Friday, November 30, 2007

Goodbye, old friend

When we were kids, my brother had an Evel Knievel action figure, and for years after its supposed usefulness, my parents kept it in the bowl of a hanging lamp in our kitchen. From atop the back steps, it looked as if Evel were about to launch himself into the kitchen sink. When my dad moved out of our old house, he carefully packaged old Evel and mailed him to my brother, who now keeps the action figure on a shelf in his office. His little boy Liam looks upon Evel with great reverence. Which is just as it should be. Click here to see reports of the demise of pure badassery.


Your Questions Answered

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I have posted 58 times in 30 days. I have written over 5000 blog-words while grading over 100 research papers and writing five chapters of a novel. I drew four (4) pictures and I posted five (5) installments of Larry, WPITW.

Answers to questions (almost) no one asked:

Q: Did you finish your NaNoWriMo novel?

A: No. Five chapters, 10,000 words. Not trilled that I didn't get it done, but I did write more than I have in years.

Q: Is Joel U. Q. T. Skimpole white? and is he in love with a black woman?

A: Yes, and yes. So what?

Q: Are they both over sixty?

A: Yes. Love doesn't end at forty. At least I had better hope not.

Q: Why are you so angry?

A: Walk a mile, my friend. It's hard being under forty, living in New York City, having mostly blonde hair and a job that makes rent. I have skin care concerns. I can't find my ass with both hands (despite its recently reported expansion). I haven't made out with anyone in... a really, really long time. Don't be so mean.

Q: Did you ever call MHH back?

A: No.

Q: Why not? He's part girl. It was all hot between you. See above, re: you never get laid. DUH!

A: He is married. I don't go there.

Q: Jib will make out with you. He is always available for consequence free nothingness. He would walk across town backwards to not have a real relationship with you.

A: True. But Jib wants a real girlfriend and I can't deliver. It's selfish of me to distract him from finding one.

Q: Prude!

A: *Yawn* Anything else?

Q: Did you ever start The Crazy?

A: Well... no. Elseways I would not be talking about getting wider all the time.

Q: How did that mammogram go? And can we see the films?

A: I considered posting them. They are, after all, textbook examples of uncooperativeness. Medical (and some other) people find them fascinating. And since Maggie posted her uterus films, I thought seriously about it. But I didn't because I thought the films, clinical as they are, might interfere with some unsuspecting person's chastity. For example, the person who keeps landing on my blog by typing "largebreast" (all one word) into Google. You here today, my friend?

Q: You are so full of it.

A: But that's not a question. It never was.

Q: Did you ever confront the house wife next door about her squeaking?

A: No. Instead, I have started sponging off their wireless connection as revenge. It's great. Whenever she squeaks at me, I sit quietly at my computer, all the while knowing that my high-speed internet is paid for by her husband. It's quite satisfying.

***** Here's the part where you are stunned speechless. I'll give you a moment to recover. ******

Q: How's your dissertation going?

A: *fingers in ears, eyes squinched shut* LALALALLLALALAALLALALALA. STOP TALKING ABOUT THAT.

Q: How's your dad?

A: *fingers in ears, eyes squinched shut* LALALALLLALALAALLALALALA. STOP TALKING ABOUT THAT.

Q: Have you started knitting mudflap girls yet?

A: Why, yes! Well, no. I have selected yarn and patterns for the targeted parties, but I won't permit myself to cast on the first stitch until the papers are graded. I don't want to add "unemployment" to my list of difficulties.

Q: Are you... off meds today?

A: Why, yes! Actually, I have been for quite some time. It took some doing, but I convinced Headologist Bootstraps that my needs are limited to 1) my life not sucking and 2) having enough xanax to avoid shredding someone at the airport ticket counter when my dad dies. She would very much like to give me the paper slippers at Bellevue, but I won that argument and got a scrip for xanax and we are all done with Don'tFuckUp and RainbowsyUnicorns (tm).


A: UGH... ok. He is fine. Unexplicably feeling fabulous. Unaccountably alive.

Q: Why don't you sound happy about that?

A: I am. If I don't sound all "Praise Jesus!" about it, keep in mind that I've spent the better part of thirteen weeks fighting with my step mother, hemorrhaging money on leukemia related phone bills and plane tickets, and shredding my nervous system to bits every time he so much as sneezes. I am beyond wrung out. I am grateful he is alive, but if this is the new normal, I have not yet adjusted. I still hit the ceiling every time the phone rings. I still wake up every morning and check to see if it's still true and it is and then have to climb that hill all over again. So am I glad. YES. Him being alive is the only reason I am not in lock down right now. But it ain't like I don't have other problems. Can we stop talking about this now?

Yes? Thanks.

Well, perhaps not just yet. I started November by registering for both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. I was 100% certain that I would lose my dad in November and that having an overwhelming number of writing commitments would help me cope. If you had bet me $1,000,000,000 that my dad would be alive on November 30th, I would have made the bet and you would have won. While I did win the lottery this month, I don't have that kind of cash.

So no bets this month. We're going to take this thing one day at a time. I might post. I might not. If we make it to Christmas, I promise you this: a picture of the other half of my face. I can't tell you how much I don't want to do that but I will if we make it that far. Not that you care.* Just saying.

Oh, ok. Just one more drawing. It is called "Many Colors of Stars".

Thank you for reading. (And have a good weekend).

* You could fold the image image above in half and copy and get a very good idea of what I look like. Probably. Oh wait... don't do that. That makes me look like a dolphin.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Short, Sweet (ok, sort of)

I can no longer coast on the greatness of others. I have linked and pointed to other people's awesomeness all week and I could do it again (oh, ok... click here) but I should not do so without admitting:

1) I have been grading papers and tests each night until I am nearly weeping with fatigue (which is another way of saying I scribble "do this right and give it back to me" about 50 times and then collapse in a heap of tears before rummaging through the drug drawer).

2) I have been working on an epic, three part post, the finale of Larry, WPITW. It's no excuse, but it's true.

3) I have to start working out again or I will have to reel the left (or right, whatever) side of my body back in from the hallway to avoid being a human fire hazard. My apartment is small. My ass is widening. It's not good, people.

So I have a plan for tomorrow's post and I will post it because it's part of the NaBloPoMo contract. But after that, posting will be flimsy and weak for a few days (or perhaps and entire week) while I do my job, go to the gym, and attempt to right my ship. Whatever that means.

Maybe later I will draw you a picture of a unicorn jumping out of a rainbow.

Oh wait... I already... did that?

Never mind.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Because I said so

Go here, right now. You won't regret it.

Go. Go. Go.

Counting on my toes, then ***UPDATED***

It would take 17 bottles of Grolsch to kill me

Ahem, can I just say something? I would be dead at half that many, thanks.

THanks to Bookhart for posting it first.

Since we are nearing the end of NaBloPoMo, I want to send a quick shout out (do people even say that anymore?) to my pal Em over at Finding Happy. Em, that's me checking your blog five times a day. I hope you don't mind.


Obviously, you are beautiful, intelligent, sensible and well-adjusted or you wouldn't be here, but in case you are having a lapse in judgment, Library Tavern Liz, aka, The Tavern Wench, makes an excellent point: don't try to drink your "death by booze" limit to see if it "works."

OK? 'Preciate it.

Larry, WPITW, Part Five

Read Larry, WPITW, parts one, two and three, here... here... and here. Part four is right next to part five so just look down for that one. I am posting next week's installment of Larry, WPITW for LAS and Woodrow because they are two of my favorite people and neither wants to wait until next week to hear what happens next. So here is part five:

Years ago, I took a Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator test.

I am an INFP.*

We are introverted but not shy, meticulous but easy going. We love other people, but we don't need them. We're sad that both teams can't win the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament because gosh those kids all worked so hard.

One thing my "kind" of people does effortlessly is assess a room full of people and choose the person who is least comfortable to talk to. INFPs like to make people feel wanted and welcome. We do this without even realizing we are doing it.

Larry banked big time on my doing this for him. He knew if he wanted a plan a trip somewhere he could call me and I could find ten people who wanted to go - mostly because I'd drawn people into the group and made them feel welcome, even if they didn't know how to play cricket or softball or whatever it was. I was once one of those people, so I knew. This was part of the reason Larry was scared of losing me - if he lost me, he lost the constant stream of new women to pick out and stick his dick into.

