Wednesday, January 31, 2007

9,000 word essay*

Today i am doing a photo essay. A few months ago i did a post about things that wash up on our beach during storms. Today i went out and took pictures of some of this year's haul, so far.

Hope no one was using this at the time it washed up:

Or this: It looks like fun though, something to play with while i am waiting to be rescued. Oh, never mind, it says on the side :NOT INTENDED FOR USE AS A LIFESAVING DEVICE.

Nice, change the oil, and then throw the container over the side of the boat:

Here is a piece of someone's dock:

And another bit of another dock:

The head of a hoe. The whole hoe washed up, but we burned the rest of it as the handle was broken. The photographer's assistant was not nimble enough to move out of the picture in time.

These didn't wash up, but i thought they were cool. Deer prints:

There are many bits of LPC (Little Plastic Crap) on the beach:

And finally, a picture of the photographer's assistant after a good roll in the sand:

I had more photos, but bugger blogger will not let me upload any more pictures, i have been trying for 4 hours and am all sweaty and peevish. Might be time to get another service or platform or whatever you call it.

* i plagarized this title idea from the clever Maggie.

Monday, January 29, 2007


In a family of three, it is bound to feel like a triangle sometimes.

In our family it is Em and i, and then the Mister.

I know he feels left out, he has said so.

Some of it is because Em and i are both female, there is inevitably some bonding over tampons and bras and giggling over ultra-thin maxi pads or ultra-thick mini pads.
Some of it is because we are quite similar in personality and that brings a natural affinity too. Some of it is because she and i spend more time together than she and the Mister. I hear all about her day on the way home from school, and by the time the Mister gets home she doesn't want to tell him about it. It's old news.

When we eat dinner, Em positions her body so that she is facing me. She looks at me more, and is very attuned to my facial expressions. I don't think she is doing this consciously. In fact, i often wish she would be less attuned to me. I can't even heave a sigh (which i do with embarrassing frequency) without her asking me what's wrong.

Sometimes a sigh is just a sigh, you know?

I have tried to suggest to the Mister that he make an effort to spend some time with her without me there. This usually translates into him taking her to a bookstore and buying her a bunch of books. Which is not really what i had in mind.

Of course sometimes the fact that Em and i are similar leads us into the bitterest fights. We know just how to get to one another. I wish i could say that i always take the high ground when we fight, but i would be lying if i did. I mean, i try, but sometimes i act like a total wacko bitch.

Poor Mister. One hormonal teenager and one hormonal menopauser.


A blog that i read that i don't know why more people aren't reading:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Go Speed Racer.

I hate the way the Mister drives. He tears around parking lots and drives too close behind other cars and scares the bejesus out of me when pedestrians are around.

And he never listens to my helpful suggestions either. Of course most of them are expressed as a sharp intake of breath between my teeth. But he must understand that i mean well. Right?

It can't be because i am a control freak who doesn't trust him to see the danger lurking all around us like i do. It's not his fault, it's just a gift i have.

Just because he's been driving with a high rate of success (and speed) for over 40 years is no reason for me to relax my guard. The very survival of our family might depend upon my vigilance.

Excuse me now, i have to go remove three of my acrylic nails from his dashboard. (Me, acrylic nails. Now there's an image.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Educating meno

This morning i forced myself to step away from the computer and go swimming. I am glad i did, because after i swam over a mile, i felt like ten bucks.

When i am knifing my way swiftly through the cool blue water, counting the laps in my head, the rest of my mind wanders off into the weeds.

I started thinking about my friend Cheryl from junior high school. I was the biggest goon head in the world back then. (No wise cracks about now please.) My family moved here from across the country between my 7th and 8th grade and i knew absolutely no one the first day of school.

Cheryl was the daughter of one of my parent’s friends, and kindly took pity on this knee sock wearing, glasses bearing, book caring, boy scaring geek.

