Although I could swear I've posted this particular story before, a search for it through my archives came up empty. If somehow I've missed it, and have already posted this, I apologize. But it is a great story. Suck it up, read it again...as my love slave Wilford Brimley says, it's the right thing to do.
'Twas many years ago when my nephews and niece were tiny tots. This was, like, back when I was skinny, so you know that was a fair jaunt back on the timeline. I won't say how long, but I will tell you that they're all old enough to go buy Aunt Katy some booze if they choose.
The family used to come over to Flint when my parents lived there, and we'd all visit with each other for the whole weekend. All the adults would gather and talk ourselves hoarse, and the kids would bounce in and out of the room, quite often amusing us during their intermittent presences.
My niece, "Rachel," has grown into a much nicer young lady than her auntie ever was, but when she was very young, she was quite a handful. One minute, she could be all sweetness and light and the cutest little blondie you ever saw, and the next minute, she'd have turned into a little walking, exploding, tears-of-indignity-stained thunder cloud. I can remember her storming up the stairs and stopping to poke her face through the railing and point at me while bellowing "Don't laugh, you ugly girl! Stop laughing, I tell you!" Yes, yes, that did a lot to quell the laughter in the room. Another time, she was parading around quite proudly in a tiny bride's costume she'd been given as a present, but when she started to get tired, her enchantment with the outfit began to wane. At the zenith of her fit of pique, she stomped into the middle of the living room, held up her hands, and declared, "These gloves are too big - just look at 'em!"
I suppose she was three or four when what I like to call the Dancing Incident took place, which would make her brother "Billy" about six or seven at the time.
It was a Sunday morning, and there were adults crowded into every room on the first floor of my parents' apartment. There was so much going on conversationally that not too many people were paying the kids any mind. Rachel was all revved up and ready to go; she had that look in her eyes that little ones get when they've abandoned any pretense of behaving. Someone had made a purchase that left, in its wake, a large piece of white tissue paper, and at some point in her bopping around the living room, Rachel made a hat out of it. She wore it tied under the chin, with a large amount of paper coming to a point above her head - it looked like she was some kind of demented midget samurai warrior. As she jumped around, the point on top of the paper bobbed and danced, which was pretty fuckin' hilarious, and I do so wish I'd had a video camera then.
She tired of playing alone, so she went over to Billy and started to hop around him, asking "Wanna dance?" and then punching him. Billy knew better than to hit his little sister, so he made no move to retaliate as she continued to circle him, continuing to ask him to dance, punching harder and harder each time as she saw there would be no paybacks. At that point, I made sure I wasn't missing a thing, because I knew this would be interesting, one way or another. I don't know; maybe it's the same instinct that draws men to watch cockfights.
If you had to ask me, I'd say the punch in the stomach was the turning point of that little skirmish. Rachel socked Billy in the gut, and the look on his face changed from stoically exasperated to "ENOUGH, MOTHERFUCKER!" He whirled and gave her a decisive shove that sent her backside to meet the floor in short order. For a second, she was silent and shocked that he'd pushed her, and then she began to wail, more from indignation than anything else. Billy leaned over her and muttered, out the side of his mouth, the line that will live with me forever.
"Had enough dancin' for one day, Toots?"
He looked around to ascertain if anybody had seen what transpired. My ex and I were the only ones who witnessed the entire drama, and as he saw us start to crack up, he realized he wasn't busted or in trouble; he came to sit next to me on the couch, a sly, conspiratorial little grin forming on his lips. I was so happy that I'd actually paid attention to the kids for a while. Sometimes it pays to sit back and let them make their own theater while you remain in a neutral corner.
Billy now writes and records his own hip-hop songs. I can trace it back to his first girl-shoving incident.
This is Eleven, AKA Coon Baby (because she likes to drop food and toys in the water dish), AKA Truck Driver (because she just is).
Isn't she adorable?
When I was here visiting in summer of 2005, she peed in my lap because she sensed I was getting in between her and her mommy. But we've since gotten past that, and she is now my little buddy, a wee pal with a 'tude who will nonetheless usually come when I call her, jump up in my lap, and dance the dance of the flesh tearing. I love this little girl.
Saturday, as I was preparing to leave, I stacked everything I wanted to put in the car out by the back door to facilitate the loading of the Cruiser. It was for perhaps ten minutes that I left my goods unattended. When I began gathering an armload to take outside, I realized that there was some, ah, moisture that I had not put there.
