I Am Not A Reliable Narrator

30 April 2007


When I was a kid, my mom would call me a grumpus whenever I was in a bad mood. Grumpus is sort of a stupid word, but it's pretty much how I feel right now. We had a cocktail party on Saturday night and it was fun but I drank too much and then felt like an idiot in the morning because I couldn't remember what stupid shit I might have said or if I threw up or not or if I was a jerk to anybody and I just felt like a spaz. I didn't have a painful hangover but I had a sluggish stupid hangover where everything felt slow and wobbly all day.

I need to not drink so much when I have parties. I've gotten better at regulating myself in public and at other people's parties, but at my own parties I go a little stupid and just lose track of my brain. It's not a good way to be.

There is a fairly amusing picture of me that was taken at the height of my drunkenness though. It may be a potential icon once I get it online.

But other than my morning after anxiety the party went well and people appeared to have a good time. I made pitchers of cocktails (one called the Presbyterian that we rechristened the Lutheran in honor of the Kohl family and the alcoholic pastor who was the reason we got kicked out of Trinity Lutheran Missouri Synod Church circa 1987) and one that started out as the Zeus (one part vodka two parts Campari = grody!) but was changed to the newly invented Wobbly Bits with the addition of some orange juice and cranberry juice. I had at least three of each. I wore my tiki dress for what I think may be the last time. I don't like it on me as much as I used to. I think it makes me look too hippy now. It is still an awesome dress with tikis and rainbows and a keyhole neckline and if anyone out there is about an American size 12 and wants a tiki dress, let me know maybe I can hook you up.

Jeremy made cheese fondue and an aubergine fondue dip. Our house guest Mollie made salsas (tomato and cilantro, and mango and mint). By the end of the night everyone was hopefully tipsy and full. I went to bed roughly 2 hours before everyone left, I blame the Lutherans. Also a Mollie invented drink called the Mangina in honor of the Mighty Boosh episode with Old Greg the fish.

And I got to have one discussion about the weight I've lost since out wedding, we have a photo from the ceremony up in the living room and my face is a good deal rounder in it. A friend who has only really known me since after the salmonella, made some fairly benign comments about the difference and asked how I lost the weight and I told her the truth, some of it due to the walking I do more now but a good part of it due to illness and we discussed that a little bit and then moved on but I found myself feeling weird about the whole conversation. I never really considered myself to be THAT fat then. I knew I'd put on weight and I wasn't thrilled about it, but I remained pretty decent looking throughout. But the more people comment on it (and most my friends here were met well after the salmonella or at the tail end of it) the more uncomfortable I feel about it. I don't like the value I place on roundness of my face, and I don't like the value others place on it as well. That was one of the happiest days of my life and I hate that I'm beginning to look back on it with anything close to regret.

Yeah, I'm a total grumpus today.

25 April 2007

paris in pictures

This was taken on our lst day in Paris. We were sitting on the Seine trying to pretend that it wasn't almost time to go home

These are my feet dangling above the Seine. The toes are still wrapped up because of my in grown toe nail surgery even though it was almost totally healed.

You know what that is.

This is the tea and baklava we had at Mosque de Paris

And if you really want, you can see more pictures here

24 April 2007

More Important Things You Should Know About Food

One of the reasons I like travelling is because I like to eat new foods. I mean it, I like to eat, and there's no better excuse for stuffing my face than walking around a strange city until my feet are about to fall off. Therefore, let me tell you about what I ate in Paris

  1. I already mentioned it but I left out some details. On Friday night I had Caprese Salad, then Duck breast in a not too sweet honey sauce served with buttered green beans and chips. Jeremy had grilled aubergine served in tomato sauce with melted cheese and then gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce. We split a bottle of rose' that was just on the right side of sweet to complement both our dishes. Then we split a lemony creme brulee and had espresso followed by a chestnut liqueur, because when you are vacation it is totally okay to have an apertif.
  2. Crepes filled with cheese leeks and smoked tofu preceded by avacodo in vinagraitte dressing (this was lunch and i was tired and cranky so I just had lemonade)
  3. One scoop each of lemon/lime and mandarin sorbet in a waffle cone on Pont Nouef, the perfect blend of sweet and sour.
  4. A single chocolate truffle made with dark chocolate and a filling made from the tonka bean, fruity and a bit spicy, 100% good (we bought more)
  5. A beignet filled with butter cream and eaten on a park bench
  6. All manner of baguette sandwiches filled with hams and cheeses and hard boiled eggs
  7. A lovely steak on montremartre cooked medium well with Gruyere sauce on the side served with green beans and roast potatoes, gazpacho as the starter, cotes du bourg as the wine and followed by vanilla ice cream in a berry sauce
  8. Pain au chocolat with coffee
  9. Mint tea with honey and baklava eaten on an outside terrace covered in blue tiles
  10. Coffee and baklava in Oberkampf
  11. Quiche with aubergine, courgette, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan served with a lovely fress green salad in mustard sauce
  12. A brunch made of fluffy scrambled eggs, perfect bacon, chipolata, pancake, crepe, toast and yogurt with fruit salad, served with three dishes of jam, one of honey, one of syrup, nutella and butter, plus a glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and black coffee that only needed half a sugar and not a drop of cream.

