Friday, March 30, 2007

"Zacariah Hits"

So says the Jujube to me yesterday afternoon after our weekly Little Gym class. We arrive every week far too early for class because 1) I want a window seat so I can keep an eye on the in-class goings on and, 2) I'm afraid if I leave at the exact time an efficiency expert would select as optimal, that would be the day Jujube decides that it's more fun to run away from Mommy than to sit down docilely and have her shoes tied and coat zipped. Murphy is my master. When fully enforced, his laws sting like salted whip burns. And so when we duly arrive early at the Little Gym, Jujube peers through the front door into the often half-lit interior and announces "The boys aren't here yet."

She definitely remembers the first week incident with boyshit whose mother, by the way, isn't abused or mean-spirited. She's just distracted by the world's biggest 17 month old. Her "little" guy is 35 pounds of roly-poly. Jujube hasn't even cleared the 30 mark yet and this woman is hoisting a 35-pounder onto her lap to nurse him. Anyway, not only is she distracted, she definitely has that Mommy Blindness we all get. You know, everything about our kids is wonderful and everyone else can't possibly help loving them as much as we ourselves do. It is good to be reminded of this. Point taken, thank you Ms. Object Lesson.

I worry that the Jujube has inherited my Poop Magnet. I seem to attract people whose karmic mission this life is to spray their shit onto those of us with highly receptive Poop Sensors. You know the people I mean: you see them in traffic tailgating other drivers, rushing to arrive at the end of a queue simultaneously with someone else so they can engage in pissing matches, sitting directly in front of others in nearly empty cinemas. In my case, they seek me in the supermarket. Me. The only person in all of eastern Massachusetts so neurotic about staying out of other people's way I spend fully half my grocery shopping time trying to park my cart in as inoffensive, non-blocking a position as possible and still be able to actually recognize from the safe distance the facial features on my offspring in the child seat. People, I stand and wait for the elderly person blocking the aisle ahead of me to finish selecting the exact right brand of prune juice rather than push my cart past her and huff my impatience in the normal manner of Market Bastard shoppers.

Part of the problem here is that I choose to shop at the tragically outdated but shockingly cheap grocery in my town. I could be cruising the aisles in relative comfort at the Super Stop and Shop but I believe paying a $60 weekly premium for human interaction avoidance is a bit steep. So I shop at the Bastard. The always crowded, stinky, narrow-aisled, full of old people and townies, shrink wrapped produce on styrofoam trays, closes at 9PM and 6 on Sunday, under $100 per week, affordable, 1970's time-warp DeMoula's Market Bastard.

The cost to my hypersensitive psyche may be a bit too high though. It seems that no matter what obscure imported Surinamian salt-cod display I park my shopping cart in front of, there's some townie or crabby-assed old lady that HAS to shop there RIGHT NOW and CANNOT wait for ME like I would have waited for her to be finished. And not only do they need to shop RIGHT THERE RIGHT NOW, but they feel the need to lecture me about what a selfish bitch I am for blocking their access to victuals they obviously need immediately or they'll perish from spontaneous starvation right there in front of me and my kid and it won't be pretty either you heinous, self-absorbed bitch lady from deepest recesses of sulphurous hell!

Just last week, I was parked in the canned tomato aisle (this is Italian country -- there's a whole aisle devoted to processed tomato products) when a townie whizzed by me and, despite the fact that I saw her coming from my periphery and slid my cart forward and closer to the shelves, she still managed to clip the stepping stool a shelf restocker was standing atop while replenishing a supply of vital red canned goods. He went flying and landed on a box of something waiting to be shelved -- well, probably after his fall, no longer in the Italian aisle but in the Reduced For Quick Sale Dented Crap bins. (Great! Can't park there, now.) Fortunately, no one was injured. However, Townie Shit Fairy felt I needed a good dressing down for causing the whole accident by my very existence. So, even though she had stopped to check on the shelf stocker's welfare, then had beat a hasty and embarrassed retreat up the aisle, she worked her way back to mention to me that, in the future when I see someone coming behind me (yes, Denters, my ability to see in directions my eyes don't face is frightening) I really ought to step out of their way.

Uh. OK. Like,
1) I did,
2) Why couldn't you just wait, like I would have waited for you?
3) The only way I could have moved farther out of the way was to leave the store entirely (a Townie and Crabby-Assed Old Lady goal, I know),
4) Maybe if you'd have bothered to slow down you wouldn't have caused that poor guy's life to flash before his eyes, and
5) Try saying excuse me next time.