Eleven, in registering her displeasure at my departure, peed in my purse. Not just on my purse - in my purse. Luckily, she missed my iPod and my cell phone, but let's just say there will be gum and tissues that need replacing. I have already replaced the purse because, well, I like to be noticed, but not because I smell like cat urine.
It's apparent to me that the cats are conspiring to punish me for being away for a couple of days. I mentioned in my last post that Friday and Thirteen had torn my room up pretty badly in my absence. Last night, Thirteen was happy to greet me, but Friday was a little stand-offish, displaying a "Fuck you, mommy!" attitude as only a gay little tuxedo kitty can. Well, this morning, Friday woke me up about 8:30 with loud purring right in my face and a bit of shoulder dancing. I hugged him and gave him some pets and kisses, and then he settled in against my shoulder and cheek. Then I smelled it.
Upon further investigation, it turns out Friday had poop stuck to the end of his tail. Isn't that a wonderful way to greet mommy first thing in the morning? I took him in the bathroom and washed it out - luckily, not too awful a task with a short-haired cat. Returning to bed, I figured that would be the low point of my day, and thought no more about it.
This evening, I saw Thirteen shoot out of the cat box like he had a rocket up his ass. I noticed he left a little present on the floor behind him, so I cleaned that up. Then he jumped up in my lap, and I realized that...Thirteen had poop stuck to his tail. Aw, fuck! I hustled him into the bathroom and attempted to wipe it off with wet paper towels, but the task was not so easy in his long fur. I decided to run some warm water and rinse his tail. He was okay when I picked him up, but as soon as I turned him around and he could tell he was heading for that running water, he freaked out completely, went a little berserk, sliced up my wrist and the heel of my hand, and sunk a claw right into my neck.
Being the ladylike and reserved little debutante that I am, I believe I uttered something modest like, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH MOTHERFUCKER AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
I finished the laborious task with paper towels, and lots of antibacterial soap on my wounds.
Never again will I think smugly to myself, "Well, my day can't get any worse that this."
The part that really frightens me is that the day isn't over yet.
Addendum: I wonder if this recent gift from Jess would explain the things in this post. Hmmmm...
Last year, I had Thanksgiving here but wasn't at liberty to write about it. It was my first experience with a Thanksgiving that did not involve turkey and football. Instead, we had fondue and Jell-O wrasslin'. All year long I've begged for a repeat of the fondue festivities (though we've since found that we prefer to wrassle in banana pudding), and this Thursday, I got my wish.
If someone has to grease me up and push really hard with sturdy sticks to get me through the door today, here is why:
Spinach dip, cheese fondue, assorted yum yums.
The shrimp died nobly and deliciously.
Butterscotch fondue, peanut butter fondue, delight on a stick.
This one wouldn't hold still long enough to go in the oil, though I'm sure he'd have been a taste treat.
Hermione was forced to lick the window because we sold her kibble to buy fondue forks.
Hope everyone got lots of what they like to eat yesterday (take that any way you like).
My brain feels like there's a big, wooly rug being dragged across it, so a list is the best thing you'll get out of me tonight. Well, unless you're a fan of 7-Up belches.
Did you know that if you go to Japan, it's actually Las Vegas? And that you have to watch hockey at Red Lobster? And that Lou Ann Barton knows more about me than she knows about Sue Foley? At least, that's what my dream said this afternoon, and are you gonna argue with my dreams?
The mailbox was gracious enough today to contain my pre-ordered copy of Tom Waits' Orphans, a three-disk set of rarities. Most are his own songs that he's never released, many that others have recorded (such as 2:19, which was covered by John Hammond on his Waits tribute album Wicked Grin), and covers of songs that Waits has either never released or that have appeared on anthology albums. Orphans is split up into three disks: Brawlers, the more raucous tunes; Bawlers, his thoughtful and morose ballads; and Bastards, many of them covers, such as his scary-as-hell take on Heigh Ho from Disney's Snow White. I'm currently loading the disks onto iTunes; standouts that I've been able to hear so far are 2:19 and Fish in the Jailhouse.
I wrote a song today about smashing someone in the face with a crowbar. Not sure if that's at all healthy, but damn - it sure felt good! Feel free to be afraid of me now.
