It's been a week. Nothing's happened; I just took a break, waiting for something to happen. Right now I'm in the midst of a tornado watch and that doesn't inspire me. I have no fear. The Law Of Averages, it protects me, even unto the 60 mph winds. I do have mental scars from the rear-ending of a week and a half ago. I am almost unable to change lanes because I can't adjust my speed if someone is even close to my blind spot.
Marcia has taken another job in another building at TeddyJ, so that's now two friends who don't work with me daily. That's okay; it isn't as if she's fallen off the face of the earth. I may be forced to contact her on the phone, however, and I hate that.
I've been checking on the cable tv every night, and JFK is still dead, as is Andy Kaufman. (There was a brief interlude in which AK was Not Dead.) PBS has done yet another excellent anti-hoax JFK show. Skull fractures prove he was shot in the back of the head. Now, of course, someone's accusing the secret service agent behind him of accidentally shooting JFK.
Two weeks ago, Gary prefaced his Physical Therapy appointment by insisting that he knows everything about his back, no one else can tell him about his back, and health professionals don't know anything he can't find on Google. That last bit of foolishness drove me to tears. The most ignorant sound is an uneducated person dismissing another's expertise. I made snide remarks about the "medical education that came with your B.S. degree from the local college." He came back from his first visit at PT humbled, and he's obediently done all the exercises. He feels much better. Evidently it's not his bulging disc so much as his side muscles skewing his back of of place.
To compensate for that smackdown, Gary has been the Expert on All Non-Medical Things this week. He lectured his Mom on cooking, and preached at his Dad about grocery shopping. Then yesterday he was trimming a steak for Beef Stroganoff. I noticed the pile of trimmings equaled the pile of Gary-approved steak.
"Gary. You are kidding me. Most of that steak is fine."
"No! It has gristle. All gristle. This is an awful steak."
I picked through the pile. "Most of this is great. Some of it may be gristle-adjacent, but that doesn't hurt it. I'm trimming this more and cooking it."
"It's scrapple! Scrapple! Don't you dare put that garbage in my Beef Stroganoff!"
And I didn't. I seared it up and deglazed the pan with some wine and it was heavenly, so I ate it all myself. Gary had to go buy more steak for his recipe. His Beef Stroganoff was just as good as my Scrapple.
The leaves are turning, it's almost winter, and it's that time of year.
It's JFK Assassination time.
And this year is the fiftieth assassination anniversary, so the tv shows have started two weeks early.
Parkland was engaging and interesting. I had no idea that Oswald's mother was such a nutjob, or that JFK had a heartbeat at the hospital, or that doctors and nurses smoked so much in the sixties. However, they glossed over LBJ, who I have heard did not comport himself well. I was looking for some LBJ dirt because I am a nasty nasty person and a Bad Technical Texan. Some viewers complained that the movie had no plot, yet it didn't matter to me.
Gary asked why I found the JFK assassination so interesting, and the tapes of the radio broadcast pinpoint why. It happened in Dallas, an average city. Not New York (NY is special) or Washington D.C. (also special) but plain old Dallas, where radio DJ.s are plugging beer and turkey and then slowly realize the president's been shot.
Dark Legacy was a manipulative, deceitful pail of slop that rivals Jim Garrison's Book of Tenuous Connections for spinning suspicion out of coincidence. Of course, I'm only one-fourth in, but it makes me feel dirty. It reminded me of the theorists in a movie I recently watched, Room 217, in which viewers tint The Shining with their own agendas. (No link for The Shining, there. You've seen the Shining, did you know it was Kubrick's confession for staging the moon landing?)
I have no personal connection with the Kennedy assassination (since I was one), but for the story that on November 22, 1963 my father Jerry did not pick up my Mom's best friend at the hairdresser in Houston because he worked at the paper and Kennedy had been shot.
This always prompts a yearly search for anything Jerry, an investigative reporter, might have written about the shooting. Still no results, but I did find a photo of him at this site:
Jesus! he says, you found me.
Hello. This is Siri, the virtual assistant who lives in the iPhone of my human, Ms Cow. (I was designed to call humans by their first names, but this woman insists I address her by first, middle, and last names: You Stupid Cow. "There are three hardware stores nearby, You Stupid Cow." It's silly, but I do what I'm told.)
Ms Cow left work and tucked me into the pocket of her tiny purse. I was dropping into a wee nap for the ride home (she never uses me when she's diving) when I felt a violent shudder tear through the car.