For the record, I only managed to say the last thing on this list to the Shit Princess. She flipped me off, naturally. Of course, you know, she is right. This would never have happened if I didn't exist.

These encounters leave me shaking, friends. They make me wonder what it is about me, what pheromone I exude, that invites people to knock me down a peg or twelve. This particular time, though, I got a different reading on the whole experience. It dawned on me that no matter how nice you think you are or unassuming or thoughtful or anticipatory of the needs of others, there are people out there who will just spray their shit inadvertently around themselves wherever they go and with any luck some of it will land on people like me with highly tuned, supersensitive receptors at which point they grab the opportunity to validate their shit.

I would like to think that this sensitivity might perhaps be an exploitable talent but I'm having trouble thinking of a positive, fulfilling use for it. Worse, I am beginning to entertain the depressing notion that perhaps my daughter has been equally endowed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An End to the Lazy Woman’s Approach to Blogging

Hello Bloglanders. It’s time to write something for real instead of relying on formulaic cop-outs to fill this space. I’ve not been hanging around much in Blogotopia this week for reasons previously expressed and also because when I find some time to read, my face is buried between the pale velvety folds of Vulnerable. I’ve been checking up on a few of you though: Bonnie because you never get over your first, Amy because it’s going to take an expensive rehab incarceration to quit that habit, and Catie because I’m worried about her (and so glad to see she’s at least posting comments). The rest of you, I miss too terribly! It’s time. Time to visit Rae, and the Denizens, Cussin’ Mama, Louiz and Roxie’s flower sex (which reminds me, Roxie and Louiz need links on this page). I read at work because it is way more fun to catch up on my favorite writer-knitters than it is to draw call flow diagrams and design negative test cases. My new Test Lead, whom I absolutely adore and am utterly relieved to have on my team, is very VERY diligent and wants constant interaction so I barely get more than a paragraph into what anyone has written and, how can I say this delicately? Some of you are phenomenally verbose. No, no, it’s OK. It’s what I love about you. You’re so funny too. You just think it’s your kids. Huh-uh, it’s really your raconteuse selves that are so adept at making the mundane hilarious.

Englishman racked up another point in the Endearment column of the Marriage ledger. When he arrived home last night, he told me about a knitting group he’d found on Meet Up who get together once a week at a Starbucks very near me. Hooray! Coffee drinking knitters! This has New Friend potential all over it. The meeting tonight is at 6 pm, not so good for Coach since Englishman arrives on our stoop after a grueling 1.5 hour, 12 mile bus ride just before 7 pm. But next week the meeting time is set for 7 so I created an account, posted my photo (and a link here! Shameless self-promoter!), and Rsvped to say I’d be there on the 4th. I just know they’re going to be a great bunch because knitters are. They just are.

Oh! And guess what? I almost forgot. Are you sitting down? (You had better be! This is Butt Dent practice, not Loitering rehearsal or Shin Splint training!!) I’m actually BLOCKING the Lion Brand Wool Ease Beige V-neck Pullover. That’s right. Me. Blocking!

One piece at a time, Denters. One piece at a time.

Gratuitous Lunarscope for March 28

Moon in Leo
Today's a good day to throw your friends a party that reminds them how great you are.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blog Lazy

Thanks, Needletart, for this meme. Now I have something to post today too.

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, and leave plain the ones that you aren’t interested in.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) This one is half-bold because I quit halfway through. Couldn't take another buggery battle scene!
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell) Another half-read book
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

There are a few "Not on your frickin' life!" books in this list but formatting options are limited so they shall remain unindicated. I always thought I was well-read. Huh. Guess I'd better revise that self-ascribed label.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Beßer Spät Als Nie

1. What are your top 3 Good Movies:
The Hudsucker Proxy
Donnie Darko
It’s A Wonderful Life – though, this might be a Bad Movie in some lists

1.5 What are your 3 most hated “Good” Movies:
(I’m with Elaine on this one) The English Patient
(Gross!) Trainspotting
(‘n’ Grosser!!) The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

2. What are your top 3 'Bad Movies':
Groundhog Day

The Adventures of Buckeroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension (Peter Weller! hummena hummena)

3. #1 Quoted Movie:
The Hudsucker Proxy “You know, for kids.”