I apologize. That was rather indelicate. I know better than to end a sentence in a preposition.

After I got off the phone with Sri, Lola and Merry asked me to verify that no one was dead.

I verified.

Lola decided we should get on the train and ride it all the way to Coney Island so we'd have time to hash it all out. We figured once we were there, at the beach, we could sit and stare at the ocean and try to regulate the weather in our heads before heading back into the city.

I talked all the way there. I talked for two hours on the beach. Then I talked all the way home. More than once, the three of us were crying, which just proves that Lola was perfectly right to suggest we all go to the beach. No one notices there.

I gave them the summary version, which I will now give you. Be assured, however, that you really need the detailed version to get a full panoramic view of why Larry is the Worst Person in the World.

What I knew right then was that he had been dating both Bibi and Sri, and that horrible as that was, he had been lying to the both systematically about where he was and when - that he had been sending them identical text messages, that he had been doing shit like meeting A for lunch, lying about where he was going to dinner and asking A to help him pick out a shirt to wear to meet B. So Bibi would pick out what Larry would be wearing for his date with Sri. And that ain't the half of it.

I met Bibi and Sri later that night for drinks. (Many). We surmised that because we realized that Bibi and Sri look an awful lot a alike, there might be others. Both are under 5'2" and have straight dark hair. Both are muscular and thin and both have sweet, non-confrontational dispositions. We flipped through all those pictures in our minds and started calling anyone else who met the profile - and we were right every time.

Larry had been conducting nine "secret" relationships, overlapping at least two at a time, and at most, four at a time. The one of longest duration had been going on for 36 months; the one of shortest duration had lasted for three and a half months. All these relationships were LONG TERM and were more than merely sexual. All the women KNEW each other, and it was not uncommon for them to spend entire weekends together. I have pictures of all of them - all nine - together, with me, taken by Larry, with my camera.

All were steadfast in their belief that talking to other people about the relationship would negatively affect the focus of the group. Three of them were close friends. Of the nine, four were in love with Larry and wanted to marry him. Of that four, two were (and are, six months later) so distraught that they have yet to even speak to Bibi, Sri, me or any of the other women involved by anything other than email. One of them alluded to suicide. She is better now, thank you.

The Great Larry Debacle of 2007 began, as you may have surmised, because of Sri, the girl who had been dating him for the shortest duration. It turns out that Larry had simply miscalculated with her. He had been trying to get into her pants for year, and that day on the airplane, he had decided to go for it. Nine hours next to her on the flight ought to convince her, right? I mean, he had screwed Bibi twice that morning in Casablanca, but no matter. Plenty to go around. He texted Sri from the baggage claim and their romance was underway within the hour. Bibi never thought twice because hey, we all just got of an international flight. Of course Larry needs to get home and sleep. Of course he does.

The way Sri figured it out was this: after the camping trip, Sri noticed that Bibi and I were doing a hell of a lot of talking - whispering, texting and dashing off together to discuss. She began to wonder what it was all about. She also noticed that when were all out together, she seemed to get texts from Larry at exactly the same time as Bibi did. She did not dare think yet that Larry could possibly be multitexting, but it seemed odd to her that the two of them were always texting someone at the same time. Then she decided to try an experiment. Instead of having Larry drop her off at her apartment one night after a "date," she decided she'd ask him to drop her off at Bibi's apartment. She said she needed to borrow a sweater, and Bibi was expecting her.

In reality, Bibi was expecting Larry. Larry knew this. Larry promptly entered full panic mode, but there was little he could do. So he agreed to drop her off at Bibi's. Then he texted Bibi and said he'd be late. Sri knocked on Bibi's door to find Bibi ready for a date with Larry. The two of them looked at each other and... click.

They just knew.

They spent fifteen minutes crying and saying oh holy shit and then Bibi texted Larry: "why are you so late?"

Larry texted back: "be right there."

But he never showed. Eventually, Bibi texted him: "She's gone. Come over."

What happened next will go down in New York City sidewalk screaming hissy fit crazy history as the Great Larry Debacle of 2007. It is legendary. I am told it was un-fucking-believable.

I only wish I had been there.

* If you take then ten minutes to read that, you will know me about 97% better than you do now, and you may have a better understanding of why I behaved the way I did towards Larry during the Great Debacle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Larry, WPITW, Part Four

Read Larry, WPITW, parts one, two and three, here... here... and here.

I sent Larry an email, revealing nothing of what had transpired between me and Bibi. I simply told him I'd be stepping back for a while. Larry took this fine, but I know it bothered him. For a guy who was decidedly NOT interested in me, he had been all over me for the better part of six months. The sucking up was constant, and while it was flattering, it was a mystery. I didn't know that he was watching me get closer and closer to everyone he was sleeping with. I did not kow the extent to which me bringing other people into the group was providing him with fresh opportunities, either. I just didn't think that way. So I backed off a bit to clear my head. I spent some time with Bibi and Sri outside "the group" and spent a good deal of time chewing over my break up with Yoyo, trying to recalibrate. During this spate of down time, I recalled a few things that, had I been prepared to find what I was not looking for, would have been Grade A warning signs.

Grade A Warning One: One the way back from Africa, Sri and I were sitting in a row of three seats. She was on one end and I was on the other. About twenty minutes after take off, Larry came ambling back and asked if he could sit between us. Of course, we said he could. It was a nine hour flight, and we slept off and on and talked. I should have noticed something strange about a man over 6'3" would voluntarily sit in a center aisle, center seat for nine hours, in a half empty plane. I should have noticed that he did that to be near Sri.

Grade A Warning Two: Several times, Sri had mentioned to me that she was seeing someone but it was no one I knew. In fact, an overwhelming number of attractive women we hung out with claimed to be "taking a break from dating" - or to be involved with someone no one had ever met.

Grade A Warning Three: That ridiculous text message.

I was scheduled to climb with Larry and about ten other people, including Bibi and Sri, on June 2nd. I backed out due to all of the above.

On the morning of June 3rd, I got a voice mail from Sri. Here is the exact transcript of the message:

Nini, it's Sri, please call me back. Right now, please. You need to know. (sob). Something (sob). Please call me back. (sob).

Well, fuck.

I tried calling her back three or four times and got a busy signal. People, this is 2007. I'll just leave you to interpret how much activity a person's phone line requires before it spits out a busy signal.

Before I go on, I should explain something.

I had been glad Ethan had dragged me out to that first volleyball game. It had given me a social life that was not fraught with intrigue and drama. Relationships were based on doing things - action, adventure, and success. We caved, we scrambled, we volleyed, we lined, we dove, we paddled, we rafted, we summited - but we did not sit around and talk about our feelings. We were cool with tying into a grigri and trusting the others to save our lives. We were cool with carrying each other's gear when someone was having a tough day. We were cool enough that we'd wait for God and ever before we cut the rope.

But we didn't do each other's hair and paint each other's nails and air kiss each other. I already had a pod for that purpose, and I didn't necessarily need it to increase.

For this reason, I had a lot to think about after that now infamous all nighter in the bathroom of the campground. The moment Bibi said, "I have been dating him for over a year," we went from partners in crime to real friends. It was instantaneous. I was not sorry that it happened, but it gave me pause.

And now, six weeks later, I had a phone call from Sri that left me pretty sure someone was dead. That was how scary her voice sounded.

So assiduously did I cling to the comfort and safety of not seeing what I was not looking for that it never occured to me, even then, that the issue might involve something personal, something to do with the girls. Even then, my biggest fear that it was Larry and that he was badly injured or dead - because otherwise it would be him calling to tell me. I thought of all those times I had seem him free solo and scare me knocked kneed.

I freaked the fuck out. I couldn't get Sri on the phone. So I texted Larry.

Nina is everything ok?


Nina:are you ok?

Larry:no. all hell has broken loose.

Nina:Larry, wtf? tell me.

Larry:Call me. Call me right now.

So I called Larry. He was in a parking lot somewhere upstate. I asked him if he or anyone else was injured, and he said no, but that he had "really fucked up."

