Thursday, January 29, 2009

wow i’m like so over it already

Have you guys ever heard of the tumblers getting all messed up in your car locks? Or maybe somebody squirted some slow-release epoxy in there? The passenger side has been bad for months, where you have to insert the key several times before the lock will turn, jiggle it, curse, pray, beg, and dance to get it to work properly. And recently, the driver’s side has been bad as well. Now, it’s really bad. The last two days, I’ve been challenged to Breathe Deeply and summon all sorts of Zen Energies while attempting to unlock my motherf&*%ing wonderful, reliable, and mostly functional vehicle that I’m entirely grateful to own. Such as this morning, in the rain, while holding: 3 jackets, a purse, a sippy cup, a backpack, a snack Tupperware, and a 25+-lb. N.Lo who doesn’t always hold on.

It was, um, frustrating.

Obviously, a trip to the Honda dealer is necessary at this juncture, but it doesn’t mean I’m not annoyed. Grrr.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

nature vs. not

Recently, I have:

defenseoffood*Read In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.

*Perused two other “real food” books, one by Marion Nestle, and one by Nina Planck, until I basically overdosed on seriousness and needed to step back a bit in my pondering.

*Visited the local co-op, decided for the most part, it wasn’t worth it when considering cost, convenience, and selection. Wished I felt otherwise, but it’s true. Maybe for a few items here and there.

*Signed petition re: food and politics, hoping to do my small part in supporting BETTER FOOD in America. Posted said petitions to Facebook profile like crazy person. Oh, btw, sign it already!

KingCorn *Watched “King Corn” on Netflix. Decided, yes, they really are subsidizing cheap crap filler for our food. And they don’t care to stop it because…well, don’t get me started. That’s not the point of this post.

*Eliminated as much high-fructose corn syrup from company fridge and cabinets as possible—until the point where I was vetoed by rest of staff. Now consume HFCS in very small, discriminatory amounts. Husband thinks I’m weird and/or nuts; is possibly correct.

*Started eating a lot more fruit. Fresh and dried, no sugar added, when there is a choice.

*Naturally begun greening the cleaning as well, wherever possible. Will probably still use up cabinet full of non-green products so it’s not a total waste? And don’t foresee axing things like ammonia and bleach for heavy-duty cleaning needs.

*Downward spiraled a bit into Green. I am (and this is the point of the post here) no longer sure where to draw the line on some things. I guess it’s a “wherever possible” thing? An “increased awareness” thing? I don’t know. Because obviously truth is so nebulous today, who is to say whether any of this green & natural stuff really matters. I think it does, it has to some, but to what extent. I’m not ready to jump on 100%.

Because, here is the thing. Some products were created as a cheaper, easier-to-produce alternative, the long-term effects of which were not considered, or else were ignored. Are ignored. Other items, however, were created to meet a true need, and who is to say  whether those products aren’t actually better? Science doesn’t tell the whole story, or answer so many of the questions, but to completely discount it feels wrong. Like, for instance, when I take my Bug to the doctor with a raging ear infection, and she’s better in mere hours, thanks to those wonderful antibiotics. Thanks to science. (Thanks, science!)

So, when examining products to determine their value, their safety, their risk, how does one really decide. For foods, fewer ingredients are generally better, as well as ingredients one recognizes. Pesticides and non-sustainable agriculture = bad, but seriously, I’m still going to buy the waxed, perfect apple. Because that’s what available, and you know what? It’s still an apple.

What about cleaners? I recognize BLEACH, but that doesn’t make it a good thing—or something I’m about to stop using to scrub down the bathrooms and door handles after a bout of the flu. I also recognize TALC, which is supposedly not too great either, and that one’s in my baby’s diaper cream. The tried and true diaper cream that has worked like a charm for both of my kids, and that I continue to use. But is it carcinogenic, because of the talc, or anything else it contains? I can find information that tells me yes, and also information that tells me no, don’t worry about it.

Maybe I’m getting too nitty-gritty.

