Sunday, March 30, 2008


In the middle of a conversation with my daughter the other day she looked at me and basically said, you're writing a blog about this in your head right now, aren't you?


P.S. For those of you who give a shit, I've upgraded my template. On my computer "normal" font size used to look ginormal, so I used to use a smaller font because I'm a designer, blah, blah, blah and I didn't like the way it looked. After upgrading, however, it looked like the bottom line of the hardest optical chart ever created. I've also taken a mensa class and figured out how to add the blogs I read and some other impressively mundane bits. SO. Sorry for the unreadable and/or huge font size swing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

grammar just cried

Metrosexual guy: If I was some fish...
Girl, not looking up from her bus schedule: Grammar just cried.
Metrosexual guy: I don't follow you.
Girl: Good, because if you did, I would have to have you arrested.
Metrosexual guy: I am so confused.
Girl: Do the words 'you are an idiot' confuse you?
Metrosexual guy: I hate you.

--28th & 5th
from oiny
It's strange to have become the person that finds grammar and math insults funny.

Friday, March 28, 2008

epiphenita extols euphemism

As happy as I'm am to admit to my ambidextrosity, I really love women. I love sex in general and sex with women in particular. This occasionally leads me to watch the L Word because there is a fair amount of fabulous, steamy sex made by women for women*. Which I enjoy, in spite of the predictable, stereotypical lesbiglam types who populate L Word world.

*differing from lesbian sex scenes made by men for men, which involve a lot of acrylic nails, lingerie clichés, and pouty-mouthed nymphs kissing each other with one eye on the camera and more tongue action than would ever make sense in real life without a terrycloth bib.
Aside from the sex, the show gets on my nerves (like many ongoing tv sagas) because every fucking character is in über-crisis mode or about to do something so appallingly stupid that a crisis will ensue.

Once in a while, though, a writer does something fun and fresh. Like have the characters name off dozens of slang names for the vagina (i.e., breakfast of champions, munchbox, furry monkey, bearded oyster, mermaid's purse, power slot, panty hamster, etc.). Or when Pam Grier's character, Kit, is all in the dumps about being diagnosed menopausal her lesbo friends try to cheer up by reminding her that she's done with pms. And the fact that she won't have to take Carrie to the prom anymore.

TAKE CARRIE TO THE PROM? Oh shit. That is fucking hysterical.

Let me use it in a sentence:

Hey, I'm not up to joining you guys at the club tonight. I have to take Carrie to the prom. Again.
If I still had a period, taking Carrie to the prom would be my new favorite euphemism.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

oy! ¡ay! malarkey!

This week's A.Word.A.Day featured words from Yiddish. Anu Garg is brilliant and so is his site. I adore Yiddish words. I grew up on Long Island and may be a muttly half-Puerto Rican/half-Irish mix but I consider myself an honorary Jew all the same. Yiddish is full of onomatopoeia: klutz, schnook, schlep. The words have an inherent wryness.

And then there are quotes each day which make me happy:

I come from a people who gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Time has come to strengthen them by three additional ones, which we ought to adopt and commit ourselves to: thou shall not be a perpetrator; thou shall not be a victim; and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.
–Yehuda Bauer, professor (b. 1926)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

breaking news

Hey, people (especially all you vicious schadenfreuden out there) the abandoned dog has been adopted! Hallelujah. Yes, of course it's sad but Phobias has lovely new owners that will take care of her and probably give her a respectable proper name. And I'll stop having those canine midwifery dreams that have been freaking me the fuck out.

werds to live by

Oh, dear, oh dear. My lovely friend Joe just sent this link to me and...well, I may have wet myself:
Two of my immediate favorites:

indignorant (adjective)
Reinforcing an insensible or misinformed position with an overly aggressive or belligerant attitude.
The easiest-to-find examples of indignorance are reader comments on any news story. You won't make it past the first page without finding a card-carrrying indignoramus. I tried to find a good example to link to, I swear, but I started to go blind.
mamarazzi (noun)
one of those mothers that feels the need to tell everyone every last embarassing story about their kid(s).