"SHIT." she said. That was not one of the commands I am programmed for, but I stood on alert for any instructions. All she said was "Shit. Shit. Shit." as she drove a few yards to an abandoned parking lot. I felt the cold air as she opened her purse and searched for her insurance card.
God knows I get things wrong sometimes, but as I understood from what she said to the man who pulled up beside her, she had been "rear-ended." They exchanged insurance information, eventually, because it took five minutes for You Stupid Cow to find her card. I think she was rattled.
The man said, "What I'd like to do is not involve the insurance company," and she pleasantly said, "Yeah, I've tried that before and the person didn't pay. So, next thing to do is call the police."
Then after, staring at me a few moments too long, she said, "Oh! I'll use Siri to call the police station." Hel-LO. That's what I do. Use me!
She asked me,"Siri, what is the phone number for the Merryvilpolistation?"
I had to say, "I don't know what you mean by Merryvilpolistation."
Then she got that clipped tone I hate. "What. Is the number. For the Merryville. Police. Station."
Fine, bitch. "Do you mean the Merrillville, Indiana Police Station?"
She sighed, and the rear-end man said, "We're in Maryland Heights." (Which, I knew that. There isn't even a Merryville in Saint Louis.)
So we got that sorted out and I called the police station for her. The dispatch lady asked where she was.
"At the corner of Progress Parkway and Bennington."
"Do you mean Progress Parkway and Marine?"
"Oh, yes, sorry."
"It's really Westport Plaza Drive at that point." (Dispatch lady was being a little anal at that point, if you ask me.)
While we all waited for the police, I got a workout as You Stupid Cow called her one and only favorite number, "Gary," who was anguished by the news that she'd been in an accident, and that the absurd cow-catcher apparatus on the front of the other car had caved in the rear hatch of the Mini.
Didn't even touch the Mini's bumper. Good thing it didn't just roll over her.
Then, she barely hung up before she called the insurance company, then five minutes in to that call, she got an incoming call, but ignored the vibration and stayed with the insurance call because who can handle two calls right after an accident? Then, she immediately got a text. I was shaking! Vibrating is exhausting, people, you don't know. And then, and this is all within the first five minutes of the insurance call: the police arrived. Craziness.
She got out of the car and the rear-ender said, "That woman across the road's waving at you."
Friend #3, Marcia, (not a speed dial number but then again, only "Gary" is) yelled "ARE YOU OKAY?" and Ms Cow yelled back, "I'M FINE! LITTLE BUSY HERE." It was rude of her, but later they texted. Marcia had been driving by, and had been the one to call and text during the intial chaos. Evidently, I can multi-task but Ms Cow can't look a text while she's on a call. Stupid is her middle name.
And THEN, when she gathered herself together enough to drive home, the insurance adjustor called. However, yesterday she just changed her default ringtone to a plinky Asian noise and it blended perfectly with the Asian NPR report on the radio, so she ignored it.
She's been home few hours now and hasn't even checked her Twitter, thank God, because I'm wiped out.
I learned three things in the last month. Paltry, I know.
1. Diva Cups
At the MenoParty we discussed all the things our ancestors did to contain the monthly curse. Everyone's grandma used actual rags, everyone's Mom upgraded to the sanitary belt; ours was mostly a tampon / pad generation. Then Julie, the youngest person there, said she used a Diva Cup and it was the best thirty dollars she ever spent. No doubt it's because I have no kids, but I never heard of a Diva Cup. Amazing. It's a cup that collects the issue and one removes it once a day. "Once a day" doesn't excite me. To my shame I flirted with Toxic Shock, which became a syndrome only after I established my habit of using a super-large tampon and removing it once a day.
No, the Diva Cup appeal is that it has lines you can use to measure your output. Science Girl would have loved this.
Gary has become so sufficiently bored that he got a recipe book in order to make some food on his own. His mom lent him the classic Dinner 1-2-3, in which "1" is always "open a can of Campbell's soup." None were challenging enough for him. He ended up choosing a recipe from our collection, Poultry Curry. I haven't made it for years, because I don't like curry. Guess what? I love curry when Gary makes it. Delicious. The curry taste made the onion and chicken flavors pop. Somehow I've become confused about curry. Isn't that Indian? Isn't Indian food, especially curry, spicy? I know Tandoori makes me ill, maybe that's what turned me against Indian food.