But, I still don’t know whether it’s worth it to change out the diaper cream.  I’m left to sort of throw my hands up in the air, wondering to dismiss the issue altogether because hey, it’s a mainstream product, so it can’t be bad… but HFCS is also mainstream, and my gut says that’s not good, that it’s totally a sham. Diaper cream is applied daily, for two years or more, directly to skin. The “natural” diaper cream I’m guessing doesn’t work as well, and is like, $10+ for 2 oz., no exaggeration there.

What to do, what to do. Maybe think about something else. Eat something, clean something, change a diaper. Oh wait…

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Job Search Results | artist, by M

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Dear Chez Lo

Dear Staff,
Thank you so much for your care and attention to my needs, and directing me to the specifics of your facilities workings. Firstly, I'd like to address the more pragmatic concerns of your letter, in regards to my person, as naturally that is the most paramount to me.

Please forward the enclosed to the kitchen staff:
  • Almonds, String Cheese, Apple Sauce, Sunflowerseeds, Carrots/Celery/RedPeppers-Hummus, Non/Low Fat Yogurt, plain with Granola, Fruit, giant kosher pickles, dark chocolate, Fruit, Almonds, Luna and or Clif Bars (but only if we're traveling long distances without breaks).
  • Tea (Iced/Hot), Sparkling Water, Water, Small amounts of Lemonade/Cranberry Juice.
  • Since my return from Cen/Am I'm trying to do small dinners and larger lunches...
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal (flavored), Eggs (scrambled) w/Toast, Sausage, Bacon, Omelets, Oat Cereal (not wheat, just in case), Yogurt non flavored with fruit and or granola
  • Lunch: Meat? (burgers, paninis, grilled meats, vege and salads)
  • Dinner: Smaller portions of meat, more vege, and I'm open to tasty breads and BBQ. Did I mention grilling and I do actually like roasts and chilis. I do not like pasta as a general rule or olives, or sharpcheddar cheese, or processed meats)

Please forward the enclosed to Housekeeping:

  • It depends on the quality and or make of said blankets. If we're talking a down comforter 1 is sufficient. Also in what conditions are the rooms kept? Temperature wise I mean? As a person I tend to run hot and like rooms to skew colder than warmer when I sleep and the blankets would then move in that direction to compensate. I hate waking up hot.
  • The pillow question is interesting. Generally I like a multitude of pillows. But prefer they nestle me into a lovely hallow of comfort. If they slip about I will become dissatisfied.

Please forward to management and guest services:

  • As to the general expectations of Chez Lo, I find this to be the most interesting, mainly that the children only garner one *asterisk. The linens, dogs, copious licking, that I get... I have on my previous visits witnessed Penelope (I believe she is one of the main residents of your facility), moving out of 1 house and into another, and then getting married, which also involved another house, and both of which involved dogs, wood floors, and some serious eyedaggers when I talked over Gilmore Girls. But these alleged "children" which may require Valium and or ear plugs is specifically the most disturbing thing in the entirety of the letter, though I will not gloss over their charm. Is there any research perhaps that I could do in preparation? What is their schedule? And what if they wake up and want something when I'm there watching them? I mean gasp. . . seriously. What is one to do with them? Also I can only gather by their continual mention that they do in fact exist... which is something I'm left to ponder alltogether on another level.

Please forward to event planning:

  • I require a trip to the beach, a ghostwalk either pub or standard, an historical tour, and possibly a nature walk.
  • I expect to watch the Office.
  • It would be entertaining to workout in the gymroom if those services are available.
  • And I would not object to art and craft time.
  • Mix CD (themed for M's trip)

Again thank you so much for taking the time to brief me, and if you could enclose the aforementioned notes to the appropriate departments that would be much appreciated. I myself am looking forward tremendously to the scheduled reunion. That it will come off without a hitch with equal amounts of fun time, boredom, and scheduledness. It is most important that this particular guest feel included, and communicated to, even if the staff itself will not be available the entire time, if they need to work or to be shut up alone in a dark room. The guest also does not mind crafted itineraries or occasional spontaneity. But she does in general like to know what's coming. Again, so so excited! Thank you for opening up the Chez for this ocassion. I myself cannot wait.



