “my experiences with Menses.” Thankfully I get all of this in small doses – if I had to live with the woman I’d probably have killed her a long time ago. Though, of course, I’d use her body as organic fertilizer for my hydroponics greenhouse – gotta keep those bean sprouts thriving!

She asked me how long Andy was actually planning on taking off after the delivery – I didn’t want to say that Andy told me I’d be “damn lucky” to get even two days out of him – so I lied and said he’d be home around a week or so. She told me once that she wouldn’t feel comfortable participating in a home birth if I didn’t have adequate care after the birth and I was nervous she’d back out on our deal if she knew the truth. Hopefully I’ll have the baby on a Friday so I definitely have Andy home with me all weekend…I wonder if he’d count that as my two days? I should ask him about that.

Hippy stuff now aside, she told me that I should plan to do something nice for myself after I have Nic, maybe I’d want to think about getting my hair done. She then went on to tell me about how she had taken a spa day with her daughter the previous weekend and justified it by saying, “Look at it this way, you can go to Super Cuts and spend $15 on a half-hour for just a cut, or you can go to a spa and get the works done for what ends up costing only $10 an hour for better work.” Um…hippy lady? Hello, hippy lady, where did you go? And who is this woman sitting in front of me showing me her new highlights? How can this tree-hugger sit there and criticize my hair? I asked her what was wrong with my hair (why did she assume it was a Super Cuts cut?) and she got condescending with me and said, “Well, it is a bit, you know, old for you.” Aaack!!!

Hence, my misgivings about my hair. For a while during high school I had a shaved head, maybe I’ll return to that look? Hell, it works for Andy; maybe it will suit me, too. I wonder if she'll think I look younger, then?



Thursday, October 24, 2002

And just when I thought I was on my way out the door the grocery delivery guy arrives. Since I am a recluse and live in fear of even answering my phone or opening my door when I'm not expecting to I decided to waste a little time reading The Stranger until Delivery Guy left. This is an excerpt from "Savage Love", an advice column written by Dan Savage, in which he's discussing his recent interview with Bill O'Reilly of Fox. I hate O'Reilly (because really, how could you not?) and when I read this I laughed so hard that I'm sure Delivery Guy heard me. (Here you go, Andy, a post you can understand!)

Anyway, I was having a nice enough chat with the combative Mr. O'Reilly, holding my own, defending pot smokers and sex educators and other sinners. And then... O'Reilly asked me what I thought about gay bathhouses. I made the mistake of telling O'Reilly the truth: I hate gay bathhouses and I think they should be closed. This is not a new position. I've been an on-the-record gay-bathhouse basher for 10 years now. (And, guys, are gay bathhouses even necessary these days? Websites like have basically turned every gay man's apartment into a virtual/potential gay bathhouse, so do we really need to go to the real thing anymore? Why eat out when you can order in?)

O'Reilly pounced. "I want to go to a gay bathhouse!" he barked. "I want to go to a gay bathhouse!" I was stunned. There I was, sitting across the table from the darling of the American right, and... and... he was shouting at me about wanting to go to a gay bathhouse. "If I want to pursue happiness in a gay bathhouse, shouldn't I be free to do that, Mr. Savage?" I didn't know what to say. If Bill O'Reilly wanted to go to a gay bathhouse, well, who was I to tell him he shouldn't?

I told O'Reilly that he was right, and admitted that my urge to close gay bathhouses was inconsistent with my do-whatever-feels-good positions on drugs and other sexual acts. "You win," I said, but really I was thinking, "Get me the hell away from this guy before he shouts 'I want to go to a gay bathhouse' again!" Picturing gay men in a gay bathhouse is revolting enough. Picturing Bill O'Reilly in a gay bathhouse? That could put a gay guy off gay sex for the rest of his unnatural life.

But... it occurred to me as I was leaving FOX News that there had to be a talented DJ or two out there who can't stand O'Reilly.... So, Mr. DJ, why not sample Bill O'Reilly barking "I want to go to a gay bathhouse!," put a catchy beat under it, and release it as an underground dance single? An ambitious DJ might make a video to go along with the single--a video that showed Bill O'Reilly barking "I want to go to a gay bathhouse!" over and over again. If someone pulls together "I Want to Go to a Gay Bathhouse!," I'm positive it will be the surprise dance hit this winter in Ibiza. And wouldn't that be lovely?