The first time i smoked dope? Cheryl. The first time i hitchhiked? Cheryl. The first time i swiped cheap gin from my parent’s stash and replaced it with water? Cheryl. The first time some boy groped by AAAs? I was with Cheryl.

She was a real education for me. A “Bad Influence.” If only my parents had been paying attention.

Eventually she grew tired of my unremitting doltishness and gave up on making me cool, but we remained friendly enough through high school and even college.

In college she really started big time on the drugs and sex, having two abortions and spending many nights of debauchery with many different men. Once she told me a story of going home with some guy and having sex with him. When they were done he got up and said, “My roommate is a virgin. Would you mind?”

“Nope, send him in,” she replied.

I was shocked to the core by this life, and not a little fascinated too.

Of course this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Cheryl has spent much of her life in and out of rehab, and even jail. The last time i saw her was at her brother’s funeral. He was killed while driving drunk.

But i remember that funny, quirky, smart ass teenager with the try anything attitude.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


An object at rest tends to remain at rest.

I am suffering from an advanced case of inertia these days. I can’t seem to make myself move. I am doing the bare minimum around the house. Shopping? I won’t have to if i make pistachio and mustard quesadillas for dinner. Mustard is a vegetable, right? Laundry? I can do it later, these pants aren’t really dirty. If i don’t mail this letter today i can leave 5 minutes later to go get Em. The letter can wait until later.

Later being some undefined time whose only important characteristic is that it is not now. Later really meaning never.

There is lots of heavy sighing too.

The problem is that since i don’t work, there’s always plenty of later. Self-discipline has never been my strong suit.

Time to head off to the gym. If i don’t pack clothes and come home to shower i can sit here for 5 minutes longer.

And the worst thing? I am a whiny ass bitch.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

People suck

I made a tactical error in my life yesterday.

I try to keep my inner cynic and depressive at bay, but yesterday i failed to protect myself from outside influenes.

First we went to see the movie Pan's Labyrinth. I knew it was going to be wrenching and sad so i set up an emotional wall. A porous wall, but solid enough to protect me from the worst of the emotional impact. So i was able to watch the movie, and my wall held up fairly well.

Last night the Mister and i watched Jarhead because we've had it for a few months from Netflix and it was time to watch it or send it back. I was okay up until the part where a frightened horse appeared in the desert covered with oil that was raining down from the burning oil fields.

I just can't bear it when animals are hurt or frightened by our wars

This morning. Em and i are at our cat cage cleaning gig at the cat adoption center. There was a twelve year old cat in one of the cages. Her owners had surrendered her because (and i quote) "she's not as playful anymore." She's twelve years old people! Of course she's not as playful .

What kind of people are we? Who could do a think like that? A healthy cat that they've had for 12 years and they just dump her off.

That's when i lost it and started crying. Em cried too when she read it. Here we are, the two of us locked into a small room with ten open cat cages and cats weaving around our legs, sobbing and clinging together.

I hate people right now, i really do.

(These are both excellent movies people. Don't let my comments prevent you from seeing either of them.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The V.B. strikes again

This story is for Esereth.

The Mister went to visit his mother last Sunday. She lives about an hour away, but he hasn’t seen or talked to her in over a year and a half. I could never explain the sad history of all this to you. Let’s just say that his mom has transferred the hate she used to feel for her husband to the Mister, with no reason as he is not like his father. She withholds important information and then gets angry with him for not knowing anyway. She and the Mister’s sister (the vituperative bitch of the title) then talk smack about him.

She called us in the middle of the night a week or so ago, seemingly without reason. As a result of that, he went to visit her in her new assisted living studio apartment.

She is very unhappy in her new tiny home, as she doesn’t really need to be in assisted living yet. The place depresses her. So why is she there?

She moved in there after some advice and pressure from the sister. She also gave up driving at this time, also on the advice of sister. Who then drove off with the car, as she “needed” it.

There were no incidents with MIL’s driving that led to this, just advice from sister. “I really don’t think you should be driving anymore mom, and by the way, can i have your car?”

Nice. Really nice.

