October 27, 2007

November: The Taskmaster

It's rainy and cool outside. Things are looking up.

I drank too much red wine with my sister last night and I'm paying the price today. I'll soon be making an exodus to a grease factory to have potatoes and unhealthy meats in an attempt to sooth my aching head and make the dizzy feeling go away.

In other news, I've signed up for NaBloPoMo. The idea is that you post a blog entry every day for the month of November. It's madness I tell you. At my best I usually post a few times a month. This is effectively putting my feet in the fire. You'll be hearing an awful lot from me next month, and I fear that a lot of it will be pure unmitigated crap. Especially since I have two trips planned for several days each over the course of the month.

Hmmmm . . .

Perhaps this wasn't such a hot idea.

What drove me to dive into this exercise was reading random blogs from last year's National Blog Posting Month. It inspired me to start my own blog. At the time, I told myself that I'd participate this year once I'd gotten a feel for writing a blog. Well, It's a pain in the ass and I'm no good at it, but since I told myself I'd do it, I'm doing it. I do so hate to disappoint myself.

Plus, it's an opportunity to spread my germs to a blog population that tends to be clean and sanitized. Lovely people writing about lovely things. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I do like to be a stain on the linens.

October 18, 2007

Can a Sista Get a Mutha F'n Break!?

The "check engine" light came on in my car. So I go to my trusty neighborhood mechanic and say, "WTF?"

He plugs in his diagnostic dew-hickey and says, "uh, oh".

"It's the transmission, isn't it?" says I.

"Indeed it is." says he.

"Of course it is." says I.

fuckity fuck fuck fuck!!!

I laugh maniacally.

He sends Esmeralda, the dirty bitch, to the transmission specialist who rebuilt it a year and a half ago for further investigation.

tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock (Hey, I got some knitting done!)

Esmeralda rolls back in. I brace for the news and start imagining how I can get in a bad enough accident to total the car, without messing myself up too badly, so that I'll have a pocket full of insurance cash to embark on my next automotive adventure. (as an aside, I'm totally freaking through with automatic transmissions . . . and Fords . . . It's OVER!!)

They checked it out. Some "overdrive band" came off which triggered the "check engine" light. They replaced the band, took it on a test drive (and oked it), and cleared the warning light. All that for the low low cost of $ 0.00! I could have kissed them all, but contrary to what you might think, I'm particular about where I put my mouth.

Sometimes, a sista can get a mutha f'n break.

P.S. Esmeralda and I kissed and made up.

October 17, 2007

What Do Naked Ladies Smell Like?

A few posts back, I mentioned that I went to Rhode Island to see a friend belly dance for charity. She’s been belly dancing for years and she teaches budding shimmiers how to work the action in their chassis. My sister was going to come with me, but her kid was set on having a sleepover with her best friend, so there I was with a couple of tickets and only myself. It was a golden opportunity to wrangle a boy into going with me.

Fun was had by all. We ate decadent Indian food, saw a bunch of pretty ladies undulate remarkably, and listened to some impressive live music.

While driving home, the boy asked me if it’s good that the audience throws money at the dancers. In my experience, when a troupe of belly dancers comes into a restaurant to thrill the crowd, it’s expected that they are tipped. Just like strippers are, but belly dancers don’t bare all, they just make you think your eyes are traveling down a sordid path. In the conversation where we compared belly dancers and strippers, the boy asked if belly dancers smell like strippers. The boy said that there is a perfume that all strippers seem to wear. I assured him that most belly dancers probably don’t wear it, but you never know.

Anyhow, I didn’t share this story with the boy, but with you good people, I’ll share what I learned doing time one lazy Saturday afternoon spent in “The Valley” [read: the San Fernando Valley, a suburb north of Los Angeles and pornography capital of the world] at the Candy Cat and the Candy Cat Too.

My only real reference to how strippers smell is from a day spent drinking and gambling at the pool table at both cathouses. I didn’t tip the ladies for their efforts, but I did share the lady’s room with them where they would primp and prepare to take the pole, er, stage. They all had powder and perfume to apply between performances, however, I didn’t notice a particular odor that they all shared, nor did I stick my nose up close and personal like with any of them.

The big lesson I took away from the experience was that a titty bar is an excellent venue to gamble with men. Men have a tendency to be inherently mesmerized by naked or nearly naked women gyrating before them. Distracted even. An unskilled pool player such as myself can win several games of pool with substantial stakes on the table against a fella who prides himself on his ability to get the balls in the hole when said games are being played at a table in direct line of site to the pole on which some acrobatically skilled ladies are giving it all they’ve got. Oh yeah, I guess I also learned to never lock the keys in the car when you are in a seedy neighborhood. A time will always come when you are ready to get the hell out, and waiting for the tow truck to come and break into your car is unbearable.