Ahhh, that's good stuff. Ugh, I wish my mascara was waterproof - I'm laughing so hard I have black streaks running down my face.



It just ain't fittin.

I think Hugh and I both stayed up watching "Gone With The Wind" last night, as he has a new picture up that's more than vaguely reminiscent of the great Hattie McDaniel. Great minds, and all that...

Speaking of Hugh, he has a new feature over at his site known as "Ask Bloggy". Send him your petty little blogging problems and he'll make fun of your sorry ass in public on his blog.

Butterfly McQueen-ly,
(think, "I don't know nuthin 'bout birthin' babies")


Tuesday, October 22, 2002

(Caution: Blanket generalizations ahead.)

I’ve been a little bored today so I decided to hop around some webrings to see if anything inspired me to blog. You would not believe what’s going on out there! General oddities ranged from no less than eleven people blogging about getting their wisdom teeth removed, a couple of blogs written by porn shop clerks (which were well-written and interesting, though not what you’d expect from people who work at porn shops) to far too many blogs devoted to obsessions about hobbits. Further than that there seems to be some sort of underground society of people known as “hoopty girls” which somehow intersects with a craft-making webring in more than a few places. What has all of this taught me? That I don’t know dick about life. I’m viewing these glimpses into people’s lives like I view mating rhinos – you kind of know what you’re looking at but it somehow seems foreign, and occasionally wrong in many respects. (Not that I’m judging what other people are writing about, mind – when I say “wrong” I mean in the sense that there are all these great tastes out there but they seem to mix into really strange flavors on some sites.)

I’m putting my confusion down to the fact that I was hopping from one female author to another on the “blogs by women” webring, and if there’s one thing I don’t understand at all it’s other women. To tell you the truth, most women sort of scare me. They know things and do things that I can’t possibly comprehend – they enjoy things like blinking heart gifs and pictures of animated kittens playing with balls of yarn and taking quizzes titled, “What Vegetable Would You Be?”. If you sit still long enough they’ll tell you about their Odd Feminine Problems. I don’t know if I have any OFP’s myself but if I did I would fully expect Andy to point them out to me.

I don’t have gender-identity issues or anything like that, and I’m an equal-opportunity “misunderstander” as I don’t totally “get” guys, either. I wonder what it says about me that I can recall my first bit of “girl talk” – this was when I was around 19 or so. I was hanging out with my ex-boyfriend’s mom and she said something about how she cut herself shaving…(see guys, girls talk about this stuff)…and I sort of went, “Um, okay, that sucks” but she wouldn’t be deterred. She pointed to the little bit of tendon on the outside part of her ankle and said, “I always cut myself right here.” I said, “You know, you should begin shaving on your thigh or somewhere first to dull the blade a bit and then go back and shave that part of your ankle or your shins – that’s what I do and I never cut myself.” Even then I went, “Whoa, I just gave female advice to a female; that was crazy!” The conversation was obviously no big deal to her, though she did tell me that I gave her a good idea. But that’s the type of thing I mean…women will say things to me and I’ll think, “So what’s the normal response to that statement…” Sometimes it’s easy, like if someone says, “I just got my hair colored” you can jump right in and say, “I noticed, it looks great!” Except it’s never that easy, is it? It’s always something weird like, “Whenever I (insert random activity here) I get an Odd Feminine Problem.” The stock, “Then don’t do that anymore” isn’t a suitable answer for some reason – you’re supposed to go through a big discussion about said random activity and just when you think you’re off the hook you get sucked into a conversation about the OFP. That’s when you pull out the old, “I’ve really got to run, my dog’s on fire” excuse and get the hell away, fast.