Non-fact of the day: The word "goulash," when literally translated, means "vomit." Don't go look it up - just take my word for it. (Shit, with that attitude, I could be a politician or a preacher!)
True fact: When given the chance, kittens will fart in your mouth with extreme glee.
Do you guys find the main text on my new masthead annoyingly off-center? I never notice that shit until I've posted it and looked at it about ten times.
I'm spending an inordinate amount of time on Flickr lately. I'm in a group called "365 Days" where members post a self-portrait of some kind every day for a whole year. Trying to think up something different every day has already led me, not even a month into the project, to post pictures like this:
Lord help us all in another month or two.
There's an urge building up, deep inside of me, and I don't mean the urge to void my bowels on the steps of the White House. That urge isn't very deeply repressed at all. No, the urge of which I speak here is the itch, the hunger, the craving to sing in front of an audience again, after three years off the stage. But there is no way in this fucking universe that I feel like getting involved with a band again. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: being in a band is like being married to three or four other people from whom you can't even withhold sex to get your way. So, if I don't want a band, my only alternative is to become a Karaoke Turd. A sober Karaoke Turd at that, as I don't like to booze it up when I sing. And for my next act of humilation, I shall run down the street clad only in a diaper, with Little Mermaid stickers on my nipples, screaming dialogue from Gilligan's Island in a fakey German accent. Achtung, little buddy!
If I ever wanted to adopt children, I think this post ensures that this will never, ever be a possibility.
I've been having the strangest dreams lately. Really, stranger than usual, even for me.
Today, I dreamt that as I slept, someone came into my room, opened the windows, and pinned the curtains open. When I looked out my south window, instead of the back yard, there was a parking lot. In the lot, Carol Channing was walking to her car.
I remember thinking, "Oh, man - I have to blog about Carol Channing being right outside my window!"
And I am.
Then (in my dream), I went out into the kitchen, and the boys' grandmother was out there, sweeping up. Only, instead of their real grandmother, it was Helena Cassadine, Nikolas' super-evil grandmother from General Hospital, as played by Constance Towers.
Carol and Constance, all in one dream - that's hawt.
I've long had delusions of adequacy about my abilities as a songwriter/performer. The first song I can remember writing was at about age 13, a ditty called Friday Night's Weekend. It started out with the charming couplet:
2:35, ain't no jive We scream on the bus, it's typical of us.
The song's refrain was:
It's a Fri, it's a Fri It's a Friday night's a-weekend.
Luckily, there is no recorded version of this abomination. However, there is actual auditory proof of some of my later ugly, ugly songs, courtesy of my brother Tardist and his love of multi-track recording by any means necessary. We spent many years recording with two cassette decks, bouncing and adding tracks until we had muddy monsterpieces.
Eventually, I decided to record my songs under the name Singing Mammogram. When Tardist finally graduated to a real four-track recorder, he was kind enough to offer to help me record a set of my songs. The resulting four-song cassette was titled No One Will Be Seen With Me, and featured the unforgettably retarded tracks Mommy Makes Me Do My Hair This Way, King Jezebel, Losin' My Lipstick (in case the title is too subtle for you - yes, it's absolutely about sucky-sucky), and a tribute to Lizzy Borden called That Stuff on the Floor. The cassettes flew off the shelves, but that's only because my calico kept knocking them down.
Here's the cover I painted for the cassette, and then lovingly reproduced on the copy machine at work after hours:
And, for your dining, dancing, and vomiting pleasure, I present to you some of the worst singing you will ever hear, in the form of the snappy paean to an alleged axe murderess, That Stuff on the Floor. (Note: By clicking on the "play" button, you take full responsibility for any blood that happens to squirt from your ears while listening)
From the top o' my head to the pit o' your stomach.
If Monty Python and Kids in the Hall got into a fight, who would win? I mean, with Graham Chapman gone, their numbers are matched now, and Kids in the Hall are younger. On the other hand, Monty Python have the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
I thought that by not having children, I would avoid ever having to shout the phrases "Get out of my purse!" and "Stop playing in your poop!" Obviously, I never counted on kittens.
When I was about 13, Squirl and I used to have a little repertoire of songs we would perform together, with me on piano and her tackling the vocals. We chose a name for ourselves based on a line from a Neil Sedaka (shut up) song - Southern Comfort and Ecstasy. Of course, we had never heard of the drug Ecstasy at that time, in the late 1970s. Still, I kind of like the name even better now than I did then. Takes on a whole new meaning.