[Please don't show this to Buford and Anus Eunice]

Another beautiful mamarazzi example from BabySteps:

Peanut walks up to Pop yesterday holding a little ponytail holder.

"Fix mullet," she says, handing the elastic to Pop.


Maybe it's really time to cut it.
(Sorry, Nicki, but Peanut's totally backing me up on this.)
Joseph, dear, you've made my day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

foundling update

No one has responded. Not to fliers, faxes, web postings nor emails. No "lost" posters in the hood. One might conclude that no one is looking for this dog.

People who abandon pets [presumably when the owner's initial cute-tardation rubs off] should be drop-shipped into the wilds of Montana wearing only flip-flops and smeared in the musk of whichever local prey is most popular.

So we stopped by the local veterinarian. Alas, no microchip and no "x-marks-the-neutered-here" spot. The vet clinic folks think she is maybe 6 or 7 months old. And about ready to go into her first heat. Fuck me very much.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

i can NOT believe this

I hadn't really planned on getting back to the plant and animal sagas so soon but fate has intervened. Must itemize.

I have a blanket requirement for anything rooted in our yard–No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service. It's harsh and Darwinian but folks, them's the rules. I am happy to say we have survival-of-the-fittest azaleas, mae-west-tough gerbera daisies and hardy sago palms. Well, one hardy sago palm. The eastern sago flanking our walkway stopped producing its crown of new leaves many months ago, whilst its stronger western sibling strutted in place with healthy, gorgeous new fronds. I recently decided it was time to sit shiva for the sick cycad.

Then last week, lo and behold, there were signs of life from its barren center. Swear-to-godlessness, this ancient plant resurrected itself for Easter. In time to join the riot of color in the yard: fuschia azaleas and carmine gerbera daisies.

For some reason, I also planted herbs for cooking last week. Donning a gingham dress and marrying a Mennonite could only be more out of character for me. But I'm not that addled yet, only giving in to some dormant, tentative connection with Mother Nature. Really, it's just a phase.

Okay, okay. I'll admit that part of my aversion to pet ownership is selfishness. Too much maintenance, too much stink and too much adjustment to my life. And part of it is financial, so shoot me. I hesitate to pay for my own shots and grooming (and don't get me started about the anal gland treatments). Then, there's the guilt. Social animals ought not be isolated. The trade-off of assy-dog tongue licking my face is just not enough for me to justify all that danderrific trouble.

SO. Yesterday there was a young female black lab roaming down our street. Our daughter was outside on the porch communing with nature to spite me. [Have I mentioned she's a vegetarian? Don't think the Fates are not enjoying the hell out of this.] Anyway, the girl-child committed the cardinal sin and made eye contact with the canine. EYE CONTACT. After all I've tried to teach her. She called us from outside to say, "uh, Mom, we have a situation out here." Sonofabitch, I'll say.

To make a tedious rant a little shorter, we are now trying to find the owner of this damn dog. She is extremely sweet and timid to the point of ridiculous. Every threshold, every doorway is a portal to the dreadful unknown. Every step up or down is fraught with dog demons. The linoleum is terrifying. The porch, a nightmare. I named her Phobia which Barbara modified to Phobias, pronounced like Tobias, in honor of the Arrested Development character played by the brilliant, caustic David Cross. He, of the Never-Nude Phobiases.

We've flyered the neighborhood. Posted to the Craigslist Lost & Found. Will call local vets and stuff tomorrow.

In the meantime, we coexist. She's affectionate, house-broken, not much of a barker* and not too inclined to jump up on people. The occasional ankle lick and the regular, though abating, dead-weight-drop-to-the-floor fear response hasn't worn on my nerves too much. Barbara and the girl-child take care of the feed/eliminate cycle. Please, by cracky, let someone be searching for her.