I don’t know what all of this says about me, except that it helps me to identify with men since we’re both pretty much on the outside looking in – which is fine for me, since the conversations tend to be a bit more shallow out here than in there. And my gay male friends are even shallower still (generally) so that’s always a safe retreat. But I have to say that’s why I put lesbian women on a pedestal – they get it, you know? They’re in-tune with their female-ness, keep female company, spend their lives with females…even thinking about that has me shaking my head in wonderment.

This whole entry has left me a little confused with myself, but let me just say that my blanket generalizations aren’t meant to offend, and I don’t pretend to have any real insight into the inner workings of other people’s minds (obviously) so take what I say with a grain of salt and understand that I’m just ignorant about all of this. “This” being people in general, of course – I just don’t get it.

Dazed and confused-ly,


Monday, October 21, 2002

The timing couldn't be more fitting: Minnesota is named, for the sixth year in a row, the most livable state in the US.

Livable? Yes, indeedy!

The iceman cometh, and bringeth snoweth. Did that sound Biblical or just lispy? Either way, we awoke to a thick blanket of the stuff that’s clinging to trees that still have green leaves on the branches.

I’m cheerfully morbid about the arrival of the snow – during the winter is the only time I really feel secure, like I can breathe. Snow and winter are very stabilizing for me; I feel anchored, somehow. I have ice cubes in my veins.

My grandfather was Norwegian – his family came across from Oslo, a familiar claim around these parts. Scandinavians in general don’t strike me as being a particularly bright people – they traveled half-way across the world, found Minnesota and said “Hey, this is just like home! We can live here, this would be perfect!” I think the homesickness made them instantly forget what drove them from their family farms in the first place…yes, Minnesota is like Norway, and no, the land here isn’t any better. By the time our ancestors realized this it was too late, as they were already committed to the homesteading program and figured, in the passive way Norwegians do, “We’ve come this far, might as well stick it out.” The “stay with the devil you know” mentality has served us well. And me, with a grandfather from Norway and a grandmother from Russia means that I’m well-suited to survive this arctic wasteland.

Andy, on the other hand, is a wuss when it comes to inclement weather. He spends half of the year whining about how he wishes he lived in Santa Cruz. He’s a softy, a Midwestern novice, a – not to put too fine a point on it – big sissy. “Bloody white stuff” is the grumble of the day all winter long…he’ll stand at the window doing nothing but staring into the bleakness and muttering, “Abso-fucking-lutely miserable out there.” When he comes home from work I get a play-by-play of how he had to scrape the windows before driving – and I rue the days when he doesn’t take a lunch from home, because that requires him to take a trip out to McDonalds…again, I get a play-by-play account of how difficult it was for him to manage. For the first couple of months I can find humor in his trials but by, say, the fifth month of winter I think we both grow weary. I do feel badly for him, and have told him that he can feel free to move to California as long as he makes sure to send my mortgage payment on time. He says, “That’s not a funny joke” but who’s joking? Maybe when I’m old and arthritic I’ll seek a warmer clime but until then I’m perfectly content to sit here in my beloved tundra.



Thursday, October 17, 2002

Just a reminder...

Okay, so it's fairly back to normal (thank god that there was a cached version of my page because I was too stupid to have saved my own stuff) though I know that the links on the right aren't looking as spiffy as they should - this, I put down to playing around with Blogrolling. Anyway, it's pretty okay at the moment.

Crap, crap and more crap!!! I was trying to change something on my template on Andy's Linux machine and messed everything up. (Andy, see, this is what I was talking about with the blogger stuff - totally knacked everything.) I don't know when I'm going to get a chance to fix it, so just hang in there for the time being.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it! Okay, so maybe that’s not true, but that’s what I’ve been spouting the last few days for “Coming Out Week”. I know quite a few people who are still hanging around in that dark, though fabulously decorated to make use of the limited light source, closet so I feel I should do my part to, you know, spread the Awareness or whatever. Though I personally object to the idea of a week devoted to coming out – as if that’s not a stressful enough ordeal for our closeted brethren, now they have the added pressure of having their families and friends watching them with bated breath for a week, waiting to see if they’ll finally Do It and just come out. Because face it, there are many people who think they’re fooling others when in actual fact their homosexuality is sitting there like a dead body on the floor that no one’s mentioned yet.

