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A horrific first of the month. The incomprehensible enormity of today's event and the sudden bitter anguish of seven families leaves us shaken and stunned. It is difficult to go about one's daily routine – grocery shopping, filling the bird feeders, making lunch – with the grim reality of a national catastrophe weighing strenuously upon you, laying siege to your emotions. The explosion of the Columbia, like the Challenger, will for the next few days kidnap us, captivate us, unite us in grief and disbelief, and ultimately sear itself forever onto our collective consciousness and into the fabric of our own psyches.
Particularly distressing for me regarding both the Columbia and Challenger tragedies is the fact that, as a child, I fervently wished to be an astronaut when I grew up. However, sissified childhood maladies such as severe ear infections, a propensity for motion sickness, and fainting spells forced my mother to delicately but realistically nip that little aspiration in the bud ("why not become a CPA instead?"). That's why I was shaking with impotent fury when that adenoidal non-singing twerp Justin Timberlake almost bought himself a seat on the Russian shuttle, and I was secretly delighted when he was turned down.
Like many people, I had had a premonition regarding the explosion of the Challenger back in 1986. My dream of becoming an astronaut had been long abandoned by that time, clearer heads prevailing, but my fascination with the planets and the stars and the infinite cosmos had never abated. I was happy for – and envied most mightily – Christa McAuliffe, with whom I could vicariously experience what would never be personally mine in this lifetime. My forewarning occurred only one day prior to lift off, in the early morning hours. David comforted me in the wake of a most disturbing nightmare.
I have always preferred rooms that are cool in temperature, allowing me the pleasant satisfaction of wrapping up in a comfy throw and achieving warmth via my own internal furnace. David used to say I radiated more body heat than any human being he had ever known. However, because my mother is required to take blood thinners, she is almost always cold, and keeps the thermostat adjusted accordingly. As any schoolchild knows, heat rises; ergo, living above my Mom, on a fairly consistent basis I feel like a baked ham. Like now. Cover me in glaze and call me done.
My bed broke last night. I hasten to add, before the usual ribald hilarity inherent in such a statement is unleashed, I was not only flying solo, but I was merely reaching over to retrieve the book I'm currently reading ("Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides – great read!) when the head of my bed plummeted to the floor, the cat landing with claw-infested surprise in my face. I suppose it can be repaired, but me holding a hammer is like my brother holding my dick – the job
get done, but it would be embarrassingly awkward and better left to the imagination.
3 tbsp butter
1 lb scallops (preferably bay, or sea cut into pieces)
2 tsp lemon zest
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp chopped dill
2 cups gruyere cheese (or more!)
2 ¼ cups mayo
Pepperidge Farm Rye Rounds (or white, but avoid pumpernickel)
Melt butter in skillet, medium heat. Add scallops, zest, garlic. Stir constantly 2 – 3 minutes. Add dill, cook 30 seconds longer; cool. Add cheese, mayo, and pepper to mixture and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. Top bread with mixture, add paprika, broil for 2 – 3 minutes and serve. Absolutely scrumptious!
When I was in high school I convinced my friend Pam that I had planted some of my boogers in a flower pot and they grew. I explained that I used my own urine as fertilizer, along with a combination of vermiculite and turtle feces, a trick taught to me by my botanist uncle. The resulting greenery stretched to almost six inches high, and flowered annually, producing tiny blossoms of vivid lavender and blue. I informed her the plant's scientific name was
, but that it was commonly known as "noseiums."
Later I convinced her guys menstruated twice yearly.
David and I had decided we wanted to adopt children, and we were aggressively researching and pursuing this goal when David was diagnosed with brain cancer. I suppose I'm relieved we hadn't started a family sooner — not only would his death have been rendered even more tragic by kids losing a Dad, but it would have been difficult for me raise a family by myself. I would have risen to the occasion, but I'm glad I wasn't called upon to do it. Still, I often wonder what will become of me when I'm elderly? I will possibly – probably – be alone.
I'm not adjusting well to cramped quarters after living in a large house. This afternoon, after breaking an electric hurricane lamp that David bought me our first year together, I experienced a major meltdown. Not too surprising in itself – it was, however, a much more spectacular event than I could ever have imagined. I cursed David, my parents, my cats; I cursed every unfortunate individual in my accursed life; I sobbed and railed and spat invective, finally falling dramatically onto the sofa, spent, in a near faint. Later, I reread "Jude's" entry of 1/08/03 and felt appropriately rebuked. Thanks Jude.
I'm being pretty hard on myself in my dreams. The other night I dreamt I was at a restaurant watching everyone else dine because when it came time to fill my order, the eatery just happened to run out EVERYTHING. I couldn't even get a fucking roll. But last night was the corker. I dreamt Mary Surratt had been posthumously exonerated ("sorry about that hanging business"), and I was accused of being a co-conspirator in President Lincoln's assassination. "I wasn't born until nearly 100 years later!" I protested. No problem. "Accessory after the fact!" That's some weird shit going down.