If that wasn't enough (and it definitely was) on the way home from the grocery store this morning, a pigeon dive-bombed into our car grill (I was looking in my brain files for the word kamikazied but could only find kawasakied because The Bloggess has thrown a wrench in my limited japanese-influenced vocabulary). The pigeon-explosion moved quickly across the hood, up the windshield and shot over the car roof where, I assume, it landed in the road behind us. Relax. It was completely obliterated. It could have been run over 100 more times and it wouldn't have felt a thing. I'm grateful on an almost ecclesiastical level that the exploded missile did not take a curve through the open window into my lap. That, my friends, would have been three showers, a steamcleaner and the end of my to-do list for the day.

ghosts of livestock past
Just a few brief notes on the history of animals crossing my path.

There was a period of time, maybe for six months or so, that animals came to my yard to die. Nothing mystical here, just my luck. A cat crawled under our car and died. A dog dragged its sick carcass into our flower bed and promptly expired. An injured squirrel hauled its bloodied body onto our porch and gave up the ghost. Most people would have taken this as an omen–a cosmic message about doing some community service at the SPCA. Not me. I just hoped it wasn't like dog urine. You know, an irresistible marking of territory that beckoned to dying animals for miles around, "come here to die...everyone is doing it."

When I succumbed (doesn't "succame" sound pornographic? suck-came) to the big-eyed, pet-pleading machinations of my partner and children years ago, we got a small blonde cocker spaniel. (Raise your hand if you've heard this story. My apologies.) I named her Suburbia. For two reasons. One, that's where she lived. (Hello, why do they call it a "Scottie"?) And two, Faux-Wood-Paneled-Stationwagon seemed too cumbersome. Besides, Suburbia had a nice hispanical femininity to it.

Then, the guilt seeped in. Dogs are social animals. Not intended for 9-10 hours of solitude each weekday. So, we got a companion animal. A black and tan cocker that we hoped to breed once, so the children could witness the goddamn Miracle of Life. Enter puppy #2. Bourgeoisie. Bourgeois for short. Damn, but I do love a theme. We eventually pimped her out and sold most of her babies, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Suburbia and Bourgeois established a pecking order and companionship. Suburbia was in charge and Bourgeoisie did a lot of averting her eyes and groveling. Occasionally, they escaped the yard together. Which had me running up and down neighborhood streets yelling, "Surburbia!" "Bourgeois!" like some nutjob evangelical existentialist.

All in all, a checkered past. When the last of the cocker spaniels died, we'd had 13 or 14 years of petdom. I was ready for 13 or 14 years of petlessness provided the dear woman, who loves me in spite of my hardheartedness, was agreeable. Chorus of fallen angels, she was. We have lived in this state of whimper-free bliss going on three years now. I'm not going back without a fight.

*Well, unless you're an inanimate object. Like a stone gargoyle, for example. Then, you are going to get barked at. If Epiphenita is trying to have a long-distance conversation with her parents, you're going to get the deluxe barking special.

Monday, March 17, 2008

no blogging until you've finished your peas

Couldn't blog this weekend; I had chores.

Spent part of Saturday and most of Sunday pulling the landfill
(computer room) apart and putting it (mostly) back together. If wires and cables were money... Anyway, the junk I didn't throw away is piled up on the dining room table and in the, well shit, I don't know what to call it, I guess it's the den but that sounds too plaid herculon for my tastes.

I am such a collector of crap. Of course, it's not crap to me. It's material for projects, things that surround me with happy ideas for future creativity. But it's also too much. Too fucking much. I need clear spaces and breathing room. So I am fighting against my nature and doing the purge.

The biggest challenge is momentum. Which is why boxes and bags have become an anathema to me. Anything dumped in a cardboard box and moved out of my visual path is dead to me. I am not going to open it up just to sort through and organize. I shouldn't even have closet doors. The existence of a closed box of chaos simply doesn't nag at me. They scream to be dealt with for most of my family members but I can't hear them at all.

Speaking of not being able to hear things
I learned early in adulthood that I don't do well with pets. Particularly quiet pets. If I have to tend to something, it had better know how to make some noise when it needs food and water. My ex-husband had a penchant for getting pets and then, going out of town. The hermit crabs were a case in point. I can't recall if we named them Larry, Moe & Curly but that's how I remember them. And that's about the sum total of my affection for them, too. Hermit crabs are not easy to warm up to. And they are awfully quiet. I walked past them a few days after Dave had gone and thought, Jesuschrist those damn things stink like fish. At which point it dawned on me that I had forgotten something. Like teaching them to tap on the glass every night to remind me to, you know, feed and water them.