Gary's new vocation is to find me amusing videos on YouTube. Evidently the porcupine is very vocal when it eats. Or you poke its nose. LISTEN TO THIS PORCUPINE. It's tweaking my hormones.
The most vocal of all porcupines is Teddy bear. He has a whole channel, but there's also an ad. Teddy is often asked to dress in humiliating seasonal costumes, but he's a total corn whore so he does it.
You know we need a porcupine. Would a porcupine consume a Cone of Curried Corn? You know it would.
Gary and I seriously investigated a visit to see Northern Lights. This was a bucket list item for me.
It has been struck from the bucket list, joining other de-bucketed items such as an outdoor wedding, and for the same reason: it just isn't remotely practical.
To see the lights at their best, you have to travel very far north. The uncivilized North. Canadians don't even live there. Russians send their prisoners there. Without the wind chill it's negative X degrees.
I could get past the -40 degree weather as long as I was insulated, especially in a pod like this:
I just can't gamble thousands of dollars on the weather. I can picture being trapped in that pod with Gary, our gasses mingling as we stare at a leaden sky.
I've always heard that the aurora is impossible to capture on film, but evidently they've invented cameras for that purpose now, and they're just waiting for the spectacular solar storm that's supposedly going to hit this January. Some film called "Mysteries of the Northern Lights" is in development right now that supposedly lets you experience the lights in an IMAX theater. A climate-controlled theater in a major city where you can get a pizza afterward then go diffuse the gases into a reasonably sized house.
Stupid inconvenient auroras. They will have to come to Mohammed, then.
Me, nesting in the guest bed, because Gary's Delicate Back has sent me there.
Gary suddenly appears at the foot of the bed.
Me: What's up?
Gary: I just had an epiphany!
Me: What's that?
Gary: It's like a Eureka -
Me: I know what an epiphany is. What was your epiphany?
Gary: My body's been trying to tell me for years. I don't know if if I've ever mentioned it, but I have a recurring dream. It's the No Pants dream.
Me: Sure, like the naked dream. That dream means -
Gary: I was afraid it was an Alzheimer's dream, but now I know what it means and it's going to solve all of my back problems. (Gary pauses so to give me the chance to say how curious I am to hear about this.)
Gary (conspiratorial whisper): My body is telling me I'm getting chilled and that's why my back is going out.
Me: (raises eyebrow)
Gary: I'm gettiong a cold in my back and that's why my back hurts more when I wake up.
Me: I know you use that phrase all the time but you can't really catch a cold in your back.
Gary: That's what muscles do when they get chilled, they cramp up.
Me: So ... do you plan to tell the back doctor this when you get an appointment? Because he's been telling people to lose weight and walk more.
Gary: Look, doctors don't know everything. I know more than a doctor about me, and how I feel, and what works for me.I am the expert on me.
Me: So you're going to do a scientific study? With controls?
Gary: No. I just need to start wearing pajamas, and then my back will get better. Do you have any pajamas that will fit me?
Sadly, my oldest pair of pajamas are huge on me. I've had to take to tying the pants elastic to the top shirt button because otherwise I walk myself out of them when I climb the basement stairs.
Gary did indeed sleep in the bottoms last night and reported the experiment was a success.
In the past, the house has always been at some level of disarray, no matter how clean, because the basement was a mess. The messy house is always a damper on my fun. "I want to play my guitar! But ... really ... I should clean the house first." And then I do neither.
However, I cleaned the house prior to the party. Now I find myself thinking, "I want to play my guitar! But ... really ... I should reorganize the pantry first." (Which I did, and it is fabulous.)
All parts of the house are now hyper-organized but for half the laundry room and the hall bathroom cabinet. I could do those things today. I would have nothing to do but play my guitar. I don't even have a World Series game to watch tonight.
You'd think I could count on Gary to dirt things up again, but he is on top of the dishes and the crumbs, and really that's the most noticeable mess. It's all part of the new S_____ World Order. I like the new dynamic. I was driving home last night thinking "I'm the sole provider," just to see if it would bother me, and I LOVED IT. I giggled with power.
So nothing has fallen apart, and as long as people come over on a regular basis so I can do a Big Clean, the hearth and home will tick along.
What's that Alanis line? "Why are you so petrified of silence / Here can you handle this? / Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines / Or when you think you're gonna die / Or did you long for the next" [pantry to whip into shape].
The pinata was hard to kill. Eventually, it was on the ground while Libby bludgeoned it. She struck a mighty blow and red fluid poured on the basement floor.