Case in point, my great friend Ed came out to me – what, around five years ago now? – though he didn’t have to. For the ten years I’ve known him I knew he was gay but never realized he didn’t. When he “came out” to me he was so serious about it…the whole, “Natalie, I have something serious to tell you and I hope it doesn’t change anything…” kind of thing. He said, “I’m gay” and I waited for a minute to hear what the serious news was – like, “I’m gay, and I’m moving to Amsterdam to marry the stock boy” or “I’m gay, and have been running an escort service that your father has used” – something like that. No big revelation came after the gay part so I said, “I know – I’ve known that for years.” He got totally pissed off and said, “You knew? You knew, and you didn’t tell me?!?” I still feel badly that I kept his homosexuality a secret from him for so long and only hope that he can someday forgive me.

We’ve known my brother was gay since God was a little boy so he didn’t have to come out, either, though he did. I guess he wanted us to be sure about it – though when a boy spends most of his youth dressing up like a woman and singing disco songs “just for fun” it’s easy enough to see that Something’s Different about him. My family, especially my father, isn’t exactly the most forward-thinking people in the world but no one cared one way or another about my brother’s sexuality. The real comedy of all of this is that my father has spotted my brother’s behavior in my nephew – when my nephew runs around the house dressed like a construction worker with his face slathered in make-up my dad will laugh and tell my sister, “He reminds me so much of your brother at that age!”

Sadly, my sister has said to me that if her son “ends up being a fag” that she’s making him come live with me because her husband would kick her son’s ass. She says this with no apology in her voice and it makes me want to burn her at the stake, but I’d rather have my nephew grow up in a healthy environment instead of with Mr. Bigot. My sister (Boob Job in an earlier post) once said to me, “It wouldn’t be so bad if ‘they’ were all like Will & Grace, but I’ve been to a gay bar before and I know what gays are Really Like.” Riiiiight – that makes perfect sense to me. Oh, what a wonderful world it would be if all homosexuals were Will & Grace–ified! (I don’t know where the lesbians fit into this equation…I guess since they’re not stereotypically sassy like gay men they’re just not, you know, fun enough for the straight demographic.) And don’t get Boob Job started on those damn, dirty bisexuals! You know, bisexuals are responsible for bringing HIV to the straight world – if there were no bisexuals, HIV would have stayed in the gay men’s “community” and the rest of us would have been safe…yeah, Boob Job has all sorts of interesting theories about the way things are, though her theory flies in the face of reason seeing as how our own mother got infected about seven years ago from a needle. But I’ll bet you anything it was a bisexual needle…ugh, and my family wonders why I don’t spend more time with them?

In closing, I’m reprinting a piece rather unceremoniously ripped off from the autobiography of Stephen Fry, “Moab is my Washpot” on what is camp. Hope everyone had a great week, and that no one tripped over the dead body on their way out of the closet.

What is Camp – A Definitive List by Stephen Fry*

Camp is not in rugby football
Camp is not in the Old Testament
Camp is not in St Paul
Camp is not in Latin lessons, though it might be in Greek
Camp loves colour
Camp loves light
Camp takes pleasure in the surface of things
Camp loves paint as much as it loves paintings
Camp prefers style to the stylish
Camp is pale
Camp is unhealthy
Camp is *not* English, damn it


Camp is not kitsch
Camp is not drag
Camp is not nearly so superficial as it would have you believe
Camp casts out all fear
Camp is strong
Camp is healthy

And let's face it....
Camp is queer.



Thursday, October 10, 2002

I love search engines - specifically, I love Google. I think I'm addicted to Google Smashing, which is the practice of getting your search term so precise and so utterly perfect that you’re rewarded with that beautiful phrase, “Results 1 – 1 of 1.” I’m a goddess when it comes to using search engines, I really am…which may not sound very impressive but if you realized how crap most people are at actually finding what they want online you’d appreciate my talent as well.