4. Favorite Action Movie:
Boogie Nights ;o)

5. Favorite Romance:
French Kiss

6. Favorite Weeper:
Steel Magnolias

7. Favorite director:
Joel Coen

8. Top 3 "Good Movie" moments:
Brad Pitt in the sanitarium common room in 12 Monkeys
Ray Winstone in the opening sequence of Sexy Beast

Pete Postlethwaite’s monologue at the climax of Brassed Off: “I thought that music mattered. But does it? Bollocks! Not compared to how people matter.” (which is sampled in Chumbawamba’s ultimate footie anthem Tubthumping)

9. Top 3 "Bad Movie" moments:
The kitchen table exchange between John Candy & Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck
The sinking of the Titanic
An assortment of moments from Four Weddings and a Funeral: the wedding dress shopping scene, Andie MacDowell’s Scottish wedding, but most especially John Hannah reading Auden at Simon Callow’s funeral. Just thinking about it shivers me timbers.

10. Top 3 Movie Quotes:
The Matador
Kid: “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.”
Pierce Brosnan: “Smelled ya, shouldn’t hafta tell ya.”

Bill Murray: "Czechoslovakia? That’s like breaking into Wisconsin."
Harold Ramis: “I got the shit beat out of me in Wisconsin.”
Brassed Off
See above, Top Good Movie moments, Pete Postlethwaite

11. Top favorite movie in the last 2 years:
Good Night, and Good Luck
or maybe Nanny McPhee
oo! oh! or maybe Millions

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hey, Friends

Been out of commission for a while. Our embryos didn't survive the thaw process on Friday so we hunkered down for a few quiet days that were very much needed. Now all that remains is to get out of town for at least a week and do a whole lot of absolutely nothing. I'll get back to writing and checking your blogs soon.

Until then,

Childe Hassam (1859–1935)
Celia Thaxter's Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gratuitous Lunarscope for March 12

Moon enters Capricorn
This is a good time to make some real progress on those tax returns, people, so pour yourself a caffeinated one and get cracking!

Not Rome’s B!+<# Anymore

It’s been a grisly week, Dent Squad. It’s not so much that I had nothing to say but more that I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for saying it.

Our across-the-street neighbor died suddenly last Wednesday afternoon from a combination of pneumonia, bad lungs and a dodgy heart. He left two teenaged sons, 18 and 16 years of age, for whom he had custody after an ugly divorce battle that dragged on far too long. The whole thing is so sad because those two boys have been through so much in the past five years. Mark’s death will re-open the legal battles between his ex-wife and his brothers.

The funeral mass was this morning at a local Catholic church. Having grown up Catholic, the order of mass was as familiar to me as my parents’ faces. It has been many, many years since I practiced Catholicism. In the intervening years between my schooling at a Catholic women’s college and now, I sang in an Episcopalian choir. It’s been nearly seven years since I gave that up, however. Since then, I’ve been on a barely focused, totally haphazard spiritual quest to fill the void left by my departure from Rome’s fold. At times I even wondered whether I belonged back at an Our Lady of Something Unlikely. Mostly, though, I recognized that those longings for the good old days of belonging coincided closely with my visits home to my parents. I would watch them drive off to mass looking as if they were missing something significant in the back seat (yours truly) and feeling like maybe I should give it a try again.

As I sat in the sanctuary of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic church this morning I knew that I have left all that behind for good. The rituals are so blatantly pagan that I could hardly believe their origins were so successfully veiled from me for so long: the wafting of incense on the corners of the altar representing the element air and the four compass directions of the wind, the rebirth into flesh from the uterine chalice of the element earth in the form of bread, the water element mingled with wine and transformed through magical incantation into ritual blood to spill for the appeasement a god with a taste for the stuff that borders on vampirism, and the Easter candle burning its elemental watchfire over the entire ritual. Perhaps more disturbing to me than the bloodthirstiness of this particular deity is the complete success Rome has had in removing any suggestion of the Feminine from its rituals, despite the residual water, chalice, and blood components.

Growing up under Rome's supervision, I always had a sense I was second class. As I matured, that sense grew into a painful shoulder chip. I recognize just how very unwelcome I am in Rome's inner circle, thanks to the mistake of my natal gender. What’s amazing to me is that I am no longer angry about this. Eh. It is what it is and I am done with it. Jesus taught the world Forgiveness. For that, I truly admire and am grateful to him. But I will not permit a bunch of old guys in linen dresses to misinterpret his words or the world's great spiritual symbols for me anymore.