Those were the high points, there were some less than stellar meals, there always are, I mean, the chicken biryani was okay, and the cheese plate and salad were all right, but not okay. I don't mind that though, a mediocre omelet helps me appreciate my perfect duck breast all the more!

Paris: Not just the city of lights

It is also the cty of pastries and wine and cheese and the tastiest duck in honey sauce and so much more. Therefore, this shall be detailled in list form:

  • Duck in honey sauce served with green bean, and chips preceded by Caprese salad, eaten with a beautiful bottle of Rose' and followed by espresso and creme brulee'. The waiter asked Jeremy how to say Creme brulee' in english, we thought that was funny.
  • The Louvre is freaking HUGE! I think it might be bigger than Port Huron, and it definitely has cooler stuff.
  • I did see the Mona Lisa even though I was planning to avoid it and the surrounding crowds in favour of other works of art. I liked the rooms of religous art from the 13th and 14th centuries a lot more.
  • We spent a lot of time looking at the objects d'art and the egyptian artifacts.
  • The Pompidou Centre was super awesome! There was loads of really great stuff there and I like the design of the building. Also thise year both the Pompidou Centre and I both turned 30.
  • We saw Notre Dame and then sat by the Seine and ate ice cream cones.
  • We bought a giant box of chocolates made with all sort of different spices and fruits
  • We had mint tea with honey at the Mosque de Paris
  • Baclava at the Mosque de Paris
  • Modigliani's grave at Père Lachaise we also saw Jim Morrison's grave and all the grafiti that the lousy hippie's left in their wake over the years. Scratching your name onto a strange's grave is like the least okay thing you can do in the world.
  • The grave of journalist Victor Noir, with it's ahem, life size protuberance.
  • Actally Pere Lachaise was one of my very favorite places in all of Paris. I'm not usually such a goth but it was totally amazing. I'll post pictures later.

There was just so much nice about this last weekend. Even at 4 days it was way too short, yesterday afternoon I took pictures of our bare feet dangling over the Seine and felt so sad about the quickly approaching end of our holiday. 30 started well, I hope it stays that way

19 April 2007

He's got Bette Davis eyes

It's not kitten belly but it is kitten bedroom eyes. Watch out he'll seduce you but good!

He was probably try to draw me closer so he could bite me when I took this picture. He is a sneaky man.

VA Tech

I don't have much to add to what has been said by others about the shootings in Virginia but I found this article interesting, it gives a slightly different perspective. I like that in it Nikki Giovanni mentions that there are somethings you can't fix and that people who had interactions with the shooter should not be beating themselves up for not being able to fix him somehow. There's something both comforting and frightening in that prospect

17 April 2007

The Sweet Escape

Do you know how you can tell it's almost time for my trip to Paris?
You can tell because I'm congested and have a scratchy throat and am obviously getting sick!
In the words of the grumpy English, "Bollocks!"
Quick, somebody tell me how to make sickness go away! I can't be sick, if I'm sick I won't beable to taste the dlicious pastries and wine and coffee. Oh god, I have been dreaming of the coffee.
Tonight I will drink some nocino, the walnut liquer Jeremy brought back from Modena, Italy last time he was there. It's made by Italian Grandmothers in the light of the full moon (no joke, according to his clients there). It is supposed to cure everything. It had sure better!
Also, topics for later: my niece is getting a womanly shape, totally not okay. Does everything teach us a lesson as my mother would like me to believe? Therapy, I'm starting again, will it make me more or less crazy than I currently am?

16 April 2007

Where I'm From, Part 2

Jeremy just sent me this link

Looks like sunday was an exciting day on the Blue Water Bridge, I94, and in the friendly skies as well. Admittedly this is much less exciting than when the mayor was arrested for being a pedophile. but still high speed chases and a tussle on the freeway, probably less than a mile from the house I grew up, it'll be the main topic of conversation for days!

