Friday Night Madness

O Happy Day

Bluejay, a regular visitor to the terrace while I do my yoga.

Bluejay, a regular visitor to the terrace while I do my yoga.

My Nook is working again.  If I don’t try to use it outside, in sunlight.

I’ve been in a strange mood.  Not bad, not good, just feeling the urge to lie low.  For me, this means reading. Unfortunately, the Nook wasn’t working for about two weeks, which sent me into a panic. What will I do? How will I avoid all the thoughts I don’t want to think if I can’t get lost in fiction?  Will I start collecting paper books again, until the apartment looks like a home for wayward book mites?  No, whether the e-reader remains functional or not, that last is not an option.

I dumped/gave away a lot of stuff when we moved into this apartment.  Clothes, books, toys, junk.  It’s making me edgy now, to pay attention and see how easily clutter can begin accumulating again.  I’m trying. It should be easy, every other article on Facebook or HuffPo is about the beauty and advantages of minimalist living. If only the alternating posts weren’t about how to repurpose that old box/shoe/onion skin/takeout container.  I’m saying no.  I will not save magazines for a potential project, empty cans for funky shaped quick breads. I will not save things just in case.  I will not fill Pinterest boards with pictures of unique and inspiring objet d’art made from useless and likely moldy shit.  We’ve been in this apartment for 8? months now.  I haven’t missed one thing that I got rid of. Not even the once-great thermal bag with the mystery stains and torn lining I used to use for beach lunches.

The boys’ room…well.  When Nerd Child came home for the summer, he came with all his stuff.  Clothes for all seasons, bedding, towels, amps, guitars, cords and wires.  I don’t think he’s fully unpacked once since leaving for school three years ago.  Yah yah, a good mommy would go through it all for him.  I’m not that good. For as much as I got rid of, there are things I thought I had disposed of that have mysteriously reappeared. Little things, like the full sized electronic keyboard and stand. My bell rang a couple of weeks ago, and it was my mother in law, keyboard and stand in her shopping cart.  I had no idea it had ended up in her apartment.  Silly me assumed this item that hadn’t been used in ten years didn’t have a freaking LoJack in it. If I so much as open the door to that bedroom, the damned keyboard flips me the bird and blows a raspberry from beneath its Hefty bag comforter.  In its old spot, blocking what should be a path between the door and bed, propped across two suitcases and a wheeled duffel bag.

Happy Friday, Fringelings.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be reading, before the screen goes unresponsive again.

City Angles, a birthday pilgrimage

Every year around Art Child’s birthday, we head downtown to the big art supply store so she can get some new supplies.  This year I brought the camera.  Note the green metal panels over the windows in the alley shots.  I was told those were to protect the residents in case someone dropped an atom bomb on the city. Along the lines of being told to get under your desk in case during the old air raid drills.  Not that I would remember such a thing, of course.

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Since Husband drove us, and we were already downtown, heading over to the village for a slice was a given. Later shots are along the West Side Highway, headed back uptown.

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And a few more random photos taken on my way to PT.

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Happy Friday, Fringelings, have a great weekend!


One More for the Road, or in this case, Three More

I suppose if you look really hard, a theme could be found on my bookshelf.

I suppose if you look really hard, a theme could be found on my bookshelf.

When we moved into this apartment, I packed away many of my books, and donated many more.  These are what’s left–not including cookbooks.

Followers have been listening to me whine about my writing (non)life, and my plan to take stock and move forward.  One of the ideas I was playing with was the thought of self-publishing short stories in groups of three or so.  Since I knew less than zero about self pubbing, I asked on the writers’ board.  I now know about zero, just enough to confirm that I am indeed too lazy and too broke to pursue self publishing at this time.  I’ve never done much in terms of submitting my short fiction. Most have never been subbed anywhere, the few that were sent out once and then filed away with the inevitable rejection letter that arrived a mere 9, 12, 15 months later.

Apparently my sanity plunged along with this week’s temperatures, so I sent off stories to literary  magazines, complete with crappy cover letters.  What the hell do you write on a cover letter when you’re unpublished and have nothing to say about yourself that ties in with said stories in any way?  “Mrs Fringe here, checking in with ovaries o’ steel.”

