post-script to the idea of joe appearing in the magazine (see 09.01.05): it turns out that being married was a factor after all. that's okay, as it would have been beyond our budget to give our kitchen the makeover it so desperately needs. my colleagues agreed, on the other hand, that my swanky friend grant is just the thing, so he and my dear ex-roomie valya will be wowing america with their excellent new place out west. huzzah vant! i should warn you that my pimping fee is the right to wear our resulting spread as a tee shirt. on a related note, i could be in another shoot: a number of staffers will pop up in a piece next year, and the word is that those of us who haven't appeared recently can expect a call. the prospect of said call has reduced me to a pile of neurotic goo - though cameras and i have a hate/hate relationship, i won't pretend that being deemed fly enough for print doesn't matter. there's always the argument that short, flaming red hair and an eyebrow bar knock me out of our demographic, but if simon doonan is to be trusted, i'm not as far out of the mainstream as i used to be. expect news and/or recommitment to operation infinite pulchritude soon.


direct experience is planetary in my personal universe. i doubt the existence of new jersey, for instance, because i've never been there; sure, george and bruce springsteen and the big-haired chicks who took over eighth avenue suggest its presence, but where's the proof? bruce has been known to lie. that stuff across the river could be more new york for all i know; i can't make out details from here. i also doubt, or doubted, that moths really eat sweaters. it sounds too silly, and i've never seen one do anything other than pose on a screen door and/or get chomped by my cats. when i cracked open our wardrobe to begin the annual summer/winter switcheroo the other day, i actually felt sorry for the moth who fluttered out - poor guy was trapped, maybe lonely. then i pulled on my beloved merino v-neck and realized the little son of a bitch had gone mr. creosote on my closet; there were dime-sized holes all over that sweater, and others were equally fleh. forget my catch-and-release policy; mothwar is fucking on.


found one of these skittering around on the kitchen floor on monday night. it wasn't very menacing (it was quite relaxed, in fact, until i trapped it under a jelly jar), but we didn't have them in california, so i had to jump around yelling whoa! whoa! like a little boy at his first dinosaur exhibit. fascinating little creatures - according to that museum site, they catch dinner-bugs by "by half pouncing and half lassoing them." i liberated ours on the fire escape before it had a chance to perform for us.

this month has been skittery as a general proposition. our trip out west (photo set here) tried and exhausted us so thoroughly that we were excited about coming back to work; that's never a good sign. the hordes of family and friends we visited were all lovely, but we were mourning, sleeping, socializing or traveling for a week straight. proper vacations are 95% idle nonsense and 5% food, and i dare you to tell me otherwise.

one of the cats welcomed us back to new york by depositing a molar in his food dish, so we hauled everyone to the vet on saturday. the (comparatively) good news: though he won't need work immediately, chuck has some funky gum disease. the bad news: jude has a mouthful of rotten teeth (at the age of 4, mind you) and will need a dental with a bunch of extractions. the shit news: the vet's pre-dental blood draw revealed the early signs of renal disease, so we can't go after jude's teeth until we nurse his kidneys back to health. september, you are awesome.

1: why do people keep giving you denim shirts?
2: i don't know. i guess i can use them as smocks when i paint stuff.
1&2: [singing] smock my bitch up...
1: we need to start hanging out with other people.

09.07.05 [CA]

yesterday's service was nice; joe gave a moving eulogy with his aunt, and the earnest young priest dealt well with the fact that 75% of the mourners didn't even pretend to be catholic. he offered non-believers the option of crossing their arms over their hearts and receiving a generic blessing in place of communion (the physicality of which was a strong reminder of entering water slides with my sisters in the late '80s). he also lost his holy water en route to the cemetery and had to bless a bottle of spring water on the fly. i found that quite endearing.

i solved the mystery of the quality inn's MARTIANS WELCOME sign at checkout this morning. when i asked the clerk if there was a convention in town, she handed me the lyrics to "here come the martian martians" and said that her boss just loved the song. a note at the end added that You could do yourself no better favor than to go to Amazon and buy everything Jonathan Richman has ever recorded. bless you, flagstaff quality inn.

09.05.05 [AZ]

joe's relatives are trickling into flagstaff from utah, the phoenix area, and the east coast; the extended-extended family are due today, which is when my name-recognition abilities will take a serious hit. the memorial service for his grandparents isn't until tomorrow, but the aunts and uncles spent last night watching old videos of the matriarch and patriarch. got a call yesterday morning from my mom, who says that my own grandpa is taking another turn for the worse; after putting in what might once again have been my last call to him, reminiscing with the folks out here, and finishing j.m. coetzee's disgrace, i've had enough of death to last me for a long time. on the phone with mom, i saw a pea-sized black widow in its spooky patternless web between fenceposts in the driveway. she said she doesn't kill them unless she finds them inside. i forgot about the spider until the end of the call when i was shuffling my feet by the posts, and there it was in the cuff of my jeans. it was a weird day.


assuming the higher-ups don't mind using a long-term boyfriend rather than a husband, the missus might be popping up in my magazine soon; we're doing a piece on guys who cook, featuring recipes and a man-in-the-kitchen portrait or two. this would entail some emergency interior decorating on our part (would the room's cold war theme have to go?), but i dig the idea of flaunting joe and his mad skillz. he's gotten early aesthetic approval from the editors, so i'll cross my fingers for news when we're back from vacation. as far as glossy debuts go, this is vastly preferable to my adventure with butt photos. creme anglaise beats ass cream every time.

tonight we're headed to drinking liberally's mayoraoke night, where our local dean refugees promise to "promote democracy one poorly sung cover tune at a time." expected attendees include mayoral candidates anthony "fortress of solitude" weiner (dig the stickball commercials) and joe's boss's fave, gifford miller ("after months of being known to sing an occasional song on the campaign trail, i feel well prepared to face the critical drinking liberally audience"). if there's any justice in the world, someone will do "barracuda." if i drink conservatively, that someone will not be me.