Kentucky Postcard Surrender #1

I am no longer challenging Kentucky via the postal service.

The state has proven herself more open-minded than I gave her credit for, allowing more boobs and gays and prehistoric creatures to cross my threshold than I though she would.

But! I still like postcards.

This is the most recent from Jane.

Shadow Hare!

Cincinnati has a superhero who calls himself Shadow Hare. He is a real live 21-year-old in a wrestling mask who fights crime and jokes around with homeless people. He was on the news!

Thank you, Evan and Stephen

April remix

Dang it, is it the end of April already?

April 1: Why do conversations about the wedding make me say, "The more we talk about this, the more I want to elope!" and my mom say, "Fine, elope!" and me say, "You made me promise not to!"

April 2: Watching Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy is a lot like watching porn. Stick to the acrobatics, people, that's what we came here for. The "plot" is annoying.

Side note: The Mongolian School of Contortion has some very fine graduates, all of whom are named Byambatsetseg Oyunbaatar. And by very fine, I mean they could walk around naked in a circle on stage and I would give them a standing ovation.

April 4: Visit Oneonta, the possible wedding site in Melbourne, KY with mom, and become transfixed by the 19th century house (former brothel), the tree house (bridal suite), and the general store (replica of owner's grandparents' general store in North Carolina). Announce, "I've GOT to have this place!" and then look over my shoulder to see if anyone heard me sounding like a bridezilla.

April 5: Consider starting a competition in which people submit ideas for what we should sell at our wedding general store.

April 7 - 10: Go to LA and work on American Idol budget. Not a great blog topic.

April 14: Will Sunny go into labor today?

April 15: Will Sunny go into labor today?

April 16: Will Sunny go into labor today?

April 17: Realize that every time I make a change in the budget, answer an email, or take a phone call, I think at least THAT'S done before Sunny goes into labor! My preoccupation is not helped by the fact that every time Lindsay calls or emails from the office, she asks about Sunny.

April 5 - 26: Eat Ethiopian food with my old ReSTOC roommates, have coffee and dinner with Andrea, eat Indian food with Matthew, Andrew and Jocardo, exchange approximately 900 text messages with Renee and feel generally warm and fuzzy about old friends from the 80s and 90s who I hadn't seen much of until I moved back to Cincinnati.

Side note a: Intensifying sad feelings about leaving again. Side note b: I am eating a lot. And this is not counting the run-ins I've had with the blueberry muffins I eat when stressed and/or tired (emotional eating).

April 24: Walk to Devou Park with Matthew to play with the glow in the dark frisbee I bought at Target. Sadly, it's daytime so we cannot fully appreciate the frisbee's glow in the dark properties except when I peek into my tote bag to check and see if it's still glowing which it always is. Also, sadly, we play frisbee like elderly people. I want to blame the fact that it was windy and we were on a hill but secretly I know it's just us.

Winded, we sit down and a photo session of couple-y self-portraits ensues. Intensifying sad feelings about leaving my fiance for four months. Side note: I am getting more comfortable with the word fiance.

April 25: Pris 80's party at Molly Malone's. HAHA.

April 26: Go to Playhouse to see Last Train to Nibroc starring the guy who was dancing really funny last night at the 80's party. Eat with Jocardo and Matthew after the show and find a photo of a little girl on the sidewalk. Wonder what her story is.

April 27: Eat mac 'n cheese with Rachel. Also, it's Sunny's due date, therefore will she go into labor today? Miss call from Sunny while I'm at lunch and feel like a bad doula. Call her back to find that she just wanted to say hi and is out shopping for vegetables. Tell her that she scared me. People who are nine months pregnant should not be allowed to make phone calls unless they are in labor.

April 28 - 30: Three weeks until I leave. Arrange to pay bills online since I'll be traveling. Work on the budget. Start a book my dad gave me, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which seems really good. Feel effective when I'm reading but afterwards procrastinate by cruising Zappos (ineffective). Read fiction because it's a good escape. Worry about how much of our Netflix queue we can get through before I take off. Worry about how I'm not blogging. Decide to blog real quick before I go back to working on the budget.


laughing quietly to myself

About how I know someone who's practically related to Steve Ward and I called him a douche online. I had no idea.

