Monday, July 28, 2008

Take the neti plunge

Any time you look up anything about allergies on the Internet, the Internet will spew a whole bunch of stuff about neti pots.

What's a neti pot? you ask?

It's this small teapot looking thing that you use to pour a homemade saline solution into your nose. If you hold your head the right way, it will pour back out your other nostril.

Gross, right?

Well, I bought one over the weekend. I was worried that I'd start laughing and nearly drown while using it, but I didn't. The trick is not to look at yourself in the bathroom mirror while you're using it.

So far, I've seen no reduction in my allergy symptoms, and I've also had some weird headaches, but I'm keeping at it. Will keep you apprised.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saving the day

I was just reading Catherine Newman's Dalai Mama blog. I love Catherine's writing, and how well she captures, well, everything.

This latest blog is about dreams. Read until the end, the part about Birdy's dreams about her dad. I'm weeping openly now.

Have you read the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood? It's really badly written - I was rewriting it in my head the whole time I was reading it - but it's a good story. There's this part where the main character whose name I can't remember (I would go get the book, but it's in a box somewhere in the basement; I would look it up on the Internet, but I guess I don't care that much.) talks about having one childhood moment she could look back on and say, "In that moment, I knew my mother loved me." It was really powerful.

My parents were very affectionate and told us they loved us all the time, so it's not like I have to go back and find a moment where I knew my parents loved me or anything.


Shortly after I learned how to ride a bike, I was riding my bike on Dorothy Lane in Terryville, Connecticut. We lived on Town Line Road in Bristol, which was, indeed, on the town line. Dorothy Lane ran perpendicular to our street. Our house faced it. We were on the top of Fall Mountain, so it was pretty hilly.

I wasn't allowed to ride on Town Line Road because people drove like assholes on it, so I rode up and down Dorothy Lane, which had a little bit of a hill.

I had one of those bikes that you have to pedal backwards to stop. As I was riding down the hill, I started going so fast that my feet came off the pedals. I started yelping. Just that fast, my father was there. He caught me and my bike just before I crossed onto Town Line Road.

I asked him a year or so ago if he remembered that moment. Of course, he did. I asked him how he got over to me that fast. He had been working on some project in the driveway, heard me yelp, dropped what he was doing and ran over and caught me. He said there was no time to stop and think.

I asked him if he got hurt. Turns out he was sore for days. He basically got hit by a hurtling bike and an accompanying child. It was a giant, metal punch in the entire body.

In the moment, I didn't think this was remarkable at all. Dads swoop in to save the day. That's what dads do. I certainly didn't feel like it was a demonstration of love.

But now, looking back, it's all I can think of. It was a powerful moment I'll remember my whole life.

I love my dad.

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I enjoy a small amount of local fame. It's very small, but it's just enough. Enough not to be allowed to act like an asshole in public.

I was at Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield today. It's the annual tent sale. I picked out a pretty rag rug for the kitchen that was half price - $19.99, regularly $40. The line in the tent was really long though, and totally not moving, so I decided to go into the store to make my purchase there (and - let's not lie - to check out what's going on in the kitchen shop).

(Aside: If you want to shop locally for your kitchen stuff, Wilson's is the place to do it. Tons of free parking and everything you want. Most prices are the same or cheaper than everywhere else. It's a fine option. And it's like stepping back in time to an old-school department store! Bonus: While you're in Greenfield, you can have delicious Korean food at Manna House [better than Korean Resaurant in Hadley and WAY better than Soo Ra in Northampton]. Take a trip!)

While in the kitchen shop, I picked out a few other items to buy, among them a porceline ginger grater, which I'm excited to try out.

After chatting with the fine sales lady about the new Hearthstone Stoneware from Corelle (looks like stoneware, but doesn't chip like stoneware). I plunked my purchases down on the counter to pay. Turns out my rug didn't have a sticker. Big crap. I told them where it was, what it was, how much the sign said it was, etc.

They needed the PLU. Which is fine. It's fine! I asked if they could call someone. They called an unhelpful soul in the tent who was too swamped to help.

The lady said, "Do you want to buy your kitchen items here and then go back out to the tent to purchase the rug out there?"

I replied, "Hell, no, I don't want to do that." I didn't shout or anything. I just said it. I explained that I came in on purpose to avoid the mayhem out there and that because of my avoidance, I was purchasing two additional items. I wasn't going back out there.

Just then, a lady said, "This sounds like Jennifer!"

Aww, fuck.


And maybe I wasn't being an asshole exactly, but I certainly wasn't being as mannerly as I could have been.