Sunday, January 25, 2009

To My Good Friend Sarah, by M

To think we didn't like each other when we first met. I can't tell you how awesome this girl is... cuz she's that awesome. I made this for her before I left and her latin phrase is: Alis Volat Propriis, meaning "She flies with her own wings". Because to me she is a creature cut from precious stone, unique, fierce, full of truth, wisdom and a little magic. And she is alike no other. So you know, I found it a little difficult which direction I should go, this girl of orange and green, cool and warm... but that's her I think, down to the mysterious white bunny covered in blue paint. Fly my friend, fly-fly-fly.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sweet Things to Come Home to

Elle est Morte, My KittyCat, by M

Aw, my sweet sweet cantankerous awesome cat ANIMAL died. She rather annoyingly disappeared sometime Friday night just like Meja did. And I noticed her immediate gaping absence the minute I got up in the morning. She had really aged in my absence. Gotten super skinny, more so than normal and wasn't grooming herself in the last week. And for some reason, with Calico's you can really tell- and grooming is always important for the shiny, sleek furred cats. She was at least 18 years old. That in itself blows me away. My albums begin in the autumn of 1992 and she looks at least a year or 2 old in the photo I have of her. And I remember her being happy that I had returned from my trip and she came to me and purred the minute i sat down and dropped my bags, and hung around me alot that whole week I was back, and I groomed her and loved her and then she was gone. It sort of kills me I think she hung around waiting for me to come back before she died. And to have been with me so long-

She loved grabbing icecubes out of cups and knocking over water. She was an excellent hunter of all manner of birds and whatever else. She liked to ride around on my shoulder and mewed at me like we understood each other. She was a pest and her territory was definitely hers and there's a giant Animal sized hole now that she's gone. Bye Kitty. I'll miss you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

form letter: please respond at your leisure

Dear Prospective Guest,

We are delighted to hear of your upcoming stay at our establishment. Though our accommodations are not exactly *luxury,* per se, we hope you’ll find them comfortable and marginally better than say, the backyard or the porch—which, we’ll be honest, we briefly considered. To best serve you, we will require the following information prior to your stay. Please advise your ideal preferences for the following:



*Meal types, i.e. what do you usually eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

*Blankets, i.e. just a few, or piled high

*Pillows, ditto

The Kitchen and Housekeeping staffs will be most appreciative of your prompt response, so they may tailor their preparations toward your stay. They love this shit, so don’t hold back with the details.

Additionally, to ensure your expectations are in the right place prior to your visit, please be advised of the following:

*We have a lot of linens, use as many or as little as you like; however, do not expect them to match.

*We hope you do not expect the place to be dusted and/or scrubbed prior to your visit, as that will probably not happen. We might vacuum, if there’s time.

*We have two dogs; both are lovable, one is tweaky. Don’t mind them. Don’t let them lick you, either, no one likes it, and it’s okay to say so.

*We have two children; both are lovable, but not always charming. Bring ear plugs and/or valium, if you must.

*Above all, in spite of the dogs, and linens, and dust, and children, be comfortable! And help yourself! We like when people help themselves.

While you’re here, we expect to enjoy an alternately lazy and fun-filled itinerary, for which suggestions are highly encouraged. Please note that we are cheap, so the champagne and caviar and impromptu trip to Vegas are out.

Also while here, we may require assistance with certain projects that match your talents and experience. Painting, say, or organizing. Or *cough* babysittingonValentine’sDay. (What?) We look at this not as torture—well, not really. Maybe a little bit. We shall all endure.

Lastly, should your stay coincide with the SEASON PREMIERE OF SURVIVOR, I’m afraid there is little we can do but subject you to it. We will provide popcorn and drinks, and perhaps a conciliatory post-Survivor game of Scrabble.