My only other experience with strippers is when I lived with Stan, Natalie, Jimmy the Plumber, and Damian the Asiaphile. Natalie was the only stripper in the bunch, but I never smelled much on her, except for pot, which she smelled of often. But that is a tale for another day, my friends, a tale for another day.

October 9, 2007

The Hitching

So very sorry to keep you all waiting with baited breath to hear my tall tales of nuptials and delicate social commitment. I would have gotten this underway sooner, but I traveled back to the Boston area on Sunday and I had a hot date with the fella I’m having a ‘not a relationship’ with on Sunday night so I didn’t have much of a chance to collect my thoughts.

Because I know several of you will ask, he’s a brutal sadist to my inherent masochist. He may be the end of me, not likely, but I’m fully expecting an emotional ass-kicking coming soon. I’ve come to realize that I’ve started having the odious emotions for him that are usually at the center of my undoing. When considering that what we have together is a ‘not a relationship’, and he doesn’t want anything more than a ‘not a relationship’, I’ll soon be cashing in my chips, swallowing a bitter dose of hurt and sadness, and moving on. It’s a pity as I really like him. But once that turns to love, it’ll be a pit far darker than a pity.

Weddings weddings weddings. I wish I could say I think they are swell, but I’m not that girl. All day Saturday prior to the momentous event, I was filled with loathing and dread. The sister and I showered, shaved our legs, had panic about what jewelry to wear, and got our shit together enough to be comfortably presentable. Some may argue that we pulled off smashing.

Once our ducks were in a row, we realized that we were starving and probably shouldn’t embark on an hour and forty minute drive with nothing in our bellies, so we snarfed down huge bowls of brown rice and greens. Yay for that. I would have been a surly cunt with a low blood sugar crash on top of a mandatory event that I was none to enthusiastic about.

Nevertheless, I must admit, there were parts I was looking forward to: seeing my niece in a pretty dress, seeing the bride’s gown (I’m ever a ‘girl’ about a pretty dress, and it was indeed gorgeous, and without a stitch of lace.J), seeing a bunch of people, some of whom I last saw at the groom’s first wedding to my sister. So it wasn’t a waste of time and energy at all.

The wedding was at a farm in the Berkshires in southwestern Massachusetts. It was quite lovely. The day was beautiful, though a little warmer than I like days to be. Autumn in New England is quite lovely, even when on the warm side. On the way out to the farm I asked my sister what the name of the farm was, from the back of the car, all I heard was “Dead Meat Farm”. That wasn’t the name of it, but it made us laugh like a bunch of coo-coo birdies. The actual ceremony was held at a meadow clearing on a hillside a small trek away from the barn where the reception was held. The barn is a restored Normandy style barn that is used for events and the farm offers spa and hotel services as well. It’s all very fancy pants, yet down-home rustic. Curious.

I’ll never understand why wedding ceremonies take so much time. It seems like all that needs to be said is

“You in? All in? For ever and with all your heart?”

“And you, same questions.”

“Swap some rings, have a kiss, and get on with it, then.”

Sentimentality really bogs down a simple message. The more flowers and accents, the less sincere it seems. We must bear in mind that I’m a cynic.

It wasn’t my wedding, and they clearly didn’t have a Fresh Hell designed ceremony. The ceremony was long. There was the hullabaloo about the rings and how they were made and then they were sent around to all the attendees to put there special whammy, blessing, prayer, boogers, or whatever they wanted on them before they were exchanged. Several speakers spoke, read poems, passages from books and whatnot. Some vows were spoken, the rings got swapped.

Then they did something really cool. My niece, who was a flower girl and I daresay quite a good’un, was called up to the bride and groom. The bride squatted down and asked my niece to have her as her step-mother, and as a part of the family, and upon accepting, gave my niece a ring with her birthstone. As for joining pre-existing families to a new family unit, it was done with grace. Then the kiss happened and the long processional of the wedding party and all the guests to the barn for cocktails and hors devours whilst the bridal party had sunset pictures snapped. Against everyone’s clever advice, I practiced temperance for most of the evening. Sorry to disappoint, but as Savannah wisely noted in the comments of the previous post, best to keep your tongue in check some days, and this was one of them.