It's official: I've been watching entirely too many episodes of Ghost Hunters lately. The other night, I had a dream where I was talking to lead investigator Jason Hawes. Well, we weren't just talking, mind you - we were inventing the world's funniest diarrhea jokes. I'm talkin' world-class hilarity here. The really, really sad part (besides that fact that I had this dream at all) is that when I woke up, I couldn't remember a single one of our jokes. I guess it was probably more of a running gag.
I wish you all a pleasant night of diarrhea-free sleep.
When I decided to post some of my paintings, I determined that I would write at least a short background to go with each one. Well, I tried with this one, really I did. But I truly can't think of a thing to say about it, beyond "Wow, what the fuck was I thinking when I painted that?"
It's called "Monday at the Office" and was, as all the others, painted in about 1992. Who the fuck knows what it means? If you click on it, you can go to Flickr and look at it larger; as the size of the picture increases, so will your worries that I went off the deep end years and years ago.
So here I am, makin' all all kinds of trouble with my sister, and it just dawned on me that today is my two-year blogaversary.
Does that entitle me to a drink? I think it does. Perhaps I will dance the dance of the failed ventriloquist upon the bar - and then Squirl can push me into a shopping cart and take me away before the po-po show up.
When I moved to Illinois, one of the things I packed up was a batch of my old paintings. All my work was done with watercolors on posterboard, so the materials were none too stable for travel. Some of my bigger paintings I put in a giant portfolio (or, as Arjay's eldest son would say, a "fartpolio"), and I put the smaller ones in individual construction paper envelopes and sealed them.
Most of my paintings suck, but there's one that's always been my favorite, and even though I painted it in the early '90s, I've never framed the sumbitch. Tonight, I finally put it in a frame; before I did that, I took some new pictures of it with the D50. I've posted photos of it here before (it used to be my avatar, Back in the Day), but they were scanned from washed-out prints that were never very good representations in the first place. I am much happier with the new pics.
Ladies, gentlemen, and those of you who frequent this blog, I once again present to you the fluorescent, trippy, blacklight extravaganza I like to call "Who Wants to Play With Old Veinface?"
I'll be accepting donations for therapy at the door.
I'm almost afraid to ask, but would y'all like to see more?
You know, I'm usually a pretty mellow, live-and-let-live, gimme-another-drink-and-flip-me-over kinda girl. I even put up quite well with most butchery of the English language by its native speakers, because really, in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal. It's not important like, say, celebrity gossip, or music sales charts, or monkeys. Nothing is as important as monkeys.
But there's one mispronunciation that has always made my skin crawl, and upon seeing it added as a nonstandard yet correct pronunciation in the dictionary, I just want to beat myself in the head with a frozen sockeye salmon until I'm in a coma. When I awaken from the coma, I really hope this abomination will be stricken from the books.
Here's the word: MISCHIEVOUS.
Correct pronunciation: MIS-cha-vus
Mischievous is a three-syllable word, not a four-syllable word. But all my life, I've heard people, even a lot of my teachers, say it thusly:
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO motherfucking NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! There is no extra syllable, no third "i" in the word. Let's break it down.
MIS CHIE VOUS
See? Three syllables. It is NOT spelled "mischievIous" and so should NEVER be pronounced "mis-CHEE-vee-us."
I don't care if you say "ain't" or if you end a sentence with a preposition or even if you say ARKtic instead of ARtic for arctic (though the last one may make me twitch a little). But if you continue to say misCHEEveeus, I believe western civilization will come to a screeching halt, babies will toddle feral in the streets, and Britney will go back to K-Fed.
All I'm saying is: please stop it, people. You're giving me an aneurysm. You mischievous monkeys.
Last weekend, I finally gave in to the little shopaholic who sits on my shoulder and whispers things in my ear, financially irresponsible things. When I came home, I was packin' a new, grown-up digital camera, a Nikon D50. While I'm still unsure what to do with all the little buttons and doohickeys, I still enthusiastically shot some photos of my beloved tchotchkes.
And you had to know I'd take pictures of my pussy, right?
Just throwing out a few odds and ends that have bounced off me of late.
