Month: November 2013

Comedy of Errors, Thanksgiving Style


Turkey (Photo credit: wattpublishing)

Ah, the day before Thanksgiving.   A happy, happy day.  Nerd Child came home for Thanksgiving break, he’s been making us laugh for the past four days.  Man Child and his girlfriend Miss Music got home last night, long after I fell asleep–how beautiful to wake up to all my chickadees at home.

A day for finishing prep work for cooking and debating whether or not it will be worth going to see the balloons being blown up tonight.  I’m quite behind on the cooking this year, left too much for today.  The only things ready are my cranberry sauce and stuffing.  After taking Flower Child to school, I went straight to the store to pick up a pork roast.  That’s right I said pork, I’m not making a turkey this year.  Came home from the store, began mincing garlic and toasting fennel seeds.

I needed the salt.  From the top shelf.  Too lazy to take out the stool, I stretched.  I don’t think of myself as petite.  In my mind, I’m a glorious six feet tall.  Except not in reality.  So trying to reach the container of sea salt, I knocked against the glass bottle of vanilla.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not into serving bourbon vanilla glass shard infused pork.  I didn’t even think, my left hand shot up to catch the bottle before it could hit the counter and smash all over the spices and garlic.  My kitchen is teeny.  This type of incident is more than a nuisance when the space is so tight.  It can take out an entire meal.  SCORE!  I did it, caught it in mid air with my non dominant hand.  This is the part where you say, “Gee, that Mrs Fringe is swell and multi talented.”

Did I mention the crack?  Yes, that was the sound of my hand when it hit the bottom edge of the cabinet door before catching the vanilla.  Right between the two knuckles of my pinkie and ring finger.

Then Man Child and Miss Music came back.  They had gone to move her car.  Those friendly folks from the impound already moved it for her.  It was late, it was raining, they didn’t see the full sign.

No parking: We kind of really mean it

No parking: We kind of really mean it (Photo credit: caruba)

Husband went with Man Child and Miss Music to the impound.  Nerd Child went with me to the urgent care center.  I think dinner may be a little late tomorrow.

They wouldn't give me a hook.

They wouldn’t give me a hook.

Happy Thanksgiving, Fringelings!

Winter is Coming



This year, I’m trying something new.  I’m going to do/wear whatever I need to in order to stay warm.  That’s right Fringelings, I am going to blow the dust off my change purse and go with the warmest, not the least expensive.  I say this every time I need to get new winter gear, but this time I mean it.

There’s a pair of boots I’ve been eyeing for three years, super waterproof and warm but silly overpriced.  I finally found them online in a size sort of close to mine (in August) for a greatly reduced price and bought them.  They’re a silly color.  Have I mentioned the ugly factor? And they are *gasp* flats.  But they are warm.

“Improvised winter boots”. Improvised Winter b...

“Improvised winter boots”. Improvised Winter boots. Battle of Stalingrad. Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Русский: «Эрзац-валенки». Эрзац-валенки. Сталинградская битва. Великая Отечественная война 1941-1945 годов. Россия, Волгоград (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I researched the warmest winter coats.  Yes.  Research.  I’m an obsessive lunatic, remember?  Found the perfect coat two years ago.  It’s been discontinued and isn’t for sale anywhere.  Ok, found the second best one.  More expensive.  After two years of watching, I accept that this brand never goes on sale, doesn’t matter where you buy it.  Never seen it at any of my usual discount haunts.  Two weeks ago I dragged Husband to a fancy department store I haven’t been in since my pre-children days.  Found the coat, tried it on.   Very, very warm.  And ugly.  And expensive.  Now picture Husband’s face when I said, “okay, let’s go home.”

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...

Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Aren’t you going to buy it?”

Pfft.  He must have me confused with someone else.  I have to think about these things first.  It’s only been two years since I started watching it online.  Come on, a lot of money for an ugly coat?  Much angst is required.  Plus, then I stopped at another section of the store and tried on another coat.  $10,000.  For a coat!  Still, fun to put it on, and it gives me a giggle every time I think of the lewd joke Husband made after we left the store.  He’s the king of deadpan.

Ok, it’s getting cold.  I’m ready.  Still, no way I’m paying absolute full price for anything.  If I opened a credit card account in fancy shmancy store, I could get ten percent off.  Better than nothing.  Back to the store we went, in between dog walks yesterday.  Guess what I forgot?  These fancy stores only buy a few pieces of each item.  None left in my size or the color I wanted.  Pretty sure Husband’s head was going to explode if I didn’t Buy. The. Damned. Coat.  The saleswoman found one for me in another store across the country, and is going to have it shipped.