The sister is in her late 40s and on her 4th husband. Time to learn to take care of yourself woman.

I feel sorry for MIL, but i gotta say, she did this to herself and it is part of a life long pattern of giving the sister money, cars, furniture or whatever she “needed.”

When she dumped her first husband because she was sleeping with her boss and wanted to marry him, well, after he dumped his wife and the mother of his two kids, my FIL bought her all new furniture for her apartment. (Someday i'll give you the condensed version of her life, hoo boy!)

I told the Mister that he should dump me, get all new furniture, and then we could get back together. Except i don’t pull that kind of crap.

You know, i didn’t mean to go on so long, but i guess i have some feelings about this. It’s like the Mister has always been punished for taking care of himself

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Eleven is my favorite number

I was tagged for this by Sari, rhymes with Mary. (I just like saying that!)

1. If you had to choose one vice in exclusion of all others, what would it be?
Red red wine you make me feel so fine

You keep me rocking all of the time
Red red wine you make me feel so grand
I feel a million dollars when you’re just in my hand

2. If you could change one specific thing about the world, what would it be?
Just one? I don’t think so.
I wish everyone wasn’t in such a fucking hurry to get offended and kill people who think/look differently than themselves.
I wish that reliable contraception was accessible to every woman.

3. Name the cartoon character you identify with the most.
Daria, on Nickelodeon.

4. If you could live one day in your life over again, which day would it be?
I think that day on the beach in November with the Mister when i was 21. That day felt like love to me. Well, maybe there was a bit o’ lust in there too.

5. If you could go back in history and spend a day with one person, who would it be?
Hmmm, can i go back and give birth control pills to Hitler’s mom?
Ok ok, Dorothy Parker.

6. What is one thing you lost, sold, or threw away that you wish you had back?
This series of cartoons that i drew with a friend in 7th grade. They were titled “The adventures of Mish Mouse.” Debbie was exceptionally talented at drawing. One of those people who can dash off 5 squiggly lines and express complex emotions. I can’t draw for beans, but i was funny with the dialogue. I had them for a while and now they are gone.

7. What is your one most important contribution to this world?
Choosing to not continue the cycle of criticism.

8. What is your one hidden talent that nearly no one knows about?
um…i really don’t have any talents, hidden or otherwise. I can raise one eyebrow?

9. What is your most cherished possession?
I will put aside people, because they aren’t possessions. You know, i don’t really own things that i care much about. It’s all just stuff to me. This attitude shocks the Mister sometimes when i don’t get upset about things being damaged, lost, destroyed. I did just buy this cool leather coat though….

10. What one person influenced your life the most when growing up?
I don’t think i can honestly say any one other than my mother. I can still hear her voice in my head some days. Anyone know an exorcist?

11. What word describes you better than any other?
Empathetic. Cynical. Idealistic. Accepting. Silly. Reserved. Oh, and i don’t follow rules i don’t agree with, like trying to describe myself in one word.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rock hard, pulsating, heaving, damp, tender, thobbing.

Yesterday i took Em to Borders Book Store to use her “holiday dollars.” She bought 7 romance novels with her money. I was a bit taken aback, although now that i think about it why wouldn’t she? I know she is intensely curious about sex.

But i am still a bit chagrined.

Happy because she isn’t hiding it.
Worried that she will think real love and sex is as depicted in these books. (I mean, it is for me*, but i know others are not as fortunate.)
Happy that she is reading these instead of experimenting personally.
Worried because most of them are utter crap.
Happy because i can borrow them when she’s done. :)
Worried in case i’ll get embarrassed.

16 seems so young, but i am projecting who i was at her age.

My friends and i read Harlequin Romances when we were in high school. But they were pretty tame back then. One of the rules was that the couple had to be married before doing it, no matter how absurd the plot device that getting them married required. Another rule was the heavy use of the fade-to-black technique whenever anything interesting was about to happen.