I blame Ask Jeeves for fooling people into believing that search engines were “smart” enough to take a sentence, any sentence, and decipher what you were trying to find and deliver it to you. Once upon a time I had a program installed that allowed me to spy on the general public’s search requests (I’m notoriously nosey) and I would spend, literally, hours watching what people would look for on Ask Jeeves (I’m notoriously dull as well). Many of these search requests resembled, “What can I do to make my husband pay attention to me again?” and “Why won’t Brett Favre come play for the Bears?” These people may have been looking into a Magic 8 Ball for as much as their results helped them with their initial queries.

I no longer spy on search requests but I do have a nifty little thing going on my stats page that shows me what people were searching for when they found this little blog o’ mine. It’s a source of great amusement to me so I thought I would share a couple of these searches with you…okay, so it’s a total rip-off of what mopsa does on her site every now and again, but I’m nothing if not unimaginative.

dora the explorer SUCKS! (indeed she does, but did the searcher really have to scream it like that? Sounds like s/he has some anger issues.)

humping pillows picture post (the "humping pillows" bit was in an old entry I'd written about Moby - more specifically, about how dogs exhibit the strange sexual practice of humping pillows - if you didn't read the post you won't get it, and it's too complicated to explain here. The weirdest part about this search is that the searcher had to go through a ton of other pages before finding mine - I'm sure there were others that would have suited his needs far better than my page.)

+blog +"I masturbated" (despite the superfluous plus signs, this searcher actually made good use of quotation marks to be sure to come back with that specific phrase...that's a rare old talent for your average Google user, believe me. For the record, the phrase "I masturbated" was in a blog entry of mine, but only as part of the poem, "Marriage" by Corso. Actually, I think I may have said something once about how I masturbated five times a day toward Mecca in order to be a good Muslim but I can't find that post so it may not have made the cut.)

There was also a search for the phrase, "F*** old woman" on a German search engine, but I'm not going to post that link because of the nasty stuff that appeared. The only reason "the f word" showed up in the results was because of the homophobia webring, by the way - that's not language fitting for a lady of my stature by any means. Apart from the above search requests I've had about a million for variations on "pickle juice" - which is interesting to me, as I chose that title not only for my love of the beverage (Vlasic kosher dill pickle juice just plain old rocks on so many levels) but because I couldn't imagine anyone being interested enough in pickle juice to search for it. I've seen, "What does pickle juice do for the body", "pickle juice houseplants", "woman eating a pickle", "pickle juice insects" and tons of others. The other really big search term is Bobby Trendy - everything from "Bobby Trendy is a fag" to "Where can I buy Bobby Trendy Design pieces". All I ever said about the guy is that he sucks...not in a "dora the explorer SUCKS!" kind of way, just a general, disenchanted, "you suck" kind of way.

But back to Google and stupid searchers...when my blog shows up in the results page it points to my main page and not the archive where the post in question appears. In all of these searches not a single person got to the blog entry where their search request showed up because they didn't click on the "cache" link, which not only would have taken them to the entry in question but would have highlighted their search term in the text.

So let this be a cautionary tale - if you are a stupid searcher you will be mocked. They're all going to laugh at you behind your back, and your search term may even end up on Disturbing Search Requests where it will be laughed at by an even wider audience.

Mocking me, mocking you (aha)-ingly,


Tuesday, October 08, 2002

If you're eating in a Greek restaurant please don't even glance at the other customers while they're trying to eat. People really hate that - and by "people" here I mean "me." I'm a messy eater, one that you might call a "dissector", as in I dissect my food as I'm eating it, usually with my fingers. Which means if you glance my way you'll usually find me up to my elbows in tzaki sauce with stringy onions hanging from my face. Your glances make me feel very self-conscious.

I should restrict my eating of Greek food to my home because of the mess factor but I really love being around Greek people. I've worked at a few restaurants in my youth that were run by Greeks and I can honestly say that they're the only people that have ever looked down their nose at me for being wasteful - which is no easy task, as I'm the queen of the take-home box. This is because I am cheap to a fault - if we're out to dinner I'll not only box up everyone's leftovers, I'll also fill the box with condiment packets and napkins, even though I don't need them. I'll ask for extra bread with the sole intent of "saving it until later". And yes, on the rare occasion where I visit an Old Country I will fill my purse with brownies and cookies to take home with me. The kids love me for that, as I'm often guilted by Andy into sharing with them, though my attitude is, "Hey, get your own stash!".

