May 2009

Wow. I’ve…um…huh.

So I did this painting. Of a hot sauce label. That was meant to be sort of tacky and charming and vaguely off-color as many hot sauce labels are.

It’s…um…well, it…I mean, it wasn’t intentional but…

Dude, this is the most homoerotic thing I’ve ever drawn, and I say that as a woman who has drawn two penis-creatures cuddling.


I kept thinking it’d get better if I kept painting, but…urrr. Not so much. It’s…well…I mean…um.

I mean, if I’d meant to do it, that’d be one thing, I’d be quite pleased with myself, but since it just happened kinda accidentally, and no matter what I did, it got…more so. Errr.

I eventually called Kevin in to see if I was hallucinating the homoerotic quality of the piece, and Kevin took one look and fell down, so possibly it’s even worse than I think.


Chapped Ass Hot Sauce

ETA: OH SWEET JESUS, I didn’t even notice the negative space…oh…oh dear…

*sniffle* "Up" made me cry.


I generally figure Pixar gets one sniffle out of me per movie, but this was totally unfair. Kevin and I both choked up, and there was much surreptitious eye-wiping. (I remember how I used to roll my eyes when my Mom cried at movies. Then I hit some invisible point in my late twenties and now I mist up at more movies than not. I have made a mental note to never, EVER watch "Out of Africa," which was like her personal kryptonite.)

It was one of my favorite Pixar movies so far. I recommend it highly.

Also, I LOVED the opening short. I am totally the guy making porcupines.

It is pointed out that I shamefully neglected to mention that said artist of awesome piece is Roger Person.

The thing I went back to get that had been nagging at me was a…wall-mounted sculpture?…of a large-mouth bass mount with a stylized hand sticking out of it’s mouth. (It’s a real fish, too) a description which fails to capture how neat it is.

The painting is an enormous multicolored jackrabbit on a stylized indigo background.

Learning Experience For The Day

If you go to pick up a painting that you saw a week ago, and which has been itching at your brain, and you figure you’ll get it for yourself for your birthday, and then you run into the artist at the gallery, and you start chatting and you go over to HIS gallery across the street, and his art is seriously amazingly awesome and you wind up falling in love with another painting which is just major cool and there’s no price on it so he gives it to you for $400 which is like half the price of the similar paintings on the wall because you’re friendly and the economy is hitting artists really bad and it’s really way more than you can afford but shit you just got another two books on the book deal and what the hell because it’s a really REALLY awesome painting and you don’t have any really BIG art anyway and you DID just pay off your credit cards and dude, it’s SO AWESOME but he has to retouch a corner that got scuffed so he does that while you go look at Macedonian abstract art showing at the gallery across the street and why Macedonian abstract artists are showing work in Siler City I have no idea but once it’s dry you go back and pick it up and god it’s so awesome–do not fail to take the size of your car into account.

There may be more than fifteen square feet of space in an elderly Nissan Altima, but none of it is arranged so that a 3 x 5 canvas can fit in it. I know. I tried for about twenty minutes.

Did I mention it was an awesome painting?

Kevin claims he’s going to keep the transcript of my voice mail message for when he writes his memoir, "Life With Ursula," since with my usual inability to stick to a topic it kept veering off into A) this is an awesome painting and B) um, help?

I should be able to go pick it up tomorrow morning, and we’ll tie it into the back of Kevin’s convertible.

I did mention it was awesome, didn’t I?


So my bank got hacked, or one of their minions got hacked, or something, and the upshot is that they send me a new credit card just in case.

I call them up to activate it–I don’t owe any money, but I still prefer to have the card on hand, in case of emergencies. After I jump through all the hoops, I get the reciting-from-script woman trying to put me on an automatic payment protection plan, whereby Wachovia pays my minimum payment balance for six months if I or my spouse become unemployed blah blah blah.

"Sorry," I say, "but this is useless to me, I don’t HAVE a minimum payment."

"I understand your reservations, ma’am, but in this troubled economic time, wouldn’t you like to–"

"I’m self-employed. I can’t become unemployed. This is useless to me."

"I understand your reservations, ma’am, but this is a risk-free trial for thirty days–"

"I. Don’t. Owe. Anybody. Any. Money. This is no good to me." 

"I understand your reservations, ma’am, but if you’d just like to review the protection plan, we’ll send you–"

"There is no possible way that I can use this service. Ever. Please stop."

"Thank you for calling Wachovia."



"Did they change my pin number?"

"I can’t help you with that, ma’am. You should call the number on the back of the card."

"But that’s the number I called in the first place!"

"I can’t help you with that, ma’am. Have a nice day." *click*

I am left with this feeling that one or the other of us failed miserably, and I’m not entirely sure it wasn’t me.

Why, is that a pair of blue-gray gnatcatchers bopping around the back fence? Yes! Yes, it is!