In my dream I was watching some street performance art that featured an almost naked O.J. Simpson. Suddenly another guy and I were whisked on-stage as “volunteers,” stripped from the waist down by stagehands, and ordered to fuck OJ, who then handed me a condom. He had a great ass, but the idea of butt-fucking OJ in front of an audience left me flaccid, and I handed the condom to the other guy, who seemed willing to go for it. My fellow cohort applied the condom, sprayed his dick and OJ’s gloryhole with Pam, and, amidst cheers, had at it.
At 5'7" tall, I used to be a boneyard. I weighed 105#. That was during my twenties. I wasn't convex, I was concave. In my thirties I started to fill out some and resembled something other than the ghost of Karen Carpenter. I looked great at 130# and enjoyed that weight for about two years. I know that at 145# I'm not exactly Rubenesque. In fact, I'm at my "ideal weight." But the rattlehead in me watches television. I see those TV jocks with their tiny waists and flat tummies, and God help me, I long to be concave again.
Enemies getting you down? Well, have no fear -- the "CLOAK OF DEATH" is here! Here's how it works – tightly seal your enemy within the stylish cloak. Your enemy's own body heat dissolves the cloak's secret inner lining, releasing waves of flesh-eating acids that quickly covers your enemy's unsuspecting skin. As your enemy writhes and screams in agony, another compartment near the neck opens to liberate deadly scorpions, specially trained to sting only the eyeballs. Your enemy will eventually collapse on the floor, his or her body reduced to the consistency of a loose bowel movement. Watch the hilarity unfold!
So here it is again. Saint-fucking-Valentine's Day. Hell should be reserved for the Hallmark executive who perpetuated THIS pip of a holiday. And I'm not saying this because David's dead and I'm alone. We were always vehemently anti-Valentine's day. We had enough romance in our every day lives that one year we agreed to take this day OFF from being a loving couple. "Why don't you blow me?" "Blow YOURSELF, assbag! Your come is chunky and tastes like spoiled mayonnaise!" We traded sweet nothings like that all day long. For dinner we ate cold cereal. Under harsh fluorescent lighting. Kisses!
I love the ocean. I like the mountains. I dislike being in a mob of people, like Times Square on New Year's Eve. I hate car commercials that encourage people to drive recklessly. I like the television shows "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Oz." I love the television shows "The Simpsons" and "Six Feet Under." I hate the ever increasing crop of "reality" shows. I love mussels, egg salad sandwiches, and a good cabernet. I dislike Riunite and trout. I love the theatre. I love the films "Magnolia," "Jaws," and "Dogma."
And Michael Jackson scares the absolute bejesus out of me.
I was putting away cans of soda for my Mom tonight on the bottom shelf of her refrigerator, kneeling on the floor of her kitchen, when she suddenly blurted out, "You do your best work on your knees, don't you?" I nearly swallowed my tongue. I looked sharply up at her; I couldn't believe she actually knew what she was saying. She must have experienced a Tourette's-induced moment, I reasoned. My prim 81 year old mother would never EVER make such a crass remark. The twinkle in her eye told me differently. Then she added, incredibly, "David always seemed happy…"
Kevin emerged from sleep into a slow, groggy awareness. Someone else was in the room. Opening his eyes with difficulty, he discerned in the parsimonious light that it was the florid-faced night nurse, looking constipated as usual. Hospitals, he thought derisively. They give you a sleeping pill, and just when you begin to drift off, they wake you up again. Go figure. He had barely finished this reflection when he felt a warm, pleasant softness against his face. His last coherent thought was ‘the old bitch is coming on to me' as the florid-faced nurse pressed harder onto the pillow…
Snow, snow, and more snow. This is being hailed as "The Blizzard of 2003." We are experiencing, without exaggeration, the worst winter in living memory. Even David, who liked the snow and enjoyed the winter, would have agreed that this year is overkill. We received about two feet of snow from this storm, and as of this writing it's still continuing to fall, albeit more lightly. The snowbank at the bottom of the driveway is easily twenty feet high and from some angles completely obscures a view of the house. I feel like I'm Heidi in the Alps. "Grandpapa! Grandpapa!"
Never having attended one of Jesse Helms' soirees, I had warned my date Colin Farrell to be prepared for anything, but the evening was actually enjoyably subdued. Pat Buchanan, dressed in a striking backless lamé gown, was doing some hilarious Bette Davis imitations, and everyone got misty when Dr. Laura Schlessinger strapped on a dildo and sang "Having My Baby" to a clearly smitten Bill O'Reilly, who's mascara ran dreadfully during the serenade. But things turned ugly when Pat Robertson implied to Trent Lott that Barbra was vocally superior to Judy. Trent kicked off his heels, squaring off with Pat.