Why steel?  Because I will only submit to markets that (potentially) pay.  Doesn’t have to be a lot, doesn’t have to be The Paris Review (no, I didn’t send anything to them), but it is my work.  I’ve seen a lot of quotes go past on my Twitter feed recently, having to do with art and writing for the pure love and satisfaction. Most of these quotes attributed to writers who have reached some measure of success, naturally.

Nope.  My words are mine. I spend time, I edit, I pace, I obsess, I rewrite. They’re work, and if I don’t value my words, why/how would I expect anyone else to do so?  If I meet someone and mention that I walk dogs, and they then ask me to walk their dog, it’s understood that this will be a paid walk.  It has nothing to do with whether or not I love dogs.  I can just imagine it, if you really loved animals, you’d be completely fulfilled picking up my dog’s shit in the rain, just for the love of it, and be thankful for the exposure. The reality of this philosophy is that my already slim odds of having a story accepted go down significantly–there aren’t a whole lot of paying lit mags, and they regularly publish prize winning, bestselling authors.  All self explanatory as to why, though I write and have written shorts on a regular basis through the years, I’ve rarely subbed/queried them.

I expect my sanity to return with the projected rising temps.  I hope.

And because it’s Friday, a few tank photos, white balance adjusted.

IMG_3200 IMG_3201 IMG_3209 IMG_3211 IMG_3216 IMG_3224 IMG_3227 IMG_3233 IMG_3248 IMG_3251 IMG_3254

Enjoy your Friday, Fringelings.  And when it’s last call tonight, tell your bartender drinks should be on him, for the love of it.

Dreaming in Color



The room I grew up in looked like Walt Disney had projectile puked in technicolor.  That was more than a bit much, but I guess it had an influence. I do love color.  Not so much in the clothes I wear, but for accessorizing, and surrounding me in the apartment.  Just surprising pops of pretty. Fatigue surprised me last Friday Night Madness with the above bracelets.  Aren’t they cool?  They’re made of paper, an idea that I absolutely love.

It’s gray and blah outside, I swear the light snow coming down is slush. I just got back in from walking Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, where she cowered and shook her way down the block, unable to determine what was more terrifying–the super driving his little snow plow alongside us, or that horrible cold wet stuff under her feet.

But it is Friday, I’m looking forward to Friday Night Madness tonight, and I’m trying to get myself in the right mindset to grocery shop while staying within budget.  I can’t complain, because I got to the fish store the other day and got a few new critters for the tank.  Reefing can be a very expensive hobby, I stick to the cheaper fish and buy small, small frags.  They’ll grow into larger, full colonies–patience is key in this hobby anyway.

I got a pair of fish I wasn’t planning on, a little more aggressive than I wanted.  But when I saw the orange lips on that solorensis wrasse, and he had a mate with him, for an amazing price! I absolutely could not resist. I’m sharing photos of them below, happy with the livestock but unhappy that I still haven’t been able to figure out the best settings on the white balance when taking these photos.  The LED light make everything appear very blue in the pics, no matter how I try to balance the settings of the actual lights.  Still, take a tank tour with me, enjoy my pretties, creepy crawlies, and colors!

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Pack Up Your Troubles

and let the Weeping Buddha absorb your sorrows.

and let the Weeping Buddha absorb your sorrows.

I’ve read different origin stories for this symbol.  Some say he’s weeping for the troubles of the world, and then absorbing them, others that it represents Buddha as warrior, crying for the son he just killed. The most frequent I hear is that this is a later, more modern invention, and never part of the original Buddha texts/stories–because Buddha was beyond sorrow.  That said, I love the idea, to touch his back, and allow the Weeping Buddha to absorb your sorrows, so you can move on. The thing is, day to day problems (real or created) and sadness feel so very personal and isolating, and in my mind the statue represents letting go of that, to connect with others, because, well, Buddha. He’s been on my “list,” you know, the unending, imaginary list of things I’d like to have.  Well, yesterday I received a package in the mail from a beautiful friend, and there he was.  Thank you!

By yesterday morning I was tired of sulking. I finally finished and emailed a critique I had promised weeks ago, spent some time with Man Child and his friend Miss Music, made a favorite comfort dish for dinner (spaghetti with broccoli, chick peas, and capers), touched base with a writing friend I haven’t spoken with for a while, and began making some notes for a short story I’ve been thinking about.

So. Today is Friday, always a good thing. I think I’m good to meet Fatigue this evening for Friday Night Madness, even better.  And while I had my coffee, I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise with Art Child.