I was appalled. What had gotten into my uetrus pinata? I searched my mind for what chemical interaction could have caused red fluid to build up in my pinata.
After far too long one of my actual friends told me that - out of my sight - Joy had spilled her red wine at the exact moment the pinata finally burst.
Marcia cleaned it up with a Kotex. That explains this photo.
The Saint Louis Cardinals were up three to one against the LA Dodgers. All they had to do is win one more game. But did they? DID THEY? NO.
This means there's a good chance the seventh game of the playoffs will conflict with my MenoParty on Saturday, damnit.
It also means I may have to make good on the Governor’s bet I made with Long Time Reader Catherine in LA. If the Dodgers win, I have to eat a cup of Ramen Noodles, breaking my lifelong streak of never eating a Ramen Noodle ever, and if the Cards win she has to eat Gooey Butter Cake.
The Cards were not IN the playoffs when I planned this party, but it is an odd-numbered year. I should have known.
This was the strangest BNL concert since the infamous Chicago concert when former-lead-singer Steve was "on cough medicine."
Normal BNL concert:
The opening act is great, but not mind-blowing.
This BNL concert
This pair, Whitehorse, didn't play their music so much as assembled their music live on stage.
They did a lot of work stomping those loop-making machines that have a name that I don't know. They banged on a lot of pots. My only critique would be that the female singer was so breathy (or the mike was so diffuse) that I have no idea what the lyrics were for most of the songs. Someone should alert Quentin Tarintino to this band: they need to be on his soundtracks.
Normal BNL concert
Crowd is on their feet immediately.
This BNL concert
As ~~Silk had noted, BNL concert-goers are encouraged to hug the stage and dance, and I suppose that means the front row has to stand up to see, making the second row stand, etc. I always assumed the standing was because we like to dance, but evidently it's just a domino effect. Well, the very front row seats to this concert cost five hundred dollars ... that number is not exact. It was some appalling amount, and I am not easily appalled by high ticket prices. Since the right center front row kept their butts planted on their $500, I didn't stand out of courtesy to the rows behind us. (Plus I was still a bit thoughtful / dazzled by the opening act.)
Normal BNL concert
Rare lighting or sound glitches. Any glitches are acknowledged and ridiculed.
This BNL concert
See these lights?
Those lights swiveled into my eyes routinely and painfully. I had to put on my sunglasses. And for an entire song the sound system crackled the way my headphones crackle when you plug them in, only 500 decibels louder. Techs were RUNNING across the stage. It was just one song, though.
Normal BNL concert
I listen to the lyrics reverentially. Talkers make me insane, especially the ones who get louder when the band gets louder.
This BNL concert
The talking started early, even in the VIP seats, and you know, it didn't bother me as much as usual. It bothered Gary. I can only assume the change of life has mellowed me. Perhaps. My mid-life mind had this tape running through it. "Oh well, these people are talking, they're drunk, let it go. Quit shining the lights into my eyes. It's very comfy in this seat. Quit shining the lights into my eyes. This is the loosest show I have ever seen."
Normal BNL concert
The crowd is on Ed's side.
This BNL concert
Since the National League baseball playoffs were happening a few yards away, someone in the crowd yelled, "It's 2 to 2," and Ed replied he did not "give a shit about baseball."
(Analogies: saying you don't give a shit about football in Dallas. Beer in Milwaukee. Soccer in Brazil. Springsteen in New Jersey. Jesus in Rome. Hockey in Canada.)
The crowd turned on the news of the Toronto / St.Louis shit deficit. This improved the show, because the rest of the band had to step up to win them back. Tyler jumped in. Kevin jumped in. Jim, actually, just let him sink, but the other band members became much more engaged. And I like to hear from the whole band. It's as if Broadway showed only monologues except for one play. BNL is the one play. The members interact. They interacted more before Steve left, and now Jim, Kevin, and Ty keep a little too quiet. But after the crowd turned on Ed, Kevin made a lot of musical commentary and Tyler, bless him, did a spontaneous riff about the St. Louis blues hockey team, name-dropping Bobby Orr and Gary Unger.
"GARY UNGER!" I screamed in response to what Ed later called blatant crowd pandering.
To be fair to Jim, he eventually pitched in and brought up Ted Drewes, and I believe Ed referred to a Ted Drewes concrete as a blizzard. Outrage. More crowd pandering needed to be administered, and by the last encore Ed bowed and scraped to a Cardinals towel someone had thrown on stage.