Did you know that two major interstates end in Port Huron? Both I 94 and I 69 stop there making it the end of the line twice over!

Where I'm From

Those are the Blue Water Bridges. When I was growing up there was only one of them. You could see it from the front left part of my yard. The Blue Water Bridges connect Canada to America, more specifically, Sarnia, Ontario to Port Huron, Michigan. Even more specifically those bridges connect 19 year old Americans to the bars of Canada where they can drink legally. This is something most 19 year olds in Port Huron do, because Port Huron is a pretty dismal place to be 19. There isn't very much to do in Port Huron. Especially in the winter. Let me clarify, there isn't much to do if you don't want to spend all your time snow mobiling, sledding, ice fishing, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with doing these sorts of things, but I am a fragile flower and I like heat and dryness and walls and roofs. I like indoor activities, even in nicer weather I trend to have a limit that is quickly reached when it comes to time spent outdoors. I am meant for cities. I prefer cities, or shaded bug free parklands. Near cities.

Really, Port Huron isn't that terrible a place. I know I talk a lot of smack about it, but it has its good points. For instance, it is very pretty. There is a lovely light house there (okay technically it's in Fort Gratiot, but there is barely any difference between Port Huron and Fort Gratiot.)

Port Huron is also right on Lake Huron (hence the name) and if you happen to like that sort of watery freshwater lake smell (as I do) it's good to live right near a lake. Of course living near a lake, and especially in a city where there is a sort of famous boat race every year (The inventively title Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race) you will be plagued by the following pick up line when the racers come to town "Hey, I've got a boat." A boat? What is this boat thing you speak of, I have certainly never seen a boat! Barf.

Port Huron also has some history. For instance, Thomas Edison grew up there. The town takes this very seriously. The fancy hotel is the Thomas Edison Inn, I used to work there, it's not so fancy as they would like you to believe. I've cried in the ladies room and the back service hallway, I know what I'm talking about.

But people like to point out, as I am doing, that Thomas Edison lived there. They tend to leave out how his house was torn down and now there are some really overpriced and ugly condos where it used to be.

Also the rumor is that he lost his hearing in one ear because he was thrown off the train from Port Huron to Detroit (by said ear) while selling candy and papers as a boy.

Another piece of history that most good citizens of Port Huron talk about less is the Port Huron Statement written in 1962. The good citizens of Port Huron have never been big fans of hippies, except maybe for my friend Colleen's dad. He listens to Leonard Cohen and almost got arrested at a protest in DC. Mr C is totally a hippie (in a good way mind). Once when he and Colleen got in a fight he rewound herTori Amos tape that he was borrowing to the song Winter and then gave it back to her so that when she put it back in her tape player she got the sneakiest guilt trip ever. (lesson, hippies can be sneaky!)

I'm so far away fromt he point I had in mind for this entry right now! The thing is, I've been thinking about Port Huron a lot lately, because I am finally writing about it in earnest. I guess I had to leave the country entirely to get there. Anyhow, I know that I'm not doing it justice, one of my weaknesses as a writer of fiction is that I often have a hard time working descriptive passages in. I am good at dialogue and I think my narrative voice has always been strong. but i have a super hard time getting in the atmospheric bits like the way the tree branches looked when my dad drove me to the ER to get stitches or the particular bite of an unexpected cold snap in the Spring, or the way the water looks from the cement blocks in front of the Edison. The town itself is a character and I need to give it its due. I need to put my own distaste for the place to the side and find a way to shine a light on what it really is, both the good and the bad. I need to anchor my characters and give them a true world to live in.

So now I guess I can add a city to the list of characters who I need to create a bigger connection to (actually that only brings the list up to 3 which isn't so terrible, sure it's 3 out of 6 but these are still early days and when I get something right, I like to believe that I get it very right. That sounds smug, yeesh, now I'm starting to doubt myself again, damn my smug self sabotaging ways!)

But, yeah, just like I had to find a sympathetic way to look at the characters I can't personally relate to all that well, I need to find a way to relate to Port Huron. Maybe I'll start with the train bridges. I've always really liked the train bridges.

13 April 2007

Kitten in Danger

Is it any wonder he bites us so much? Look what the poor little man has to put up with.

And here's a kitten belly fix for the weekend

12 April 2007

An Important Update

What with all my moping about jobs and novels and blah blah blah I have forgotten what this blog is really about.