Now I didn’t dress up to go shopping, or put on makeup.  This was a quick run in between picking up dog poop,  come on.  It isn’t a fun day out for me, it is a necessary torture evil errand.  Plenty of time for the sweet saleswoman to chat while I filled out the credit card thingie and then she arranged for shipping.  Idle chit chat about how quickly those coats sold out, especially the smaller sizes (not as small as I used to be).  Why the smaller sizes?  Well, because we small Puerto Rican women love this particular coat.  Hmm.  For the record, the saleswoman’s accent was decidedly East European.  Have I ever mentioned that Husband is in sales?  Has been since forever.  He is an excellent sales person, always calm and friendly-but-not-too-friendly, never let’m see you sweat.  Did she just say?  Why yes, yes she did.  After 8000 years of being friends and then being together, this could be the first time I’ve seen Husband look shocked in public, in front of a stranger.  Shocked to the soles of his Dominican feet.

Before we could fully process this, the saleswoman helpfully, generously let me know I could get ten percent off of anything else I’d like to purchase that day.  Pause for a deep and meaningful look, complete with raised eyebrows.  “Anything.  Even cosmetics, you must need some.”

I don’t know why shopping isn’t more fun.

shop or hang , that is the question

shop or hang , that is the question (Photo credit: gandhiji40)

Mrs Fringe Gets Nekkid!


Exposed, and Overdue for a Pedicure

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the idea of posting one of my short stories, asking for thoughts from the Fringelings.  The majority opinion was do eeeeet.  I thought about it, and I’m doing it.

This certainly feels like I’ve stripped and opened the bedroom blinds.  Foolish, maybe.  But maybe some fresh air will do me good.

I’ve created a separate page here where the story is, and where any future stories might go, in an attempt to keep this house of Fringe clean and tidy. Perma-link to the page says “Fiction” on top of the home page, next to “About Me” and “Favorites.”

My short stories usually come into my head kind of fully realized as a brief scene, or a snapshot.  No muse, no magic, all the fabulous ideas and mental pictures don’t mean shit without that picture being followed up by BiC. Butt in Chair (or in my case, couch) and doing the work of writing.  Otherwise, I assure you, my imagination is vivid and fabulous, I’d have been on the New York Times Bestseller list three times over already, with at least one Pushcart Prize under my belt.

One afternoon last year I was out walking a dog through Central Park.  I had a moment, in my mind I saw the picture of an old, broken down  Brooklyn fisherman talking to a young girl by the water in the 1980’s, saying the word miserosion, the miseries of life translating into eroding body parts.  At the time I was working on Wanna Bees, so when I got home I wrote down the word, a couple of notes, and left it to be written when I was done with the romance/magical realism of Wanna Bees.

But the idea morphed, as these things sometimes do.  What if the story was hers, the young girl, long after meeting the fisherman, as an adult who has had years of broken souls drawn to her, a lifetime of if-it-wasn’t-for-bad-luck magical realism?  And so started Astonishing, my current WIP.

“Miserosion” is Tommy’s story, back in the 80’s, a snapshot leading up to his meeting with Christina, the young girl who becomes the broken woman of Astonishing.  Yes, it is magical realism.

Fringelings, I hope you read it, I hope you comment.  Most of all, I hope you feel something, whether it’s your kind of story or not.  It’s dark, and won’t be for everyone.

I hope you don’t mind, I left my socks on.  Now I’m getting a draft!

Window half open

Window half open (Photo credit: shinealight)

Official November Post

(as opposed to all those other November posts)

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month.   You didn’t remember that from last year?  Good thing I’m posting again.

Last weekend when we were up North, I was speaking with someone who used to keep horses, chickens, and goats.  I know very little about horses, less about chickens, and less than nothing about goats that doesn’t involve curry recipes.  Fainting goats came up.  I had never heard of them, asked her about them.  As she described how they stiffen and fall over, I thought to myself, sounds like a form of epilepsy, but didn’t say it out loud.  I’m pretty sure any animal with a brain can have a seizure.  But what do I know about farm animals? I’m not even sure I’ve ever been next to a goat, fainting or otherwise.  She then said she believes the fainting is a form of seizure disorder.

Meet Bambi, the Pygmy Fainting Goat

Meet Bambi, the Pygmy Fainting Goat (Photo credit: pmarkham)

Well , now I was able to join the conversation.  Turns out the woman used to have someone in her life who had epilepsy, and she made a statement to the effect of, well it isn’t like anyone can die from it.