My first real romance novel was The Wolf and the Dove. It was given to me by the Mister’s mother. I loved it. I was shocked, and titillated by it. I think i read it several times to make sure that i hadn’t missed any vital plot points.

16 year olds get horny, remember? Don’t be such a prude mom! (I'll have to tell you the story about how i bought her a vibrator.)

Sigh, she was so cute and uncomplicated when she was a baby.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Court of Honor

Last weekend my little family went to my nephew’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor.

I am proud of him, as only 4% or less of boy scouts become eagle scouts. I couldn’t help thinking about this little stunt that he and my other nephew (who is also an eagle scout) pulled a while ago during the code of honor part. To my credit i did not snort.

I have a hard time with scouting because of two things. One is the God connection. And the other is their stand on gays. Also, i do have some personal bad memories from when i was a girl scout. But i also recognize that scouting can be a really positive influence for many kids. Well, unless they are gay or atheists.

One really sweet part of the ceremony was when the leader guy asked all the eagle scouts in the room to stand up and tell us their troop number and when they became eagle scouts. That was cute as there were some pretty old guys there who got to stand up.

It ended with 5 extremely self-conscious boys performing the flag ceremony, us all in a big circle holding hands and singing, and cake. I am not so good with holding hands and singing with people i don't know. Sigh of relief when it was over.

Maybe the two of them will grow into the kind of people that they promised that they already were.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

In which i cave in to my own sick needs

It snowed here last night. Today the world is beautiful. These prints are from a raccoon that walked across our lawn sometime last night. And bonus of all bonuses, school was cancelled.

I went up to Em's room early in the morning to tell her the news. She was in the shower.

"What!" she yelled at me in a distinctly unpleasant manner.
"School is closed," i replied.
"SCORE!" she yells, wraps her hair in a towel and jumps back into bed.

The roads are okay to drive on, i hear. I can't get up our driveway. It was a quiet day at House Wobegon.


Someone has designated this as "National De-Lurking Week."

This means that anyone who reads my blog with some regularity is encouraged to leave a comment and say hi this week.

I have been having mixed feelings about this, because really, i don't think anyone would read a blog and never comment. Would they?

But then, curiosity (meow!) has gotten the better of me, so i am posting about it in hopes of encouraging all to say hi.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

what i know now that i didn't know then

I know of a woman who just got married for the first time at age 36. Although i believe that she knows a lot about herself, i can’t help but think about all the things that she doesn’t, can’t, know about marriage. Or to be fair, about my marriage. (I cannot assume they are all the same.)

I did not realize how there would be some times when i hated you. Not was angry at you or tired or crabby, but moments when i hated you. You, who you are. The attention that you need that i cannot provide enough of.

I did not know that when you are out of town, all is not really right with the world until you come home.

I did not know that after all the years together we would provide half of each other’s memory function. A lifetime of shared history of memories and movie quotes and jokes. Who else is going to be able to understand the shorthand we have developed over the years?

I did not know that i was capable of behaving SO abjectly badly in front of another human being. And that you would forgive me and still love me.

I did not know what i would be able to forgive you for either. Things i didn’t think i would ever be able to forgive anyone for.

I did not understand that we would be growing up together. I thought i was all grown up when we married. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! *snort*)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I should have been a teacher

When i was in the 5th grade, my best friend Connie lived next door. We really had nothing in common except that we were two lonely eleven year old girls.

My mother was distainful when i asked her why she wasn't friends with Connie's mother. She thought they were "common." I wasn't sure what that meant, but i knew it was bad.

That summer my brother Tim and i were shipped off to spend a month or so at my grandmother's house. Connie and i wrote each other long impassioned letters full of angst and magazine clippings and bird feathers. Each letter was carefully sealed with sealing wax and stickers.

I guess i must have sent her some biological information in one of my letters, because here is an excerpt from one of her letters to me:

Dear Meno,

No, i didn't know what a bonar was. (but now i do) He (Timmy) might start looking at her (you know).