So I said, "let me be clear: you are in one piece. So is Tess. So is ____, _____, _____, and _____. No blood, and no broken bones. Is that correct?"

He said, "Everyone is... fine. No one is... hurt. But I fucked up. I need your help."

I said, "Honey, what the hell is going on?"

Larry said, "I can't tell you. Too many people here."

I, exasperated, said, "What do you need me to do? Is it Bibi? Are you trying to save your relationship with Bee?"

Larry said, "Oh, hell no. That's totalled. Plesae just help them. Calm everybody down. Try to contain it."

I said, "Contain it?"

Larry said, "Yeah. Try to keep people from talking about it."

I said, "Larry, are you ok?"

Larry said, "No, but I have to go. Text me after to you talk to Sri."

So we got of the phone. I was thinking, "Oh, hell. What an ass hole."

Then I caught a cab to UES and met Lola and Merry for brunch, thinking Sri would call me back when she was ready to tell me what all had happened the day before.

Lola and Merry and I had heuvos rancheros and coffee and grits for breakfast. You know how I remember? Because usually, when your whole world is about to get whipped up in a whirl-i-gig blender, you remember mundane what-not like what was one your fork when you got that phone call.

Sri called at 11:09am, about three minutes before we got the check. We did not leave the table for I have no idea how long. I heard about three sentences of what Sri had to say, flipped the check over and wrote "I have to stay on phone until she is done, sorry."

Once I picked up the phone and Sri started talking, nay, shrieking, she did not come up for air for over an hour. When she was done talking, I was, reportedly, blanched white and slumped against table with my head in my hands saying, "Oh my God, Oh my God," over and over and over.

Lest you infer from all this that Larry was merely screwing a few of my friends, um, no. He was screwing damned near all of them, and if screwing had been the worst thing he'd been doing, we would probably have been over it in less than a day. People are ass holes. This is not a breaking news item.

Tune in next week (if you wish) to learn the what-all-else we had in that whirl-i-blender.

Thank you for reading.

My Aspie score is 22

According to this short test at RDOS.NET, I score 22 out of 200, Aspie, and 175 out of 200, neurotypical.* Here is a visual representation of my brain as plotted on a web-graph.

I should be thrilled to learn what I already knew, which is that I do not have Asperger's Syndrome. But what I'd very much like to know is where is the bat in all that webby neuro-typical goodness?

Thanks to The Tavern Wench for clueing me in to this little gem.

Yes. Yes, I know. It's Larry day. Give me a few hours. I have to do some work, and I have to figure out how to explain what happened next.

* Notice that little spike in the "compulsion" sector? Yeah, me too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bet you'd rather be here

Today's post is dedicated to everyone who ended up reading my blog and never meant to. Below, the most research search terms that led people to my barren outpost at the north-northeast corner of the interweb - and a few words from me to these people (or droids - whichever. Droids are people, too. Don't be so mean.)

1) rock climber - glad you stopped by, but good Lord, check my links and go see Climbing Narc, Chuffer, Dropknee and Kelly McBride,. I write about climbing sometimes, but they are dedicated and write about it all the time. But I do sometimes climb, and the image search probably landed you here at the picture Mischa swears she didn't cut my ass out of. Well, ok. If she says so.

2) stitch n bitch mudflap girl pattern - did you find the picture? Did you buy the book with the link I provided? Most inportantly, did you find anyone who wants one? I must make this sweater for someone, anyone who will want it. First person to demand this sweater and promise to send me a picture of him or her wearing it gets one free. Ladies, too.

3) guess what reader is thinking? - I was thinking how much I love you. And love is all that matters.

4) foreskin keeps splitting what do I do? - Read the comments on this entry for full primer (ahem) on how to adjust a tight foreskin. You're welcome.

5) picche mischa - how you named my most recent international trip (sort of) and the name of my tent mate in one phrase, I have no idea, but welcome. If you go to Macchu Picchu, buy the trekking sticks. They are well worth it.

6) homeless woman blog - Well. Not yet, but check back in six months or so when all my savings is gone and I am clinging to the drapes. At that point I won't be above powering up my ipod somewhere like this:*

7) grammar and punctuation - my heart sings when someone comes to my blog looking for help with grammar, punctuation and spelling. I have been teaching first year college students to write for eight years now, and it makes my heart soar like a hawk** when anyone, anywhere uses google for a legitimate educational purpose. And finds my blog about emotional wonkiness, climbing gear, and drink recipes.

Toothpaste For Dinner

8) purple hands and feet - normally, we call that being dead. Did you check the subject's respirations and heart rate? If the person is living, a likely cause is congestive heart failure or late stage diabetes. Either way, get OFF the internet and go to the hospital. My FB, Yoyo*** is waiting there for you, and when he gets his hands on you and tells you how you've ruined your health with bad company, tell him Nina hopes he's enjoying being a monument to his selfishness. Sorry. Where was I? These holds are what I was talking about. Rock climbing holds in purple - not purple in your hands.

9) How do I make my boyfriend love me? Oh, honey. Have you ever come to the wrong place. I have no idea. Go see Miss Britt.**** She seems to know a thing or two about collecting the adoration of the male creature.

10) My married man friend says if we have sex the relationship will be over is this true? Oh, my darling friend, YES. Most emphatically, yes. Nothing brings on misery and insanity quite like a man who is not legally free to love you. See below:

And run like hell.

*actually, I have a bridge all picked out. I just need a cubby for my laptop.

** no, I have not earned that metaphor, but that's how I feel.

*** Be careful - he's a serious undercover Jesus-freak। He'll have you attending the Our Lady of Inevitable Misery before he puts in the first stent.

**** I did not ask for permission to post an image of the darling and ravishing Britt, but go check her out and you'll see what I mean.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sin of the Week, 11/25/07

Leave now if you don't like it when I am "like this."

Second thoughts about gratitude: I am grateful to have not lost absolutely everything. I still have Buzz, Leta, Liam, and two handfuls of friends who would do damn near anything for me.

If I have a spectacular crime to report this week, it is* that I have been feeling entitled to more than I got. And everybody knows that no one is entitled to anything at all - and gratitude for what you did get is the only thing right thing to feel.

I miss my parents. I don't mean my step-mother and the person my dad has become in her thrall. I miss my real mother and the guy my dad used to be. I was never entitled to know those people that I remember, and so I am not entitled to resent the loss. But I really, really miss them.

*You can assume until further notice that I am swearing too much, drinking too much, eating cupcakes and having hateful thoughts. It has become the default position. But wait! I can at least report that I haven't been drinking much this week and have only be swearing with my inside voice. Also replace "cupcakes" with "Zaro Black and White Yogurt Cake." Also, on the credit side, I have knitted baby booties for the neighbor's newborn and swatched the yarn I bought in Peru. Turns out that two kilos of baby alpaca is extra fine, which means size 3 needles and thousands of stitches and really beautiful finish. It also means the white is suitable for a nice lacey poncho, which is great news.

Thank you for reading. I will not be "like this" tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Noing Noing.

Noing, v, (noy ng): To roll the ear of one stuffed rabbit (named Bobby) and tuck the ear between bottom lip and chin while pursing lips slightly. Eye closing is optional. For best results, alternate rabbit ears and make "noing" noise. No known synonyms, rhymes with "boing."

Note the chubby hand of the three year old pressing the ear of the Bobby into the "noing" position.*

Bobby entered our lives when Liam was about three weeks gestational age. Leta wanted a more interesting way of telling my brother she was pregnant, something more fun and creative than, say, flipping a damp pee-stick at him and saying "Look what you did." So she bought Bobby, and put a note around his neck. The note read: "This is for our baby."

Bobby, in his original condition:

Since Liam was born, his attachment to Bobby, whose original moniker was "Baba," has been so total we have feared that Bobby might end up encased in glass in Liam's college dorm room. His mom Leta bought a "spare" Bobby and poor Liam thought a hole had been ripped in the matrix. To make sure everyone was clear about how NOT BOBBY the spare was, he named the spare "Aligator Calculator Kite" and assigned him sleeping place on the OTHER SIDE OF THE BED. NOT THE BOBBY SIDE.