The three dead crab stooges initiated the guilt list of pets in my life. (No, I didn't kill all of them, assholes. Well, I did kill a couple hundred sea monkies, I'll admit. And euthanized a paralyzed parakeet, Bert–or maybe it was Ernie, who entered his eternal rest in a carbon monoxide fog, but that was an avian mercy killing, people.) The rest of the animals and plants (goddammit, plants are really quiet) that I have reluctantly allowed to share my domain were under the strict purview of the softhearted family member who wanted them. Or they just didn't make it.

More later, about the creatures in my life.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Happy Pi Day, people!
Thank you Menchuvian Candidate for that amazing video that lead me to which led me to TEDBlog which reminded me that it is, in fact, the lovely day of Pi.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

subservient? my dentata.

Here's a photo of some big shot at Mattel talking to some big shot in China last year. Now, I don't give a rat's ass about the politics of manufacturing and marketing Barbie in Asia. You want that shit, you deserve it. What I found interesting about this photo is that the two female interpreters could only be more submissive-looking if they were actually kneeling on the ground whispering their English to Mandarin to English translations into the microphones. It may not have been intended but this photo looks like China's slow progress in equality between the sexes has had a few setbacks.

Submission Non-Sequitur to Shithole
Many of you know of my interest...nay, fascination, with the concept of vagina dentata. This idea dovetails with a theory about rape and victimhood that I couldn't expound upon right now (in my current state of weary), even if my very own vagina flashed its first set of choppers. My dear daughter shares this appreciation for the bizarre. Which is how I got this:

She called it butthole dentata, though I suppose that could be argued (not being much of a bear anatomist). Isn't that adorable?

a few of my life-saving things

I don't farm (garden) or do livestock (pets) but that doesn't mean that coming home to a riot of pulsing fuschia azaleas doesn't make me feel alive. The photo doesn't do justice to a color that can't stay still. These fleeting blooms help set my world back upright.

Well, these and a photo of the Toddler Queen, post-brownie batter, posted by the Menchuvian Candidate.

Oh, and a conversation I had with my daughter, who is full of attentiveness and compassion and humor. Just those three things.

Plus a lovely homemade grilled vegetable pizza. Okay, and being home. With that tall, sweet woman who offered to go to the museum (on a school night), if that would cheer me up. Those six things.

And swearing. Seven things that perked me up.

That's not counting Dr. Ding and the Menchuvian Candidate.

Well, you know what I mean. Thanks all. I feel less homicidal than this morning. The life you saved may have been my neighbor's .

proof of the [pig] pudding and other cooking adventures

I have built computers. Tackled hairy tech problems. Installed some serious shit in both Macs and Windows machines. But it's taken until now for Barbara and I to figure out how to get the wee pictures out of the wee cellphone. Here you go, proof that bacon cups can be made at home:

First, with potatoes......and then some eggs thrown in for good measure.

Playing with food has a particular appeal to me. I'm sure that statement says something dark and damaged about my psyche but, what the fuck, it makes me happy. I have even cooked on my car engine from this brilliant masterpiece:

Actually, I've cooked on a car engine three times. The sausage with onions and peppers was my favorite.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

just shoot me

I made a mistake.
Some work friends started a blog about losing weight after having a baby and I tried to be supportive. Even though talking about dieting is to me like talking about sex
(kinky sex) is to Mother Teresa: disturbing and against everything I believe in. And unlike sex, it's not even titillating. A yawn. A bore. Insulting.

I read this entry and decided to include it here because otherwise my comments (below) would sound like the disjointed rant of a schizophrenic in dire need of a good long soak in a pharmaceutical bath. I'm too depressed to link all this shit as well. It's from, called Taking It Off-Moms Losing Weight. Read the source if you care. [bolding mine]

My daughter deserves "skinny parents" [blog post by TTsMom]

Is it still considered "losing the baby weight" if you were already overweight when you got pregnant?????