She listens to my radio show, loves it, thinks I'm hilarious - all the things that I generally eat like candy. But instead, I was eating it like a heaping helping of humble pie. I tried to smooth things over and all, but I think I might have just looked stupid.

Oh, humanity!

Speaking of fame, did you see me in Thursday's Gazette? It was an action shot of me shouting on the stage. I was disappointed to notice that I look like I have fat lady boobs in the photo, but have come to accept that I am a fat lady with fat lady boobs. I'm sure I could remedy the situation by putting the shoulder straps back on all my brassieres, but facts are facts: I hate shoulder staps on brassieres. They give me a neck/shoulder ache.

Fat lady boobs it is.


Green River highlights reel

Last weekend at the Green River Festival, we saw a number of acts, among them The Primate Fiasco, Crooked Still and Lucinda Williams.

I'm officially in love with The Primate Fiasco, so much so that I've engaged them to play at an upcoming party (details to be announced very soon). They opened their set with a funked out version of the Muppet Show theme song. I think that says it all.

I've seen Crooked Still twice now and I officially like them a lot and intend to pick up their CDs. They sound kind of like Allison Krauss and Union Station, but more like real people I just want to be friends with. I love bluegrass music so much these days. I just can't get enough.

It's hard being a person who doesn't like Lucinda Williams because basically everyone likes her. I've been trying to put my finger on what I don't like about her for some time and it finally hit me: the melodies in her songs (to me) sound like the harmony lines. I'm just waiting for a kick-ass melody that never seems to come. There are a few songs with melodies I like, but by and large, I just don't dig her (un-)melodies.

(Aside: The Count loves Lucinda Williams and scores of other caterwalling ladies and gentlemen that I can stand in short doses only. Music we always agree on: Johnny Cash, the Mountain Goats and the Magnetic Fields. Everything else is a crapshoot.)

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

An open letter to Ed O'Reilly

Dear Ed O'Reilly:

I'm all for the democratic process -- really, I am -- but you have got to step aside.

I know it's not fair. I'm sorry. But if you took Kerry's senate seat, Massachusetts would be fucked. Like, for real.

Here's why: Ted Kennedy is knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door. Heaven forfend, but facts are facts. If you oust John Kerry, we'd end up, in effect, with two junior senators (although one would be a senior senator on a technicality).

Do us all a favor, would you? Get the hell out of Kerry's way. We need someone with pull pulling for us in Washington. Kerry's got it. You don't. You might have it some day, but you don't just yet.

Now, when Ted bites it, I'm all for you running for the open seat. I'm not going to work for your campaign or anything because, if your Web site is any indication, you're a bit of a clown, but I wish you godspeed in your quest. In the meantime, I'm throwing my spare time behind getting you the hell out of the race come primary time in September.

Please take the extra time you'll have now to hire a writer who has some marketing acumen to rewrite your Web site. Sweet God! Your pandering is so obvious that it's painful to read. You're going to have to get better at subtly playing to the crowd if you want to win Ted's seat.

-Jennifer Myszkowski

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lots of bullshit

There's a dangerous amount of bullshit going around right now, and a bunch of it is cancer. I don't mean that metaphorically at all. There are a number of people with cancer around me right now and I'm scared and sad. That's about all I can say about it, since it's not my business. Suffice it to say that I'm having a hard time.

The rest of the stuff in my life pales in comparison and I don't really feel like I have that much else to write about. We're unpacking slowly but surely. Our garden yielded its first cucumbers over the weekend. My dad got my wireless up and working. Regular stuff, you know?

This is totally unrelated, but a hot tip I'd like to give you is that there's a law about grocery store scan systems coming up with the wrong price, or a price different than what is posted. If the scan comes up wrong, you get one of the item for free, and then they refund the difference on the other items.

Tonight, I was buying tofu for our dinner at Stop and Shop. The sticker on it said, "2FOR$4", but it rang up as $2.50 each. I brought my receipt to the courtesy desk and she handed me back $3 without any debate. I think the trick is going to the courtesy desk and not talking to the cashier about it.

Seriously, before you leave the grocery store, always check your receipt for discrepancies.

This message brought to you by Jennifer Myszkowskis for Pretending Like Everything is Fine.

Meanwhile, if you blog about anything to do with Comcast, you will get a phone call from Comcast.

Yeah, I didn't know it either, until I got three phone calls from two different guys offering to help me set up my router. Weird, huh? No matter, because my dad came over on Saturday and fixed me up just right.

Going to bed now.

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