Franny and the ROUS

Franny came upstairs while I was getting some gluten-free hot cereal cooking for the girls.

“Mom, something happened last night!” she said.

“Oh, yeah?”

“I woke up at like four a.m. and Chewie was in my room playing with something, I thought it was my clip. And I woke up again a little bit later and there was a RAT ON MY PILLOW!”

“Urgh, really?” I said.


“What did you do?”

“I said ‘UGH’ and flicked it off my pillow!”

“Are you sure it wasn’t a dream?” I asked, whisking the bubbling cereal.

“It was real! It’s eyes were open! But it’s gone now!”

“Well, okay, next time can you please wake me up so I can properly dispose of the corpse? Also, maybe you should consider closing your door at night.”

After that, of course, she went back to sleep until I saw her in the kitchen, since no one loves her sleep more than Franny. I thought it was a funny story, if slightly hard to believe. Where had the rat come from? All the cats were in last night and everything was closed up. There is a cat door on our deck, but the deck is pretty isolated from trees and far from the ground, and the cat door itself would be very hard for a rat to open since it’s magnetized. Could Chewie have killed a rat on the deck and then brought it in? Was it in the house?

I decided there was no real harm in believing her story, even though it seemed implausible and there was no proof. She’s not really known for wild yarns or seeking out attention in that way. I hated it when I was a kid and the first thing out of an adults’ mouth was something to the tune of, “IT SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM, STUPIDPANTS.”

This afternoon, Franny was ransacking her room for something nice to wear on her fieldtrip tomorrow to a place that requires slightly more formal attire. She saw her nice skirt where she had left it in a heap on the floor.

“I suppose I could wash this….AUGH!”

“What?” I said.


And there it was, hidden under her skirt for later.

Update: Sad news, Chewie was hit by a car tonight and was put to sleep shortly after. He was a really good one. I hope that he was out ratting. I feel so sad for my sister. I should also say that the first commenters commented before this update, and are not being rudely flippant. Thanks, as always for reading and commenting.

Conquering Fear and Stealing From My Own Dang Store

Like any professional melodramist, I like to take my periods of oppression in one-month chunks. October was oppressing me. BOO! October is over! Yay! Between three birthdays that month and volunteering for the LGBT Film Festival here, and making too many plans…I was just tired.

I know November is the direst month for a lot of people since we are sliding choadfirst into the holidays, but I like it. I am making a giant Victorian Thanksgiving, a holiday that, of course, did not actually exist, so if I don’t tear space and time I will be sorely disappointed. And I am making goose, so it will be extra broken (but crazy delicious).

Since dispatches from this blog are often on an (extreme) time delay, I will tell you I have been thinking about being dumped. I realized that I never had been as an adult. Lice at 31, dumped at 32. What kind of late bloomer am I?

It finally, in my usual extremely-slow grind toward self-awareness of any kind way, made me remember getting dumped in high school. My freshman year a really nice and cute boy saw me in a play and decided I was the bomb-ass rip. I have fallen in love with people on stage, it happens. He asked me out and we hung out during the cast party. I was in a daze, coming down from that weird situation with the tres sophistique older man and happy to have a new distraction.

He was a football player. It was not okay for the cute sophomore football player to be dating the weird goth girl. Some other girls I knew as popular began smiling and saying hello in the hallway, which lasted for about a week until he called me up and broke up with me for telling people we were having sex (we were not, nor was I telling people that). Recently I thought about that feeling of being misunderstood and rejected so many years ago. It feels the same! I feel like laughing when I type that. I think I had experienced the entire range of emotions by the time I was 13. I am slightly more sophisticated now, perhaps. Sometimes.

But you know what? I would rather be repeatedly heartbroken rather than married like I was before. Cold comfort, I suppose.

In other news, I have eight weeks of cooking left, then I should have some kind of crap pile that can be formed into a cook book. I’ll be done right around Christmas. I think since I am in the home stretch with it I can allow myself to feel slightly more confident. I have experienced months of worry about failure, but I look at my cooking schedule and what I’ve done so far, and it is not that grueling for someone like me.