Here's another bit from another letter:

Yesterday we went to a movie Yours, Mine and Ours. We stadyed through it 1 1/2 times. It was about a lady that had 8 kids and a man that had 10 kids they got married, 18 kids. He went to sea, she had a baby, 19 kids. It was all mixed up. I'm going to have a lot of kids.

Connie and i had gone to the special movie that was "just for girls" together in the 5th grade, and we were desperate for information on the male of the species. I think i remember my brother explaining what the word boner meant to me. I must have shared this precious bit of knowledge with her.

What can i say? Sharing information just comes naturally to me.

I eventually lost touch with Connie after we moved to Seattle and she moved at least 10 times after her parents got divorced. I wonder where she is and what she is doing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tempest in a bong

My last post reminded me of an incident that happened when i was in my first year of college. I was at Western Washington State College, now Western Washington University. It was 1975 – ‘76

The dorm i lived in was 5 or 6 floors high, with walls of windows on both sides. Each room holds 2 people, many of whom had never met before becoming roommates. That was the case with my roommate and i.

One of the on-campus Christian groups started handing out posters with large crosses so that people could put these in the window of their dorm room facing outward.

Within a few weeks the dorm looked like a monastery from the outside, with all the crosses in the windows.

The some smart ass (it was NOT me), decided to make similar posters, except with marijuana leaves on them.

This (surprise!) offended the Christians, who felt that they were being mocked. As indeed was the case. (Sensitivity is not the strong point of the 17 and 18 year old.)

Then the beer drinkers got in on the act and escalated the situation further. Posters depicting a beer mug began showing up in windows. Some rooms would have a cross in one corner and a marijuana leaf in the opposite corner. The dorms now looked like some kind of crazy patchwork quilt of sin and redemption.

Editorials on both sides appeared in the college newsletter. Feelings were hurt, insults were hurled, people from all sides were in high dudgeon. It was really very funny.

Eventually a new rule was adopted that forbade posters of any size or content from being displayed in dorm windows.

I so wish i had taken a picture at the height of the poster wars.

Friday, January 05, 2007

An old shoe box full of the past

During my first year of college, i had a very old typewriter in my dorm room. My roommate and i swiped a roll of those horrible brown paper towels, the kind with no perforations, from the bathroom and put it into the typewriter. We used this as a message board, a creative writing exercise and for random stoned ramblings. (I went to college in the 70s, man.)

Naturally we thought these words were the epitome of wit and should be preserved for the ages. I still have these "Dead Meno Scrolls" as Em called them, although she used my real name. I pulled these out the other night for the first time in about 20 years, just to amuse Em and to let her kow that once upon a dinosaur i HAD been young.

Both Em and i were in tears of laughter reading them.

Here are some excerpts:

I am so stoned right now.

Want to hear a neat game? It's called "See what good friends we are? We can swear and say the worst things and then just laugh because we were only kidding. It just goes to prove that the best way to keep someone from knowing the truth is by telling it to them under the guise of being too ridiculous to even be possible.

We smoked a joint before lunch and we are really high right now.

The meeting lasted 8 hours and ended when the experts lit up the traditional parting joint. The meeting ended on a happy note. One expert was seen leaving soon after the closing ceremony giggling.

Do not forget to stop at Thriftway and get a bottle of club soda.

Allie has a short attention (This one made Em fall off her chair. Allie was my roommate.)

This is hard to type when i am so high.

I think that i am higher than i think i am.

Do you sense a theme here? I think i majored in dope smoking my first year of college.

I just realized, these writings were my first blog. And now this one here is my second. Do you have an old shoebox somewhere with treasures from the past saved in it? I saved words. What did you save?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Retiring, but not shy.

I am going to pontificate a bit more on retiring, why i did it, and what it was like; what i was afraid of and what happened.

Em was 13 at the time. The Mister and i had enough money so that we could both have retired and lived a good life. I felt like i needed to be around more for Em, and to help make life easier for all of us. Any of you who are part of a couple where both of you work and have kids know how hectic that life can be. (And those of you who are working single parents, yikes! That's hard work.)