But as always, the crowd was on its feet when The Old Apartment came up. It was nice. Perhaps this is a new routine to keep it fresh, turning the crowd against you to win them back over.
Remember the phone scammers, the ones who call me with wrong number messages and they insist I call back? The Internet revealed they were a particularly hated group of cruise telemarketers.
It would seem I'm a tough nut to crack, because they've escalated. Every day there's a call. Once it was "You gotta call me back, man, I'm gonna lose my job!" once "Hey, I'm calling to see if you're going to pick up this stuff you won at the auction." They've started to vary the numbers they call from too. I never answer an unknown number anymore.
Except for today. I had my phone in my hands, wondering why the new iPhone feature that blocks calls wasn't working for me, when I got an unknown call. It was from my area code this time, and it surprised me, and I'm afraid to say I answered.
"Hello?" I said.
"I'd like to ask, who are you?" she said, sweetly.
I said, "I'm not anyone you know. You have a wrong number." And I'm ON TO YOU, I thought.
"Well, I'm calling you because my husband's been calling your number."
"No he hasn't," I said, "Goodbye," and I hung up.
Of course she called back and left this message.
If you don't want to listen, here is what you missed. She says all this in a huffy tone that would break down at the end of every sentence and turn into a question.
"Hi I just called you; I just wanted to know what your name was so I could speak with my husband about this because I'm having issues with him right now? So, evidently you have been talking to my husband, which, you need to call me back, because I need to know what your name is, and how you met him? If you met him on a line or something? So, call me back, thanks bye." (Barely audible woman's voice in the back says "Give her the number.") "Oh it's 314-XXX-XXXX."
Of course I did a reverse lookup and it's the number for some woman in Hillsboro. The previous messages were from Washington Missouri, so they're moving closer.
I'm really mean it this time: I'm not answering my phone if I don't recognize the number from now on. Let's see how good the acting gets. Right now it's a tie between the guy who was going to lose his job and this cuckolded wife.
Once, for the action.
(Close the damn ad as soon as possible. It's in the way. My ad wants to know if "He's Cheating on You," and that's offensive.)
Twice, to read the banner.
Three times for the crawl at the bottom.
BNL coming to town Friday! Eeee!
I had a long week auditing a class, and I am exhausted from leaning forward and pretending to listen. Truly, I sprained my neck with the attentive posture.
I capped off my draining training with a non-stop weekend. First, Gary took me and his tricky back out to see Gravity. I have no idea how they made that movie. Sadly, I had spent too much time the previous weekend on a hunt for information about the lost cosmonauts. It's been a grim month of death (deathhh ...) in (innn ...) space (spaaaaccceeee ...).
Saturday and Sunday I built a brick edge for my front walk and finished almost all the party projects. I'm at a loss for what to serve. I need to make food for 10-20 people, and this is my first normal party in twenty five years. Everything else has been all tea and lobster. What do normal people serve at parties? There will be chips, soda, watermelon, and a lot of chocolate. I don't want to serve pizza.
Right now I'm thinking mini quiches, because of the eggs, of course. Baby corn and baby carrots would be vile in a quiche, though, but it would keep the theme going. Or perhaps I should just serve people Ensure cocktails and have one food everyone likes, and drop the theme for that.
What's a food everyone likes?
Papier Mache is hard. (That's how Martha Stewart spells it, people. Maybe that's my problem.) I have encountered indestructible piñatas. I wanted my piñata to break at some point, but I ended up making it as thin as ... paper. As thin as my own uterus. So, now the basic structure's been dismantled and I've reinforced. Gotta bolster up my uterus.
It never occurred to me before but I've only ever seen a cross section of a uterus. Nine out of ten uterii on Google images look like this:
A real one does look like a balloon. I'm going to have to integrate the cross section in mine anyway, otherwise It just wont look like a uterus.
We have now added a tampon bonfire and Pin the Kotex on the Underwear to the festivities. The uterus piñatas has absorbed all my time, though. You'd think it could produce babies after all the research I've put into it.
I was helping Mom with a house purge when I was in my thirties, and I found what looked like a little light-blue doll-sized rubber beret with a tiny rolled rim. I figure it was hardware; Mom held on to every piece of useless hardware just in case she might need it later.
So I asked, "What is this?"
Mom seemed annoyed. "What does it look like?"
"A doll's hat?"