Bobby, the center of the universe, likes to go to the rodeo:

And Bobby likes to eat donuts:

And Bobby likes to ride in the bass boat:

For Christmas, I am knitting a hat for Liam. I call it the Noing-a-Bobby:

I am also making a downsized version of the hat for Bobby, with holes for his ears to come out. I feel pretty sure someday Liam will forgive me for being such a beastly aunt. Cool aunts give toy trucks and plastic tool belts and fire hats. Aunt Nina gives dorky unwearable hats. (Of course he doesn't have to wear it. I can't knit a tonka truck, however, so he'll have to get over it).

Finally, I am afraid I am going to have to unsay everything I said about never dating again. I have to. I need a target for this sweater:

Yes, that is a delightful mudflap girl** pattern. Obviously, it's a tank top pictured here but it could easily be adapted into a regular men's sweater and gosh I need someone to knit that for because it's hilarious.

*Liam coined the term "noing" and upon request, he will explain the procedure outlined above. He will also conjugate the verb in all applicable tenses (will have been noinging, should have been noinging, would have been noinging, will have been noinging, could have been noinging) and invite you to take a hit off the Bobby, in case you aren't convinced that noinging is the best thing EVER.

**Both patterns can be found in Stitch-n-Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. You can buy the book here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Aftermath

I am off to spend the day with Buzz, Leta, and Liam, but before I go, I thought I'd tell you one more time why the devil* is a busy man and God is having a grand old knee-slapper of a time presenting me with material for spiritual growth. Could work both ways, actually.

Let me tell y'all a little about how I behave after a break up. Once a relationship is over, it is for me, finished. There is no need to try to be friends. There is no need to send cards and notes and letters, and there is certainly no reason for the subject to call, IM, or email me ever again. I move on. I expect the subject to do the same.

Remember MHH? You know, the part-girl boyfriend I had all those years ago? The married one who "can't forget about me"?

Yeah. Him.

MHH has caused me, in the last twelve hours, to rethink the only habit of my post-break up policy that might look like holding on. I do not delete people's phone numbers from my cell phone. My reason is that if the subject calls, I want to be sure to recognize the number so I don't pick up. (I do listen to voice mail and I will call back if there is a good reason to. And no, MHH, "it's raining and I am in Seattle and I can't stop thinking abou you" does not rise to the level of "good reason." Just saying).

So last night, I was out with my darling Sri, and we visited two bars, both crowded with drunk, lonely people. (It was much more fun than it sounds). We were having such a good time reviewing the results of my latest mammogram, talking trash about Headologist Bootstraps, and making fun of Larry and his bad teeth that the time just flew right on by. Before we knew it, it was 2am. Shocking.

On our way out, I was having some coordination problems - not - I hasten to add, with "walking" part of the exit, but with the "stuff your wallet, keys and cell phone back into your bag" part. So unweildy was this project, as I struggled into my coat and pushed the door open, that I found I needed and extra hand. So I put my cell phone, ever so gently, between my teeth until I could get out onto the sidewalk. When I took it out of my mouth, it was lit up and dialing MHH. That's right, people. Apparently my bite pattern is arranged such that incisor A hits the address book, cutter B hits, M, cutter C hits H, and incisor B hits call. All in perfect sequence.

Reader, against my will, I was calling MHH. At two in the morning.

I hit "end" before he could pick up. But apparently, he saved my number too, because he saw my call this morning and has been trying to call me back. Repeatedly.

If MHH calls me one more time, I might just pick up and tell him how much Thou Shalt Not he is committing by calling me. And you know what? From there, it's just a slippery slope that ends in us meeting in the park at 4 in the morning to make out.

Reader, I must never, ever answer that phone. Ever.

The life lessons one might glean from this experience are many. I don't know which ones apply, since I have parted ways with all sanity. You tell me. What should I learn from this debacle?

Don't date guys whose genes are scrambled?

Delete all old phone numbers?

Don't put your cell phone in your mouth?**

Stop having so much to say to Sri and be home by midnight?

Two drinks is quite enough, dumbass?


So, Happy Aftermath. I hope your tryptophan coma is mild and you can give me some good advice.

* God gets a capital letter and the devil does not. Good over evil. Etc.

**I am definitely going with this one. That was pure dumbassery.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I made a picture. Of a unicorn. For you.

I am grateful, "to" series

1) to be alive

2) to have a place to live

3) to have a job

4) to live in New York City

5) to have great hair

I am grateful, "that" series

1) that I can sleep at night

2) that my nephew calls me Nini

3) that my boss has no idea how little work I do

4) that Supajewie sill listens to me

5) that my hair is still (mostly) blond

I am grateful, "for" series

1) my dad's inexplicable good health

2) my brother's unflappable good sense

3) the songs of my cat-head (ok not really)

4) the growth rate of my fabulous hair

5) my friends, without whom this year would have been unbearable*

In closing, I made this picture for you, illustrating my feelings** about Thanksgiving:

Enjoy. (And Happy Thanksgiving).

* and also for RainbowysUnicorns (tm)

** no comments, please, about how my unicorn looks like a lizard with a barber shop pole sticking out of its head. I love you. And love is all that matters. Etc.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Devil is a Busy Man*

When I started writing my internet diary several whatevers ago, I was hoping I would not be like this by the time the weather cooled. I really hoped I would not still be a self-pitying, filmy, sarcastic droid.

This is the part of the post where I start talking about the devil. If you are superstitious or if the devil makes you nervous (ie, you have a lick of sense) you might want to outclick to someone else's blog. Like this happy nice one.

*tap tap*

You're still here?

The, devil, then. My newest theory is that in rough numbers, I am to blame for 52.875533% of my failures (some days the figure rises above 53.223245%, depending on whether I am measuring appropriately), and the other 47 and some odd percent of my failures are clearly brought upon me (brought upon me!) by bad luck. Bad luck happens when the universe is harmonized that such I miss the train or put my hand in a bag of chips, only to realize that the bag is a big greasy, salty... empty.**

Bad luck is just life, being life. Life tax, so to speak. Everyone pays it, and I am not concerned about it. What concerns me is that other odd 52.875533% (or 53.223245%) - in other words, the way I have been behaving in response to my life tax bills.

I have been behaving very, very badly.

Let's just assume I am fat today. That means 53.223245% of the badness in my life is my fault because I have been behaving so badly.

But what if my bad behavior is brought upon me (brought upon me!) by the devil? What if the devil has been residing right here on my left shoulder and running my whole show? I have been very consistent - and doing the exact opposite of what I should be doing in response to basically everything sucky that is laid at my feet. It is literally as if I am a puppet and the devil is pulling my strings.

To even say such things is risky - let along to write them. In fact, I think "embodiment of suckiness and peril" is the precise technical definition of the evil one, and I am well aware that it is beyond foolish to even speak of the....... .

But he is convenient target for a drunken finger greased with cupcake frosting when Nina wants to say it's not all her fault. Or is. (I have confused myself).

No sane person with my waist:hip ratio and my purported IQ would make the choices I have made in the last five years... unless that person was possessed or at least under constant attack from what Mamacita calls "the evil one".

So that you understand, an example (or two):

Situation: I get a letter from the IRS saying something along the lines of "thanks for mailing us some money, but can we have your tax return too?"

My Response: I throw the letter on the floor. Three weeks later I pick it up and call the number. They explain that they just never got the paper return. I explain that I filed it electronically. I explain that the computer I used to create the return is now defunct. They laugh at me and say "make us a new one". I take what paperwork I have to H & R Block and they take another three weeks to create the return. Turns out that unless I can come up with more deductions, I will owe $2008. I pay for the return. I discover that it is incorrect in like nine different ways. Status: the inaccurate return is right now, at this very moment, on the bottom of a pile of paper on the floor in my apartment. I have to drag it back to H & R Block -- but that office is now only open for about three hours on Tuesdays. Guess what day of the week this problem never enters my head? Guess who doesn't actually have $2008? Perhaps I should just mail it? What I do know is that I have "I can't fucking believe this" fatigue. This problem is approximately 47% bad luck and 53% me being a total fuckwit. No other way to describe it, really.

Situation: (in the form of an atrocious habit) I have a lot of good friends, good in both senses... they are good in the sense that they are fun and interesting people and good in the sense that they are very good to me. Guess how I treat them?