At one Greek-owned restaurant where I worked the owner, Musa, had a great scam going. When someone would order a lunch special he would put half the sandwich and the fries on one small plate and the other half of the sandwich on a second small plate. The customer would usually be too full after the half-sandwich and fries to even touch the second half of the sandwich so Musa would take it back into the kitchen, wrap it up and take it home with him. He was the cleaner and more sanitary of the two owners, as his brother would even save unfinished soup that the customers had left. The first time I saw that I was so disgusted, but Johnny (as he was known to us as his name was too hard to pronounce) would say, "What's the problem? They only ate a little, and soup is hot - kills germs. You're too wasteful, Natalie!" I would feel quite regal indeed when I would throw away a half-eaten plate of pasta just to see the look on Johnny's face.

So I was munching on some greasy Greek food the other day when I heard a snippet of a Peter Gabriel song, followed by another snippet of a different song, on and on in a format I recalled from my youth which indicates that there's a concert afoot. See, the only radio station I listen to these days is MPR so I miss out on all of the pop culture events that are going on around me, so this Peter Gabriel concert thing really wowed me. I scooped up the last of our food to throw it away - all the while the owner shooting me dirty looks - and made my way out to the car to check out the commercial. Just as I reached the door I managed to vomit up my lunch, which really got the owner fired up...I'm sure it wasn't for the mess I'd left, but that I'd wasted so much food. I felt too bad to feel good about it, though I've been reliving the scenario in my head and enjoying every minute of it.

But yes, Peter Gabriel is going to be in concert here in the Twin Cities, and no, I'm not going to be in attendance, sadly, as the concert coincides with my due date. Blast and damnation! Everything cool is happening on November 15th, from Peter Gabriel to the Harry Potter movie, and I'm going to be stuck here birthin' this baby. (Insert comical Butterfly McQueen voice here.)

So I've been in a bad mood lately. The only cool thing that's happened is that I've discovered my very favorite Victoria's Secret model has her own show on E!. Wait, was she Victoria's Secret or was she Fredrick's of Hollywood? For the life of me I can't remember - one thing that surprised me is that her name is Brooke while I'd always thought of her more as an Erica. I like her because I could picture her in Salma Hayek's role in "Dogma", though I have to watch her show with the television muted because her voice really grates on my nerves.

That's been my life lately. Bore, bored, boring. Though I am on my way out the door to return some movies...that should make for an interesting adventure. Groan.



Wednesday, October 02, 2002

I married my father. At least, I married a younger, unrelated English version of the guy, and I’m a little bit scared by that.

Over the weekend we went to visit my parents in Illinois. For once, all of my sisters managed to come around to see me – there are usually one or two who can’t make it, or won’t because I’m “fighting” with them…fights that usually involve me making a comment akin to, “You’re an idiot” and Random Sister saying, “Oh yeah? Well, I hate you” and whinging to my mother about me. Often, I don’t even realize I’m “in a fight” with Random Sister until she apologizes for something. They can’t get it through their heads that I really don’t care what they say/think/do and I don’t exactly spend a lot of time worrying about why I haven’t heard from them in a while.

So on Saturday night we had my sisters over, whom I will refer to as Boob Job, Hippy and Ditz. Boob Job is actually ditzier than Ditz but the boobs are more noticeable than her stupidity (most of the time) so she’s Boob Job. Ditz is pregnant by either her current boyfriend, ex-boyfriend who tried to kill her twice, ex-boyfriend’s brother, our cousin’s roommate or current boyfriend’s cousin. I could just call Ditz “Slut” but that’s too harsh on the girl – I prefer to call her “incredibly accommodating”. At any rate, her justification for not knowing who she’s pregnant by is that each potential “Baby Daddy” is Hispanic, so unless there’s a paternity test in the future she can go ahead and pretend that Current Boyfriend is the real father. (Jerry Springer, anyone?)