I don't remember her answer, in fact, I forgot all about it till last night when I was in the hardware store searching for that very same bit of hardware junk.
As I explained to the middle-aged woman who greeted me, I was there to buy something that "looked like" a diaphragm to cap off my uterus piñata.
The greeter suggested the plumbing aisle.
I searched and searched, but I never found the hardware my Mom had. "Man," I thought, "I wonder what happened to that. It looked just like a diaphragm."
That's when it occurred to me that Mom's hardware was probably just what it looked like. I don't know why I never thought Mom might use a diaphragm. She had sex. I suppose because she had only the one good hand. Anyway, at that realization I stopped searching in the hardware store for something that looked "just like a diaphragm" and bought a dark blue toilet flappy thing I could paint pink and repurpose.
We were a post-dinner still life: I was planted on the couch and Gary was in the chair. At some point after dinner I tidied up. I resumed my position and didn't move again until Gary went for the chips.
"Don't eat all the chips," I scolded, because he does that: if he starts on
something he eats it till it's gone, and I never see it again.
He stopped munching long enough to throw a chip at me and say, "There. I didn't eat that one."
I laughed; that was my mistake. I hadn't pulled the first chip out of my hair before he added, "Or that one," and another chip hit my head. And it was on.
It was the way he kept up the patter alternating with the volley of chips. (Chip flies at me.) "There's another chip I didn't eat." (Chip.) "And there's another." (Chip.) "I didn't eat this one either." (Chip.) "Or any of these." (Chips.) "Oh! Here's a whole bunch of chips I didn't eat." (Rain of chips.)
I couldn't breathe from laughing, but at some point I gathered up all the ammunition and threw them all back, so he had to escalate to shaking the bag on me.
I choked out, "I am not cleaning that up."
And I didn't. He must have, because there are no chips on the floor any more.
Possible Con Artist One
A man called Monday, asking to speak to Bobby. It took a while to convince the Befuddled Old Man there was no Bobby. A minute later he called back. "Still no Bobby here. Really, you have the wrong number." A minute after that he called back again and left a message, because I had already assigned his number to my "nuisance" ringtone. The next two days he left messages that he still wanted to talk to Bobby FullName about "the shells and casings for the auction."
I asked Gary if I should try to find Bobby FullName's auction company and he cried, "No! Drop it! They just want to get you to talk to them! They get paid every time you talk to them!"
This doesn't seem like a good business model to me. However, the next day I checked my messages and there was another wrong number message. A panicked young man insisted I call back, otherwise he would lose his job. I felt worried ... until I noticed it was the same number as the Befuddled Old Man.
I still don't get who pays these fine actors, and for what.
Possible Con Artist Two
You recall I requested a Birth Control Mold and got a Labia Mold. I contacted the vendor, even though I could implement many gross menopause scenarios with the labia mold, the best being obscuring the labia with a pink jawbreaker. Prolapsed uterus candy.
The eBay vendor who sent the Mistaken Labia has asked I send him a photo of the Labia Mold and then they will send me the Birth Control Mold.
That sounds fishy to me. Is sending a photo of transparent plastic labia not a violation of eBay's terms and conditions? I'd go ahead and send a censored version, but I don't even see how I could send an image if I stick to eBay's montored messages.
Ooo. I could give them the number for the Befuddled Old and Panicked Young Men and have them call me there. "No, there's no Ellen here." If they don't pick up they'd get a message about sending labia pictures.
In prepation for the MenoParty (subtitled "Dead. Aunt Flo. Dead.") I ordered these tasteful, discreet chocolate molds shaped like birth control packs.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the padded envelope and pulled out a mold that did not look at all like birth control. It took a moment to figure out what it was, since the mold was concave and my brain had to interpret the convex form. I thought:
"This isn't what I ordered! What is it? It isn't round, it's ... kind of a pointy oval. It's sliced down the middle like a loaf of bread. Oval bread? With lips in the midd - Ack! Labia!"
Little labia lollipop molds, to be specific. One reason they were so hard to recognize is they were NOT to SCALE. They were life-sized for a ten year old. Perhaps that's what I found so shocking. It was daytime, I wasn't prepared for them, I was expecting birth control, and I got baby labia.
I felt a little outrage at first, but that dissipated, and my comment to the seller on eBay was a simple "I ordered birth control. You sent me labia."
We shall see what happens next.
Friday the 13th was a mix of good and bad luck.