I hope they stay–I’m delighted that the summer tanager pair seems to have settled in the area, since I see them every few days (and hear them rather more often)–but I don’t think there’s any food I could put out that they’d like. I’ll just hope that my plants and the swampy area are bringing in enough wee bugs to make them happy.

Also, Kevin grilled ribs for dinner, and brought home a German chocolate cake. Alas, the fish store was out of peppermint shrimp, but I did get some sale bras (not at the fish store) so life is good. Next week I’ll schlep out to Greensboro and pick up a shrimp.

About to head out and do the birthday thing–lunch with buddy, buy a peppermint shrimp, mail art…okay, maybe this isn’t the normal birthday thing, but it works for me. I’m 32 years old, I just got a box of author’s copies, life is pretty darn good.

Meanwhile, have the next in the series of things that disturb Kevin!

St. Gereon

(Or, as he said, "Well, it’s kind of cute…until you actually see what it’s doing. Still, it’s not as bad as the other one. At least you can’t see the eyes.")

Whew, busy few days. Since Saturday I’ve had a wedding to attend, a cookout, a book cover that still needs finishing, a hockey game (the swan song of the Hurricanes’ playoff season) and tomorrow is my birthday,* although I don’t think we’re doing anything wacky for it. 

Tank news isn’t good this week. My tank heater is busted–the lower I turn it, the higher it tries to push things–so I have a new one ordered. To my extreme dismay, I’m having a digitate hydroid bloom, which is major bad news. Digitate hydroids are like jellyfish with one strand that anchor to the rock. Their single tentacles pack a serious whallop, and one is abusing one of my mushrooms. I keep calking up their little holes, but if this doesn’t stop soon, I’ll have to pull the rock they’re on, which would suck, because it’s a really wonderful rock. I’m trying to cut down the amount of available nutrients–apparently they tend to occur when there’s an overload of nutrients, so I’m cutting way back on feeding–but it’s still aggravating.

And of course, the pest bobs are back yet again. Grrr. Joe’s Juice is failing me, so I’m gonna break down and get a peppermint shrimp. I’m not sure how happy he’ll be in the tank, but I can always take him back to the fish store if he doesn’t thrive, and hopefully he will have slain some of the wily pest bobs in the meantime. (Seriously, they need to do rent-a-shrimp.) 

But all this dismay is countered by the fact that I have two Dragonbreath breathmint tins AND a final print copy! (My box of author’s copies hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ve got one. It’s awesome!) I will try to get photos later tonight. And the garden is going nuts, because of two days of serious rain, so life is not that bad.

*Nobody needs to get me anything, but if you really really really feel obligated, are a stumped friend/family/etc, my Amazon wishlist is here. Honestly, I don’t know how we lived without these things.

Mayhem in the Garden


Pests have been in my garden, and I know the culprits…four-legs, hooved, about yea tall, white tails…

I was resigned to them leaving deer ticks all over the yard. I didn’t like it, but I managed to pull one off myself the other day without freaking out too badly. Sheer weight of tick biomass is slowly crushing my phobias.

And they munched my poor red chokecherry, but it was early in the season, and they’ve left them alone since–possibly because Kevin is much better about spreading large-omnivore-urine around on demand than my ex-husband. ("You’re asking me to pee outside? Great!" I think this is a guy thing. ) So I thought we’d achieved a certain balance.

But now? Now it’s ON.

Those bastards mutilated my oakleaf hydrangea. (one of our only native hydrangeas) I hadn’t even gotten the thing in the ground yet, it’s a big shrub (or was) from the farmer’s market, awaiting the digging of a substantial hole, and they chomped it. They didn’t even eat half of it, just chewed through the twigs, leaving leaves all over the ground. It’s the destruction that they didn’t even EAT that pisses me off the most.

Also, they reduced my strawberries to stubs. The occasional ripe strawberry had been gnawed by squirrels, but they went through like weedwhackers and ate the foliage down to stems. Grrrr.

Most of the garden is apparently unappealing to deer, given the voracity with which they chomped anything they DID like. Arrgh. That’s the spot where I really WANT the hydrangea, too…I may have to get Kevin to mark around it. If that doesn’t work, I’ll move the poor hydrangea to the fenced backyard, despite the fact that I have done nothing at all to the backyard, have planned nothing, and would be planting a big anchor shrub more or less blind.

God, I hate deer. I hate the massive overpopulation of whitetail deer, anyway. I wish you could rent a wolf pack or a cougar or something…

ETA: I checked the website of our local feedstore for their hours, hoping they might have bloodmeal or a more aggressive deer repellant. Their hours read as follows:

Monday-Friday 8 am -6 pm
Saturday 8 am-3pm
Sunday at Church

Living in a small town in the south is really quite a pleasant experience, particularly since this town is at least half hippies, but every now and again I have this moment of culture shock…

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