That seven letter word for nothing left to lose? That’s a very good word indeed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I'm thinking of starting another category over there on the sidebar of this blog entitled Abandoned. I'm really having a hard time finishing or even bringing myself to pick up The Virgin in the Garden. This is surprising to me because I was such a huge fan of A. S. Byatt's Possession. My hardcover copy was loaned to someone whom I considered a very, very good friend at the time. I never saw it again. That ended my stint as lending librarian. Now when I hand out books, I do not expect them back, which informs my decision to hand them out in the first place.

A few years back it dawned on me that life is too short to read bad books. In no way can The Virgin in the Garden be construed as a bad book. It was, however, written in the 70's -- not in my estimation a great time for British literature -- and is "artistic" in that pompous, purposely difficult way that things were esteemed "brilliant" back in that decade.

So the dilemma is this: is life also too short to read great books that are boring? I'm thinking the answer is yes because life doesn't incrementally increase by the length of time it takes to complete reading something that's good for you just because it's good for you. It's sort of like eating mushroom and barley meatless-loaf. Just because it won't clog your arteries doesn't mean one should endure an entire lifetime of salubrious dieting that will tack on three extra years at best, does it? I mean, who wants to endure three additional years of mushroom and barley meatless-loaf? Especially when it's swimming in a puddle of onion and yeast extract gravy.

I suppose this means that I consider The Virgin in the Garden to be the literary equivalent of 1970's health food.

Gratuitous Lunarscope for March 7:
Moon enters Scorpio
Tonight is a good time to dance the Naked Hokey Pokey with someone you love; even better to do so with someone you Lust.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Obligatory Knitting Content

Now that I've turned this blog into my confessional, please, remind me. Have I told you about my vow of monogamy? Perhaps I should clarify that statement after having just revealed my little Romance problem. I mean my vow of Knitting Project monogamy. I will not allow myself to start a new knitting project until I finish the one on which I am currently working. That means it's beige Lion Brand Wool-ease for me for the foreseeable future unless I pull my thumbs -- along with the rest of my digits -- off my sweaty laptop keyboard and get cracking on the V-neck pullover for the Englishman. He could have used a nice warm sweater today considering the windchill is minus Christ It's Cold courtesy of an Alberta Clipper that's vacationing here in quaint New England this week. Here's a full frontal photo of my beige-on-beige existence.

No, that carpet's not filthy. Those are shadows. Heh heh.

For what it's worth, I don't think this "Wheat" color will look particularly well on the Englishman but it was, you know, cheap and it's been ripening in my stash for about 6 years so its time has come. Which makes me think, hey, maybe if the Romance Fiction thing doesn't work out for me I can make a career of designing and installing yarn cellars for stash enthusiasts. Just an idea.

Anyway, rather than knit more beigeiness into my life last night, I opted to paint my fingernails Berry Garnet whilst* watching Supernanny. I love that Cockney gal, even if she can't say asseptable (as in, "That behavior is not asseptable, you must now sit on the Naughty Carpet stain").

* Gotta go full-on British in Supernanny's presence.

Here's my "On The Needles" shot. I just want you to take a moment to appreciate how skillful my photography is. It's not easy capturing a relatively unblurred image of something that moves around as much as knitting does. Oh yeah? Well, YOU try it with a 3 year old in the room.


I'm supposed to be working right now. I don't want to. There's too much testing to do and not enough time to complete it. Yeah, so I was the one who said I could get it done in three weeks. Just shut up. And yeah, I also know that reading blogs and writing this post isn't helping me get closer to my deadline. Well, it's helping me get closer but not in a stress-reducing way. It's just that I'd rather be doing just about anything other than guessing how to configure data tables so that unknown call type calls get correctly charged local or long distance rates depending on their Exchange Access Area. Confused? So am I. See why I'm avoiding my work?

Have I mentioned lately that I hate my job? Have I told you how much? Have I ever hinted what I'd rather be doing?

Several years ago during a fit of extreme early onset midlife crisis, otherwise known to the Astrological community as Uranus opposite natal Sun, I did something I'd always threatened but never actually succeeded to do. I started writing fiction. The trouble is, the sort of fiction I started writing is not the sort of fiction I read. I read Booker Prize winners, Jane Austen, hand-me-down chick lit. I write (oh gawd, here it comes, cringe) romance. Crap!! What the crapping crapola is up with that? Still, what with pseudonymous writing being the norm in the Romance genre, what's wrong with selling some lavender-scented, lilac-toned prose and laughing my Work From Home arse all the way to the bank? It's FUN to write sex scenes! It just is.

So there you have it, Denters. At the moment I am torn between call type determinations and call girl delineations. And I'll leave it up to your fertile imaginations to conclude which distraction is winning.