Not true.  People can and do die from seizures and epilepsy.  Thousands of people.  In countries with modern medicine and purple ribbons.  There is SUDEP– sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, there are accidents related to seizures (drowning, falling, burning, choking, etc), there is status epilepticus (prolonged seizures that don’t end/resolve on their own), deaths due to treatment, deaths due to underlying disorders if the epilepsy isn’t idiopathic, and suicide related to comorbid conditions like depression.

This woman hadn’t known this information.  She didn’t know epilepsy is actually a spectrum of neurological disorders, she didn’t know there are many types of seizures/ways seizures can present themselves.  I also think she hadn’t understood that 30% of people with epilepsy are not “well controlled” on their medicines.  In other words, they’re doing everything the doctors say to do, taking meds, trying to avoid triggers, and still have uncontrolled seizures.

This was a great opportunity to educate and promote epilepsy awareness.  I did, and I think she and the other woman with her were listening.  No ribbons (which I don’t think anyone pays attention to anymore anyway, 43,000 disorders and diseases sharing 12 ribbon colors–I made up 43,000–just in case you weren’t sure), no banners, no jazzy PSAs, not even any goats; just an opportunity taken.

*Some, even most, children and adults with epilepsy have seizures that are well controlled on their medication/treatment plan.  That doesn’t mean epilepsy is “no big deal.”  It can be a very big deal.  And you should care, because anyone can have a seizure, anyone can develop epilepsy.

What medicine(s) works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next. Whether they work or not, they often have horrendous and lasting side effects.   Some people are finding tremendous success right now with certain medical cannabis compounds/cannabinoid.  I’m guessing it’s like the other meds/treatment options, it will work for some and won’t work for others.  Of course, everyone who wants to have that shot of success will have to be belittled and inspected first, forced to fight their governments and maybe even move.  Sigh.

EEG fragment

EEG fragment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that’s another post.

And by the way, if your dog (or your goat) has epilepsy, and you’re speaking to someone whose child has epilepsy, don’t tell them you know just what it’s like.  You don’t.

Epilepsy Awareness.  Epilepsy Sucks, pass it on.

Bad Influence: A Feel Good Moment


friends (Photo credit: ROSS HONG KONG)

You may be surprised to learn this, but I don’t have a lot of friends.  I know, I know, it’s shocking.  But the friends that I have, I’ve had for a long time.

Two of my oldest friends are a married couple I’ll call Mr and Mrs Smitholini.  We met in Brooklyn, long before they were godparents to my children, before I was godmother to theirs, before they were Mr and Mrs.  Mrs Smitholini and I hit it off as soon as we met.  Me and Mr Smitholini?  Not quite as instant a friendship.

Mr Smitholini is old school.  One of those guys who was born old school–before it was skool.   He thought I was a bad influence on the future Mrs Smitholini, with my peasant skirts, tie-die jeans, and loose, wanton ways.  “Whaddya mean ya write poetry?  I’ll give ya a poem.”  We had fun, though–when we weren’t each trying to convince the other (s)he was being a bad influence on (the future) Mrs Smitholini.  A lot of fun.  I have two other friends I’ve known longer than Mr and Mrs S.  We’ve all spent a lot of time together over the years.  I was maid of honor at two of their weddings, they were bridesmaids at each other’s.  I, of course, was the hussy who got married in Vegas–no bridesmaids.  A lot of laughter over the years–most of it completely sober, too!  And yes, tears.  Weddings, funerals, christenings, baby showers, wedding showers, Sunday dinners, painting each other’s homes, changing diapers on each other’s children and general tomfoolery.

Admit it, ladies.  There’s nothing like the relationships you have with your long term girlfriends.  Gab, gossip, and gorilla warfare over a pot of tea.  Or perhaps in the very, very distant past, banana daqueris.  But we won’t talk about that night.

There’s this amazing, mushy joy in seeing our children play, hang out together, and enjoy each other, as well as their “aunts and uncles.”

The four of us (Mr and Mrs S, Husband and I) are friends.  Not just got used to each other’s Mr/Mrs, but friends.  Mr Smitholini and I each saw what Mrs Smitholini saw in the other one.  So I’ve counted him as one of my friends for many years already.  And the Mrs?  I can’t imagine life without her.  We’ve lived close, we’ve lived far, our lives have changed.  Day to day for each of us is busier, we no longer spend hours on the phone every single day, but she’s still the first one I call.  We don’t get to see each other in person on a regular basis anymore, but when we do, it’s like we were together the day before.