My new favorite CD is the self-titled debut from Black Stone Cherry. I saw these guys a couple of years ago, opening for (I think) Grand Funk Railroad at the Clio Ampitheater. I was blown away by them, especially by the monster rhythm section. Obviously, they had no CD at the time, and I didn't give them a lot of thought after that. Then, a few nights ago, I was driving late at night and heard the DJ on a local rock station mention that he would be playing a new song from Black Stone Cherry. The name was hard for me to place for a minute, but I finally dug the memory out from under all the layers of wine and fungus. A couple of days later, their CD caught my eye on the rack in the store, and I picked it up - been listening to it on heavy rotation since then. Very hard rock, but super melodic at the same time. My favorite cuts change daily, but right now I'm deeply diggin' Crosstown Woman and Backwoods Gold.
Last weekend, I had a hankerin' for some alcohol...yes, I know I'm not supposed to have any alcohol with my medication, but you know what? I do lots of things I'm not supposed to do; it's the way of my people. Now, the hankerin' was not accompanied by the desire to travel very far for said alcohol; I tried the local stop-n-rob, but the only wine they had there was of the Boone's Farm variety (well, there was some fine-quality Mad Dog, too, but I have promised every god in my personal pantheon that I would never touch that shit again). The only other place to which I was willing to venture was WalMart. I called Jess and asked if she needed anything, and she asked me to pick up a jar of baby food that she could mix in with Scraps' kitten milk.
Not surprisingly, WalMart's wine selection wasn't much more sophisticated than the last place. I wandered through the aisles of booze, and finally settled on a giant jug of pre-mixed margaritas. Then I decided I needed some Tostitos to go with that, so I snagged a large bag of the scoops kind. After I wandered for about 15 minutes, I realized that the baby food wasn't in with the groceries, but rather, was next to the baby clothes. Really, though, how the fuck would I know any of that shit? Gimme a break. When I got over there, I was looking for something very specific (chicken with no spices or veggies mixed in) and had to wait while some idiot couple blocked my every move in the 10 minutes it took them to choose four jars for their baby. Luckily, they left before I satisfied the urge to smash them both in the face with tubs of mashed carrots.
I found a relatively safe jar of pre-chewed chicken and made my way up to the register. Along the way, I noticed that I was receiving more than the usual number of odd and annoyed looks from my fellow shoppers. Then it dawned on me: jumbo-sized jar of margaritas in my left hand, giant bag of Tostitos under my left arm, and one single, tiny jar of baby food in my right hand.
That's right, folks. World's Worst Mother, comin' through. If my kid finishes that jar of food before I'm done with my insanely huge helping of tequila and chips, then it's his own damn fault for not chewin' long enough, isn't it? I had the urge to buy a carton of cigarettes, too, just to further horrify people.
A small bit of consolation came when the cashier carded me. Take that, Father Time, you cocksucker!
Lately, I've had the urge to try my hand at performance art. Tell me the truth: do you think it would be too avant garde and inaccessible if I nailed flaming pretzels to my nipples whilst reading aloud selected erotic passages from The Old Farmers' Almanac?
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, then why does ice cream give me diarrhea?
Aaaaaah, finally...like the watched pot that never arrives on the FedEx truck, I thought my computer would never get here. If you recall, I ordered the sumbitch in late August, had to re-order in September, was told at first it would arrive in mid-October, and was then informed it would not be here until late November.
There were nails gnawed, floors paced, hands wrung, bricks shit.
But today, yes, lovely lovely day that today is, my Mac Mini did finally glide to me in the arms of a swarthy delivery driver. I assembled all the pieces, and then did some more gnawing, pacing, wringing, and shitting while I waited for the fuckin' thing to warm up, as it had been on a cold truck all day, and I figgered it would be perhaps a bad idea to start it up in its frigid state.
But finally, the Mini was warm, as was my heart, and I've spent all day installing software, important software, like MS Office and...and...and...the Sims.
Be still, my thumping heart, and let the creaming of the jeans commence.
Can you hear the angels sing?
Of course, not everyone is as pleased as I am. Jess, for one, cautioned me that I would have to leave my room sometime, at least to use the toilet. (Uhhhhh...oops! Good thing I didn't pay too much for that chair...) And the kittens are, frankly, pissed off. They will now have to learn a new operating system.
Now, if you'll excuse me, there are movies to be made, songs to be recorded, and chairs to be soiled.