Jesse's Soiree 2.
Trent Lott's expression seemed to be contorted into the final agonies of rage convulsed, and Pat Robertson's tiara trembled with anger, his face as scarlet as his lipstick. A catfight of unmitigated proportions was about to erupt. Now, like everyone else in that room, I would have rather strapped on a prom dress and skip through a roomful of skinheads singing "I Enjoy Being A Girl" than to confront two angry drag queens, but action had to be taken. I leapt in between them and distracted them with the latest line of Mary Kay cosmetics. Melee averted.
Jesse's Soiree 3.
I sat alone, contentedly sipping my champagne, watching the goings-on at the soiree: Jesse was making out with DMX; my date Colin was teaching Jerry Falwell an Irish two-step (Jerry kept having to lift the hem of his lovely sky blue chiffon dress so he could see his feet); Charlton Heston, dressed as a dominatrix, was rimming Robert Bork, the latter moaning and shuddering with lusty pleasure. Rush Limbaugh had patted my fanny and drunkenly called me a tasty morsel, but otherwise it had been a fun evening. Jesse Helms really knew how to throw a party.
Three weeks later we were invited to the gala event of the year – the opening performance of what's been called ‘the greatest drag show of the ages,' starring Jerry Falwell as "Lady Urethra" and Pat Buchanan as "Plethora Gland," in "The Ladies Who Swallow." It was magnificent! Those two glamorous queens told jokes, sang Sondheim, and expertly strutted their stuff, backed up by "The Buck Futters," six hot, muscular guys dancing around in nothing but their tightie whities. The finale consisted of a tear-jerking "How Great Thou Art," the Buck Futters humming reverently in the background, sporting stiffies.
I attended Jake's Greek grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary dinner tonight, YaYa and Papou. Once there I learned that Jake had brought me along just to piss off his family – he constantly referred to me as his "date" to his horrified relatives. But YaYa and Papou didn't seem to care. In fact, I don't think they even understood exactly who I was. I congratulated YaYa on the event; she smiled and, literally, spat something in Greek at me. Later I said to Papou, "That was a great dinner, wasn't it?" to which he replied, "Well… sometimes when I cough, I pee."
Because of the rainy, mild weather we've been experiencing the last couple of days, the huge amount of ice and snow up on the roof slid off today in a shaking rumble of movement, forming a six foot high ridge in front of the house. It's good that it's gone, but it
kind of pretty. The sharp angles of the roof had been transformed into soft, rounded curves, giving the appearance that the roof was actually made of pure white thatch. But I guess the house, with much thunder and circumstance, decided to shed itself of its winter frippery.
I saw "Minority Report" on DVD, and found it to be hugely disappointing. It was visually interesting, if self-consciously so, but it often degenerated into abject silliness. It's difficult to believe this is the film Spielberg wished to make. It's all glitz and no substance. Tom Cruise slaps on a face of grim determination and tries to pass it off as acting. The only portion I found mildly engaging was the plight of the "precogs." This was an extremely interesting premise that went nowhere. In the end I felt cheated that a potentially great film completely, tragically missed its mark.
Liz, a former co-worker, unabashedly admitted to me that she encouraged her dog, aptly named Peter, to "get his rocks off" using her body as the catalyst. I honestly didn't believe this until I actually witnessed it. She got down on all fours, draped an old coat over her back, and then began to scream, shouting to Peter with pleas for help. The poor mutt ran to her, anxious and confused, and then mounted her, pumping strenuously until expelling his doggie jizz. Afterwards, laughing at my discomfiture, Liz remarked, "Sweetheart, you have all the sophistication of a church mouse."
The cottonmouth snake, as it swims and esses its way through murky, uncertain waters, inflates its one large lung to rise up and out of the wet morass for nourishment, for oxygen, for life. I was searching for my own internal organ to inflate, willing it with a frenzied want, in an attempt to rise above the emotional quagmire I had found myself in. But I lacked the natural ability of the cottonmouth; I could partake neither of the air nor of the nourishment nor of the life. I existed in a miasmic netherworld and waited for a spiritual uplift.
During our daily plod we collide with each other, sometimes discreetly, sometimes not, and if we are lucky the experience causes us to morph a little, to synergize and accrete, almost imperceptibly perhaps, but altered nevertheless. 100 Words is like that as well; I read billowing cyber swirls of others thoughts and deeds and truths, words that make me laugh and cry and think, and I believe I'm maybe a little wiser afterwards, certainly entertained, and definitely enriched. I can almost hear the voices of 100 Words contributors, murmuring together, overlapping, interweaving, ecumenically mixing whispers that ring in soft symphony.
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