And a little fusion, for your listening pleasure:

It Is! Friday.

My week, in a tissue box.

My week, in a tissue box.

It’s been a long, disjointed week. Art Child has been sick, pneumonia.  Yah, good times.

We’ve pretty much been trapped in the apartment. One afternoon, I looked down from the balcony and saw this:

seemed perfect for the mood.

seemed perfect for the mood.

But then yesterday, the light was amazing.  Not a sunrise or a sunset, just a beautiful moment.


So I took a long, long shower,

I'll be honest, I wished I could stay in the steam until next week.

I’ll be honest, I wished I could stay in the steam until next week.


and opened the file with that short story I’ve been staring at for months.  “Pigeons.”

I hope everyone has a happy Friday Night Madness.  I’ve given you a head start with the madness.    

Above, its own page labeled Fiction III will take you there.  One of these days I need to reorganize the pages, figure out a better way to lay out the shorts I’ve got here.


Little Things

Can I interest you in a cuppa?

Can I interest you in a cuppa?

Let’s be honest.  Good or bad, day to day life is mostly about the little things.  Hitting on the right sentence, facing the overflowing laundry basket, kiddo feeling wobbly-wobbly, it’s all those small moments.  See the teapot above?  I love that thing, the little ritual of spooning out my favorite tea, pouring the water in and letting it steep.  Now that we’re in a bigger space, I feel like I can breathe better and enjoy those moments more frequently.  Let’s be honest, the dishwasher plays a big role in all of this.  Oh, the joys of planning a snack or meal and not stopping to calculate how many dishes/pots/pans it will create.

And the tank.  All the little things I get to watch in the tank now–and this is well before I purchase any livestock.

Full tank shot--now with live rock to jump start the cycle!

Full tank shot–now with live rock to jump start the cycle!

I got just a few pieces of live rock the other day, brought them home and put them in the tank, and surprise! The first hitchhikers. A patch of bubble algae–nuisance, though you can all snicker imagining me chasing these little green pimples through the water, a small patch of zoas (zoanthid, a type of soft polyped coral that looks like little flowers)–unlikely to survive the cycle–most living critters can’t tolerate the spikes in ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate that are an integral part of a new tank’s cycle, but still made me smile, a mushroom (corallimorpharian), and two red legged hermit crabs.  Hmm.

Many people consider them a necessary and valuable part of the “clean up crew” in a reef tank.  I don’t like hermit crabs.  They’re cute and interesting to watch, until they spot the shell they like better than the one they’re wearing, and murder the snail inside to appropriate it.  And then they decide switching shells and killing snails was great fun, and they go on a killing spree, ripping snails from their needed shells even when it’s a shell that wouldn’t cover their beady little eyes.  But, they could survive the cycle, and in the meantime I have no snails.  It’s nice to see a little life behind the glass.  Couldn’t get a shot of them yet, sorry.  One went half under a rock, the other is hiding at the back of the tank.

Poor tightly closed zoas, soon to melt away.

Poor tightly closed zoas, soon to melt away.

Most of the color on the live rock is coralline algae, a “good” algae that gives a nice purple color to the tank and ideally uses up the nutrients that would otherwise promote the growth of nuisance algae.

Left side

Left side

Right side

Right side

One of these days I’m going to find the tripod, still packed away somewhere.  It makes a big difference in the quality of the pics I can take through the glass.

It’s Friday, Fringelings.  I’m looking forward to Friday Night Madness with Fatigue and enjoying the little things. Excuse me while I go test the tank for ammonia levels.  Let the cycle move forward!  But no, you shouldn’t pee in the tank.


I suppose I should have dusted before taking this photo, heh.

I suppose I should have dusted before taking this photo, heh.

Happy Friday, Fringelings.  It’s Halloween, and I’m feeling nostalgic this morning.  Maybe not nostalgic because no, I would not want to set the calendar back thirty years,  just looking/thinking back. That means the iPod is cranked– sorry neighbors, hope you enjoy some morning Doobie Bros.