Most of the time, I wanted to disappear, and at one point I did find a quiet patio where no one was daring to venture and I had some peace in the cool evening air. I found myself wishing I had a book to read so that I could really recede into the background. This sort of social engagement often makes me uncomfortable. I never know what to say to people. Small talk is not my forte. Fortunately, I came across some familiar faces, and I had the opportunity to catch up with some friends from about 10 years back who I’d seen very little of in that decade. A little harmless flirting happened as well. Not so bad.

About half way through my time at this shindig, I started feeling comfortable and was able to relax and actually enjoy myself. Perhaps I suffer from some variety of social anxiety disorder. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to just dismiss it all to some peculiar disorder?

When they called everyone in to collect the cards with their table assignments so we could sit down for dinner, I played along and found my card. I was seated with my sister, niece, niece’s best friend and her little sister, and the mother of my niece’s best friend. It was in essence the “kid’s table”. It was also on the third floor of an old open barn. Each floor is a half loft overlooking the floor below and guests were seated on the second and third floors. I’m convinced they put all the sexy people in the rafters, which is exactly why we were seated there. The only problem with the third floor was that it was hotter than Vulcan’s jockstrap.

After a while my sister came to me and pointed to our table assignment cards and said, “I don’t think this is an accident.” On each of our cards was the table assignment . . . Table 13. Totally intentional, and funny as hell.

We left at 10. One of our charges, a one and a half year old, started losing her mind so it was time for us to be on our way. Festivities carried on until 4:30 a.m. for some. I heard rumors of breaking into the kitchen and copious consumption of foodstuffs and vodka. Fantastic stuff! I was sleeping sweetly while the boys were being boys. As I understand it, the next day was a little rough for some of the revelers. Better them than me.

So that was the wedding. It wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated and my sister was strong and beautiful throughout. She probably didn’t even need me, but I’m glad she wanted me by her side.

October 2, 2007

Marital Bliss

I’m looking down the barrel of one of my least favorite social obligations. Yep, there is a wedding in my future, and I want nothing to do with it. The long and short of it is that I can imagine being married, but I can’t imagine being the star of one of those ridiculous dog and pony shows. Perhaps there is a bitter orphan spinster thing going on here.

Why not just send regrets and enjoy the weekend instead, you ask? Well, because my sister needs support and asked me to be her date. The blessed event is her ex-husband’s second wedding. They have a kid together, and they are a family, and raising said kid together, divorce and all. When they divorced it was a This really isn’t working so lets not teach our kid how to have a fucked up relationship with her mate. sort of thing, and not a I HATE YOU AND I HOPE YOU BURN YOU MISERABLE PIECE OF SHIT!! dissolution to the marriage. We all get along very well and it’s important to my niece that my sister is there and the sister wants me there to support her. As much as they are all amicable and well adjusted in their relationships, it can be a challenge to watch the person who promised to be with you all your days, turn and promise to be with someone else for all of their days. So I’m going to a fucking wedding this weekend. Because there is no length that I wouldn’t travel for my sister.

Last weekend, while my sister was teaching a yoga class, I met her ex-husband and his bride to pick up my niece for some quality time planting land mines in the tender young mind of the lass. That’s what spinster aunties do, it’s our job to present ideas that the parents might find uncomfortable or inconvenient. I also taught her to chant “More sugar, no nap!” when she was a toddler.

When I was picking up the niece, I told the happy couple that I don’t give wedding gifts (and certainly not on a second wedding!) and asked them what their favorite charitable organization is so that I could make a donation in their names as a wedding gift. They own a home, they both have new cars, they are having a big-ass wedding, their cup runneth over, certainly they would consider giving back on some level, no?


They suggested that they are a good charity, and further suggesting that their charity would be a new couch for their house. Then I got the speech about how they’ve never really had extra money to give.


This from people who are some of the most politically liberal folks I know. Way to walk the walk! These people go on vacations. They have all the hippy-yuppy newest gadgets. A new and improved Mac computer hasn’t been released without one of them embracing an upgrade of their systems. And they’ve never had the means to give? Horseshit, I say. When I was in college and so sadly broke that occasionally I couldn’t find a quarter to buy a Little Debbie Fudge Brownie to get me through the day, I found ways to lend a hand on some level. And I’m a died in the wool misanthrope.

At first I was going to find a charity for single mothers and make a sizable donation in their names, but I’m taking the high road. I’ll let them research the vast array of charities at just give and choose one that they feel good about since it’s their special day. Perhaps the exercise will plant a landmine in their not-so-malleable minds that will turn a philanthropic switch within them. I doubt it, but a girl can hope.