I got married a little over three years ago. My husband the love of my life and truly is my best friend. We have gone through some very tough times together in a pretty short amount of time, and it has only made us stronger. After two years of being pregnant, and not pregnant, and pregnant again, we finally had a full term, healthy baby girl in September.

Bringing Taylor home was the happiest day of my life.

F I N A L L Y…our family is growing. Taylor is growing so fast and changing so much. I realized that I grew a lot too in a very short amount of time! I’ve always been a big girl, and after I had Taylor I finally realized that I have to do something about it. My daughter should not have a fat mom because I’m too lazy to do something about it. I joined Weight Watchers at work with some friends, and luckily my husband is supportive of it. He is even doing it with me.

I have a very difficult anniversary coming up next month, and I already want to eat. Food makes me feel better. Chocolate is my drug of choice and I have to overcome my addiction. I have to stay strong, and I’m hoping this blog will keep me from falling off the wagon.

Losing weight is not just about eating right. It is a complete lifestyle change. Not only do I need to continue to eat better and make better choices, but I also need to incorporate exercise into the mix. I hope that my husband continues to stick through this with me. I want Taylor to have "skinny parents" who can keep up with her when she starts crawling and walking!!
My two-cents:
I'm glad this gives you such happiness. Since I can't imagine commenting here again, I am going to have my say and be done.

"My daughter should not have a fat mom because I’m too lazy to do something about it."
"I want Taylor to have 'skinny parents'"
"My daughter deserves to have skinny parents"

Deargod, tell me someone else out there is appalled.

Your daughter deserves to have happy, healthy, loving parents. Your daughter doesn't give a rat's @ss if you're skinny, but bygod you will teach her to despise you if you are overweight as she grows up. You will teach her by hating your not-skinny body.

Furthermore, thank you for teaching yet another female child that how women look is so important that she should feel entitled to a skinny mom.

This is not about health. This is about how you look. Oh, yeah, being healthier is a great side benefit of weight watchers but the drive here is body image. Negative body image.

I'm done here. This is too depressing.
Apropos postscript from Overheard in New York:
Mom to six-year-old son: Junk food is crap. If you eat it, you will be fat. Like Mommy.
--Central Park

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

metro update

Today's MetroRail ride was fairly uneventful. Three stops before I got back to my office, an older gentleman sat down next to me. Harmless enough until the air current shifted. I don't think I'm a fussy public transportation rider. I just prefer that when I get a whiff of the passenger next to me, the first thought that pops into my mind isn't "Is that smegma I smell?"

Saturday, March 08, 2008

i'd like some pants to match that hairshirt, please

The girl-child has been home for a week. What a delight it is to have her home. I heard someone use the phrase "an embarrassment of riches" the other day. I know it has negative connotations of excess and materialism but the expression reminds me of how I feel about my family.

Anyway, having her around brings to mind many a silly anecdote from her childhood. When she and her older brother were young and would squabble, as siblings do, I would sometimes lose patience, as parents do, and yell at them,

"If you two don't stop bickering this minute, I'm going to drive down the courthouse and change your names to Buford and Eunice."
The Yankee sarcasm was lost on them but they knew that I was rounding the patience bend, so they usually took a break from battle.

Years later, my sweet daughter (hands down, the more compliant of the two) told me that she always thought that I was saying,
"I'm going to change your names to Buford and Anus."
She thought I was going to rename her
Anus. Who would threaten to rename her offspring after a bodily orifice as punishment? Evidently, the woman who writes this blog, that's who. Me, Epiphagina.

Friday, March 07, 2008

parenting hairshirts and other timeless fashions

My friend Nicki and her husband Andrew, write this blog about raising Hazel, their toddling offspring. Lots of good pictures and quirky stuff. Nothing syrupy or group-huggy. Recently she posted this entry about [continued] evidence of their bad parenting. A modern, self-inflicted stockade, this public blogging thing.

When I learned to embrace other people's misconceptions, I became a much happier parent. Too bad that happened after the kids were grown.