Today I checked phone messages and one was from my former employer, Michael, who apparently is dating Steve's aunt:

"Hey, we haven't talked in a long time but that's no reason to go around calling my prospective in-law a douche!"

Michael was busy when I called back so I sent him an almost sort of apology by text:

"Tell Steve I actually do like his style..."


This one goes out to Hugo

I used to think I wasn't an animal person but then wrote about how I formed a heartbreaking attachment to Liz's cats in Seattle. Maybe I'm choosy - I like cats mainly when they act like dogs and I'm drawn to dogs with short hair and eccentric, particular habits.

I just thought I wasn't into animals since, as a girl, I didn't live for summer horse camp or go through a veterinarian phase. But I sponsored a chicken in high school! PETA sent me a chicken photo in a cheap frame for me to look at and feel good about saving it from the food factory on the off chance that that wasn't a complete scam.

And there was also that wolf behind bars at a Minnesota zoo. We locked eyes and mine filled with tears because I thought the wolf looked miserable. It was an odd, sad, slightly embarrassing moment.

I guess I just didn't used to consider pets full-on family members. Just as whiny children get on my nerves, I didn't understand relentlessly begging dogs and overindulgent pet owners. You're letting a butt-sniffing terrier tell you what time it is? Are you stupid? Okay, I still feel my uterus roll over and play dead around bratty kids but I've become hugely susceptible to the charms of funny dogs.

Dogs are often, and rightfully so, fiercely loved members of families. I'm not really in the mood to admit this but I recently watched part of Marley & Me on a plane and while it was predictable overall and the opposite of earth shattering, I had to will myself not to choke up during the scene where Owen Wilson takes Marley to the vet and we know it's time for Marley to die.

Even worse, when Owen first finds Marley immobile under a tree in the rain and carries him home, we know that something is really wrong. The scene reminded me of my family's old dog, Bingo, who when she knew she was dying crept beneath a bush in the backyard.

To avoid weeping on the plane, I resumed my silent, vicious, passive aggressive battle for control over the armrest with the space-hogging girl sitting to my right. In the end I don't know who won but at least I didn't cry.

In Chicago last week, I filled Matthew in on Sunny and Shane's dogs. Lulu is the pitbull who slept in bed with me and stretched out like a human with her head on my pillow. Lulu's the one who jumps on you, pushes you off the mattress while you sleep, and steals Hugo's food.

Hugo is a good dog and a matchmaker, too. Shane was walking Hugo in Wicker Park when he met Sunny and I wouldn't be surprised if Hugo quietly pulled Shane in her direction. Sunny was walking her old dog, Zonner Rae, so Hugo didn't know he'd have Lulu to deal with later but that's beside the point.

Two years ago I lived in Sunny and Shane's front room that's about to be the baby's room. This was before Shane put up doors so at night Lulu would slink through the curtains to cuddle/assert her authority. I'd try to give Hugo room to hang out, too; I'd pat the bed and call to him, "C'mon, Hugey," but he was reserved.

Hugo would lick my hand a few times OR obsessively until I'd make him stop, give me a nice long stare and then would go back to chill in the living room or Shane's office.

Every night, though, before Hugo went to sleep, he stuck his head around the curtain to check on me. I felt like I had a babysitter, a babysitter with a very long brown face. He reminded me of a schoolmistress or one of the nuns from the Madeleine books. When my situation checked out AKA I was sitting there reading a book, Hugo would retract his head and I'd hear him settling down in the other room.

The last time I saw Hugo he was moving slowly. He'd stopped eating his dog food and had become partial to expensive sausages from the deli which is kind of awesome because he wasn't a diva before. He had his own prescription card from Walgreen's and though he was still up to go to the beach, Shane had to carry him up and down the stairs.

Last Sunday Sunny told me what a hard time he'd had moving around at the beach that afternoon. She sounded tired, and sad, and she said they were going to talk to the vet the next day. In short, it was Hugo's last luau.

R.I.P Hugo Dubow. We miss you.


Kentucky Postcard Challenge #7

Jane expressed interest a while back in entering the Kentucky Postcard Challenge and I just received something in the mail that tells me a) Jane is a real contender and b) Kentucky is totally winning.

