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Yesterday, I had to spend a huge amount of money.

Not on cat toys or wonderful little treats or trips to exotic places, which, to my mind, are the only legitimate ways to spend discretionary income.


I had to spend money on boring, grownup things. Car repairs. Tax payments.

As you may imagine, it felt a bit like being flayed alive.

I comforted myself by noting that as recently as three years ago, spending this money would not have been an option because I did not have this money to spend!

I would have continued driving a car whose steering wheel was primed to snap in half at any second!

I would have continued driving it because you can’t not have a car and live where I live – well, you can and I have, but your quality of life suffers. When my steering wheel finally snapped in half, I would have taken out an entire school bus. A church school bus. Filled with kids with cerebral palsy.

Anyway, though, as I was leaving the mechanic, I noticed that my ABS light was on. That’s the light that signals something’s amiss with your anti-lock breaking system.

I told the guy behind the counter – this was an auto repair chain – who summoned one of the mechanics. Who walked me out to the car. Who determined that the light was on because something was wrong with one of the ABS censors.

“But plenty of people drive with their ABS lights on!” he reassured me. “So just drive it around for a while. If the light’s still on in a couple of weeks, bring it back! Besides, I’m certain that the ABS light was on when you brought it in!”

Uh – no. Just no. Plus you inspected the car, right? And it would not have passed New York State inspection had the ABS light been on.

I’d picked the car up just as the mechanic was closing. So today I have to call the mechanic and explain to them that clearly, they fucked the existing ABS censor up in some way as they were putting on the new struts, and it is their responsibility to make that right.


I cannot believe that mechanic told me to “drive it around” for a few weeks. I mean, that’s almost unethical! If I did that, there would be no way I could argue it was their fuckup. I’d be out another $600.

Dealing with even more car repairs – even if they won’t put me out of pocket – is not the way I wanted to spend my day.

Plus I feel so defenseless so much of the time.

Just a sitting duck for various unscrupulous humans who want to take advantage of me. An old woman, plucky, sure. Mouthy, sure. But with very little in the way of real influence or power.
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On my way back home from eating hand-picked strawberries at Pat and Ed’s last night, I finally saw fireflies – and that was a huge relief. I love fireflies! The lack of fireflies was getting me down ‘cause I’m a magical thinker, and we live in – uh – interesting times, and it’s hard not to see portents everywhere you look.

If I have a single cent left over after muy expensive car repairs today, I am definitely gonna go to a U-Pick-Em strawberry place this weekend. Maybe make some strawberry jam.

Also, I must practice chanting my new mantra: It's okay if your draft is a piece of shit. It's OKAY if your draft is a piece of shit...
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Somewhat more chipper today than I have been the past few days, though I still wouldn’t call myself Ms. Happy Song & Dance.

• Yesterday was absolutely paradisiacal here in the quaint and scenic Hudson Valley, and I spent a pleasant afternoon tromping around the Vanderbilt estate, playing Pokemon Go. Slugmas are spawning!

• I did some desultory paying work, a kind of essay on the Pareto Principle. Somebody should really write an essay on the significance of pea plants to modern science: First Mendel, then Pareto. And who knows? There may be others.

• In the evening, I had a long conversation with B. Asperger-y cousin Doug is pregnant – or rather his wife is. With twins. Doug is 55; the wife is 48. Twins makes me think that they used the family trust fund for IVF.

I can’t imagine anyone in his or her right mind wanting to have children after the age of, say, 45. I mean, I had a kid at 43, but it was a happy accident. And, though in retrospect it seems difficult to believe, I actually didn’t know I was pregnant with RTT until halfway through the pregnancy.

Existence is better than nonexistence, I suppose (though I’m open to arguments on that one) but I worry that RTT got the bad end of that deal. In my 40s, I didn’t have the type of energy you need to be a really proactive parent.

• RTT himself checked in briefly to tell me that with his new learners permit, he is now the Designated Driver of Choice for all his frat buddies.

• I listened to a Freakonomics podcast on the economics of spite. I love it when economics is applied to human emotions!

In the course of the podcast, someone explained the origins of the phrase to cut off your nose to spite your face.