I’ll tell you what, though, after so many months of sieving and mincing, and cooking every single component from scratch, I have become even more of a terrifically insufferable snot. Which I will try to keep to myself, except to say, I picked up a book on the library which is all about meat, an unapologetic carnivore’s screed, if you will, and was very disappointed to see it is not indexed AT ALL, but particularly the types of “odd” meats consumed.

I dismissed it outright when the author’s recipe for rabbit called for “getting the rabbit pre-butchered in convenient little chunks.” Of course you are extolling the virtues of rabbit, and why-does-it-not-supplant-chicken-all-together-ing if you have not parted one out yourself. It’s not rocket science, but that silver membrane that adheres to the saddle…tricky. Chickens are like the Fisher-Price of butchering.

Also today I am feeling grateful that I have been watching the fallout of crazy just a few clicks away from me for a few months now. It led to one of those banal realizations. I used to accept that SeaFed was going to present me as crazy to others, as a tool of putting me in a box (all ex-wives are crazy, AMIRITE) and bringing people over to his side (“he had to move away, have you heard about his crazy ex-wife?”). C’est la vie, all that matters is how I am actually living my life, yes?

But after seeing someone else act crazy, really breaking down down their motives and behavior, and strenuously avoiding interacting with it in almost every capacity, I realized that the lie or perception becomes power, in a perverse way. This is why I get texts that say things like “I’m picking her up and this his how it is, SEE?” Missives from a person who lacks control and understanding–a desperate attempt to keep the raft stable for five minutes, to bark like you are a bigger dog.

I have not heard anything lately about his desire to move Franny to where he lives (in spite of her objections). I am hoping other people who think I am crazy talked some sense into him so he would drop the pissing match. So, sadly, my hope is that I am too crazy to mess with.

Note to Self

A very short post to say that sometimes I find notes I have made to myself about things that pop into my head when I am too busy/tired/overwrought to  write.

1. Mother Returns

Kind of forgot about the Father!

L. continues to visit father’s lab for monitoring, testing, and catches idea that his father is still alive (HOW WHY)

They go on the news to ask if anyone’s seen their father??

Wow, just give me the Pulitzer now, dudes. I am kind of afraid to even open that file after this.

2.Flavorofhubris: Kanye


3. Normal lady activites

such as


flensing +

cheating on one’s taxes

A mental person has apparently commandeered my notebook, I don’t remember any of this.

Note to self about notes to self: Add context and instructions next time.

Here Comes the Karma Truck

So. Things are going pretty well. Franny had her birthday and things have been fairly patched up around here…UNTIL. On Sunday Franny went out to practice devotional WASPishness with her father’s side of the family (tennis lessons) and I let Strudel watch a movie on her own, upstairs.

I heard some tiny elephant stamplings and didn’t think much of it, since Strudel does not have much of an attention span for TV and movies. I thought maybe she was taking breaks and coming back for more. What she WAS doing was breaking into the mints I bought Franny as part of her birthday present, and bolted about half of them in the time it takes to say, “Why did I not just buy a purse dog?”

Franny came home from rich white people church and went to her mints, and was very disappointed. She showed me the evidence and I tried to decide how to administer consequences. Strudel copped to doing it and I said, “Don’t steal from anyone. It makes people SAD AND ANGRY TO BE STOLEN FROM, right Franny?” Franny nodded slowly and I could see the wheels turning.

Tonight at dinner Strudel told us that the two youngest boys in her preschool class are looting her lunch for fruit every day. “They steal my BANANA every DAY!” she finished.

“And HOW does that FEEL?” I said, for what felt like the 50th time this week. “Did you feel SAD and ANGRY?” She nodded forlornly. “Well, that is how your sister felt when you stole her mints yesterday.” Again, the LOOK. Ohhhh.

Presumably if this trend continues a gang of wild weasels will come and nibble these fruit gafflers’ ears off, and then the weasels will be run down by an express bus, and so on.

Monkey chow out.