Whatever presumption I made about my state being prohibitive and censorious must have been wrong. Maybe the carrier who didn't deliver Halle's FUCK! I miss you! postcard when I moved here was having a bad day. Maybe someone at the local post office is a homosexual scientist who doesn't like cuss words but digs gays and evolution. Whatever he or she is, they aren't afraid of a few titties:

Neill is not diplobamatic

Last week I hung out with my brother. As we drove around, he called out, "Bono!" to every song that came on the radio whether or not it was U2.

I corrected him while also thinking that considering I taught him to recognize Bono's voice 20 years ago, I should just go with it and let him show off. Also, how cool would it be to teach him to recognize our president's voice so when I have on NPR he can yell out "Barack!" or, more likely, "Bama!"

I'll let you know how that progresses.

One thing I know. There is no way that he'll be able to pronounce a silly word invented by cable news that I saw on the television screen the other day: DIPLOBAMACY. I'm sorry, what? Some little behind the scenes fact-checker must have been in a precious mood that day.

Neill and I drove to get gas which he thought was fun, bought 7-UPs (fun), went to watch planes at Lunken Airport (kinda boring), and then drove to mom and dad's. When I pulled in the driveway, I realized I forgot my keys to their house and would have to break in through the garage. Neill and I were headed through the garage and almost inside when he saw it: The Rake.

"Rake," He said.

"Yep," I agreed.

"Rake," Neill repeated.

"Neill," I said, "There aren't any leaves," knowing full well that this was a futile argument on my part.

I pointed out on this blog not too long ago that when Neill walks around the yard with a hose he's just as happy watering inanimate objects as he is watering actual grass or flowers. The act of watering anything or, in this case, raking nothing is enough for him.

I think it's safe to say that Neill is not goal-oriented. He is all process.

I watched him rake for a bit and then I took some video because there are a few things I appreciate about his style:

1. Neill carefully dragged the garbage can out of the garage and then periodically moved it around the yard though he did not put anything inside it.

2. He gets distracted and rakes in a totally half-assed fashion but doesn't fully stop because he came there to rake and that is what he's gonna do.

3. He always remembers to call me bad names. I didn't catch the actual insult on camera though I have included my subsequent line of questioning:


taking back the douche

This is going to start with a confession. A VH1 reality show made me cry. I'd never seen Tough Love before but I was feeling tired and brain dead enough to sink into the couch and give it a half hour after first dismissing the host, Steve Ward, by saying he looks like a douche.

I should put it out there, though, that I use that term way too much. I really need to get a new word, a more original put down, like an obscure southern colloquialism that no one north of the Mason-Dixon line has heard.

Now that we have cable, I talk back to the TV a lot. A Hollywood starlet comes on to giggle through her shiny extensions and sell me shampoo. She announces who she is and I complete the sentence for her, 'And I am a douche...' Sunny and I contemplate Matthew and I relocating to Los Angeles and we make a point by point list of how to resist becoming a douche if and when we move. I'm drawn to the option of calling people 'd-bags' in lieu of douche but even more than that, I'm trying to just let go.

Back to the couch. I'm prepared to hate people for being tacky and wanting cheap fame via reality television and equally prepared to hate myself for encouraging them by watching. I'm overlooking the irony that my paycheck comes from a tour based on a major reality tv show. I am there to absolve myself of any responsibility and to be uncharitable.

Tough Love is a house of women who want to change their patterns in relationships. When speaking to the camera, the screen bears a descriptor under their name related to their past: Miss Lone Ranger, Miss Gold Digger, Miss Fatal Attraction etc. Matthew had seen the show before and said that I remind him a little of Jody, Miss Lone Ranger. He hoped I wasn't offended and I wasn't. I got it. She's tall, not girly, self-sufficient, and kept looking uncomfortable and rolling her eyes.

Jody has a way of talking to the camera that is very what-the-fuck-ever down to earth. Such is not the case with Miss Gold Digger, Taylor. Taylor, wow. The first few times she spoke, my ears threw up. It was weird.

'Someone get that girl a speech pathologist,' I thought. The tone of her voice is F'ED. Or maybe it was how she said, while standing drunk in the hot tub, that she wouldn't get to know the man at her side because he didn't have money. If I'm watching this show just to hate then things are going very well for me.