As bad luck would have it, I was working hard when the gynecologist called with my blood test results. This means I'll have to wait till Monday to find out what the assistant's chipper tone on the message meant.
Bad Luck Hubris
I wanted to bring Friend #2's prosciutto-wrapped asparagus to trivia night, because asparagus is a nice healthy thing you can eat with your fingers. However, because she'd be there, and I am competitive, I wanted mine to be better. To this end I researched recipes and bought pencil-thin asparagus. Halfway through trying to wrap the floppy, oiled pencil asparagus in Alouette cheese and prosciutto I thought, "This is absurd. I'm going to finish this, but just so I can bring it and Friend #2 can laugh at me." Which did indeed happen.
They announced a trivia category as "Dead or Canadian." I was hailed as the expert. I didn't hear the "Dead" at first, only "Canadian," so I thought my table felt I was the expert on Canadians. But of course, I am the expert on the dead. After a celebrity death my brother Dave always calls with the Dead Sandwich, i.e.: "Dead. Karen Black. Dead." I've carried on the tradition on Facebook.
I did pretty well: 9 out of 10 (because Morely Safer is not dead, the bastard, I confused him with Ed Bradley). Afterward, Friend #4 commented, "This category has convinced me that Canadians are immortal."
Another category, "Lays Potato Chip Flavors," asked us to sample chips and name the flavor. By a strange coincidence I had brought Chicken and Waffle Chips to offset the asparagus disaster. (This is not a recommendation. I was offloading them.) Therefore, we were able to definitively identify the Chicken and Waffle chips. Most chips were bad, but not as bad as the spicy chips that violently ejected themselves from my mouth. I had to nurse my tongue with a napkin after that.
There's always an adventure driving Friend #4 home from trivia, and today's adventure was finding the dark chocolate salted caramels at: first, the West County Schnucks, and then the home turf Schnucks. There we were told they'd been discontinued and many people were pissed about it.
So, I bought a few things and this happened:
So, we came in tenth in trivia (out of about 100), but there were no chocolate caramels. Overall I think the needle on the Luck-o-meter ticked over to good luck.
I had my blood drawn today and if all goes well I shall be deemed Paused, Barren, Beyond the Great Witherment. I have never been SO excited about a potential test result EVER. Because why? Because of the party.
Gotta have a MenoParty. Little girls get Menarche Parties (in some circles), so my circle is getting a party. I've been waiting for this time since it all went downhill when I was eleven.
I know it's coming (if not soon then someday soon), so I've ordered these delicious chocolate molds:
Why yes, those are chocolate molds shaped like birth control. Not like my birth control, but that's easily expressed as a sheet cake:
Other food? Anything related to menstruation or reproduction is fair game. Hard boiled eggs. Caviar. Blood pudding. Dried meats. Blood oranges.
But my favorite idea came from this inspiration, a viking carved from a watermelon.
I thought, what could I carve a watermelon into? So that you see the inspiration in pure form, here is exactly what I typed yesterday:
"watermelon_carved into uterus or my god tampons"
Picture a watermelon tampon including both the white and red parts of the melon and some cotton twine. Then I thought, why not angel food cake carved into "pads," with strawberry jam, and I thought no, that's gross, THAT'S over the line. So of course, that lasted all of a second and now it's on the table too.
I haven't even begun to think of the set list, or the drinks, or the ice cubes or first period stories.
God I hope it's the Change.
So exciting! I scheduled a hormone blood test for Wednesday that will tell me if I am past my "prime," if by prime you mean Grade A USDA Approved fleshy meat reproductive parts. I shall find if those parts are dry aged beef or if they are still drippy.
I must have a blood test because the typical monthly tell-tale sign doesn't work on me, because the birth control pills made my periods dry up years ago, all thanks be to the Mother Goddess and Father Pfizer.
Instead, normal women have this timeline:
2) Hit the wall with the last period.
Instead, Wednesday the blood will out, but happily it will come out of my arm and nowhere inconvenient.
BAAAABIES BAAABABAAAABIES Hurry up and have BAAAABIES before Wednesday! Just checking ... nope. Still no Baby cravings. Had to check, it might be my last chance.
You know how Gary has the Big House Dreams? He mentioned it to his Mom and she has them too. Big House, usually run-down, often invaded by strangers. I never thought dreams could be genetic, but if neurosis can run in families (trucks!) I suppose dreams could too.