Ditz is probably the least offensive of my sisters, though she’s tried to bed Andy a few times. Thinking on it, she tried to bed me once – but hey, she was drunk, and after all, we’re only half-sisters. Yack. But she’s fun.

Hippy is what I lovingly refer to as a “bed-wetting liberal” – which is fine to an extent, as I’m a leftist myself. The problem I have with her is that she’ll hear one little snippet of a Newsworthy Item and instantly form an opinion of it, regardless of history and fact. Until recently, her interest in politics was restricted to the legalization of marijuana and a blanket “save the environment” stance. Yet she’s a NASCAR fan – I don’t understand how someone who wants to save the rainforest/baby seals/arctic tundra/small woodland creatures that are too stupid to save themselves/landfill space can justify watching and supporting a “sport” that wastes so many natural resources and pollutes the air. Her response to my argument is, “Well, that’s different.” Ah, touché.

Boob Job has a Barbie Doll complex. Growing up she used to say that she was going to be Barbie, marry Ken, have one son and one daughter, get a cat and a dog and drive a Jeep. All of this, indeed, came to pass, and she is now Mrs. All-American. Just this weekend she said, “I don’t care how much debt I have as long as I look good and my kids wear designer clothes.” (It should be pointed out that her children are neurotic and live in fear of getting their CK’s dirty. Her one-year-old daughter freaked out last week because she had a smudge of dirt on the bottom of her Skechers. How I wish I was joking about that.) Boob Job has no time for current events, education, personal growth (except for the plastic surgery kind) or compromise. She’s ignorant and loud – couple that with Hippy’s “opinionated and loud” and Ditz’s “moronic and loud” and you have one very stressful household when the girls get together.

I’m not a loud person but when I’m competing with all of the above I tend to be. I guess I could be classified as “sarcastic and loud” when the mood strikes. Often, Andy enjoys bearing audience to this spectacle but this weekend he hid out in my father’s den – which has been dubbed “the fort” for some reason, I think you can figure out why. Dad’s room is kitted out with a television, DVD, VCR, recliner, desk, stereo, porn and more food than we eat in a month. This guy is definitely preparing for something. Dad was away at his 45th high school reunion so the room belonged to Andy for the night. Initially, I was amused that Andy planted himself in my dad’s room like that until at one point I sneaked in to steal a candy bar out of my dad’s stash and had to do a double-take. I swear, I thought it was my father sitting there. Andy sits just like my dad does, has the same body type as my dad, and even falls asleep the same way. I stood there staring at him for a few minutes trying to shake the Dad/Andy image – even though it faded away the memory still lingers and disturbs me. I don’t want to be married to my dad – I know what he’s like in old age and it’s not pretty.

So what have I been doing? I’ve been planning the construction of Andy’s very own “fort” here in our house. I don’t know why I’m encouraging him to follow in my father’s footsteps…my mom initially wanted my father to have a den because she doesn’t particularly like him and wanted him to stay out of her way. But I actually like my husband, why am I giving him a den, too?

My dad is pissed off that Andy’s getting his own fort. I told Dad I’m decorating it in Manchester United stuff (I’ve been collecting autographs and memorabilia for four years now, solely to decorate the room) and plan to put in Andy’s unix box, television, DVD, VCR, recliner, desk, stereo, porn and a little fridge for his beer and food at some point in the next couple of weeks. Dad railed – “I had to wait twenty years for my den and he’s getting one this early in the marriage? That’s not fair!” Andy replies with a wink and a smile, not unlike my father’s expression, and says, “Yeah? Tough luck.” Just like dad. It’s pretty creepy.

I should stop blogging about my dad – I told him a while ago about blogging and that I’d mentioned him in an entry and his response was, “You don’t need to be telling the internet about me.” So, internet, if you’re out there, don’t pay attention to anything about my dad; it makes him paranoid.

Now I’m off to move Andy’s computer desk into his fort – I hope this turns out to be a good thing, not that he completely transforms into my father and starts wearing pocket t-shirts and Wrangler jeans. I don’t want to be married to my dad, I really, really don’t.