My response: My friends have become so accustomed to my lack of response to phone calls and emails that they now know that unless they actually GET ME ON THE PHONE, I cannot be relied upon (relied upon! never!) to listen to a voice mail or read an email or even text them back. If I want to talk to them, I do. If I don't, I let them twist. These are the same people who I feel pretty sure would lay down in traffic for me or hold my hair away from my face while I am drunk and vomiting. Nice, am I not?

Situation: I started my PhD four years ago and while i have completed the coursework (sort of) I still have three incompletes and I am in danger of being tossed from the program if I don't finish them, take comps and orals, pass my second foreign language exam and write my proposal. Within, say, the next twelve months.

My response: I spend 95% of my time climbing, reading books that have nothing to do with my degree, worrying about my hair, smearing goop on my fact to try to prevent wrinkles, and... drinking. Every time someone says to me, "so, how is the PhD coming?" the first thing that pops into my head is "so, how hard can I tell you to go fuck yourself?"

Somehow, someway, at the age of 37, I find myself out of gumption. I find that I have nothing to prove and no ambitions of greatness of any kind, unless you count climbing or tighter abs. Mojo. Seriously. Lacking.

Some people call this enlightenment. Some people call it clinical depression. Still others call it self-destruction, and it is those very people who have gently (and not so gently) suggested that now might be an excellent time for me to get therapist - This very hour, Headologist Bootstraps recommended that I go to a psychiatric social worker and tell the story of the last twenty four months of my life to - get this - find an "exit strategy." Did she just recommend that I kill myself? Or did she just suggest that I break off all contact with my dad? Gosh, it's confusing.

I decided that today was a good day to sort this out. Below, my strategy:

I walked down the street and made a left. When I reached the river, I selected a bench (one not already occupied by a homeless drunk) and sat, staring at the East River.

Then I, in an out of body daydream, pictured myself dropping dead of stupidity in line at the grocery store. That's right: toppling right over between the racks of magazines and the Redbull cooler, while people looked on, in horror. I pictured all the people staring down at my prone, lifeless, baseball-hatted body. I sneered at the women checking out the contents of my basket (milk, eggs, four kinds of cheese and a 20 ounce can of beer). I smirked at all the men caught off guard by the sight of my upturned breasts - and then I froze the frame, and staged the following conversation between God and Jesus:

God: Wow. Took longer for THAT to happen than I would have guessed.

Jesus: I've been expecting it for some time. It has been three days since she washed her hair. She knows full well how we disapprove of basically everything she does.

God: It's a pity. We gave her such great hair.

Jesus: Yeah. Remember she let that stupid Russian woman with the plastic scissors cut it before she left for Peru. Like I said, I have been expecting this for some time. She hasn't done anything right since Clinton was president.

God: You know, we ARE all powerful. Let's put our heads together and see if we can retrieve this disaster.

*** Jesus and God give each other an affectionate head-butt***

(Voice from off stage: Jesus? This is your mother. Just thought I would remind you that her parents say a rosary for her EVERY friday, without fail. Even when her father was in a medically induced coma in the CCU and you two were considering air-lifting him to heaven, he was saying the Hail Holy Queen in the hopes that she would find a husband. So you ought not to forget that OTHER people care what happens to her, while coming up with your retrieval plan." )

(Jesus, over his shoulder "Thanks, mom. 'preciate the reminder.")

God: All her basic parts still work. Her heart and lungs are pretty powerful, and you know, despite the fact that she should have been working on her dissertation, she DID manage to build some pretty powerful quads, hanging from all those rocks. Her feet have always been ugly, but if she were a better person, we might could persuade her to get regular pedicures and stop wearing those ill-fitting shoes. Hmmm.

Jesus: Let's revive her.

God: Think we should? I mean, it's not often we let a woman like this go tits up in the grocery store. The guy behind the register has been praying for a buxom, unconscious woman to practice CPR on for months. Perhaps we should give this whole thing a moment.

(A voice from off stage: "Jesus? This is your mother. Just make sure she dates. Her parents are praying again. I feel like we need to come through on that point.")

(Jesus, over his shoulder: "Thanks, mom. Will do.")

In my out of body daydream, new Nina awakens to find herself sitting on a bench across from the river, completely underwhelmed by her issues. She gets up and goes back to her apartment and starts re-managing her life. She mails her tax returns and takes out the trash. She returns phone calls and emails and she spends only 81% of her day on instant messenger with Supajewie. (Note: present estimate is hovering at about 94%).

She also works on her dissertation, grades all those papers on time and eats fewer cupcakes.

Since I performed this exercise just now, on my way home from Headologist Bootstrap's Den of Crazy, I am supposedly renewed by the great good of the Almighty and, gosh, if all this typing had not worn me clean out, I would put my new attitude into practice right this minute. Instead, I bid you goodnight. I am headed into my happy chair to read Pride & Prejudice and tomorrow, I will take arms against my sea of troubles, unfettered by demonic influence. Let's hope.

* If you know this sentence, you know I heard it first from David Wallace, who wrote many good books and may still be writing them, for all I know. For all I know, since I have been either drunk or clinging to a rock somewhere for the last five years. GO, me!

** Yeah, I just realized that cause and effect is not the same thing as bad luck, but I don't feel like changing the metaphor. But thanks.

I'll be right with you

Yeah, it's late. I know.

I have a few half finished posts that are just not cooked yet. So for now I leave with you this haiku, written by me, while sitting next to MohaDoha in our Asian Literature class eight years ago.

Threads hang from her hem,
the widow bends to pick up
heavy newspaper.

I found it in an envelope with this piece of counterfeit Viet Namese money:

I'll post again later. (I think).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not so nutty after all

It turns out I was way ahead of the curve when I threw out the power cord to my iPod.

Larry, WPITW, Part Three

You can read parts one and two of Larry, WPITW, here and here.

People sometimes ask me how I could possibly have been so blind. Of the women involved they say, "How stupid could they be? They deserve what they got."

Of the second statment, I will say nothing until I have finished telling the story. Of the first, I can only say that it was a classic case of not finding what I was not looking for. I simply did not want to see it. No one did. That's why it went on for as long as it did.

Back in January, Larry and I got into a fight.

We were in New Hampshire and we had just finished a climb. Everyone was tired. I was pissed off that I hadn't summited. It had been a long day and the drive home was going to be longer. Larry said something to me about riding back with Ethan, and I told him I needed to get my other bag out of his trunk. His response to this was to turn to me and snarl, "I told you NOT to leave anything in the trunk."

In Larry's defense, he had told me... not to leave anything in the trunk. However, I had two arms full of gear and thirty pounds on my back, and I didn't have a third hand and... so what? Anyone will tell you I am excellent at following directions, normally. I said, "Don't talk to me like that. Be pissed off that I didn't follow your arbitrary rule, but you don't talk to me like that, ever. Is that clear?"

Larry did not say anything. He just put down his stuff and walked out. A few minutes later he came back in with my bag and placed it at my feet. He still wouldn't look at me. When he let go of the bag, I kid you not, his hand was shaking. He absolutely would not look at me, and he did not speak to me all the way home.

The next morning, he sent me an email asking me if I was ok with not summiting saying, basically, we'll try again another time, and then all casual like, apoligized for being a jerk to me.

Well. Alright already. What's the big deal?

The big deal, as I would find out, was that Larry was afraid of me, and he had reason to be. I had no idea at the time, but I had the power to destroy his empire if only I had been willing to see what was right in front of me. Had I found what I was not looking for, I would have blown the whistle instantly. Other people he could count on to take his side, but he knew if I ever found out, I would not take it well, nor would I protect him.

This is why several months later, when we were all camping in the Catskills and he drove up to meet us, he was scratching and fidgeting and pacing. It must have been right about then that Larry realized he had taken it too far. We had all climbed together that day - and you had to know Larry spent all day wondering if anyone would mention her boyfriend - the guy she wasn't supposed to tell anyone she was dating. He had to realize it was very possible one of them would talk.