Some of our running jokes have changed over the years.  At this point, Mr S busts my balls asking when I’m going to dye my hair (if I look old, well, that makes him…not as young–Mrs S has excellent, youthful genes that have produced remarkably few gray hairs), and I tell him I’ll go platinum blonde as soon as he gets plugs.

Husband and Flower Child and I went away this weekend.  We went North again, our timing as impeccable as ever, we missed the fall foliage, but what the hell, right?  Mr and Mrs Smitholini said they would join us.  We planned to meet at the motel, no plan to arrive at the same time.  Halfway up, we were caught in a major traffic jam.  Mr S called.  They were also stuck in a major traffic jam.  What road are you on?  Same road.  Where are you?  Turns out we were 2/10s of a mile behind them, same lane.  We had stopped for dinner, they had stopped for coffee and donuts.  We were wishing we had coffee and donuts.  They moved into the  lane next to us.  And shared.

Want one?

Want one?

Yup, Mrs Smitholini  passed the box out her passenger side window into Husband’s driver side window.  Turns out Mr Smitholini was right all those years ago.  I have been a bad influence on her.  She would never have done such a thing when we met, way back when.

What could have been a miserable trip filled with why-did-we-do-this, and we-should-have-left-earlier/later/yesterday never was instead a road trip of laughter, courtesy of our cell phones and mutual bad timing.

When we got to the motel, Mr and Mrs S went upstairs before us.  We got to our room, they were standing in the doorway.  The desk clerk had mixed up our room keys.  So while they waited for us to get upstairs, Mr S closed the window in the room so Flower Child wouldn’t be cold.  We swapped keys, and then had a midnight snack together, courtesy of Mr S.  Sparkling wine, red wine, cheese, crackers, other assorted goodies.  And then we laughed until 2AM.  The only time I’m awake for anything other than insomnia at 2am (in the past 15 years) is when I’m with Mrs Smitholini.  Maybe we’ve had it wrong all these years, and she’s a bad influence on me.


Oh People, Doncha Just Hate’em?


Woods (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

You know those getting to know you/riddle questions, if you were alone on a deserted island/in the woods/lost in space what food would you want/book would you bring/who would you want with you?  I hate those stupid questions.

But apparently some people love them so much, they decide to go try it.  Like this guy, who went on a survival expedition in the Canadian wilderness.  He planned to be gone for two months, just a man and his dog.  Didn’t work out so well.  When he was a month late coming home, his family alerted the authorities who found him after 8 days of searching; alive, starving, dehydrated, and alone.  Attacked by a bear, his supplies and equipment were lost/ruined.  His dog saved him from the bear.  Sadly, he ended up killing and eating his dog to stay alive.  I’m not being flippant here, it is sad, and I can only assume if there was a grove of apple trees, a field of carrots, or a stream full of fish this wouldn’t have happened.

I found out about this through a discussion in the writer’s forum.  I don’t generally get involved in those discussions, but they can be fun, informative, and a good way to get to know who’s who.

I have to tell you Fringelings, if you’re a staunch PETA supporter you might want to stop reading here.  I love my dogs, love my fish and sea critters, I’m a vegetarian and have been since I was a teenager.  In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered if I would be able to get myself any meat/fish/flesh if I was literally starving.  And yet I was shocked by the sentiment of people who not only said he shouldn’t have done it/they wouldn’t have done it, but equated it with killing and eating a human family member/loved one. Really?  You’re shitting me, right?  Well played, what a perfect troll session.

Except the conversation began to meander, as these things do, and there were multiple people insisting their pets really are equivalent to their children, and the death of a pet is as devastating as the death of a child.  No.  Just no.   And then proceeded to say it was judgmental for anyone to disagree.

The Intersection of 36th and Troll

The Intersection of 36th and Troll (Photo credit: sea turtle) 

Perhaps for a few people this might be true, but if you are a reasonably well adjusted person, no.  And I don’t care if you’re young, middle aged, or Methuselah.  No.  And if this is being judgmental, well, okay.  I’ll just confess to being a judgmental bitch right now.  And more than a bit horrified that it’s so easy to find people who don’t see a difference between a beloved pet and a beloved spouse, mother, father, child, cousin, or BFF who you’ve laughed and cried with for forty years.

I’ve been very, very sad at the loss of pets.  Cried.  Mourned.  Dogs, cat, fish, invertebrates.  For the record, fish are not disposable pets, they shouldn’t die within days/weeks/months.  Clownfish really have personalities similar to puppies, they come to the top of the tank once they get to know you, will eat out of your hand, and play.  I’ve been riveted and excited to see coral spawning in my tank, see my clownfish do the mating dance.  When the clowns then ate their eggs, I didn’t feel my world had ended.  Didn’t even lose a night’s sleep.  What a cold, cruel woman I am.