This concludes our pre-trip briefing, until we think of something else, in which case you will surely receive some sort of snarkily charming addendum.

We look very much forward to your stay!

Until then--!


The Staff at Chez Lo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back on The, by M

I've been so good lately about blogging that it's like an itch not getting scratched. And the number one question besides, did you have a good time is, is it weird to be back? I did have a good time. It was some other life I was living. Definitely action/adventure. And this life so far, all 6 days of it since I've been back, is one long rest stop. With a few notations to "see friends". I got my severence check fedexed to me last night. It's too bad its not for some company I'd spent the last 10 years of my life at. As it was it was only 2 wks. But I've never got severence before and they're pretty standup for giving it to me. But I wake up, sit in front of the computer, stare at my to do list that has mostly to do with art projects and transferring credit card balances and wondering when exactly to fit my work out in to my other wise jampacked day... I'm sure one of those leisure routines is coming on. Around 1030, since it's so warm over here, go layout for an hour, read your book, the Patagonian Express, chuckle at all the insight he has about travelers being optimists and running into monologue talkers, go eat a snack, work on some art project, eat lunch, go work out, go back to your project, walk the dogs, put your feet up and watch tv. I can see the entirity of every day unfolding this way. It's not a bad life. It's just knowing its going to end soon as the physically ill inducing task of job hunting is in my future. But whatever. It's like not knowing the language of the country you're in. You're in a crowded bus terminal with giant bags of rice wizzing past your ear on their way up, and occassional woman with a basket of chickens on her head. It's warm. Dust is being kicked up by everyone who knows where they are going. It's a lot of them. And you're not sure which bus to pick. You want one to stand out. You want one to pick you. To call you over and convince you to jump in and wiggle past 8 backpackers and countless natives. But it's not time yet. So you shuffle back toward the shade. And eventually you make it back to your hostel, thinking yah maybe, I don't know, I guess I'll take a shower and go lay down.

I see by my list I'm on schedule for breakfast, maybe I'll add a trip to the bank, and worry about all that other stuff tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

so long, farewell

I’m such a child about clearing out the old, making room for the new. It takes every ounce of strength, plus a bit of harassment by J.Lo, to defy my packrat/cling-to-everything-forever nature and just I have basically had to delude my (true) self into thinking it’s good to own less. That I won’t need my 10th grade notebooks from Social Studies and Health class when I’m 82.

Those notebooks are long gone (I’m totally still pouting on the inside), but over the past few years, I feel that I have made true progress toward letting go of all things superfluous. The outgrown, outdated, worn-out, etc. Out it goes. The following, however, are the things I have to tell myself to make it through the weeding process:

Penelope’s Delusional Self-Talk:

By the time these clothes look right again, they will be out of style. (This could, actually, be true. But it doesn’t mean it’s any less difficult to part with some crappy graphic tee I wore in grad school.)

I’ve enjoyed this item, and now it is time for someone else to take it home and love it like the ratty-eared stuffed puppy it is.

Think of Charlie-in-the-Box. There is a home out there for every misfit toy. 

What was I thinking when purchasing this item? Total crap!

Contrary to instinct, it is not true that I will require use of this item 10 years down the line. And if I do, it will probably be cracked and yellowing.

I don’t want people to dread my death one day for the sole reason they’ll be stuck cleaning out my house.


Really? I have a pile of receipts from Christmas Shopping 2003?! Really.

Please feel free to borrow any of these phrases for your own future adventures in cleaning up and clearing out. And remember, a homeless person will appreciate those socks you never wear much more than you do. (That, actually, is true.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

i love, i love

This house. I was looking through a back issue of Southern Living Magazine, and this “idea house” nearly made me weep. It’s in Whisper Mountain, just outside of Asheville, NC. It’s big (but not too!), the plans alone cost over two grand. But I’m just saying. It’s lovely and wonderful and I simply cannot imagine. The whole concept is farmhouse on the outside, modern/timeless on the inside… Cozy. And green. Take a lookie, and Universe, if you’re listening… I’ll take one of these, please. Do I really ask too much?




imageimage image image  imageimage  image  image

Thursday, January 8, 2009

one more. of course!