No one did. But something else happened, something that was so obviously wrong that not even I could ignore it. A woman we'll call Gwen was on that camping trip, and she was, as usual, sitting near Larry, hanging on his every word. I noticed that when no one was paying attention, she would reach over and touch him - grab his elbow, pinch his ear, tug on the bill of his baseball hat. It was annoying to watch, and I know it was driving Larry, who was nervous to start with, crazy. Finally she did this one too many times, and Larry got up, grabbed her by the hood of her jacket, and dragged her into the clearing, where he proceeded to wrestle her to the ground. He did not let her up until she screamed.

It was not until then that anyone really suspected anything was amiss. We'd seen Larry play fight lots of times and most of us had done some form of it with him ourselves. Larry stepped back to the fire, but Gwen did not. Everyone was looking at Larry as if to say, "What the fuck?" but no one said anything. After an awkward silence, he said, "She's fine."

Now, it just so happens that Bibi and I were sharing a tent with Gwen, and when we returned to our tent to find her most assuredly not fine, and in fact missing, we were concerned. Bibi went to go find Larry while I checked the bathroom. I find Gwen there, leaning over the sink, clutching her head, sobbing. When she saw me walk in, she ran out past me, into the darkness. I stood in the bathroom for a few minutes thinking she might return - or that perhaps I was mistaken about manner of the sobbing, ie, that the sobbing was unmistakable man heartbreak crying.

I knew, as did everyone else, that Gwen liked Larry and that Larry did not much like her. So I stood there, thinking, she's either going to the tent, where she'll find Bibi, or on her way to find Larry, in which case there's also a good chance she'll run into Bibi, or she'll come back here. From the window next to the sink, I could see our tent. I could watch for her both places, so I stayed put.

Fifteen minutes later, Bibi walked in and she was visibly upset. She couldn't find Gwen - or Larry. Then she said, "tell me everything."

"Everything? About what?"

"What did she say?"

"Nothing," I said. "I think she might have a crush on Larry. That's all."

Bibi, aggitated, said, "Do you think she is sleeping with him?"

"I doubt it," I said. "He does not appear to like her very much."

"Yeah," she said. I could tell she wanted to say something but couldn't tell what.

"What else?" she said.

So we recounted the entire trip, going over every detail of her behavior and every detail of his. I, because I do not see what I am not looking for, did not even once think that Bibi was perhaps a little overinvested. I cared about Larry, too. I didn't know Gwen very well, but her behavior toward Larry bordered on harrassment, so I was not all that sympathetic to her. Bibi's concerned seemed to me no more than charitable interest in the welfare of a friend. Right as we were wrapping it up, I looked out the window and saw Gwen returning to the tent. And from the depths of memory, a moment I had forgotten all about thrust itself in.

"You know, Tess once told me he is a terrible, terrible womanizer."

"She did?" Bib turned pale.

"Yeah, she did. I had forgotten all about it until now."


"Yeah, now that I think about it, what she said was really strikingly awful."


"Yeah. She said that he 'murders three women a week with his dick.'"

At this point, Bibi was frantic.

"I have been dating him for over a year. He made me promise never ever ever to tell anyone. He said relationships were bad for the group. He said it would ruin the group for everyone if dating became a focus. So I have never told anyone."

So Bibi and I spent the rest of the night, until say, 4am, discussing in lurid detail whether it was in fact possible that he was also seeing Gwen. We considered and weighed and measured and finally concluded that he was not, that he could not possibly be "that much of a monster." We calculated how much time he spent working, how much time he was spending with her, and how much time he was spending planning all our little adventures. He was frantically busy. It was a wonder, we concluded, that he had time for Bibi, let along anyone else. Plus, why risk ruining all the fun everyone was having by introducing all this drama? From every angle we could see, it was not worth the risk.

Well, were correct. He was not sleeping with Gwen. But about all the angles, we were mistaken. There were apparently angles we could not see, because Larry was sleeping with at least seven other people, three of which were sitting around that camp fire that night. He had told every single one of them, in very stern, daddy knows best terms, to never, ever tell anyone, ever, about their relationship.

Because it would be bad for the group. Because it would ruin the dynamic. Because... in truth, it would limit his access to all the ass he had an appetite for.

I should have known, when he pressed Gwen's face into the dirt, that there was something very, very wrong with him. But I just didn't want to know. None of us did.

And now we come to the end of Larry, Worst Person in the World, part three. Sadly, we haven't gotten within a hundred miles of the money angle of what he was doing, nor the emotional abuse he doled out to his several girlfriends. Check back next week for part four.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Right where I put them

If you've been playing along on the home game, you know I have been blessed with a lot of prescription medication lately. The demise of Don'tFuckUp meant I didn't have to take the ridiculous sleeping pills that also gave me nightmares - yay. So what did I do? I put those pills right there in the hidden drawer in the faux headboard of my thing held together by bungee cords that I call a bed.

So yesterday while cleaning, I decided to put the sleeping pills where they rightfully belong, in the pharmaceutical drawer of my bathroom supply chest, where I keep everything from Tylenol to RainbowsyUnicorns (tm) to Xanax. It was then that I had a revelation.

I'm weird.

Forget for the moment that my stash of drugs is now mammoth. Forget all about that.

What I am talking about is my method of housing pills of any kind, which is this:

1) Bring it home from the store.

2) Open the bottle and dump it out.

3) Locate ziploc bags.

4) Place pills into ziploc bag, peel label from bottle and stick to back of bag.

5) If label will not unstick, write name of drug, dosage, quantity, and expiration date on bag in indelible marker.

6) Place bag in drug drawer.

The original justification for this lunacy was to save space. Anyone who has ever lived in a one room apartment so small there is no room for an oven knows that this justification is valid. Did I mention that I don't have an oven?

So anyway back to the pills. I realized that even without the most recent very bad drug I was on, I do sometimes have insomnia. Not often, mind you. But sometimes. It's possible I will be glad to have those pills one day. I checked the hidden drawer of my "bed" and they were not there. Not! There!

I couldn't find them. Anywhere. I looked and looked - nothing. I looked under the bed and behind the blinds and in the kitchen drawer and on my desk - hell -I even checked the refrigerator.* Then I stood around for a few minutes, trying to picture where they might be.

And then I decided, you know, since I had tried everywhere else, I would check the trash can.

I'll just give you a moment to picture someone so meticulous that she repackages her drugs - even her vitamins - but who is so careless that in a fit of decluttering frenzy, she has been known to throw away her wallet (twice) her cell phone (once) her her passport (are we there yet?) and her sunglasses (many, many times).

Of course the sleeping pills were in the bottom of the trash, all neatly labeled and sealed in a bag. Of course they were. Because I am completely, irretrievably insane. Far more than you yet know. Because guess what I did next?

I got out a new baggie. And I rebagged and relabeled the pills and put them in the drug drawer. Then I searched the rest of the trash and recovered my Inca Trail pass and the power cord to my iPod.

There is no really good way to end a post in which you reveal that you are a total nutjob, is there?

Have a good Monday.

*I found my car keys in there once. Not kidding.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rather a lot, actually

Most people have heard by now about a the "writer's strike" and many wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, isn't "writing" a dream job, one that most creative people would love to have?

Yeah. Sort of. Maybe.

It's hard work, people. Most of those comedians and actors were not funny right out of the womb. Either they - or a talented writer - is writing those jokes. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after exhausting year, forever, amen. ON A DEADLINE. I know, because my sister in law Leta is one of them.

Writing is a great job and in some ways, it is a priviledge. Being hired to create is a gratifying validation of our talents, absolutely. But creative people - ahem - creative people who make boatloads of money for business people deserve to get paid WELL for what they do. It is not ok that most of those writers - the ones that make Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live and Will and Grace and the fuck-all else can't afford to live in New York - you know, the same city they work in. The one they are forced to commute over an hour each way to work in because they can only afford a roach infested apartment in North Nowhere'sburg.

I am sorry. Where was I?

The current fuss is over roylaties for internet content. For more information, and also to laugh your ass off because these people are funny all by their sweet selves, click here:

Thanks to Rick for posting it first.

Sin of the Week, 11/18/07

I am liar.

Of course I don't really prefer being alone. Of course I would rather be married and have a family. Of course all my bravado and stupid jokes about being a droid are defensive. Of course they are. My avoidance is impressive, but in truth, you could drive a truck into some of the chinks in my armor. An opportunist who has seen a woman in my condition could render me a sobbing, infantile idiot in less than a day. If he felt like it. Either way.