Yup, laid her eggs right on this soft leather coral.

Yup, laid her eggs right on this soft leather coral.

(sorry for the out of focus photo, but that’s the only one I could find of her in “her” leather)

But.  But, but, but.  You get a dog or cat expecting it to live 10, 15, 20 years.  Same for many fish and sea critters.  So sad when a creature you’ve loved and cared for over many years passes.  Your child?  Mmm, the natural order of things is for your child to outlive you.   (I do wonder if this makes a difference for people who keep parrots they expect to outlive them, but still, not a child.)  And, yanno, it’s your child. If you get a new fish, and that fish dies when you get it home, or can’t adjust to the new tank and refuses to eat so it dies within days, it’s sad and aggravating and you’re glad you got the fish from somewhere that offers an “arrive alive” guarantee.  Cause now you’re going to get credit, and they’ll give you/ship you a new fish.  Baby?  Not exactly.  Not even remotely.

Regular Fringelings know I have a few friends who’ve lost children to fatal diseases.  I’ve had some terrifying times with Flower Child.  I have more friends whose children face horrendous diagnoses.  I’ve been zombified at Husband’s bedside in the Cardiac ICU more than once.  I’m not special, my family isn’t special.  There are thousands of families who face these events throughout the world, every day.  Many of them have pets they love and have loved.  Not one will tell you the loss or imminent loss  of their child/spouse/sibling/other is the same as the loss of Fido.

You love your dog/cat?  That’s wonderful, me too.  Swear you wouldn’t eat him no matter that you were facing certain death otherwise?  OK, I tend to doubt that I would eat mine either.  Can’t say for certain, seeing as I’ve never been lost and starving in the wilderness and I’m unlikely to ever be.  Besides, Big Senile Dog is old and tough and scrawny.  I will admit that Little Incredibly Dumb Dog’s back legs bear more than a passing resemblance to fuzzy chicken legs when she’s wet and in the bath.  Plump, too.

Humans are animals too.  Yes, we are.  And we’re at the top of the food chain.  I intend to stay there.  Now I’m off to eat my pasta with meatless meatballs.

Wanna Get a Belly Fulla Beer

Ok I’m not talking about Saturday night, I’m talking about Friday Night Madness.

Generally, Husband is off on Fridays, and he orders pizza with Flower Child while I go out with Fatigue.  For this month, Husband is working on Fridays.  Oh NO!!  I need my hour and a half of Friday Night Madness.  It’s like a get out of jail free card, only it’s bitch and moan to my heart’s content, or just sit peacefully with my beer while Fatigue moans.  Plus all my favorite waitresses work on Friday evening.  Blargh.

The other day, on Facebook, I was in a discussion with a group of friends about soups.  Try not to be jealous of my glamorous New York lifestyle.  One friend mentioned onion soup made with a dark beer base, and it’s been on my mind ever since.

So, I called Fatigue and asked him if he’d like to come here instead of meeting at the bar.  Flower Child was very happy.  So happy she was *gasp* willing to not have pizza for dinner.  On a Friday.  This may not sound like much to you, Fringelings, but in our world that is huge.  She adores Fatigue and hasn’t seen him in quite a while.  Thumbs up.  Bought beer, bought onions, Comte, baguette, all good to go.

The weather cooperated when the day started out.  Windy, sideways rain, perfect soup for dinner day!  I worked on Astonishing, added about a thousand words.  This took three times as long as it should have because of the damned noise.  They’re STILL working on that building across the street.  It’s been over a year.  To redo the front and the first floor, where the retail spaces are.  I could have built an entire apartment building, complete with plumbing, out of Legos by now.  By the time I finished writing for the day and had Flower Child back home from school, the rain was gone, the wind was gone,  the sky was perfectly clear, and it was 70 degrees outside.  Of course.  Well forget it,   I had the makings for soup, soup is what I was making.

Except I was looking at that beer and decided I’d rather drink it than put it in the soup.  White wine base it is!  Shoot, then I should put in a dollop of brandy for depth.  (Mrs Fringe, Flower Child, and Fatigue are all vegetarians, so I use vegetable stock, not beef.  Poor, poor flesh eating Husband.)  I didn’t have any brandy.  Or cognac.  What the hell, I added a splash of Cabernet.

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A good time was had by all, Flower Child showed Fatigue all of her more recent sketches. A lovely Friday Night Madness indeed.

Happy Saturday, Fringelings!