Taylor, after ranting, got drunk and rolled on her ass around the bedroom in an extremely unladylike manner. We are talking SPLAYED. With cameras on. And wide-eyed gawking roommates. Jody, though she'd mentioned that Taylor's not her kind of person and she's not Taylor's, was the only one who picked her up and tucked her in and nicely but firmly told her to shut it and go to sleep.

We then find out that Taylor is afraid of getting in a relationship without good finances because she was left with a baby by someone and was forced to give up her 16-month child for adoption. Ouch x infinity. I feel a microscopic grain of sympathy get stuck between two heartstrings. While I cannot see myself standing in a jacuzzi in lingerie telling someone to get lost because they're not loaded, I CAN imagine making a rule about never letting myself get in the same bad situation ever again. Perhaps Taylor just needs help with the way she expresses her deep emotional fears.

Jody then goes on a date with someone she liked, someone with whom host/matchmaker/therapist Steve paired her. And things are good until dude lays into her with questions about why she's still single at 39.

The questions sound like an interrogation, aggressive and repetitive, and he either doesn't know or care. Why? Why? Why? sounds like What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you? Miss Lone Ranger keeps as cool as possible but once back in the house she LOSES HER SHIT, screaming for a cigarette, shaking, trying to flee the cameras. And little miss crotch shot Taylor is the one who is able to get close to her and light her cigarette and calm her ass down.

THEN, and here is where I tore off my glasses and got an inch from Matthew's face to prove to him that a big fat tear was welling up in the corner of my right eye, Taylor reads a letter to Jody in a group meeting about how much she's learning from her and inspired by her and how she's able to see past surface differences and all kinds of similar kick ass friendship sentiments. Maybe I'm a jerk, but it hit me. Heartfelt.

I thought about how three of my good friends, all in their 30s, were recently broken up with. They are all beautiful, strong, and independent. They are all fucking hilarious. And they are all dealing with varying elements of personal, familial, and societal expectations. Why are you single? Do you want to get married? Are you putting yourself out there? 'Don't worry, you'll find someone,' becomes silence after awhile or 'It's okay to be single.'

And it is, if you want to be single. It's awesome. If you don't, though, those questions cut. Another friend, going through a divorce, gets the Do you want kids?

How about Do you want to stop for a minute to consider how painful that question might be? Or Do you have any idea what I've been through and if the answer is no would you please shut the fuck up?

Because even if those questions are well-meaning, they are usually thoughtless. The answers are personal and rarely neutral. They are loaded. They may have complicated, difficult histories attached to the basic yes and no. And if you get to know someone, you'll find out how and why they do or they don't whatever you're curious about. So just settle down; People talk when they're comfortable and not just because you verbally assaulted them one day.

Furthermore, for those who want kids and marriage and don't have it, it's generally because they haven't found the right person yet and all the Why? Why? Why are you single? questions are is a smack in the face reminder of that. Why do you THINK?

ps I think I like Tough Love.
pps I take back calling Steve Ward a douche.


back before I knew what agay meant

I feel kinda dirty after transcribing that Omegle conversation below, so I'm posting this to remind myself of simpler times.


you are now chatting with a random stranger. say hi!

After two weeks of not writing, I'm making my comeback with Omegle. I can't decide if Omegle is amazing, horrible, or interesting though I'm leaning towards a postmodern combination of all three. Or just horrible.

Omegle's subtitle - Talk to strangers! - sums it up. It's very simple. You log on and the server connects you to some random person in some random place in the world. You don't know anything about the other person except for, "Hey! What's up?". You get no photos or choices or information at all, just a blank screen and then, suddenly, a greeting.

I'd have to get about 150 times more bored than I usually get to actually spend time small-talking with a faceless soul I'll never meet when it's hard enough to simultaneously pull off being a good friend and family member and girlfriend and employee to the people I already know. Not to mention squeezing in hours to read and write just for myself.

But who knows? Maybe it's a cool social experiment.

Or, judging from the thirty seconds I spent on Omegle, maybe not:

Connecting to server...
You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
Stranger: hey sexy
You: are you okay
Stranger: im fine
You: that's good
Stranger: are you agay
You: yes
Stranger: kool
You: do you dance?
Stranger: you like penis in your bum
Stranger: i do
Stranger: i want to cum on your little sisters face
You: thats great to hear!
Stranger: i know
Stranger: jew
Your conversational partner has disconnected.