Not to be outdone in the category of shitty parental reputations, here is my comment to her post:

When we sent our 15-year old daughter to Italy as an exchange student, we gave her money specifically to buy a heavy coat there—the luggage weight limits were strict and she didn't have enough room in her suitcase.

She lost her credit cards on the first stopover.

A week or so later, an AFS representative calls and scolds me for dumping my little matchgirl-child in a foreign country without money or adequate outerwear. After I stopped laughing (oh, they gave me such a stern look over the phone) and explained, I called my daughter and we roared—the idea of people thinking I wasn't overprotective was hilarious.

Then I begged her, Honey please go out a buy a coat today before they start interviewing foster parents here for your return, okay?

And for godsake, child, stop using socks for mittens.

morning, campers

Wrong, schmong, here's a little Friday pick-me-up:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

five yesterday; one exhausted post for today

I was feeling a little puny yesterday and stayed home from work. Unable to just relax and do nothing, I took the opportunity to flesh out a few draft blog entries. Then for good measure, I whipped up a couple more posts.

I have got to fucking learn to pace myself. I've had a blogging hangover all day.

More hair of the dog, please
There is one more thing, of course. I hear people say this about their offspring way too often: "Oh, my son will probably run wild in here...he's all boy!" Or, "If Suzie sees a bug, she'll run away screaming...she's all girl!"

I'm starting a new fractional gender measuring system. It goes like this. Your five-year old son loves video games and climbing trees BUT also enjoys reading and pottery. So you say, "Oh, my son might run wild in here...he's 87% boy!" Your seven-year old daughter plays t-ball, hates wearing dresses but squeals with fear at the site of a spider. So you warn, "If Suzie sees a spider, she may run away...she's 63% girl!"

You see? Rate your children on their gender strength and you'll be able to stave off the frightening prospect of having a queer child. Remember, folks, I am living in the land of big hair and "get a rope." This pussy/dick division is serious business.

Monday, March 03, 2008

death by dairy, no more (sob)

One of the healthy choices we made on the climb out of the the cholesterol vat was substituting soy milk for blessed cow's milk. You should have seen the face I made when we decided on this. Like many food biases, it turns out that oatmeal made with soy milk is quite edible. These quotes however, still echo my soy sentiments:

Columbia student volunteer: So, who knows what soy milk is?
Fourth grade girls: [Silence.]
Columbia student volunteer: Well, soy milk tastes like milk, but it's made with beans.
Fourth grader: Hold the phone -- beans has titties?

--P.S. 125

Mom: If you don't behave, you're not going to get any milk. Oh, no, you're going to get soy milk.
Screaming child: Nooo!
Mom: Yes. Soy milk. Just like when daddy was a vegan. And we don't want that, now do we?

--1 train, near Columbia
Every day for almost a year. Oatmeal made with soy milk. Cholesterol dropped dramatically. That's why I'm going to live longer. But I still think, NOOOOO! Beans has titties?

marmots, wombats and batting, oh dear

In the words of Blazing Saddles' Waco Kid (Gene Wilder), "Oh, dearie, dear," behold the World Taxidermy Championships (via we-make-money-not-art).

wifi weekend update

This past weekend was WiFi weekend at the B&E Show. That's right. I got my nerd groove on. More or less. Without making the low-tech among you succumb to the vapors from geek-speak, I will quickly sum up Saturday's activities:

  • partition new external back up drive [stay with me, stay with me], check
  • back up hard drives [for the first, oh-the-shame, time], check
  • update operating system, scary check
  • make sure numerous and expensive software programs still function, big check
  • install wireless card correctly, proud check
  • hook up wifi base station so as to share the DSL love with the family, oh shit. half-check!
Enter my good and dear friend SuperDave, renamed Tireless Wireless Techno Wizard, accompanied by his redefining-the-word-snazzilicious FI-ance, Dr. Ding.

Having used our friendship to lure them over to do my bidding offer tech support, I felt that the least I could do to thank them was to make real Dave's recent weird food/fantasy post: bacon cups*. For brunch. Filled with homemade fried potatoes 'n onions and scrambled eggs.

Ooo baby, ooo baby. That was a seriously unhealthy, exercise-cancelling, pig-juice-soaked breakfast. And if I do say so myself, it was damn fine. I'd have to walk to this Austin museum to compensate.