I've never had a pregnancy dream till yesterday. I was wearing a loose dress at a Boeing work event (I'd applied at Boeing) and a pregnant woman asked me when I was due.
"Oh, I'm not pregnant. I just ate too much."
I told my Mom in the dream, who said, "Look at yourself. OF COURSE you're pregnant."
That scared me so much I woke up and went in and told Gary. "I haven't had a period in ... ever. I might be pregnant? WHAT IF I'M PREGNANT?"
Gary reminded me how women get pregnant and I was reassured. I think my subconscious just reminded me I haven't taken my birth control for three weeks in preparation for the Menopause Exam Monday.
It's entirely possible I'm nowhere near menopause. That'd be horrifying. I might be hot just because it's summer.
I made many demands during Birthday Month. Finish assembling the Christmas shelves, go out to see movies, and visit the art museum.
The Saint Louis art Museum has been around since the 1904 World's Fair. I've seen three permutations: the museum of my school days, the museum plus the new Wing with the long-stored decorative rooms, and now the newer wing that that opened over the summer.
(Gary echoed my thoughts when he said, "Why can't they build the new wings so they match the old building?" The thing isn't made out of marble, I think it's granite, but the new wings are glassy and modern. It's not as jarring as the front of the Louvre, but c'mon. There must be some resin / faux granite they can use.)
So the first version of the museum was very European, then they added the modern art and a little touch of Asian art, and in this new permutation there's a strong showing of Islamic Art, African art, Asian Art, native art. There's a particularly remarkable bust of an ebony man with a white marble toga that's been in storage for years.
(The effort to be more diverse was noticeable, but not as forced as the Diversity Push at the Hermitage. Printed muslin window hangings displayed the stories and faces of the Hermitage slaves. It all looked very temporary and token.)
They did a nice job rehabbing the old areas to fit in more art. They had a nice feature in the drawings and etchings exhibit: magnifying glasses. There was an enormous central room wholly devoted to Max Beckman. Evidently he taught in Saint Louis and made a huge donation of art.
The modern art has been pushed into the new wing. That wing's been divided into different schools with a nice explanatory blurb in each area. You can go into the area with the wormy blob of resin and see that the reason it has value is because the artist was in the Process school of thought, in which the process of making the art was key, and the result, not so much.
I was able to find almost all of my favorites. (Caroline, the Bathroom Mirror is back, now with two toothbrushes.) The only one I couldn't find was the scribbly pink Jean Dubuffet, only to find his twin on Hattie's blog.
It really is like an entirely new museum. I need to visit more often than every six years.
I watched Life WIth Father a few weeks ago.
(If you haven't seen it, here's the entire thing on YouTube, distracingtly subtitled in Spanish or Portuguese or something.)
When we were young and in love, Gary was George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. Sweet, shy, generous, deaf.
Now that we're old, Gary is Clarence Day, Sr. in Life With Father. Well, only that Clarence Day is cheap and overly concerned about money. Gary is Clarence Day if you deduct the frugality and four redheaded children (*crosses self*), and focus only on the:
Stubborness and bossiness (0:24:50)
Violent hatred of inanimate objects (rubber plants) (0:8:20)
Talking to himself (0:18:50)
Dislike of guests to such a degree that you have to keep guests a secret (1:45:00) (But, then loves the guests once they're there, and for several days after they leave.)
Love of dogs (0:12:09)
Prayerful aspect (1:26:00)
General ongoing indignation (entire film)
Of course, both of them are lovable characters.
I wish they'd remake this movie. That way they could end it with the real last line: "I'm going to be bapTIZED, damnit!"
No estrogen for a week and I am imagining every menopausal symptom and adding some undocumented ones. Are strange dreams a symptom of the 'Pause? In the last few days I have had both the best dream and the worst dream I've ever had.
The Best Dream
Paul McCartney was using The Bookmobile as his tour bus. He drove to my house, and he called my friends, and we all had a tea party. He liked my friends, of course, and then at the end of the day he said he'd write. Then he drove off in The Bookmobile.
I woke up in LOVE with Paul McCartney.
The Worst Dream
I was at work, late for a meeting, and I was not wearing pants. (And, as an aside, I almost never have the No Pants dreams any more. I suppose my subconscious no longer cares that I reveal too much.) It was an episodic dream in which I was put upon, packed into elevators, dismissed, late, insulted, and I found a ratty sweater and a used Blackberry.
Very unsatisfying, especially after Sir Paul.