Did you really think I was done with the resolutions/Big Plans for 2009? Of course not! My mind’s like a sieve, if I had done what I usually do and wrote it all down ahead of time, you wouldn’t be subjected to my piecemeal posts. Maybe a resolution for next year?

  • Paint our bedroom! Gray. I have the exact shade in my mind, it’s on the light side, but not too light. Hopefully not Jailhouse Gray, which leads to an entirely different set of connotations. Right now it’s cream above the chair rail, sage green below, but that sage green is painted over the wallpaper. Martha Stewart would have a fit. It was a tacky fix that I settled on before we moved in, pressed for time, but unable to live with the blue swirly wallpaper of the former homeowner. So, chair rails will be refreshed with white, walls above and below will be gray. The room arrangement will stay the same, except the tall dresser will switch places with the hampers. And the hospital-like TV shelf will come down from the walls. It was useful, if odd, creation by the former homeowner… I appreciated it for a few years, but now it’s time to come down. TV will go on top of the dresser. K.Lo is already working on peeling that wallpaper. I kind of can’t wait to tackle this project, but will bide my time. Sometime this spring.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I cannot stop with the resolutions! Maybe they’re not so much resolutions at this point, but more To-Do’s, or Would Like To Do’s, for 2009.

  • Find a new picture/print/painting for the kitchen. Am sick of Starving Artists cafe pic with ill-proportioned people.
  • Garden again, but better this year. Add another bed, amp up the soil, picks lots of good veggies. And water that thing!
  • Also, and I would like to do this soon, start an indoor herb garden. Particularly basil. Maybe just an indoor basil garden.
  • Cook more from scratch, which as you can see is on my sidebar, for the moment. I’ll perhaps post on this periodically, so you can mock my insanity. Like tonight I made enchiladas, with homemade sauce AND tortillas. That’s right. I will say on the tortillas, hope J.Lo enjoyed them, because that will never happen again. They were tasty. But difficult. And ultimately not worth the effort. On the other hand, the sauce was fantastic.

That is all, until the next one pops into my head.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


My computer is currently experiencing random bouts of narcolepsy, falling asleep for no reason. I wake it up, use it for another ten minutes, and then the screen goes blank again. Also, there's an extremely disconcerting churning sound burbling from somewhere within. Clearly some kind of bad karma from yesterday's post. I don't know what's happening, but if I disappear for awhile, that's why.

Will not freak out. Will not. Damn resolution.

Monday, January 5, 2009

an anti-resolution

When thinking about my resolutions, I briefly considered and then promptly forgot a resolution to spend less time on the Internet. Not intending to shirk any of my duties or loves, of course, such as emailing, blogs, Lexulous, and Facebook. Just less time… “surfing?” The mindless quest for whatever. Something I’m shopping for or some idea I’m researching. Sometimes the quest, because it takes so "long,” feels a bit mindless. Wasteful. But, on the other hand, it feels sort of natural. Since the Internet really came to be in my world (1998 or so? is it the same for everyone else?), I’ve been a surfer, a peruser, a quester. Is this a bad thing? When I look at the habit as objectively as I possibly can, I wish that I could be more efficient in my dealings with the Internet: have idea/objective/goal, hop online, complete mission, log off. Walk away. But I can’t. I think about all the other supposedly productive things I could or should be doing instead, and then get irritated at my Internet-ing, labeling it a giant time-suck and/or useless void. But then again, I wonder. I’m a very introspective person… and in all this “mindless” activity, I feel like the value might actually be in its mindlessness. It’s mental downtime, my Searching for Whatever. And so while there’s always room to trim up, to make one’s daily activities more efficient, and generally to spend less time on the Intra-Web, I think ultimately I’m just not going to worry about it. Just let it be, and in that way, let me be.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

january to-do

  • Find a new haircut.
  • Make dentist appointment with same old dentist, even though will still have $50 co-pay. Clearly dentist is worth keeping.
  • Decide on b-day party for Bug. Yes, no? If yes, then what?
  • Mail out pile of belated Christmas presents.
  • Put away Christmas.
  • Amass/donate another giant pile of *stuff.*
  • Reconvene w/ writers group, get back to business.
  • Acquire slipcover for ratty downstairs couch.