Art Child has been working hard to get me into the Halloween spirit, and I’m just not feeling it, no matter how many fun sized candy bars I’ve eaten.  I always loved this day with my kiddos, so much fun planning and choosing the right costumes, the perfect accessories, the appropriate offerings for every age/dietary restrictions of trick or treaters who showed up at the door.  And let’s not forget 8000 viewings of the Nightmare Before Christmas.  “Oh yes! I am the Pumpkin King!” I’ve found Halloween to be a whole lot more fun as a parent than as a kid. I don’t know if it’s a neighborhood thing or times have changed, but we definitely didn’t dress up and go trick-or-treating for as many years as the kids around me (including my own) do now. Plus the costumes are better.  I remember two choices as a child, raid mom’s (or dad’s) closet, or wear one of those godawful masks from the drugstore that left you walking blind and bleeding from little nicks the plastic gave.  Halloween makeup meant your mother let you put her lipstick on, if you were lucky the powder, too.

I’m looking at the bags of candy I’ve got ready to dump into the bowl.

You didn't really think I was going to give the Snickers away, did you?

You didn’t really think I was going to give the Snickers away, did you?

Charleston Chews were my brother’s favorite.  Maybe this is what has me looking back. They used to come in these long, long bars. He would sit down after school with a Charleston Chew, a bag of Wise butter-flavor popcorn, and a glass of water. Daily. One year, I think the last I went trick-or-treating, he took me.  Naturally, we went down the block we weren’t supposed to go down first thing.  As I remember it, I had gotten to ring one bell before a group of older, bigger boys spotted us and began heading our way.  My brother pushed me into someone’s yard and closed their gate to keep me out of harm’s way, saying something warm and loving like, “don’t you fucking move,” and was then egged and shaving creamed head to toe by those boys.  I was untouched, half terrified and half thrilled by the drama.  My he-ro.  Every little girl should have one.  After self defense lessons, of course.

My mother was one of the keep-the-blinds-closed-and-pretend-you-aren’t-home moms.  I’m definitely not one of those, and hope I never will be.  It’s all very civilized here in the city, anyway.  There’s a sign up sheet left at the guard’s desk for several days before Halloween, and after school today copies of the list showing which apartments are willing to receive trick-or-treaters and when will be distributed.  Older people can be funny about the Halloween costumes, even the ones who open the door and give candy.  They seem to stop looking at what the kids are wearing, just throw out guesses. Overheard from one senior this morning, “Oh, how beautiful! Are you a princess?”  The child was wearing furry ears and a tail.

So in my oh-my-God-it’s-been-how-many-years? mood, I started surfing Facebook.  I saw the page of someone I went to high school with, and did the thing I said I was never interested in using Facebook for.  I sent a friend request and a message.  I’m guessing the request will be ignored (different last name than I used to have) and the message unseen, as FB told me the request will go to his “other” folder, since we aren’t friended.  I didn’t even know the “other” folder existed until recently.  Shocking as this might be, I was kind of a fuck-up in high school.  He wasn’t, and is now successful in his field, while I scarf the Halloween candy hours to ensure I have to go back to the store and buy a bag of whatever is left that the kids will make faces at.  Remember, that one old lady who always gave those Bit’o’ Honey bars?

Well ok, maybe I’ll share the Reese’s.  But that beer tucked away in the back of the fridge? Mine, after the bell stops ringing.


New floors

New floors

That’s what it feels like, this preparing to move and trying to find workers we can afford.  I needed one thing to go smoothly, and this was it.  We walked into the floor store, and I asked the guy to show me the least expensive hardwoods he had in stock.  Excellent.  Next day delivery, whee!  The delivery guys even called when they said they would, and showed up on time.  And that’s where the smoothness ended.  Turns out the wood was in the wrong type of boxes, not packed correctly, or something.  Because as they unloaded their truck onto the elevator, boxes were splitting and planks were spilling out.  Off the elevator, more planks hitting the floor.  Hi, new neighbors!  No really, we’re quiet people, try not to hate us yet.  Needless to say, lots of boards were damaged.  This did make it easy for me to take some of the planks that didn’t have a box anymore and play puzzle on the floor.

And Art Child saw the piece.  The perfect piece.  She took it and placed it on the floor in what will be her room.  Sure, the linoleum tiles currently in there are an excellent example of late ’60’s decor, but I don’t think we’ll miss them too much.

IMG_1934In the interest of budget and productivity, Husband took the wallpaper off of the bedroom walls.  You never know what you’ll find behind wallpaper.  You could find a hidden fortune, or maybe

just this.

just this.