Dear MF Diary: Pillaging the Countryside

Today P. decreed it was berry-picking day, and he is sort of like a human Farmer’s Almanac that someone drew porno comix on part of and another part got some fish sauce on it, while part of it is torn out and replaced it with a stack of free recipes they give out at the grocery store. But if you can find the right page, you’re golden.

We were out for about an hour and got enough for two pies and a mess of jam. He is laying in supplies for the long, hard, 45-degree winter that we will have here in the middle of the city with a store within two blocks.

Later I fucked off with Ruby and we watched Julie & Julia. When I was on blog break this spring, Ruby had a one-off book club/dinner party wherein we discussed the book and ate an AMAZING five-course meal that was recipes from MtaoFC. I can say, YES, braised cucumbers are incredible. And I like aspic, which, I am pretty easy sell on cute animals being shoved into molds, so that was nice. As a result, attendance at this movie was fairly compulsory for us.

It is tempting to flippantly dismiss the movie the way many people have by saying, “Well, it is half good.” This is true, but the Julia half is REALLY good. I tend to think the other half is not the actors’ faults, though the script has some explaining to do. I really think they should have gone for gold and done the Julia bio. All the other half did was reminded me what an insufferable whiny brat the author is, which Ephron’s script really downplays, especially in regards to her job.

It was fun to watch a reenactment of Julia’s relationship with her husband of many years, whom she was madly in love with. Of course there is a bunch of revisionist type history out now, saying well, no, Child wasn’t a saint, in fact she was a homophobe, and I think it’s pretty shit that Child denounced Julie, saying that she was not taking the book or the practice of cooking seriously. It’s fairly lame to make a statement like that about how one’s cookbook is used–it’s not like Julie was using it as a doorstop or something. Has anyone else cooked their way through all of MtaoFC?

BUT as I was enjoying the interaction between the onscreen Childs, Ruby leaned over and whispered, “Julie is divorcing Eric, you know?” I did not. It kind of colored the whole rest of the movie, in a way, which was no big deal. At the end the little wrap-up text rolled by saying when the Childs died and that the author lived in Queens with her husband. “Why does it say that,” I demanded. “They broke up after the movie,” she replied. Ah. Well, the first divorce is always the hardest.

Ruby always makes me laugh with her crazy ideas.

“So the back-to-school thingie is happening soon,” she said, by way of feeling out whether I was at all interested, and specifically, interested in going to the party with her.

“Wait, you want to PAY MONEY to go to an irritating party with assholes we hate?”

She started laughing.

“Hey, misery loves company,” said our other lunch companion.

“Let’s just go back to Gainsbourg that night,” I said.

I love September and am actually looking forward to it.

It is also important for you to know that my short-term memory has returned, after taking a year off.

In Other News: “There is Nothing Between Us and The Grave Except Food.”

Strudel is very fixated on the idea of death lately. I can remember being in the backseat of my grandmother’s car at her age and being struck with the realization that everyone I knew was going to die, and my grandmother was probably going to go first. My eyes filled up with tears at the thought.

Strudel wants to talk about it a fair amount now, and I sense she is looking for some kind of hedge to get us out of it. “What if I do this or that? Do we have to die then?” She looks for assurances that I will be very old when I die, and I tell her yes, yes. This is a more worthwhile lie than Santa.

“Would you rather die, or become a tree?” Strudel asked me, as she was putting one of her puzzles together on the floor of my room.

“I would rather become a tree.” I replied.

“Me too, but I am going to be Stoic.”

“What does “stoic” mean to you?” I said.

I recalled I had used the term earlier while we were berrypicking and her father was whining about getting small blackberry slivers in his hands. “How do you stop that from happening?” he said. “You just have to be stoic about it,” I said.

“I don’t know what it means!” Strudel said. “Some day we will all be below the ground, and no one will know where you are, or where to find you, and you could be under a sidewalk and people would not know.”

“Oh,” I said.

“I will never NOT love you, but when you are dead I can not call you.” she concluded.