It's a good thing I don't get out much.

This is on my mind right now because Slick recently posted questions and asked commenters to answer. One of the questions was "What is the most annoying thing about your significant other?" I wrote, "It pisses me off that he doesn't exist." I didn't think about it much when I was typing my response. Maybe something to the effect of "Well Jesus Christ already, if he ever shows up, I'll find something to hate about him."

I checked back later, and Slick has written this response that looked very much like pity. I was all like, "Relax, it ain't that big of a deal."

And then of course I got to thinking. Is it a big deal? Actually, no. It isn't.


Of course five-seven years ago it was a very, very big deal. I wanted children very, very badly. Most women want children, so I wasn't really breaking any records there. But I found myself different from other women in the scope of my desire and the range of things I was willing to do to satisfy it. I wanted marriage and a family very badly, but I wasn't willing to go through the gears most women I know operate while searching for a mate.

Gear A: marry a man I am in perfect love with who loves me back and have perfect beautiful genius babies in whatever quantity I order. Gear A is dominant from ages 21-34 or perhaps 35.

Gear B: marry someone I respect who also respects me and have as many children as we can before my ovarian reserve declines and just hope they babies are not completely screwed up. Gear B is dominant from ages 35-38.

Gear C: have artificial insemination and hope that the ONE baby I will be lucky enough to maybe have isn't completely screwed up. If I get that far, I'll tell the kid he was artificially created in a lab and that fathers aren't really all that important. Over and out. Gear C is dominant - or scaring the living shit our of her and her family - from 38-43.

Of these three gears, only the first two were ever operative for me. Though my desire to have a family was more intense that that of my friends, I got permanently stuck somewhere between A and B. I wanted to be in love with someone I respected - a pretty tall order for a woman at any stage of life, let alone the sharp rocks of the late 30s. I didn't really have the bravado to marry a man I didn't love so I could produce children. I never considered having children alone. I never considered a childless marriage all that desirable either. It has always been, in other words, an all or nothing proposition. And truthfully, most women don't have the guts to operate in Gear C. By 38 most single women discover that they don't have the guts to raise a child alone, and they train themselves out of wanting children at all by constantly reminding themselves of how great life is because they are child-free. "I can spend all my money on ski trips and facials." or "Wow, I can buy that Prada bag, and no one can criticize me for it." or "I can go the third world countries and go rock climbing. No one really needs me, so it's fine."

That said, there is another regrettable complication: Men are not disposed to date or marry women who are over 35. I realize I am generalizing, but my observations show me that this is true. A woman in her late 30s who wants children is descending into the desperation of plans B and C, and she reeks of misery and despair. It is impossible to hide. She is not fun and interesting; she is a walking agenda. The man knows that with one word, he can pull the trigger and make her life wonderful - or ruin it. It is far more simple and easy to find a 25 year old and have a grand old time doing "whatever." Chances are she'll be better looking than that 35 year old too.

The running of the gears and the disposition of the marriageable male population are not circumstances that produce love and respect for a woman in her late 30s. They produce emotionally abusive relationships ending in the woman's time being wasted and the man moving on to a younger woman with "fewer issues." Sometimes they produce a hasty wedding and an unhappy marriage. This is the type of relationship currently available to me, and I can't tell you how far I am willing to walk on broken glass on my knees, backwards, to avoid either fate.*

So what am I doing? What is my plan now? Is there a Gear D?

Why yes, there is a Gear D. I invented it and you can have one too. It's easy: celibacy.

When I hit 44, it will be virtually impossible to have children without donor eggs, which for me, why bother? At that point, the situation shifts - children will no longer be possible and diminishing ovarian reserve will no longer be the centerpiece of a relationship. Then hopefully, maybe maybe maybe, I will meet someone who already has children and does not need to marry a 25 year old. Perhaps his first wife will have died or left him for Some Other Guy. Who knows. Maybe I'll meet someone who never wanted children. But if I am really honest with myself I'd like to gain proximity of some fashion to some sort of small people somehow someday. Will this happen? I have no idea.

What I do know is that I can't date because the ovarian politics of it are so unappealing that I can't even stand the thought of a cup of coffee with an age appropriate male. It's goes beyond the merely terrifying; it's horrifying. I cannot even go there. (OK I tried once and I kept watching my watch trying to figure how soon I could leave).

If you are going to comment, do not tell me how it is not too late and how love finds a way and if I just think really hard about it or pray, or whatever, I'll "find someone." Finding someone is for me, right now, the harbinger of hell. (See above). I knew when I broke up with my former boyfriend (FB) that the question of children was closed. When you end a relationship at 36 and need several light years to pull your head out of your ass, you know that "it" is most assuredly over.

So Slick, internet, entire post-modern world, of course it sucks. Of course I wish it had gone differently, and of course I am subject to occasional bouts of sadness and regret, but it beats the ever living shit out of lots of alternatives, like being married to someone I hate and having to stay in the marriage for money or for the sake of the children, or being married and unhappily childless, or being a widow with children, or being born in an irrigation ditch somewhere far far away and dying of malaria at four, or getting my ass shot off in Iraq, or finding the love of my life, only to have him killed by a suicide bomber, or perhaps worst of all being married and also lonely because I do not love my husband. I know enough of myself to know I'd leave, and please dear God spare me the self-hatred I would feel if I left someone who really loved me. No... thank... you.

My situation, though vaguely regrettable, is no big deal. If nulliparity turned out to be the biggest tragedy of my life, I'll call myself way way way ahead of the curve. All indications, however, are that I'll have bigger problems. Most people will. It's just life, and if this is what my life Is, I'll take it.

-Nina takes a page from the playbook of Sturdy Girl and says, "Relax, it's really fine; she only cries 6 (ok maybe 7) times a day.**

*Yes, of course I could just tell Some New Boyfriend that I didn't want children. Of course I could. But wouldn't I be lying? Well, yeah, I would be. It is true that I have written it off a possibility, but it would be disingenuous to act like I am simply not interested in children. That's just not true. So we end up back at square one.

**Also I am so totally kidding .

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Have I said yet what it feels like to know I have committed to one post a day? Have I said yet how the pressure of one post causes me to post two or three times a day? You know, to push the inferior, slapped up material further down the page?

And does anyone know how much it costs to fly to Korea? By the end of this month, I will definitely be a candidate for this.

Magical Thinking

I have been thinking of doing The Crazy.* The Crazy takes two weeks and leaves one in her skinny jeans, not to mention on another spiritual plane.

Nina has been washing a lot of cupcakes down with vodka lately, so The Crazy is an excellent idea, especially since seven weeks from now, Nina's schedule includes a winter ascent of Mt. Washington, (ie, mountaineering). Climbing Mt. Washington is a hard day's work. I know because I turned around just short of the summit last season because Zeb said it was too dangerous to continue. That failed summit has been haunting me ever since.

I'm sorry. Where was I?

Reader, I am terrified to crack into the inaugural vial of The Crazy because of magical thinking, defined below (thank you, Wikipedia):

While having no universally accepted definition, magical thinking is described in anthropology, psychology and cognitive science as causal reasoning that often includes such ideas as the law of contagion, correlation equalling causation, the power of symbols and the ability of the mind to affect the physical world.

...Like science, magic is concerned with causal relations, but unlike science, it does not distinguish correlation from causation. For example, a man who has won a bowling competition in a given shirt may then believe this shirt is lucky. He will continue to wear the shirt to bowling competitions, and though he continues to win some and lose some, he will chalk up every win to his lucky shirt.

Magical thinking can occur when one simply does not understand possible causes, as illustrated by Sir Arthur C. Clarke's suggestion that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (see Clarke's three laws), but can also occur in response to situations that are largely random or chaotic, such as a coin toss, as well as in situations that one has little or no control over, especially those one is emotionally invested in. (Indeed, this can be seen as a special case of failure to understand possible causes: specifically, a failure to understand the laws of probability that guarantee the occurrence of coincidences and seeming patterns.)

I have done The Crazy three times, and each time, something terrible happens on the 10th day. And no, I am not talking about small scale terrible.

1) The first time, I crashed a mountain bike and broke my elbow. (Don't say that's not a big deal, because my arm was screwed up for six months. Thank you.)