Tech service was more than worth the bacon braiding. (Truth be told, bacon braiding is its own reward, dear readers.) We have green lights and secure connections. Praise Dave and Local Area Network technology.

Oh, and every time Dave and I referred to modems, base stations, ip addresses , etc. both Barbara and Her Dingness began bushman-dialect-like clicking to demonstrate the foreign quality to our dialog. A great way to spend a Sunday, any way you look at it.

And now some footnote groveling:
*I should have written bacon cups by Megan at notmartha via Dave at abovetheaether. Poor documentation on my part, no offense intended to Megan and her culinary brilliance.

whirled world o' words

The other month while reviewing my entropic collection of foreign stamps (saved for collages, I'll have you know), I found myself thinking about the word philatelist. And resolved to someday write a poem or short story entitiled The Fellating Philatelist. Or The Philistine Philatelist. No, perhaps I'll call it Phil Come Philately.

Anyway, there you have a glimpse of what my mind does while parked in idle. So when I read this entry by one of my recently-found and delightful blogging-pals, Menchuvian Candidate, I squealed in delight (a metaphoric squeal...I am a grown woman, after all) at the following link:

The Museum of [Artificial & Natural] Ephemerata

Because among other things, I am a fan of museums traditional and bizarre. Case in point, the
National Museum of Funeral History here in Houston. I can't even tell you how delighted that strange showcase makes me.

Another reason is that this off-beat museum is in Austin! A mere 2-3 hours aways. I WILL make my way there.

But the initial appeal was much more egocentric. It goes so well with my blog handle (10.4, good cyberbuddy). Yes. Much of what I write could be called epiphenita ephemerata.

[ephemeral is defined as
1. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood.
2. lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower.]
More epiphenita ephemerata (yes!) coming your way.

P.S. Thanks also, MC, for the link to this Sarah Silverman schtick.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

backlog 31

Bipolar chaos
On my desktop I have three folders. [The neatness of my computer's desktop is in stark contrast to the room in which it resides. I hate having icons splattered all over my virtual workspace but sitting in a room piled high with office and project detritus (you were right, my daughter! It's pronounced di-TRY-tuss) doesn't seem to irritate me enough into organizational fits.]
  • stuff to do: pretty self-explanatory, my to-do lists, worry lists, project lists. I say organize your anxiety, people. Put it in labeled folder. You won't be less neurotic but you'll be a compartmentalized neurotic.
  • shit that won't delete: bit more of a mystery. Swear to god some of those files have been there for five years and I have done everything I could think of to dump them but they cling to the hard drive like a lifeline. I've stopped giving a shit. They can stay as long as they're quiet and remain in their folders.
  • blag: all the Athena stuff–ideas springing full grown from my cranium–that my day-to-day life prevents me from sitting down and spewing at sharing with you, my dear cadre of readers.
From the blag bag, then
About a year ago, I got some annual health inspection physical blood work back from my doctor. For a big girl, I have been relatively free from the dire consequences of my largess predicted by all the fat-haters masquerading as we're-only-thinking-about-your-health advisors. This time, for the first time, my cholesterol was high and coincided with an uncharacteristic spike in my blood pressure.

Why, oh, why?
I knew exactly why this had happened: I stopped cooking. My kids were out of the house and my inner child screamed "Fuck it, I'm no domestic slave. I quit. Let them/us eat [box] cake. Or mac & cheese or order Chinese or go get some burgers." This unfortunate liberation dovetailed with an exquisitely painful bout of plantar fasciitis and a tilted patella that felt more like a tilt-a-wheel kneecap that was threatening secession. So processed foods joined immobility on their crusade to clog up the works.

Anyway. Almost two years of this neglect and the blood-lipids fairy went all Carol Kane on me, smacking me hard with the cholesterol toaster oven.
My doctor, bless her pharmaceutical-loving heart, wanted to start me on medication to lower the ugly number of 257. I wasn't having any of it. I was already sick of taking too many pills (that, for another post) and pretty damn certain that this was nothing less than self-induced stupidity. (Let me make it clear that I enjoyed every freakin' moment of my junk sabbatical. Just didn't want to die from it.)