Kitten belly.

How could I have been so thoughtless?


i'm up and i'm ready to go and you know what?

the fucking document didn't save properly last time. i still have what i wrote in a notebook someplace but i'm pissed and grumpy that i'll have to retype it. stupid lousy technology!

11 April 2007

Waking up

Each morning this week, except for Monday because it was a Bank Holiday, I have been setting my alarm clock for 5:15. The reason for trying to wake up at this ungodly hour in the morning is to write. For about 4 solid months last year I woke up at 5 or 5:30 each weekday morning and wrote for 45 minutes to an hour. Sure, I was a little bit more tired in the mornings, but I was productive and felt like I wasn't a fraud when I told people I was writer.

Obviously, I fell out of the habit and now I am fighting my way back to it. I need to do this again. I need to finish my first draft by the end of October (my original first draft deadline was 19th April but I gave myself an extension since I changed direction after the original first 50 pages) I need to be able to say that I have completed a first draft, finally, after all these years of pissing around with writer's block and lack of inspiration and fear. Sometimes I think of my current job as penance for all the writing I haven't been doing. For all the days I have allowed myself to waste on crappy television, poorly knitted items, and Myspace. But if I squander the hours I have then my penance is useless and my time in purgatory will be stretched out even longer.

So tomorrow, and I'm saying this publicly in order to be held accountable, tomorrow I will wake up early and I will write. If I can just get past 60 pages total (not 60 pages in an hour, that would be awesome but unlikely) I will be really really pleased. Maybe I can even make Theresa a little more real and Charlie a little less whiny, and maybe I will finally figure out who is going to narrate the birth. I'm going to do this. I'm not going to give up on it. This is worth waking up at 5 in the morning. it's worth a lot more.

10 April 2007

Easter Weekend

4 day weekends are sort of a tease.

You get used to this life of leisure and then you have to go back to work. And going back to work is no fun.

The act of waking up and leaving the house this morning was possibly the most difficult of all time.

I really, and by that I mean REALLY, need to win the lottery. And if I won the lottery, I wouldn't keep my day job in order to "keep it real" or "stay grounded." I'm already plenty grounded enough. I would mostly drink champagne and and eat bon bons.

03 April 2007


When i was about three I had the chickenpox swiftly followed by a very bad case of pneumonia for which i was hospitalized overnight. I remember the chickenpox. In fact one of my earliest memories is getting out of my baking soda bath and walking naked into the living room whilst scratching only to hear my mother call out, "Carolyn! Stop scratching, you'll get scars!"

I don't remember the pneumonia at all. My parents have never talked to me extensively about it so I don't even have manufactured memories to cover it. I only know that it had to be pretty bad to warrent a trip to the hospital because we were pretty broke then and rarely went to the doctor, especially the emergency room since that cost more than a typical copay. As a result of that pneumonia (this is my theory anyhow) I have always, since I was wee, had the biggest most horrible cough in the world whenever I get even a little bit sick. Colds always center in my chest and take me over. I sound like I've smoked two packs of cigarettes in two hours every time I get a cold or fluy thing ever since I was a kid. It was exacerbated by a really bad bout of bronchitis when I was 11 (this neccesitated a trip to the ER where I threw up my pink bubble gum flavoured antibiotics, I think, that my actually be something I made up, but i definitely had to go to the ER). And then once I actually did start smoking I was on the fast track to chronic bronchitis.

Now, here I am, living a relatively clean life, but I smoked a few times the last couple weeks plus the germs ar everywhere at my office and on the bus so I have been saddled with this miserable cough again! I hate this cough! It makes my chest ache and sometimes it makes my stomach hurt. Sometimes it goes on for so long that my eyes water and I turn bright red. And it always, ALWAYS, hits at the most inconvenient times. Important meeting, coughing fit. Exam, coughing fit. Romantic moment, coughing fit.

Cough syrups are useless, so are lozenges and water. Sometimes herbal tea will help, but never for long. This is the curse of the sickly child. And it's a pain in my ass!

Today I was trying to sort out some files up in the pristine quiet of the Legal Department and I almost fell over from the coughing. I had to rush to the tea point with everyone staring at me like my lungs were about to burst forth from my chest.

I think I also had the croupe or the whooping cough or something equally pioneer sounding when I was little. If life were more like Oregon Trail I never would have made it to other side of our new United States of America. And I'm not even mentioning the Mono I got without even having been kissed!