2) The second time, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia.

3) The third time, I lost my job (ok one of them but my dad was in the ICU at the time and I was broke and I so did not need that shit to happen right then).

Dare I attempt The Crazy for the fourth time?

Wouldn't it be less trouble to just go shoot somebody or throw my cat out the window?

Because I have a thing about correlation equalling causation?


Ok, cracking into the first batch of herbs. Will report back later with (possible) progress.

*two work outs a day, no drinking, no cupcakes. (!) Lots of arugula, vitamins and Chinese herbs. I haven't looked at the rules in a while but I am pretty sure you are also supposed to refrain from sexual activity and also pray for three hours a day. Wait, that might have been Lent. Sorry.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pretend that's really a unicorn

I now have a presription for a drug we'll call RainbowsyUnicorns (tm) which I am told is non-addictive, harmless, and can be taken in huge quantities without consequence. Headologist Bootstraps said, "If you have a meltdown, just take it until you feel happy." I think that might mean I have just been prescribed 180 sugar pills. But whatever. I feel happy.


Last night, my dad had a purely social dinner out with his old doctor, the one who diagnosed him. According to the doctor, if my dad still feels good in a few months, he should be re-evaluated for "spontaneous remission." Meantime, my dad says, he is going to proceed with his life as if someone at the lab just completely screwed up. He is euphoric. It is nice to hear, even if the odds of his being spontaneously and inexplicably cured are low.* However, from the way my dad described this dinner (yes, he did call me today) the doctor did not rule it out and was very... happy. Whatever that means.

Other news: I have a meeting with the climbing coach tomorrow. I agreed to this meeting because I knew that if I didn't have a "meeting" I wouldn't go. Panic and horror is simply not a sustainable lifestyle, so I am, for the time being, going to go with the euphoria producing assumption that we have a spontaneous unicorn and all is well.

Gosh, I feel good. Wow, scary good. Should be illegal good.

Thank you for reading. (And have a good weekend).

*more backstory in September archives.

Oh Dear Me

I just called Headologist Bootstraps and told her I refuse to take Don'tFuckUp and she is so alarmed that she wants to see me RIGHT AWAY. This little meeting I am about to have? It is not going to go well. I'll post when I get back.

Warning: Off Meds

Yesterday morning, after waking up at 3:30am and reluctantly calling it a night at 4:00am, I decided that I am no longer taking Don'tFuckUp. The side effects, none of which were listed in the huge warning pamphlet, were: insomnia, racing heart, being winded after walking one flight of steps, and a major sinus infection (ok that last bit might just be real life). The main effect was supposed to be "more stable moods". That happened, but in a minor, so not worth it way. So I am calling Headologist Bootstraps this morning to let her know I am no longer taking Don'tFuckUp, and she will propose some other "mood stabilizing" drug, to which I will say no thanks, and then I will ask for more xanax.

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. I called the house and left a message, but he never called me back. My brother called three times and never got a return phone call. We booked some very expensive flights to South Carolina for Christmas even though the odds of my dad being alive then are just about zero. I had to change my plans to go to Mexico for New Years because of the "suggestion" that we come for Christmas (which was more of a gesture than it was an invitation, since it's pretty clear that my dad's odds of being alive in six weeks are zero). So now I get to hemorrhage a whole bunch more money trying to change my flights to Mexico, which I can't really afford because my cell phone bill was $1000 last month because hello, I was spending 17 hours a day on the phone with hysterical relatives. Also, regardless of whether I get to see my dad at Christmas, I will miss half my vacation. Because of a visit that will likely NOT EVEN TAKE PLACE. Also, in the eleven weeks since my dad was brought home, I have seen him once. In the last two weeks, he has stopped calling me. I doubt I'll hear from him today, either.

Headologist Bootstraps, is it so very unreasonable for Nina, who has never had a drug problem or any other addiction of any kind (shut UP about the cupcakes), to have a good supply of anti-sobbing drugs in the house? Hmmmmmm?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rating: "Junior High"

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Thanks to utenzi for tipping me off to the availability of this handy rating system. This blog is rated "junior high" and I can't tell you how much this pleases me.

Dr. Bootstraps would be so proud

I mean, she DID tell me starting my day at four in the morning is healthy and civilized. I wonder what she would have thought of the dreams I just had.

Dream the first: I am asleep in the (I dream that I am sleeping all the time - go with it) server room of Someplace. I know it's the server room because it's hot and there are lights flashing and everything is very computery. Up walks my mother. She stands there for a moment and the puts my credit cards down behind my head. They are all cut in half. Then she says, "I had to do it." Suddenly, we are in an elementary school bathroom. I express my indignation that she would feel she had the right to do that. I tell her, "People just don't die and then come back and cut up the credits cards of their 37 year old daughters." She says, "If you are me, you do."

Thanks for stopping by, mom.

Drream the second: I get into a taxi and discover that the cashier at the liquor store is driving. I pull out a twenty and he says "I just want you to know that if you pay with a $20, there is a surcharge of $20." I say, "ok, then let me out." He says, "Well, that's not necessary. I'll just take you a few more blocks here." He drives me across 2nd Avenue and suddenly, I am at a Burger King in South Carolina. I know this because people are smoking and no one smokes in restaurants unless it's a tobacco state. I am pretty sure it's still legal there.

I had no idea I wanted to go to South Carolina by way a free taxi. Well yes, of course I did.

Dream the third: The parking lot of that Burger King has a boat in it. Suddenly my dad and I are on the upper deck. We are lining up doors against the railings and inpecting them - but I don't know for what. We keep inspecting and changing the order. My dad is talking about his hair. I tell him maybe he should just go for a total hair rebellion. (Where have I heard that before?) Then he says, "I am not going to be alive long enough for it to count." I say "Well, how do you feel now?" He says, as he lifts yet another door through the passageway, "Honestly, I feel like the weeds are starting to sink." I express something like regret. He says, "I regret that I won't be here. The world is a magical place with you in it." And then we move the doors around some more.

Yesterday, I bought my dad a birthday card and Fedexed it to him. I waited because I wasn't sure if he'd be alive but also because picking out a birthday card for someone's last birthday is a disturbing experience. There are no good birthday cards on the market for dying people. I rejected one featuring drawings of gifts that said, "Make this one count!" I rejected another that had fireworks on the front and said, "Celebrate your birthday!" The one I picked had a drawing of a crocodile eating birthday cake. The inside simply says "Have another piece of cake."

My dad turns 67 today. I am sure it does not need saying that I'd like that number to be 97. But whatever I just said it anyway.

Happy birthday, Dad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Squeak, squeak. Are you in there? ***updated***

***She has done it three times already today. And she is doing it right now.***

I am home most days due to my lucrative and unchallenging work from home job. My neighbor is also home all day because she is a housewife. If you thought we didn't have those here in NYC, rest assured, we do.

I have never met this housewife, despite the fact that we spend most of our days eight to ten feet away from each other, separated only by the fortress thick walls. You know, the same one that prevent my cell phone and cable from working.

I am sorry, where was I?

Ah yes, my neighbor. I have never met her, but I dislike her.

Here is a picture of how life should be:

On the left, you have Some Asian Girl's apartment. She is tucked in there, happily working. I have no issues with her. I hope she has none with me.

In the middle, you see Nina working. You can tell she is happy because she is on the max dose of Don'tFuckUp - this is indicated by the hearts and stars floating around in her apartment. On the right, you see HW, in her skirt, baking cookies. All is well.

Here is a picture of how life is:

At least five times a day, HW puts down the tray of cookies, opens her very squeaky door, and just stands there, wiggling her squeaky door back and forth, all the while staring at my door. I know this because when I hear the squeak I get up and run (it's three steps) to the door.

Notice that the hearts and stars are now gone from Nina's apartment. No amount of Don'tFuckUp makes this situation ok with me. I stare right back at her through the little view hole. She wiggles her door and stands there being squeaky, and I stand there half tempted to open my door and say "Hi! Can I help you? Are you trying to tell me something? Perhaps that you wish I didn't listen to Beck so much? I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me? Or are you just fucking with my head?"

So I ask your opinion, internet. Do I open my door and confront HW?