Friday, January 2, 2009

scary neti pot

J.Lo and I have both been pondering the neti pot for awhile now, and with this last cold, it seemed to be time. For him, not me. It totally freaks me out. Basically, you pour lukewarm saline water into one nostril (over the sink), and the water comes out the other nostril. Washes out your sinuses. I saw it on Oprah, back when I could tolerate Oprah (I’m telling you, TV makes me cranky anymore), and it’s bizarro. People swear by it, however, saying it all but solves their sinus/cold/allergy issues. And you know that uber-annoying feeling of having one nostril stuffed up, and no amount of tissue tricks will fix it? Neti pot. So they say.

So I say. I was drinking some wine the other night, and still with this lingering cold, all of a sudden I felt brave.  Had to try it. I could no longer abide by the one-nostriled squeak, and why not.

It totally works! Feels a tiny bit like you’ve inhaled water up your nose for a little while, but mostly you’re just all cleared out. You can breathe again. Freaky awesomeness. Now I know what Dwight K. Schrute was talking about.



eat THIS

I don’t watch the Today Show any more, because frankly, it annoys the shit out of me. However, I was briefly sucked in this morning before changing the channel to “Thomas and the Train,” as K.Lo calls it, and caught this genius snippet about food substitutions. In case you want to lose weight, you really should pay attention to this guy, the author of Eat This, Not That! No really, it’s brilliant. Some of his concepts make sense, like when he mentioned that the frozen pot pie has a 4-inch list of ingredients, and generally that’s not a good thing. And yes, making a few simple substitutions, in theory, will help a person lose weight. So long as the substitutions are smart. What really aggravated me was the comparison near the end of the clip of Quaker 100% Natural Granola to 8 fast-food chicken nuggets. Apparently they contain an equivalent amount of saturated fat, and are therefore nutritionally equal. Really? Really. He then says something flip along the lines of “100% Natural doesn’t really mean anything.”

I’ll be spending the rest of the morning scrubbing brain matter off the walls.

The main point of the segment was that, with so many options and advertisers competing for your money, it’s confusing to navigate the grocery store and make good nutritional choices. Agreed, absolutely. But common sense then goes out the window, as he proceeds to insinuate that calories and fat content are the only factors in a food’s nutritional value. Nothing is said about the actual ingredients to confirm that all-natural breakfast cereal is an infinitely better food choice than fast-food chicken nuggets, that their calories are not, in fact, equal.

Then again, maybe I’m just insulted because I have Quaker Natural Granola on my shelf, and think it’s a damn tasty and nutritious option for breakfast. But I do take some solace in knowing that whenever I run out, an 8-piece pack of nuggets will be a viable substitute. The Today Show told me so!

P.S. I do enjoy a good box of fast-food chicken nuggets now again, I do. But honestly.



Bad for you. Do not eat this stuff.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


  • Buy new Socks.


  • Eat more Fruits and Vegetables.


  • Resume with this certain activity I was doing regularly before Christmas and this lovely cold happened… I think it was called “Exercise?” The details are fuzzy.


  • Be the Bigger Person, be the bigger person, be the bigger person. Especially when it comes to the smaller people in my life. (Meaning those under 3 1/2 feet tall.)


  • Walk Away for a little while, in the face of Vexing Technological Issues. Seriously.


  • Continue quest for Debt Reduction, which is established and underway.


  • Purchase with a Most Discriminating Eye.


  • Remain ever wary of Indoctrination, in so many facets of our society. Never stop questioning, people!

question mark

  • Enjoy It. (Meaning life!)



Cheers, everyone, to 2009!