Speaking of Motherfuckers

Franny took physic all weekend (yes, I am still on my Pepys jag, thanks for asking) and was feeling very happy this morning. So happy, in fact, she was in the mood to tell stories. Sometimes when Strudel is super tired she wakes up and puts on a second pair of underwear over the pair from the day before, so she will be undressing at night and will be rocking the modern petticoats or whatever. We discovered this had been the case this morning as I was chucking her into the shower, and I reminded her to take OFF one pair before putting a new one on.

“That reminds me,” Franny said. “One day my dad was home with me and my other sister, and he let her get dressed and she put on her pants and THEN her underwear, so it was on the outside!”

“WHAT?” P. said from downstairs, incredulous. Franny repeated it. “Nooo,” P. said. “For how long?”

“He didn’t notice until the middle of the afternoon!” Franny said. “I decided I was going to let him notice himself.”

I was laughing so hard at this point and P. still looked skeptical.

“He still has kitties running around in his head, Mom.”

“Ohh,” I said, “that is TOTALLY a SeaFed story. I believe it,” I said.

Later I was still kind of giggling about it and Franny walked by and said “LOOOOL underpants story. I’m going to tell that again in like two months.”

In Related News

Franny’s stepmom is pregnant again! I was subjected to the subsequent mental images brought about by the phrase “We have been TRYING for a long time” AUGGH but I held it together and congratulated. I am very excited. That is all.

Dear MF Diary: Father’s Day

“Why is it Father’s Day, Dad?” Strudel said.

“Because your father’s a motherfucker,” I said, so only P. could hear.

“WHAT?” Strudel said. She hates being left out.

“Look, in the street, is that Xmas Steve?”

“NO MOM, he’s on his boat drinking sock beer in the summer!”

“UP TOP,” I said to P., and got my five.

I almost had to kill him this morning because I caught him RUNNING UP THE STAIRS with this bucket of dry ice from the grocery order and he ALMOST TRIPPED. I don’t know what would have happened, exactly, if he would have spilled it on himself, but if I had to take his ass to the emergency room I would have been HELLA PISSED.


In Other News: Eggbags for Sale, Ten Cents a Pail

So, I am putting a little line out there now. The cute chooks I got when I was on hiatus yon these two months are now halfway grown and need new homes. This was my plan all along, to have some spring chicken raising funtimes and then move them up and out. Here we go! Write a blog! Tell a friend! Say it was horrible!

Fifteen per or all three for forty. You pick up and bring crates/boxes. Hatched March 29.

Saffron is a very elegant and sexy Easter Egger who will lay pink, blue, or green eggs. Dunno yet. She seems smart, like most EEs I have known.

Aloha is a Silver Wyandotte, and so named because the girls thought I was saying Hawaiiandotte. Of course. She will lay brown eggs and is VERY OMG PRITTY.

My favorite, who I will be sorry to let go, is Rose the Giant Blue Cochin. She is pretty mellow and has the cochin waddle and the fuzzy feet, so probably not ideal for a super wet run. She is extra sweet like Marty McFly was last year. I love this breed.

Anyway, drop me a line if you’re interested. If I don’t hear anything for a month or so I will move on to Backyard Chickens.

I Am HELLA ROMANTICAL (Added Mixtape List)

Me: HEY I am making you a mixtape.

Z: Hooray!

Me: I am going to call it “Music You Will Hate When We Break Things Off.”

Z: Ha ha!

Z: :(

ETA 6/21/09: HELLO VOYEURS. I have been given special dispensation to post mixtape. This is aimed at someone who has rock/electronica sensibilites. And I think the order may be off, but it is all G in the H. Oh yes I did. No Hall & Oates, WISEACRES.

DeVotchKa “The Clockwise Witness” [from A Mad and Faithful Telling]

Dengue Fever “Tiger Phone Card” [Venus on Earth]

Sufjan Stevens “To Be Alone With You” [Seven Swans]

Kings of Convenience “Gold for the Price of Silver” [Versus]

Amy Winehouse “Just Friends” [Back to Black] (Glastonbury ’07 was her last good concert, I think.)

Los Campesinos! “My Year In Lists” [Death to Los Campesinos!]