But i was afraid to quit my job. I liked working, i liked the people i worked with (for the most part). Working gave me a chance to interact with people on a regular basis. I was prepared to be depressed for a while after i quit until i found a way to organize my life so that i could still get the things i needed from it.

It's been over 2 years now. I never did get depressed. I found a number of things to do that help replace the fun and bustle of the workplace. I volunteer at a few places, i exercise at a gym, where i have gotten to know a few people, i keep up with friends i used to work with by having lunch. It also turns out that i am quite happy to spend time alone, reading books, bustling around the house, reading/writing blog entries. I am surprisingly content. I am not accomplishing anything spectacular, and i am okay with that.

It is different for the Mister. He gets more of his identity from his work. He thinks we need more money than we do. He likes 'stuff' more than i do. He needs approval from others more than i do. In other words, an extrovert. I worry about what will happen to him emotionally if he doesn't work. These are issues that he will have to work out for himself though. He has watched me go through retiring and i think he is simultaneously jealous and relieved that it's not him.

I selfishly wonder if we will drive each other crazy if he is around all the time too. A common worry from what i understand.

Really it's just another step along the journey that is our life and marriage. But i really don't think he's ready. But it's not up to me is it?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Take this job and shove it.

The Mister had a bad moment while we were on vacation about the pressures in his life. His job is very stressful and right now he kind of hates it, and many of the people he works with.

I didn’t retire until i felt that we had enough money for the Mister to retire as well. I didn’t think it was fair to have him feel like he had to shoulder the entire responsibility for money. It would have meant a change in lifestyle if he had retired when i did, but i truly don’t give a hairy rat about most of our “stuff.”

So one of the things we will do in the near future is sit down and make a plan about what we will do if/when he quits. Sell the house, buy a condo, sell one of our fucking cars….whatever. I don’t think he will quit, but i want him to have the feeling that he could. That alone might be freeing enough to relieve some of the pressure.

It could be an interesting year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

This just in from Party Central

Happy New Year!!

The Mister and i partied until 9:30 or 10 pm last night, much to the disgust of Em. Whoo Hoo.

Being the cynic that i am, i don't want to believe in resolutions. But without regard to that, i am going to make a few, because inconsistency is also one of my foremost qualities.

1.) I will continue to not smoke. (Yay me!)
2.) I will continue to exercise.
3.) I will try and remember to treat the people i love as if they only had one month to live.

That's pretty much it and as much as i can handle. Oh, and this one,

4.) I will try and drink less alcohol, mostly because it contributes to my insomnia.

Notice how they were all either something to continue, or something to try. Can't go too wrong with that. I can hear myself whining "but i tried!"


Last night, or actually this morning at 12:10 am our phone rang. It was the Mister's mother, to whom he hasn't spoken in many months. They are essentially estranged. All i will say in explanation is that the Mister has good reason, although i still find it sad.

I was expecting the worst, as she is 83 and has recently moved to a retirement home. But she just asked how Em is, how i am and how the Mister is. The Mister asked if he could call her back later in the day as he was sleepy and befuddled and it seemed as if nothing was wrong with her.

There are three possibilities:

  • She is losing it, and didn't realize the time.
  • Something really is wrong, and she wants to punish him for not asking more questions. (A long-standing pattern with her.)
  • She had a fight with the Mister's sister and wants to dump on him. (The Mister hasn't spoken with his sister in over 12 years, and believe me, it is with REALLY GOOD reason. She is a vituperative bitch.)

It turned out that she just had some kind of panic attack and felt that she had to call him right then. Odd. But he did talk to her and will probably go visit her within the next few weeks. It still might be reason number 3, as she did make a snarky remark about the sister. Sigh. Patterns continue.


On a personal note from me, i have had so much fun this year writing and interacting with you all. Thank you for the sense of community you provide to this introvert. Also for the thought-provoking and the laughs. I wish you all the best year ever, really! Make it so.