I would pissercize my anxiety away, but I re-injured my back pulling old nails and hooks out of the walls.  Ohhmmmm.  I’ll just meditate on my future new tank.  I’ve got the perfect spot all picked out.

Reef wall

Reef wall

Husband and I went to get little sample cans of paint colors this morning, and as I was hyperventilating, thinking of the work and cost ahead, this song came on the radio.  I don’t think I’ve even heard it in twenty-five or thirty years.  Not a soothing song, but I was soothed.  Maybe it just threw me back all those years, to the many moves I’ve made, and how it’s always worked out. Besides, it’s Friday, and that’s always good.


Gray Morning Adventures

Well timed, it should be pouring when I pick up Art Child.

Well timed, it should be pouring when I pick up Art Child.

Since it’s the most intimate of relationships, that between myself and the ever growing circle of people I’ve never met who read here, I thought I’d share my morning.  I think it’s the Benadryl, lowering my inhibitions.

I needed to get my legs waxed.  I have one woman that I use and have used for years, I’ve followed her to three different shady nail salons at this point.  Great for her, not good for me is that she’s the least kept secret in the neighborhood.  And always booked on Fridays.  My plan was to go yesterday, but the girl was home sick.  Now, did I really have to do this today? It’s cool and gloomy, I won’t be putting shorts on in the next three days.  But yes, I had to do it today because I have to believe the rain will stop and the temperature will rise any minute now.  I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I last went.  I don’t want to say how long, but the odds are “Summertime and The Living is Easy” was playing on my iPod.  Don’t judge, getting waxed is a luxury in my budget, why stretch the dollars when my legs are encased in socks, jeans, and snow or rain boots?

A new place opened across from the grocery store.  Much higher end than the “salons” I generally frequent, but I was certain they’d be able to take me right away.  Excellent, I figured I could bring my little cart, get waxed, and then go straight to the store for dinner ingredients.  And beer, because Friday Night Madness.  Since they’re new, maybe they’d even have a special discount.  Which they did offer, a free eyebrow wax your first time in, as long as you’re getting something else waxed too. I don’t generally get my eyebrows waxed.  A couple of times a year I go to the threading place, $7 takes care of it.  But, free!

Along with the contrast of bright lighting, clean corners, and elegant bottles of lotion, their wax was different.  Fancy.  A lovely color, and the woman peeled it off without needing to use strips of cloth.  Cool.  Friendly gal, chatting away as she worked, asked me questions, “complimented” me on how ungorilla-like (paraphrasing here) my legs were considering the amount of time since my last wax, told me all about the benefits of this special wax and lotions of more complicated than it needs to be process they use. I wanted to tell her to relax.  I’m not about to become a regular, but I wouldn’t forget to tip her.  My upper face started feeling a little weird.  At first I didn’t notice beyond the normal hey, someone just plastered hot wax on your skin! But by the time she was finished, I felt like I was having to push my eyelids open.  Hmm, mirror time. Yes indeed, big welty hives around my eyes, across my forehead, and starting to go down the side of my face.

“I think I’m having an allergic reaction.”  I kind of couldn’t believe I had to say this, since she was, yanno, looking at me.

“Oh? Oh no.  It’s just sometimes if it’s been a long time since you’ve been waxed, the body releases histamines, causing a few hives.”

What the fuck, is she Mel Brooks?  Anyone else remember History of the World, Part I?

Clerk:  Occupation?

Comicus:  Stand-up philosopher

Clerk:  What?

Comicus:  Stand-up philosopher.  I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension.

Clerk:  Oh, a bullshit artist!

I could have run straight home, but it hadn’t begun to rain yet and I was right across the street from the grocery store, so I did my shopping, kind of amused by people noticing and not commenting but staring at the welts on my face.  To complete the perfect morning, it was a long, long line.  There was a baby/toddler in a grocery cart next to me, cute little girl.  She stared too, so I smiled at her in the hopes that my face wasn’t so scary she would begin crying.  Her response in a really loud and clear voice, “I did kaki.”

Maybe she was offering it for my next wax.

All I know is it isn’t even one in the afternoon, and I’m thinking about a beautiful moon I saw the other night, wondering if it’s bedtime.

Yup, I am still trying to capture a good moon photo.  :)

Yup, I am still trying to capture a good moon photo. 🙂

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