Neko Case “Lion’s Jaws” [Fox Confessor Brings the Flood]

Andrew Bird “Armchairs” [Armchair Apocrypha]

Beirut “Cliquot” [The Flying Club Cup]

Brazilian Girls “Pussy” [S/T]

Sufjan Stevens “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhhh!” [Come On Feel The Illinoize]

Space/Catatonia “The Ballad of Tom Jones” [?]

The Whitest Boy Alive “Courage” [Rules]

New Pitch, Krumpy!

Up betimes and into my office, to commit further acts of devilry.


“Half” refers to No Brane Babby. If you don’t know about Babby Hope Faith, you should look into it so you can be fully appalled by my tastelessness. I understand that some people enjoy being appalled and I am here for you.

Also it is interesting to note that a GIS for Denise Richards (I almost used Denise instead of Cleese) yields mostly full body shots including nude ones one the first page of results. This was not the case with Abraham Charles Vigoda.

In Other News: Two Short Stories About Last Night

Ruby took me to KEXP last night to snap some local rock dudes, which she does on the regular. It was tiny and hot in there and I was starving, so I ate and drank at the adjacent Holiday Inn bar.

After the first show, one of the rockers offered me a CD, which is presumably full of their rockings, and Ruby took the opportunity to say, “SJ listens to (stage whisper) HIP HOP but we are trying to get her to branch out.” The rocker guy withdrew his hand after giving me the CD as if he had just taken a great risk by giving a poore leper some alms. I think he was mostly reacting to the tone of Ruby’s voice, but it was pretty funny.

Translation: “Here,” Ruby says, “take pity on my friend Herpes Helen and give her some REAL music.”

When I walked into the Ho-tel Mo-tel Holiday Inn bar a familiar sight greeted me: a white guy, probably in his 50s, drinking alone. Countdown to comment on the personal appearance of woman entering who just wants a fucking cheese burger in 3…2…

“HEY you should probably get out of the SUN,” he bantered. HYUK HYUK.

“Yeaaah I always look like this. I’m Irish.” No eye contact.

“Oh, I was talking about your hair…er…sorry if I’ve offended you.”

“What can I get you?” interjected the bartender, who was attractive, looked to be about my age, and puts up with this for a living.

I ordered scotch and the dude continued to flail a bit. “That one’s on me,” he said.

I considered being huffy and prideful and shutting him down, but you know what? That’s a stupidity tax, man. I enjoyed a free scotch just as much as I would have enjoyed one I paid for myself.

“I’m really sorry,” he said again, awkwardly.

“You have to try harder than that to offend me,” I said. “Cheers.”

Sweet N Sour

Every morning I wake up now and Franny is lying next to me, staring at me. This is something you have to accept about being a parent. Your children, when they actually let you sleep, will stare at you. They will watch you go stink-stink. They will tell you your butt looks big and that you have prepared the worst enchiladas known to childkind.

But she cuddles and she holds my hand, and I think it is making her happy to have morning cuddlebears. When she was Strudel’s age and younger I would say, “Hey, let’s cuddlebear!” and she was outtie five. Strudel is the same now. A frantic little gobeast that has to run and jump at every moment. But I think she will never grow up to be calm and sweet like Franny. Franny used to be spazzy but sweet. Not so much with The Other One, as I call her when I can’t recall her name.

Last night Strudel flipped through the Territorial Seed Company catalog. The pages whipped by and I hear little tearing sounds as I finished dinner. She paused occasionally at some odd vegetable or fruit she didn’t recognize. Finally she stopped on one page for quite a while.

“What fuck is this?” she exclaimed, sounding a lot like someone else I know when she is flipping through US Weekly or Harper’s.

Franny and I looked at each other. “That’s celriac. Celery root. You know, we have it pureed sometimes?”

“Yeah,” Strudel said.

“Did you say ‘What fuck is this?” I asked.

“Uh huh.”

“It’s ‘What THE fuck is this,” I said.


She was quiet until she got to the weird looking melons.


“Dinner!” I said.