Evidently, in the 9th century, a Saxon abbess named Ebba – later canonized – heard that Vikings were closing in to plunder her convent and rape its inhabitants. Rape was bad because Christ evidently is very picky about His brides and prefers virgins. And even if it’s not your fault that you’re not a virgin, you’re still – not a virgin.

Ebba hit upon a novel solution to impending sexual assault: She decided to mutilate herself in a way that was so horrible that even Vikings would be put off the pussy trail.


The other nuns thought this was a great idea. They did it, too!

The Vikings didn’t think this was such a great idea. They set fire to the convent – with Ebba and the ladies in it.

The 9th Century sounds like it was a long time ago, and, of course, it was a long time ago. But it was approximately the same chronological distance from the birth of Christ as we are from the 9th Century today.

• In the evening, I started rewatching Orphan Black. If you’re gonna write dystopian fantasy, Orphan Black is a fine thing to immerse yourself in.
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I get quite dizzy and bubbly when I’m anticipating road trips because you know – road trips! Just the greatest thing evah!

Plus I got a nice little postcard from my pals at General Motors! That last bit of expensive work that needs to be done on my car? Well, it appears that my car is under a recall notice for that work, which means the parts and labor should be free-ee-ee!!!! Not that my mechanic was gonna tell me that.


May. 19th, 2016 06:47 am
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Started gathering stuff together for the Road Trip last night. Took out my passport and – whoa! It’s expired? Seriously? How could I have let my passport expire?

I can get into Canadia on an expired passport.

But I’d have trouble getting back into the US of A. Because, you know. I’m probably an ISIS recruiter.


No Road Trip.

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My date for Sunday’s Make America Grate Again rally bailed, so I will be facing The Donald’s minions alone. It should be a bracing photo opportunity.

Monday, I’m off to Ithaca for a few days. Road trip! I can use one.

I continue to get very sore after I exercise. I’m wondering what terminal disease I have, what outfit I should plan for my deathbed, and whether I can think of any last words more memorable than Steve Jobs’, “Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.”

Congressional legislation is underway to lower the minimum wage in Puerto Rico from $7.25 an hour to $4.25 an hour. Right. ‘Cause they speak Spanish there, so who cares?

Got into a fierce argument with Ben over this one.

“The Tompkins Workers Center sez the goal should be a living wage, not a minimum wage,” he told me. “And that could be $4 in some areas and $20 in others.”

“Oh, right,” I snarled. “White liberal Bwana-ism at its best! From the same white liberals that brought you indeterminate sentencing!”

June is feeding pigeons under the elms on a wrought iron bench on one of those malls transversing upper Broadway. There’s still an El train on Amsterdam Avenue, so my sense of geography is very distorted. Shortly, she will rendezvous with Henry Miller to extort money from him for Flossie’s liver operation. Flossie will die anyway. So will June’s father.

There are tons of photos of lower Manhattan in the 1920s on the Internet, but nary a one of upper Manhattan. Which is odd because upper Manhattan in the 1920s was a happening place. All I could find was this famous pic by Berenice Abbott of Columbus Circle:


This is a good two miles south of where June is sitting. Doesn’t sound like much, I realize, but New York City is a city of microenvironments.

And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife...
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I was in such a pissy mood yesterday!

Or maybe I wasn’t in a pissy mood. Maybe everyone on the planet is just a complete asshole, and I was just reacting as any sensitive snowflake might and must.

I dunno.



I’m really, really tired of politics. Tired of it from both sides. At this point, my advice? Dig up Abraham Lincoln’s corpse and clone it. Only please – no more Facebook rants about how if Donald Trump wins, it’s my fucking fault – because I wouldn’t vote for the Democrats’ own anointed one, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

You know, in most banana republics, it’s considered a sign of corruption when wives run for offices first occupied by their husbands. Just sayin’.


When I get into moods like this, I wonder why I frittered away so much of my life worrying about mundane things like money and whether people rilly, rilly like me. Really, I should have been worrying about death. About the fact that life seems long but isn’t, and that the next Big Jump takes me into uncharted territory.

Are there cats after death? The Egyptian Book of the Dead would seem to suggest as much, but who really knows?



Aug. 14th, 2014 07:10 am
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I know it seems unlikely that space aliens came down in the middle of the night and stole my reading glasses, but they’re not where I stashed them last night, they’re no place else, and really, what other explanation could there be?


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