Onward Cursing Soldeirs
So I dusted off the kitchen utensils and started meal-planning again. Not dieting, for the love of all that is holy.
A note about dieting.
I began my body hate-fest early, at the ripe old age of 10. Many people today are not disturbed by this, especially now as we witness the rise in childhood obesity. As if all 10-year olds should be so concerned about their bodies that dieting books are lined up alongside Roald Dahl, Charlotte's Web and Harry Potter on their brightly painted shelves.

And I say that is bullshit. Absolute bullshit.

A ten-year old should be more concerned about streamers on her bike handles than munching celery sticks to erase love handles. A ten-year old should be outside playing or making a pillow fort or giggling with her friends. We feed our children shit and park them in front of the TV or CRT. Of course we have an obesity problem. Self-hate will not solve this problem.

And let me say again (and I'm not done with this) that the motivation for "good health" is not the fire under the ample ass that fuels the diet cult in America. It is the worship of a narrow-hipped, colt-like-leggy, über-skinny prepubescent ideal. This, combined with the predictable tendency of most adult women to be curvy (dare I say fecund? dare! dare!) in form, leads us to hate our body shapes for that which they are so beautifully designed.

This self-hatred, coupled with lousy, lazy food choices and a sedentary workforce, is murder. And an evil, lucrative business.

ANYWAY, last May we returned to healthy eating.

I didn't walk until I was 15-months old and other thoughts on a lifetime love affair with staying put
In June, I began a clandestine movement. What I mean is: an effort to leave the cube and try locomotion, that I kept to myself.

At some point, I realized that I was giving Corporate America my daily eight hours plus an extra hour working through lunch. Corporate America does not love me unconditionally. Corporate America does not even love me conditionally. My family, on the other hand does. Barbara, specifically, would love to have me around for a healthy lifespan.

Visualizing clear arteries
Thinking creatively, methought, should help solve this problem. But, I remained stymied and unmoved. If I couldn't do it for myself, like a smart feminist, then, goddammit, I could do it to avoid leaving my loving family prematurely. Barbara was my inspiration. You know, imagining her dealing with all my stuff postmortem. Leaving 10 or 15 years too early. Not getting to grow old older and cranky crankier with the person I love, etc., etc.

The Convenience, Proximity and Simplicity Trifecta
I started walking. Houston has a downtown tunnel system. Full of restaurants and mediocre card shops and the like. It's not pretty but you don't have to stop at stoplights. You are not subjected to the "how can it be this humid on the surface of the sun”weather. Also, the tunnel starts under my building, which means I don't have to do more than go down the stairs to start.

Mythically whiny
Over the course of 6 months, with no significant exterior change, I sometimes despaired. I am Sisyphus, pushing this cholesterol boulder up the slope with no hope of getting over the peak. I am Prometheus, serving up daily paté to an eagle without hopes of sating the ravenous raptor. I am Tantalus, reaching for water and fruits always receding from my grasp. I am Pathos, feeling like this almost 40-year battle is waa, waa, waa my unfair cross to bear. I HATE when I get like this.

Holding my breath
Finally, I go to the doctor for my annual physical. I've lost weight (an amount which, and I say this self-love, at my size is not earthshaking) and my doctor is all congratulatory. I stop her and say, my weight numbers can not be my focus, else I fail. Weight is too connected to self-hate, I rhyme. She nods and understands (but doesn't). I tell her my main focus is blood pressure numbers and cholesterol numbers. My pressure is fine. Normal. My blood is drawn for tests and I wait. A week later the nurse calls with my results.

The payoff
226. Two hundred, twenty-six. That would be a 31-point drop in cholesterol.
THIRTY-ONE motherfucking points
, people.
I am thrilled. Vindicated. Talking-to-strangers-exhuberant. I know the next 26+ plus will be slower but this is one healthy shot in the arm.

And the boulder rolls over the first peak, the gluttonous eagle explodes and Tantalus crams a fistful of grapes in his mouth.